Chapter Nine


Part II

Chapter Nine


Things might seem a little strange here. The violence and all… THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET MIXED UP. The point here is not straight historical sequence, but breakthrough to the other world and what we brought back. This is what actually happened, so it doesn’t quite make sense. Are you sure you don’t want to skip to Part III?  Really.


I met Fr. Chris when we were both in the seminary together. He was a strong, intelligent personality. He was very dedicated to helping peo- ple and to the Arts. We both had the same Christian name. He appreci- ated very much that I was an artist, complimenting my paintings highly. In fact, he bought a large one. “Theotokos,” (Mother of God). That and a subsequent mural that he encouraged very much were my first artistic “objects of power” in my other vocation. Or should I say, the fuller understanding of my priestly vocation. An “object of power” is some‘thing’ that has psychic, magical or spiritual power of its own. Why? Who knows? This concept underlies the understanding of how fetishes, mandalas, and icons operate.

He had expressed interest in my art in the seminary. After he was ordained and was out working in a parish, I remembered his interest and sent him a picture of the painting, “Theotokos.” When I put the photo and the letter in the envelope, I remember that my consciousness shifted a little bit and I felt that something momentous was being engaged. I knew that some ‘power’ was being sent along with that letter. Perhaps our fate was sealed with closing that envelope. He bought the painting. From that point we shared a tragic destiny.


(Remember, these are early ingredients of the spell.) My first parish assignment as a priest was in Santa Ana, California. It

was a mostly Hispanic parish. Immediately, my new superior sent me to Mexico to study Spanish. When I left for Mexico, I had every intention of learning Spanish.

I didn’t. What did happen in Mexico was this: In Cuernavaca, I discovered that handsome city and the nearby village of Tepozlan to be powerful in the ways of the “energies.” Really powerful. Not long after arriving I had a vision/realization, a ‘message,’ if you will, that told me if I stayed I would be badly hurt or would die. Some great harm would come from staying. I refused to believe it. I wanted only to fulfill my assignment and not cause trouble. I cannot emphasize this last point strongly enough. However, in my heart I knew the premonition was true.

My first weeks there were highly ‘energized.’ During the second or third week I had six strange dreams. The first three were powerful flying dreams—one that I controlled from a waking state. The fourth dream resolved problems in my mind that I had with my pastor, my then cur- rent religious Superior. The fifth dream was about my home and family; my parents were represented as spirit animals. There were other such animals but the dream concluded with a big deer-like creature coming over the hill. But the sensation was wild, really wild. Dangerous. With this, I knew that the energies were out of control. I was nearly overcome.

In the sixth dream, I was a fledgling golden eagle. That seemed to complete some stage of initiation. (My seminary training included not only theology and pastoral training, but elective studies in tantra and shamanism—the way of the warrior.) Tantra is the combination of magical rituals and religious philosophy in India. The way of the war- rior for me, is an interior attitude of “impeccable” action.

Then, during an exploration of downtown Cuernavaca, I ate some food that made me very ill. I seemed to sense that something psychic was happening, although I couldn’t say at that moment that I knew this would eventually allow me to go home before real damage happened. The following Saturday, a week later, I was well enough to visit down- town again. I went into a little chapel that I had seen in passing at the end of a crowded alley, at the top of a flight of stairs. I was delayed from entering by a”sadhu,” (holy man or merely a crazy transient?) And an immense, white dog, (Cerberus?) with pink eyes; guardians for the other world. (Vainglory? Perhaps?) The transient was dancing joyfully, wildly, to rock music. He frightened me. He looked straight into my eyes, then went away. The dog was quiet until he saw me in the crowd and began to bark wildly. I finally got by and entered the chapel. I sat to pray and then noticed a statue. It was a special statue, subject of much adoration and petition from the faithful. It was a painted wood statue of Christ that I had seen in a dream, when I was in college, tens year before! That dream was of particular power and eventually led me to the monastery. I had never been to Cuernavaca before this trip. It was the same statue that had come alive in my dream and looked at me, mesmerizing. Yet, how disappointed it seemed to be in the worship ofthe world. Disdainful, not of the worshipers per se. The great sacramen- tal vision of religion has given way to rationalism, fundamentalism, and sentimental piety. Business and technocracy control everything mate- rial and thus religious institutions. Media …. well, you know the story.

