Tom Robison

It must have been either 2002 or 2001 when I first met Tom. He came into my frame-shop when I was located on Pacific Ave. He was a friend of Milo’s. We talked a bit and I learned he was involved in some Native American spiritual practices. After reading Black Elk Speaks, so many years ago I was very interested in that subject. But by that time my excitement about the subject had faded a great deal.

He presented himself to me as an artist and tried to describe some of his work. A couple days later he brought by a poster he had designed for a local Native American group. The words read “Five Hundred Years of Resistance.” And the visual was simply the face of an Indian man looking straight ahead with a very dour yet determined look. Not exactly an uplifting piece even though I agreed with the sentiment. Tom acknowledged as much, this piece hadn’t received much praise.

I got to know Tom fairly well over the years and generally enjoyed having conversations with him, when I had the time. I noticed many ups and downs in his mood; he could at times be very surly and at other times be completely at love with the world. He had this in common with Milo though they were very different personalities.

He left Santa Cruz and I hadn’t heard from him for a couple years when I received the following long letter in the form of a book. I enjoyed reading it, and it answered some things I had always wondered about Tom. He had never spoke of Duverus or the Family with me in any of our sometimes long conversations. This seems to explain why he uses “Confessions” in the title of his “open” letter. He speaks of a number of things in this letter which must have been hard for him to admit and many things he is not proud of.

I asked him if it would be okay to publish his letter in my blog and he wrote back saying it was okay with him. He also added a bit more context to the previous “open letter” he had sent:

“I wanted to make my life an open book for anyone who cared to read about it, to avoid a major mistake made by my mentor- Bob in trying to cover up parts of his past by lying about them.”

“Around Tucson, I have a few people I’ve contacted with my outlook from my bizarre shamanic reality- half-in/half-out of the World of the Dead. These people, I wanted to let know more about where I’m coming from, by letting them in on my past and my path or road. I don’t know how many will make the connection about bi-polar homelessness being tied into nomadic traditions & the difficulty of that path as it is suppressed by modern civilization and turned into a convenience of the rich. It is taboo for the poor to be nomads.”

The American Sunbeam- Photo by Max Hirschfeld 1977 Tom, "Where the cameraman was standing to take the photo of the front of the Duverus Bldg in the snow was right in front of my studio- a triangular adobe building only feet from the highway."

The American Sunbeam- Photo by Max Hirschfeld 1977
Tom, “Where the cameraman was standing to take the photo of the front of the Duverus Bldg in the snow was right in front of my studio- a triangular adobe building only feet from the highway.”


An Open Letter August 31, 2014 6:46 pm

Dear Ted,
I have a determined drive to communicate with you that comes from a strong feeling that overrides simple reason. There are numerous reasons I could assert but none of them would explain it. I seem to have annoyed you on the phone recently with my somewhat flippant mood of celebrating Bob’s birthday. Anyway, I figure that’s why you told me you’d call me back, yet you never did.

A large part of communication is done in wanting to be understood. That’s why I’m writing this. I usually express myself better in writing than in speaking, so this is a better option for me than waiting for an expected phone call, for more than one reason. Besides, this letter you can read at your leisure, in bits and pieces, or just throw in the trash if you’re so inclined. But please don’t!

Your rap around the memory of Bob was a concise & pleasantly constructed concept which conveyed well to me how I should understand you in relation to what you got out of Bob’s influence when you lived with the Family. It is very zen-like and smooth-flowing, the way I perceived you did that piece of time, detached, with special privilege due to you maturity and the way you hashed out your man to man deal with Bob. He respected you and accorded you liberties suitable to your stature, your sand (courage, determination), your earned and well carried sense of manhood. I fell into a different category and was treated by Bob like an impressionable youth until I finally stood up to him and forced him to respect my manhood.

I was among a wave of younger people who were more like soft clay to Bob’s sculptor’s mind. But one thing I became aware of early on that separated me from virtually every one else who was there is that my sole intent for being there was to study Bob and learn everything I could from him because I wanted to be able to do everything he could do. The longer I went at it I also wanted to go beyond what he could do and correct errors in his thinking and actions in myself.

I couldn’t become an unquestioning “little Bob”, which is what some of the Family thought I was trying to be and what Bob wanted me to be. That’s why I couldn’t accept his offer, at the end of our relationship, to write his 21 books (or 22 with The Golden Reed). My interest had been to learn how he sustained his communication with what he called Duverus. I had done it several times, long before I read The Golden Reed or met Bob. The reason Tom Peasner sent me a copy of The Golden Reed and a message to come to Seligman to meet Bob is because Tome noticed that Bob was saying some of the same things I’d said and, like me, said he got it telepathically (by thought transfer) from a superior life form inhabiting our skies in flying saucers. Tom said he’d never heard anybody else saying such things other than me and figured he could think of no one better to send a copy of the book. I too was taken by this fact when I read The Reed.

Photo by Max Hirschfeld 1977 Tom, "The one of Bob is a good. I did two paintings of him but in both he had a long white beard. "

Photo by Max Hirschfeld 1977
Tom, “The one of Bob is a good. I did two paintings of him but in both he had a long white beard. “

There was a Sunbeam subscriber in Norway who wrote expressing concern about Bob using projection to glean information from time. Bob argued that teleological projection differs markedly from astral projection. This man from Norway told a tale of woe that his wife (I think it was) went insane from frequent use of projection. He asserted that the mystic Swedenborg had a firm grasp on the subject and taught how to avoid the pitfalls of projection. He sent us a copy of one of his books and I read it. It made much sense.

Bob had taught me how to use teleological projection and I was quite proficient at it after persistent practice. I got quite upset once when I learned that Bob was using the Ouija board to communicate with Duverus, at least from time to time. I objected (quietly, to myself) and still object. But Bob used many clever devices which I cared not to plumb, learn, or adopt. I never wanted his charismatic leadership ability because I had no ambitions to lead a group. In fact I’m cynical about leaders because they become skilled in deceptive tricks to keep the group politic slanted in their favor.

Because Bob long viewed me as soft clay for his “sculptor’s mind” I was long and often swayed by the sheer force of his charisma to accept some of his ideas as truth, which I late found deficient and discarded. I reread The Golden Reed about four years ago and was deeply impressed with how much of his “science” is now proven to be erroneous, no two ways about it. In some cases I was embarrassed by some passages in The Golden Reed for ever having believed it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I went to California in 1986 to meet the president of The Church of Light, to whom I had an introduction, and to study The Church of Light’s 22 courses to become a hermetician. I was around the LA area for several years and involved myself with the C of L and learned as much as I could of the Western Esoteric doctrine out of Egypt by way of France.

