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The Persistence of Superstition

By Tim Hazell


I am the alpha and omega, the beginning and ending, the first and last.

- Revelation of St John

In occultism, the broad definition of “human” includes hybrids with supernatural powers. Native lore and superstition have engendered allegorical stories that celebrate our dream states. Curanderos use sacred hallucinogens to communicate with animal messengers and bring about events in multiple futures. Mazatec medicine woman María Sabina (1894–1985) was famous for her healing ceremonies or veladas. She used the psilocybin mushroom, also known as teonanacatl or “divine flesh,” to propel her spirit into celestial realms.

Sabina brilliantly incorporated themes common to Mazatec and Mesoamerican spiritual traditions but at the same time was a masterful oral poet with a profound literary and personal charisma.

This chant was sung in a shamanic trance in which, as she recounted, the “saint children” spoke through her:


I am the woman Book who is beneath the water,

I am the woman of the populous town,

I am the shepherdess who is beneath the water,

Because everything has its origin.

I am going from place to place from the origin…


The limits of consciousness may be stretched through diligent practice until our comprehension spans the universe. This concept has been explained by Western science as “total awareness.” The heart is referred to as the nexus of the vascular system but also a seat of cognition and emotion.

Among Celtic communities in Europe at the time of Julius Caesar’s conquest of Britain, the roiling sea was considered a spirit. Scholar Kuno Meyer translated many ancient verses from Old Irish into Modern English more than 100 years ago. This superb example of a bard’s rant is permeated with salt, spray, and grim omnipotence:


Song of the Sea


A great tempest rages on the Plain of Ler,

Bold across its high borders

Wind has arisen, fierce winter has slain us;

It has come across the sea,

It has pierced us like a spear.

When the wind sets from the east,

The spirit of the wave is roused,

It desires to rush past us westward

To the land where sets the sun,

To the wild and broad green sea.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of potatoes and cabbage. Its name is derived from the Irish Gaelic cál ceannann or “white-headed cabbage.”



2-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 slices bacon

1/2 small head cabbage, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup butter, melted


Boil potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover until tender. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Fry until evenly brown. Remove and drain, reserving drippings. Crumble and set aside. Saute the cabbage and onion in the drippings until soft and translucent. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, pour in the melted butter, and serve immediately.


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