NEPSIS RATIONALE V: 1970-2000 First Series, Public Works, Berkeley Core,

78 [23] 
Oil on Panel 
5.5' x 3' 1977-1987
...Shamanistic themes involving earth powers and metaphysical energies in relationship with the Passion of Christ, expressed here with ancient symbols for the divine hunt--antlers, and the crucifix, display an underlying unity in a variety of spiritual traditions and experience. In this work, the practical influence of shamanistic elements is beginning to be apparent. Abrahamic and Asian religions live off their inheritance from the Animist/Shamanistic intuition.




As before, working back in time: 

This body of works that includes the NEPSIS CORE [aka Berkeley Core] is of one theme briefly treated here--Religious and Aesthetic Initiation.  'Briefly here' since the work itself, and in brief, the Core, already turns that stone. 

In truth, Nepsis is a bundle of related themes that progress a philosophical/theological perspective- a developing worldview.  One might say that it's issues begin to emerge around 1970, come to a head 2005 but really climax 2010 with an ongoing consideration of some of its more challenging issues.  In collage, it was Nature and Person, Person and persons, biology and persons, Person(s) and Culture(s).  Also, I was one of the few in my art department in the early 1970s fascinated by God...  I was mostly trained by the well-known, mature students of Abstract Expressionists who respected my work- or came to respect it before I left school.  We learned to draw from still-lifes, nature, the nude figure as was done since the Renaissance.    We started with charcoal, pen and ink, pencil for thousands of hours.  Then, continued with color and paint.  For literature, we started over with grammar, syntax and semantics- etymology... Dostoevsky, Joyce, Proust, and "'Anyone lived in a pretty how town, with up so floating many bells down...'"

The impact from a few teachers of Art and English Literature in high school and college was for me to become a serious student by the time I was 19.  I graduated satisfied that I could make effective poems and paintings- less satisfied with prose.  I applied to a Claremont Graduate School after our return from South America, fall 1973, was accepted, but was attracted to and baptized in a Roman Catholic Monastery- Valyermo, California, 1975.  Mystical Asceticism/Yoga became an object of my interest as did the Church, Buddhism, Shamanism...


After 6 years of fascination with studio art and literature in college, I had 5 years of monastic immersion and study, then 5 more years of systematic theology, scripture, pastoral focus in St. John's Seminary, Camarillo California followed by ordination into the Roman Catholic priesthood.  It was a great and light filled moment for me- and others I hope.  While at the seminary, I was also introduced to Raimundo Panikkar, a world famous scholar and spiritual leader.  He's well known as a Gifford Lecturer along with Niels Bohr and Albert Schweitzer, et al.  He was a peritus at Vatican II, fluent in 12 languages, published in 6 and until he died last year, was 
friend and true spiritual guide.  During my last visit to his home in the eastern Pyrenees, I saw a letter from His Holiness Benedict XVI complimenting Raimun on a recent publication.  Raimun was beyond right or left wing politics.  While at the seminary, I visited India for the first time, inspired by Panikkar and others, to research Nyingma Buddhist practices as an independent study.  

Many such journeys, which usually involved hitchhiking long distances, form the heart of my spiritual practice as a "
Holy Lander."  I.e., one who seeks to go to the Holy Land.  That is, the Holy Land of the Heart- the uniate indwelling of the Holy Spirit in each 'moment' and place of creation. These practices took on the general format of the Mass, avoiding its authoritarian, patriarchal language and attitude.  

I suppose the stumbling block here is that all of this takes so long...  So, its not popular these days.  But what else is there to compare- anything better?  No-thing.   

Long emphasis on 'conversion of heart', 'entering the stream of the nobles', methods there of, in various semantics, are to be found among Christians, Buddhists, Sufis, so many others.  Also, Shamanistic healing resonates so deeply and Sorcery shimmers with greeting for Spirit and Machine in the New Age of militant technocracy.  Holy Lander... Pilgrimage of the heart, mind and body... to a point beyond names... and virtue without reference.  

Serious, Critical Scripture Study is well worth the time spent.  Theology is a wonder.  Service is a worthy dedication.  The sacramental vision of the Church is radiant.  Praxis (of religion in the Church) is another question- mixed, like most human endeavors.  Occasionally, its the best.  Aesthetics and ethics are still the necessary paragons of pastimes...  if we are to have time to pass.

The Land:  The Genius Loci gives life to inert matter and competition to Real Estate Associations and Chambers of Commerce-  Thus hostility to old religion.  Its not rejected because its not true.

Sexuality from the perspectives of Celibacy and Tantra studies pursued with detachment of a gynecologist of course were revealing. Possible?  See Memo To A Bishop. and painting caption #230[158].

