The Mellowing

Woodland 1986

Woodland 1986

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Walking in the beech woods near Great Missenden, I was thinking about being the childhood, and I wrote this down:

jane & quince at ventonwyn copy

Elder age is not only four
hop skip jump,
but the Mellow
just as good.

No repeat
but savour
through and through
the NOW

my elder age’s
same unlettered quality
to find itself
not a drag!

What a gem. It came when I bent down to see what it is like to be just child-high off the ground. And then stood tall again. It isn’t about recapturing that odd, rhapsodic little girl physically and interiorly. The whole organism is by now as different as a fruit tree from the sapling. The organs and pulses and hormones and appearance are changed. The pressure of life in children and kittens and lambs makes them skip irrepressibly, enchantingly.   (It still skips in me at 67). The pressure of life in we older folk has a slower tempo, the character of a river rather than mountain brook … which carved its way … the same ESSENCE unbrokenly unique.   The way to enter the stream is here now.

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little boy by the sea 1954

little boy by the sea 1954

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Childhood is full of hassle – growing pains and hateful grownups and bad dreams and tedium and fear and need. Elderhood is full of hassle – just the same. It isn’t about what I become, it is being.   Savour the slow distillation at this point: river of leaf mould, sky and rain, river great snake slipping along its curving channel, the revelation turns discreet, subtle and lingering, an old wine.   It has to find its way through anxious mental arteries and conditioned stone walls and erratic absence and getting weary & cross. The marvel and mystery is here for the looking, and I love it so.

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Little girl in a meadow, 1955

Little girl in a meadow, 1955

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The mellowing. The living mystery is in the mellowing.   The child’s ferment is the bouquet in the elder one. You need a trained palate to really taste the wine: to become still where the child goes skip hop.   And then it takes you by the sea!

I’m reminded of Yehudi who played the violin perfectly when he was a little boy. When he grew up he lost it (terrifyingly) and had to learn how to do it: fingering, posture, technique, tone, bowing and behaviour.   He became a great humanitarian and yogi, and a musical ambassador for peace.

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Yehudi Menuhin joyously 1986

Yehudi Menuhin joyously 1986

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This tells me that the creature the child grows up into has a special responsibility and value, because he or she does and is all kinds of things that the eternal inner child could not yet. Life is not just easy, at any stage of the game.

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Red roofs, Cornwall, 1956

Red roofs, Cornwall, 1956

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Elisa & Mary in Iona - 2016

Elisa & Mary in Iona – 2016

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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/

Character in Birdsong – by Peter Adams

Among my late father’s writings, I found two essays to post here in his memory, this one on Bird-songs, and another: ‘Mutterings from a Back Desk’ (among first or second violins in the orchestra). His acute ear pleases me. I shall post his ‘Back Desk thoughts‘ later this week, in my other blog, Aquariel.  (now done)

Peter died on 19 February at 93.  I was with him as he went ‘through the opening door’.  What a moment with a parent to share:  in his own words – ‘as into the Now, I bow.’  We planted him in a green churchyard in the North Devon countryside, with his Yule ancestors.  Rest in deep peace.  “Fare forward voyager!” … This which he used to say, is from Eliot’s four quartets.  Not farewell, but fare forward..

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Peter inspects the field 2014

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Character in Birdsong (1952-3)

Often the calls and songs of birds evoke a startlingly clear atmosphere; the long crooning purr of the nightjar brings to mind still summer nights never quite dark.  The middle distant call of a partridge like the creaking of an un-oiled hinge suggests the hayfield in the evening.  Often these sounds can spring the catch of memory.  At all times and especially in lonely moments, bird song can be a part of life, and not just a background to it.

There are many people who take an interest in birds and enjoy watching them, yet really few can enjoy the songs in the same way.  This is strange, for it is so much easier to hear a bird singing than to see it.  The voice of the nightingale may be clearly audible half a mile away, and yet half an hour of search may give no more than a glimpse of the brown body slipping across a freckle of sunlight in a thicket.  For the lazy man there can be few pleasures to surpass lying back in the sun just listening to the birds.  And the ear when trained can give as much pleasure as the eye.

To name is to create interest, and recognition of the different songs and sounds is the first step.  Like most beginnings it is the most difficult, but whenever a little progress has been made, the fresh delight of hearing among the mesh of woodland sounds a known bird-song and of being able to listen to it as an individual will whet the appetite.  Concentrated and accurate listening are the requirements necessary to distinguish between the varying bird sounds until they are known so well that the mind automatically hears, recognises and criticises the songs while the body is intent upon some other task.  This is the aim, to know and enjoy without effort whatever birds are singing at any time.

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wood bird yantra

wood bird yantra

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Certainly the easiest way to learn bird songs is to hear a song and see the bird singing it.  To see is to believe, but it is usually far more difficult than just hearing and often demands more effort.  In many cases it is not essential.  Imaginative reading of word-pictures can enable the keen mind to recognise a bird note never before heard. ‘The Charm of Birds’ by Grey and the writings of W.E.Hudson contain some of the best descriptions of bird sounds in an extensive literature.

Bird-songs differ in four main ways.  To take the simplest first, there is the manner in which the bird sings and its position while singing.  Many birds sing from a perch.  The starling finds the chimney pot useful as a stand for his useful collection of clicks and chuckles, his wheezings and his imitative notes;  a clown’s song.  Mistle-thrushes sing from the top of a tree leaning into the wind, and song-thrushes sit higher and sing longer than blackbirds.  The robin sings from a lower perch and changes it fairly frequently.  Like many of the smaller birds, wrens and dunnocks sing quite spontaneously as they move about.  The lark is easily recognised, his song raining down from that high ecstatic body hung so close to the sky, and the meadow-pippit’s few liquid notes are thrown out as the bird parachutes down to a bush from the climax of its brief upward flight.

Secondly, there is the mood in which the song is cast.  Blackbirds are never young; their song is calm and reflective, born of a controlled emotion, of ‘emotion recalled in tranquillity‘.  The sentences are spaced and meaningful, giving the impression of thought and care, and there is fluency with mastery of the medium.

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Violin for cover - Version 2 copy

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How different is the boyish attitude of the thrush, of constant experimentation and interest. He listens to his short sentences, likes them and repeats them;  but he never does anything with them.  There is no design to his music.  Even so, the thrush of all birds seems to take the keenest delight in his own singing, and is often the last to fall silent at dusk.

Different again is the wild impetuous carolling of the mistle-thrush, a rush of swift sentences with little variety.  Careful listening will reveal little variety in the song of the redbreast, but so masterly is his control, so effortless his phrasing and so sweet his tone that this lack of material is masked. There is great tenderness in this emotional little song.  The willow-warbler sings in a similar mood, a single plaintive falling cadence, one of the purest sounds in all bird music.

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14 Snowy Lullaby copy

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Few birds are more self-effacing than the dunnock, and his slight musical tinkle is meant not to offend.  How violently compares the ringing mechanical challenge of the wren!  Once the spring is released to set the song in motion, there is no stopping it until all is said.

