Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of Seven and Eight of Wands

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Continuing this series on the Sacred India Tarot published by Yogi Impressions in November 2011.

The suit of Wands or Staves contain the soul of Agni, the sacred fire – where more so than in these two cards of destiny?

Their story is:  in the Seven of Staves, Sita the distrusted bride immerses herself in the flame which is purity itself;  in the Eight, she is liberated with her beloved as the Karmic bonds are released.  Who among us has not felt scorched with self doubt and then seen the skies open as life becomes simple again?

As Rohit has pointed out, the eight of each suit is an ‘end of Karma card’.  Then the seven of each suit portrays a matter of doubt:  a threshold through which the Dharma moves.  If I look through the four suits, each “seven” portrays an inward gesture or vulnerability to purify, and each ‘eight’ clears the slate.  I was not aware of this when I painted them.  It was Rohit’s work to perceive the archetypes and their speech, and to email to me, brief suggestions or pointers.  When I received these, the primary images took over and flowed, surprising both of us many a time. The deck has an elder Vedic soul. It is contacted and released through creative concentration. Thus the deck provides us with an astute psychological mirror.

Sequentially in the story, Sita tested herself through the flame after her safe return with Rama to India – but in the Mahabharatha as in other great epics, time is not linear but visionary.  Hearing bad council, Rama would suspect her of enforced infidelity with Ravana the King of Asuras he had rescued her from, and they suffered a second isolation from each other while this was sorted out.  Psychologically a man’s union with his inner beloved can be as fickle as the sea – especially when he believes he should stand alone. In the female psyche, this is mirrored.  In all of us the male and female interact – animus and anima – and set up mutual obstacles.

cycle of change tao

The suit of Wands/Staves denotes the play of sacred weapons;  the higher transformation of war games into the martial arts.

The tragedy implicit in the Seventh card, is the old, old story:  the woman is targeted.  Many of us bear this redemptive burden down the centuries.  Is it any wonder when we feel inexplicably tired?

SITA visual reference for 7 of wands 2

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Rohit’s Notes to Jane, 2003
“Card Seven is Sita Agni Parikasha – courage – she asks for it.

“It should be easy enough to show the fire ordeal she goes through to prove her innocence as seven logs of burning wood from which she emerges, held up by Agni lord of fire.  The 3 illustrations given should be of some help.  This is a dynamic and dramatic card, as everyone except Rama was appalled at what was happening.”

SITA visual reference for 7 of wands

Visual reference for Seven of Wands/Staves

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck
“Sita’s Trial by Fire.  Sita has been rescued.  In the ensuing celebrations over this fact, as well as Ravana’s death, one awful unspoken question hovers raptor-like over the minds of all.  Did Ravana forcibly molest her or did he not?  …  Rama knows there will never be any end to insinuation, slander and malice if this is not tackled expeditiously.  So he harrows Sita by giving voice to the collective suspicion – ‘Ravana could never have been so self-controlled.’

“Sita is outraged and furious.  In popular Indian imagination, Sita is all that is meek, timid and subservient to a husband.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Sita of Valmiki’s Ramayana is a fire-brand intellectual, outspoken and fearless, and she is not going to tolerate sniggering speculation about her virtue.  She upbraids Rama for daring to speak so – the fault if any is in the abductor, not the woman.

Visual reference - Ravana king of Asuras abducts Sita

Visual reference – Ravana king of Asuras abducts Sita

“Provoked beyond endurance, Sita orders Laxmana to arrange a funeral pyre for her, as a life without dignity is worthless.  As the appalled audience watches this awe inspiring act of courage – a living Sita seated amidst flames – the gods intervene.  Agni god of fire rises from the flames with an unscathed Sita, and remonstrates with Rama for his conduct.  Rama wryly admits he manipulated matters thus, so that a public and miraculous vindication of Sita would silence all loose talk forever.  The issue is resolved – for now.

“Interpretation of the card:  Courage, decisive battle, defiance and reliance on the self.  Inner resources and resilience.  Do not back away.  Inner battles especially over ethical issues and temptation – perseverance through adversity:  taking responsibility.  Refusal to be intimidated or manipulated into restrictive roles.  Able to say ‘No’ without guilt.  

“Shadow – this can also be the card of the excuse maker – fatigue and fear of loss – giving in to others’ wishes – neglected talent.  Fear of failure or of being thought incompetent.   What do you really need to take a stand about, or what are you shirking from?  Are your values important, or ‘being liked’?   Clean up any clutter at home.”

Sacred India Tarot - Seven of Staves/Wands - Sita through the fire

Sacred India Tarot – Seven of Staves/Wands – Sita through the fire

Jane’s Notes:

Behind Sita, Agni the deity of the sacred fire seems to breathe on her gently like a bellows – to raise the power of the pure and liberating flame within her:  to open her wings of prana in the chrysalis.  In the next card she is the Shakti:  she flies.

In alchemical traditions, the transformative agent is the secret fire with the breath:  the cooking:  the warmth of the hen’s breast to hatch the egg.

I feel this suit thematically signifies woman’s truth and male doubt when he does not listen. We are both masculine and feminine. The creative combat of intuitive wisdom and the rational mind is played out daily within our psyche.

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Rohit’s Feedback – “The Seven – Sita in the flames with Agni – This is a superb card, mystical and melancholic, and the Agni is a very unusual interpretation of the god of fire. Perhaps the outlines of the seven wands need to be slightly stronger but in all other aspects it is beautiful. Most seven of wands are all about a huffing and puffing macho sort of courage, but this is courage with dignity and grace. Sita is absolutely wonderful.”

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Rohit did not send me a visual reference for the Pushpaka-Vimana, though he mentioned a ‘sculptural panel’, and that it is a conscious vehicle. Here is a link to an article about the vimanas or devic chariots that cut through time and space.

pushpakavimana

The above article on https://ancientaliens.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/vimanas is fascinating, reminding me of dreams I had in which I built a flying machine whose “engine” was fuelled by balance and intention. The archetype is deep within us, and in “His Dark Materials” Philip Pullman describes an Intention Craft which rises vertically, descends, hovers and travels laterally as thought – a remarkable depiction of the body of light in the western occult tradition.

vimana flyingobjects26_051

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Correspondence 2003 – Jane to Gautam (publisher) and Rohit (author)
(for Card 9 and the court cards, see next SITA posts)

“Dear Gautam – I do not understand your picture references for Cards 8 and 9.  8 should be the Vimana flight home to Ayodhya, and 9 should be Rama’s agony at banishing Sita; but the pictures you gave are of Sita being abducted and Jatayu fighting Rama, both marked 8.  Please clarify.  

“For the court cards, which documents are the photos of yourself and Rohit attached to?  I do not have the Skanda document you refer to, or the photos! Regards, Jane.”

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“Dear Jane, please find below, comments of Rohit:  ‘We do not have the exact visual reference for either of these cards, as neither in painting nor sculpture have the two incidents been clearly depicted.  The two pictures marked 8 have been provided to convey the impression of flight.  They are just triggers for the events to be depicted in card 8, they do not illustrate.   

‘For card number 9, there is no reference as such, as the event is both touchy and controversial in India and avoided by artists.  Please tell Jane she has free rein to depict it in any manner she chooses.’

“I will send our pictures via email.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

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Rohit’s Notes 22 September 2003 – Eight of Wands/Staves
“The Pushpaka-Vimana flight back home to Ayodhya (representing swiftness) – The Pushpaka Vimana was supposed to be composed of flowers or flower-bedecked, in blooms that would never fade.  It was an airplane of sorts, and there is a bewildering paragraph in the Valmiki Ramayana where Sita asks Rama why the stars are visible from the vimama, even though it is day.

“The answer given is that at such elevation the light of the sun fails, and we see the stars which are always present in the sky!  What we perhaps need is a feeling of flying over the ocean, or alternatively we could show the vimana flying over Ayohdhya which too is a spectacular city.  I like the touch in the sculptural panel of showing the vimana as an embodied form;  according to the texts, the vimana had consciousness and was a genuine personality in its own right.  The eight wands could perhaps be poles on the vimana like some sort of flying pavilion?

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Sacred India Tarot eight of wands, Vimaha flight

Sacred India Tarot eight of Wands – Vimana flight, Rama and Sita

This image also depicts the power of the Mantric vehicle:  the way sound travels through all dimensions.  See my earlier posts on Ganapati Muni’s Guru Mantra Bhashya – “Om Vacadhbuve Namaha“.

This link (below) is not strictly speaking related to the content of this post;  it arises intuitively because I began this week to learn the Gayatri and other mantras and to chant them at odd times during the day – in the street, on the bus, or wherever.   Wonderfully, they clear the weather!  The science of mantra fascinates me, and so does the warm and ancient Vedic vibration.   My Indian roots are deep.