Point of convergence for all interests:  Environment, Spirituality and Ecology, Over-population- Pro-life Politics and War Economies.

'The core of Steve Frost’s work is a counter point between ideas and images, experience and inner actualization.  That is, his abstraction has reference in his experience.  In fact, often it is his painting that explains his experience to him- according to his own extensive writings hosted through UC Berkeley at 

Or one can go directly to the major and conclusive work on the Nepsis site map at UCB THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION AND THE ORACLE OF XIBALBA- in three cycles:

Cycle One:  The Letter to a Bishop

Cycle Two: Oracle of Xibalba

Cycle Three:  Resolution

Cycle One tells a reasonable story of spiritual awakening with poems and paintings.  Cycle II 'mixes it all up' in the form of stories, essays, poems, fiction that ignite a spiritual revolution- though perhaps it's only personal- perhaps not.  Cycle III resolves the issues raised earlier- though allegorically.  One may not actually touch God unless God chooses to be touched.  Here the Oracle is most fully engaged and the golem is loosed. 

Steve Frost has exhibited in museum or gallery showcases since early in his career and his work can be found at  

As simple as a memo, or as byzantine as an oracle, Nepsis at first impersonates the spiritual task, then 'opens a window' to the 'other world.'  

The tale of this story is told four times in four vehicles:  Paintings (with captions), Poems, Prose- fiction, non-fiction, and essays about the metaphysical practice of Pilgrimage.  See Cycle One above for the first attempt at integration.  See all three Cycles for the effects of the whole.'

See below examples for the art with captions and annotations and a few poems just to tickle your fancy:

Church murals backed by works of personal interest at Sonoma State Newman:    The Battle 

While painting the murals for the Newman Hall at Sonoma State University 1995-99,  #165-167 [94-96], I also painted eight others, then forgot about them for over a decade.  

Two examples from: 

[99.] Seven Paintings, A-G:  

In a meeting in Dharamsala with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, c 1993?, we discussed among other things the nature of the inner life in terms of a silent battle- the themes in these seven paintings.  He inscribed a book I had with me with this blessing for the Nepsis Project:  

"May Stephen Frost’s noble Foundation accomplish as per its wish!

With my prayers,

The Shakya monk (or  a monk of  Shakya)
Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso"


165-168 [94-97.] Sonoma State Chapel Painting

167 [96]
World Mother
Oil on Canvas 8' x 6' 1996-99
Left wing of SSU Newman mural triptych, #'s 94, 95, 96.


94“Who Told You You Were Naked?”
A New Innocence


Oil on Canvas 12' x 8' 1996-99

When Adam and Eve are found hiding from God in the Garden of Eden, God replies to Adam’s complaint about being naked with the above query. "Who told you you were naked?" Before the Resurrection and after the creation of Adam and Eve, this question might be the most important moment described in the Bible. How do we lose our innocence, i.e. our natural relationship with the divine spirit… and everything else? This painting in combination with #93, #43, (and #84-88), comment upon the ‘answer’ to the problem of the Fall in Genesis--The Christos, or our christic identity—or as Panikkar would have it, a "New Innocence." The old innocence is lost. It cannot be reclaimed by modernity. But there is the possibility of a "new" state that comes from the influence all the "wisdom traditions" of the past and the altruistic intentions of our own secular age. In relationship to the "New Innocence" is the ancient Church teaching about Theopoeisis, the Rhythm of God, or the movement of the divine spirit in creation. This refers to an early, predominant teaching, or spiritual method, in the Church concerning how such original innocence is rediscovered in one’s life. To live life according to the Rhythm of God, is to discover one’s true identity, and holiness as the completion of nature.

The "horns of light", yellow shapes around the central figure are a reference to mandala themes. See #84-88, or dissertation appendix.

This painting is the seventh in a series of male nudes at first overtly sexual in the practice of sex magic—the most powerful and dangerous of magics. Working through issues of sexual identity, one comes to a NEW INNOCENCE, with sexuality a discreet mystery—even abstinent, certainly chaste. See also: #s 48, 49. 71, 93, 93c, 158…

Road to Emmaus “REALIZATION”
Oil on Canvas 8' x 6' 1996-99
Right wing of SSU Newman mural triptych, #'s 94, 95, 96.


[86.] Mandala: India III
Deities of the Mandala (Uncommon Protective Mandala)

Oil on Canvas 24" x 30" 1990
Paintings [#84-87] were painted upon my return from India in1990. I had journeyed to India to study Tibetan Buddhism (1980): in particular, Tibetan Mandalas, (1990). Paintings #88 and #94 continue the influence of this study and practice. (Painting #30, also reflects an early interest in this complex of themes.) The Mandala in Tantric Yoga, like the Christian Icon and its theologies, is the Great Art of Divine/Mundane union, the Symbolon. This practice and product requires the reconfiguration of intellect, emotion, imagination and physicality of the practitioner for re-creation of the whole human person in its 'true' or 'divine' image. In other words, this attempts full, true 'conversion.' That is the intention for both the practitioner and for the world. Thus, an actual mandala or madalesque (truly iconic) art carries that same intention: the ‘salvation’ or ‘realization’ of individual and world by seeking and telling—being—this truth. This is the touchstone for the whole of NEPSIS. 

