Arts History Update for mid December 2011

9 Dec

Arts History Update for mid December 2011 by David Cummins


One of the largest figures in Western occultism is Aleister Crowley 1875-1947 Born into a wealthy family and receiving a first class education at Cambridge, he became a linguist, poet, mountaineer, foreign traveler extraordinaire, chess master, spy for British Intelligence, experimenter with drugs including opium, cocaine, hashish, cannabis, and peyote/mescaline, but he was best known for his esoteric mysticism and performance of magic which he called magick. He founded or extended numerous organizations devoted to the occult. He named himself The Great Beast 666, referring to the biblical Book of Revelation, and when he was said by the press to be the “wickedest man in the world” he wore that phrase and repeated it as a badge of honor or sobriquet. He loved being a libertine and flounting it “do what thou wilt” was his credo, for public notice and abhorrence. He published numerous books including The Book of the Law which he said he “received” from a Guardian Angel and all he did was to receive the dictation and write it down as an exercise in “automatic writing” in 1904. It formed the basis for his new religious and spiritual philosophy of Thelema which he introduced in 1907. You may read many of his works at


Crowley must have been Timothy Leary’s model at Harvard but Leary is small peanuts relative to Crowley who is said by British pollsters to still be the third most well-known illustrious figure in the minds of Britons. He seemed to do and say everything and the British press’s following of him would fill many warehouses.


I think the English pot as black as the German kettle, and I am still willing to die in defense of that pot. Mine is the loyalty of Bill Syke’s dog … the fact that he starves me and beats me doesn’t alter the fact that I am his dog, and I love him” Confessions, page 10 referring to his pre-WWII spy activity and the risks he took to gain information for the Admiralty.


He liked to use initials as a form of code so that insiders would know what was being referenced, and outsiders would be irritated. A.’ A.’ was really the Argentum Astrum of the Silver Star, an organization he founded as a successor order to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. words can be unfamiliar to us and so they capture our imagination as something esoteric and beyond our reality. It needn’t be so. Argentum in chemistry is the Latin term for silver and its symbol is Ag. It is basically an obsolete term for silver. Astrum refers to the location of observable celestial bodies, so argentum astrum is another way of saying silver star, so Argentum Astrum of the Silver Star is a repetitive phrase.


O.T.O. was Ordo Templi Orientis [order of the temple of the east] of which Crowley was the Templi Magister [master of the temple or chief officer]. It is a fraternal and religious organization used for spreading the principles of Thelema. The Eclesia Gnostica Catholica [Gnostic Catholic Church] became the ecclesiastical arm of the Order and its central rite was the Gnostic Mass. Crowley had composed a version of the Gnostic Mass while in Moscow Russia in 1913. Crowley adopted organizations, used them for his purposes, and went on. This is an example. O.T.O was founded by an Austrian, adopted by Crowley, and he later went on. The Gnostic Catholic Church in the United States bears little resemblance to anything Crowley was involved with. Contemporary O.T.O. United States Grand Lodge may be found at See its own statement of its history at Crowley’s legacy is within but these organizations have gone on beyond his activities just as he went on beyond them.


Richard Spence, Special Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult (Feral House 2008) Texas Tech Library UB271.G72 C76


Richard Kaczynski, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley – the Definitive Biography of the Founder of Modern Magick (North Atlantic Books 2011) in 1898 Crowley was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and in that ceremony he took the motto and name of Frater [brother] Perdurabo meaning “I shall endure to the end”.


Colin Wilson, Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast (1987) reissued (Aquarian Press 1993) reissued (Aeon Books 2007)


Sandy Robertson, Aleister Crowley Scrapbook (Samuel Weiser Books 1998)


Israel Regardie, Eye in the Triangle (New Falcon Pub. 1993)


Gerald Suster, The Legacy of the Beast: The Life, Work, and Influence of Aleister Crowley (Red Wheel / Weiser 1989)


John Symonds, King of the Shadow Realm: Aleister Crowley His Life and Magic (Ducksworth Pub. 1989)


John Symonds, The Great Beast: The Life of Aleister Crowley (Rider Press 1951)


Aleister Crowley: The Beast 666 (2007) documentary film by director Donna Zucherbrot


Masters of Darkness: Aleister Crowley – The Wickedest Man in the World (2002) documentary film by director Neil Rawles


Chemical Wedding (2008) movie directed by Julian Doyle, plot is reincarnation of Aleister Crowley