All powers seek the one who does not slip out from the state of wisdom. They come naturally for the Jnani is omnipotent , whether he shows the powers openly, impelled by momentum of karma, or imperceptibly but surely by his very presence.

Source: Sri Ramana Gita by Ganapati Muni

Om Vacadbhuve Namah
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya’

With the energy in this Karma-clearing card, 8 of Staves, I see the principle not only in mantra and sound and healing, but in the quality of relationships and what we try to communicate to one another.

From Journal, September 2003 – “I began Eight of Wands yesterday.  I have not drawn an oriental vehicle, but a living Being, an outlined gandharva or angel, in whose lap Sita and Rama are transported across the sea to their home.  I realised while on this, that what is happening in the world today, is the same as in the Ramayana or the Bhagavad Gita.  A vast mythological archetype is in action, destroying the father of lies again.  Be gold, go bold, and seize and receive this actual perception.  It trembles truth.”

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Rohit’s Feedback 10 December 2003 – “The Eight is the most original interpretation of the pushpaka I have yet seen.  It conveys that Hanuman carrying Rama subtext as well as showing the swift flight back home.”

sun yantra

sun yantra

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck:

“… The trip from Lanka in the time left, is feasible only by Pushpak Vimara, a flying craft seized by Rama from Kubera, god of wealth.  This machine was a curious mixture of science and magic, having human form as well as being a wood and metal craft capable of expanding infinitely, with aisles and window seats!  Its fuel was kept in vats on flight, and was an amalgam of wine, honey, mercury and herbal concoctions – a veritable environmentalist’s dream!

“The aerial route described in the Ramayana is similar to the now defunct Colombo to Allahabad air service.  It took nine hours to make the trip to Ayodhya, so the speed was quite good if not spectacular … Ancient Indians were fabulous astronomers, and there is nothing peculiar in Rama’s knowledge when he answers Sita that at such heights the rays of the sun do not penetrate and veil the stars, therefore they are visible in the daylight – but the sheer incongruity of such a perspective in the midst of Wordsworthian lyricism is striking. The swift, even giddy atmosphere such a flight would generate, was what the poet captured.

“In a reading – … Things happen sooner than planned for or anticipated, but that is for the best … ideas and work tumble out – increase in vital forces – spiritual breakthroughs and out of body experiences;  transcendence of limitations.  All Eights are end-of-karma cards, so it also means giving up unproductive and unprofitable activities.  

“Or: (shadow) act in haste and repent at leisure, especially when it comes to marriage.  Future shock and disproportionate reaction to events – a station wagon trying to be a Ferrari.  Pay careful attention to all documents, agreements etc, as the hasty nature of the energy may cause serious blunders or omissions.

“The insight of the card: You have abundant energy.  Now set some clear goals and focus this drive to achieving them, before it fritters away in interesting distractions.

photo by giorgos tsamakdas

photo by giorgos tsamakdas

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

2011 – Beethoven at the Red Hedgehog

donohoe master 15 janeadamsart

In 2011, Peter Donohoe performed all the Beethoven piano Sonatas at a small concert and arts venue in North London, the Red Hedgehog – named after the famous 19th century Zum Roten Igel coffee-shop in Vienna where the composers hung out.   I helped to get the venue ready for the series, and volunteered to scrub, sand and varnish all the floors, which were very dirty. It felt like a hands-on gesture to renovate a noble instrument and hear its voice.

‘Small is beautiful’. The 32 Sonatas were originally performed in small halls or in private houses. In our time the big concert industry has somewhat swamped that sense of community and … communion.   Here was a chance to recapture the flavour and to support enduring musical values, at grass-roots level:  feeling the deep need for this, in society at present.

2011 was a curious year for me:  I also cleared (by hand) a ten-year rubbish tip from a garden;  which took nine months.  What was going on in my inner life?   It was like a recurring dream I used to have, of a derelict chamber or series of forgotten and neglected rooms in the depths of my psyche.  To bring them to life and make them grow and glow?  I couldn’t resist the challenge!

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Beethoven at Zum Roten Igel in London

Beethoven at Zum Roten Igel in London

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Here are some of my impressions of the Beethoven series from my journal – illustrated with my sketches of Peter giving a master-class a month before the Beethoven series.

 

20 February 2011

Peter Donohoe’s master class reached the mountain tops – Liverpudlian Taurean-type maestro, discusses music with his students. I did a number of rough sketches.   Drawing gives me energy … The atmosphere in the venue was delightful, and smelt of wood floors and paraffin heaters. A trick of the stage lighting makes the piano keys and other details wink scarlet glints … with the musical summit discussion around PD’s penultimate and very gifted student in the late afternoon (Chopin’s 4th Ballade)

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Gallery – click to view

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 21 February 2011

Peter Donohoe’s competent bulk, story-telling profile and the glittering powers in his arms and fingers and centre of gravity are my good friend for life. His Liszt episodes from the Swiss Annees invoked 19th century magic, dreamy Venice and the almost unbearably, daemonically romantic Master of all the music: the long mane, erotic strength and gypsy speech. In those days, THINK of hearing all the composers for the very first time under Liszt’s hands: he did all the recording, all the travelling and drew in all the threads.

Peter plays Chopin – as all pianists do nowadays – very loudly.   Ballades 3 and 4 and the Fantaisie Polonaise:   and Schumann’s Arabesque that my grandmother used to play, very tenderly.   Big colour range. The piano screamed but spoke.   Pianists ravish pianos;   this explains a lot for me.

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Franz Liszt and daemons

Franz Liszt and daemons

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24 February 2011

Mrs T has her wake-up call. Peter told her he was disappointed in the small audience number, and that the place is cold and dirty and – behind the bar especially – unhygienic, and he might have to withdraw from the Beethoven series.   Catastrophe!

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piano

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Beethoven in last quartets mode - detail

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THE SCRUB AND SANDING

During the following month I hired a sanding-machine and took all the dirt off the floors – it was amazing to see the fresh wood emerge – and started to apply coats of smelly gloss varnish. The Indian takeaway shop next door complained that the fumes were coming through the walls.  We googled online for an antidote – freshly chopped onions!

22 March

I arrived at ‘the Endangered Species’ yesterday, to an aroma of onions spread on bits of newspaper like cat food, no trace of fumes or damp, and the venue humming with two bookings – the actors in the back room and a quintet in concert black, in the front room having a jolly photo session round the Yamaha. The sanded bamboo floor looked pale, vulnerable and marvellous. In the evening I did my marathon. Two coats of water based acrylic varnish – home-worked from my local builders merchants – took nearly 6 hours. This morning I didn’t get up till nearly 9!   Am still tired almost to tears, but enjoying great creative satisfaction – the depth and beauty of the bamboo glows up through the coating like a forest – (It was shop-coated but not dirt/feet/chairs proof when Mrs T bought and installed it.) The filthy black floors everywhere are gone:   clean wood brightens the whole place, with my pictures in it, and the spirits of Beethoven & Co, and Mrs T’s resurrected desire to love it and keep it clean. There’s a lot of work to do on skirting boards and doors, etc. She gave me some Anthony Trollope in the headphones to accompany my labours. She loved my concentration and commitment. She said she can’t tell me how much this means to her.   But she does. She is an eager, clever, long-nose schoolgirl with a big heart, fierce green politics and droll dark eyes, clumsy with her feet and knocks the onions around.

Movements of God are funny.

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Photos of my work – I didn’t take any ‘before’ pix!

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23 March 2011

I go back again tonight, to apply the Third Coat in full.   Fourth coat next week.   The hard wear of constantly moving chairs, enormous piano and calor-gas heaters, needs several layers/coats.   Last night I put first and second coats on the patches which had been covered by piano and chair-stacks, and tinkered a bit of Bach on that noble black beast, the Yamaha – fingers all a-fumble. I had to work around all the furniture of the rehearsing actors’ day, but have ordered it to be cleared.   Mrs T provides wine – which she is afraid to drink herself.

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donohoe master 8 janeadamsart

 

27 March 2011

Last night the Peter Donohoe concerts began, and I understood why I have worked so hard. Beethoven at the height of his game, flowed into every well-loved part of my soul: the magic of musician and audience – who gasped like a woman in bed – such an intimate venue.   There were plenty of people, (bookings suddenly flooded in yesterday) and Donohoe didn’t bang, he sang with power, nobility, simple humanity, tenderness and dazzling ferocity, those early sonatas I know well, but I never heard them played before! He said the one emotion not expressed in Beethoven’s sonatas, is defeatism.