By now I was sick every day and had just enough energy for classes. I slept the rest of the time. I decided to take a few days off to go to Oaxaca because I sensed it was a place to rest, to recover and to wait. For what, I did not know. I went there and I waited. A priest I had met and with whom I was traveling shouted in his sleep our first night there, “Here it is!” in Spanish and I believed him. I stayed and continued to wait, though the priest and I parted the next day. That afternoon I met a young man from the United States in the market place. He described himself as a yogi, a disciple of a tantric guru of good reputation in the U.S. and I described myself as a priest. We hit it off and began a spiritual exchange that went on for several days. We did some kundalini energy exercises; cathartic—a great exchange.

I returned to Cuernavaca. I became very sick once again and finally had to return home much altered and mystified by my experience. But this will not be the last trip to Cuernavaca in the course of building this spell.


Over the following year, I had increasing trouble with migraines again. In a migraine complex one’s blood vessels dilate, which can cause debilitating anguish in one’s brain and body. I have had migraines since I was 10 years old, but infrequently. They’d grown worse in recent years. I went through the various neurological and psychological therapies. In fact, because of the migraines, I first went to the psychologist who introduced me to the study of the “energies.” Now, perhaps the conflict between this natural spiritual vocation and an official, too narrowly proscribed role of a Catholic priest, or just the normal tensions of parish life, produced great stress. The migraines increased to three or four ‘screaming’ episodes a week. Deadly. But the medications were more dangerous than the migraines. During this time, in the midst of full-blown migraines I started to have certain realizations. I began to equate the agony of the migraine experience with the suffering of peo- ple in the world, and then to the agony of creation’s mysterious evolu- tion. This seemed more than sympathy, but empathy. Associated often with the agony of the migraine’s physical effects was a sense of clarity and beauty and insights.


During this same time, I had two experiences that have characterized and helped form much of my attitude about religion and human iden- tity. The first has to do with the cure of a man suffering from intense pain. During our healing session, the man from my parish described the “cure” as a mental image of a bubble of pain that passed from him up my arm, then disappeared. There were no drugs involved with this cure.

The second experience involved a young girl who had had what could be categorized as a spontaneous shamanic initiation. She had no religious background and was from an mostly uneducated family. It is unlikely that she could have known about such things as “shamanism”, but what she described to me are the universal “symptoms” of shaman- istic initiation. She altered consciousness naturally. She felt pushed into the another world. She felt as if she was being torn apart. When she came back, she became recognized as a wise person by her peers whom she was able to help with her new found insights. This reinforced my developing belief that shamanism is part of an atemporal, universal human inheritance and not solely the property of Stone Age tribal peo- ples, (or of New Age dilettantes). I determined that shamanistic intu- ition remains a vital, active force in the modern world.


At this time a more intimate involvement with our shamanistic her- itage was progressing in me as I had the following dream about a black widow. I was in a room at some kind of party. A young man with blond hair was talking to me. We had some kind of teacher/student relation- ship. A black widow came out from under his collar walked around his shoulder, across his chest to the open shirt neck. I moved to brush the beast off. (I have a particular aversion to Black Widows.) I brushed it, rather, down inside his shirt. Either I am dangerously clumsy or this was a necessary interiorization of whatever the spider and the boy represent for me. (Perhaps the boy is the androgynous other world guide of ‘reli- gious studies’ fame. Perhaps, the boy and the spider represent that ven- omous ‘power’ in me.)

The scene of the dream shifted to another room where there is a large ark-like box about the size of a small car. It is a dusty, black, wooden box. On one side are many various sized shelves, windows and doors. Out of one such portal four black widows walk onto one of the adjacent shelves. Three are very healthy. The fourth is somehow spasmodic. The three healthy spiders raise themselves up on their back legs and from a black telescope like appendage spray me with light. The dream ends.

