The Tree is a Fountain: The Man in the Ravine

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This post, and the next few – though probably not consecutively – will include a story from my Watershed collection.   In the mid 1970s I went through a very difficult time, which flowered at night – or under earth – into hundreds of vivid dreams, many of them visionary.

I wrote them all down, and years later, began to de-code and compose some of them into stories.  They became my experiential laboratory; the archetypes arose. 

I call it the Watershed, because it is like a mountain ridge.  The “waters” from it, irrigate the channels of my whole life and landscape around it, far into the past and future.  Because of the Watershed, I don’t perceive a life-time as a linear progress, but as a solar orbital system:  a sphere.  A pulse.

My spacetime diagram is of a leaf dropped on water: the concentric ripple.  The same are soundwaves, light cones, and the Watershed: from which the events of a lifetime descend and flow to manifest in all directions …the way a tree grows.   We are not normally sensitive enough or “programmed” to detect the wavelengths of warning and encouragement which come from “future” wisdom.  But they are there!  and hindsight always reveals them.

A peak of intensity in any lifetime irradiates the past and future equally.  It is that life’s gravitational centre and purpose to be.  It is like the circling beam of a lighthouse.

Thus we are seen from “Above” – like ourselves looking down at rain-circles on the lake.

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Comprehending this, is in the way we breathe consciously.  What is the fountain breath?

The fountain breath is this, in whatever shape or teaching it takes, up and down, root and shoot.

Invoking the very best in life:  peace to all beings:  a prayer for a friend in pain, or those in the storm:  a drawing together of the Great Work … light the candle, focus the third eye, and stretch open armed  a Tree, a Chalice, an Albion witch, moving a little with the dancing Ch’i.

The Tree’s branches receive the sun.  The sun bedews and sparkles in them.  The sunlight trickles down them into the trunk.  The trunk with all its oaky bark flowing upward is a fountain, resplendent from the ground.   This is “meditation”.

tree diva

Think of the trees everywhere now, whose leaves turn gold and fall, preparing for the winter nude, the cold deep dark waters of polar tide – the tide beneath the waves;  receive back into essence the wet, wild kingdom, Mother Ceres of the tiny seeds that grow – Persephone in Hades – in the ground.

Ceres & John 

Drenched I am with the rain, the frost and sea salt, dark and drenched and wet my wood:  and vibrant is my capillary in the sky, its leafy burden shed.  Vibrant are my fingers in the silver sky – the throbbing of the festival.

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Here is one of my Stories of Life – 

“The Man in the Ravine” …  Dreams No.189  27 September 1975

Events led me down the valley into this very deep ravine.

It is like the tale of the Water of Life.   Three princes set out to find the Water of Life for their sick father.  The first two were walled up in a ravine along the way because of their churlish behaviour.   Others, I know, have been here before me,  and come to grief.   Perhaps I’ve come here to find out what happened to them.

The ravine had sheer high cliffs that walled it around three sides.   It was a cul de sac.  So deep down was it enclosed that in here it was always night or a very murky twilight.  If you looked far up, right up the mountain walls, you could see daylight or the sinking sun.   But the base of the ravine was not much larger than the floor of a large room or hall.   To reach its depths you went down a natural stairway of rock, a kind of ramp.   Over the floor of the ravine you had to pick your way over the mud and over the puddles of water murkily shining.   It had a warm and velvety miasma.   I explored it carefully.   I had to cover the whole of it or reach the enclosing wall over on the far side, what was I looking for?   Because assuredly I was seeking out something.   What happened to those poor fools right down in this darkness from whence if you looked up the walls you could see, like a great rose, the day above?   The place was repugnant.

Suddenly I stepped in some soft mud and was sinking.   I had waded into one of those bogs that suck you down and down into the morass to drown.   I fell full length on the mud and struggled to get my right foot free of the all-enveloping ooze, and I succeeded.   I pulled myself out.   Then I went over to the right side of the ravine where there were some big stagnant puddles, and began to wash my feet and sandals which were covered with sticky smelly mud.   From there I watched the bog where I had almost sunk.   It was displaying a curious activity.   A sort of waterspout or turbulence of liquid mud began to jet out of it like a fountain.   Out of that unrest came a small solidity, a box or a square tin;  it fell and lay upon the quivering mud.   Then out of that mud came a man!

A man lived here, within the mud, within the bottomless floor of the ravine.   He emerged, a stocky sort of man.   The place had been disturbed by a question, and out he came.   It was extraordinary that he should live and breathe down under the mud.   He had a malign power.

We had a conversation, him by his bog-hole and me by the puddles where I’d been cleaning my feet.  He is a sorceror.   He causes in me very strange physical changes.  A certain look from his eye immobilizes all my nerve.   I can see him a little.   Stocky, squat, with dark curling hair.   The lines of his face flow downward.

“What is in the box?”   I ventured to wonder.

“I am,”  he said.