The puzzlement is that music or performance seems ephemeral, a one-off; yet it has this power as no other, to draw villages of souls together for a blessing which pierces turmoil and any kind of speech.

by the sea the sun - found online

by the sea the sun – found online

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28 March 2011

We heard the three Sonatas preceding the Pathetique. The last of these has a slow movement with Beethoven’s deepest thoughts and yearnings. When Peter plays the fast ones, he hurtles and bounds, much as I believe, the fiery Beethoven would have done – with splendid vocal statements, silences, humour and elasticity.   It is architectural. He plays the slow movements with full sonority and depth from the key-bed, making the chords roll-break just a fraction, which resonates the bell.   His technique and tool kit is precise, colour-toned and beautiful:   he is a big man, he rides his mistakes, and power takes hold. His profile is good with the instrument, and so are his wide blue eyes and mature wonder. He said last month that when he practices he works, but when he performs, he learns.   Each performance and its dynamic with the audience is unique.

They talked again (him and Michael White from the Telegraph) about the even-tempered piano nowadays, wherein the keys no longer have different tonal colours; but Beethoven and his colleagues would have approved of the way the instrument and its range has developed.   The keys themselves have widened, so the hand stretch required is now greater.   They discussed the composer’s metronome. Peter said he never bothers with it, and if he does, it plays tricks on him.   The day’s living temper varies.   Beethoven requests very fast metronome markings, perhaps because he inner-hears the music faster than it physically plays – just as when scanning or memorising a score; or when thinking rather than talking.   My friend Paul put up his hand at the depth implication of this, and said something about the etheric field, and the borderline of the deaf or death.   Randy Newman the critic told me afterwards, the Hammerklavier’s markings are impossibly fast, and then (apparently) stupendously slow in the slow movement, because when I mentioned my Solomon recording, he said Solomon took up Beethoven’s tempi spontaneously, in the Hammerklavier, and suffered his stroke immediately after.

It was all about frequency: the higher dimensions into the performer’s pulse.   They discussed the sublime late Sonatas. These seemed to cadence Beethoven’s creation and look beyond – then followed his real Late period, the Quartets, Missa Solemnis, Ninth Symphony, the cosmic jokes in the Diabelli variations and the profoundly playful Bagatelles. He transcended dissolution. Temporal transparencies slide together enigmatically, and extend life – Peter’s side-slipping gestures. How Beethoven in such states, appeared “crazy”.   I thought of Mrs T’s venue-household chaos – not unlike Beethoven’s – and how she adores him, she wishes she were his lover.   So this whole noble festival and its curve, has Beethoven’s untidy and stressed out sublimity. It will command its course.

Gallery – click to view

 

I arrive into an insight … to let persons proceed in their own unfolding way;   to assist with this only where I can, practically, and not to argue with their actions or ideas. They are learning, just as I have.

Do not put wrong lenses together.   Accept and hear, and do not try to fix, or overrule.

“The whole nature of man must be used wisely by the one who desires to enter the way.”

At moments yesterday I perceived how aptly my task with the floors mirrors the chaotic artist element in my life: it shows me – like wood grain under varnish – my panics, terrors and scrambling against the clock – the disrespect for my person that they cause – the noble summit of the deep-end brief – the over all humanity: humane.   The ability to care for my own home is evolutionary.   Give it some, today.

Put lenses together which may be different, but which align truly.

Re-arrange the vehicles of consciousness, to co-ordinate always a little better with what’s given.

piano, brahms 1st piano concerto 2nd subject theme - 1969

piano, brahms 1st piano concerto 2nd subject theme – 1969

 

Peter spoke last night of the adventure of a Beethoven Series, and what it means to him each time he does one – the philosophical and physical commitment to the mountain.

 ludwigpicture

Peter Donohoe spoke last night of Beethoven’s profound political and philosophical awareness during a time of intense social upheaval.   I said it is like this again, today (which is why it’s significant to hear Beethoven in the Highgate Red Hedgehog) but I didn’t mention Pluto in Capricorn, in case Peter thinks astrology is codswallop.   He might not. There is the mystic in him, and the intelligence.   He loves Messiaen, and studied under Yvonne Loriod.   He was very tired yesterday, and a bit skinless.   He hadn’t slept well. As he loves Messiaen, his inner world has those vast slow bird song mandalas, like Dante’s Rose in the Paradiso.

The floors begin to glow with beauty, and are admired; Peter played the Moonlight and Pastorale as always in his searching, lyrical and thrilling manner to pin-drop pause and howls of amazement in the applause. Sarah from Radio 3 pitched in for the pre-concert conversation – he likes her – and they discussed Stravinsky’s remarks during Rite of Spring, about the composer or performer being a vessel for the music. There were about 65 in the audience.   Peter enjoys himself in the dialogue atmosphere. Mrs T dares to book his 13th Beethoven cycle next year.   The bamboo forest floor shines golden, and it is a concert hall, serious and serene.

concert hall

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11 April 2011

Beethoven was an emperor who despised Napoleon’s competing claim.   As Donohoe said, his apparent arrogance was in fact, confidence not only in himself, but in the self-transcending power of his gift.   Around it, effects settle and Time sets a pulse.   The pulse itself gathers intention.

For my mother, the Red Hedgehog, the Beethoven and meeting Mrs T, (who wishes she could borrow her) is another adventure in human eccentricity, to dine out on.   She thinks the shop front should stay as it is, because the interior oasis by contrast is fascinating to step into.

They mentioned in Saturday’s talk, that Beethoven lost nearly all his possessions during his frequent moves from lodging to lodging, but never lost the thousands of pages of his notes and musical ideas which he carried always with him.   Where are these?

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donohoe master 11 janeadamsart

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I spoke to Donohoe in the doorway of the Awful Bar (where he says he likes to stand), about the mandalas in Messiaen and those same flowering pulses – like Dante’s Rose – in his intelligence of Beethoven; and the control of the cyclic dance measure through all the passion; the voices and colours and accents which emerge.   He agreed and was pleased.   Underpinning the Beethoven cycle has been this discussion of tempi, pulse and inner and outer hearing.

The playing is titanic, and sometimes terrifying, I feared the instrument would break, the power unleashed yet just contained in that wind swept dance or circling.   It must be twenty times louder than Beethoven’s day: yet Beethoven played like a fury, as well as with tenderness, and so he is invoked.   Randy Newman the critic came up and said that was the worst Adieux he EVER heard. For me it was full of profound speech. The Appassionata, a waterfall of fountains, made me tremble.   Opus 78, said to be Beethoven’s own favourite, is Beethoven’s warm romantic personality, face to face.

The Messianic mandalas of Peter’s performance of Beethoven – (he told me that most people don’t perceive that spiritual energy-field in Beethoven) – are magnetic.   I perceive this power and its law, touching the ground.

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the piano keys are grapes - 1987

the piano keys are grapes – 1987

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Gallery – click to view

Ops 90-something and 101 were heavy in places – Peter was not quite in his stride – but the Hammerklavier was a profound and passionate reading, especially the slow movement, and the questing recitative as it floats between the keys to the fugue – through endless space – and all through the Hammerklavier the mandala inseminates all the keys, like Wagner’s chromatic Tristan.   I was surprised, because I hear again and again how DIFFICULT the Hammerklavier is to play, and for people to hear … yet the whole of it is accessible, to me: how well I know it, every note! I said to Peter, I suppose I’m rather odd, he said yes you are.   This work is the interior man laid bare – his thoughts, his jottings, exploring and titanic resurgence.   In the fast bits, Peter tumbles through all his tempi like water in flood, like (I guess) Beethoven must have done, devouring the multiple pulse.

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18 April 2011

Full house at the hedgehog last night, for Peter’s last 3 Beethovens, which he played with sublime powers.  Before the music, John Suchet spoke of the original red hedgehog in Vienna, about the size of this one, and with about the same audience, and how last month at the end of a certain bad day, in the middle of 12 emails, all marked Rubbish, stood just one marked Red Hedgehog, and it opened up from there; and so here he is – and he talked with attractive enthusiasm about his hero and the Sonatas and the dreadful mishandling of beloved nephew Karl.  Yet Karl survived and went to America where he produced another little Beethoven who – sadly – died in World War One.

People are too busy for commitment. So should I be, really.   Too busy for commitment?   For an alchemist, commitment is where I am.   Commitment is my job. When Mrs T went off to the pub to debrief and dine with Peter and his wife and daughter, I had an energy lift, and tidied things up and put half the chairs away, leaving it neat and golden … and had to scramble/clamber into the locked back room through the glory hole, to retrieve my bags …

donohoe master 17 janeadamsart

The ‘Endangered Species’ now has a great Beethoven audience, ambiance and a chatty maestro, with two colourful ladies running it and welcoming everybody. Mrs T began to remind people that she hasn’t actually got any money.   Let’s hope the Last Night of the Beethovens triggers more Providence – it is an energy field.   I met the hedgehog’s original financial provider, a man called M and his boyfriend.   The floors shine.   In league with old Beethoven in his own desperate lodgings, I rolled up my sleeves.   I’m proud.