Late the next evening I was telling a friend about this dream. While telling the tale I began to dream! I told my friend that I was dreaming as I spoke to him, rather shocked about the dual levels of consciousness myself. Then, I continue the conversation by describing the dream. The four black widows turned to crystal. They seemed to be some kind of transmitters, mystically, to the contents of the box because the walls of the black box become transparent, in fact disappear and are replaced with not only a vision of the universe, but a sensation of eternity itself. Wonderful.

I did not suspect anything esoteric about black widows. I had been bitten five times by a black widow when I was in a Zendo meditating a couple of years before. At that time, I had had an image of a black fang piercing my back before I got sick or the wounds were discovered. I never saw the actual spider. I never felt the bite. An M.D. later diag-nosed the species.

The Migraines were terrible. I determined that this migraine prob- lem must be resolved. Medical therapy hadn’t worked, so I would try something spiritual. Pilgrimage appealed to me since I had traveled as a pilgrim many times in the past. It was for me a major spiritual tech- nique to engage the powers of the unconscious, of the gods, of God.


Subsequently in meditation, over a period of months, I located a place along the eastern border of Turkey that held promise. So, I made arrangements to go there. This story has already been told. I will repeat however that this experiment was successful in that I was cured of migraines for a long time and this approach seem to work. Added to that, on returning home I was informed that Stephanie had conceived our child. Oh, God…

Well, let’s keep to the point. This is an experiment that curiosity, intuition and need encouraged me to make. The point is to alleviate the suffering of the world and/or to facilitate this poignantly dangerous moment in our evolution. The Helping Spirit, my familiar, that I called upon to work this magic was the Holy Spirit and the method is an extended form of geomantic thurgery. (Geomantic=earth energies; thurgy=the ‘working’ thereof.)This is what happened:

After returning from Turkey, I was sent, for the second time, to Cuernavaca in Mexico to study Spanish. The mountains above the city are powerful indeed. And a nearby village, I mentioned before, is known to be a center of Mexican witchcraft; might be benevolent or hostile. I went there one day and visited an old Aztec temple in the strangely formed rocks above the village. I felt in that visit a strong psychic com- panionship with the place, perhaps some of the population. I started a ‘ritual’ there that continued on and off for three days. It included a fierce migraine—the first since eastern Turkey several months before. Then the Mexican earthquake hit. It lasted at least five minutes and dev- astated Mexico City. 10,000 to 20,000 people died.

I don’t think that such ‘co-incidences’ as the ritual and the earth- quake are directly related. At least, I hope not. But perhaps the shaman moves in the heart of creation, so participates in creation in a different way; perhaps loses qualities of normal personality; becomes nature or a force of nature. There was a connection that I cannot quite describe. Perhaps later.

In any case, this is the first of a series of disasters that I associate with this experiment. The connection is that while in Mexico, I did the draw- ings of mountains shaking and started drawings for a mural of the Resurrection: Christ bursting from the earth. It was dedicated during the Rite of Light at the beginning of the next Easter Vigil. The mural was the iconic heart of the experiment. It was to gain considerable attention a couple of years later. This, the second work of art associated with Fr. Chris, as you will see. It depicts a fully developed and power- fully active Christ.


On Good Friday of that Holy Week, the day Christ was crucified, my friend Fr. Chris was accused of molesting altar boys and had to flee his parish. Even though there never was any “skin on skin” contact, still some level of crime was engaged, apparently. I have long felt fatalisti- cally connected to him. I supported him. One cannot cut a person off because of illness or sin. ‘Christ came for sinners not the just.’ ‘The Good Shepherd leaves the flock and seeks the lost sheep.’ And so on… But as well, I ‘sensed’ this to be a moment of tremendous ‘power’ and ‘energy’. Considering that Chris was accused of relatively little, when compared to real sex offenders, he managed to get his name and the Church involved in nationally broadcast and often repeated news sto- ries as well as a legal nightmare.

