Midway through: Clearly a reflection on Dante's, Midway through our life's journey... "The lines from Dante's Inferno quoted above offer an image for the state of mind that comes over persons at midlife as they enter a terrain that seems dark, unmarked, and lonely....Midlife befalls us; we don't ask for it." M Stein, In MidLife. Dallas, TX., 1983.

The Gnostic Gospels:E.H. Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels. New York, 1979. "Pagels made it clear that early Christianity was far more complicated than anyone had ever imagined. A wildly diverse compendium of poems, chants, myths, gospels, pagan documents, and spiritual instructions, the (Nag Hammadi texts) are distinct evidence of fierce theological debate and of an alternative tradition within early Christianity..." D. Reminck, "The Devil Problem." The New Yorker. 1 April 1995.

snake/serpent: "The distinction between the words 'snake' and 'serpent' is a dim one in popular parlance, but involves more than a linguistic subtlety. The former is the native English word and far more commonly used; the latter is considered alien and...opens up vast metaphorical possibilities." B. Mundkur, The Cult of the Serpent. Albany, NY., 1983.
   They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hand on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark XVI:18). "These words, spoken by Jesus after the Resurrection and immediately before the Ascension, were a command, (G.W.) Hensley felt, which he was bound to obey and to test out. The more he thought about it, the more he felt he must put his faith in the test. So he climbed White Oak Mountain (Tennessee), which rims Grasshopper Valley on the east, after some hunting found a large rattlesnake in a rocky gap. A few days later he began his evangelical work: in a religious meeting at Dale Creek he cited (the Bible text) and thrust the rattlesnake at the people for them to take up and thereby prove their faith." W. La Barre, The Peyote Cult. New York, 1969.

a small brow: Strabo, speaking of the region of Denizli, Turkey, where, next to the Temple of Apollo, there was a gap in the earth believed to have been an entrance to Hades. H.L. Jones, The Geography of Strabo. New York, 1929.

bleak and wooden:"The motif is the journey of the poet who must find his way out of the dark wood. The motivation is the need to recover. Recover from what? What is the meaning of the dark wood and what has caused Dante's fear? No precise answer is ever given to these questions. Today, some 680 years after the date of the poem's action, we would call the poet's condition that of alienation." W. Fowlie, A Reading of Dante's Inferno. Chicago. 1981.

samsara: "The world of flux, change and ceaseless becoming in which we live. Daily life. In (Buddhism), the field of deliverance from its bondage and limitation; there is none other. The purpose of the Noble Eightfold Path is to enable one to step off the Wheel, into the state of Nirvana. But in the (Mahayana) School it is taught that no such escape is truly possible, for Sams~ra and Nirv~na are two aspects of one Reality..." C. Humphreys, Zen--A Way of Life. New York, 1965.

raising their combs: Drancontius. In, A.B. Cook, Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion. New York, 1964.

Paul: Born in Bethlehem, PA., Paul Harryn is a painter, musician, and performance artist.

rare reindeer: "Reindeer are very rare in Cantabrian art, the only...indisputable examples (aside from Alterri, near Aya in Guipuzcoa) being those from Monedas, near Santander, and Tito Bustillo in Asturias, both of which on stylistic grounds are considered to be late in the Cantabrian sequence." A. Sieveking, The Cave Artists. London, 1979.