Will Penna

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INTRODUCTION: This is a piece I've already shared with several folks who were with me at the 1999 Breitenbush Salvia conference, some of whom shared the session the poem refers to. The piece came to me spontaneously when I returned to my cabin after a session in the sanctuary in which we shared Sage Goddess Emerald Essence. I did not 'craft' it; it came to me into my journal as you read it now in one fell swoop or even more as one 'swell foop.'

Our group had started out as just six of us but—as these things go—inexplicably and inextricably—grew to a dozen. Also, I approached the invitation to join with my two inner voices in conflict; and rather than follow my usual dictum, 'when in doubt, don't,' I went ahead. One voice, my lefthand dark guardian Azazel, said: 'do it, Will; you've spent all your money here so you won't have a chance to sample it otherwise until a couple weeks after you return home and send to Daniel for it!' The other voice, Lee my righthand angel of light, said: 'you will know when it is best for you to partake; it is not now, in this strange place among strangers, even with these friendly strangers!'

We formed our circle, introduced ourselves, stating how strong a dose we would take and sharing our intentions. I had decided on 3 undiluted droppersful, a moderate dose; some were going to have one or two dropper loads, many were going to dilute the liquid—about as strong as everclear—with hot water. Most people stated a respectful and respectable intention; I perhaps foolishly thought mine equally appropriate: 'you have shown me, Ska Pastora, what you have to show on other occasions when I have chewed or smoked you; show me now your power in this form.' Then, when we were passing the bottle and dropper, on the third round a bit dribbled down my lip, so I decided to squirt a fourth load in, not consciously realizing that this would nudge my dose into the strong category.

We had decided to douse the lights when we were done with the circle work. As you will see below, I was unprepared for the suddenness and strength of the trip I was now on. But then, like some other intrepid psychedelic explorers, let alone the sorcerer's apprentice, I have at other times over the past 35 years or so found myself beyond the M.C. Escher beyond as I begin the entheogenic beguine.


she will not suffer fools
i knew that
waiting at her gate
it was not my time
but wanton desire beckoned
almost roared
so i let myself be blinded
even though the snow was melting
so it wasn't that
even though the circle was imperfect
but it wasn't that
even though i'd heard no call
so it was that

so when i communed with her
in that refuge from the snow
darkness descended before i knew it
walls folded impossibly outwardly in
escaping voices twisted away
i lay alone in the desacrated temple
its heaving walls an unfunhouse ride
she would not suffer fools

i reached up to broken shards
then down to a vagrant pillow
broken slants of light
more distant muffled sighs
all was riven now
perhaps never whole
i knew not how i'd come
to this crazy house
i must go out
if there were an out

rolling over i found a wall
then the broken sharp things again
then—somehow not surprisingly—
a berber carpet under me
i rolled some more
hands fumbled on an edge
reached down
a stair
i dragged my belly my knees
came almost head over heals
(head over heals?)
boarding down the stairs
arms and legs my wheels
but she stopped me—
no, not SHE, but just she—
and asked me where i was going

'oh, someone's here!'
come back
i crawled back in the dark
back into the broken temple
less broken now
but no less desacralized
'ouch! you're stepping on me!'
the stepping stopped
sorry! came a distant sigh

as light and sanity blinked on
we all held our breath for both
i glimpsed the menacing shards
merely seashells along the wall
we gradually told our stories—
those who desired—
lawnmower man his
green goddess lady hers
one had disappeared
another stayed grimly silent
a hand over his face
we chatted we laughed we humans
but it was never right
foolish wanton deed
but it was done—good to go

Will Penna