That makes perfect sense.   The box is discarded.   It contains me.   The mud erupting flies apart into disjointed brown crescents of time.  Between them are swirls of chaos.   The newborn cannot read the signs.   Lots of animals live down here.   My right arm has gone.   But now I have three heads,  and I see and believe in a different world from each one of them.   I am terrified.   But I have been told to open to my fear.   Now I am an animal, a creature I do not know.   Now I have branches like lopped limbs from a tree.   This branch waves from one of the rock walls of the ravine.  But this one too is deep in the silty floor.   Yet another strains in the sky in a great bolt of wind.   All over the ravine is scattered the (w)hole not I.   It is the darkness.   It is the vivid strength of the man in the mud, his trident, his trident touches and jerks me into three-plane being.

I am the Great Cat.   I am the life that runs in cold metallic vein through the fish.  I run like a rat, the colour of the ground.   I am the bull and the goat and the twins.   We are having a kind of conversation, him by his bog-hole and me …  ah yes, that is it,  he has stopped the time.   The quintessence of each animal spirit broods in this place where no beginning ends.   “You are too mercurial …”  but my shoulder has burst.   I cannot describe it.   I fall yet I stand.   I have no control over any of these changes that succeed one another rapidly as air.   They are all in his alien hand, whatever he draws or gestures,  that I form,  and then form un-begun suddenly an owl.   The bird is shrieking.   The form like soft clay silent is putty and quicksilver in his alien hand, my penance.   This is not me.   It is according to his powers.   I accept this, for I trust him.   I have no choice but to trust him.   There is no other way save submission to these curious disturbances and transformations.   Some of them are painful like fire and blood.   Some are nauseating, and some are cataracts of water:   it is a tempest buried in earth.   This is where I am.   I am here with this man of the bog and his powers, and that is that.

That is clay on the potter’s wheel.   That is the bed of the river.

“Water,”  I said to him  “the Water of Life.”   (I think the others were devoured by the bog).

“You are their successor,”  he replies  “but you didn’t succumb you know, to what drowned them”  “What was that?”   “It was the walls you know.   Walls they rode themselves into, grew up around them.  These people were interested only in their own ends.   You must pay the price.   But we can speak.   Here we may speak.   There never was any prince with whom I could hold conversation.  This is unique you know.   You must stay.   You are the first of them returned.   So I must hold you here.”   And thrice with his wand he struck me.  Water gushed from this rock, this matter.   Life.   Cried out.

I am the prisoner of the man of the bog who till now killed everyone,  the wrestler without a friend.   The angel is all of the night.   A curious friendship seems to be developing between us.  In this dim grey light we became close.   He came over to the puddles where I am and I stroked his arm a little, to teach myself to like him.   He didn’t bite.   He didn’t stomach-sickeningly change me into anything else.   He emerged, a stocky sort of man, so darkly invincible that my strange commitment to him must be total, else I die in darkness, unseen.   I surrendered.  There is no escape from the ravine.

Once he told me, gesturing skyward, that in the east with dawn, there rises the lotus of a thousand petals white and pure.   It floats over the azure sky, the tip of every petal blushes with gold, but earth dark,  deep and dank holds her underwater root.   He said that in the west this flower sets.   It furls into a great rose, rosy red song of the heart, the scent of the Spirit.   I have to learn to love and obey the one who reveals to me such things.   He is stronger than me.   Many of me that came down here before, have come to grief, and are prisoners.   My bond with him may release them.   “You are their ransom,” he said “if you survive.   There are more to come, Proserpine.”

Whether or not I wanted to escape from the ravine, I cannot now remember, nor what I did in captivity.   I know only what the hostage knows.   He was stronger than me.

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This post combines a Pluto initiation with the fountaining tree of life.  The pictures and images for this, proceed in waves, an alternating current.

Tree lovers, Quantock hills

Dark Hades and Persephone the day.

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Trees love, by a creek in Arizona

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Descend:  look down from the cliff top through trees to Sea – (Alet, St Malo, Brittany 1988)

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Stone slab and secret hieroglyph (language) 1987

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Hermes and Persephone 1987.

This drawing has many Hadean elements:  three ears of wheat, the Goddess under earth, the ferrying of souls.  The curving spinal column is a “shorthand” reminder of my ancient lizard nature, containing all those souls and deaths of life and consciousness to come – in horizontal mode.  The ears of wheat are seasonal appearances.  Hermes Trismegistos, top left, oversees.

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Pluto and Persephone ’87

Persephone meets her subterranean dark lover.  Alchemical engravings often feature a Saturnine gentleman with an injured leg.  I used to see this in my dreams also.  It is a place or a someone where some healing or completing or time is needed.  And time and the way it unfolds and manifests, is Karma !

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Plutonic Mysteries (1) 

This was the first time I twigged the graphic relation of the Venus and Mars glyphs.

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Plutonic Mysteries ’87(2)

Looking down through spinal chord into a Yab-Yum of sorts.  I didn’t know the terminology when I did the drawings, and had not heard of Kundalini.  The language arose spontaneously.  It was explosively satisfying to create and combine the light and darkness.  I drew quite slowly and thoughtfully in the surfacing storm.

