We crossed the millennium with an old black hole gnawing at our certainties. Attempts to fill the emptiness with more entertainment and an endless stream of goods have inflicted terrible damage to the earth, and distorted our souls in the bargain. MTV and Internet rule, and things fall apart. The family collapses, the community collapses, values evaporate, cities echo with small arms fire. The barbarian is not only at the gates, he is inside the gates, and inside the schools as well. Meanwhile, the rivers and oceans are poisoned from our waste, the great forests are going--going, ozone holes leak deadly radiation, and species extinction hits free-fall.

What to do? Govenment keeps pumping up the GNP, somehow figuring that more Unlimited Growth (which created this mess) will get us out of it!

This is not your usual end-of-the-century jitters. Future Shock has unnerved the planet. The great tectonic plates of civilization are adrift now, and the widening fault lines can be seen on the evening news every night. The Old Order still rumbles down the track, but it’s a train out of fuel. Staying the course now only guarantees disaster, because up ahead the bridge is out: Capitalism has mutated into vast, uncontrolable multinationals, while Big Science diverts our attention from its disasters with illusions of cool breakthrough-fixes just-around-the-corner. And a young, aggressive techno-elite is fastforwarding us into an information/genetic revolution which will have absolutely apocalyptic consequences if played out.

Painted medicine drum
The Old Advisary

At this crucial juncture, surely we can imagine marching to a better drum than a thousand megahertz Pentium chip! Actually we don't march to that beat, we mentate to it, staring at cathode-ray screens like this one, washed in cold light, sliding into the paralyzing coldness of the age,* which is the coldness of the mind, a crazy patriarchal hardness which has so numbed the heart that we see but cannot act sensibly, cannot stop ourselves from cherishing nuclear warheads, or forcing twelve year--old Burmese farm girls to assemble motherboards in windowless factories.

Maybe only a whole new take on life will get us out of this mess. Is it time to think new thoughts? Contemplate getting off the train? Finding a path that honors the earth and maybe untangles the heart?

We are witness today to the entry of an ancient spiritual vitality into modern affairs. Call it the River of Sanity--an underground current which has run through all history, nourishing visionaries of every tradition...on back finally to megalith builders and cave painters.

More than a set of teachings, it is a profoundly different way of understanding reality, one that finds affirmation in the frontier discoveries of our own scientific thought. It is surfacing again now and becoming a genuine parallel culture. Call it the Afterculture.

or hope...

River-running meditation place     

that we have within
our deepest self
not only to change ourselves

Hi-tension Kiva


...but to change our culture, and our world.

The situation demands of us nothing less than a vast transformation. Our fragile planet cries out for it with the tongues of the last Mindanao tribesmen, and the Kogi, the Hopi and the Kung, with the silence of the missing frogs and the thud of a thousand tropical mahoganies falling every minute. Can we imagine instead a future where songs are heard drifting in the twilight? Where great forests rise again? And rivers run clean and sparkling to the sea, and a million buffalo roam, and people meet face to face without fear in the marketplace, and children are secure? And the sacred is part of everyday life? It seems like a tall order. But maybe it’s only because the natural order of things seems farfetched now.

Quantum drum


Hope: Like the little proto-mammals that appeared at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs the Afterculture has found its niche and is evolving and mutating at an extraordinary rate. Drumming Man, and Woman Who Runs with the Wolves are starting to dance to the Tao of Physics. Spiritual experience is replacing religion. Sufis and Jewish Buddhists and Radical Christians find they are right there on the wavelength together. .

It is evolving a new and powerful “art” completely outside the art establishment. Functional art.

The art of the Afterculture can be seen most clearly in magical objects. They empower the speaker in council circles, keep rhythm for song, and direct prayers at sweat lodges and forest shrines. Their ritual usages can often be traced back thousands of years. They often exhibit intriguing connections between sacred traditions, or link ancient mysticism with quantum physics and chaos theory

These ritual artifacts are being employed by 20th Century men and women today. As we enter a new millennium, their existence testifies to a rich new vision of what it means to be a human being.



Box for sweat-lodge implements      


In this new/timeless tradition I have been responsible for stone circles, teahouses, hogans and a Mazar, painted drums and prayersticks and Mihrabs and mandalas and duas. Such works are mostly private matter: ritual objects and places deepen their resonance and power within a sympathetic circle

But that circle has grown huge now, as a whole people begin hungering for a richer vision of life than the one offered by cyberculture.

A compelling idea is born:

A in-gathering of these artifacts
could be a shamanic device for a people

Emergence -
(Hand woven Rug)

...affirming the EMERGENCE of this "River of Sanity" to a new nation of pilgrims and searchers,
clarifing its compass headings for the faithful
and open up the possibility of
a future radically different than the one we are reluctantly blundering into.


An installation
A movie
A future