A rather more subtle difference is the tone-colour or quality of the voice.  Many bird voices have the timbre of the flute;  but each species has its own kind of flute.  The blackbird’s flute is of green wood.  The tone is warm and rounded, has a throaty quality;  almost it might be said that the blackbird never quite clears his throat.  Nor has his voice the carrying power that enables the song-thrush to light up the evening in a higher drier register.  For the thrush is the descant recorder, a more even tone that never achieves the mellowness of the blackbird.  The robin has a silver flute, and how gently he uses it.  So do most of the warblers, but somewhere in their flutes there is a flaw which causes the voice to harshen on occasion.  The hardest metallic voice belongs to the wren – a tempered steel that rings in the ear.

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Trees planted by Peter, near Shebbear

Trees planted by Peter, near Shebbear

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Lastly, the shape of the sentences or what the bird says is often a great help in getting to know a song.  All birds except the larks sing in more or less short sentences.  These sentences may be set and identical, and are easy to learn.  The hearty but uninspired descending expression of the chaffinch ending in a little turn is typical.  So is the yellow bunting’s ‘Little-bit-of-bread-and-NO-cheese’ in a voice suggesting the quivering heat of summer afternoons.  The tremendous vitality of the wren frequently sets in motion his long and pompous phrase with its bouncing rhythm and many trills.  Probably the simplest sentence is uttered by the first spring-migrant to arrive.  In late March the chiff-chaff is heard high in a tree stolidly repeating his single ill-articulated word with the rhythm of a carving-knife being sharpened.  He calls in fact, his name aloud, for all to hear.

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lino cut bird and egg

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All the great singers bring variety into their songs with more or less differing sentences.  Few translations of bird songs into the human language bear much resemblance to the original, but the following fragment of a thrush’s song written about a hundred years ago, is an exception:

“Worse, mocked the thrush. ‘Die! Die!
O, could he do it, could he do it? Nay!
Be quick!  Be quick!  Here, here, here’
(went his lay)

“‘Take heed! take heed!’  Then, ‘Why?
Why? Why? Why? Why?
See-ee now!  See-ee now!’ (he drawled)
‘Back  Back  Back  R-r-r-run away?’

“O thrush be still!
or at thy will
seek some less sad interpreter than I.”

The nightingale also employs repetition on occasion with great effect, but his song is perhaps the most varied of them all, changing not only the phrases but the tone-colour and the strength of the notes.  He is the only bird to employ crescendo, and there are few things more wonderful to hear than his swelling repetition of a single lovely note until the night is filled with it.

To hear one such perfect note as this is worth much, and it is to this end that a knowledge of bird-songs leads.  For in the height of the singing season the birds sing in chorus, and it is only by picking out and listening to an individual that the single strands of beauty can be heard.  The ability to do this can be a great joy, and will open a new world of sensation and interest.

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Written in the early 1950s at The Bows, Glensaugh, Laurencekirk, Scotland
Revised at Breck Farm, Bransdale, Fadmoor, Yorks.

Peter was under-shepherd at the first, and managing a big hill of sheep at the second.

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Peter with Moss and Nell

Peter with Moss and Nell

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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 2012-2016. 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/

The Golden Tripod of Basil Valentine – Reflection

Dragon of Hermes Trismegistus

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Alchemy is child’s play, God’s game in the garden.  The human physical and existential organism is wondrously subtle and infinitely textured, more to be breathed, yearned and died with, than to be figured out.  It always drew the shy and enquiring alchemical minds to the mystery, like bees to the flower.

Here are some playtimes and discoveries around Basil Valentine’s “Golden Tripod” in the Hermetic Museum 17th century.  They dropped into my delighted journal for poem-making, a number of years ago, and asked for a little revision now.

playing by the sea

1955 playing by the sea

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Alchemical Journal, 26 February 2002

The definition Paul Foster Case gives for the “Incombustible Oil” of alchemy is: “It cannot be found in the animal kingdom because there its nature is too completely veiled. It is incombustible because no fire can burn the essence of fire. It is mineral because it is the essential substance for whatever is mined.”

The incombustible oil is the living fire itself, the pure First Matter. It is only when the lower mercurial imp gets hold of it that it thickens and dies. If a Narcissus beholding the pure spring – spirit, soul and salt balm – weds it to himself and becomes ‘so proud he hardly knew himself’,  un-firing oils of pride and small purpose are bred – a cold bed.

We should sing and eat the First Matter and digest it and let it pass through our gut – it is not enough to merely read or think it. Sound vibrates into wave patterns. Thoughts are things. Spiral, whorl, desert storms and water pass through sand; ripples coalesce, grains are atoms, sand dunes travel like stars. You can tap the sand on a membrane or whisper to it, forming patterns:  the Glory of the World?

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1955, girl with lighthouse

1955, girl with lighthouse

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Alchemical apperception is a terrific amount of beauty to hold. When tired or too high or tense or worried or complaining, the third eye doesn’t operate. It needs nourishment and daily practice. The amount of beauty in Aleph breaks and shatters a conventional organism;  the whole cellular body must change, to confect it.

Blood carries the substance which spirals through our bodies – the distilled moisture of the moon to marry to the light of the sun.

The One Thing, heart’s desire, spirals towards us by gravitation – a mental power (condenser). Self AWARENESS directs gravitation. Without this, firmly planted, every effort or prayer is flimsy. Key One in the nuptial chamber ‘flows’ through the Tower of alchemy as gold and steel. With consciousness, an adept commands gravitation.

bota key 1 Magician

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1955 with Daniel at Breck

Recall childhood: Daniel the donkey in the Yorkshire moors, the smell of the sack tied round him in winter; and the Doctors beach near Hartland in North Devon: hot sun, great  rocks like up-ended books, sea-channels, the taste of joy, hunger and thirst, a piece of cheese for lunch, a scorching sunburn all day long between my shoulder blades. Recall some of the flavours in your own …

The desire nature is situated at the well of the throat; the core of human sexual desire is  here, as well as hunger or longing. Within the belly it manifests. To change the copper into white, raise it to the moon centre behind the root of the nose and by creative imagination (key Three, Empress) to the level of clear recollection (key Two, Priestess).

bota key 2 Priestess

 

bota key 3 Empress

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Our gold is the same as our Stone – the stars of our inner heart, invisible to the eye’s external seizure.

Its female principle is the subconscious power to be fertilised and to multiply.

 

drawing 30.1.16

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In the East it is said that without his shakti, Siva the Purusha cannot move or manifest. The King is stillness. His Queen is the centrifugal life-giving force of that stillness. The King is silence. His Queen is the sound-wave. The King is water. His Queen is the ripple of a breeze, a wave or tempest.

The spirit, the soul and the astral correspond to the three lower Worlds, whose holy place of meeting is Malkuth of Beriah, Tifareth of Yetzirah and Kether of Assiyah. Here the anointing takes place.

Reflect on thought forms, ways of thinking, of feeling and relationship: responsibility with the sharp edges. Be clear.

ramana embryo

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In Svetasvatura Upanishad it says: Even as fire is not seen in wood and yet by power it comes to light as fire, so Brahman in the universe and in the soul is revealed by the power of OM – primordial sound. The soul is the wood below that can burn and be fire, and OM is the whirling friction-rod above. Prayer is the power that makes OM turn around, and then the mystery of God comes to light.

God is found in the soul when sought with truth and self sacrifice, as fire is found in wood, water in hidden springs, cream in milk, and oil in the olive.

There is a Spirit who is hidden in all things, as cream is hidden in milk, and who is the source of self knowledge and self sacrifice.