Crowley (1987) directed by Ricardo Islas, a Uruguayan film in Spanish


Abbey of Thelema (2007) movie based on the the short-lived Thelemic commune in Cefalu Sicily near Palermo from 1920 -1923, directed by J. Grimm and Vincent Jennings


Crowley’s writings have been made into movies; e.g. The Rite of Mercury: A Rock Opera (2010); The Rite of Venus: A Rock Opera (2008); and The Rite of Luna: A Rock Opera (2006)


An easy way to access the mind of this unusual individual is to read his short fiction; to-wit: Aleister Crowley, The Drug and Other Short Stories (Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural) (Wordsworth Editions 2010) $7.99 at There are 49 stories within the 624 pages, nineteen of which were never published in his lifetime. Downloadable free online at is The Stratagem and Other Stories (Mandrake Press 1929).


You can tell an author is significant if his work is being published more than a half century after he died. A great many people will not want to delve into this area of thought, but if you do want to explore, it might as well be with a master who is emulated and imitated.




Saint-Germain-des-Pres is an area within the sixth arrondisement of Paris France. The oldest church in Paris is the St-Germain-des-Pres built by a Merovingian king in 542 and rebuilt in the 11th century and 19th century and again in the 1990s. It contains the burial remains of Merovingian nobility. After WWII this area was for a time the city’s intellectual capital frequented by Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Juliette Greco, Albert Camus and Boris Vian inter alia.


Boris Vian 1920 – 1959 was a writer, poet, musician, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor and engineer. A retrospective exhibiiton of his life work is ongoing through January 15, 2012 at the National Library of France Vian adopted an authorial psuedonym Vernon Sullivan casting the author as an American Black writer, and the content of four novels was set in the United States although Vian never had set foot there. I Shall Spit on Your Graves, The Dead All Have the Same Skin, And One Shall Kill All the Dreadful Ones, and They Do Not Realize. French authorities were not fooled, and since French literary publication standards were violated Vian was fined and censured. Few of his works were translated into English but five were. One of those is Foam of the Daze (transl. Brian Harper, TamTamBooks 2003) which is elsewhere referred to as Foam of the Days, Froth on the Daydream, and Mood Indigo. The French title is L’Ecume des jours. Another is Heartsnatcher (transl. Stanley Chapman, Dalkey Archive Press 2003). You can read it online at


His songs were artfully written and covered by many artists. He wrote reviews of jazz performances in Le Jazz Hot, and in Paris Jazz. He was the Paris liaison for visiting jazz artists like Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. His anti-war song Le Deserteur (The Deserter) (1954) was very popular but it was written and performed during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu so French authorities censured him and prohibited publication and performance of it until lifting the ban in 1962. It was picked up and performed in the United States by Joan Baez during the Vietnam War.




Some of you have noticed that I’m referencing books a great deal, and by now you know that I mostly read parts of books rather than the entire book, since I’m an information or item hunter reading as a research exercise to get at the kernel of something. It’s a holdover from law professoring and lawyering where one wants to know things on a need to know basis, skipping the larger tome and grand design while capturing the currently useful smaller item. “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” Samuel Clemens, pen name Mark Twain. He also said: “the man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them”. There’s a good and bad way to interpret that, and I prefer the good, exhorting us to be opportunistic and use our skills and talents rather than letting them atrophy. He might approve, since he also said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowliness. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”




With an amazingly late Fall this year, and exhaustion all around from the long hot extended Summer and drought, we enjoy this time ……. the ingathering of fallen leaves. Whether for use as composting or immediate mulching, or for disposal, the process encourages our reflection on nature and cycles. Leaning into the task I felt guilty for already anticipating frondescence. It is a sweet anticipation and I often call the arborist after leaves are taken care of so that he can prune and trim and set up for deep feeding my valued mature trees, especially the ones who like myself are well past sell-by date.


Texans may not realize that in northern climes there is no putting forth of leaves and blossoms in late February or even March, one awaits April at the earliest. The mythical Lake Wobegon is still frozen, and talk of cherry blossom festivals only raises hackles and irritation at the delicateness of people living elsewhere not by choice surely but of necessity, unable to endure in our northern task-ridden societies. Then we stop the angst when we realize the Inuit [Eskimo or first nation people] above us, much above us, are the real hardy warriors and we ourselves are delicate by comparison. Northern people seem unable to accept more than a moment of undeserved superiority. Then it’s right back to hardiness and survival, never to be taken lightly or foolishly deferred.