143-147. [84-88.] Mandalas

147. [88]

Mandala: India V-
Nature is the first Mandala, the human person is the second.

All of these Frost  'mandala' paintings depict aspects or energies of mandalas, never the whole...


First Series Latter Day Throw Backs 1991 
See "First Series" Below

148. [14.] Zen Mountain Oil on Canvas

The holy mountain: Sumeru, Sinai, Zion, Kailash are precedents. This might be Kundalini yoga, Buddhist or Catholic reference for spiritual ascent. 'Move beyond dark and light forces to the "lamb whose light casts no shadow."' These seven paintings are spiritually 'friendly' to the famous "Elephant or Buffalo Taming Pictures" of Buddhism. The "Taming" pictures depict progress in meditation in the form of taming a wild beast... until the beast disappears. These paintings also contain a "battle" theme as microcosm projects itself into the macrocosm. The "battle" is always a battle of the "self." 

See also caption #[1 and 6] above and [#99] following.

My understanding about paintings #[1-22] takes some of its inspiration from the formal set of Tai Chi wherein the martial artist begins in the "void", Wu Chi, moves through a prescribed sequence of precise movements, then returns to the "void" at the end. Each position and movement engages an 'energy', Chi, generated from "nothingness" or perhaps Spirit, Shin. Intense preparation precedes such distilled image, the famous Zen painting of “Persimmons” for example.

152. [18.] WAR: “No One's Funeral, For There Is No One To Bury” T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

See Caption #[1, #6. and #14.] above and #[99.] following.

152. [18.] WAR: “No One's Funeral, For There Is No One To Bury” T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

See Caption #[1, #6. and #14.] above and #[99.] following.

153. [19.]. Rorate Caeli I

(Gregorian Hymn, "Rain down your blessing, o ye heavens." Actually, the Latin is more beautifully poetic than my ‘loose translation,’ but this is what I remembered when I painted and titled this painting. Here's a translation from the 1924 Daily Missal (Benedictine Abbey of Saint Andre Press) for this the principal hymn used in Vespers for Advent that goes back to the Sixth Century and is sung in the fourth tone. 'Rorate Caeli' is a response verse to the hymn. Following the hymn, the Versicle is "Rorate Coeli de super, et nubes pluant justum." "Ye heavens, drop down dew from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One." And the responsorial is "Aperiatur terra et germinet Salvatorum” and "Let the earth open and bud forth the Savior."
 This sensibility that allows nature to play such a productive role in salvation become an important touchstone for much of the Nepsis Foundation's conversation...

See Caption #1, #6 and #14 above and #99 following.


[70] Goddess Rising

This painting is intended to carry some of the experience of a curious effect of the feminine on the masculine psyche. From NEPSIS FOUNDATION Table of Contents, SECTION III: EAGLE ROCK:

When I first visited this place that we later named Eagle Rock, I was with my friend and partner. She is a very beautiful woman and rare for me in that she is one of the few for whom I might have preferred marriage to celibacy. We remain platonic friends. My mother accompanied me on this subsequent visit about to be described. This is an important change of characters for two reasons. One is that my mother, nearly eighty years old, is not so interested in religion or paranormal phenomena. She prefers politics and history. Therefore, she is detached from enthusiasm about religious, psychic and other paracritical phenomena. The second reason is that an archetype showed itself here. The archetype is, I believe, a catalyst for the paranormal seed of this story. The archetype is that of mother and son/goddess and hero. (It amuses me, and others, to think of myself as a hero, but even the least among us have moments of glory. Rather than this being an exercise in self-glorification, I merely point out an archetype that has been glorified in the past. Heracles="the glory of Hera," Hero/priest sacrificed in communication with the divine. Jesus and Mary, Theotokos, is another example. This important dynamic, largely ridiculed in modern culture, is essential to creativity, light mysticism and much traditional lore... See The White Goddess, Robert Graves, p. 124. Also see, The Cyclical Serpent, Paul Halpern, for how Dionysius saves his mother from Hell.)

