In the End I was cast out of the alchemists’ den, a lost mystic exile from the beats, wandering the naked streets of Basel at dawn and transmitting a lovely fix. I was high on acid, a green tab of Hofmann’s bicycle wheel I had reverently acquired from the Californian High Priest nights before, high in the hotel room overlooking the tram depot opposite the Basel Congress Centre. Site of the conference diabolique with Dr. Albert Hofmann, the 100 year old Alchemist that birthed LSD – the ‘Problem Child’ that switched on the world.
The Psychedelic Movement is like an iceberg with nine-tenths of it’s mass under the surface. As it rises up from the underground it causes ripples throughout mainstream culture. Some of it can be told; most of it has to be felt – action, not theory. And even when it has been experienced, words still slip off the central mystery as we grope towards a knowing beyond linguistics, towards a language of the soul.
Now: cloudbanks are/ rolling/ blooming/ shifting overhead and as they open up and become for me everything else is doing the same — trees, cars, people, especially people.
These beautiful marionette citizens of Basel, heading of to work, rugged up against the winter chill. They are polite, cool, efficiently progressing through the basic programs of larval life. Light glistens past a woman on the second floor balcony of an apartment block as she shakes out a blanket. Down below, surrounded by layers of white, white snow, a middle-aged man is walking his dog. He waits patiently, well trained, as it sniffs a pole. They are radiating energy signatures that overlap like kaleidoscope pictures and sink deep into me.
You know this feeling, the current. A stream of energy is bubbling within you straight from the source, and the more you let go and let it rise up and blossom in/ from you, the deeper in you go. A million sensorary impressions flood the psychic networks. Atomic consciousness in the mocha blend of a Starbucks coffee.
I am drinking in the nectar of life like a bee going from one flower to the next, every moment, every visual unfolding itself before me. St Rollerskate, Beatnik of the Urban Wilderness, melting/ opening /deepening/ holding full power the strength of every moment of creation reflected in the faces streaming back at me; the sunlight; the whir and clack of the tramlines as the cable cars carry their passengers along the tracks of life – know the right number and you can go anywhere.
As I meander divine down early morning streets along the Rhine, zen moments come and go in roadside epiphanies. Facts well up from tourist guidebooks — the Rhine is a sacred river, embodying the triple-shapedpre-Indo-European goddess as a snake or dragon. Basel itself was a centre of the cult of the Celtic sun god Belenos, a city of basilisks and sphinxes. A city of alchemy, and now a city of chemistry. In the distance the Twin Towers are breathing out fire, alchemical trans-form-ation from the Novartis pharmaceutical factories. This is the spirit of Basel. This perfect, clockwork little city.
All the lost beggar beatniks of the world come floating by. I am the first and the last and the only, a modern day James Dean, rebel without an ego walking down everystreet, rugged up against the wind and surrounded by a vast symbolic ocean of information. Omega watches, Cats the Musical, food, luxuries and a flurry of advertising images flash by, gateways to other worlds and modes of being. Suddenly I am tempted by the lower baros of illusion and desire, wild and crazy on the ergot rye derivatives, falling back into the memory of it all, another ride on the wheel. Let me tell you a story about a 100 year old man – the Alchemist, and of his problem child, and the children of the child coming of age…
Downtown, at the prestigious Congress Centre, the name of the symposium is in two foot LCD letters on a digital billboard, framed by neon stars: LSD – Problem Child and Wonder Drug. LSD up in lights, the problem child made good at last. This was to be the largest international conference of LSD and consciousness issues in history. Who would’ve thought?
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