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And now my digest of the story in Basil Valentine’s “Golden Tripod”.  I put the Mage’s words into free verse.  The story begins:

“Take a quantity of the best and finest gold – the best of your inner treasure – and separate it into its component parts (Four Worlds of the tree of Life), by love of the Art. Do it the way an anatomist dissects the human body. Very carefully, change your gold back into the currency before it became the world’s gold: go upstream.

“You shall find the seed – beginning, middle and end – from which our gold and its female principle are derived. You shall discover the pure and subtle spirit, the spotless soul and the astral salt and balsam.  When these three are united, we may call them the mercurial liquid: Hermetic mind.

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BOTA key 20 Judgment detail LVX

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“This water was examined by Mercury, found by him in his excitement to be pure and spotless, and espoused by him as his wife. Of the two was born an incombustible oil; Mercury became so proud he hardly knew himself. He put forth eagle feathers, devoured the slippery tail of the Dragon (South node) and challenged Mars to battle.

“Captured by harsh planetary aspects, our Mercury was jailed by Vulcan, smith of the metals, until a woman should liberate him. All the planets led by Saturn, agreed he was a scoundrel and must be destroyed and burnt. Vulcan performed the execution. But the beautiful Moon appeared in the sky, all attired in silver and waters, and pleaded heartbreakingly for her husband the Sun – the secret Fire – trapped in Vulcan’s prison through conjunction with crafty Mercury. He, the fire in the oil, could not glow or burn. Their child could not warm the heart and grow. Lady Moon, like our Mother Isis, pleaded for her dismembered Osiris.

“Venus too arrived, in her most beautiful dress, and wheedled with Vulcan in the Chaldean tongue – language of astrologers – “A woman will liberate the prisoner from planetary deadlock, sweeten the aspects so they yield!” – But Vulcan (her husband in the Greek mythology) turned to her his deaf ear.

1957 Flora, after Botticelli

1957 Flora, after Botticelli

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“Then the skies opened. Out poured a mighty beast; with many thousands of young. Like a tidal wave it drove Vulcan before it, swept him forth; and opening its great mouth swallowed also Venus its own fair mother. It roared: ‘I am born from her. Then she received into herself my seed and filled the Earth with it. My mother and my wife the same, her soul is devoted to mine, of one bond; so I must eat, replenish my own with her blood.’

1957, theseus slays minotaur

1957, theseus slays minotaur

The blood is the soul. The creature is born, weds and consumes the matrix, the One materia. Its voracious offspring followed it into ‘a certain chamber’, eating up all the incombustible oil also, digesting it with the greatest ease and propagating into every part of the world.

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tintagel merlin

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“The learned men and elders of the violet land all gathered, perplexed. Then a Great Mage came forth into their circle. Is he the higher Mercury, quicksilver of the wise? He wore the girdle of life – the serpent swallowing its tail – around his loins, snowy locks, silver beard and crown of elven jewels. His feet were bare, and his words penetrated to the depth of the human soul.

He summoned silence, then spoke:

Awake, and open your eyes to behold light
where before they beheld darkness.
Two stars God-given lead men to wisdom.
Gaze upon them steadily
and follow their lights to the secret of knowledge.

“The bird Phoenix from the sunny fiery South at high noon (midheaven)
plucks out the mighty beast’s heart from the East at dawn (ascendant).
Give the beast from the East wings
that it feel itself the same as the bird from the South.”

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phoenix copy from Master R TRINOSOFIA

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The tight right-angle aspect or planetary ‘square’ is eased by unifying the character of the protagonists. Like the Bird of Light, the animal nature must allow itself to be destroyed to be reborn. It must dissolve and meld with spirit at the point where they converge. The spirit needs the power to manifest that is in earth, the dreaming earth.

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The Mage Continued …

The animal from the East must lose its lion’s skin and wings.
Then it must plunge in primordial salt tears of the vast ocean
and emerge thence in renovated beauty.

“Plunge your volatile mind, your demons and distractions
in a deep spring whose waters never fail.
Their Mother is hidden within the spring.

Let them become as she.
Let them be born of Three,
of spirit, soul and salt, thrice distilled and great.

Hungary is my native land …”

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man in flower field

 

Silence falls

and an earlier fragment from my Poems of Eclipse …

… I was born

among poppies, spiked speedwell and wild grasses,
primeval plain of sky and thistle flowers
ere the zig zag Tisza river, led by a hungry donkey, flowed …

In hypnos, Princess Erzebet’s little goldfish lost
when the royal Danube spilled
was in the dreaming Tisza found,
where fishers whittled reed flutes in the sun for grandchildren
and – telling tales of war in which they fought,
sucked mightily at long stemmed pipes
with yellow tassels.

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Karmic Themes

I saw a path through almond trees
along the violet crease of your eyelid,
to the land you say you could enter.

I saw in silvery light that gleams around the clouds
wild horses roam, breath taking, undulating
floating patchwork cloth of meadows
whose margin into faery fades.

At home my pebbles, pictures and old porcelain
mismatch the elven valour of Arpad:
my grey and shabby fields – old Angol travelling east –
in sunrise drown.

Like all that lives,
we are a metaphor.

The river current does not concern itself with local agonies
of wave systems estranged, which in fast flowing course
carrying Karmic seed, collide, and through each other pass
the rivers of rebirth in seminal flood; but only with awareness.

A curve of the current is seen,
pushing at and into the rocky bend
while carrying sky-light, leaf-mould, colours of stone
and silt along a bed of generations to the sea.

The waters here scour deep and fast
deep fish of life to see: my urgency awakes.
Children of gods, in metaphor long buried gold
emerge from the rock, they are bursting to be told.

Their wake is somewhere in the curacy
of long years of tales from no man’s lland
on rock ledges shelved and waiting in a dark room.
No man is an island. We fall deep.

We are ignored by the main stream of the dreaming world,
for the glory of pure gold,
in the rain on a sunlit street or rock
has no currency to be held.”

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Then the Great Mage went on:

Hungary is my native land.
The sky and the stars are my habitation.
The earth is my spouse.
Though I must die and be buried,
yet Vulcan causes me to be born anew.
Therefore Hungary is my native land
and my mother encloses the whole world.”

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TRINOSOFIA sketch 1

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Touching the riverbed … the smith Vulcan is a driver, he drives the sword through fire and water. Vulcan’s wife Aphrodite – Venus – encircles with her womb the sky and waters.

The Great Mage is the Sun, the spirit of fire and renewal, to find in ourselves. Fire lives in the twig as combustibility, and in the rock as gems and precious stones. Fire lives in the rock as coal and as amber from long buried trees. Fire is present, latent, sleeping and awake: the heart of the earth and mystery of our blood’s kindling, body warmth and auric radiance. Fire is the heart of a star in the rose, the buried Sun whose veins are twigs and trees, their fraction in the sky. Their cumulonimbus flints convecting one another, strike sparks, to flash and flow as lightning to kindle the earth.

The thunder is the voice of the secret fire. It pierces and breaks the heavens. The fire spills forth, seizes and is gathered into dark lumps of earth. And the earth must then with wings soar heavenward, until singed it falls and drowns.

Reduce the Red Sea by boiling. The earth reappearing is ‘all in all’, re-appareled in the meld and heart of every element. By this, the dragon is released and contained. It shall ‘ascend with wisdom from Earth to Heaven, then again descend to Earth, and unite together the powers of Above and Below. Let all ignorance and obscurity fly from you.’

