This letter is 19 pages long, handwritten on 7"x9" paper. (About 1,800 words, so it would be about five or six pages in a printed book.) It’s mostly about Peter’s interest in bodily purification, and connecting that to Christian and other religious teachings.
Content warning for lighthearted reference to addiction (in the context of sugar and alcohol and tobacco) and discussion of food restrictions. Also for detailed description of an enema.
Also for ideas about religious history that may be annoying to Christians and/or Hindus.
dear (grand) parents ––
what a beautiful high-holiday season this continues to be! marcy & i join jed in delighted cheers & resounding “thank you”’s for the bounteous & thoughtful gifts you have bestowed on us —— it’s all so good! … i’m sitting in the kitchen eating yulekake (surely visions of sugar plums shall dance in our heads tonight…) & fruitcake (i’m so full, i couldn’t eat another bite … well, maybe just one more bite…) —— and getting re-addicted to sugar (i fell from grace two weeks ago, when i ate some fudge at a wedding party: since then it’s been pumpkin pie & pecan pie & wassail bowl all made with white sugar, at a Christmas party in sauselito, and then eggnog & cake & cookies at another Christmas dinner in san anselmo —— just because it all tasted so good … and today i really sated myself on the fantastic sweetnesses of pudding, cake, & bread, just like any shameless sugar-freak, o, what a backslider i’ve been, well, as martin luther once said, to be forgiven our sins, we must first sin… so, when the sweet-breads are gone (as marcy said, “i’m eating it even if it does have any white sugar, ’cause it’s just so full of good ‘vibes’…”…), then i’ll just have to shake the habit again ’til next Christmas … and while i’m getting purified, i think i’ll cut out alcohol too —— i’ve been drinking an average of a pint of beer a day for months, and, while i don’t really feel any very bad effects from it, still it’s probably not doing me any good —— after that can start kicking tobacco —— i smoke about four pipefuls a day —— costs five cents a week, but healthwise it costs much more… pollution of both internal & external environments always costs more than is apparent…
In side margin: “We’re going to get it all purified … or live trying…”
i have come upon two extraordinary documents, both in a book called “From Chrishna to Christ” by Dr. Raymond Bernard, Ph.D. one of these purports to be “the original gospel of john,” and tells what a man must do to be purified of his toxins (forgiven of his sins) … it starts with fasting & prayer…
“For I tell you truly, except you fast, you shall never be freed from the power of Satan and from all the diseases that come from Satan. Fast and pray fervently, seeking the power of God for your healing” (of course joh-rei, as prayer in action, accelerates & facilitates the purification process…)
After the fasting, the gospel advises using the purificatory power of “the Angel of Air” —— by deeply breathing, and by “air-bathing” nude, letting the air purify the lungs & skin…
Next, we are told to cleanse ourselves by the power of “the Angel of Water” —— by swimming & bathing, and by self-administering enemas using an elongated gourd (hung from a tree) filled with sun-warmed stream-water, and in a kneeling position with head down (this is the “yoga-mudra asana”, the symbol-of-yoga position, a posture of humility) and letting the water enter one’s “hinder parts”…
after praying in this position that God will use the water to cleanse all impurities and parasites (“sins & devils”) from the intestines, one lets the water flow out, & can then see all what manner of putrefaction &/or parasites infest one’s own bowels —— and remember, these are the “gut-level” of the Temple —— if we can get clean clear through, then we are making the Temple a purified, orderly, beautiful local environment —— a reduced pollution zone…
this may have been an important part (or maybe a pre-requisite) of the original form of the sacrament of baptism…
then, the “Angel of Sunlight” shines on the nude sunbather and purifies this seeker’s body-&-nervous-system-&-mind “even as the darkness of night fades before the brightness of the rising sun.” and “None may come before the face of God, whom the Angels of Air & Water & Sunlight let not pass.”
