Tag Archives | Spirituality

Initiation, Individuality, and the Alchemy of Danger

samuraiDanger, and an appreciation of one’s mortality, is of importance for most spiritual traditions, from Freemasonry to the Zen-informed worldview of the Japanese Samurai. In the Masonic Ritual, we find, for example, the initiate being met with a dagger and caused to lay on the ground as if dead, often — e.g., in England — on a “carpet” representing the grave. For the Samurai, the danger was profoundly real and ever-present. He faced death in duels or on the battlefield, or at the whim of his master, who could order him to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) at any moment.

In regard to both Western and Eastern forms of esotericism and spirituality, Craig Williams, author of Tantric Physics Vol I: Cave of the Numinous is, for me, one of the most interesting thinkers around today. He has been a practitioner of Yoga, Ayurveda, Tantra, Jyotish and Vedanta for more than 25 years, and is also a Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostic Aeterna, and an adept of Esoteric Voudon.… Read the rest

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Writer and Musician Michael Garfield Discusses Consciousness, Psychedelics, Technology and More on Midwest Real

Via Midwest Real

michaelgarfield.net - more reviews


Michael Garfield can only be described as a polymath. At times, exchanging words with him feels kind of like speaking to a library with a mouth. I’m not really sure how he does it (I promise, I’m not just glad-handing).

Aside from being well-read and spoken, Michael is also something of a serial creative. He’s writer with credits on sites like Big Think and Reality Sandwich, he paints and makes music.

For more on Michael, head to his site.

Photo: Reid Godshaw

For dozens more podcasts like this, head to midwestreal.netDig the show? Stop on by our iTunes channel to review and subscribe.

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You Talkin’ To Me?


Tricking Passengers,

Your driver spent the week working on a treat, getting San Francisco TAXI: Life in the Merge Lane… (Book 2) out the door. (See cool promo vid at end of this blog!) Thus, please indulge as we ride along with a Halloween scare of yore…



I call-in to Citizen’s to let whomever know I’m coming in. I’m on the schedule today, but with no assigned medallion.

Bryce answers the driver’s line and sounds frazzled. I write it off to the busy time of the morning – getting day drivers out on the road while at the same time processing incoming night drivers’ keys, medallions, and gate money, etc.

So, Bryce tells me I “can sleep-in and have a cab later… or come in now and screw someone”.

Only half-awake I return all groggy,

“Wait. What are my options?”

I did Halloween with the kids last night and I really need the sleep.… Read the rest

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The 25 Most Important Zombie Movies Ever Made

dawn of the dead main 25

Jim Vorel via Paste Magazine:

From the living dead to the walking dead to the typing dead, zombies have completely and utterly suffused 21st century culture. And that’s a pretty weird phenomena, when you think about it.

It’s not like this was always the case. Go back to the ’80s, and to wax poetic about George Romero-esque zombie films would have been the hallmark of a nerdy, acne-ridden high school student in a John Hughes movie. The idea that a TV show like The Walking Dead could be one-upping Sunday Night football in TV ratings? That would seem patently impossible.

Yes, zombies have come a long way, as has our appreciation for them. We live in a society that has become profoundly geekier in the last 15 years, and adopted the once secretive and insular totems of geek culture as its own. But it’s not just us who has evolved, it’s the zombies themselves—the creatures, their films and the people who made them.

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Martin Wittfooth’s Offering

Martin Wittfooth "Mothers Milk" 2015

Martin Wittfooth “Mothers Milk” 2015

Martin Wittfooth’s Offering

In Wittfooth’s allegorical narratives, animals roam a dystopian world void of human life with the remnants of industrialized society in a state of devastation. Fires rage and oceans surge but despite the destruction, his creatures radiate and evoke a sentiment of oneness. Where they exist life flourishes and the animals in this sense are the life-givers.

The works in Offering explore the theme of shamanism and its current revitalization around the world. Wittfooth delves into the notion that the rediscovery of shamanistic practices, such as reaching an altered state of consciousness, is peeling away our egos and materialistic obsessions and encouraging a connection with nature and to each other.