This stayed with me:  Peter spoke during the master class and during the Beethoven series, on interpretation.  He said that often there is too much emphasis on this, and on one’s ideas about the music.  He aims to take himself out of the way, to play the notes the composer wrote – humility – and let them speak.  Do not stand in front.

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If you are interested in helping The Red Hedgehog in its work with music, education and the theatre, here is the link: http://www.theredhedgehog.co.uk/ .  The manager is Clare Fischer.

See also my post of Timothy West at the Red Hedgehog

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Beethoven in later life - 1999

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

More Sketches of Beethoven

Beethoven and ... Rostropovich?  I found this forgotten early drawing from the 1970s, while searching for the two which I have lost.  I used to find it 'easier' to draw him than I do now!

Beethoven and … Rostropovich? (circa 1972).  I found this forgotten early drawing from the 1970s, while searching for the two which I have lost. I used to find it ‘easier’ to draw him than I do now! I love listening to the Beethoven cello sonatas.

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Continuing this “Beethoven series” inspired by Elene’s researches :  this post includes some journaling over the weekend, and portraits of the master by others, and from my new sketches.

First: a detail from my “watershed” series of dreams during the 1970s:

September 1976 – from “Paris and the Hollow Way”
(Watershed Tales)

“Smelling the flowers which grow around the end of Boulevard Malesherbes, I see the bright food in the brasseries, the Gaulish striped canopies over smoked glass. Avenues which radiate from this place are planted tree-deep with bouquets gathered this morning from the tart grass; the dew is still upon them – the waters of a river, where the pit of the railway once was
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“And yet this place in Paris has mile upon mile of shattered streets and dirty weathered brick.  The sorrow moves me, through field upon field of unhoused space, like Liverpool after the war.  As far as I see, no man lives here.  It moves me in strange ways.  I discussed these ways with the old hoardings of scarred planks and corrugated iron which give and take along the road. What tragedian devastated this land?

“No man,” they replied.  No man is an island.  But they live and speak.  Their answer is in nomadic ways, in syllables of philosophy I cannot recall.  They are my notice boards, my inner adversities that talk.

“So I came at last to an arrangement with Beethoven, of whom I was very fond.  I found him in a room without much light, and a musty smell … maybe a Viennese cellar during Napoleon’s bombardment?  I agreed to draw a portrait for him of his daughter.  She’s a small child, and her facial features are very dark.  For hours I toiled with each line and contour.  I saw Beethoven’s light within her, her soul so clear where she sat, but I couldn’t get it right.  The expression of her mouth and eyes, came into me, but I couldn’t connect.  I hesitated. I erased and drew, and erased again and drew.  The difficulty stared me in the face like having to learn all over again to walk, and made me cringe with pain.  I struggled to achieve at length an approximation:  my facility is lost, and I forgot the way.  There are no short cuts I can take.”

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The young child Beethoven?
portrait by an unknown artist, discovered in 1972
and … how might he have looked?

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I was reminded of this, because I had rather a struggle to draw Beethoven over the weekend.  I lost two early sketches of him which I like – maybe I gave them away – so I tried to reconstruct them.  The creative process doesn’t always flow.  Beethoven often had titanic difficulty with his compositions, scribbling and shouting and scratching out and searching for what he heard in the rain and the trees, from God.

Beethoven on a walk ... Pastorale

Beethoven on a walk … Pastorale

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Journal 24 July – Beethoven and Vera
He really is around … two new followers to my blog, who write about him and about pianos – did they come in through Vera Moore?

On Emily’s piano yesterday however, the three or four out-of-tune keys were very noticeable, and I couldn’t ride it well;  it was evening after a long tiring day.  When I played, the flowing faculty wasn’t there, and I stumbled along the up-down action.  I rang the tuner:  he said it could be tuned again in two or three months, but if it gets unbearable he will come and see what he can do.  One small consolation:  my own piano – a Spencer upright – is easier!

Strings and hammers - detail from a larger painting

Strings and hammers – detail from a larger painting

It was a revelation for me the day before, that to play Beethoven we must meditate with love: that is, to wait and let him enter.  He reaches the soul universally and constantly regenerates and sprouts runners along the higher astral ground – a hardy perennial.  The perennial is love – the humanitarian love which strove and strode nobly with his wrecked health and domestic furies.

I need to tune into that love, spontaneously or deliberately, to play him at all.  I have to walk with him and feel the rain, meditate and imagine the wild wind in the trees I see, and the noble themes it whispers onto a sodden notebook page.  The love and the divine beauty had to force a way through discordant tinnitus.

Beethoven walk: by Julius Schmid

Beethoven walk: by Julius Schmid

This must have made the silent sound of the outer world unbearably alluring – to see the movement and feel the wet rain.  On his walks the nature devas counselled him: he sang and scribbled and “raved”.  To rave is to be ravished in the elements.  People who knew him recorded the way his face opened into a raptus.  The raptus of old Beethoven fought the daily cacophonies inside his ears, and strode the serene paradox of the late quartets and the Opus 111 Arietta.

I did long ago, a small oil sketch of B walking in the grass hatless – can’t find it yet – did it get left behind at the red hedgehog?  Yesterday it was clear to me that my enormous labour of love at the red hedgehog in 2011 (a small and struggling concert venue), to clean and sand down and varnish the floors which were filthy, was for Beethoven.  I did it for the Peter Donohoe Beethoven series there – hook, line and sinker:  an esoteric assignment if you will.  If I hadn’t cleaned and brightened the floors, that wonderful Beethoven series might not have happened or touched earth there – a peak symbolic moment.  The sublime got through the chaos – the timeless touch spread fore and aft, and struck its Sound and Glory.

Klein, Franz / Micheli: Beethoven-Maske mit Lorbeerkranz, nach der Lebendmaske von Klein

Klein, Franz / Micheli: Beethoven-Maske mit Lorbeerkranz, nach der Lebendmaske von Klein

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As I mentioned Vera Moore above, suddenly my world with her is here too.  She is with me.  She was my piano teacher in Paris in 1965:  her eternal Life in a rickety household, rather like Beethoven’s – but she lived till she was 90:  her strong caress of the keys, like wrapping a baby – her reverent joy – giving birth to her “son of Art” and bringing him up through the French Resistance and after the war:  her powerful and abrasive personality as a younger woman and single mother – I hear again the obstinate ripple of her voice.  It didn’t bother her if her old Gaveau was out of tune – she couldn’t afford the tuner.

Vera Moore when I knew her - this drawing from memory is from the early 1970s

Vera Moore when I knew her – this drawing from memory is from the early 1970s.  I can imagine her sitting with me, and what she might say about this note or that note, wrapping my fingers round it like a baby with a shawl … her way with poetic images and her LOVE … her instruction to play what I am learning, like a chorale, without any inhibitions – sing it inside, with the touch.

I read somewhere that Liszt could draw forth the heart and soul from an out-of-tune instrument and captivate his listeners.  There must be a way of using those odd sounds.

One of Vera’s students helped her to write a piano Method.  I don’t think I heard Vera play Beethoven, but when Beethoven’s window opens in my soul, I may be pretty sure she will come through it as well.  Her gift like his, is a delicate seed of power, grace, humour and peace, in a turbulent nest.

I think Vera taught her piano students the “horizontal” caress which holds and rolls along the white and black keys, and on rare occasions comes through me in a moment of delight (I soon fall off !).  I believe Liszt played like this, glancing sideways with seductive smile (“isn’t this amazing?”); and Paul Roes aims to reconstruct it in his “Music – the Mystery and the Reality“.

Vera Moore in the 1930s - from Winifred Nicolson's  painting of her

Vera Moore in the 1930s – from Winifred Nicolson’s painting of her.  Search ‘vera moore’ on this blog, for my two posts about her.

I do prefer old uneven character pianos to the mechanically-perfect electronic keyboards.  You can hear straight away, even through a high open window.

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A sketch of Beethoven in his teens.  This one 'works' for me - and took just a few minutes.

A sketch of Beethoven in his teens. This one ‘works’ for me – and took just a few minutes.

silhouette of Beethoven at 16

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Here is a timely message from a fellow blogger:

“Draw a circle
place inside of it
every aspect of your
human experience …
all emotions
all actions
all shame and guilt
all the things you would love to forget
and all that you hope
you will never forget.

