The Road of Excess, as the first installment of my autobiography, covers up to 1968.
It is now available on Amazon as a paperback and as a Kindle e-book.
It’s not easy to describe what’s in it. Isn’t it all about me? No, it’s not, being intellectual autobiography, in which my life is mostly a thread tying together the actual content. Details that would be of interest or importance only to my family I have left out.
I was raised Catholic. The toxic pathology about sex that was still taught by the church in the 1950s frightened me enough to drive me to the brink of suicide. However, at age 14, I was given what the Gnostics called an Awakening, which saved my life and set me on a path of pursuing truth wherever it might lead, knowing that the path can inherently never end. I have thought hard about what the Awakening showed me about the nature of spiritual experience. I hope to explain its importance to those who can hear
Wondering about what beliefs about sex might be healthier than the Great Catholic Heresy led me to the writings of Wilhelm Reich and to the hope that the Craft might be a saner path would celebrate our sexuality, not use it against us.
In 1955 my friend Alan enlightened me about socialism, which became the basis for my political activities in the 1960s.
My discovery of the works of Leland, Gardner, Murray, and Graves, and the fact that Sarah and I fell in love in 1963, laid the foundations for the creation of the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, and then later of the Covenant of the Goddess. (Sarah has corrected my memories of those years. There’s also lots of autobiographical stuff in Hippie Commie Beatnik Witches, about the creating of the NROOGD and of COG, but this book complements all that instead of duplicating it.)
I had another and yet different kind of Awakening, also in 1963, that overturned all my assumptions about the nature of the mind; hence there is much discussion of William Blake, of the nature of consciousness, about how and why psychic abilities operate.I describe being an editor for Stanford University Press, about how my MA in Poetry got me hired as an editor for Scientific American Books, about editing and writing for And/Or Press, but mainly about the scientists and authors I had the pleasure of working with and befriending.
There is much about San Francisco State and especially about what my doctoral program at the GTU was like. I earned a Ph.D. in Berkeley in order to become a better writer. And just before I turned 36, I got myself to Alcoholics Anonymous and began working toward another sort of spiritual awakening. That path also never ends, because it is the same path.
There is also much autobiographical poetry at its appropriate places in the time line.
Before I was thinking clearly about how to write this story, I wondered if I should gloss over the events of September 11, 1976, but then it dawned on me, no, that was where the story has to begin. So here Chapter 1, “Turning Point,” covers some of 1968 to 1977, as a forecast of the next installment.
Books now available on Amazon”
The Road of Excess: Part I, To the Goddess
A Tapestry of Witches: A History of the Craft in America, Vol. I, To the Mid-1970s.
Elegies for Alta: Poems 1970 to 1987.
Hippie Commie Beatnik Witches: A Social History of the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn.
Playing with Words, We See What We Name: Poems 1960-1970
Songs for the Gods and Witches: Poems of Three Decades.