This doctrine was made public by the Brotherhood of Light when, by their reckoning, the Age of Aquarius dawned: at the end of 1881 or early 1882. Why most astrologers today use guesswork to speculate when the Aquarian Age is to begin is puzzling since the Brotherhood of Light astrologers used Egyptian records of the dawn of the Age of Aries to calculate the time of Aquarius’ dawn. The hermetic doctrine of the Church of Light is Astrology-base and the founder of the Church of Light was honored posthumously in 1992 (He died in the early 1950’s) by the American Federation of Astrologers as the single person who contributed the most to the advancement of astrology than any other astrologer of the 20th Century. And yet, the Church of Light is a dark-horse that few have heard of, attracts very little publicity and very few members. He (C.C. Zain or Elbert Benjamin) was a strong New Deal Democrat who viewed the trends of this socialist reform of capitalistic democracy as the wave of a new enlightened (Aquarian) civilization. Since this kind of thinking is not advantageous to monopoly-capitalists, Zain’s books have been suppressed by market forces which favor a New Age hybrid of spirituality and materialism which subtly submits a gauge of spiritual success as being marked by material success.

From the start, I was encouraged and groomed to assume a leadership role in The Church of Light. I have the right kind of horoscope for it and exhibited the potential in some of my more spiritual writing that made its way onto the pages of the Sunbeam. That’s why I was given the introduction to the president of the The Church of Light, because he needed help. But, as it turned out, I was too gun-shy and suspicious of people who said they needed my help because of my talents, after my experiences with Bob and Jesse James III. I felt like people just wanted to use me for their own purposes and I wanted to freelance it and use my talents for my own purposes. Still, it took me several more years to get free of Jesse James IV who lured me back to him in 1987 on a plea to help him because he needed me. By about 1990 I had broken away from him and the Church of Light.

About then I went to my first Grateful Dead show and took a strong turn back to revisit my pre-Duverus “hippie” experience which put is indelible stamp on me during my transition to “manhood” from age 18 to 22. I was a pacifist with a strong conviction in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and in an ideal of world peace through love of your neighbor and abandonment of all the petty prejudices which divide us, coupled with organic agriculture, love of the environment, rejection of the corporations moral, mental and physical poisons, etc., etc., etc. I had success with a pacifist stance in the face of violence promised me by rednecks, jocks, and bikers for being an idealistic freak. But my first visit to Bob and the Duverus Family shocked me loose from that conviction when some local rednecks jumped Tom Peasner in front of the building and began to beat him. I ran inside and yelled for help and Bob sent some men pounding down the stairs with weapons.

Sometimes I wish I had left Bob behind right then and there, but I listened to his reasoning, why pacifism doesn’t work and you have to meet violence with threat or violence. I took his ideas back to Denton, Texas with me and chewed on them for nearly a year before I decided I had to go back.

Photo by Max Hirshfeld 1977 Tom, "We bought an old lumberyard- a huge building with hardwood floors the kids could skate on. We held banquets, parties and our weekly meal at which we all met for Sunday Dinner there and an informal gathering with a formal meeting afterward, if called for. Mostly we just sat and talked and drank wine."

Photo by Max Hirshfeld 1977
Tom, “We bought an old lumberyard- a huge building with hardwood floors the kids could skate on. We held banquets, parties and our weekly meal at which we all met for Sunday Dinner there and an informal gathering with a formal meeting afterward, if called for. Mostly we just sat and talked and drank wine.”

My curiosity to find out what made Bob tick and learn what he knew was too great for me. It seemed my acid head idealism had run its course, as the “hippie movement” was running into a dead-end in a cocaine blizzard. Now, I sometimes wish I’d never submitted myself to Bob’s reality because it drove him to take such an uncompromising position that he threatened to meet the federal government with gun violence if Duverus Publishing was shut down due to a Treasury Dept. finding that we were not paying ourselves minimum wage. I was shocked when he had Michael H. deliver that message and openly and vehemently protested. No matter what I said I could get no sense into Bob’s head and nobody else in the Family stood behind me. I rebelled and left and Bob began to spin false but convincing fabrications about me. He turned Valerie against me as well. Not even you seemed to grasp the drastic reality of Bob’s decline and the disintegration of the Family that I experienced.

You had been gone from it for a few years and returned with Rob in the role of support for Bob. He spun his clever web of lies and not even you were immune from his charisma. To me he was exposed as a liar; to you, as you’ve told me many times, he’s only testing us, as he said he would. But that’s also a clever excuse he could fall back on whenever he was caught in a lie or shown to be wearing a web of deception to meet his own ends. I wanted to leave the family in 1977 but Bob was losing too many people and he wanted to keep me to use me for my talents so he cleverly enticed me to marry Valerie by flattery. Conveniently, by that he could kill two birds with one stone because Valerie wanted to get pregnant by Michael and he and Joyce were already too much trouble for him. He also didn’t want any more bastards, he told me, because the family’s reputation was already damaged by that. I agreed to a simple, quiet Justice of the peace wedding but before I knew it, it became a highly public Church wedding for all Seligman to see that we have American Christian values. Hell, to heap it on, it even became a double wedding.

For years after, I figured Molly may be Michael’s child, and I was the chump. I just threw myself into writing and art and tried to live with the sour bitter taste of being used. I was never convinced that I was Sydney’s father either because Valerie and I only had sex one time in about a year and I rarely saw her nor knew who she cavorted with behind my back. For all I knew Michael did that too. When Roz joined the group around 1980 we got into a relationship. It was the first and only loving, enjoyable relationship I had during my time with the Family. But Valerie got jealous and began to give Bob hell about it. She was carrying on with Michael, but she didn’t want me to be with anybody else. We were separated, doing our own thing, and Valerie never did anything to endear me to her but she didn’t want me being endeared to anybody else. So Bob told Roz to quit seeing me and start seeing Michael. Roz told me so. Then Bob cajoled me into getting back together with Valerie. But it was cold and ugly. I shut down and went into endurance mode treating Valerie the way anybody would treat an impossible situation- you quit or go insane trying to do the impossible. Sometimes I think I went insane trying to please Bob.

You escaped all that, Ted, because Bob respected your manhood and pretty much let you do as you pleased. The nightmare I experienced from being used by Bob didn’t end with my departure from the family or my divorce from Valerie. It was not until 1997 when I was living in Santa Cruz, California and Valerie lived in Albany, New York that I finally confronted her frankly with my long-held feelings about being used by Bob and her. I asked her straight up if Michael was Molly’s father and if he or some one else was Sydney’s father. She vehemently denied it but she committed suicide shortly after that so I still wondered. It was my Mother and my older sister who convinced me finally that Molly and Sydney were mine. They’d spent more time with them than I had after Valerie and I divorced. And they assured me they could see me in them, especially in Sydney. By then it was too late to repair my relations with them but I tried. I talked to them by phone regularly all those bitter years, wrote letters and remembered them at their birthdays and Christmas. But it wasn’t enough.

The 20’s are the years when a person’s rewiring for adulthood occur. I wish I’d left the family when I was 25 and taken the college education my Father offered to pay for, even if I wanted to study art. But I’m stuck with the rewiring I got when Bob was using me to hold the Family together and I plunged into my own private world of art and writing, hardly even sleeping, pushing myself to my limits, triggering the onset of a mania that finally broke my mind down into a full on manic depression. Classic society of the Greeks and Romans venerated mania as the state of grace divinely bequeathed to poets, artists, etc. Indigenous societies used and venerated the manic state for its usefulness to shamanism. But in our society it becomes an illness unless given to artistic expression, for the most part. Trying to work in the printing trade after I left the Family squeezed me into such a tight vise of conformity to convention that my mind cracked.