“Make it a place where all of it fits.
Let them no longer be strangers
to one another.
Let them take off their shoes and stay a while
rub elbows
break bread
toast to one another’s health and long life.

“When everything that you have experienced
is located in one place
you are
finally
‘One with Everything’.”

Charlie Morris wrote this poem … this morning, about everything in his life, the human texture, difficulty and joy, being in this one room unconditionally and inclusively, which is “God”.  It is not spiritual or unspiritual.

So Beethoven poured basins of water over his head to cool the fire of composition.  Now see and breathe interior peace in and as the room.  Nobody is alive without depending on something or someone for their well being.  No one goes it alone.  Look at what I depend on!  If my path with the Inner School was taken away, where would I be?

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Gallery, working from Kloeber and Carolsfeld’s portraits
– click to view

 

I spent the rest of the day trying to draw Beethoven – three more efforts.  It is much more difficult for me than it used to be – and so is playing the piano.  I found my Robbins Landon book which has lots of pictures, and an interesting photoshop idea online, with B’s life mask.  I got very bogged down and stuck.

I also extracted from my 2011 journals, the gist of Peter Donohoe’s Beethoven series at the red hedgehog (zum roten igel in North London) – I might put it in my next post, with my sketches of PD’s master-class.  Then my energy was all gone.

Gallery – click to view

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Gallery

Beethoven kept this painting by Joseph Mahler on his wall throughout his many changes of lodging.  It must have been among his few possessions – apart from the thousands of pages of his notebooks – which survived.  He will have identified particularly with its heroic quality.  Another of his treasured paintings was the one of his grandfather.

I decided to ‘have a go’ with this one, but quickly found the pose too artificial and romantic to reproduce convincingly!  So I switched to the idea of him conducting from the keyboard – keep practicing !   Keep trying  …

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Helen Ede in 1974, on my last visit to her.  She is knitting a sock for 'Old Bonesie', my grandfather.  Through the window you could see the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh

Helen Ede in 1974, on my last visit to her. She is knitting a sock for ‘Old Bonesie’, my grandfather. Through the window in Jordan Lane, you could see the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh

I hear the severe ecstasy of my grandmother, Helen Ede – her face and eagerness shaped somewhat like his. She used to play Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata on her Bechstein … in whose dusky dark tones I explored his slow movements.  When her memory went, or she fell off a note, she would say ‘h’ai’ crossly.

We spoke together about the Arietta in his Opus 111 – after listening to her old record of Claudio Arrau playing it. Her face lit up: I cannot reproduce her voice, but she said something like this:

“… the long trills where the sun comes out.  You have in the beginning an austerity, and through the variation the austerity slowly relents, letting go of its own form, to melt and smile and dance.  You know that place where the dotted rhythm begins to go around, and around, to break it up – dissolving the form into light without ever quite losing it … ?  it falls open and time stops.  It seems to me that through that light, very gradually emerges again the variation.  The theme didn’t quite disappear, but is transcended and transfigured.  Then slowly the bar lines return, and the theme resumes.”

Beethoven in last quartets mode

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Imagining old Beethoven in private, his deaf face, his pain transfigured, alone in that mess of a room, having just poured another bucket over himself … I hear in some of his piano music, the Dionysian cyclic mandala or mantra rhythm, like Dante’s cosmic rose, dissolving into light.

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“Ochh Jane,” says my grandmother in her Scottish-German accent, “Oh what a sight to see.”

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Claudio Arrau 1986: from the record sleeve of Opus 111

Claudio Arrau 1986: from the record sleeve of Opus 111

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**

My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Human Landscape – Sketches of Beethoven

 

Beethoven at Zum Roten Igel

Beethoven at Zum Roten Igel

Last week, I got very excited about this link:

https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/beethoven-guest-blogger/

Here, Elene explores a musician friend’s contact with Beethoven, comparing it to her own subtle relation with him and with Chopin.

It inspired me to dig out my old sketches of Ludwig Beethoven, and to see what happens: to try perhaps a new one.   I am reminded of a dream I had in 2011, of my hands like a child, and Beethoven touching them and looking onward … or mine resting on his:

My dream with Beethoven, 29 May 2011. He had Pluto and Venus in Capricorn - a musician's Hades-Persephone marriage.  Pluto is again in Capricorn - 2008-2024 - completing a cycle since Beethoven's day.    Pluto is the depth dredger in human affairs, but also represents - particularly in Capricorn - a depth and enduringness of human values, such as those which Beethoven  sang and wrote - as fresh these days, as ever.

My dream with Beethoven, 29 May 2011. He had Pluto and Venus in Capricorn – a musician’s Hades-Persephone marriage. Pluto is again in Capricorn – 2008-2024 – completing a cycle since Beethoven’s day. Pluto is the depth dredger in human affairs, but also represents – particularly in Capricorn – a depth and enduringness of human values, such as those which Beethoven heard, sang as he walked, and wrote. These values seemingly hidden by today’s turbulence, are perenially fresh for those who touch and find.

The Pluto Venus Capricorn glyph in this drawing speaks to me of the master’s depth and tenderness.

Journal 29 May 2011
“I dreamed – An eager young man, with some arrangement with Beethoven, built an Ascension vehicle which lifted us high to behold his vision and his project, for which he was gathering souls like mine, for faith and ballast.  The landscape was stupendously beautiful – a great smooth sunset sea surrounded by distant mountains, their crazy, graceful outlines rimmed with supernal light.  It was heart-catching: awe.  The sea – the LENS – was like a very large bay or inlet, because ‘inland’ or harbour seemed to be to the right, below.  It is my perennial vision of the human coastline and hinterland.  Have faith!

“The man spoke of it all, and somewhere I touched the back of Beethoven’s hand.  The vision was – as in the Eroica – of Beethoven’s divine pride and purpose.  Beethoven was immediately to hand, the writing all joined up.  It was time to go with the man and put it all into action …  the young man’s voice had an Australian twang … …

“… I listened to Beethoven’s Adieux, Therese, the Goblins and the Fourth piano concerto, all played by Arrau … Artists and musicians are forgiven much.  Grumpy old Beethoven – chunks of humanity off the old block – are put there for us to listen to their musical integrity, not to be wise or polite.

“I draw very slowly the line – and it was really hard to get a Beethoven likeness – eventually found photo of his sculpted head, taken from the life mask.  I think this is the one he didn’t like, as the weight of the plaster dragged down his face – so we ALL think he went around with mouth down turned at the corners, and maybe he didn’t.  He is said to have pursed his lips when concentrating, and certainly he stuck the lower one out.  His chin was cleft like a great shell.  His nose was ‘three cornered, like a lion’, his eyes rather small and exceptionally alive – changing colour, dark greenish hazel perhaps.  He tended to roll them upwards.  He was swarthy, pock marked, with leonine black hair ‘like a Spaniard’, and much hair over his body and hands.  He dressed elegantly when he was young.  When a fine lady complemented the nobility of his brow, he said ‘Salute it then, Madam’ and offered it to kiss.”

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Here is one of my efforts to sketch him yesterday – the young Beethoven, from the Hornemann portrait 1802:  before his deafness and at the height of his performing powers.

Young Beethoven, after Hornemann

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This drawing was done perhaps in the 1970s:  the older man bends close to the keys in his struggle to hear.

Beethoven plays

Beethoven plays

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The above portrait was inspired by this painting by an unknown artist – my father has the sepia photo.  I always assumed it was Ludwig Beethoven playing the violin, but if you look closely, you can see his life mask hanging on the wall … like a secret mirror.

beethoven violin

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When I was a child we lived in a farmhouse with a large attic.  Exploring up there, I found this cobwebbed photo of a painting by Franz Stvk.  I have it still.

Beethoven by Franz Stvk

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When I was young, I played a lot of Beethoven on the piano, and identified – often painfully – with his darkness.  In the 1980s I teamed with a violinist, Fred Barschak, and together we climbed the mountains of the Spring, Kreuzer and Seventh Violin Sonatas.

Beginning to play the Spring Sonata

 

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Here are my earlier sketches of Beethoven, and their sources:

beethoven on a walk

beethoven on a walk

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Beethoven at work

Beethoven at work

This portrait was inspired by Batt’s drawing (below) in the Oxford Companion to Music.

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Gallery: Beethoven by Batt, Klein, Stvk and von Kloeber

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Beethoen in later life

Beethoen in later life

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More early studies – I made his forehead much higher than it really was.  Beethoven’s brow had a noble, rounded breadth.

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Beethoven after the painting by F.Schimon

Beethoven after the painting by F.Schimon

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These two pages are from a journal in 1969, quoting Schindler’s visit to the master when he was composing the Missa Solemnis Credo.