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merlin guide

When everyone there had started to understand, the Mage spoke some more:

“Let that which is above be below,
let that which is visible be invisible,
let that which is below become that which is above,
let the invisible become visible, and the impalpable, palpable.

“Here is the perfection of our Art
with no defect or diminution.

“That in which death, life, destruction and resurrection dwell
is a round sphere with which the goddess of fortune drives her chariot,
imparting wisdom’s gift to men of God.
Its name here on earth and for human understanding, is the All in All.

“Let him who would know All in All
give earth great wings and let it fly up through the air
to heaven’s region – BERIAH.
Then singe its wings with fierce heat – divine AZILUTH –
and make it fall into the Red Sea – YETZIRAH –
and there be drowned.

“Dry up the water with fire and air –
evaporate Yetzirah by Aziluth and Beriah –
till earth – ASSIYAH – reappears as All in All.

“If you cannot through this process find it,
look around you. Look on nature.
The All in All is gravity of all metals and minerals derived from salt and sulphur.
Their mutual attraction is born of mercury.

bhakti

“More I may not say
since all is comprehended in the all.

 

“My brothers, you are blessed
if hearing the wise, you find this Stone,
its power to heal and regenerate leprous and imperfect bodies.

“It has kept the vital fire in me so long alight
that I weary of life and long to die
yet cannot

“for I am bound to render thanks unto God’s wisdom,
mercy and gracious Gift
now and ever more. Amen.”

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And the old man vanished. And all who heard him went back to their homes and meditated on his words, day and night.

Saint Germain-Merlin

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The Great Mage was Master Rakoczy, Saint-Germain. He appeared also in medieval Britain, through Merlin’s form.   In alchemy, the body through giving thanks and through repeated drenching in the fountain of life, becomes intangibly yet effectively cleansed and spiritualised. It acquires a form of renewal without having to die and start all over again. Old murks are cleared out at source, as the atomic lattice through Spirit is redefined.

It is a homeopathic process of gradual tincture. Slowly, steadily, the molecular web and cellular memory are modified through purification by the inner fire. Their composition is altered to support the higher frequencies, while maintaining the same general appearance. Robust physical health might not be inevitable, yet it is a by-product of this kind of work, particularly if not itself the main aim.

The Key to the golden Life is lightly touched in all matters.

Master Key

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27 February 2002

I dreamed this morning I was shown four jars containing coloured liquid. I cannot recall the first two from left to right; but the third one’s contents were radiant apple-green and the fourth one was reddish-brown and cloudy like pale old paint-water. This one was ‘humanity’. A voice came, at some point: “Darkness it hath, that is good, (but) darkness it is not.”

There are wonderful names which awaken me with bells. Beleriand, Belisarius, the Bells of Rachmaninov and of Liszt. There was a small grey dream-pony a few weeks ago called Bellarus: and in Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham, Bellomarius was the greatest of all the dragon slayers in the realm.

Hermann_Reisz_Junge_Hirten_in_der_Puszta

Youngsters in the Puszta by Hermann Reisz

My activity all this life is to clean the cupboard. I spent a long time looking for someone there. The Magyar puszta symbolises a clear and open horizon within, filled with sky. Like Narnia through the wardrobe, it has no hedge. A door opens to it at the end of Liszt’s “Christus” when Jesus rises from the tomb. There is a captive inside, who strives to come forth, rattling chains, moving stones. An opus of his soul lay unread on shelves, buried under sheaves of litany and litigation.

There is someone to see right through and beyond, to a common source. There is a tree filled with white blossom in my window.

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the key 1987

the key 1987

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**

Master R

Master R

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 2012-2016. 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/

Arcanum Seven – Shabat Shalom Baruch

 

 

 

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paul mandala 17.11.13. detail

This post waited in my Drafts for some considerable time!  I was kept busy with my book of the Tarot Arcana (from which this writing arose), and with finding out, and with living. Now I recall the place of rest: shabat shalom … and baruch, the blessing.

Our dear old friend Issy Benjamin “left the market place on Sunday evening 25 October, and has gone home. Heaven is home and earth is the marketplace. We are in constant passage between the two (African proverb).”  He was nearly ninety.

The Star, the Cross and the Crescent!  (See the vimeo above).  Develop in the inner and outer life the golden seed – each of the middle eastern prototypes holds my deep affiliation, life-effort and love.  As agonizing as the conflict at present is, so shall it one day flower and unite humankind.

star cross crescent

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Script of altar, bird, torch in the Trinosofia, meaning 'the body of the wise man shall be concealed'

Script of altar, bird, torch in the Trinosofia, meaning ‘the body of the wise man shall be concealed’

Great love embraces the tall white hall of Issy’s shul, where I went for sabat shalom. Hidden behind an angle there was a skylight, and this reminded me of a dream I once had, in which were windows cut through the ceiling to Adonai – in the shapes of the Hebrew letters – through them you may talk to god without intervention or interference or screen of speech.  Why?  Because those apertures from above and below are cut through stone, the shape of the language and its covenant.  Nothing else but the Law, the cosmic Torah, can be spoken or heard through them.  And so it is with all languages through which God spoke – Arabic, Persian, Phoenician, Egyptian, Sanskrit – our origin.

Always go from where you are right now, because access to the sacred architecture is a given;  it is not seen all at once, it grows on you as soon as you surrender your nature to the joy of the gift.

When a soul literally sheds the physical embodiment, he or she is present in any time and space right now, to tune in with.

islamic patterns 1 :Keith Critchlow

Hexagram, from Keith Critchlow’s ‘Islamic Patterns’

When the centre is open, the six directions through my core are simultaneous.  Turning to face them, is something I should remember and not forget during the day. The KABOD, the glory of God has this private stealth, and may be rediscovered at any moment. The expression ‘The chosen people’ may derive from what we choose to meet each other with – the scroll we unroll and open to each other in the eager reading of the Book.  It derives from ‘choosing’ to connect with Issy and with other souls now beyond the box of naming, yet vital in their essence.  There is an intimacy of the emerald table – as above, so it grows below:  the currency ascends through the descent.

I feel and endure the descent, but later on like yeast it rises and leavens the loaf, spreading it far and wide.

Diagram, cube, weathercock

My solar atom is a weathercock – a cube of space;  the six directions N E W S and up and down;  the holy hexagon, the cube of Solomon, a metaphysical spatial reality.  As soon as I am aware of it, I know my purpose, and gently it flows into concentric raindrop circlings of humankind:  I know it and I become still.   I become still not with my intention which is a confused and muddy pool, but as soon as I am aware of the grace flowing in and out.  Then I am in my natural shul.

paul mandala 2015 - detail

I was picturing Issy there, in his usual seat, with his white shawl wrapped around him, and his sparkling joyous gravity.  I feel he was an architect in the medieval flowering of sacred geometry and alchemical science, when Jewish and Islamic sages worked together. When – like him – we are called back into the Scroll, we are all the names that were ever given us on earth – and so we have no particular one, we are nameless!

Issy B

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Torah

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When I ask where and what is God, and love of God, God happens when a tabernacle opens.  When Yeshua stood with his friends on the mountain, their tabernacles opened to each other, and they KNEW.  The place of rest is the crystal receiving-set through which the Greater Mystery pulses.  In the silence the sages come to life:  the holy mountain.

