Monday, September 27, 2010

Dust of the Earth, Chap 12

Welcome to the continuing serialized version of Phantom Limbs' bassist Jim Parks' novel, Dust Of The Earth, a Tucson story about Tucson history, mystery, other worlds, desert mojo, forbidden love, and the fledgling Tucson music scene... (c) by Jim Parks, reprinted with permission

When we left off, our narrator was at Tumbleweeds, apparantly enjoying himself...
Chapter 12
"Don Pedro loved being interviewed on tape"
Jorge seemed mystified by my visits to Don Pedro and A.C. He understood my attraction  to Ana Socorro but thought Don Pedro was just a crazy old man. Jorge also believe that if Raul Castellano discovered my visits, I would be forbidden to return -- with a threat of violence if necessary. My friendship with A.C. would be seen as a sort of back-door threat against the family, and the strained relations between Raul and Don Pedro would get even worse. Jorge said there were rumors that Raul had beaten Don Pedro during an argument not long after A.C.'s mother had died. Raul had thrown Don Pedro down the stairs, resulting in the spinal injury that had confined him to a wheelchair. If not for Ana Socorro, Don Pedro would have been banished from the house entirely. As it was, Don Pedro was moved into the back of the house where the servants lived, and he and Raul maintained an icy peace.

    One of my projects for the Southwest History class was to record an oral history with a longtime Tucson resident. These histories would be archived at the Arizona State Historical Society, which had just begun this program. There was a list of suggested people who had volunteered to be interviewed, but I knew right away who the subject of my project would be.

    Don Pedro loved being interviewed on tape, and I soon gathered enough information about his personal history in Tucson. But Don Pedro went off on plenty of autobiographical tangents, covering periods of his college experience in England, his visits to Europe and Asia, his childhood in Guadalajara, and his days as a stamp dealer in Mexico City. I ended up with many hours of recordings, which I have transcribed over the years. I turned over the Tucson-related material to the Historical Society, but the other material I keep stored in a filing cabinet with the intention of someday writing a biography. Since I doubt I will ever get around to this task, here are some salient passages from Don Pedro's oral histories.

Excerpts from an interview with Pedro Luis Martin:
    I attended Cambridge between 1907 and 1911. I had some friends in my house who were involved in the Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn. This was a sort of fraternal organization - like the Freemasons - but much more mystical and secretive. The Golden Dawn had a darker, more occult tradition. Early on, members studied Black Magic and Demonology, as well as the Jewish Kabbalah and Eastern mystical traditions. There were various rites and initiations, and members advanced through ranks.

    By the time I became involved, the Golden Dawn had broken off into a few different branches. The early leaders had quarreled and schismed, setting up their own 'true' orders. Really, by the time I became involved, the Golden Dawn was on the wane, and today only few scattered adherents belong to the order. That tarot deck you see on my shelf there - that was designed by A. E. Waite, one of the early members of the group. It's a beautiful favorite. Though Waite was probably the most scholarly and careful of the order, he was overshadowed by more flamboyant - and frankly, more egotistical - members like Aleister Crowley. Crowley thought Waite was a bore and a pedant.

So wait. Did the Golden dawn actually practice Black magic? Like, did they call up demons and that sort of thing?
    Well...there may have been a few who tried it. But really, the Golden Dawn was more of a theosophical group. They were interested in secret knowledge and wisdom. No one I met seemed to can I put this...supernaturally powerful. I never witnessed any apparitions or manifestations - or any phenomena that broke the laws of physics. On the other hand, I thought that there was wisdom and knowledge to be found in the texts. The order based its rites on historical documents...ancient traditions, though obscure. Much of what people now practice as witchcraft or pagan religion derives from these traditions.

To Be Continued...

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