My thirties were a time of desperation to get out of the vise and find a way back into the communal type of existence I’d found comfortable in my 20’s. When I left the Family I’d never even had a bank account, written a check, or payed a bill. And I never really got used to it or felt comfortable with it. On top of that, my personality split between the peaceful progressive I was before I met Bob and the violence-prone conservative reactionary I learned to be from Bob. I couldn’t integrate the two so they split me apart much as the political polarization of our day has split the nation apart. Curiously (maybe ironically) I thought I could resolve the political differences between left and right if I worked at it hard enough through my 30’s into my 40’s but I could no more do that than blend the two in myself. It’s like mixing oil and water. It only holds when in a constant state of agitation, vigorous agitation. In stasis they separate.

You see, Ted, Bob always treated you like a man but I never got that until I stood up to him and refused to write his books for him. And the reason I used was that I would not be identified with Michael Halioris in any way, shape, or form, ever again. I vaguely hoped he’d give up on him and the rest of them and take up the offer you and Rob made him- to come live with you out in Osage (or PossumTrot?). I didn’t tell him that , but you had captured my imagination with your proposed plan to help Bob out. I knew you and Rob had been too long gone from the Family to grasp how Bob had degenerated but I guess I held it as a hope the way a man might in the desperation of discovery that he is on a sinking ship. Your calm pragmatism I found soothing but even that sense was shattered when Valerie reached out to you when she went into hiding from me in a battered woman’s shelter. I was livid that she would accuse me of “battering” her and betray me yet again. I found her by following “psychic” sense that day in Fayetteville when I ran into you there on your way to meet her. I remember you telling me that you were concerned she would think you told me where to find her but even you were skeptical that I’d done it purely by determination, prayer, and extra-sensory perception. I recall there was a notion spread about that I had some informant from the police or something. Some people believed the Jameses had those kinds of connections and were helping me out. I was hurt again (upon the hurt of Valerie’s lies) that my own psychic resourcefulness was not validated by those close to me, who, I thought, should know better. By then my psychic abilities were more reliable than Bob’s and I’d worked hard to develop and hone them.

At least Valerie finally admitted to me that I had never battered her. But, she contested, “mental abuse is just as bad.” Again, ironic or what? She’d been mentally and verbally abusing me so long I couldn’t stand to be alone with her. That’s why I refused to move with her into your friends’ house in Possum Trot. Being alone with her, she’d drive me crazy, or try until I could take no more. I never wanted to be stuck alone with her, and Bob assured me that wasn’t what he had in mind when he asked me to marry her. He asked me to do it for the Family and , he asserted, since I was the only one who hadn’t drawn off into sexual intrigue with any one I was the person he could trust to help him. Another irony, Michael Halioris wanted to take over Bob’s job so bad he could taste it. But Bob was grooming me for that and , although I toyed with the notion, when I got a good enough dose of what I was being molded into by him I wanted nothing to do with it. To this day I’m so gun-shy of meddling in other peoples’ lives I avoid giving advice as avidly as I reject (even resent) it when other’s offer it to me. I got a lifetime dose of Bob and I doubt you can comprehend it, Ted, because you’ve never shown me a sign that you do however hard I’ve tried to convey to you my shock that he got Mike to deliver a threat of violence to Congressman Gene Taylor’s office. Nor can you see how grotesque and tragic it was that Bob pitted Michael and I against each other the way he did. Even as close as you once were to Joyce, it seems you skirted around that whole tragicomedy and never recognized how viral it really was and how it ultimately was the keystone to Bob’s downfall.

I’m sorry, in a way, that I’m spewing this out to you but I can’t hold it back. How you ever came to be close to Rob, is still a mystery tome, but the very coincidence that you’d somehow end up with two men from Denton, Texas in your life seems to me that there must be some kind of divine purpose in it. I’ve barely ever known Rob, and don’t know why he showed up at the Duverus Family to visit me. His time there was brief and it’s a blur to me. But he left and you left and several years later you both show back up with an ideal of the Family in mind that it had long since fallen away from even a semblance of. You two gave me a brief reprieve and a glimmer of hope for its possibility. But as I now perceive it, you were more like a doorman to the stopping off place where I sought to return to the life I left behind when I “joined” the Family. You may not see it like that but try to remember the night at the Osage place when you played Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and we talked along a vein of “hippie idealism”,. I hate the term hippie because it’s just a term much misused and doesn’t really say it. Maybe it was the Greenwich Village scene you revisited. I began to reject that right wing gun-slinging beast Bob tried to turn me into. Of course I was willing, but I was blinded until I woke up to what Bob had become.

None of that was real to you and Rob-the horror of threatening gun-play with the Federals. You weren’t there. And maybe, when you were there you weren’t close enough to the inside reality of “life at the building” to see what was going on there. I remember when took offense at the downplaying of the significance of the agricultural coordinate as a non-monetary-support producer. So you abandoned the garden, went into the dairy business and gave milk & money to the Family in place of produce. You guys became your own reality and I envied you “freedom” from the petty intrigue at the Building but I was factory worker drone and to make life tolerable I went into my own world of art & poetry. While I was using teleological projection to learn from the dead masters of art, you guys were actually enjoying life in a scene apart from the tense atmosphere that prevailed around Duverus Publishing at the building. I remember you and Rob both drank alcohol outside the building and apart from wine at Sunday dinner while I adhered to all of Bob’s rules and worked day and night with no more then a couple hours sleep in relief. I never even had a decent sex life- not even when I was married to Valerie-but she and almost everybody else seemed to be having all the sex they desired. I didn’t have time to resent it much back then and I derived so much pleasure from my own little world developing psychic and artistic abilities that for the most part I didn’t care until Bob dragged me into it by talking me into marrying Valerie. Even then I just escaped into my own world and put it out of my mind as much as I was left alone enough to do it. I pretty much figured it was their loss and my gain, if they wanted to use their spare time watching TV and pursuing sexual gratification. I expressed that feeling once at a men’s meeting that I thought might result in me being lynched. Bob reprimanded me, asserting it was vain of me to expect others to adhere to my standard of what was essentially a workaholic mentality. He didn’t say it like that but that is the gist of it. In private he would tell me that I have to meet a standard that is higher than the others. Once we talked about this in terms of my resentment of Michael Halioris. Bob told me I couldn’t expect him (or them) to adhere to my standards because he and Duverus expected more of me than of him (them). Bet you didn’t know he talked to me like that. Then he’d turn around and tell people they needed to cut my ego down to size or withhold from me to keep me from getting an oversized ego. I merely thought others could deprive themselves of sleep and the pleasure of lounging if I could, to get done what needed to get done.