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Arcanum 7 The Chariot

1 magus - Version 3

In the Tarot, Key Seven awakens this knowledge and response.  It fields and fences the Magician’s ‘house’ or BEIT with CHETH the enclosure.  It takes a while to tap the portal;  but this morning again it stood open – it flows through here.

The Seventh Arcanum rests within the sense of expansion.  It is a seven pointed star.  The Seventh Arcanum reminds me now that each Tarot Key is a holy transmission, a contemplative and living silence.  The enigmatic image releases a quantum of shabat shalom baruch:  a commitment.  The prayer does not repeat;  it is new born.

For Issy:  Go Well!

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Seven Branch Star

How to make a seven point star – with the 51-degree angle in the Druid’s Cord

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jacobs ladder

Jacobs Ladder – the Four Worlds, Aziluth (Divine), Beriah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formative and Psyche) and Assiyah (Material world)

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Page(s) of Staves: The Ashwins

Buddha, 2008

Buddha, 2008

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This post contains Rohit Arya’s inspiring reflection on the Ashwins.  Through last week’s dark events in Paris which bring close to home, hearth and empathy, the shocking daily reality in many lands, I got some uplift with his writing, and I hope so do you.

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Ashwin gentlemen

Ashwin gentlemen

Rohit’s Notes (2003)

“I have searched diligently for any sort of artistic representation of the divine twins and failed.  It is a disgrace actually, that no such representations exist.  The attached article will convey the feel and tenor of the solar twins. We are breaking fresh ground here, the first representation of the Ashwinis. The story of the Rishi floating on the log and thus saved from Cosmic Flood by the Ashwinis could give us our link with wands.”

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Ashwini Kumara – the Swift Gods of Light
From an earlier Article by Rohit Arya

The Ashwini twins are Vedic gods who were once held in high esteem but have been all but forgotten. They were however, the prototype for the notion of Kumara the eternal youth, which is how both Skanda and the Buddha would be represented in future sculpture.

“It is known to a few, that the Awhwinis were the first physicians, doctors to humanity as well as the gods.  They were one of many Solar deities in the Vedas; many of their attributes were taken over by Vishnu when his cult by a process of osmosis, engulfed all the solar gods in his vast embrace.

“The Ashwinis seem to be the most energetically joyful of all the gods known to man. They hurtle through the cosmos in a dizzying effervescence of joy. They are the lords of speed, the swift rivers, the falcons of light, the riders of the fleet horse, agile and brilliant as Rig Veda says.  Speed is their keynote.  They bounce off the walls of heaven with a rush of energy, like young colts.  They are the most dazzlingly handsome personages in the universe, and they know it – ‘swift footed lords of bliss, much enjoying’. Later stories would elaborate on them as sensual gods. In some versions they marry jointly, Savitri the daughter of Surya the Sun God.  She was nominally supposed to marry Soma, lord of the moon and the sacred drink, but the Ashwins were much more handsome and cut a spectacular dash!  Other myths tell that they married the ten rays of the Sun, Surya’s daughters … But they had no time to lech like other gods.  Savitri was the only one who could keep up with their rapidity.

Sukra - the Jyotish deity Venus. This illustration is in Andrew Foss's new book on Vedic astrology

Sukra – the Jyotish deity Venus. This illustration is in Andrew Foss’s new book on Vedic astrology, Yoga of the Planets (out soon).

“The Ashwins were not effete dandies, careering across the cosmos in solar powered Ferraris.  They were that rarest of heroes, intellectuals who could act decisively and swiftly. They were described as ‘effectual in action, the powers of movement, fierce-moving in their paths:  they embodied the Samurai dictum – ‘to think and to act are one and the same‘.  They are the power of movement itself, so speedy and firm were they perceived to be. They used their great knowledge to help the gods – which was appreciated – and also to alleviate the sufferings of Humanity – which was not. Like Prometheus they had to face an angry Indra, leader of the gods, who punished them by depriving them of the right to drink the sacred Soma, which conferred strength and immortality on the gods. Soma was only too pleased; they had cost him a wife. However, the angry gods could not punish the Ashwins – they moved too fast to be caught, and they were no pushovers. Nobody knew the extent of their strength, nor wished to risk finding out.

Red horse by the sea, 2008

Red horse by the sea, 2008

“The Ashwins did not care too much about being excluded from the sacred drink.  They were caught up in their experiments and always on the move, as an active life principle. They made an iron leg for the warrior named Vispala who lost his in battle.  They were physicians and worked tirelessly at their craft.  The jealous humans said they had forfeited divine honours by associating too much with humans!  In later medieval times, the physician’s job was regarded as greatly polluting as it interfered with the evil Karma which produced the disease – a cruel doctrine. It is greatly to the Ashwins’ credit that they chose compassion over the approbation of their fellows, and continued to do what they had always done. They healed countless numbers of the lame, and restored sight to many who were blind – an apt action for the Lords of the Light.  The similarities with events in Palestine many thousands of years later are also obvious.  One of the Ashwins’ most coveted boons was to restore youth and vigour to the aged and decrepit. That might explain why they did not need the Soma like the other gods did.

“The Rishi Chyavana was old, feeble and ugly. Constant immersion in meditation had covered his body with vegetation until an anthill arose around him. The beautiful Sukanya thought his still visible eyes were glow-worms and poked them out with a stick, to capture them. Instantly the people of that region were cursed with terrible pain; the only way out of this was to marry her off to the sage she had wronged.  Sukanya accepted the grotesque situation as being fair – the blind sage needed someone to care for him. One day however, at the riverbank (a liminal, threshold site) Sukanya observed the Ashwinis frolicking in the water, and sighed for her lack of such joys.

“The Twins had a rare moment of lust, and propositioned her, confident in their youth and beauty. But she rebuked them severely and abashed them.  Yet they still had their hats in the ring, and offered to cure her husband of blindness and senility, and give him a handsome form like their own.  This was the catch: she must pick out her husband correctly from the identical trio, or agree to go with them.  Sukanya consulted her husband who decided to teach the presumptuous gods that he may be old and blind, but did not become a rishi for nothing.  When they emerged from the water in which the gods dipped the old man, she instantly recognised her husband through his instructions; the gods do not blink, sweat, cast shadows or leave footprints – and the human was easily found out.

Secret dakini oracle 42, Wave of Bliss. Note the longboat under the crest.

Secret dakini oracle 42, Wave of Bliss. Note the longboat under the crest.

“The Twins were sporting about it, and Chyavana, grateful for his rejuvenation, instructed them in an esoteric part of the Vedic sacrifice that even the gods had forgotten.  Armed with this new knowledge, the Ashwinis marched back into the divine company and traded off the right to drink Soma for this new rite in the fire sacrifice.  They came full circle – rejected for their love of humanity and restored by it too.

“Some have mistakenly translated their name to be Horsemen, from Ashwa the horse they ride. The horse as a symbol of prana indicates the Ashwinis’ perfect control over the breath, as well as their dazzling speed. The word Ashwini is derived from a root word which means ‘to fill everything’. One of the twins pervades the universe with Light, the other with Moisture – another indication that they were proto-Vishnu, ‘he that pervades’.