...This "old dispensation" includes a Shamanism that reaches out from Paleolithic times into our own because there are people who still live a stone age existence to some degree and because Shamanism is a trans-temporal function of human personality. This old dispensation also includes the priesthood. This topical reference might start with the sacrificial priesthood of the Great Goddess from around the Mediterranean wherein the hero/sacred king/priest/son/consort is adulated for a time, then sacrificed to become divine. His initiates would often eat his flesh and blood in communion with their deity. This function of the mediatory priesthood, hieros or hierophant, extends to the priesthood of Jesus Christ, in the order of mythic "Melquizedek of old." [See, First Eucharistic Prayer from the Order of the Mass for Melquizedek reference.] These realizations lead to "Memo to a Bishop" that heads up the conclusions to this project. See NEPSIS Section III for "Memo" and "Eagle Rock" in the same section, for 'the story'… Also see paintings #44 and #80.

139. [80.] Great Goddess

Before an embryo differentiates into male or female, the sex organs are the same. This painting reflects upon the capacity for coitus and the ecstatic drives that propagate species... There is in this, the suggestion that certain qualities of 'ecstasis', the shaman's fundamental expertise, are the underlying foundations of existence if not Being itself- at least of perception. ... certain beneficial shifts access increasingly beneficial states- 'nigh onto glory.' (See also: #44 and #70.) 

Also, many Christian icons depict the Holy One issuing from such a vertical ovoid shape.

Dark Lady
(See #37, Mother/Son)
Mixed Media 12' x 5' 1988
"Dark Lady" is an image of "chilling" presence, according to some. This work simply presents an essential, though dark element of mystical consciousness. This is a sculptural painting in a series of large partitions, at least two sided, meant to operate on two levels: 1. It represents a means of passage between two ‘worlds.’ 2. It is a spiritually or psychically catalytic object aiding in that passage. It helps effect that shift of consciousness to a specific category of ‘other’ states. See also #37, #70 and #80.


Genius Mundi

Mixed Media 18' x 10' 1990
This is a sculptural painting in a series of such large partitions, at least two sided, meant to operate on two levels: 1. It represents a means of passage between two worlds and 2. it is a spiritually or psychically catalytic object aiding in that passage. It helps effect that shift of consciousness to a specific category of ‘other’ states

Oil on Hung Canvas 10' x 4' 1985
Vertical graphite lines intersect a misty intersection of sea and sky. Eternal intent intersects the ‘moment’ of our lives, intervenes in the physics of nature.

105. [93.] Resurrection Mural





After 1975 [23-43.] Mostly Christian- Esp. Strong impact of Icons (Greek/Roman Painting, esp. Mummy Paintings of Fayum) on the artist [#36]










Oil on Canvas 5' x 3' 1987

One who creates and recreates... the one who searches between worlds... Such a shaman/artist/priest/poet/(warrior) explored here is a primordial figure(s) whose personality and cultural function attempts mediation of the affairs of this world with the intentions of the divine spirit or non-temporal world. This figure fights the battle for sentient being.-

#31 shifts from Christian Iconography to more general NATURE, SPIRIT, FIGURATIVE AND SURREAL/ABSTRACT REPRESENTATIONS for #s 31-83


86. [91]

(Mother of God)

Out of Ineffable Being the Mother arose. Out of the Mother was brought forth the Son: Hera and Heracles, Isis and Horus would be examples. Then, at last, Mary and jesus--in history 'a way out of' or the 'fulfillment of' historical consciousness. 

After adjusting to the powerful impact that Christian Icons had on me in the monastery, after completing a sculpture commission for the monastery on this same theme, Theotokos, and after spending nine months in a Trappist monastery in preparation, I painted this painting. Because this process is similar to the process and intentions of icon makers, I considered this painting to be a 'modern icon.' However, by then I had already read that Egyptian Funerary Painting such as the mummy portraits from Fayum, Egypt, themselves influenced 2000 years ago by Greek and Roman painting, were at the root of the development of Christian Icons. I found these funerary portraits entrancing in their unencumbered liveliness, their frontal centrality and stillness. They gaze from the 'other world of peace' into our 'activity.' Even at that, this painting remains within range of Abstract Expressionist tenets as well as Catholic theology.

  Here is displayed a number of changes to this canvas, #36, in 2010. Most important are the changes to the face of the female figure. Her eyes are now opened. The experience was one in which the artist felt that he could make no wrong mark. Definitely felt guided by his Spirit...