My problem with Michael was that he felt like he was in competition with me but never recognized he was feeling that way. And he was as fanatical as I was about sleeping as little as possible and working as much as he could. The only difference was that he was having a lot of sexual pleasure and that was the main reason he didn’t have enough time to get everything done without butting out sleep. He was as manic as me and Bob too. In the manic state a person can go days without sleep or with only a short nap here and there. There have been studies revealing the mental aberrations brought on by sleep deprivation. In mania there is a fine line between genius and madness and manic geniuses can easily overstep the line., though it doesn’t have to bring on a total plunge into madness. It maybe a dabble, it may be a splotch from which one may move in and out. But sleep deprivation wears on you and burns you out eventually, one way or another.

So I now have depression cycles which last about two years during which I sleep at least 8 hours a day and cannot raise my thoughts into any kind of inspirational vibration except with concentrated effort and for short periods of time before my thoughts slump into defeat and hopelessness- failure, and feeling out of enthusiasm, time, or opportunity to reverse that. Then, for four months or so, I go into hypermania where every breath is inspiration; I feel on top of the world and anything but a failure… and I can go days without sleep except for a brief nap, sometimes not even an hour. I gradually need to sleep more- until I get up to maybe 4 hours then it begins to reverse, I slump into depression and long to escape into sleep-as much as I can get.

I once thought I was a unique sort of super human because I was manic all the time, hardly needed sleep and was always inspired, always had some art or writing project I was engrossed in. What some people thought was selfishness or egotism was really just inspired engrossment in the fecundity of the mind when it is tapped and cut loose- but it happened to be my own mind I was engrossed in.

I remember once when Mark Faye chided me about my comment that the Oldsmobile had run fine when I was it as the sole driver but as soon as someone else drove it, it broke down. He smiled at me like he thought I was a simpleton or delusional and assured me that the car broke down because of a mechanical failure and mind had nothing to do with it. But in my experience long since then I have held cars together and kept them operating by sheer will power which mechanics have looked at puzzled and told me there was no way they knew of the car should even be running. It takes audacity and exerted determined effort to hold that kind of faith but I’m too burned out to do it or even care much any more, except in brief manic states. I was manic all the time back in the Duverus days.

There is no schizophrenia in preliterate cultures. When a certain type of schizophrenia emerges in childhood or youth, it is recognized as the talent for shamanism and the child is trained accordingly, so they never actually become schizophrenic. Instead they are initiated into the inner-plane, of ten called the world of the dead. In fact the initiation is a traumatic death experience. Schizophrenia can often be coupled with mania. Many of the people who were once in the Duverus Family may reject the assertion that Bob was a manic schizophrenic but only because they don’t understand what that means or that it doesn’t invalidate his genius. It’s just a quality of mind. Being born with shamanic talent in a society that rejects and negates shamanic reality is not an enviable or advantageous position for anyone to be in. Yet there are thousands or millions of New Agers who claim to be shamans (or shamanistic) without any sense of the import of what they’re claiming or any taste for the thought of schizophrenia and mania much less the plunge into it that is required of any one who would walk the shamanic path.

Real genuine bred and raised shamans, even among native Americans, are extremely rare in our world today. But the “New Age” movement is overrun with well-meaning misdirected wannabes. In the meantime, it’s hit-or-miss whether anyone with natural shamanistic talent can get the training they need to endure initiation into the world of the dead much less make much productive use of it if they do. To me it’s about getting information from the inner-planes and writing is my favored creative outlet for it but I’ve not been able to connect in that groove all year and I’m not going to fake it. It seems like painting is the only outlet left open for me and that’s not happening either. I shut it down when I left the Family. I was tired of hearing how good I was when I didn’t think I was as good as I wanted to be. Bob told me to rely on my art to make a living and keep writing as a sideline. But I liked to write and was pleased with what I wrote and wouldn’t take Bob’s advice on anything at that point. Funny, I never fail to get sincere compliments on my visual art but my writing seldom draws compliments; some people have even told me they hate my writing, love my art and think I’m crazy to write instead of paint. Still, I never made much money at either and could not sell out either to commercial interest, though I had more than one chance to.

I painted briefly in 2005 and was offered $2,000 for a painting I did of Jimi Hendrix but I refused to take less than $5 grand, so I never sold it and didn’t really try after the gallery I was in closed down. Yet, I paid money to be in a poetry anthology. Go figure. I’m on retirement now (a mere $650 a month) and finally thanks to HUD, have my own studio apartment yet I can’t get past the creative block to paint. I can’t get any writing happening either. But I want to paint now and I can’t. Pysch-meds don’t help. In fact anti-depressants are known to kill or dampen artistic drive. I quit taking them but I’m still not getting the creative drive.

I remember reading Black Elk Speaks, at the end where he’s old and his medicine power diminishes to where he could barely call up rain,and then it was only a little bit. I think I’m too young to lose my power but it seems that maybe I am.

I saw Bob’s power diminish as he got old and his connection to Duverus grew weak (whatever that was). It got to where I couldn’t believe some of the crap he was writing in editorials under the name of Duverus. He not only let me write under that name, he encouraged it. He wanted me to finish his work by writing his books for him. He said he’d give me the outline and he’d let me use my own ability to write it. At the last, he told me his time was ending and mine was beginning, and I had to break away from him and follow my own calling. I was doing that anyway so it was no real concession on his part. I the end, I think all his effort was just put into keeping together what little bit of the family there was left- Michael, Roz, Joyce, Dan, Nancy and a couple of new folks. Perhaps that was his security blanket. But how much good did he do those people? It overwhelms me still to consider the tragedy that both Michael and Valerie committed suicide. I doubt you have an insight on it. For nonsensical reasons I have been blamed for both their deaths but maybe if Bob had left them to their own devices when they were in love with each other,for them and others drug into it by Bob it would have turned out much happier. Bob played God but he wasn’t sufficient to the task. I dislike Mike intensely and I was hurt and betrayed (and used and abused) by Valerie beyond redemption but I would never have wished upon them the suicide to which they succumbed. Perhaps its a a tragic love story only I, in this world, perceive.

To me, going to California was about going to the very edge and from there to get a better look at what was beyond, then finally to go over the edge. When in Arkansas with the Family it was the last place in the Country I wanted to go to; it was about to fall off into the ocean with the next big earthquake and was full of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, according to Bob. It seemed like the last place Bob wanted to back to and when I disconnected from him, opportunity beckoned in California and suddenly (or gradually; it took me over a year to decide) the edge of the world seemed to be the only place for me to be. It was deciding to check into the Church of Light in Sunland (suburb north of LS in the foothills) that cinched the California move to me. It was convenient that Rick Garret and the Woods lived in Santa Barbara because it was only an hour commute to Sunland. There I proceeded to lean farther over and farther over the edge to get a closer look at beyond until I fell off, but had incredible amounts of fun getting there. It was the first real fun I’d had in several years, but I went far beyond any amount of fun I’d ever had since I was a child. I direly needed that release even though I ended up getting slapped back down to reality by the harsh cold facts and consequences of a ticket and a night in jail for driving while intoxicated. I had enough alcohol in my system to be dead yet I was completely coherent and sharp minded and of all those in the drunk tank I was the only one who couldn’t sleep. That was a manic drunk so fun that it totally deadened the emotional pain I felt from divorce and estrangement from Molly and Sydney & Bob’s betrayal.