I felt that this was a special occasion. We had to respond in a special way. But my understanding was intuitive and I could not explain to my superiors what I did not yet understand intellectually. They did not respond well to what must have seemed to them my very confusing behavior. “Why wasn’t I satisfied with regular parish life? Why did I need to go on these pilgrimages? What has all this esoteric stuff got to do with mainstream parish ministry?” Perhaps they would have recog- nized what was happening if they had followed a different spiritual path. Spiritual pilgrimage and esoteric ritual do not usually appeal to institutional managers. Though the bishop was patient and counseled me to reconsider when I finally began to take the action described below. His benevolent influence was not to last much longer.


Before the news about Chris’s problem broke, there was this disturb- ing event. I had begun the mural. The scaffolding was up. The drawing was on the wall. But one day I developed a headache, a migraine. First since the earthquake in Mexico. The second since Turkey. This was January 1986. I couldn’t work that day. I felt terrible. In the middle of it, in a daze, I got up from my darkened bedroom and went outside to look at the mural wall. The whole street next to the mural wall, including the adjacent intersection, was cordoned off by police barricades. I investi- gated further. A truck going through the intersection, had flipped over and killed its driver. There is a little dip there, but cars going very fast usually only scraped their fenders. For the truck to flip over seemed oddly tragic. I sensed that it had something to do with an ancient dynamic of sacrifice. An ancient and spontaneous ritual to empower the ritual that the mural came to represent with the life energies of the one sacrificed. A gesture made to communicate with the god’s by send- ing such a person as a highly favored ambassador. A communion of blood sacrifice. That’s the theory. I found the idea repugnant. I dis- missed it from my mind immediately. But it came back. I’ve never been able to think of that incident in any other way. (I fear for myself the madness of an unrestrained egotism and vanity. Yet, this most real dan- ger of a warped ego is always present in any attempt at “power” or excel- lence or even goodness or beauty. Whatever the case for humility, my sense was that accident was a dedicatory sacrifice demanded by the process of the spell—however it may offend my moral sensibilities. I don’t know who the victim was but according to the lore, sacrificial vic- tims go directly to the highest blissful heavens. I hope so.)

My rather dogged “support” of our “fallen” brother who had that problem with the altar boys, himself a victim of abuse, earned me a leave of absence from my diocese. Without my intending it to be so, my friend’s troubles became a means of freedom to continue work on the rest of this ‘ritual’ craft. I both wanted that freedom and I wanted to stay in the diocese as I was, to be a “good priest.”

Whatever I wanted, I was removed from my parish, a traumatic expe- rience and given three months leave that summer of 1986, “to cool off.” I then continued the ritual without distraction.


I ‘sensed’ that the destination would be Yemen and that I was to start in wild lands of Montana. Finding such places is a process to lengthy to describe here. In Montana I was to test some of the meteorological aspects of how this spell was developing.

This was the third rain ritual of the season. There seemed to be a def- inite relationship between the ritual and the rain. It seemed like an assent from God. Something larger than my conscious intention is building. (I am priest to this harsh love. It is the way of the warrior’s care. The Great Old Man, guide/archetype, travels with me in this.)

10. Now Yemen.

I arrive there on the plain of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, south of Saudi Arabia. Felix Arabia. Immediately, I felt a powerful sense of revul- sion, foreboding. There was something terrible in the surrounding mountains. Opposition of great magnitude.

Then I almost had a sexual encounter. High arousal but no climax. Terrible regret followed. Regret that I had even come that close. But thus humiliated, I was free for a while from the usual ego delusions of

being in control. Perhaps that was required to accomplish the larger rit- ual. The energies were up. I began a small ritual at twilight. I felt com- pletely lost, completely off balance and overwhelmed by the presence in those mountains. I wanted out. Instead of staying two weeks, I wanted to leave immediately. As in the earlier rain ritual I laid out pictures of the mural, burned incense, experienced fierce anger fired by the frus- trated sexual arousal. A challenge is sent. All the elements of the spell were present but I was barely conscious of them. They work on their own with a ‘deeper than conscious’ assent. (I realize that I am interpret- ing in a seemingly arbitrary, irrational way. But the more “rational” norms of interpreting experience take us, in my opinion, only more smoothly to the worse, even ultimate destruction of the world by nuclear holocaust or environmental degradation—through a very rational technological materialism.)