(Diagrams of solar-fusion which is set to replace nuclear fission by 2050 as our main energy source, and could totally revolutionise the human world-view and society,  See this link: https://janeaquariel.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/perhaps-fission-is-the-learning-curve-to-fusion/

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“In another story, they rescued a great sage from a flood that threatened to drown his learned life. The Ashwins sent him a log to clamber up onto and float around until realising who was responsible for this providential intervention.  Then they appeared before him, blessed him and instructed him in spiritual matters.

big wave near Marloes, west Wales

big wave near Marloes, west Wales

“The Twins were heralds of the dawn, lords of the fleetingly transient state between night and dawn, again an attribute of their great speed. This places them firmly as liminal or threshold deities, guardians of sacred and rare times when higher levels of consciousness may be accessed.  This peculiar aspect of their potency is acknowledged in verses where the Ashwinis are addressed as the children of the sun, of the earth, of the waters, and even as sons of the submarine fire.  All are conjunctions, especially the horizon where one space interacts with another, forming a natural threshold, and are key areas for the Ashwini to act.  They are the great facilitators of transition, but only to the Light.  They simply do not have the time for anything else.

They give that impelling energy for the great work which, having for its nature and substance the light of the Truth, carries man beyond the darkness.

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“The Ashwinis represent a glorious phase of Indian culture, and there are very few gods who are so reverberant with light. They are action incarnate, joyful graspers of life and laughter, quick to act and determined in their courses, intelligent and compassionate. The thrill they get out of being alive, is magnificent; it is a great pity that India has lost the ability to be in sympathy with such an exultant use of talent, ability and power. This is life lived to the fullest, to delight in action and glory in the mind … ‘Take joy in the Word, the holders in the intellect, by the luminously energetic thought’ …

“It was a sad time when India forsook the speedy gods of Light for more sedate worship.

“In the Vedic constellations, the Ashwins are in Aries, the sign of the New.

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“In a reading:  Light: Creative beginnings – difficult to pin down – potent card for spiritual breakthroughs.  Shift to higher, more spiritual approaches to life … Honest and straight-forward talkers … Always shooting off in a new direction, may need restraint.  Enthusiastic team worker, but may not always follow team policy.  Lots of travel indicated.  
Shadow: Instability and misdirected energy … ominously they can become passionate followers of dubious leaders, the hitler-youth sort of personality, fall into trances of admiration for peculiar people and weird ideas.
This is the moment to stay on track, not veer off to interesting sidelights.” 

From Rohit’s  book with the deck

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Sacred India Tarot - Pages of Staves: The Ashwis

Sacred India Tarot – Pages of Staves: The Ashwis

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Rohit’s feedback to the Card, 2003:  “My enthusiasm for the Ashwins is unbounded.  I cannot recall feeling so excited about something.  No change at all.”

wave yantra pattern

wave yantra pattern

From Jane’s Journal/channeling in October 2003: 

“Last night while watching The Omen on TV, I drew for IndiaTarot the Ashwini Kumara from Solar Joy upon a foaming white horse of the wave. They reach down a great white arm to the struggling sage of humankind adrift with his log at sea whose arm is feebly raised, like that of a baby. The Lord Sustainer Sanatkumar out of Vishnu’s endless dharma comes swift with the dawn and gathers him. The Lord Sustainer Sanatkumar overtakes the destiny of the rolling log, with that of the cosmic Law.

“In the Psalms and Songs of David, uplift from wickedness is eternal throughout the many forgotten races of man.  The rod and staff built into our infancy in the cosmic deep brings us through, again and again, until our own IAM is that:  the Arm of the Psalm.

“… What requires completion will be done, be assured, and it is a waste of time and energy to attempt what is assigned to other time and place.  Have confidence in the work. Service to the Hierarchy enlarges access by guided acceleration, and guarantees clear sighted fulfilment. See the Horse of the Ashwins, whose heavenly wave pearls and takes along with it the surfing Wand. Be not afraid. Surf the Father/Mother, surf the Son: surf I Am – be this your AIM!  IAM AEOLIAN and I play your strings.  IAM your wind, the Hebrew H or wind-door.  Why AMI this?  because you love what IAM.

“Symbols are patterns of vibration, like the Chladni figure on a glass, like the sand on the beach patterning the waves. They are not abstract, they are representations as concrete as anything you believe in the material world. … Every part and atom of the teaching is an actual jewel, a vein of rock, a garment, a body, a breath, a blessing. Sacred geometry is representational … the shoulder blades, the wings of your ageless archetype.”

p hexagram - Version 2

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Jane’s Notes Today 2015

Rohit’s “speedy gods of Light”!  Indeed, our “sedate forms of worship” in the world when they become sad and constraining, can lead to cancerous affiliations.

What is the worship?  Perhaps a spontaneous response to the miraculous mystery of our life and being.  Self-importance collapses in such moments, forgetting what it had to say. There is a deep human need for ritual and ‘the music’: to come close.  When the heart is deeply moved it likes a little ceremony.

The Sanskrit for the worship or spiritual instruction is “upadesa” – to draw near.  We bring to the worship our infinite variety of needs and archetypes.  I was never able to establish a regular habit of prayer or meditation, but I respect those who do.  Spontaneous offerings arising within the soul – sometimes wisely and sometimes unwisely –  are my worship and my daily bread, through raincloud, sun and winter.

Worship may be a steady practice, or it may fountain, touching base in synagogue, cathedral, temple or on prayer mat alike. The paradox of worship is that it is a deeply private and yet communal power. When inflated with politics and unbalanced accumulations of wealth, it gets trapped into every extremity which human nature is capable of, and is lost.

What can I do with my values?  Change starts here at history’s crossroads, in us each as individuals through our deltas of extended family.  Change begins within each atom, and imperceptibly at first, begins to overcome the molecular infrastructures.  The political leaders cannot do it, for they are locked within the competing forms.  It is my responsibility and yours, to live what we are given.

For me, the wonder in the Ashwins is:  the weakened sailor moves his subconscious left arm by an effort of will – and to it descends in joy and glory the Will – the powerful helping hand of the divine Solar Twins.   We are so much more than we think we know.

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Horses by the sea in west Wales, 2007

Horses by the sea in west Wales, 2007

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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 – Children of Syria

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Here are three sketches I did recently, feeling the pressure at the gates of Europe of thousands, millions of individuals, who seek in desperation, a safe place for their young, and for their families.

syria children 1

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syria children 2

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red coastal campion

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syria children 3

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In this land of many racial types and communities, the Star, the Cross and the Crescent thrived.  Until the civil war, Syria enjoyed a secular vitality, largely Sunni Islamic, with remnants of the old Jewish community in Aleppo, and deep anchors of orthodox Antioch Christianity.

Pondering the refugee crisis and cultural cross-fertilization, the light with the dark, the waves crossing waves of man’s inhumanity to man … is it seeding for generations to come, a paradoxical enrichment to the human gene pool?

What pains and pangs of birth are these?  History is peppered with tidal migrations and the violent forces which propel them.  Is there any actual limit or lack of space within the human heart?

Through depth of meaning, we find survival and adaptation. It may help children caught up in adult war to survive, for we are all connected through resonance; it directs us where to go, and what we can or might do here and now.  Meanings are not only spiritual, religious or collective. Meanings are social, intimate and personal – the evolving integrity of an individual’s interconnecting place and purpose in society.

