Tuesday, August 21, 2012

John Thompson

I met John Thompson in 1980 around the time I married my 2nd wife. He was someone who studied with Father Charles Moore at that time who had an IQ of about 200. So, John also was and is a very intuitive person. He is also an intellectual and has published many books and also has taught English on a College level over the years. He is also a very accomplished artist and excelled in what now is called "Psychedelic Art" and wrote in the early days for the Berkeley Barb.

When I met him through my wife and Father Charlie I realized immediately another "Intuitive Genius" like myself. What John had in common with Father Charlie was that they both were deep intellectuals combined with Intuitive Genius. I found myself happy to meet other intuitive geniuses because I have always found intuitive genius sort of rare on the planet. But I also felt sort of overwhelmed by both of these gentlemen's intellectual genius. Because of childhood epilepsy I didn't try to go in this direction because stress caused seizures sometimes between age 10 and 15 until I outgrew it. Having survived that I had developed a total intuitive style of living. So, even though my wife who has two bachelors degrees in art, a master's of Business Adminstration specializing in non-profit fundraising says I am one of the most intelligent (in a completely applied way) person she has ever met in her life. However, I don't see myself as an intellectual but only as an intuitive genius who can oftentimes always be in the perfect right place at the perfect right time which can cause almost infinite positive outcomes in everyone's life possible. I prefer to be this way.

So, Sorry, I digress. I wanted to share some things John sent to me via Email. We met by (accident?) on my wife's birthday recently and this we all see now as a "magical happening" of us all being in the right place at the right time. So, here is something he wrote in the 1970s. If you are interested in reading more things that John has written or is still writing here are some of the search words he gave me:
"Eternal Tales John Thompson" or "John Thompson psychedelic" begin quote Amazon.com
Eternal Tales (Shaman Prophecy)

Eternal Tales (Shaman Prophecy) [Kindle Edition]

John Thompson , Satya

Digital List Price: $9.99 What's this?
Kindle Price: $9.99 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

end quote from Amazon.com

So, I have not read this publication but it gives you an idea of some of the things John has written since the 1960s throughout the San Francisco-Berkeley Flower Child movement. Here is someone who lived it in Berkeley, San Francisco and near Yosemite during those times.

Begin quote from what I think likely is the introduction to Eternal Tales:


     Forty years after it was published, ETERNAL TALES, isn't so much a documentation  of my ideas for a graphic "comix", as it is a product of how my  friends and I in the Sierras were living. Its core values, and how the protagonist tries to confront the Demon hGwa, are shaped by essoteric  Gnostic & Buddhist questions we were exploring in our art.

    When  artist Kim Deitch and his girlfriend Trina decided to leave NYC in 1969, my girlfriend Lin  (19) and I (23) moved into their walk up apartment just inside Greenwich Village. After working for the East Village Other a couple months, Lin and I became restless with urbanity and yearned for the forests of the California Sierras. One evening after dinner at artist Art Spiegelman's apartment, Lin felt ill, went to their tiny bathroom, and discovered she was having a miscarriage.

     The next morning, after leaving the hospital and refusing a transfusion, Lin wanted to fly back to California where the blood supply was less infected. At first we stayed at a cottage in the Sierra foothills, on the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam. Then we found two and a half acres higher in the Sierras, just five miles south west of Yosemite National Forest. Overlooking Ahwahnee Valley, its panoramic view of the pines and oaks to the south was inspiring.

   For $13,000 the two acres and a new two bedroom two bath house was a bargain; secluded in an area where there were very few homes. But Lin missed her friends in Berkeley and San Francisco as there were hardly any residents our age in Ahwahnee Valley; just a few scattered and reclusive retired couples. So I stayed in that idyllic home with its large fireplace and sliding glass doors that looked out on a large deck, and visited her and our circle of underground cartoonists in S.F. and Berkeley every three weeks.

     The mortgage payment was $75 a month, gas 28 cents a gallon for my Mustang, oats for our horse and for us at 25 cents a pound, brown rice a quarter a pound , milk  or orange juice 29 cents a quart, bread also 29 a loaf, with fruit and vegetables equally low. My artist friends and I thus lived charmed lives for very little, leaving us time to write, draw, design posters and paint hours everyday;. There was also time to spend hours wandering trails along the  fragrant streams, trees full of bird song.
    Crumb showed me the comics he was doing, as did Kim Deitch,  Rick Griffen,Trina and others. Depictions of sex acts was becoming more frequent in comix being printed. My Buddhist and Gnostic friends didn't find  the content of such X rated comix appealing in their narrative or in how women were depicted. Like Griffen I felt the "counterculture' should produce inexpensive comix of great beauty, erotic love, and imaginative values.