I quit drinking for several months until Jesse James IV found my number and called me from Anza (between Temecula & Palm Springs in the Mountains). He pleaded with me to help him out with some writing his Dad had wanted me to do before he died. I took the bait, moved to Anza and sat there in a trap, getting nowhere with Jesse, and commuted to a print shop in Indio, getting drunk every night and more so during the weekend. I did that for a couple more years then gave up drinking except on occasion. I’ve gone on a manic bender a few times but they never last more than a couple of months, (3 or 4 at most, sometimes only a couple of weeks). I can’t drink every day without it making me ill or just breaking down my health in general. I think I should just give it up entirely but sometimes my judgment is off enough to think I might get something good out of it. If I do, it doesn’t last if I keep trying to repeat the process day after day for very long.

I was drinking the night I called you on Bob’s birthday. That accounts for the impact which I clashed upon you with a mild riot of humor against my otherwise bitter memories of Bob. It took me awhile to get it that you weren’t going to go there as you steered the conversation around to your memories of Bob. It’s okay with me but I detect that it didn’t set well with you. My thoughts about him are more expansive than I can put into a few sentences, so I’ve written you a tome. I just wanted to reconnect a friendship that I think has been lost in the turmoil of the death of the Duverus Family, as it degenerated rapidly and confusingly in a down-spiraling whirl of chaos its last few years. I was in the middle of it, you were outside it then stopped back into it and found its eye (like every hurricane has an eye). What was going on around was revolving much too fat for your eye to catch, the way I see it.

Bob encouraged my contact with Jesse James III all the way and looked forward to meeting him all the way throughout my arrangement to get him to Seligman. When they met, I could not believe I was seeing bob act the way he did. I’d never seen him treat a guest that way. I could tell he was extremely nervous and acted contrary to his usual charm. They didn’t like each other and Bob excused himself early. When I accompanied JJIII to Rogers he kept telling me he’d met Bob before but he couldn’t place it. He said he might have arrested him in East Texas, in the oil field country. Bob asked me what I was trying to do to him, as if accusing me of setting him up. He vehemently suggested that man was not Jesse James III. I got caught in the middle and eventually refused to cooperate with either of them. But Bob having Michael deliver a threat of violence and gun-play made it a n easy decision to distance myself from Bob as quickly as possible to make clear to the law where I stood. Considering the amount and type of writing I was doing (including that for and about Aleksei and Jesse James) I had more to lose than Bob did and virtually a whole life to live that I didn’t want marred by senseless threats of violence or (worse) possible acts of violence.

PTSD doesn’t only come form combat experience. Bob said he had it from WWII. They called it shell shock or combat fatigue back then. I got it from the experience of my last day with Bob when he went over the edge with his violence trip. And I’ve gone back into it with some intensity during hypermanic episodes a number of times since. I think that’s what triggered this whole manic depressive roller coaster I’ve been on. I was shocked while between a rock and a hard place. All I could do was quit in the face of this specter of a sort of twisted Custer’s last stand Bob was making against the Federal forces that he perceived to be pushing him into a corner and moving in for the kill. His reaction was foolish and could have gotten a lot of people hurt or killed unnecessarily had he followed through. And it might have if I hadn’t taken decisive action. Later they would call me drunk and stoned and crazy but I was stone cold sober through every bit of that and knew exactly what I was doing. Only in the aftermath did I turn to drink to relieve emotional pain when my wife wouldn’t leave with me and continued to hold me like an anchor to that vicinity and to contact with the Family. She prevented me from moving on, believed every lie Bob told her about me and continued to serve to keep me pitted against Michael and Bob. Had I known I would lose Molly and Sydney anyway, I would’ve moved from Arkansas immediately and never come back. That’s the only thing that kept me trying to get Valerie back; the girls. At least I could deliver them from Bob’s clutches.

Tuesday October 21, 2014

Even you trivialized my experience of that back then as if I was just overly emotional about some run-of-the-mill stuff. All psychic power derives from emotion. It is the emotion, not the intellect, that empowers prayer. The stronger the emotion the more powerful the prayer. People who by nature have more power than others have stronger emotions. And the stronger the emotions the more difficult they are to train and put under the control of the will. The classic myth about the driver of the sun chariot is about this. The Sungod’s son begged and begged his father for a chance to drive the sun chariot across the heavens just for one day. The Sungod relented but the inexperienced youth was unable to command the solar steeds and they ran wild, veering the chariot off course, too close the Earth, resulting in a fiery ruinous destruction.

Astrologically all such power comes from or through the water signs- Pisces, Cancer, & Scorpio, because they are the emotional signs. But of the three Scorpio is the powerhouse of Zodiac. Mike’s sun sign was Pisces, Bob’s was Cancer, mine is Scorpio. Bob used to say that he had no emotions but that is pure bullshit. He said he used them like a tool but I saw him lose his handle on them many times and the effect was usually ruinous. I think even he failed to recognize the difficulty of handling the forces he was bringing into play and in result the power he called up sometimes exceeded the strength of his will to handle it. That has happened to me the deeper and deeper I went into “shamanism”.

After a decade of trying to find a way into the Native American “shamanistic” reality I finally connected in 1992. It was Reymundo Tigre Perez, Peace Chief of Kanto and Azlan, founder and director of the Kanto de la Tierra Earth-healing ceremony who opened the door and let me in, in response to my persistent knocking. He was a fat jovial Mexican, a Pisces sunsign, and the best, least egocentric “spiritual leader” I’ve ever met, before or since his death. In response to a request for donations of things needed for the 1992 Kanto ceremony I secured a donation of 60 pounds of tobacco from American Spirit in Santa Fe. In response to his thanks to me in behalf of the elders council I asked if he would allow me to attend the ceremony as a participant, as opposed to a mere outside spectator. By 1994, Tigre made me gatekeeper of the sacred fire of the kiva, around which the ceremony centered and on which it was focused as a gateway to the Earth Mother’s heart and the inner-world hidden in her inner sanctum.

Raymundo Tigre Pérez photo by Michael Barth (Germany) "That one of Tigre I will treasure forever. That picture really captures that intense side of him that few people saw, because he was usually very friendly, good-natured, quick to laugh, but always aware. I know Tigre saw me at a deeper level (right into my soul) than perhaps anyone I've ever known. Others felt that way about him too."

Raymundo Tigre Pérez photo by Michael Barth (Germany)
“That one of Tigre I will treasure forever. That picture really captures that intense side of him that few people saw, because he was usually very friendly, good-natured, quick to laugh, but always aware. I know Tigre saw me at a deeper level (right into my soul) than perhaps anyone I’ve ever known. Others felt that way about him too.”