Since I arrived in Yemen I had a series of spontaneous visions. In these, I have a staff of iron, now, with a throwing strap of leather. I strike the earth, again and again. The visions came to me repeatedly. I strike the earth with the staff again and again. At one point I am exhausted by this action. Two saint bishops come to my aid. One is St. Augustine. I’m not sure of the other. The last vision as I board the airliner to leave that place, is of planting the iron staff in the field of battle, the plain of Sanaa. It is challenge to the adversary. Or, was it merely rousing another dragon.

Yemen. Very disconcerting.

Around that time, the day I was in Yemen, a lake in Africa exploded. A gas cloud from beneath the water rises then descends the sides of that mountain to kill everything for miles around. Other disasters follow. I fly to Paris. Take a train, then hitch-hike to Spain where I am to meet my mentor, Panikkar. When we meet, a drought of several months breaks with a big rain. (Fires had burned the forests around the monastery on Mt. Serrat near Panikkar as well as the forests around my favorite monastery in Big Sur. ) I tell Pannikar the story of my day in Yemen. Curiously and unknowingly I tell the tale on St. Augustine’s feast day. A letter from my diocese is waiting for me at Panikkar’s home, advising me strongly to come back to California. I feel that I am meant to go. Panikkar thinks as well that I should return.

The day I return home, my father has a heart attack. There is an air- liner crash in the town just north of where I am staying. There is riot involving thousands of people on the beach just south of that house. Quite a welcome home. My father is dying. It is obvious that I must stay here for a while.

My diocese asks what I intend to do. I take a parish assignment. I intend to stay. I am reluctantly given a car and time to deal with my family situation. Not long after that, the car’s engine bursts into flames while I am driving it into a parking lot. My father dies amidst very beau- tiful shamanistic signs. These are terrible, poignant moments.

My new parish assignment is with one of the worst pastors in the Southland. It didn’t work out. I came to understand why the four previ- ous priests in this assignment left before the completion of their assign- ment. The new bishop offered me a new parish or the old one. Or, freedom…

I chose freedom. The bishop released me from my parochial duties leaving me free to pursue other, more esoteric interests for a time.

11. Next Summer

As I was preparing to leave on pilgrimage to balance the effects (dis- asters) of the previous summer, while visiting my mother near San Francisco, she and I drove to Mendocino on the northern California coast. Before we left on this drive I sensed that I should take certain magical objects with me; something of a ‘ritual’ nature was happening. That day an earthquake struck nearby on the northern coast where we drove and a giant tornado, one-half mile wide, swept across the plains of Canada where I was going. With this the pilgrimage kicked in. That was clearly the sense of it.

As I said, the purpose of this pilgrimage was to balance last year’s journey that involved raising that dangerous “dragon” in Yemen. This year’s pilgrimage is dedicated to and placed under the patronage of the Blessed Mother, she reportedly being rather good for dragons, purity (of intentions), and refuge. Unusual storms and other such phenomenon seem to be associated with the rituals of this process. I don’t believe that the rituals caused them but somehow were intuitively synchronized to creatively take part in them in a way that re-defines our humanity and shapes the future. I can only describe this re-definition as “shamanistic.” Perhaps it is something else. But even that is not sufficient, since I believe that we are involved in a ‘re-e-volution’, or at least a re-evaluation of what human personality is.

The destination of this pilgrimage is the holy precinct of Denali Mountain in Alaska. (Mt. McKinley) The purpose is purification and balance; to energize the projects that will occupy this period of freedom given me by my superior.