As a recent arrival in Texas I smile when the wind changes from prevailing southwesterly to northerly straight off the front range in Colorado, sweeping down into the Texas Panhandle. The ‘blue norther” seems to me like normal life in north Idaho, not that I want to return and refocus on survival. We thrive at our latitude especially west of the 100th meridian so as to avoid the DFW Metroplex and its legion of frantic souls. I am retired and enjoying desuetude in a civilized place that accepts a slower pace. I am the burnished brown leaf still affixed on the branch. The frondescence are future generations.




Texas State Historical Association tells us that Blackwater Draw and Yellow House Draw merge at Mackenzie Park in Lubbock, forming the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River, and the mouth of Yellow House Canyon extending to the southeast. At that point and farther to the southeast at Buffalo Springs, Lake Ransom Canyon, and the widening area north of Slaton it is acknowledged and referred to by most people as Yellow House Canyon.


Lubbock Lake Landmark is situated in Yellow House Draw which rises in Bailey County south of Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge and passes through Cochran County, Hockley County, the cities of Anton and Shallowater, and Lubbock County before it merges with Blackwater Draw. is Yellow House Draw Watershed mapped by Environmental Protection Agency showing that it extends from eastern New Mexico southwest of Portales.


Blackwater Draw rises in Curry County New Mexico and passes through Bailey County, the city of Muleshoe, Lamb County, southwest Hale County, and Lubbock County before it merges with Yellow House Draw at Mackenzie Park. It is Running Water draw that passes through the city of Plainview, not Blackwater Draw. The Blackwater Draw Museum is on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University at Portales and documents and records the Clovis Man pleistocene culture of some 11,000 years ago. Blackwater Draw Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History at Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Jim Bertram Lake System Regional Park, commonly known as Canyon Lakes, is comprised of six lakes, the first two are sited in Yellow House Draw and the last four in Yellow House Canyon on the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River. Lake # 1 is Buddy Holly Recreation Area Lake west of North University Avenue, Lake # 2 is Llano Estacado Lake east of North University Avenue and Cesar Chavez Drive, Lakes # 3 – 5 are water features in Mackenzie Park, and Lake # 6 is Dunbar Historical Lake east of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Proposed lake # 7 would have been west of Buffalo Springs and proposed lake # 8 would have been east of Buffalo Springs, but they were skotched in 2007 – 2009. Most people refer to the entire area as Canyon Lakes and do not mention Jim Bertram, a retired visionary city employee and director of planning who resides on the lake at Ransom Canyon. Neither do people normally differentiate between the two draws with no surface water. When they see water they give it a name North Fork of Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River and when they see a dam and reservoir they call it a lake.


The main stream of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River rises southeast of Tahoka in Lynn County where there is a break in the Caprock Escarpment known as Double Mountain Canyon, and the Fork flows southeasterly joining up with the North Fork near Clairemont, and the Double Mountain Fork and Salt Fork merge near Aspermont to form the Brazos River that commences its 840 mile passage through Texas into the Gulf of Mexico. Walking the Brazos River watershed will take you across many fences and deep into trespass status looking down the barrel of shotguns, so it’s not recommended. It is fun near one of the towns to step into Yellow House Draw or Blackwater Draw and let your imagination soar. These draws long long ago were surface streams with all the habitat and activity that suggests.


High Plains drainage down draws, small canyons at the gentle breaks in the Caprock Escarpment, canyons at the 300 foot breaks to depart the Caprock Escarpment and enter the Rolling Plains, yielding a major river flowing onward through the Grand Prairie Hill Region and finally meandering through the Coastal Region …… the story of the Brazos tells much of the story of Texas.







Alva Noe, Art and the Limits of Neuroscience, New York Times, Dec. 4, 2011 is a fascinating article. Noe is a philosopher at City University of New York Graduate Center arriving in Fall 2011 from a professorship at University of California at Berkeley, and the author of Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness (Hill and Wang 2009) paperback in 2010 is $10.09 at Texas Tech Library QP411.N599


Medical and scientific research are routinely conducted on live human brains, and much has and will be learned to assist people who suffer from neurological phenomena that reduces the quality of their lives. We are learning what happens inside the brain while we are busy living our lives, and distinguishing brain activity depending upon and relative to what stimulates the brain. At Texas Tech University Professor Yi-Yuan Tang has just been named Director of a new Neuroimaging Institute and awarded a Presidential Endowed Chair in Neuroscience. He performs functional MRIs to examine brain connectivity in cognitive tasks.