The artist explains, “The great challenges of our time primarily stem from the repression, predetermined delineation of consciousness and the myriad of other ways by which our materialistic culture has lost its connection with the natural world…The reemergence of shamanism appears to be having a great impact on consciousness around the globe by severing individuals’ attachments to the ego-driven, ideology-based, monotheistic modality that has shaped so much of the human enterprise over the past millennia.Read the rest

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Taking the High Road

high road

It’s 11:30am on Thursday and I’m cruising the Haight for flags, $24 into the green…

I’ve been good about not drinking or abusing nighttime cough syrup over the last week to get to sleep at night. This is due to a jaunt to go see my mom “back east” in D.C., to get help finishing up Book 2 – San Francisco TAXI: Life in the Merge Lane… (Stay tuned y’all!) Anyway, Ma and my older brother gave me crap about my belly while I was there; which is, um, “respectably pronounced”. Aside from my sedentary vocation, this is due in good measure to drinking at night. And the subsequent tipsy feast just prior to bed. Needless to say, my family’s brand of Jewish/Irish-Catholic guilt is VERY potent! Hence, the abstinence.

So, I was clearing out my Facebook notifications last night and smoking a bowl before going down. As I was perusing the San Francisco Taxi Drivers Group, I came across a report from Barry Korengold, one of the leaders of the SFTWA – the pseudo San Francisco taxi drivers union.… Read the rest

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Jel Ena: Through the Gates of Anhedonia by Decadence Darling

Jel Ena "Sanctum Infernum", 2015

Jel Ena “Sanctum Infernum”, 2015

Jel Ena “Sanctum Infernum”
October 29 – December 15
Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn NY


Jel Ena: Through the Gates of Anhedonia  by Decadence Darling

Death is an unknown pleasure. Pleasure is not the addition of something we are without, it is the realization of something that is within. It is through “death” that we awaken this inherent pleasure. When we seek pleasure, small or large, we examine ourselves accordingly. We take inventory, observe patterns, evaluate and assess strengths and weaknesses. Through all of this we judge ourselves. We determine how much of this information we accept or reject. In other words, seeking pleasure is a process of positive acceptance and negative rejection. But what if those things we are adverse to are a part of who we truly are? To dispose of them would make us incomplete. Perhaps in this pursuit of Self we deny our fullness and the thing we wished we were is an empty object full of pain.… Read the rest

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Supper with the Psychedelic Society

Psychedelic 070707
Damien Gayle via The Guardian:

Amid an abundance of food and drink, flickering candles and a heady air of altered states,100 or so people in north London’s New Unity church watched John, a mop-haired Irishman in his late 20s, tell the story of how he learned to love through therapy, poetry and ayahuasca.

“I arrived at Cuzco and, sure God, how do you find an ayahuasca ceremony?” he said from a stage adorned with a creeping, twisting vine of fairy lights. “Well you Google it obviously, and you go on to TripAdvisor.” That bizarre mix of the hi-tech and the traditional, the western world and the south, sums up thePsychedelic Society, which held its first “psychedelic supper” on Sunday.

The event – a bring-and-share meal with speakers – comes amid a renaissance in the use of psychedelics. In two years, the number of young people reporting using LSD has almost tripled; the number reporting use of psychedelic drugs more broadly is up 88%.

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That’ll Be $6.80, Please…


word transam bnw

So, I get an early morning voice mail from Christian. He was just getting off from his night shift. And he sounds exasperated…

“I just want to know; how many times have you been assaulted on the job? I was just for the seventh time in my career! And I’m fucking sick of it!”

Well, me? Zero.

Maybe a switch to day driving is in order? I do recall Rose (cab school teacher extraordinaire) giving us the stats in class… It turns out cab drivers are the second most assaulted vocation in the country, with the first being 7-11 clerks. (Police come in third.)

Anyway, it seems Christian was driving through the Mission last night, headed down Valencia with a fare in back. As he was stopped at a red at Duboce, some drunk Filipino crew walked up on his cab and “the big one” stumbled up to the driver’s (open) window and just randomly punched Christian in the face.… Read the rest

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The Godly Colonel Kurtz



I’m cruising east up Market, away from downtown. It’s just me and Citizen’s Cab #137 fishing for fares, as we cross the brink into the Loin…

There’s a dude flagging me up at the corner of 7th, at a red.

Olive skinned with broad shoulders, in his mid 30s, my potential fare is semi-buff and sports an expensive black leather motorcycle jacket unzipped over a Hawaiian print shirt unbuttoned low enough to boast two highly-toned pectorals. Dude’s neck is ringed by a white coral choker framed by semi-greasy dark, wavy shoulder length locks that are pinned back from his face by a pair of wrap-around sunglasses sitting perched atop his head. He is semi-good looking, despite the badly faded navy blue shorts and worn white tennis shoes.

Dude’s casual.

Why not?

I pull over.

But before entering my taxi, my passenger bends humbly into my shotgun window to verify that I am actually agreeing to pick him up.… Read the rest

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