Since this story is told elsewhere, let me say simply here that this dif- ficult but powerful and beautiful pilgrimage began coincident with a small earthquake in Mendocino where I was driving with my mother, a huge half mile wide tornado in Canada, where I was headed, and later concludes in L.A. with an all-night vigil, just minutes after which, an earthquake, 6.1 in magnitude, struck Southern California. Thus the pil- grimage ended as it began. Though, the sacred mountain still looms in my imagination.

——I called the storm, I evoked a war.——


I had met two young martial arts adepts earlier in the same summer on this last pilgrimage. I had earlier befriended their instructor (sifu) and with his introduction moved rapidly into an easy aquaitance with these seemingly uninhibited gentlemen. In fact, the timing was such that they were of great help at a significant moment of tension regard- ing my priestly vocation and my bishop. But there is poisonous, sicken- ing aspect to this friendship.

(A.) The sifu reacted jealously to my too easy relationship with ‘his’ disciples and forbade it, though he had just made the introduction.

(B.) One of these fellows, John, invited me to a 4th of July celebration with his family at the beach. It was a pleasant day. However, the follow- ing night I ended up in the hospital emergency room with an as yet undiagnosed illness.

(C.) In the fall during the journey mentioned just above, I had dis- covered that there was in New Mexico a type of Native American medi- cine man whose specialty could heal a serious sparring injury to John’s back. As soon as I left the pueblo in New Mexico, I was struck with what became exhaustion and something like a terrible flu.

(D.) When I delivered the information about the healers to John in northern California, I contracted a terrible case of poison oak.

(E.) Later in the same autumn, I went hiking with two other of these martial friends. I walked through a patch of nettles. Next day my legs became a mass of running sores and one eye became swollen as the sys- temic infection spread in the same areas as the previous case of poison oak, though the nettles had not touched those places. There was a painful genital aspect to this infection, as they swelled to three times their normal size and when they shrank the singular member shrank to considerably less than before. Humorous, indeed!

This nettle infection and consequent allergic reaction was resolved like this. These heretofore “friendly” meetings with these martial artists followed by illnesses struck me as a pattern. In realizing this I deter- mined to enact a ritual of healing and protection part of which involved a ceremony in honor of the Blessed Mother. (She still being good with dragon energies.) I did the ritual and the next morning three of the important and strong women in my life called to order me to go to a doctor. One of the women even came up with a doctor who wouldn’t charge this impoverished priest for medical services. This doctor was Irish, a bit odd, very nice, terribly Catholic, with a major devotion to Our Lady. He quickly set about a cure that had me healed in a couple of days. The wounds as they healed looked like burn wounds.

Given all this, I had to consider the possible inappropriateness of this “martial” connection in my life. Perhaps the sifu who initiated these young men into the mysteries of Chinese occult and martial arts had set “wards” about them that affected me thus. (Perhaps this is all mere coincidence. So many coincidences.) One Christian friend found in this an opportunity to warn me away from these martial arts acquaintances. Perhaps I was barging into areas for which I was not yet well enough prepared. The Sifu is admittedly a sorcerer. But I recovered and in a couple of years he ended up in jail for technical child molestation. He wasn’t really guilty of anything but foolishness, though. He was practic- ing tantric accupressure techniques with someone under age. The law and opportunists interpreted that as molestation. He accepted a lesser verdict, rather than spend the tens of thousands of dollars on a trial and the years—rather than the plea bargained 8 months—in jail that he would receive if he lost the case.

One must be so very careful.

My exposure to esoteric Chinese Martial Arts initiated very strong reaction in me; poison oak and other attacks. On the other hand, maybe these energies are just powerful and I have to develop strength and tol- erance for it. I continued my friendship with the two young martial artists because I liked them and I had hoped they would join in our task.


In the midst of all this, another realization occurred to me. As I was driving out for the hike in the desert with these two martial artists that included the nettles episode, I related the story about having been bitten by a black widow to my two martial hiking companions. It started when I was in a Zendo on a Zen meditation retreat. During one long medita- tion I had a vision of a black claw piercing my back. The next day I was discovered to have five open wounds in my back that a doctor later attributed to a black widow spider. No spider was ever seen or otherwise felt. I convalesced for two weeks, developed a staph infection and blood poisoning, convalesced another week. During that time I had moments of wonderful heightened consciousness. I also told the story of the Black Widow dream that I had one night which started up again and continued next day while I was awake as I recounted the dream to a friend. In this dream four black widows were not only something frightening but seemed to infuse me with a kind of light. Then they became crystals on an ‘Ark’ like box that transformed into a vision of eternity.