I was Tigre’s right hand and thus entrusted with the Chief responsibility of protecting that fire from defilement and susceptibility to bad spirits. In 1995, Tigre told me we had pulled off the most successful Kanto ceremony in it’s more than twenty year history. He told me that in the past something had always gone wrong and the fire’s “purity” was compromised somewhat and for that he gave me the main credit and thanks. By that time I could see the spirits moving up out of the Earth through the fire and feel everything that was going on with it. I felt like I’d finally found my niche and looked forward optimistically to a long future with Tigre at a permanent peace village for the Kanto where the fire would burn year round. At the time we only burned it for seven days during four days of ceremony at the Spring Equinox.Which four of the seven days the ceremony was held depended on where the weekend fell in relation to the Equinox. My job was for seven days, no matter what. My ability to operate with no or little sleep added to my unique qualification for the job. I was so happy finding my niche that all the old bitter and hurt memories of my Duverus days fell away from me like scales.

Many people recognized Tigre as the least egotistical shaman/spiritual leader they’d ever known and some of them had known quite a few. Most of those attending came up from Mexico and few of them could speak English but we found a language of the heart to communicate by with a little help from translators. The gatekeeper before me was a Mexican from Mexico who could speak no English but he let me know that my appearance to take his job was a great relief to him because he couldn’t get it just right no matter how hard he tried and he’d become deeply troubled by that. I took my job as head of security very seriously but really enjoyed every minute of it, exerting myself to the maximum of my abilities.

Just when I thought everything was finally going my way Tigre died suddenly, unexpectedly, in his sleep at age 49. I went back as gatekeeper in 1996 and 1997 but the man who took over as director was so egocentric, bigoted, and manipulative that I refused to return in 1998 after I counted coups on him, using all the medicine power I’d earned and cause him some humiliation in defense of Tigre’s vision which he’d abandoned. Tigre’s heart was so big he included the whole world and all peoples, nations, races, religions and tongues in his vision and in his welcome to the Kanto. After him some anti-white bigots got some savvy and the tendency turned to inviting those who gave the most money. There’s more to it but let that suffice for explanation of the drastic change that drove me out.

After Tigre died I got close to one of this brothers who took me to meet their father. He was very old and just lay there on his bed seeming not to even look at me. I was told to talk to him, that he didn’t speak English but he understood it. The only thing I could think of to tell him was that if God had made a better man that Tigre, I hadn’t met him and that I was forever honored by and indebted to Tigre for blessing me with his right hand. Then a shiver ran through me from my head to my toes that shock me to the roots as I touched the hand of Tigre’s father (As a professional boxer he’d been called Felix the Cat). The brother had told me that Tigre was their father’s favorite even though the brother Luciano was a more powerful medicine man. Tigre, however, had a bigger heart- one big enough to include the whole world and that made their Father proudest.

I was to learn by direct experience time after time, before and after I met Tigre that medicine power does not equate necessarily with spirituality. And the most powerful are not necessarily the most spiritual. In fact most of the medicine people I’ve met are not really very spiritual at all, at least not compared to Tigre, and some are downright evil though clever by deceptive to appear to be spiritual.

By the time I separated myself from the Kanto I was so sad with grief that I was soon emotionally demolished again, afloat upon the mystery sea without reliable chart or compass. Valerie committed suicide about a week before I went to that last Kanto. I was in my full medicine power-others there recognized and those closest to Tigre knew I had the Kanto medicine power. Before I left, someone sympathetic told me- “whatever you do, protect that medicine”. I sought some new outlet for it to replace the Kanto but never found it. However in 1998 I met Sioukee a white “medicine women”, a veteran of the Rolling Thunder camp that was for years bankrolled by the Grateful Dead. It went into decline around the time of Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995 as Rolling Thunder succumbed to diabetes and alcoholism in his waning years after the death of Spotted Fawn, his wife.

I was living with her in a cabin in the mountains in 1999 when Mark Faye came through California on a skateboard park adventure with his son and paid us a visit. At that time Sioukee and I were getting along well together and had a happy time with Mark but it didn’t last through the Y2K millennium. Sioukee was drawn to Oregon and I didn’t feel called to join her adventure. It was hers, not mine, but she wheedled and connived and pleaded until I joined her there only to meet with disaster as I sensed I might since it wasn’t my trip. It was a Rolling Thunder family thing. One of the old members begged her to come stay in his house to conduct a healing to get rid of bad spirits that were troubling him and had invaded on of his daughters. I went there with her and it drug on for weeks. Day after day I arose and prayed and prayed alone outside the house while Sioukee did her medicine work indoors. We had no intimate contact the whole time as long as she was doing her healing- not even sleeping together. I occupied myself the best I could but the attitude of this guy we were working for (for room and board) began to irritate me more and more. He’d have his sexual liaisons as he pleased, heap abusive language on Siouxee and generally acted like a spoiled rotten arrogant brat. He was from a rich family of Chicago Russian Jews living off money his Mother sent him while he acted out his fantasy of being a music promoter, and the “Great White Hope” of the Indians.

Eventually I took all I could stand out of him, when he berated, belittled, and directly offended me, treating me like an insignificant servant. Siouxee had held me back from tearing into him for the way he was treating her but he overstepped my boundary finally and I blew up and let him have a piece of my mind. He went to pieces. First he was apologetic then he went into a petty fury of his own. That settled it, I was out of there, Siouxee or not, but she finally decided to leave with me. Next morning, this guy wrecked his car, said it almost killed him, and blamed me for what he assumed was witchcraft or black magic used against him. Of course, it was no such thing. I merely blew up., put him in his place, and determined to leave, wishing him no further harm. I don’t cast spells or wish harm or anything like that, yet I was aware that he stirred up against him some power or entity there to look out for me and assist me. I fact, I was told that now that I was entrusted with that Kanto medicine I couldn’t get angry anymore. But in my demoralized, grieving, almost compass-less state from loss of my outlet as Kanto gatekeeper, I couldn’t lift my spirits high enough to keep from getting angry when pushed far enough, and still haven’t accomplished that.

I know some people benefited from the blessing power of that medicine I was carrying but it was quietly without any show or attracting attention to myself. I didn’t require the kind of constant recognition of my medicine power that Siouxee did. In fact she habitually set out to try to make people dependent on her for her medicine and it really bothered me and turned me off. I’d been aught that you don’t bill or advertise your medicine but she hadn’t and saw nothing wrong with it. So Siouxee and I parted company and I returned to Santa Cruz, California, while she remained in Ashland, Oregon, too stubborn to admit that my judgment was right in deciding not to join her there and hers was wrong to coax me and use all her feminine persuasion to lure me up there.

During the next few years into Santa Cruz I went into a doing-it-alone mode and finally ended up writing for several years during most of my free time, except for the brief time in 2005 when I painted. I had two more experiences where I got angry at men who wronged me and drastic thing happened to them. They both died. One of them stole my medicine objects and was arrogant and unrepentant about it when I confronted him and gave him a chance to rectify what he’d done. (he went insane first then died prematurely as I predicted he would). The other was a big guy who let me park my van at his place and live out of my van there. He began to abuse me and push me around and ordered me to leave when I couldn’t because my van was broke down. When I finally blew up at him and gave him a piece of my my mind he pulled a crossbow pistol on me and held it to my forehead. I struggled with him and got it away from him then picked up a pitch fork and chased him into his trailer where he locked the door, called the police and hid waiting for me to be arrested. This guy had been throwing me around like a rag doll and all I’d been doing was to say “Now, Bill, you keep that up and you’re going to make me mad.” Before the year was out he was found dead in his trailer from liver failure- drank himself to death.