   The comix publishers were selling far more "raunchy" sex comix than my surreal and mystical projects, so they encouraged me to present stories in illustrated panels. Thus in 1971 I began penciling drafts of ETERNAL TALES, a book whose introductory pages might appear erotic, with hints of science fiction aliens from the Pleiades, features that Print Mint publisher Don Schenker felt would attract more readers than my   thee surreal and arcane books he printed in 1969 ("The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Within You","The Book Of Raziel" and the Greek title "Cyclops). My intention in these works was to go far beyond the limits of material explored in earlier comix, abandoning  all formulas for mass appeal, and share psychedelic art that was replete with coded symbolic references from esoterica Western mystical traditions.

    With its surreal occult web of numinous images, THE BOOK OF tHOHt was an ambitious thirty page comix. Published as thirty large prints, it was presented by Adler Press in Berkeley in 1970 in a signed & numbered  edition of one thousand. With its many Greek and Hebrew words, enigmatic/cryptic passages, its intention was to appear mysteriously coded, but younger "hippies" ignored its scholarly mythos and bought cruder X rated comix instead, panels of art that depicted women sexually in poses that seemed often obscene.

     The Book Of tHOHt was also done as part of my Master's Thesis while I worked as a Graduate Assistant, teaching  intaglio and old litho techniques two days a week at a state college an hour's drive away. With her family's approval, my girlfriend was a beautiful high school senior who lived with me on weekends. She shared my interest in natural foods, meditation, and sex as a sacred communion. Living by Gnostic and Buddhist precepts, we were part of a group of creative couples that met weekly to study ancient writings and share our observations on them. Other similar groups, like Steve Gaskin's  pop-tantra "Monday Night Class" in SF were gatherings for young couples that inspired us during monthly visits to the SF & Berkeley.

   A half an hour from my home, higher in the forest, was a commune called the Bhoodan Center, founded by an eighty year old sage who had lived among the Hopi when he was young, making him a pacifist during WWII. My nearest neighbor was also an older pacifist who fled into the Sierras to avoid being drafted in WWII, a kindly recluse who grew his vegetables and as a vegan gave us cheese from his herd of beloved goats. As I and some of my friends  from The Bhoodan had worked as conscientious objectors during the Sixties, we continued to attend occasional marches and demonstrations against military policies in Asia. So my girlfriend and I attended gatherings weekly at the Boodan, honorary members of that commune and one in a vintage Berkeley Hills home.

   So from my Ahwahnee home in 1971 my draft of Eternal TALES attempted to depict sexuality more mystically and aesthetically, with an ancient California Shaman named Thon and his woman Rda using tantric sex as a meditation path to learn from other-wordly adventures. Inspired by research at the UCB Kroeber Anthropology Library, I studied academic articles on the Miwok culture that existed in the Central Sierras for thousands of peaceful years. Unlike many comix, my depictions of women needed to present them as deeply and spiritually insightful.

The first couple pages showed Thon and Rda sexually united by their passion atop Mount Shasta on the autumnal equinox. They had made the pilgrimage there from their home in the fourth Miwok "state" that included Yosemite. Their tantric sex opened their chakras to amazing potentials, like being contacted by spirits from other dimensions or star systems, so  on the third page a spherical UFO appears with a UFO Captain and his Co-Pilot beaming them up at the vulnerable moment of orgasm to their "alien starship. Instead of attacking the alien interlopers, Rda stops Thon from using psychic powers to oppose them. Captain CLL admits they are from a "lesser civilization" than California's indigenous Miwok People, and that their home planet in the Pleiades is now plagued by "legions of demons" that materialized within their collective unconscious.

Thus the narrative in ETERNAL TALES didn't so much reflect my own literary ideas, but mirrored the life style of my friends as well. We studied the  sacred culture of the Miwok "Indians" who we revered, their view of a Higher Power, and who had legends of spirits who traveled in the starry heavens. One ancient tale from the Sierras involved contact with the Pleides.

The shape shifting sphere, powered by an ice hydrogen generator travels at a mathematically constant rate of acceleration/deceleration to glide along a "Time Space Warp". Arriving on CLL's home planet, he explains that long ago his people were more advanced, like the Miwoks, living "in simple pure harmony with our environment. Our God like yours, was HAOM, the energy source of all being."

