The Ascent of Adamantino...

"a tiny silver horn, set with a turquoise piece" found among objects in a  von Meier Treasure Box

"a tiny silver horn, set with a turquoise piece" found among objects in a von Meier Treasure Box

is a teaching story, being told by a tradition­al Old Man. In one of the versions, he is known as an archetype of the FOOL, as graphically represented on the Tarot card of the Major Arcana which is var­iously numbered Zero: 0, twenty-two: XXII, or left unmarked by an cardinal numerical token or symbol. One of the deeply generalized teachings related to this graphic iconic illustration of the attributes associated with this archetype concerns the principle of closure. This is indicated by the mark for zero, which is graphically a closed curve, an ellipse.

The Fool in the story, called Oldman Coalman, continuously braids and weaves his tale, which could be whenever there is a fire in the fireplace. It is a tale as old as coal, one form, at least, of which was told by the Hopi, after their first crossing into the new world, when the Twins, represented by the constellation Gemini, escaped from the First World of Spider Lady (Cancer), through a reed. This could mean via reed boat ala Thor Heyerdahl, or as seen through a reed, meaning a sighting tube such as the ancient Chinese used as instruments for astronomical observation, called Pi, examples of which, carved in jade with exquisite precision, have been preserved from the early dynasties Shang/Yin.

Reeds and grasses have been used for weaving since neolithic times, as in B.C. 7700 when the constellation Cancer was rising at the Vernal Equinox, about when we estimate one of the great historical periods of influx of population into North America to have occurred. The double reed, used as a musical instrument is depicted on Sumerian cylinder seals, around B.C. 3000.

Oldman Coalman is a wanderer, like Lu, hexagram 56 in the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes (functions of a real variable?). A wandering fool, as immortalized in song by Frankie Laine, in "My heart knows what the wild goose knows, and I gotta go where the wild goose goes." And here it comes. How does it go? "Wild goose, brother goose (mutha goose?) which is best, a wanderin fool, or a heart at rest?"

The goose in the sky, of course, is Cygnus, the Swan and also the Northern Cross, some say. Others aver the goose is the Roman name for Aquarius. Richard Hinkley Allen (Star Names, their lore and meaning, Dover, 1963 ed.) identifies the star as the alpha lucida in Aires, of 2.3 magnitude, and otherwise called Hamel, from Al Ras al Hamal, the Head of the Sheep, and Al Natih, the Horn of the Butting One. Allen quotes Chaucer, "He knew ful wel how fer Alnath was shove ffro the heed of thilke fixe Aries above." And, "Renouf identified it with the head of the Goose supposed to be one of the early constellations of Egypt."(p. 80). In Babylon it formed the third of twenty-eight ecliptical constellations, called Arku-sha-rishu-ku, literally, the Back of the Head of Ku. "Lenormant quotes, as an individual title from cuneiform inscriptions, Dil-kar, the Proclaimer of the Dawn...others read Dilgan, the Messenger of Light."

"Brown associates it with Aloros, the first of the ten mythical kings of Akkad anterior to the Deluge, the duration of whose reigns proportionately coincided with the distances apart of the ten chief ecliptic stars beginning with Hamal, and he deduces from this kingly title the Assyrian Aīluv, and the Hebrew Ayil; the other stars corresponding to the other mythical kings being

Alcyone
Aldeberan
Pollux
Regulus
Spica
Antares
Algedi
Deneb Algedi
Scheat

And we are reminded of Joseph Campbell's presen­tation of the teaching of world ages, wherein he discusses the numbers associated with Kalpas, and the sequences of mythical kings of Mesopotamia and of the Hebrew Old Testament. (Masks of God, Volume II Oriental Mythology, "Mythic Time," p. 115 ff.)       "A Sumerian tablet now in Oxford (Weld-Blundell 62) gives a list of ten mythical kings who ruled for a total of 456,000 years in the period between the first descent of kingship from the courts of heaven upon the cities of men and the coming of the Flood." The first of the kings is called Alulim, and is to have ruled for 67,200 years. Berossos calls the first king Aloros, who is to have ruled 36,000 years. In Genesis, Adam is the first of the Patriarchs, and is to have lived 130  years.

The lists provide evidence that the ancient calen­drical festival year was reckoned by an astronomically observable "great year" now calculated to be some 25,884 odd years but by the Sumerians computed accord­ing to a mathematically derived "great year" of 25,920.

"The indication would seem to be, therefore, that the highest concern of the mythology from which these king-lists derived can have been neither history nor fertility, but some sort of order: some sort of mathematically ordered, astronomically referred notion about the relationship of man, and the rhythms of his life on earth, not simply to the seasons, the annual mysteries of birth, death and regeneration, but beyond those to even greater, very much larger cycles: the great years." (Campbell, p. 120).

