A Journey to Pasaquan







The Colors of Pasaquan
by Tom Patterson
   
Situated on a remote, pine-shrouded ridge a few miles outside the little town of Buena Vista, Ga., Pasaquan is not an easy place to find. There's no mistaking it for anyplace else, though. It is a wild and dazzling patch of living, local hyper-technicolor, and seeing it for the first time is a mind-stretching experience indeed. It was created by one Eddie Owens Martin (a.k.a. "Saint EOM" -- the "E" is silent, so it's pronounced like the ancient Eastern chant Om, or the unit of electrical resistance, ohm.)

One day more than 50 years ago Martin heard a voice, from "the spirit world," and that voice told him, "You're gonna' be the start of somethin' new, and you're gonna be called a Pasaquoyan, and your name will be Saint EOM."

"I heard that voice a long time before I knew any Spanish," St. EOM explained, "but later I found out that pasa means 'pass' in Spanish. And I found out that a quan is an Oriental word that means bringin' the past and the future together, so you can derive the benefits of the past by bringin' it into the future. And so I call myself a Pasaquoyan, and this place is called Pasaquan, where the past and the present and the future and everything else come together."






Pasaquan, St. EOM's psychedelic Assisi in the Southern pines, is a subtly balanced, garishly harmonious architectural compound which seems to have been built for the elaborate rituals of some long-vanished cult. Its temples, pagodas, shrines, altars, walls and walkways are embellished with cement-sculpted totem faces larger than life, swirling mandalas and occult-looking symbology, giant undulating snakes and Polynesian-like male and female figures in a variety of poses.



 All of this is painted in the brightest shades of Sherwin-Williams that St. EOM could find in the local hardware store. Set on four acres and surrounded by miles of sparsely-populated, low-lying hill country, Pasaquan is carefully landscaped and strategically planted with thickets of tall bamboo and ribbon cane, which enhance the Oriental ambience while concealing the place from view of the pulpwood trucks, pickups and occasional cars that pass by on the blacktop country road.

St. EOM said that in building it he was influenced by the ruined temple complexes of Pre-Columbian Mexico and his notion of what the civilizations on the fabled lost continents of Mu and Atlantis might have looked like. In some of its aspects Pasaquan calls to mind African sculpture and the statuary on Easter Island. And with its bold designs and flamboyant colors it also has the immediate impact of a carnival sideshow.

Whatever the architect's intentions, the overall effect is that of a scaled-down Angkor Wat or Oz or Chichen Itza in some crazed 3-D cartoon, and it has left many a first-time visitor open-mouthed and speechless for long stretches of a morning or an afternoon.



Excerpted from Tom Patterson's book, St. EOM in the Land of the Pasaquan
(1987, The Jargon Society).






 
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