Thus this book begins with the view that man's current overpopulated, nationalistic-capitalistic condition is not a cultural advancement, but its a fall from prehistoric times when  much of mankind lived in closer tribal harmony: A view shared by others in the commune I visited weekly.

In 1971 my next girlfriend was a gorgeous young Ashkenasi from  highly educated New York parents. Four foot ten inches tall, she had a large "Jewish Afro" and a playful sense of humor & insight. So whatever the woman in the comix says, reflects Susan Gitlitz' views, and those of the women at the Bhoodan Center where we met. The issue of why "daemons"  (dark spirits) exist on this  troubled planet is expressed by her on page six "But Captain , {the  angry demon} hGwa can only take hold in the Collective Mind if your people allows him."

Many comix begin by establishing a conflict, symbolized as a villain  with "anger issues" who seeks wider control, then moves through its pages towards some resolution on the part of its protagonist. Thus the hero THON ( a phonetic  combination of my last and first names, based on my favorite Gnostic Gospels: Thomas & John) and Rda ( Sanscrit for a consort) are forced "underground" by demonic forces on the planet. My young artist friends and I were then part of what was called  the  Undergound Press Movement", in an age before the internet when underground newspapers and comix expressed voices from a "counterculture." Our creative efforts depicted how we thought about our own role in the socio-economic turmoil that was shaking the planet.

On the eighth page I (Thon) fall asleep underground, and dream that I am meditating. Susan and I then share a vision of Gaea, the Divine Feminine. Page one shows me imagining I am entering  the womb palace of this Earth Godess, microcosmicly my own mother, where I see my own dormant "Inner Child." With Susan's help we rescue the child, who awakens in her loving hands.

The Dark Force, and its ferocious mask, appears in the dream, but following Susan's earlier advice I don't let it "take hold" in my consciousness. With the Tibetan exorcism mantra "PHAT" the demon's  angry mask dis-appears, and Captain CLL wonders how it vanished. As Susan holds the child affectionately, I tell the Captain "By no magic my friend. We simply stopped willing them to be and their images went elsewhere."

Through "magical thinking" one cannot just will  hostile forces to stop existing. But through mindful action one can  divert their dangers temporarily, especially when a couple is protecting the inner child. Captain CLL, however brings up a more violent approach, where the substances from dark situations can be "eaten" and benefited from.

Susan on page 13 then tells CLL "What madness ! We're not canibals who eat living brothers of plants and animals...All creatures are our brothers. We eat only their gifts of vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts, berries, cheese." CLL then looks down condescendingly on us and smirks "But those don't grow underground. And besides, its the Demons who've forced us here, to live huddled in these dark miserable cities."

Susan points out to him "Yes, but those demons were created by your own fears. You've brought this all on yourselves. The only way out is to..."

CLL interupts her advice not to simply blame evil forces for the conditions on the planet:  He says {the only way out}"...is for you to save us. We're trapped. Maybe love and fearlessness is the answer, I don't know. But you have to..." { At first ,this Captain of the MIDIN, middle class values, tries to blame others, then he implores others to save him and his people.}

But the Inner Child speaks "No one can do your loving for you."

Thon then begins to ascend from the underground, from that deep level of the dream state , saying "There's only one way to meet this scourge, at its source." On the next page the Midin's dream buildings distort on unihabited streets, and the text in Sanscrit leads to the words "Slowly, the city floated away as the air moaned of demons."

Page 15 displays three panel levels. The first is a surreal and loquaciously gruesome exploration of the nature of the Demon hGwa. The second level is the fearful response of the Midin, terrified at the unpredictable events linked to the demonic. The third  level lists the Midin's conceptual excuses for how they think.

On the next page Thon The Shaman appears as a comic book character, perplexed by hGwa "confronting me by handing me this book." Then page 17 illustrates that "This comic book is a DOOR, opening upon countless mirrors." There is a hand written note to the reader attached by a paper clip, mentioning the Higher Power as "The Accelerator Of True Absorbtion Breath" that activates "theories that reek of harmony." This surreal and metaphysical note hints at my readings on Quantum Mechanics and my admiration of City Lights poetry books by Philip Lamantia and Daniel Moore.

Below the note to the reader is a row of faces indicating me as I ask "What is this confusion that you battle me with ? These distorted mirrors of myself." The differing mirrors at the bottom show the demon masks are reflections of my own dark side, the dark side in each of us.

