Alan Watts gave a party that started in the afternoon, New
Year’s Eve, and lasted through the night and the following day.
Except for about four hours which we spent napping we were
never without food or drink. Alan Watts lived near Millbrook.
His cooking was not only excellent but elaborate. There
was, for instance, I forget just when, a meat pie in the
shape of a large loaf of bread. Truffles ran through the meat,
which had been wrapped first in crepes and then in the crust,
in which had been inscribed in Sanskrit “Om.” Joseph Campbell,
Jean Erdman, Mrs. Coomaraswamy, and I were the guests. Jean
Erdman spent most of the time knitting. Alan Watts, Mrs.
Coomaraswamy, and Joseph Campbell conversed brilliantly about
the Orient, its mythologies, its arts, and its philosophies.
Joseph Campbell was concerned at that time about the
illustration of his Zimmer book, Philosophies of India.
He was anxious to find a picture which would include certain and
several symbols, and though he had searched his own library
and several public ones, he was still looking for the right
picture. I said, “Why don’t you use the one in Jean
Erdman’s knitting book?” Joseph Campbell laughed because he knew
I hadn’t even seen the picture. Mrs. Coomaraswamy said,
“Let me look at it.” Jean Erdman stopped knitting and gave her
the book. Mrs. Coomaraswamy began interpreting the
picture, which was of a girl in a sweater standing in a
landscape. Everything, it turned out, referred
precisely to the subjects with which Joseph Campbell was
concerned, including the number in the upper right-hand corner.