This is a key to the cycle of closure indicated by the Fool: the sun precessing, at a rate of one degree every seventy-two years (an aion, or lifetime) completing the 360 degrees in approximately 25,920 years, passing through--"backwards"-- the twelve zodiacal signs on the average of one sign, or 30 degrees every 2160 years. 2160 is the diameter of the moon in miles (not in kilometers:), and the moon is the same apparent size disc as the sun, 30' of arc, which would correspond to 36 "years" or three sunspot cycles, or the number of steps required to traverse the classic Cretan Labyrinth--also used by the Hopi as an iconic "Glyph of the Emergence." One tenth of 360, is of course 36, and the angle of 36 degrees, with a comple­mentary angle of 54 degrees in a right triangle was used by the Egyptians as the practical tool for reckon­ing functions of phi, and called mr. (Tompkins/Stecchini, Secrets of the Great Pyramid, p. 377). If we round out the years in each sign to 2200, this is one Tarot Major Arcanum per century, although this particular association is not known to have been made.

In the incarnation of his forty-eighth year, Oldman Coalman, one of the Four Thousand Fools said to be wandering the face of the Earth at any given time, used to be known as Chico Carboneri, who hung out, in and around the Tea House of Necessity, when that establishment used to be called

SAM SARAH'S SMORGY

What follows is the tale he tells.


Ho, ho, ho, and why not? he thought, with the very best (available) of whatever it was he wanted now readily at hand. In a gleam of the right eye of Dr. Adamantino, a square-shouldered bottle of rum from the Plantations Saint James of the Antilles he spied resting on the shelf alongside a mandala of The Red Lady. She, the source of the mystery. The Great Ameri­can novel is--as a matter of course--a mystery. Something hidden, yet to be revealed, that is, unveiled. The Red Lady lost? Or merely veiled in a basket of pine needles, nestling in a manger with pale phosphorescence in the dark time of early morning, a time before awakening. In the teachings of the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition of the Six Yogas of Naropa, that of the Dream Yoga, rMilam is third in order. Dreams are just dreams. The realities of life end death, consciousness and physical manifestation, the nameable and unnameable Tao--these choice dichotomies, and the whole of Boolean algebra and binary logic, Leibnitz and the I Ching, the good Doctor wondered at and lived through as a trade-off between Interaction and Equili­brium in a comingled universe of reality and dream.

Dr. Adamantino, believing himself to be quite a Good Doctor, if perhaps at the same time, with­out contradiction, also quite a Mad Doctor, it came to him in a dream of the madrugada (in an early California language, the hours before dawn), the dream time in which, according to the Tibetans, we may have dreams that are prophetic, seeing into the future through the blind side of ordinary consciousness, it came to Dr. Adamantino in a prophetic dream that he should visit the Tea House of Necessity to convene with the resident Lama, his old friend from South American adventures, Al Paca. He had hung with his friend in ripstop nylon bat-slings, expansion bolted to the sheer great South Face of Aconcagua, and so, at least, was not prepared to automatically disregard anything at all the Lama might have to say on whatever subject. It was also known about the saloons and gaming parlous that the Lama had a wide streak of luck, coupled with an in­satiable capacity for sensuous and gustatory delight, therefore his company was frequently sought and lovingly guarded. A pleasant place to be, beside the old Lama Al Paca. The doctor decided to try his luck.

He rode on a black horse, called Ta Wala, through the intricate marshlands of the Delta, frequently swimming the horse, while hoisting his Central Asian, Kyzyl woven saddlebags above his head as though they contained the written form or materialized essence of the Dharma itself. Adamantino, as he was some sort of doctor, collected medicinal herbs, which he tied in bundles together with certain choice grasses. By the time he rode up the valley from the mud flats north of the bay, bags of fresh clams and oysters dripped suspended, swinging beneath the horse, and the clutches of herbage with colored string in bows made him appear medieval in thatched armor.

The bellboy (busboy, dishwasher, scullery chief and garbage man) of the Tea House of Necessity, Shakuhachi Unzen, met Dr. Adamantino, proffering honorables in Nihongo, the Japanese language, as though the equipage of the traveler were that of a Ronin Samurai. Unzen indicated an establishment across the road, as a likely place for the Doctor to find the Lama."Lucky for him, he hoped," Shakuhachi said, if luck were what he was after. For the name of the place--one of the first to serve real coffee in this part of California—was "Agatha Tyche's" although it was well and widely be­coming known as "The Coffee House of Chance."

