Okay so I’m a Pagan – there aren’t “saints” per say but I incorporate the idea of “saints” into my practice. That’s what a theology degree will get you I guess – eclecticism and the license to make shit up where it suits you. Saints in the Christian tradition are people who are held up as especially virtuous and to be emulated in some ways… for me, Allen Ginsberg fills this role. He is on my ancestors altar. He is an example to me, both his work and his life.
Ginsberg and the Beats in general are associated with Buddhism mostly. However, Ginsberg had a spiritual evolution in his lifetime from Judaism to Hinduism and finally to Tibetan Buddhism. It’s not just his passion and ideas that I admire, it’s his ability to change and shift perspectives, incorporate new practices, and at the same time to maintain his voice over time. Originally I was going to write a long academic post dissecting the Beat’s views on Buddhism and how they influenced Buddhism in America or a paper dissecting Ginsberg’s poems doing some old school it analysis. Unfortunately (or fortunately since perhaps those posts are dreadful – someone once said something about analyzing a poem is akin to tying it to a chair and whipping it to death) I have a fever and won’t be doing any of that. In the place of something vapid, overreaching, and boring I could have written I’m going to simply post some of my favorite and most beautiful (in my humble opinion) Ginsberg lines and poem links. Get yourself a copy of “Howl” and “Kaddish” and see if you two find it to be one of the most sacred texts you’ll own.
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!– Footnote to Howl.
That pretty much sums it all up… anything I could say. That is the most Pagan thing I have ever read, and pretty much the entire thing that inspired me and has mostly influenced my ideas on spirituality, life, death, poetry, and everything. So I’m going to eat some more soup and go back to bed! See you next week PBPers!