As I was telling this story to those potentially poisonous gentlemen about a poisonous event that occurred five years before, I realized that this had been a kind of shamanic initiation; I had been chosen by a

Black Widow. She was my ‘animal spirit helper’, my ‘familiar’, who

would help me work the ways of ‘power’, poison and healing. And has. I see her as the feminine, creative, ‘earth’ aspect of God.

Soon after, I hitch-hiked across the country. This is now December 1987. On the way back I stopped in Zuni. I was shown a picture painted by that Indian artist of a spider standing over an island. It is the mythic grandmother spider standing over the island of existence mentioned in American Indian legends. She is the Creator and Guardian of creation. She is the Guide (along with the Twin Warriors) of evolution in Pueblo Indian myth. Tantra is also defined as the “web”, indicating the connect- edness and purposefulness of all things. So the spider image is not so negative after all.

I am repulsed by poisonous spiders, snakes and plants, but see them as also part of God’s creation and somehow I seem perhaps chosen by them. Certainly I have been affected by them. The trick is to turn poison into catharsis and creative vision. It seems to require remarkable, per- haps tragic, sacrifice. Spiders spin two kinds of webs. One is for entrap- ment. The other is for traveling!

That concludes the basic list of ingredients for this spell of drinking poisons. Its effects now continue with increasing momentum. Later in that spring I was planning an exhibition, to conclude my stay as artist-in-residence at an Episcopal parish in Long Beach. The month before the event about which there was to be a certain amount of press coverage, another related story broke. A woman who lived just across from the mural that I had painted on the back of that church in Santa Ana, took the Church to court to have the mural removed. She felt offended that the figure of the resurrected Christ was not only nude but seemed to be sexually excited. (She was also offended by the deep blue background.) I certainly did paint the figure of Christ nude and there is an abstract suggestion of genitals. That is orthodox, necessary and not unusual in the history of Christian art. But it is so abstract that few would be likely to find anything sexually arousing in it. The image reflects much about those who are looking at it by their reaction to it. The fact that there are two 12 foot mirrors at the bottom of it indicates that theme very clearly. The sexual excitement seems to me to be a nat- ural part of a normal, healthy, human response to what has to be the most exciting of total human experiences, the Resurrection. When I actually painted it, I was not clear about Our Lord being sexually excited. I don’t mind that some think that He is aroused. It’s quite natu- ral. The public reaction was amazing. According to the newspapers, this lady spent $20,000 in lawyer’s fees trying to get the mural changed. The local paper ran a front page article, with full color picture. Several other papers picked it up. A national wire service did as well. There were sto- ries on national T.V. and caravans of people began filing past the church. (Nobody paid any attention at the completion of the work three years earlier.)

All this rhubarb came just two weeks before my exhibition; first in fifteen years and a major turning point in the pilgrimage. The newspa- per reporters began calling me just as I was planting a prayer pole and lighting incense at its base in front of the Episcopal Church compound where I was to have this exhibition. These were times of high magic. The mural was the icon of the Yemen experiment and was the image that answered a prescient call to the service of culture and the world that had brought me off the pilgrim’s path 10 years earlier. From there I entered the seminary and ministry in that diocese where the mural was eventually painted. The mural represents an ‘object of power,’ a shamanistic technique that will depict and engage true human identity through the image of the Resurrected Christ. It, symbolically, is an answer to the disastrous side of human technological genius. This is at the heart of the experiment. If there has been any effect in the uncon- scious depth of Being, it is already happening. In some spiritual way these happenings are connected with the Tantric energies that have been building for some time. I am not proposing another cerebral theology here… Something else yet to be identified