On page 18 the comic book within a comic book shows hGwa responding to me through his letter, urging me to surrender to my anxieties. My response to that letter shows a calm and alert face, silent, in the mirror/door. Then I write to hGwa backwards "Thunderbolt Is In The Lotus" meaning the sudden flash of enlightenment is potentially in every lotus-mind.

My letter informs hGwa "I know these pages  are merely webs to ensnarl me, but it won't work. Love, John." I then wonder "Have you given me  this book to distract me from my quest ?"

The chess board background indicates that life can be seen as a game between opposing light and dark forces. The next page shows Thon drawing the comix as part of the game. The page I'm writing is a poem about the seven chakras as aspects of consciousness, with Tantric Sanscrit literary symbols.

Page twenty shows those tantric symbols of chakras within me and within Susan as we meditate. The previous spring in 1970 I lived in London, contributing to Oz Magazine and a cover for a Paris underground magazine. The page has samples of journal entries written in Paris and London, as I protest my current conditions by holding a placard lettered " End The Veil Of Illusion Now." (Samsara)

The Dark Force behind the demon mask is confusing me with these games being played, so I hand the comic book I'm drawing back to him, with chess and card game metaphors framing the context.

(Page 21) "Suddenly I find myself insideout, transformed into my wife." (the Hermaphroditic Androgyn whose pen produces a dark sphere upon the game board). Those cryptic spheres lead Thon/Rda up and "As her I rose above the cities of {the middle class} to unite both FEAR and LOVE into One Moving Being whose terror and beauty is within everywhere."

(Page 22) shows this ascended tantric union with hGwa, so the psycedelic drawing  illustrates this without any words thought or spoken. (Page 23) concluded "At the moment of orgasm, Thon suddenly awoke and found himself in the arms of Rda..." the dream prophecized that the ancient Miwok people would eventually see their own gorgeous homeland "degenerate" into the type of place where the Midin's mindset dominated, modern California.

The final page was completed in a cabin on the Little Sur River, in a serene redwood grove on the Big Sur Coast below Carmel. Susan and I stayed in Dio Robert's rustic cabin in October when the book was finished. Most of it had been drawn when we were together in Ahwahnee earlier that summer, where we spent time enjoying Yosemite Valley and the Bhoodan Commune.

In Berkeley, Susan and I showed the Print Mint publishers this book, but they and other underground comix companies found much of it "incomprehensable" with its  arcane references and tantric cosmology. After several rejections, Terry Stroud, a Los Angeles comic book dealer, published it in an edition of one thousand and it sold for a dollar. He paid me generously through a trade for WWII war comics that I still collect.

When I met Susan in Spring she was recovering from her adventures in Europe and Africa. We flew to New York for two weeks to visit her family that summer, and onto Boston for the World Science Fiction Convention.
But in Autumn she grew restless to return to Africa then India and Goa. She was eager to leave California and I wanted to be here with my family and friends, so our relationship was tense in Big Sur, but we parted as friends.

Susan saw that what I was struggling to come to terms within myself was reflected in ETERNAL TALES. Her name is coded in it,as are other details of the book. But on a larger scale the way we lived in 1971 and how we and many in the spiritual counterculture  viewed life is also coded into what this ambitious
comic book tried to achieve.

Some pages from Eternal Tales are posted on line, and more art is on artopea.com

end quote from "Eternal Tales"

John writes in a completely different style than mine and is highly professional in his writing and art styles whereas I see myself more as an amateur or hobbyist  in my writing styles. However, I love to write so I keep on writing. Both my friend John and I have received many many Tibetan Buddhist initiations and at least one initiation we received together from Lama Ayang during the 1980s. So, we both remember past lives not only as Tibetan Monks and Lamas but also in various places throughout earth in the past, present and future of Earth and other planets.

We were talking on the phone this morning and he was explaining to me how Einstein also saw the universe in this "Spherical way" too of a complete intuitive who can experience the universe not just in a linear way but also a universe in which the past, present and future are all connected. So, since this tends to be the way the universe actually operates which is sort of a 3 or more dimension hologram in which one can go from the past to the present, forward to the future and then back to the past or all three at once, understanding how the universe ACTUALLY operates on a quantum level is actually much more useful than thinking only in a linear sense. Because a linear sense is only a very limited unit of measure but it is never the fullness of what life actually is everywhere and every when.

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