The beat generation and their psycho-active drug usage created consciousness responses but those were never able to be replicated or managed so as to gain positive affectation after the drug wore off …. just wilfull self-delusion and justification for radicalization by continuing drug usage if for no other reason than that society prohibited it and did not experience consciousness recognition on demand.


For conservative folk like myself, drug usage at such a newbie level is dangerous and has yielded horrible psychological and physical consequences down the road for some users. Noe reminds us that while our brains are constructed in ways that are similar for all humans, and its receptors can be stimulated at will, the consciousness responses are not similar for groups of humans. We are not our brains, we are our persona. We could also say we are not any of our organs, we are our persona. Consciousness-rising can occur without use of psycho-active drugs; e.g. by meditation, and we would all do well and wisely not to engage in recreational brain stimulation either electronically or pharmaceutically. Let’s save our brains for future usage, and especially encourage youth to do so since they have so much more future ahead of them.


The brain is one of our organs. Our mind is something else entirely, part of our persona. What we are each conscious of, and not conscious of, differs widely. Improving or expanding our consciousness is salutary but doing it slowly by reflection and aesthetic recognition is risk-free and does not endanger any organ of our body. That is the sort of stimulation I would encourage for you and me, amateurs when it comes to our protoplasms.




Francis Haines, Appaloosa: the Spotted Horse in Art and History (Caballus Publishers 1963 for the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art republished by University of Texas Press) Texas Tech Southwest Collection 26.3 H817 H153

History: The Appaloosa breed was originally bred in the inland northwest of America by the Nez Perce Indians. Before the horse had been introduced to them, the Nez Perce were sedentary fishermen.

The horses changed The Nez Perce’s culture forever. The horses enabled them to hunt buffalo easily, and the Nez Perce soon became known throughout the Northwest for their hunting skills and craftsmanship. These new found skills allowed the Nez Perce to trade for goods and services. 

The Nez Perce became excellent horsemen as well as the only Native Americans known to selectively breed their horses. The horses were bred to be strong, fast, sure footed, and intelligent mounts. A short mane and tail was bred into the horses so that they could not easily be caught in brush.

Meriwether Lewis wrote the following of the Nez Perce’s horses, in his diary on Feb. 15, 1806 : “Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are lofty, eligantly [sic] formed, active and durable…some of these horses are pided [sic] with large spots of white irregularly scattered andintermixed with black, brown, bey [sic] or some other dark color.”  A pied horse is a horse having patches of two or more colors.

In the mid-1800s, settlers came to Nez Perce lands. The Treaty of 1863 was broken by settlers and the U.S. Government almost to the day of its making. The Nez Perce War of 1877 began when some of the Nez Perce rebelled against successor treaties imposed by the settlers to justify their self-aggrandizement.

When Chief Joseph surrendered in Montana in 1877, the Army confiscated most of the horses. The horses were then indiscriminately bred, and many of their unique traits were lost or severely diluted.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, because of their use in round ups and rodeos, people became more interested in the Appaloosa breed.

The Appaloosa horse club was established in 1938 by a wheat farmer named Claude Thompson, who realized the importance of preserving the Appaloosa Breed. The Appaloosa Horse club has since grown into one of the leading equine breed registries. There are currently over 600,000 Appaloosa horses registered with the ApHC.

The Nez Perce never referred to their horses as ‘Appaloosas’. The name Appaloosa comes either from the Palouse River, along which the horses were abundant, or from the Palouse tribe, whose main village was on the Palouse River. The Palouse River flows through eastern Washington and north Idaho.

Settlers first referred to the horses as ‘A Palouse Horse,’ which was soon shortened to ‘Appalousey.’ The name Appaloosa was made official in 1938.

On March 25, 1975, the Appaloosa was named Idaho’s State horse.

Colors: The Appaloosa Horse Club describes five basic coat patterns: Leopard — Large dark spots completely covering a white body, Snowflake — a dark body with light spots or speckles, Marble — A light coat covered in small dark speckles, Frost– A dark coat covered in small light speckles, and Blanket — White on hips and/or loins. Darker spots may or may not appear on the white blanket. However, some appaloosa’s are ‘solid,’meaning that they do not have any coat pattern. 