92 St. Francis
Cast Concrete, Life-size, 1977

From the first part of a letter to: ABBEY OF THE HOLY TRINITYHUNTSVILLE, UTAH
April 14, l977

Dear friends,

In parting, I thought it would be good for me to write a few words of explanation about the art that I am leaving behind and also to thank you for my stay here. 1. The posture of the statue of St. Francis is taken from that of a real mendicant minstrel I saw once sitting on the curb in a town in the south of Mexico. He was playing a guitar and singing for his alms. It occurred to me that this is the sort of thing that Francis might have done. This modern beggar was dressed in brown rags by the way. I think that he was blind. I'm not sure since his face and eyes were directed towards the heavens and I was across the street. Francis suffered a painful eye disease so I fashioned his eyes in the unusual way that I did. For an unexplainable reason, I excluded ears when I made his head. I felt this to be justified artistically. The only reason that I can verbalize is that the important things he heard in his life, he heard not with his ears, but with his heart. So, the statue is really a symbol for his life not just a representation of the saint./p>

The wooden canopy covering the statue is meant to protect it from the extreme Utah winter. Its form, seen from different views is meant to indicate his upward aspirations. The colored glass on the sides of the canopy is a symbol for the transcendent power of his conversion in the Light…

8-77. [6-22] [6-13.81] First Series 1973- 79

                      FIRST SERIES: SAN FRANCISQUITO CANYON, S. CALIFORNIA.                                                                              

About 100 Paintings and Drawings.

Absolute and Particular

SEE ESP. CAPTIONS #8 & 9 [6 & 7] below.  THESE CAPTIONS HOLD FOR MOST THIS FIRST SERIES.... FIRST SERIES: SAN FRANCISQUITO CANYON, S. CALIFORNIA. Though these 100+ art works (including variations and latter-day throwbacks, etc.) depend upon a counter point between large, amorphic color forms and space with hard edge, geometric embellishments, the over all collection starts with snowscapes and small landscapes. Soon jet trails impressed the artist and thus begins this series that followed several years of nature and life studies.

'Frost's work is like Mozart.  There is a consistent melody above, with innumerable variations throughout.
Dr. L. Lancaster UC/ECAI,
 Berkeley, CA

11. [11.]


9. [7] Strider (Dragon Painting II) 
Oil on Canvas 5' x 4' 1974
The ‘dragon’ theme in these works is a reference to nature and our metaphysical, technological relationships with nature. From a Greek name, St. George (Gk.=earth worker) of dragon slaying fame is anthropologically the agriculturist or farmer who tamed nature by developing agriculture. He/She represents a major technological step in the human project. My interest in George, from the other end of a spectrum, is our understanding of our own powers and purpose in relationship to our natural and spiritual origin.

The title, "Strider", is from the ‘motion’ of this nature painting that reminds me of the movement of a Water Strider, the long legged, lightweight insect that flickers across woodland ponds and streams. Yet, as well, the painting still suggests a more cosmic ambience--and a plain character of royal significance in literature. Though my interest in dragons has nothing to do with fantasy novels but is associated with experiences of the ‘genius loci’ described in the pilgrimages of LETTER TO A BISHOP of the NEPSIS FOUNDATION.

12. [9.]

17. [13.61]


8. [6] Dragon Womb
represents a series of many works that stretches over several years. The main formal elements here are the amorphic color and space in counterpoint relationship with hardedge, linear and geometric embellishments. It is about the relationship between the general context of being and specific experience as open and luminous. This subject might also be likened to the Sipahpuni (Hopi), the point of emergence from mythic underworlds as well as the physical and psychic womb, to levels of increasing realization. Thus, this painting indicates secondly, a poignant moment of transition in physical and personal evolution guided by the Dragon Lord, i.e., a salvific, catalytic function of Spirit in Nature; God, if you like, or Grace. (I skirt here the word, "destiny", purposely because of its static, fatalistic qualities.)

The following poems are from this same period after graduation from college and return from Bolivia, summer 1973.

3 Poems:


a spider floats down
across a window
n a cross
It comes into sight then disappears.

With a chorus of scraping chairs , we rise...


Got to stay fit though,
work helps, running too.
The dog runs behind me,
dog is older now and limps
but there is a tail arched joy
for him in these runs
sniffing, smelling, leaving smells to be sniffed...

Crows fly low, circling occasionally
down the river bed dry this time of year,
in the morning doesn't feel dry.
Cottonwoods root in the sand and gravel
that cover a flow of water.
It's getting lighter,
crazy loud crows,
don't know enough to be quiet just before the dawn.
The mocking birds must sing all night.
Maybe they're nightingales.
The sun is coming up.
Wonder what I look like running along here...
I can see my shadow behind me along the road.

Part 1

Slide the yellow grass hill
down to the city
wrap mist around the soul
shroud the consideration of ought and should
until morning
push the thigh shoving sigh up...
what of who or when?

Dark road
chestnut horse stud
big in the standing stall
cold dream

Oleander buds pop red for spring.


It's such a strange blue light
the wall of the room seems to be a barrier of space
gray blue
solid yet not so
so old
What place is this?
What strange mountain light?
What whistling visage of passing flight?
A mild avenue of ghostly light,
holding each form as an animal in a womb,
sparkling as from last night's rain.
What image could not pass the tourist by in this mysterious light.

