Today was the day - chosen by R.A.W.'s immediate friends and family - as the day of the "Cosmic Meme-orial and Lasagne Levitation" in honour of Pope Bob's passing this past January. There are sorta simultaneous (or maybe that's 'non-simultaneous') meme-orials going on in London and Stourbridge in the UK, possibly one in Canada and a couple more in the States (there's one planned in Philadelphia for the 23rd of Feb.). The "big one", of course, is being held in Santa Cruz, CA., the good doctor's home since the early 90s and from whence he journeyed out into The Great Unknown. I had toyed with the idea of going to the London ones: meeting up with some folks from the Maybe Logic Academy and other Wilson-heads, then starting with a walking tour of Wilsonian sites (with a generous stopping at pubs in between)--then to a multi-media celebration of R.A.W. (music, the Maybe Logic DVD played on a big screen, poetry readings, etc.). It sounds like it's a hoot.
It turned out that I just wouldn't have enough money for the travel costs and booze costs and possibly book costs (one of the stops on the walking tour was the Atlantis Bookshop, Aleister Crowley's old haunt, so I'm sure there's interesting stuff in there...), so I had to forego the trip. I decided I couldn't make Stourbridge for the same reason--and Santa Cruz was completely out of the question. I held my own (small) meme-orial at mine and my wife's humble abode. First, I gathered up the ingredients: My copy of "Maybe Logic"--the 2-disc version with the bonus features, a bottle of Guinness, my Celtic tarot deck, Finnegans Wake, the Schrodinger's Cat trilogy and a pipe full of "the sacrament". I also had my dream diary, to record a dream from early this morning in which R.A.W. made an appearance.
I fired up the DVD at 1:23 p.m., the time that the walking tour of London was due to begin, had a toke and a swig of Guinness and sat back to be mesmerised by Wilson "in action", discussing his life and the concepts that brought him such admiration from the critters who "tuned in" to his words. I do admit to getting a bit misty-eyed during the part where R.A.W. is at the medical marijuana protest-sseing him get fired up over the T.S.O.G.'s brainless policies--hearing him talk about "the rest of my life" and knowing that at that point--he'd only be on the planet for another 5 years. I watched all of the first disc (the documentary) and most of the second disc--including the "Prisoner Rap Sessions", a cable-access show in the late 70s featuring D. Scott Apel and another guy (can't recall his name at the moment) discussing the late 60s "Prisoner" TV show. R.A.W. sits in as a guest on a couple of the shows and injects some of the themes in his books (the shows took place in 1978 - so really, it's just "Cosmic Trigger" and "Illuminatus!" and "Ishtar Rising" at that point) into the discussions. It's pretty fascinating stuff and I'm glad the footage was kept for so long.
When the DVDs finished - I got out the Celtic tarot deck for an experiment. I shuffled the deck, then held it for a moment and then asked Bob for "a sign". I cut the deck and the card I had was "The Hermit". I looked up the description of the card in the accompanying book and this is the first couple of sentences: "Walking barefoot, the Fool re-enters the scene having completed part of his journey. The Hermit's figure of an old man, wearing a red robe, is symbolic of having completed a cycle of spiritual evolution in the esoteric sense." Hmm..interesting. I decided to try it again with my Arthurian deck--this time I got "The Cauldron" (equivalent to "Temperance" in other decks). Again, consulting the book, I found the 'archetypal meaning' of the card: "The Cauldron represents the regeneration of all orders of creation in the land of Logres. There is no loss, only changing and transmutation in this life beyond life. It is the source of spiritual empowerment to the initiate who goes beyond the gates of death in the search for the Grail." A bit spooky..but I thought I would try a third time with my Rider-Waite deck. This time I got the Nine Of Cups and the description: "The goodly personage is feasting to his hearts content and abundant refreshement of wine is on the arched counter behind him." And the Divinatory Meanings: "Concord, contentment, physical bien-etre, victory, success, advantage.." Does it all mean anything? I don't know--but it seemed a fun experiment anyway.
After that, it was time for a reading from "The Good Book", as R.A.W. refers to it in "Maybe Logic"--yep, "Finnegans Wake". I randomly chose the chapter starting on page 169 and worked my way into it - trying to decipher as many of the Joycean puns and riddles as I could. The Guinness and THC had made my brain a bit weary over the course of the afternoon and I would drift off into short sleeps every so often--only to wake up abruptly and attempt to delve into the chapter with more vigour. I finally had to stop when Pixie announced she wanted me to help put the cleaned bedclothes back on the bed. I didn't end up reading any of "Schrodinger's Cat", but I will re-read it soon, when I've got through a couple of the books I'm reading through at the moment.
All in all, an enjoyable day spent sending off Robert Anton Wilson in style--I wish I could be in Santa Cruz to see his ashes being scattered into the Pacific Ocean, but I would like to think that he enjoyed my little tribute to him and his ideas. Hail Eris! Hail Bob!
Image created by Bobby Campbell - Madison Underground Comics