In none of these cases did I wish this on them or cast any spell or any such thing but I felt this power or entity that looked over me like some loyal spirit animal get stirred into action by my anger. Eventually I just shut this power down, or it left me, or something. But I was aware that in my emotional vulnerability I couldn’t handle this power. Then I went into a deep depression of failure at what had meant the most to me in my whole life- gatekeeper of the Kanto. So, you see, when John Rob Owens told me he’d gotten shamanistic power and challenged me to a spiritual pissing match I was in no mood to indulge him in the least. He kept asking me to tell him where I was at spiritually and I kept dodging him and trying to get him to recognize spirituality is not a competition. How could I begin to tell him that shamanism and spirituality do not necessarily go hand in hand? He’s barely skimmed the surface and his confidence is inflated by his ignorance and belief. Forgive me.

New-agers have this dreamy vague notion that a shaman is the equivalent of some kind of guru or spiritual master. But if you really get close to Native Americans, most of them dislike or fear shamans for their ability to use witchcraft to harm them as well as heal them and their knowledge that a powerful medicine person is not necessarily motivated by spiritual values at all. I’ve been with many Hopis and Navajos who feel this way and among the Comanches and Kiowas I’ve spent time and lived with in Oklahoma “spirituality” is a Christian thing, not a shamanistic thing, except insofar as it raises the spirits or otherwise benefits their own people.

On the East Coast and West Coast whites are free to enter a peyote lodge but if you go to Oklahoma among the Comanche and Kiowas who originated and spread the peyote way, you’ll be hard-pressed to get into a peyote lodge. After much questioning, asking around and gaining people’s confidence I did get a reference for admission to a Kiowa peyote lodge out there but I was only there in the summer and they don’t do that ceremony in the summer there because it’s too hot to sit around a fire in a tee-pee, even at night.

When I moved to Santa Cruz in 1992 after my first Kanto I met a Winnebago man named Hayna Brown who liked me so much he told me he wanted to take me to a Peyote meeting- something he’d never offered to a white man before. But since in California they let other white people sit up in the meetings he thought it would be all right and he was pretty sure I’d find it was a good way and went to walk that way. Unfortunately, he had to move on before the next meeting so he asked a white man who went to meetings to take me. But the guy never honored his promise to Hayna and it was years before another white man took me to a meeting. That was in Santa Rosa north of San Francisco and lo and behold who do I encounter at that meeting but Hayna Brown who I’d not seen in 16 years? You bet I told him my story and he was truly overjoyed that I’d finally made it to a Peyote meeting.

The second meeting I went to with the same white guy but it was in Watsonville just outside of Santa Cruz. The road man was a Mexican and he shared the main prayer smoke with me. Other than the fireman and cedar man I was the only other person the road man passed it to. The white guy with me was overwhelmed with envy. In stressing what an honor that was, he said he’d been going to meetings ten years or so and never been offered the main prayer smoke even once. It turned out the road man had known Tigre well and had been particularly good friends with Tigre’s brother, Luciano, who was was also dead by that time. Power just indicated to him he should pass that smoke to me and didn’t question why. He’d just felt he should do it. I only went to one other peyote meeting, largely because I never felt comfortable with most of the white people attending them. They were too New Agey and had no real concept of the sacrifices Native Americans had made to get the Peyote way going and kept it going against much white resistance in the early days. These were violent Indians who’d just come off a hard warpath (of killing and torturing and mutilating whites) to the confines of a reservation where they were near starved, harshly persecuted and hard-pressed to find meaningful peaceful way to live by. It was the most violent and brutal of all, Comanches and Kiowas, who really evolved that path and made it work and made it stick despite tremendous odds. Now privileged whites just walk in and take it over on a lark without any real concept of what American Indians had to go through to develop that way of life. And many Indians fell just the same way I do.

The same holds true of the Sun Dances. When I was on the Rosebud Sioux reservation in 2011, I encountered quite a few traditional Sioux who considered the Sun Dances where whites attended to be adulterated and New Agey. They told me they were taking back their Sun Dances for themselves, white people excluded. I was up there helping Leonard Crowdog prepare his Sundance by invitation of his niece whom I’d met in Santa Cruz in about 2005. I helped her out a lot, gave her money and took her out to eat then she’d come around. I was one of the few white people she liked and didn’t berate to my face. All that changed when I went up to the Reservation. She got so mouthy I couldn’t take it any more and had to leave. Some one drove me to a highway to hitchhike but it took me three days to get a ride and I met a lot of Sioux during that time who had less than nice things to say about Crowdog. The general consensus was that he was selling out their traditions to white people for personal profit. But I knew from the time I was with him, and his niece, that he felt like it was his right to get all the money he could out of white people any way he could after the way the Sioux were treated by them when and long after they were corralled on the Rez.

Tigre and Luciano had gone up to Rosebud to live and learn from Crowdog when Crowdog was considered to be the most powerful and knowledgeable traditional Sioux medicine man willing to teach all the scattered urban Indians who wanted to come to the Rez and learn from him. Thomas Lopez, the Mexican road man I’d met, had also been up there learning from Crowdog when Tigre and Luciano were there. Fred Contreras, the man who took Tigre’s role with the Kanto when Tigre died, had also been up there and Tomas had filled me in on what an asshole, egotist, and screw-up Fred was even back then. All the American Indian movement people came up to Crowdog’s to learn from him back then too, from the leadership on down. Crowdog had nothing good to say about any of them to me, except for Luciano. Every AIM leader he put down- even John Trudell who to me is probably the best of them all. Crowdog said nothing good about Tigre but I know Tigre in a different capacity than he did and I also know Tigre learned also from his father and some venerable Sioux wise man whose name I can’t recall, and some Mexican medicine people. Crowdog was bitter, boastful, quick tempered and very critical. He reminded me a lot of Bob. He treated the other white guy there helping him worse than I’d treat a dog but that guy just kept sucking up no matter how much Crowdog abused him. He treated me with respect but when I fell out with his niece he couldn’t very well take up for me against her. He was also funny and fascinating- and held my interest. But if anybody was deluded to think that Shamanic power equaled spiritual loftiness and saw him as I saw him they’d be hard pressed to arrange their thoughts to venerate him as a guru or holy man. He’s as powerful a Sioux medicine man as you’re likely to find but as complex and perplexing as Bob was to figure for an exalted spiritual being like the angels.

Leonard Crow Dog 2010

Leonard Crow Dog 2010

After that experience with Crowdog I lost most of my enthusiasm to indulge in Native American spirituality. Since I’ve been in Tucson I’ve been to a Yaqui sweat lodge a few times, and went to the Yaqui Pascua (Easter) ceremony one year as a spectator. A Navajo friend told me he’d get me into a Peyote meeting, but I never really pursued it. I went to an Episcopal Church for a while but it was a congregation the gays and lesbians are trying to take over and I soon realized its just the same old hypocritical religious bull shit, only it’s gays wanting the power to not only gain acceptance but influence and domination. I thought maybe it was time to revisit my Christian roots, but if so that’s certainly no way to find fulfillment in it.