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And … within the cosmos of the late Quartets –

Beethoven in last quartets mode

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Glancing at Elene’s other posts touching on Beethoven, here is a teaching of his to a pianist-composer friend – he sat in the car and said to Elene’s friend, “How do you get the perfect cut of meat? – you trim away all the fat.”   While reading the earlier post, ‘More on Lou van B’, these words came to me:  “before sitting down to play Beethoven, open and fill your heart with love.”

It is a struggle for me to find him sometimes – like climbing over fences.  Perhaps it is the spiritual battle of the “heroic” with love;  the personal ego with the truth;  the ‘I-can-and-I-will’ with ‘listen’ … inheriting Beethoven’s philosophical dilemma in the Quartet opus 135 – must it be? It must be.

piano action

piano action

I am at present “exercising” Emily’s baby grandpiano in Southgate. It has a beautiful faded case;  her father used to play popular classics on it, but he died nearly 30 years ago, and no one  touched it since.  The poor thing had sagged to honky tonk with three stuck notes, and yet I found a good, light action.  I persuaded them to have it tuned.  The sleeping beauty is in shock!  – and now between tunings to stabilise – all her strings woke up and stretched and some of them already slipped.   I put a vase of water underneath and a small dish of water inside, to counteract the heating in the house.

Yet her voice came out, singing and mellow, in the quieter places, quite sensual.  It was wonderful to play and hear it in the restful, faded drawing-room which opens onto the long wisteria garden.  I enjoyed a strange sense of flow and freedom of tone across the ‘vertical’ hammer system, in terms of touch and tenderness:  Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and other slow movements spoke with love, and so did Bach preludes.  Some of the bass notes growl. My fingers were – magically – not in the way.  I thought of the Liszt method in Paul Roes’ book Music – the Mystery and the Reality.   Magic happens in an individual variety of tone – part of the charm which older pianos have – which challenges me to find and adapt to its way of singing.  The new or electronic instruments don’t have that playful intimacy.

Instrument.  This is actually my father's Petrof piano, as I have not yet photographed Emily's.

Instrument. This is actually my father’s Petrof piano, as I have not yet photographed Emily’s.

Interestingly, in Elene’s post on conversations with Beethoven, he says new agey views of higher plane diaphanous white robes are nonsense – we wear what we wore in history and sometimes dress up in contemporary style for fun – like he did in a 1940s brown suit.  “He still loves rain, baths, showers and the woods.  His house is in the woods.”  Because generation after generation discover and interpret his music, his commitment to humanity is timeless, covering a very wide landscape, and continually refreshed … “A German word in the ear, meaning energy flowing:  projection:  Vorsprung – projects like rock.

Have we a Beethoven forum?  Visit also https://edwardianpiano.wordpress.com/my-poetry/ for some evocative verse, haiku and pictures of Beethoven I never saw before.  This fascinating site turned up last week in synchrony with Elene’s Beethoven, Guest Blogger;  I had to jump in.

TO BE CONTINUED – my new attempts to draw Beethoven, and some more impressions.

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**

My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2015. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Mysteries of Isis 9 – the Hearth-Fire and the Sea

Mother Isis of the Moon, 2015

Mother Isis of the Moon, 2015

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In esoteric work for the healing of nations, there are at least two main streams – the path of the Lineages and the path of the Hearth-fire. Through occult Lineage traditions, an octave of initiations is handed down to practitioners. This way of discipline and group work enjoys a living contact with the Inner Plane guides and their wisdom.

Dion Fortune in 1927

Dion Fortune in 1927

In the 1920s, Dion Fortune founded a Society of the Inner Light in Avalon, Glastonbury.  She became its trance medium (based on her training in psychoanalysis).  She also wrote novels and books on the theory of The Mystic Qabalah, and did astral-plane police work.

Among  core themes in her work, was regeneration of the natural spiritual and physical energy between men and women, which had become atrophied.  (“Dion Fortune and the Inner Light” – a biography by Gareth Knight)

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Mudras - builders of Avalon 2003

Mudras – builders of Avalon 2003

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Dion Fortune taught also the path of the Hearth-Fire. Reaching back to the Corn goddess and the human network in Gaia, mother Earth, the Hearth-Fire complements the path of the Lineages by bringing the divine essence into our daily life and practice – our relationships, our workplace, and the way we learn our parenting.

We may visualise – as if from an aeroplane at night – a pattern of sacred fires placed here and there on earth, where the Companions of the Light are gathered and keep watch.  We may approach and join them.  It is said that they are most numerous over the middle east where the need for them is acute.  They are gathered there in the darkness, the way  antibodies travel to a wound.  We need to gain a high altitude vision, to realise that because the issues show as yet no signs of resolution, that does not mean they never will.

We need to dive within.  For some of us, our job is to assist the Companions by facing our own shadow projections at home – as we journey in the soul law to the source – through Self-enquiry in psychology, philosophy, family life and feelings.  Time in the lap of the gods is not as our time;  it all must come up and out, becoming conscious.  Healing is the whole.

Here –  shortened to just the main images for meditation – is Dion Fortune’s invocation of Isis as she appeared to Wilfred and Molly at the end of “The Sea Priestess” (published by Society of the Inner Light):

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hearth fire

hearth fire, salamanders

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“Night by night, as the wood smoke rose from the Fire of Azrael, we built up the form of the Priest of the Moon in the drifting shadows till he was as real to us as we were to each other;  and though we knew his form was such stuff as dreams are made of, there came through that form, the touch of mind on mind, and that was the thing that counted … and so we felt the touch of mind on mind where no man was, and heard the words where no one spoke, for the thing came across the gulf on the wings of fantasy;  for fantasy is the ass that carries the ark, as they said in the ancient Mysteries.

“Now it is a very odd thing, that I, who could visualise the Priest of the Moon at will till he seemed to stand out like an image in a stereoscope, always felt him to be a shadow thrown by some other reality;  whereas Molly who couldn’t visualise him at all, was perfectly sure of his presence and actuality, and seemed to commune with him interiorly with as much certainty as if he were on the telephone.  He taught me and I learnt all manner of things from him about Atlantis and the ancient ways of Britain.  But he didn’t so much teach Molly as change her.

Through the Red Sea 

“… There was a sea fog that night that wrapped all round the narrow neck of land where stood the farm between the salt marsh and the tide water … only the sea remained open to us as an occasional shift of the drift of the wind opened long sea-lanes in the fog down which the moon shone, for she was low and near her setting.

“It was strange to see a sea-lane open thus, with the water all silver in the moonlight and the fog standing up in walls on either hand, like the cliffs of a phantom fiord.  It was such a sea path as this down which the oldest gods might travel, coming from the moon and that which is behind the moon – most ancient time and space when earth and moon were both etheric, not yet solidified into dense matter and not yet parted from one another.

“The tide was coming in.  I had begun to notice that with the rising tide Molly always seemed to wake up, unlike Morgan who came to her power when the tide was at uttermost ebb.  But then she was a sea-priestess, and Molly was a priestess of corn and hearth and garth, which is another aspect of the Great Goddess whom they both served after their different ways.

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“… Presently the first shallow, spreading wash of a breaking wave ran up to the edge of the weed, and Molly put a match to her Fire of Azrael and we watched it take the flame, the dry and resinous woods rapidly turning into a pyramid of fire after their year long storage out at the fort.  The seaweed burned too, with an odd iodine smell that seemed to have the ancient essence of all sea-beaches embalmed in it, and I thought of the far-travelled mariners with their gold ear-rings and curled beards, who had drawn their highbrowed sea-ships up on Ishtar’s Beere.

“Then the cold drifting-draught that is in every fog opened a sea-lane that led right out to the moon, and we saw the slow heave of the sea running all black and shadowy as the tide made up-channel.  But even as we watched, the sea felt the call of the moon, and the water became flickering silver as the turn of the tide broke the rhythm of the waves, and we watched the water that had come far up the land turn again to the great deep.  The waves had respected Molly’s fire, and just lipped it and made it hiss before they turned again, sinking slowly back, leaving a belt of wet sand and fresh weed to mark their path.

“Molly raised her arms in the sign of the horns of the moon, and invoked the Great Goddess as I had seen Morgan do.  The moon was low in the west towards her setting, and at Molly’s feet was the red-lit Fire of Azrael, and beyond it the silver pathway stretched out over the sea toward lost Atlantis.  And it seemed to me that at her call came the gods of the past and their priests and worshippers, for she was waking the old worship once again.

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cornwall 2011 429

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… The moon sank lower;  the sea cut her disk and the mist of the sea banked about her in a golden nimbus.  Then Something seemed to formulate in the darkness and come over the sea towards us through the mist, moving by the pathway of silver light upon the water; and it was vast, so that Its head met the stars, and It was all veiled and swathed and shrouded.  Only we saw the silver Feet upon the sea, and they were like moonlight over water.