“When the Earthly Mother’s Angels enter into your bodies, in such wise that the lords of the Temple repossess it, and all sins & uncleanliness are gone from your body, your blood shall become as pure as our Earth Mother’s blood, as the river’s foam sporting in the sunlight. And your breath shall become as pure as the breath of beautifully-smelling flowers; your flesh as pure as the flesh of fruits reddening upon the leaves of trees; the light of your eyes as clear and bright as the brightness of the sun shining upon the blue sky. And now shall all the Angels of the Earthly Mother serve you. And your breath, your blood, your flesh shall be one with the breath, the blood, and the flesh of the Earthly Mother.”
this regime would have to be undertaken away from city-polluted air & water, perhaps near a mountain stream…
well, the author claims that there was a Therapeut Essene named Appolonius of Tyana who preached this technique to people & their practicing it led to “miracle” cures (it really is a miracle, but a NATURAL miracle, not a supernatural one…)
well, the other document purports to be the original gospel of Christ’s message, of which the 4 gospels matthew mark luke & john are supposed to be 4 different bowdlerizations —— because this original gospel has “the Master” saying ——
“Ye shall not take away the life of any creature for thy pleasure, nor for your profit, nor yet torment it. Ye shall not steal the goods of any, nor gather lands and riches to yourself, beyond your need & use. Ye shall not eat the flesh nor drink the blood of any slaughtered creature; nor yet anything which bringeth disorder to your health & senses…” … he’s saying, don’t eat meat, and don’t take alcohol or drugs … so Constantine, the Emperor in 325 A.D., changed these teachings of Chrishna, the Christ of Ancient India, through the Council of Nicea… before the council he persecuted the Chrishna-ists/ins, but after the Roman Churchmen deleted all references to kindness to animals, vegetarianism, & sobriety … then he embraced the new (distorted) “religion” that he had (through the Council) created … this way, he had Jesus (from Iesus, a Phoenician sun-god) Christ (Christos, from Greek for Chrishna) as a vicarious atonement for his “sins” of meat, wine, orgies…
In side margin: …“was humbly born in a stable rude, and the friendly beasts around Him stood…”
so I am reminded of an idea of Gurdjieff —— he wished God had given us an ENEMA instead of an UMBRELLA —— and if there’s any truth to the allegations of this book, God did give us (mankind) Appolonius or Jesus, Christ or Chrishna, whatever His name was, or names were, who came with a message of ENEMA: GET CLEAN CLEAR THROUGH, GET CLEAR CLEAN THROUGH, GET CLEAR OF ALL THE
CRAPCRUD-AND-CORRUPTION! MAKE THE TEMPLE (W)HOLLYHOLY… and of course those people who hated their bodies and wanted them to beremain impure, transformed the message into UMBRELLA: I CAN ABUSE MY BODY HOWEVER MUCH, AND I’LL BE FORGIVEN, BECAUSE SUPERNATURAL MESSIAH HAS ALREADY (vicariously) ATONED FOR IT…
so, i’m hoping to be able soon to undertake a real thorough-going “mountain-spring-cleaning” —— “the Master” is supposed to have said that God will forgive 7 years’ sins (toxins) in 7 days (and 7x7 years’ in 7x7 days) (and “happy is he that perseveres to the end (of this purification), for he shall inherit the earth”) so maybe in a month’s time I could get CLEAN… but i’ll have to work up to it —— one- & two-day fasts, yoga exercise, & joh-rei should help in preparation…
then after such a Purification, the reader is advised to eat only living plants —— raw fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, alfalfa sprouts, herbs, etc. (plus honey, and pollen, as the essences of flowers…) —— because living food makes our bodies more & more alive, & dead food makes them more & more dead…