Dr. Adamantino tied Ta Wala under one of the great valley oaks that rose in a robledal, a majesterial grove on the banks of a little creek that emptied into what was later known as the Napa River. The decks of the Coffee House were deserted. Inside a crowd gathered, hushed, as the Lama Al Paca disputed formally with Agatha, Madame, Matron and Mama-san, about inclusion of the word "Pure" for the name of the establishment. Agatha Tyche impetuously commissioned a devilishly handsome itinerant artist, Richheart Nobleson, to paint a new sign, reading:

COFFEE HOUSE OF PURE CHANCE

A bell on the door rang as the Doctor slipped out of his boots. The Lama Omed hello, then a grin cracked across his face and the people circle blossomed like a living flower, opening a way for him to the Lama, wrapped in maroon robes, piled up around him as he struck a twig into fire and swooped its yellow blaze to the top of a hookah, made of fine dark blue Persian glass. Langourously, Agatha reclined on a pile of silken pillows, calling out "Recess!" In front of her, a moon­-faced, ivory-skinned, exquisite girl, with her hair black, cryptically coiled, fillagreed with gold threads and bound with almost microscopic Mongolian embroidery, whip­ped out a glistening object, like a large spatula, made of jade--such as can be found in a case of the Olmec Room at the Anthropological Museum in Mexico City--and began to work with a slow massage technique on Agatha's delicately tendered left foot. The Lama lit the water pipe as, in the crowd, a coffee-drinker and gambler raised an invocation to Agni, god of Fire. A cluster of Quebec -guise, -ois,' French-Canadians cheered "Bom Shankar!" passing the nozzle of the hubbly-bubbly trailing a thin wisp of blue smoke over their heads to the Doctor.

Adamantino toked, settling into a bright orange zafu thrust under him with lusty hospitality. Three ladies, honoring the Lama's recognition of the new guest or their own artful inspiration, began to ease the Doctor from his riding tightness, spreading the folds of his garments into comfort. Delicia teased with the coral set stone on the buckle of his belt, loosening meridian constriction. She undid it, and Dr. Adamantino passed her the pipe. She tickled it with the tip of her ton­gue and took three tiny sucks, then inserted it with the motions of a masturbating middle finger just far enough into her vagina to touch the tip of her clitoris. De­licia then rose like a blue-eyed belly dancer, pre­tending the mouth piece was a penis or smoking dildo, she bumped and slowly ground it into the lips of the artist, Richheart Nobleson close to a state of shock generated by the dichotomy of wanting to suck up all that sweet Afghani smoke and playing out the mime of a cocksucker. But the combined smells of where the mouthpiece had just been and the smoke overcame the mudra of anxiety, and Nobleson toked hugely, then collapsed into Delicia's arms, as she said, "Well, I wouldn't ask you to do anything I wouldn't do myself."

"Lucky for us there is now a Doctor in the house to provide objective witness," the Lama said. "Sure. sure," responded Adamantino, "And I'm seeing all of this from somewhere objective like up in the orange clouds." Then he broke into song, imitating Nat King Cole, "I was walking along, minding my business, when out of an orange colored sky..."

"Klash! Bam!" the whole assembly chorused.
"Alakazam!" said the Lama. And Delicia finished the line, "Wonderful you walked by."

"Yes, I see her!" shouted Richheart Nobleson. "Ella Siva...sentendosi laudari..." begining the quote from Sonneto Decimoquinto of the New Life, La Vita Nuova of Dante, who has bestowed a great gift. "In red, with an upraised sword in her right hand." One of the coffee serving girls came in with a knife that she handed to a foolish looking fellow who began to whittle away with it on a large block of Mazar-i-sharif, number one grade hashish. In her left hand she lofted a single crater cup of coffee, which she placed in front of the Lama. When her head was bowed, the Lama placed around her neck a mala, or string of 108 beads carved from human bones in the shape of little skulls. Tongues remained mute and no eye strayed from the scene.

"A cup for the Doctor, too," the Lama asked, "and perhaps he would like some food. Let him try the special."

"What is it today?" Adamantino querried.

"Lamburghinis," said the Lady in Red. "Breaded Lambur­ghinis. The crumbs are genuine old dry San Francisco sourdough put through the Cuisinart. Little Navajo lamb, with an egg, some spinach and lots of parsley, a couple of scallions..." Just as she said "...bell pepper," the door opened again, the bell went "Ch'ing!" and a cheer went up from the assemblage.

It was a distinguished figure in an outlandishly grand costume of pale green velvet, the cuffs fringed with lace, and a vest of white brocade shot with silver thread. "Tootski, meet Adamantino," the Lama informally introduced.

"My prince!" Agatha screeched with glee, rustling her pillows, fluffing her red hair, with a gesture of ex­tending one hand, from the end of which dripped a set of long red nails. Tootski made a deep bow, with flourish. A small boy, daintily done up, all in which attended him, wrestling off his fox fur boots.

"Prince Tootski, is it?" Adamantino asked, making as if to rise. "Remain," came the reply, "Just a Count. The old witch dreams."Doctor Adamantino it is, doubtless."

"Why yes, but how..." Adamantino began in bewildered flattery.