“And so She came, She of the Sea, to the place where sea meets land, and we awaited Her coming.  She paused at the edge of the line of the breaking foam, Her feet and Her head among the stars, star-crowned.  There was no Face to see for She is forever veiled, but there came to us the great exalted awe which some say is the gods and none other.

“This tingling fear took me by the heart and by the throat and by the eyes, gripping like a hand.  And my hands began to burn and tingle with a pulsating force, and from behind my eyes it seemed to come out like a beam.  And I broke out in that heavy sweat of the heat of  the gods, which Morgan had told me always heralds their passing;  and my breath was taken short, but not with the asthma, and I grew rigid and shook like a man in a fever fit.  I looked towards Molly, and saw that she stood on tiptoe, reaching up towards her Goddess as if floating between earth and air like a frozen figure of dance, immobile, tense and effortless.

“Then slowly Great Isis turned, and drew Her veil closer about Her, and She went down the long sea-lane out towards the west, the fog closing in behind Her.

“The sea drew back with the falling tide and bared the place of Her passing, and on the sand we saw silvery pools that might have been the marks of eddies, but that we knew were Her footprints.  And so She passed away as silently as She had come, but the place where She passed was holy, being filled with power.  Something had touched our souls to awe, and we chose to call it the passing of the Goddess.”

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Harbour, 1987

Harbour, 1987

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

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Mysteries of Isis, part 8 – the Wholeness of Osiris

osiris isis

This  post continues the previous ones about Isis – to remind myself Who she is.  The next  post will conclude this series with Dion Fortune’s invocation of Isis as “the Sea Priestess”.

To label an aggressive militant virus loosely as “isis” is a misnomer, unconsciously perverting and undermining our human-ness and capacity to heal.  The women and girls are attacked, stoned, tortured or infected in that mindset, which mindlessly destroys ancient sacred places.

Our genetic vitality as men and women, stems from the archetypal wisdoms and mythologies of the ancient world.  Isis is – at our thoughtless peril – trampled, forgotten or abused. In the mirror of every culture, she  is what we truly are, the light and the shadow.  As the goddess of the Moon she rules the tides of our psychology;  as Gaia she is our Earth.

What can we do?

Recognise the daily corporate hypnosis under which we lie, under which we dream as slaves, accepting belief – and wake up.  It is better to see and be aware of the venom than to step right into it.  The problem is not in other lands, politics or ideologies – it starts HERE, with what we care about.

Remember who we are.  Find and grow from our roots, and be an example to our children.  Let it spread.  No frozen society out there can do it.  I and you are in HERE – the open reality we create.  Individual awakenings send ripples far and wide, and change things.

Here is another chapter from my “Arcanum Two” (1991, 2011):

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The sea near Tintagel

The sea near Tintagel

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September 1991 – The Wholeness of Osiris: Precession of the Equinox:
What are the scattered pieces, the fragments of Osiris?   Typhon, the god of titanic entropy or disorder, slew and scattered fourteen parts of Osiris the Law-giver up and down the black land.   Isis wept over, gathered and conceived from them the child HORUS, of herself and her womb-brother Osiris.

Plutarch – an initiate – tells of Horus’s battle with Typhon to avenge his father:
“We are … told that among the great numbers who were continually deserting from Typho’s party was his concubine Thueris.   A serpent pursuing her as she was coming over to Horus, was slain by her soldiers.        The memory of this action, they say, is still preserved in the cord which is thrown into the midst of their assemblies and then chopped into pieces.

Afterwards it came to a battle between them which lasted many days.   But victory at length inclined to Horus, Typhon himself being taken prisoner.   Isis however, to whose custody Typhon was committed, was so far from putting him to death that she even loosed his bonds and set him free.   This action of his mother so extremely incensed Horus that he laid hands upon her and pulled off the ensign of royalty which she wore on her head.   Thoth(Hermes/mercurial) clapped onto Isis instead a helmet made in the shape of an ox’s head.

“After this, Typhon publicly accused Horus of bastardy.   But with the help of Thoth the legitimacy of Horus was fully established by the judgement of the gods themselves.   After this there were two other battles fought between them, in both of which Typhon had the worst.   Furthermore, Isis is said to have kept company with Osiris after his death, and in consequence to have brought forth Harpocrates, who came into the world before his time and lame in his lower limbs.”

Apollo 2002

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In Plutarch’s account Horus was conceived before the fragmentation; he was conceived indeed in the mutual affection of Osiris and Isis as siblings in the womb of their mother before they were born.   And Horus became known to the Greeks as Apollo, the god or radiance of the Sun’s (physical) chariot.

What are those scattered fragments of Osiris?

When they are put back together he is brought to life.

Note this: he is brought to life, a life beyond the concept of beginning or ending with the fragments. Instantly it springs to being, and has always been.   It crosses the plane of fragmentary knowledge.

The fragments are perhaps the multiple and illusory costumes, lifetimes, of the body. The fragments are what remains of the Alexandrian Library – the wisdom of the ancient world. They arise among the disappearance of Self-knowledge into ignorance, into the pockets of spacetime called maya, or matter or “separate” incarnations.

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arcanum 9, hermit

The initiate, entering the cave of “sleep” emerges as a bird from a tiny opening deep in the heart lotus. The pocket of space and time falls away. The chamber of all the worlds – the whole of the Great Pyramid – is open to his flight of seeing.   He awakens from the trap of time.

The wholeness of OSIRIS is a dimension of which the visible shapes of his body or any of his parts are only sections in time and space across it, apparently disparate.

Apollo 2002 - 2

The reality of OSIRIS is a Great Circle; like a “lunar” or “solar” orbit of human cycles of life on earth towards Reintegration.   It abides beyond and within the visible spheres.   The visible bodies in the night are only allegories.   Osiris and Isis are a Mystery Play of reflected light whose phases, on the Moon, seek unity.   I wonder if this relates to the Great Circle (25,800 years) or precession of the equinox around the ages of history … his story?

The combined action of solar and lunar gravity causes the polar axis of earth to ‘wobble’ or describe a slow dance around itself.   This exposes the terrestrial magnetic field to subtle changes in alignment with the constellations.   The turning of a mystic dervish expresses this.

The rhythmic cycles of our local perception or Universe, the times for plants to grow and for human beings to awaken dormant strata to the light, seem to be governed by Osiris and his sister Isis from a plane transcending that of the zodiac (the planetary/psychological frame of reference.)   Neither of them represents solely the Sun (gold) or the Moon (silver).   Their mystery dance describes their cyclic relationship.   Osiris, known as the Sun of the Dead, appears as the Sun’s light upon phases (death and resurrection) of the Moon, particularly as it waxes.   But he derives from ‘RA’ or ‘PTAH’ of a primordial LIGHT.

The rhythmic breath of Osiris and Isis governs the solar System as a whole.   Perhaps they are analogous to the galaxy or, more locally, to the nodes of intersecting planetary orbits, the petals of the Great rose.   They dwell outside the measure of planetary time, while remaining inside cosmos, the Divine Circle inscribed by Thoth within atoms and stars.   The name of their son HORUS means ‘Time’ and also the eye of the eagle.   The higher the eagle flies the smaller appears the space-time context, and the larger is the view around it.

cross & pyramid

From the raised apex of the Pyramid which is its centre, an edifice can be viewed.   The plane of the base has four sides; at the point ‘above’, where they meet, they are simultaneous.   This raised point is simultaneously the length, breadth and depth of the world around.   It is the stance of rectitude, of truth. The fourth dimension cancels opinion and division, because as there is no separation between things, there are no ‘things’ themselves.

Eye of Ra

The Eye of RA, the primordial SUN, is this hieroglyph for the eagle HORUS, the Oudja“The Right Eye of the Supreme Being is the Sun, and his Left Eye is the Moon.”

In the old stories the left eye of Horus, wounded by Typnon/Seth is repaired by Thoth.   Thoth, Master of writing, of sciences and of time, has again and again to separate the two combatents, gather together the fragments of the hurt Eye and heal them into a unity greater than the sum of their parts.

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes states:
“Thou shalt separate earth from fire, the subtle from the gross,
with prudence, understanding and modesty.
The Great Action rises up from the earth to the heavens
and returns again to the earth,
taking into itself the power of the Above and the Below.
Thus you will obtain the glory of the Whole world.

In the organism of the whole, the left eye has all the adventures for it receives, it is YIN; and the right eye performs the synthesis for it gives, it is YANG.   Healers know intuitively that the ‘energy’ which cures fractions of the body and soul in mass, utilizes a ‘higher power’ of light beyond the small area of their differences.   Isis and Osiris are a profound and esoteric resonance of the solar and lunar pulse in nature; their mutually embracing TAO.