I still have the medicine power from the Kanto but it’s mostly hidden from me and only comes back in spurts and glimpses when I rise out of this manic depressive rut and then it’s weak but still as hard to handle. If I had the ego for it I suppose I could sit myself up as a powerful shaman of some sort but that’s not what I want and it’s not what this medicine was entrusted to me for either, much less what the medicine wants of me. I need a healing- a shamanic healing but where I can turn for it eludes me, as yet. I can only hope it’s not too late and I’m not so jaded that I can’t yet emerge from this manic depressive nightmare. So far mental health provides no answer.

Perhaps the ultimate irony of all of this is that Molly, my older daughter, is an Art Therapist but she got put out with me because I won’t stick with the psych-meds and Alcoholics Anonymous, the program, and I go off on there wild adventures every time I go into hyper-mania like I went off to Rosebud in 2011 before I ended up in Tucson. She hasn’t talked to me since shortly after I lit down here in Tucson. She holds the secret of Art Therapy, those meds have never done anything to help me get back to painting, I have a creative block, and I’m in agony to talk through art therapy. She told me that she decided to get a Masters in art therapy because both her parents were/are mentally ill and that’s also why she wont talk to me for the last three years. It’s probably why I’ve sunk into the death throes of depression since I’ve been in Tucson.

Molly is my hero, I look to her for the answer, she won’t share, and I sink into the desperate mire of failure; even after all I’ve done to take hold of what I’ve been seeking to learn, know and do accomplishment teasingly eludes me and I’m getting too old to take advantage of many more chances. After all, what I’m really looking for maybe healing by art therapy. During all my miserable years in Duverus family it was my passion for and indulgence in art that kept me sane, hopeful, felling competent & going. Mystery- what is creative black anyway and how did it ever get a hold of me?

The path to spirituality I’m on may have started out like a lark but it turned into a desperately thirsty and punishing trek across a parching desert to get to water. I’ve made it to the water almost totally beaten and depleted. I can see the water just within reach but I can’t get to it no matter how I try. It’s the ultimate torment, like you can’t get there no matter which way you go from here. But you have to endure every torment of hell and come to know and face every fault, mistake and flaw in your very being if you want to have even a hope of getting there somehow eventually anyway.

It’s the quest for the Holy Grail. It starts as a lark as in the Tarot Major Arcanum number zero or twenty-two. It’s often called the fool an depicts a blindfolded (or blind) transient off on the spiritual quest as a lark. The fool is forever at the edge of a precipice and just about to fall off it into the abyss. The lark becomes a treacherous and dangerous adventure forcing the quester to enter hell and face and overcome every pitfall , deception, illusion, and assault of hell before they can accomplish the objective- to retrieve the Holy Grail. Ken Kesey said that the final phase of the LSD Grail Quest was the bummer trip and it would keep coming up until it forced you to look at every fault, flaw, and error of you being- every error you’ve ever made. He said that’s when most people quit the quest and he didn’t know anybody who’d finished it yet.

Satan is the fore, the evil genius barring the way to the Holy Grail and he forces us to overcome every treacherous device he can pit against us to keep us from returning to the original spiritual perfection in which we were conceived by Divine Cosmic parentage: the most Holy, most High Mother and Father. One of Satan’s most clever deceptions was the religious concept that we were created by a Holy Father alone. That idea can keep a soul away from the Holy Grail (the cup and the spear) easy as hell and for a long long redundant repetitive time. The Grail Quest is to embrace fully the guidance of the Holy Spirit and it is the Holy Spirit which drew the Holy Mother and Father together and inspired them to conceive us in the first place. And it is the love of their union, the love which binds them as one as well as the very spirit of truth. That’s why the Grail Quest begins and ends at Pentecost with baptism in the Holy Spirit. What is more, the original Grail Quest story was about the union and blending of the Celtic heathen and the European Christian. The Grail Knight (the fool), the European Christian Parsifal, was also the wise Celtic heathen Gawain. Their adventures are separate but in the end they reunite as one person when the Quest is successfully culminated and the Grail that had been lost is retrieved and regained, restored.

That is also when the Grail Knight is also reunited with his beloved bride from whom he has been parted since the rough part of the Quest really began in earnest and the bummer trip is embraced and dealt with regardless of its terror and repulsive unpleasantness. And once begun there is no turning back without succumbing to certain oblivion. All dualities must be resolved before the task is completed and the Holy Grail may come into the Quester’s view again. Ironically, the fool is only ending up right where he began but he had no notion that he really had the Grail in his possession to begin with. It’s one of those deals where you have to lose it before you can find it; other wise you never have a notion that you’ve already got it to begin with and without that notion it is utterly valueless. It can’t gain value until you give it up to find it and get it back again. It may be very like the idea of the perfect bliss of childhood, or the plunge into material incarnation.

For all its intrigue and conspiracy theory brilliance that is what The DaVinci Code should have been revealing as the hidden meaning of the Quest for the Holy Grail. But Dan Brown just doesn’t get it no matter how good he is at putting all the pieces together. It’s like the Illuminati conspiracy theory itself. For all it’s intricate revelations of an insidious hidden evil genius manipulating modern civilization what the problem is becomes very much simpler and less devious than its made out to be. I think Aleksei got closer to calling it like it is than all the others who wrote about it when he dubbed it the Communo-Nazi Conspiracy. Although it didn’t dawn on me until around 2003, it is clear the part that Nazism plays in the structuring of the American Government today because it is straight-up corporatism, the corporations in control of the government, which is the economic facet of Nazism and Fascism. The problem isn’t capitalism, it’s monopoly capitalism. Communism and Nazism have been played off each other to develop the modern corporatist global state.

It’s another one of those Grail Quest conundrums, when you finally figure it out you can see the solution right at hand and yet you can’t get there no matter which way you go from here, or so it seems. In the final analysis it’s feudalism morphing out to the pressures of Democratic reform, blocking Democracy’s ultimate global victory no matter what the people do to try to toil it. Or it’s like Phillip K. Dick wrote in VALIS: that America has become the Roman Empire and the Empire is a black iron prison that has become invincible because anybody (or people) who conquer it become the Empire. So Christ has to come and devour it to destroy it by phagocytosis. Maybe that’s how it is the meek shall inherit the Earth.

Tom Robison.

The “open letter” Tom sent me had more to it than simply a letter. It was sandwiched between samples of his artwork, poetry, and other bits of wisdom. I’ve included two samples here because I think it is representative of his brand of seriousness with a side order of humor.

I would also like to note that the entire thing was written by hand, yet it was very readable.

Artwork by Tom Robison A sample from his book

Artwork by Tom Robison
A sample from his book

Artwork by Tom Robison

Artwork by Tom Robison

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