well, i’m not trying to tell you that the non-living goodies you sent us made us more dead when we ate them —— on the contrary, we ate with joy, & were nourished & filled with joy, PEACE, GOODWILL TO ALL MEN, (there’s a rock-group called “all men joy”) because the real, beautiful, true gift was the care —— the thoughtful giving (jed’s picking up the color-names so fast, playing with the tower of tori (toruses?), the peg-bench, & the crayons (i haven’t seen him draw with them yet, but he sure likes putting them into & taking them out from the box…)), the perserverance of shopping in Christmas crowds, the art & craft of the baking, the orderly use of energy & materials, the packing & packaging into such useful containers —— all this evidences LOVING CARE, and i want you to know that your care (continuing back to when your caring love, God willing, gave me life, a living Earth-man-body-mind, some mud that got to sit up & look around; thank you, God… thank you, parents.) continues to nurture the seed of Christ-consciousness that is in each of us —— like Paul (Pol? Apollonius?) saying, “not I, but Christ in me…” well, i feel it quickening, this state of clean grace is being born in many heart chakras now, what is potential in all is beginning more & more to manifest in many… “seek ye first the kingdom of heaven” “unless a man is born again of the water & the spirit he can in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven” —— so we must prepare the Temple, clean up the manger. (i made enough money shovelling cow-pies in modesto to pay our joh-rei church dues —— & then you cared enough to lend us the money besides…), & purify our bodies, minds, & hearts so that the King of Peace may truly be born in us! —— and the more people there are who experience this “peace that passeth understanding” and who really know real peace (at-one-ment, atonement) with body-mind integrated, peace with self, fellowmen, Nature, God… the sooner & faster we can start to clean up the pigsty we have made of the planet, spaceship-Earth … as above, so below, as below so above… cleaning my polluted body inside & out is part of the same anti-entropic process, of the same patterns of ordered nearness called care, as beginning to clean up the pollution of the air, the water, the soil, the natural environment, outside & in…
so, i will try to care as well as you have & do… thank you for everything, i’m writing to paul & linda next, we sent 1 book to dave, wrote to both, rec’d letter from j. today —— they’re having a beautiful time (under the circumstances)
… love, peter, marcy, & gentle jed
Interesting that after a dozen letters over the course of a year and a half, this is the first mention of Peter and Marcy avoiding processed sugar. I was not allowed to eat anything with processed sugar in it until I was ten years old, but I had vaguely thought that their opposition to sugar started later than this, whereas in this letter it sounds like it was already well-established by late 1969.
Also interesting: the discussion of alcohol and tobacco. I’m guessing he was also thinking about taking a break from marijuana; marijuana and alcohol were his main addictions for most of the years I knew him. After I left for college, I gather that he occasionally went back to tobacco and other drugs for a while, but I don’t remember him ever smoking tobacco when I was a kid; I think he must have given it up sometime around 1970 and stayed off of it for the next 15+ years.
…Also, it would not surprise me if he was a bit stoned when he wrote this letter; some of the flights of words near the end in particular read to me like his altered-consciousness mode.
- Norwegian Christmas bread. Helen was of Norwegian descent, and occasionally made Norwegian food like lefse. But I don’t remember her making yulekake; I wonder if she stopped at some point, or maybe just stopped sending it to us.
- From Christ to Chrishna
- See this Hare Krishna web page about the book. The author of the book appears to have also been a Hollow Earth proponent.
- Apollonius of Tyana
- Greek philosopher and miracle-worker who has been compared with Jesus; for details, see Wikipedia.
- etymology of Jesus and Christ
- Peter seems to have gotten these supposed etymologies from From Christ to Chrishna, which apparently says that “Hierocles” (presumably Hierocles of Alexandria) claimed that the Christian priesthood had made up the name Jesus Christ by combining Iesus and Krishna. I have no idea whether Hierocles said that, but even if he did, I see no reason to believe him. My dictionary, which I trust in matters of etymology, says that Jesus comes ultimately “from Hebrew Yēshūa,” and Christ comes “from Greek Christos, [meaning] anointed.”
- G. I. Gurdjieff, “Russian philosopher, mystic, spiritual teacher, and composer.” Peter was a big fan of his.
- tower of tori
- I assume this was a Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack, or something similar.
- This word struck me because Peter’s main use for it in later years was to say, when the mess in the house occasionally got to be too much for him, “This place is a pigsty!”