Height: 14.2hh upwards

Uses: Appaloosas are a light breed used for showing and riding. Today they are used in a wide variety of sports, from rodeo and trail riding, to jumping, showing, and endurance riding.el

The above Reply ForwardSpamMovePri

The above comes from The Utimate Horse Site click on horse breeds, then click on The Appaloosa Horse Breed.


I have trekked around Nez Perce lands, battle sites, locations where they interacted with settlers such as the Henry Harmon Spalding site where Lapwai Creek runs into the Clearwater River. It was at that location where the first Anglo child Eliza Spalding was born in Idaho on November 15, 1837. Cornelius James Brosnan, History of the State of Idaho (Charles Scribner’s Sons 1918) at p. 74. You can read it online at Today the Nez Perce National Historical Park is located a few hundred yards from the Spalding site and one can picnic on the grounds while the Clearwater River flows by. The museum [Visitor Center] is excellent. I’ve also spent time on the nearby Lapwai Reservation once operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and more recently and currently by the Nez Perce Tribe


The Appaloosa Museum is located in Moscow Idaho forty-five miles north in the heart of Palouse country. It is thought that the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 in the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, New Spain led to Spaniards fleeing and Pueblo Indians took over sheep and other Spanish property but immediately traded the un-needed horses to Plains Indians. Horses were traded onward to Shoshone Indians in southern Idaho who traded them to Nez Perce in northern Idaho in the early 18th century. By 1750 the Nez Perce were skilled horsemen.


Bill Holm, Nez Perce Scout (1951) is a painting depicting a scout sitting on an Appaloosa horse.


Today the University of Idaho Extension Program and the Nez Perce Tribe cooperate in operating a horsemanship program based at Lapwai Idaho to insure that the skills of the current tribe rise to the level of their forbears.




I’ve spent quality time in Sligo Ireland and recommend it highly. The Model is its contemporary arts centre and the current exhibit December 10 – February 12, 2012 is Isabelle Nolan: A hole into the future. This piece is titled A Better Life (2009) multi-media sculpture, balsa, jesmonite, toughened glass, and paint. Nolan is an Irish sculptor from Dublin and rising fast in international art circles. Another piece is Colourhole (2011) comprised of steel, cotton, wool, embroidery yarn and thread. Both are gorgeous.


One doesn’t travel in Sligo more than a block without being reminded that this is Yeats Country. John Butler Yeats had six children, but two are irrevocably associated with Sligo, Mrs. Yeats’ [nee Susan Pollexfen] family home at which all the children spent Summers and Jack Butler Yeats, the artist, grew up cared for by his maternal grandparents. see his art works Yeats Society Sligo was founded in 1958 to commemorate and honor the memory of William Butler Yeats, Jack’s older brother. Drop into the Yeats Memorial Building overlooking the River Garavogue It is home to Yeats Society Sligo and the Yeats Art Gallery.


Just a few miles east of town is Lough Gill [in English Lake of Light] in which there is an islet Innisfree that William Butler Yeats made famous by his poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree (1888). The Ursuline Sisters at St. Angela’s College on the lake kindly allowed me to take out one of its rowboats to row to the islet and read [aloud] to myself and to clouds overhead The Lake Isle of Innisfree. It was a transformative event in this meanderer’s life.


St Columba’s Anglican Church in Drumcliffe just outside Sligo, where his great uncle was once rector, is the site of W. B. Yeats’s grave and standing stone inscribed: “Cast a cold eye on Life, on Death. Horseman pass by. W.B. Yeats” Columba founded a monastery in Drumcliffe in the year 574 CE. Portions of the ancient High Cross and Round Tower remain as admired ruins adjacent to the church. Yes, I visited here also.




Quanah Parker Trail in West Texas. Dedication of three more [out of eleven so far] giant arrow sculptures, commemorating sites in West Texas associated with the life and larger than life legend of Quanah Parker, take place on Wednesday December 14 at Seagraves 9:30 a.m. Denver City 10:30 a.m. and Seminole at noon. The sculptor is Charles Smith of New Home. Descendants of Quanah Parker have participated in some of the dedications so these are intercultural events and the artistry of the arrows is a cultural marker. This is functional art and an entry into the lives of Native Americans in the land we call home, at an earlier time when they called it home. Some still call it home and share it with us.






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