The Language of Birds: Some Notes on Chance and Divination

Dale Pendell (Author) Andrew Schelling (Preface by)
Pre-Order   Ships Jan 11, 2021


Chance, the great beloved of gamblers, lovers, generals and kings, has long held sway over mortal affairs. Whether assuming the form of the goddess Fortuna and her ever-turning wheel, or the abstract mathematic of 'randomness', her favor is universally sought, and her displeasure feared. To the devotee of Chance, the arts of divination may be regarded as her secret liturgy, providing glimpses of the unknown to those she esteems. Into the retort of the alchemist-poet, Pendell compounds portent, omen, oracle, and the art of prediction to distill The Language of the Birds, a reverie upon the nature of the Goddess of Fortune and the sacred function of Chance. This second Three Hands Press edition contains a new preface to the work by Andrew Schelling, author of 'Tracks Along the Left Coast' (Counterpoint Press, 2018).

Product Details

$14.95  $13.75
Three Hands Press
Publish Date
January 11, 2021

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About the Author

Dale Pendell (1947-2018) was a poet, author and artist from Northern California. He is best known for his acclaimed trilogy of works Pharmako/Poeia (1995), Pharmako/Dynamis (2002), and Pharmako/Gnosis (2006), an in-depth study of the shamanic and pharmacological dimensions of psychoactive plants. His poetry is widely anthologized, most recently in 'The Wisdom Book of American Buddhist Poetry'. Most recently Dale's work has appeared in CLAVIS: OCCULT ARTS, LETTERS AND EXPERIENCE VOL. 4, and INVERNESS ALMANAC 4.
Andrew Schelling grew up in New England--Thoreau & Transcendentalist country--then moved West to California, where he worked among poets of the San Francisco Bay Area, editing a samizdat literary journal and studying Sanskrit and Zen Buddhism. In 1990 he resettled in Colorado, along the Front Range of the Southern Rockies. He is a poet, translator, essay writer, and editor. Dropping the Bow: Poems from Ancient India received the Academy of American Poets award for translation in 1992. A recent book, Tracks Along the Left Coast: Jaime de Angulo & Pacific Coast Culture, investigates wilderness encounters, bohemian writers, and mythology of the west. His most recent book is Some Unquenchable Desire: Sanskrit Poems of the Buddhist Hermit Bhartrihari. Natural history, linguistics, and thorny old languages run through his twenty-odd books. He teaches at Naropa University.


The workings of chance have attracted all manner of minds over the centuries: poets, diviners, physicists, tricksters, gamblers, magicians, sages. Lucky for us, Dale Pendell was all of those and more. The Language of Birds offers a spare and witty patchwork of voices, verse, and philosophical koans, all delivered with the panache of a poet's coup de dΓ©s. Erik Davis, author of High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the 70s