Because I climb a cage of stairs
Because I climb
Because I climb
and strive to strive...

The aqueous movement of clouds
The piling high of clouds
as wave
as whipping large of sea weed.
So large in the push of the wind,
held between spheres of mysterious intent.

A man fingered his nose
his eye
his other eye
examined his finger after each
pinched his pants to his scrotum
watched the rainfall
from the high floor
of the unfinished high-rise

The lake
reeds and water
forming an order in my thought

forever the reed
forever the light

Hills vibrate incessantly
with the excitement of light

Quiet distant mountain

The Fall
the other Fall is from Love
(re-build the church
hold the chalice
plant one frozen block on top of the last
watch it fall in the wind)

In my stuttering affluence of emotion
I acknowledge all I lack
and happily admit that having just left you
miss you
and want you back.
That I loved and was not loved is enough
The tower of Babel was breached
For an instant there was a shouting of joy that filled our
lonely cells
Down the narrow marble hall
and into the church
with that quiet sigh, nearly inaudible, that tells so much.

Hills vibrate

In the migraine of my thought
I can leave you walking on young green fields
leave all that is less than sparkling
and find again the hard rail up...
dreams stranger than.... terrifying
...lies in the field, once plowed
but such...

In that passing moment I
see our mother weeping in bed
the years of her loneliness,
the hoped for joy gone sour
the close-hearted pressures of those close
the shy green grass joy turned gray
All this came tearing back to me
so that I could only sob uncontrollably.

After the diffusion of night
the hills vibrate incessantly
with the excitement of light
Winter winds beat down last spring's grass
matt it to turf
light and air surround the new sprouts.

(In the wood, upon a bracken-covered slope,
a boy tripping
clutching that which rips....
The water is dark
another friend is lost
must search again the broken ark.)

The sun for a sightful instant
pierces from behind an ancient bell tower
mind, sanctity
closed within a skull
Behold the glistening within the forest
and the boy climbing the hill
lost among the rocks
Behold the rocks and the chase.
The forest stinks of rotten wood
supporting all manner of vegetation
within is the glistening
that narrow beam
that eyeful beam
seen by few
I am naked and singing
I am alone but not
I am clean in the light
I am--

I desire

but so quickly sold?
ready to barter
with God or philosophy
for a fresh clean loin

We have seen the fair flesh
We have been the fair flesh
young, succulent
(all bastards are washed clean in
this torrential down pour
as the streets of the dirty city)

Still is the glistening light.

A man steps to the urinal
thrusts forward his hips
follows an ancient ritual of excretion

empty rooms

I have climbed the temple stairs...
a summer, a spring
I have laid on cool white sheets
listened, watched, felt, the processes
of my brown body
could almost feel the fat stretch the skin.

winter, spring

My gaze dragged over his loin
Stephanie is in my thoughts
Desire is nothing...
fits his pants well
a cycle ages

I shall live above
the rotting wood
having seen the glistening within
and knowing the forest...

Oh! those blistered hills that sever every connection beyond the desert, each mound a festering sore
each runs into each
Distance holds the quiet mountain
in the empty mission cells
the shouts of children
echo against the walls

Oleander buds pop red for spring.

Gulls squabble in spiral order
above the garbage dump
far from the sea.

In that moment of confession
beneath the arbor
with my friend my tutor
the terror of my past was released
held before me

Point of contact
excitement of friction

Oh! How that Indian woman talked
about the market and the exchange rate perhaps
How they laughed
she patted his hand and his knee

Constant thrap thrap
of the river pump, watering the fields
The afternoon is quiet along the river
but for distant children playing
and birds calling to one another
Fog desert
sand water
alike in the wind
The desert
Barren solitude
I left the rest
walked on the Peruvian desert
beyond the power poles and further
I turned for an instant
the road was gone
The high fog hid the sun
I was alone without direction
(Don't go. I'm almost old.
you like me..
the others know me, know all I've done

The dry river, gravel
Torn in gullies to the ocean
The desert falls to the ocean
The cliff crumbles to rocks and sand
The sea beats against the cliff.

There is an edifice
a church
with stone stairs and pillars
St. Francis' day

A statue of the saint in the image of Pius XII
Sitting with Egyptian rigidity in an ancient hall
celebration of the saint's day
the celebrants stand on the stairs
and inside the church,
delirious with adoration
A crowd surging backwards
from the church portal
Christ in the image of a statue appears from the door
stiff wooden huge
with a painted face
old varnished paint
the image falters
the face amazed
passes close to mine
denying the celebrants.


