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Justin Hall
18 March, 1996
Shamanism, Grant


Medusa's Hair
Gananath Obeyesekere

scan me boy, each of these books we read rings personally. this is a funny one, coinciding nicely with the matting of my own hair, but moreover I appreciated Obeyesekere's exploration of western alienating diagnosis of "psychoisis" versus symbolic identification and subsequent subject reintegration within other cultures.

I'll start with the hair.
Not anything I've actively cultivated, rather the lack of cultivation. I wash my hair every two or three days, but I never comb or brush it - haven't for years now. This Christmas it started to clump up. Something different, I thought, nothing to be faught.

These have formed at the same time I've been leaning toward drug abstinence and at least the consideration of sexual abstinence.

a friend aaron wong was reading this book earlier in the semester and told me that now that I had dreadlocks, I wasn't allowed to have sex any more.

of course these ladies, with their devotion to god and sexlessness cause me to question my own indulgences. But perhaps I'm just being honest, physical with my sexual energy (though I do find myself conservative compared to my college compatriots).

but these ascetics enjoy spiritual sexuality more deeply cathartic?

Funny thing happened over break. I was hanging out at the Boot Hill Saloon, a biker bar in Daytona Beach Florida. Cathie, a 26 year old in an acid washed denim ensemble with white leather tassles found my hair unpardonable.

I'll bet you got long hair without them knots.

I'll bet you look real hot with your hair done right, combed out.

So she decided she was going to take me home and comb out my matted locks. I doubted her ability to do so in any sort of tiumely fashion -
"No way honey, I can get those out in a half an hour, I'm a cosmotologist."

I heard her say to a friend,

after I take care of this,
I'm gonna fuck him to death

so she started pouring beer down my throat...

...I asked her, you ever heard of samson and delilah?

Sex, indulgence, intoxication, control, power, gender all tied up in some knots and tassles.

So at once I saw my dreadlocks could be attaractive, but at least for her, they needed to be transformed, she needed to be able to symbolicly tame me before she could merge with me (or just fuck me to death).

I played into that that night, keeping her somewhat at bay, but still letting her dance around my dreads and pour Budweiser in me. It made me hot.

With the biblical reference, I did identify our mating game, power struggle with mythology and symbol. Certainly my hair in that context was richly symbolic.

I did feel the urge to at least defend my hair, if not my chastitity.

there was a choice trade off. if my dreads were spiritual,
what would make them spiritual? independent arising, I did nothing to my hair to make it matt so.

Yvonne Chireau saw them, and said that free forming locks werea sign of being chosen by jah.

funny thing is, dreadlocks have become fairly commonplace in this country, I see other folks got 'em casually, and mine didn't seem to elicit unequivocal revulsion.

Perhaps I'm not dirty enough.

Some of the bikers over spring break, one of them asked me

"Whadja do to yer hair?

but that's about as bad as it gets.

Except for my mom. She thiks these are dirty, disgusting,

"it looks like something could be living in there."
unhealthy, her most common referant.
Returning from break,
I find
hair ritual trauma pervading
(Ben's girlfriend)
heather now short hair
cried for four hours afterward

male drunken barber ritual next door
my bathroom floor littered with shavings
as my study interrupted by boy revelry.

Thinking now about guilt, my own, for doing wrong by a friend. Nice to find some means of penance, through a symbol set -

are movie stars the closest things to gods?

Thinking too of my wounded friends, one in particular, who could perhaps use an exorcism, or transformation of torturous spirits into beneficient guardians. That would I guess require composition of her own spirit symbol set. Where would she draw it from, and how could I help her?

I know a guy Haia who was deemed schizophrenic by the US Army after he served in Korea. Today he works in San Francisco as a walking messenger, delivering bank notices in the financial district.

He regularly sites the little people, or Orthon the space alien as a source for his information.

Raina Indeed, my friend Raina is quite likely to attribute academic failure, general misfortune to outer space beings - going so far as to deem antagonistic college administrators malevolent beings from another galaxy.

At the same time, she has deemed me an alien as well - but seemingly benevolent.

It seems a nice subversion of science and space travel.

I see this alien stuff popping up all over, espcially in California. As they say in politics, as goes California, so goes the nation!

UFO objectification, subjectification...

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