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waves on musselwick sands

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butterlamp boat

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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/

Sketches of Beethoven and Minona

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C3TIr2bBo0 – Barenboim’s noble rendering of the Appassionata Sonata

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http://www.lvbeethoven.com/Famille/FamilyTree-Minona.html#Midi

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Beethoven profile - xerox of a lost sketch

Beethoven profile – xerox of a lost sketch

In my earlier post, More Sketches of Beethoven, I described a dream I had many years ago, that I tried to draw his daughter, who lived with him somewhere underneath Vienna.  It seemed at the time to parallel his efforts at composition, a titanic process of inspirational song, rain-soaked notebooks and hours or months of cutting, shaping and refining – it did not come easy for him.

I brought from my dream’s dark-room an impression down the years, of a child with a wide face and a fringe.  She was his child, or she was his soul – he looked through her eyes.  I met him in my dream, and we made an agreement.  That is all I remember – and the heart breaking toil of trying to portray her.   In those days I drew many children, capturing their essence in sometimes half an hour or less.   Not so, with this one!

I decided to try to reconstruct the dream – particularly when “Edwardian Piano” informed me that there was a daughter – it is said her mother, Josephine Brunswick, raised her as Minona Stakelberg. Josephine’s sister Therese alone was in the secret, which she kept until her grave.  On the website (see top of page under the Barenboim video), you can hear a couple of Minona’s Ecossaises for the piano.  It is a pity that they are played in  ‘electronic’ style.  I can imagine their grace and humour on an old Broadwood.

With sepia photos or daguerrotypes, I guess my way along, like a palaeontologist.  The photo looked at once familiar.  Her face in it is broad, yet heart shaped;  she looks a determined young woman.  In the other photo, she is an older woman.  She probably lost her teeth, and her nose looks longer.  I began with Neidl’s likeness of Beethoven, nearest to the dark child I see in my mind:

Beethoven engraving by J.Neidl

Engraving of Beethoven by J.Neidl from a drawing by G.E.Stainhauser von Treuberg in 1800

The young Beethoven – after the Neidl engraving

Minona

Minona’s face is rather thin here, which draws on information from both the photos. In old photos, much of the bone structure detail is blurred.  It is said her looks were dark and “Spanish”, like Beethoven’s.  My drawing doesn’t show much family likeness, but an exploration of this kind might touch unknown factors;  I do not know!

Josephine Brunswick, her mother

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Finally I began work on this:

Beethoven and his natural daughter

Beethoven and his natural daughter

 …  and it is not finished, and cannot be, but is starting to speak.

There are mysteries between ourselves as human beings and our hidden continents and the things we grieve and share and conceal and stumble with, which can only be recognised and touched upon … beyond words.  We touch the hem of the robe.  The story’s pressure through my dream was the character of Beethoven’s illegitimate daughter, and how this condition made her strong, made her hear him, and grow up beyond her years.  This, like tidal currents in the sea which enter one another, has resonance.

Grief is sharp and alive with colour as in a painting, and so is joy;  and life is born through dying, born through dying and letting go … again and again and again.

Minona Stakelberg

Photo of Minona Stakelberg

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Anton Schindler’s Impression of Beethoven at the piano:
“What the Sonata Pathetique was in the hands of Beethoven (although he left something to be desired as regards clean playing) was something that one had to have heard and heard again, to be quite certain that it was the same already well known work.  Above all, every single thing became, in his hands, a new creation, wherein his always legato playing, one of the particular characteristics of his execution, formed an important part.

“In his lessons, Beethoven taught: always place the hands on the keyboard so that the fingers do not rise any more than is strictly necessary, for only with this method is it possible to create a tone and to learn how to ‘sing’.  He hated staccato playing, especially in the execution of passages; he called it ‘finger dance’ or ‘leading the hands into the air.’

“The pieces which I myself heard Beethoven execute were, with few exceptions, always quite free of tempo limitations:  a tempo rubato in the truest sense of the word, according to the demands of the contents and situation without, however, the slightest tendency to caricature.  It was the clearest and most comprehensible declamation … as perhaps can only be elicited from his works.

“His older friends, who carefully followed the evolution of his spirit in every aspect, assure me that he developed this style in the first years of the third period of his life, and that he turned completely away from his earlier manner of playing with fewer nuances.  From this, it is clear that his urge towards discovery had already found the ways and means to open up with confidence the portals of the mystery to both laity and initiated. 

“He wanted the Quartets to be performed in the same manner as the Sonatas, for they paint states of mind, as do the majority of his Sonatas.”

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Allegri quartet rehearsing, 1988

Allegri quartet rehearsing, 1988

 shingle and shadow

minona 3_0001

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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/

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of 9 and 10 of Staves/Wands

Sita 10 of staves detail

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aikido

Glancing through this series, I am reminded how the suit of Staves or Wands develops the astral weaponry of the suit of Swords/Arrows into a martial art, or dance form.  This seemed fairly straightforward in the early cards of this suit, but by the time I reach Nine and Ten, it feels like too much is manifesting all at once on the earthly plane;  a bundle of imagined responsibility, almost a shut-down.
Never have I felt less creative.

Let the bundle go and lighten up!  Rohit’s interpretative notes suggest this also, as do the original Rider-Waite illustrations I worked from.

The wands are miniature trees.  Take just one, and look up it;  dance with it …

looking up the oak

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NINE OF STAVES – from Rohit’s Notes, 2003

“Suspicion about Sita in Ayodhya ensures her banishment;  One of the meanings of this card is Authority and the burdens thereof.  Rama had assumed Kingship and did such a great job that it is still regarded as India’s golden age.  However, his sense of responsibility to public opinion caused him to banish Sita when slander had reached impossible levels. The king’s wife, like Caesar’s, had to be above suspicion.  What ought to be shown is Rama in all the splendour of his kingship having to take a decision to banish his wife, and never spending a happy moment since.  Sita need not even be present in the card;  this is Rama’s agony.”

poppy

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From Rohit Arya’s Book with the Deck

“Rama ruled over Ayodhya in a manner which has become synonymous in India with the Perfect Age; the rule of Rama is still invoked as an ideal to aspire towards.  Poverty was non-existent, and the people so content that Rama would wait every day at court for a person seeking justice!  In Rama the ancient dream – if a perfect king was found, the society would mirror his stature – found fulfilment.

“Yet there was one unhappy soul in this sea of contentment, and that was Rama.  For the old rumours about Sita and her virtue had begun again …  A perturbed Rama, for whom family reputation and the respect kings gained by example was paramount, gave in to public opinion.  He told Laxmana to abandon Sita in the forest near the ashram of Valmiki, so that she would be taken care of.  She was pregnant at the time, so Rama has been denounced ever since for being heartless.

Rider Waite 9 of Wands

Rider Waite 9 of Wands

“This tale is part of the Uttara Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, a segment long held by scholars to be spurious.  Nevertheless, the banishment of Sita has captured the imagination, and while it may not be true it is a (psychological) reality.  I also wanted one card to reflect the now traditional Rider-Waite imagery in Tarot, and when I read this sentence I could not resist it:  ‘Rama picked up a staff used during the yagna and, while leaning upon it, gave vent to his grief.’