Creation etc

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The Great Circle and the Egg
In working with ISIS, the priestess of the Second arcanum, I feel like a ‘broken’ circle, which desires completion into a circuit.  Electrically the current propels this urge over a vaccuum to return to itself.   The divine Circle fell from the edgeless sphere into the elliptical distortion of a mental universe which oscillates between two poles.

This happens when the conjecturing mind pushes harder and harder at its own frontier.   It constructs hypotheses, wanting everything to “fit” and falls exhausted and dead into flat paper.   “So What?”   What is the good of writing symphonies about silence, if there is no silence here, if waves of irritation immediately arise when the telephone doesn’t work, when the water mains is turned off, when gadgets are all-important, when fatigue snaps?

The orbital rhythms of the planets are egg shaped.   Within them shines the perfect golden sphere of their birth, our yearning for them to be simply that.   They move around the Sun, carrying interior Suns.   Every feature of the visible universe is a dance of assymetry towards that unchanging ideal.   Within my door of perception, this moves and changes and becomes the creation of matter and time.   Re-cognition of ‘TWO’ catalyzes a movement towards ‘ONE’ which is ‘THREE’.   The flow of current, its friction into photons or ‘particle-waves’ of light, sets up the paradox of ‘movement’ with ‘not-movement’; a relativity.

Osiris and Thoth

In these explorations, I am driven by beauty. The aesthetic sense has its own limitations, because it wants to make things conform to it. The mind builds castles, and becomes over taxed. The truth, being beauty, has no expectation.   It is better to keep quiet, and to trust that truth is beauty, and needs no grandiose support or justification.   In the absence of these, I become still.

mid wales 4

When recognised, the testament to human beauty – a Bach cello suite, a Botticelli angel, the wind, the sea, the birds, the high pre-Cambrian moorland of mid Wales, and the colours of earth, water and autumn leaves – awakens again in its natural element.   With a scented rose in the garden, who needs to construct one in the firmament, out of sight?   And yet … those ones, those mansions in the subconscious, are special cultivations, seeds of wisdom. They bloom there undying … the garden for everyman to find.

Letter Gimel - wheatsheaf

Letter Gimel – wheatsheaf

small beit

The letters BEIT and GIMEL  echo but are not quite the same as the Firmament which is silence.

 

mid wales 2

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Gimel – and Into the Street
Going out now, late evening, into the street for groceries, I find – though very tired – an intense awareness of the field of space between me and each other person I see along the crowded pavement outside Waitrose.   The world is differentiated.   My eyesight retreats to within my spine. between the wings, and shows to me each person, each object, with clarity and without comment.  Even the existence of my uppity ego has clarity, without comment.

If I hope to travel into being ‘Not Two’, it makes good sense to know what the condition of ‘Two’ really is.   How can this be done without becoming lovingly interested in it?   How much of life is spent bundling along and totally unaware even of duality and separate objects and the space between us?   Those separate beings, mobile screens of history and inner-life, are comets who trail their births behind them, the invisible tale growing endlessly longer. They register within me with a sensation now of … something like hard diamonds.   Each one is this hard and shiny rock of light… like being a jeweller.   Who cut the first diamond?

Who cast the first stone?

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at her,” said Jesus scribbling vaguely on the ground when the elders all crowded indignantly round the repentant prostitute and asked what to do.

When I am out in the street like this, words, poems, riddles, fragments of koans come, to be stopped and written down.   They are traces, incomplete, of little fish sliding away, they are mischievous mercurial promptings, of the mind that will not rest.   They are like the voice which delivers an enigma between waking and sleep. It sounds like a perfect capsule for unremembered truth.

I did much free-wheeling with these promptings, for years encouraging and writing them down. They lead to my oracle, the inner ruler.   But if I become too enamoured of them, they no longer guide but exhaust me – the froth and foam, but not the water of life itself.

Mental metal-fatigue is a painful exercise.   What poetic fancies about Osiris and Isis can reach me here?   They seem now to be only a way to pass the time, with a risk of redundancy. They seem to be effluents of arrogant cardinals in the church.   What of my limited aesthetic of circles beyond the circles in the invisible sky, right now, when the birds have flown?   What on earth do I know about it?   They were pictures only in my mind, and now I cannot read.   Creative artists are bored children.

I feel it is up to each of us as we individuate, to discover mythology and follow it upstream in a way which is unique and meaningful.  The paths on a mountain are of infinite variety and relationship;  they connect and lead towards the peak which dissolves them all.

It is natural to be tired, and to let Isis, the oceanic subconscious, sink back into the tide:  to breathe in and out;  to sleep and wake.

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quantock trees

quantock trees

At home I read in a little book by Sundaresa Iyer:
“I am the Present ever present, so I am not newly discovered or obtained.   Only I have no delusion about myself.   I am unborn so death cannot affect me.   For me death does not mean the loss of a body, whether gross, subtle or causal.   To me death means only identifying the Self with the non-self.   This is intoxication, and this intoxication is Death.   So has Sri Ramana Maharshi taught.

“ … caught and drew his normal consciousness deeper and deeper inward into that in which nothing but Itself is seen or heard or known, in which there is not the shining of the sun, the moon or the stars, but which is all these and fullness Itself.

“Abidance in the Void is firmness.”

Ramana - my earliest complete sketch of him

Ramana – my earliest complete sketch of him

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The Mother of God
I have one more small point to investigate in the interest of these Horns of Isis. My diversions into malleable symbolic history are as satisfying as writing poetry.   As follows:

Hermes Trismegistus in Virgin of the World declares that:   “Over the earth and sea he reigns who nourishes all mortal creatures, the plants and fruitbearing trees and whose name is Zeus Serapis.”   This is Jupiter. This deity symbolises expansion and grace. In the psychological Tree of Life, Hesed is represented by Jupiter.

Tao Tree of Life 17 3 93

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I want to look briefly into the idea of the Apis bull, for I read in a scholarly book by the keeper of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, that the name “Serapis” is derived from Osiris-Apis.   Apis is a symbol of power and fertility, associated with the god PTAH. PTAH is the expression of primaeval creative power in the cycle of Osiris. Serapis was a Ptolomeic deity who acted as a bridge from Egyptian mystery to Greek philosophy.   He was a benign bearded and Jovian character, with a great interest in death and funerary ceremonial.

the mrs bs, bull & snake

The qualities of primaeval power and fertility were manifest in a bull calf born with special markings in Memphis.   He was kept in the Temple, venerated throughout his life as the apis bull and finally buried with royal pomp and splendour.   From the earth he came, took into himself the divinity of sky and was ploughed with it, back into earth. (“The Great Action rises up from the earth to the heavens and returns again to the earth, taking into itself the power of the Above and the Below”) The pharoahs would bow to this bull as a Great King – the archetype of their virile grace and favour.   “He nourishes all mortal creatures, the plants and fruit-bearing trees.”   He has the forces of growth.

The holy bull must be born of a mother, the sacred cow or Mother of Apis.   She was identified with Isis, as “Hathor”.  The burials in due season of these bulls of God with big throats and long pointed horns, and of their mothers, are very festive occasions.   When the full moon sets below the western horizon, the sun is rising in glory in the east.   And after the sun himself has set, the full moon is rising high and looking for her lord.

Two horns on the head of Isis are creation’s curve, the binary of two poles which carry the current.

taurus glyph copy

To Conclude:
In astrology, the moon is exalted – meaning that its power to respond is at its most benevolent and enduring – when it is travelling through the sign of “fixed earth” – TAURUS the Bull.

Tarot’s Hierophant – the High Priest, Arcanum 5 – is assigned to TAURUS, and the 6th letter, the VAV, meaning “hook” or “that which joins”.   Taurus governs the throat and ears – the faulty of inner hearing or intuition.

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Like a happy assonance for a poem, is the blend of Arcanum 2’s High Priestess, whose symbol is the Moon, with the power and fertility of the bull.   When the sun is in Taurus, leaves have burst their buds, the baby birds are hatched and hungry, and spring is in full flower.   Those born with the moon in Taurus often have intuitive “green fingers”.   There is a consistency in their sense of touch with “the plants and fruitbearing trees” in the garden by day or the tao by night.   They love nature and are strong and imaginative workers in their field.   They have the power of concentration.

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concentric sefiroth with seal of solomon

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Primrose_pin

So it is by way of thanksgiving to this exploration and enquiry with Isis, that I discover her to be beautifully earthed, and let her rest.   The Taurean glyph – the circle surmounted by a crescent — gives this work its cadence.

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bull bird copy

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30 I Ching Earth-receptive 2 & Gimel

My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/