"Famed in song and lore as expert on herbages, connnisseur of condiments and stoker of the Deep Blaze. Oh, dear Doc­tor, and how the threads of your karma are woven, twilled and twined into the skein of a wanderer's memory. Our paths probably crossed in the forest in the time of the yage rush...ah, yes, the Putumayo. But a fig for the May Queen whores. I see you are ordering. What is this, Thurs­day? Friday? I say, ordering: another Special K, s'il vous plait."

"No, L," Agatha giggled, face full of charm.

"And a Merry Christmas to you," Count Tootski rejoindered. Serve up today's special under L, then. Lessee, make mine Lemon."

"A twist on the mass, bowl of creamy yoghurt on the side, and a puddle of home-made bee honey," Agatha effused the consideration of a Queen Mother. She nodded to the waitress, who trilled to the cook, "Ordering: due lamburghini!" "I got it," and the cook echoed.

"I was just getting the recipe," Adamantino explained to the royal, or at least noble being.

"Receiving the recipe," came Tootski's correction, emphasizing the syllable SEE. "I do not believe in the word, GOT."

"Me gerund, cook got'um," Adamantino folded his arms in front of his chest, cigarstore Indian style.

"Glorious! So we feast on the flesh of the lamb, our Abel grandfather's sacrifice of flesh. Then it must be Thursday...by the jade green of the rare deep celadon glaze of table service tonight my Fire Queen displays. Rah! Then a brace of lamburghini. Put mine on a poppy seed roll, will you?" Tootski settled at Agatha's cushioned feet, slyly caressing the thigh of the virginal Mongolian masseusse. His valet produced a bottle of Saint-James Martinique rum. This he laid on its side, for the bottle is rectangular, and emp­tied out a little mountain of white powder onto the glass surface. He borrowed the little jade chu'a ka tool from the girl and proceeded to cut up the Bolivian flake into six inch lines, fat as the type on the label.

"Ooo, 000, ooo, my Snow Prince," Agatha sucked in the words rather than speaking them.

"Rooty toot Tootski, stuff your snoot," he enjoined, poising a tiny silver horn, set with a turquoise piece, up to Agatha's nose as one might hold a straw up to the lips of a very small child in front of a vanilla soda. Snirff. Snerff. Two lines down. Tootski gripped the bottle by its neck, and balancing the lines in space asked if Adamantino might like to partake. "It's not cut with anything but your appetite, Doctor. Don't worry, the lamb is a slow cooker." Adamantino half-and‑halved a line, and Tootski balanced the full, sealed bottle of rum atop the now quiescent hookah in front of the Lama Al Paca. "Voila! The snow Lions!"

"No lines like snow lines," the Lama proclaimed.

The vaccuum cleaner whoosh of the Lama's toot brought Richheart Nobelson to woozy consciousness. His bulbous nose quivvered in counterpoint with the vibration of Delicia's hand inside his pants. "Tootski, you say?"

"Lay some out for yourselves." The Count motioned to his valet who produced a similar rum bottle, but one filled with pure white crystalline flakes of cocaine.

"There were two bottles," thought Adamantino, "One red, the other white, on either side of the image of Vajrayogini. Like candleholders on an altar in his dream. And a rainbow curved over her head, from one bottletop to the other, enclosing a coalescing vision which by concrete detail came to articulate ever more fully the very dream about which he had come to confer with the Lama. Not just one bottle, but two--the second he had first missed remembering because it had been empty. But now here they were, both full to the brim with that classic combination, rum and coke.

There was a growl of tractor motors outside the door. "Ch'ing! Ch'ing!' The heads of Sal Monella and Chico Carboneri stuck in. "We got 'em for youse, boss. A brace of treaded Lamborghinis."

"Nobody plowing nothin' in here but snow," Agatha said. "But shut off the engines, and come on in, boys."

The little breaded lamb patties appeared on a platter surrounded by parsley sprigs and graced with a sauce of butter browned garlic bits, vino bianco, fresh crushed oregano and basil.

"To the king!" Tootski raised a glass of rum. "Yo, ho, ho," said the boys in the back, and many rose as they raised whatever was in their right hands to the roof of the coffee house: some had glasses, others coffee cups, joints, lighted matches, cards and dice. "And to the game?" others could be heard to say, sotto voce.

Adamantino drank rum and ate dinner. When a tulip of champagne came his way, he raised it "To the Queen!" "Rah!" the crowd shouted, and Agatha flushed. "A royal flush!" Chico's voice carried over from the card game. He raked in a pile of gold and silver coins and several small bags of leather containing dust and gemstones. The Lama and Count Tootski were concluding a game of chess. "To the Queen!" Al Paca smiled, advancing one of his black pawns to the eighth rank." The Count gri­maced. "Resign! Resign!" he said, toppling the white king  which rolled off the board, "Without reading a word."

Kurt von Meier
Circa 1972