“Interpretating the card:  Caution owing to vulnerability – face unjust criticism boldly.  Period of developing self awareness. The card of unsought and unwanted promotions and responsibilites;  wisdom and strength gained at great cost – inner resoluteness increases. Controlling oneself from misuse of power- realisation that one’s path is always going to be lonely.  Vigilant and alert attitude required.

“Shadow:  remembering past slights and fearing the future and that this new responsibility will turn out badly.  Being kicked upstairs.  Putting others first to the point of exhaustion. Feeling of, but not actual stagnation.  Tendency to retreat within, self absorbed, loner.  Old habits die hard.  Deferring to society’s norms.

“Are you fed up or exhausted with the current situation?  Why?
What can you do about it?”

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Sacred India Tarot, 9 of Staves - Rama's agony and suspicion of Sita

Sacred India Tarot, 9 of Staves – Rama’s agony and suspicion of Sita

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Jane’s Notes – 2015

In the Rider Waite deck, the Wands sprout small green shoots.  I could have included these in the above painting, but for some reason I left them bare.  Implicit in the rod or wand is its fertile potential.  Discover an undistracted sphere of authority or focus – then act on it.

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Lord Siva on his Tao

Lord Siva on his Tao

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Why is Sita’s banishment as Rohit says above, a “psychological reality”?

Perhaps one meaning is when our thoughts and grand ideas about things become brittle. When we trust, we walk on the water of life.  But when we think or listen to what ‘others’ say, we get heavy and sink.

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TEN OF STAVES – Rohit’s Notes, 2003

“Sita returns to earth’s womb, Rama is left alone.  The ten of wands has always a sense of oppression associated with it.  The card is liable to be complex as the brooding isolation that Rama feels is intensified here.  The earth has opened up to recover Sita, as she was unable to bear yet another demand for proof of innocence.  Rama has one more trauma to bear;  previously his wife was banished but alive in the forest, now he did not even have that straw to cling to.

“This event occurs at a great fire sacrifice, a Yagnya, so the positioning of the wands should not be too problematic.”

new year fire

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From Rohit’s book with the Deck, 2011

“The Earth receives Sita – Now Rama and his judgemental subjects are in trouble.  The king has to perform yagnas – Vedic fire sacrifices – as a vital part of his intermediary between the gods and humans.  By law, a ruler could not officiate at yagnas without his wife being present;  it rendered the whole ritual futile.  Rama however, had famously sworn to have only one wife. In a polygamous society, this was breathtaking and a new paradigm of ethical behaviour, rapidly emulated by an impressed world.

rider waite ten of wands

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“The fidelity that saw the citizens bask in the supremacy of their king, has now become a problem for the maintenance of the social fabric.  The very foundation of ritha – cosmic harmony  – rests upon the kings of the earth performing yagnas.  Here is Rama, supreme amongst men, unable to hold yagnas.  Sita is still alive, and Rama will never have any other spouse.  She is also still banished.  It is an intolerable impasse.  The self satisfied littleness of mind in Ayodhya has made them the laughing stock of the world – a society with no yagnas!

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“A desperate compromise is sought.  If Sita would agree to just one more ordeal by fire to prove her chastity … A distraught Sita, never doubting Rama’s unswerving love, nevertheless has had enough.  She calls upon Bhumidevi Gaia – the Earth Goddess who is her mother – to rescue her from this unceasing torment.  The earth swallows her while the very gods are appalled, witness to Rama’s utter desolation.

“In a reading:  Overwhelmed – too much of everything;  superabundance of talents, which have become burdensome.  Next set of challenges after success.  Drop some things, lighten the load … Period of intense concentration and focus cannot be maintained for long.  Loneliness at the top, but it is the top.

“Shadow: Oppression and taking on too much – terrible deadline pressures, and too eager to please.  Misuse of power, making unreasonable demands.   You cannot do so much. Accept it.  Let go of some things, delegate others, and forget the impossible and implausible.”

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Sacred India Tarot Ten of Staves - The earth receives Sita

Sacred India Tarot Ten of Staves – The earth receives Sita

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Jane’s Notes – 22 October 2003

Finished the Rama picture.  It is not being done according to the “maestro tempo”, but to the whim of my personal unfolding.  Each month or so, the India Tarot moves forward a jot or jolt, and from time to time produces a picture which is about my own discoveries.

In this one, Rama’s grief has sunk underworld with the fay and loyal Sita whom he unjustly suspected. She arises through his bones, watery, into the Fire of the Yagna Sacrifice – and from that same fire is sprouted the man in an orange sky of flame upon a violet crystal landscape.  She ascends through the sacrifice, and he grieves, he feels.  The bundle of ten red Wands crosses behind his upper spine and weighs upon his heart;  this is humanity having to learn by experience.  It is also the irrepressible arising of the dew, the spring waters, as the heart connection transfigures – the white around Rama and on the Wands.  The membrane between Rama and Sita is a turgid dark green, signifying impurities and jealousy in the desire nature.  But you can see that the pure waters are impacting up his lower spine by osmosis.

The earth in fact has opened like a lake, and She – like the lady of Shalott – rests within it.  The man looks elsewhere, he is speared and crossed through with his individuation, but has not yet glimpsed beyond his own container.

In the previous card, the Nine of Wands, he stands on guard with self righteous dignity, wearing a purple mantle;  this violet colour is now the rocky landscape in which he sits semi-naked.

For the Sacred India Tarot, their interpretation of the Wands is the Intellect.  In the Nine – I am now following the classic Rider-Waite designs – he grasps one of the Wands of a fence, to use it as a spear.  In the Ten, this one becomes the burden of the entire Ten which he believes he carries.

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Tree of Life with three Gunas, showing vedanta and western traditions

Tree of Life with three Gunas, showing vedanta and western traditions

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Kabbalistically, Ten of Wands is Malkuth of the suit – the nitty gritty reality – just as Nine of Wands is Yesod, the self image or cloak.  In fact, with the possible exception of Three of Wands (Ravanna rejecting wise counsel) for Binah/Understanding, all the Wands I have drawn work well in the ten Sefiroth of the Tree – about which I thought not at all, in the doing.  So ten are done – a whole Tree.  The Court cards are the four worlds, and will begin with the Page of Wands as the Ashwin solar twins – the divine healers.

On the other hand there are multiple levels to see in this Ten of Wands painting, for turning to “Stage 12 in Alchemy, Multiplication” I see that the upright and stationary wands in the Nine all have this transformative and incendiary potential into the orange sky light of the Ten.  So the Ten contains a great release potential.

woodlamp

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Correspondence/Feedback;  Rohit, December 2003

“The Nine of wands is remarkable, we have broken out of the cliche of Rama always with a bow.  This is what he must have really looked like, the power and authority he radiates is terrific.

“The Ten is also unusual and creative in conveying so many layers of story at one time.  There is Rama in the kingly posture that conveys his burden of kingship and responsibilities, the arrows that mark his nature and form rays around him in his role as a solar deity;  there is the lost Sita, sinking into the ground beneath him – that action cost him his moral footing though ethically it was an impeccable decision.  It is one of the most psychologically complex and layered cards Jane has done.”

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Sagittarian inscape

Sagittarian inscape

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altar 2

For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, Search, or Archive of All Posts in the title bar.

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in http://aryayogi.wordpress.com   – (look in his Archives May 2012 and June 2012.) The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

 

 

 

 

Jane Adams

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.

All original art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. 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/

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.

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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/