A moth beats its wings against the window pane.
A hummingbird sits on a branch looking from behind a leaf.
Gnats swarm in mobile circles beneath a tree.
There bursts the cotyledon
a red bud bursts
ready with pistil and stamen
a barn owl
dark shadow after sunset,
a mouse scurries through the wild oat fields

All is ready
again we rise

with a chorus of scraping chairs
we rise.

Steve Frost
San Francisquito Canyon,California 1973

Et Cum Spiritu Tuo

Sea cliffs no longer reach above the pounding, crashing day
but are nearly covered by the tidal lay.

Earthy substance is saturated and crumbling.

One green-leafed branch is wrapped to a mainstem in the wind,
branched from a tree otherwise bare or sporting bright dead leaves.

Ants pull cold pebbles over their holes.

I stand in a dry field,
a morning breeze slightly rustles dormant weeds,
from every side comes the click of mysterious insects
reviving on dead plants.

weed fields contain muted salmon, pale green and yellow weeds.

Color is held in mild suspension.

The cherries have fallen.

We wait.

Canterbury is crowded this year.

In a dark room, old women wait. I wave to a friend. She and all the rest wave back-- with crooked hands, bulging knuckles.

Young boys run down the street shouting:
"I have come, I have cum,"
like some noisy prophets
calling us to God.

The roots have pushed the river mud aside leaving a trench
for desperate souls who seek a path.

Indolent tarantula is drugged
dragged forth and back by orange and black wasps. They fight life battles over the corpse.

Bloody green blades push their way through rocky hymens
even while winter winds still blow.

"It's cold in this place, cold!
I know the spring is coming but I hate the cold"

We are left bleeding in the womb
in this passage to light, again,
we are left bleeding.

A solitary hawk stationed in the air against the wind
maintains a position

A wall stands
topping even treetops
holds a hill
contains a courtyard
palace grounds
olive trees surround the wall
a circus is filmed in the court
color and sound
red and yellow
clowns to entertain
sane director, ringmasters
The exit is blocked
I cannot drive my car away from the grounds.
The clowns are chasing me
I run along the wall
run the wall
afraid to ...
so far to the soft grass

hills covered with yellow grass
waves of warm summer air
lift from grass
among the trees

The circus wall that holds
is not so high
as think the prisoners
afraid to fall.

Dominus Vobiscum--

It's when the demands of dull daily patterns leave me
"an old man in a dry month"
that I rebuke this bright passage between two dark holes and
can only envision the final fall.
But other times, I remember the cover-tossing joy
holding you or talking to you
then, I laugh in the morning light
hardly able to wait for the next bright dance to come
hardly able to wait for my next chance to fold myself in your arms

Et cum spiritu tuo

Steve Frost
San Francisquito, California 1972

Pieced Excursion (from L. A.)

bright stars are dimming
largest, closest, last to survive
black space becomes gray
blueironblue gray
gray pink hazy
at the horizon
the earth is red
dark vapor
divide the dome
cloud shadows
mesas just a few miles away
horses cows, burros
graze sleep along the road
occasionally a carcass.
A bus load of people
traveling too fast southward
mostly sleeping
a few awake
mostly sleeping
rocky soil and light
spiny scrubs and cool light.


highest lake
legend of floating islands
and a naked people on islands
stayed along the
marveled at the reed boats
the land seeming
barren nurtured a mysterious civilization
ancient divisions of stone walls
mud walls
houses same color as the earth
llamas alpacas red or blue yarn bobbing from eartips
cold cold wind and dust across altiplano to hills to mountains to the depths of La Paz.
Arequipa was nice with its volcano
up the mountain
the sunset from the guard station top of the first hill and the next hill higher up and the dust from the car in front and the cold.
We slept at first.
I in heavy poncho and others beneath a down sleeping bag.
Then it was too cold. They got sick from the altitude
the moon was full, was full
I don't think that a plant
grew in those hills
beautiful, cold shadows and light
rock, sand, and gravel.
There was a smoky station at midnight
lit by a fire in one corner of the room
and the lamps in the kitchen
beyond the other wall of the room
dark people passing, crowding in this only building for miles.
We sat at the table and didn't talk much, didn't understand Spanish. Didn't matter,
everybody ate the same thing.
There was no bathroom there,
everyone just walked far enough into the dark; no fear of getting lost, cafe only light
except the moon...
After much urination, back into bus
wait to get altitude sick.
On to Puno,

Lake Titicaca, out of the cold bus to find warm hotel all closed 4:00 in the morning back into bus warmer than Puno...
The lake, a mountain lake, swimming at night.
At night
the moon's light reflects on the surface white
one hundred, broken pieces, white.
I am trying to reach dry smooth rocks at the end of the lake.
across the reflection of the moon darts a shining streak
strikes a form
reflects the light
I cannot reach the rocks in time,
in time


met an Italian in Guatemala city
kept meeting him throughout
central America until we teamed up in Bogota
all the way to Lima
hours on buses
Ecuador Peru at night spanishfrenchitalianenglish
had to wait a day for bus in small border
town Peru Harry Lucia went somewhere
Luchano and I explored the town
he was taking photographs I making these notes
mostly dry town in first of huge Peruvian deserts.
It had a river and a bridge though
we walked along river wall wide beaches on town side and grass
and mud
women washing clothes
themselves kids snapclick crossed bridge hiked along bank
I took off my clothes
except white shorts
went swimming around
bridge pilings
coming back I sank in the mud to my knees could lean horizontally backwards and not fall


"We almost breathed together
Did you think that?
Is it impossible now?
The girl that said no doesn't exist anymore
she stopped breathing long ago
during the summer
suffocated in the smoke
fire within
Sweet Alma
breath softly
for we live not...
loud or long
Ask for everything
be prepared to get nothing
At times I felt that I was dying but
its not going to be that easy
Johnny, the stethoscope1

Quiet the river, and quiet we were
Peruvian river quiet
river pump feeding dry fields, birds calling one another

Quiet here, quiet. The hills are dark against the distant fog banks of the coast. Tiny lights appear in the sky. I imagine that I hear the noise of the city far to the south. I lived there once. Now I have forgotten many of the tempting things that I wanted so badly while I was there.


back in L.A. now
going to Italy
no, first to Paris
see Kate and Paule and the Louvre
then to Italy see Luchano
Lives in Umbria
not far from Assisi?
learning Italian
why not
none to support
need a job
spent day typing curriculum vitaes
save money
see Jenny on Friday, she came to my last reading
going dutch to the movies
artist paint
need a partner to share studio
just the right people
deal as a group
push one another selves
painting prints draw
God the drawings are coming too fast
landscapes, fantastic allusionary landscapes
get studio with Alice and Norma do something...
almost finished that letter in Italian
wonder what Jenny will be like
Fat chin I
m getting eat less
work harder draw
sit too much
hills clouds color light
very exciting, fantastic
"Be in the world, not of...

Yes, hold
We're holding
Hours, hours, hours, days of enforced bused boredom
brought observation
brought thought
peace quiet
cease, ceasing desist, old corruptions, flesh, greed,
blinding temptations.
Canyons wait
Sycamores and cottonwoods wait

Steve Frost
San Francisquito Canyon, CA, 1973

1-7. Transitional Landscapes.


5.   [13.11]

3. [13.8]


School Work- Before Summer 1973- Designated "Before Bolivia" and by negative numbers:  Landscapes, Nudes, Not-Nudes, Culture, Friends, Lovers, God, Expectations...

-1. Distant Horizon/Distant Vision I
Oil on Canvas 38" x 28" 1973

This first series of paintings (#1-5) represents a cycle of artistic abstraction, a distillation or coalescence of elements; a model, if you like, that breaks through to new realizations or new ways of being. These paintings suggest young, curious, activity gazing at its destiny on the distant empty horizon and begin a cycle of thematic considerations that 'circles back' many years later in a series of paintings stylistically reminiscent of these earlier works. (#14-22, 1991) The material covered in-between remarks upon a relationship with Surrealist Abstract Expressionism, Christian Icon, Shamanistic Fetish, Tibetan Buddhist Mandalas and their practical worldviews. These first paintings begin the cycle also continued by paintings #s 6, 7, 14-22, 84-88, 93-99..

-3 [3.]

-11. [13.4]

-18. [5.21a]

Night Stream
 Intaglio Print

-32 [5g]

-16. [5.14]

-15. [5- 10]

-28. [5.36] [5f.]

-29. [5.37]

-67. [5.67] Ecstasis I: Love in the Wild- 
Dry Point Zinc Plate Engraving 3" x 4", 1962

There are approximately another 30 early drawings that should be added to this album. Until that may be accomplished, here I've skipped to the earliest work in my possession. This is an dry point zinc plate engraving that I did in Jr. High School. My teacher, Ms. Ratzlaff-with whom I was deeply infatuated-entered this print in a state wide student competition. It won a gold key and blue ribbon. This image is 3" x 4", 1962.


For the Nepsis Story, explore the 'Table of Contents' at the bottom of the Site Map of the UC Berkeley Site, read Letter To A Bishop, or if you are feeling aesthetically randy and spiritually bold try the final full version, THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION AND THE ORACLE OF XIBALBA.


Reverend Stephen Frost PhD
University of California, Berkeley Site:NEPSIS FOUNDATION:  

NEW EBook of Frost ARTS by Matt DeFano is available as a free download from the Apple Store, click here