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Elephant trees: Alet, near St Malo, Brittany ’87

Studying Castaneda’s books at the time, these drawings explore and outline the space between the branches and the leaves – my defining lesson as a visual artist.

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Conference in the  Wind:  Alet, near St Malo, Brittany ’87

Another outdoor study.  Tipp-ex is a marvellous enhancer, depending what you are drawing.

Tree space atoms ’87

Living upside down and inside out like this, was scary and exhilerating – every atom of the air alive.  Space and the feeling of interior and outer space, is the key.  That same awareness implanted the dimensions of the Cube of Space and the Tree of Life, yet to come.  It acts subconsciously nowadays, but informs my life and work, generally.

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4our Trees

They form a four-towered “tower of alchemy” – the vessel, our body, the Tree of Life all in one.  For a lucid and detailed guide to this practice, combining Kabbalah, the Grail, Yoga, breath work and Tibetan Buddhism, see The Tower of Alchemy by David Goddard, Weiser books 1999.

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Caduceus Tower Tree 2002

Here is everything combined – the caduceus or healing polarity, the Kabbalah Tree, the levels of the Tower, an oyster idea, and a stimulating problem for the right and left brain:  try to draw the solar and lunar spirals, both hands simultaneously, crossing over, without stopping or leaving the paper.

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Grail Trees 2002

Sanctus sanctorum:  rose cross:  the trees’ rings:  oyster shell:  pyramid:  pearl

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Fountain linga 

A much more recent drawing, done earlier this year.  I copied it from a photo of a carved Shinto shrine in The Cosmic Embrace by John Stevens.  Apart from reminding me of the Fountain symbolism in trees and human beings, it makes an unusual door-knocker.

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Tree Spirit ’88

This image combining bud, yoni and encircling growth of time, is in my mind’s eye this week.  It is like a baby’s hand in utero.

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The Chakras on the Tree of Life (1992)

There are seven surrounding sheaths, probably for the planets.  The sheaths of a tree become its bark.  They fountain through the crown, and encircle again the root.

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Roots in the Quantock hills

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Tree seed Siva Shakti Yantra

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31 October, this morning’s thought before posting:  regarding cosmic synchrony, with life’s small details.  This is more apparent to some of us, than to others.  The visibility depends rather on the type of astrology pattern we are born into – and whether we can honour or whether we resist what we are given.

If it is hard to see synchrony as a whole, if daily life is frustration, fog and violence – focus on any one event, relationship or understanding, that has harmony.  Cultivate it like a rose in a garden.  Be creative with it.  The principle invites its own, and gradually expands and links to its own – the osmosis of oasis.  It is like a pattern of fields slowly becoming visible as fog or impediment clears:

“the silvery light that gleams around the clouds 
breath taking, undulates 
a floating, patchwork cloth of fields 
whose margin into faery fades …” 

But we have to keep practicing.  That part of life which is magical or wise – it is not just an island.  Keep giving it attention.  The unfaltering principle is Self created.  If I put my money on connectivity, sooner or later the connections appear for real, and are sustained.  It is a dialogue, Self reflecting:  but left to right, always changing.

1988

This self portrait was done without a mirror, with left and right hand simultaneously;  building the bridge through the brain’s sides, subconscious and self conscious, crossing over.  Here’s looking at you!   The power of my left hand, which falters in life, is where the Teachers are.

Profiles welcome across atlantic;  1987

My heart goes out to all whose homes and lives are devastated in the big East Coast storm, and have to rebuild, recover and be prepared.

At election time:  a wake up call.  It makes the campaigning circus look somewhat irrelevant.  Who looks best able to respond? Who has the gravitas and the troops?  Who is truthful and trust worthy in emergency?  Open question.

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Elephant sky 1998

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BY THE WAY …

The Man in the Ravine” echoes and invoked a certain spine tingling sound – for me – in Liszt’s late piano piece Sunt Lacrimae Rerum.  It is in the Third Annees de Pelerinage.  The music plummets to a fracturing, jarring depth and height: then into the abyss enters a Hungarian lullaby, far away and ancient like an angel, tender as a child – a strangely integrating  alchemy.  My favourite recording of this, if you can find it, is by Zoltan Kocsis; but this Youtube of Nyiregyazi playing it, has an antique curiousity value;  and Liszt’s manuscript is displayed with it.  The link in caps will find it on google, and other interpretations.  Or the weblink, pasted onto your address bar, opens the video:

LISZT’S MANUSCRIPT – “SUNT LACRYMAE RERUM” (NYIREGYHÁZI) – YOUTUBE

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzuO1B1p2PE

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On the Liszt topic – (see my 11 August post Maestro – Some Views of Liszt) – there is  more material on his and other composers’ work with Rosemary Brown – including recordings and sheet music – on Elene’s interesting blog,  Elene Explores.  (http://elenedom.wordpress.com)

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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 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) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

4 thoughts on “The Tree is a Fountain: The Man in the Ravine

  1. A work of profound insights into the the dark places within us all – a world where the belief systems we believe in are put to the test . Jane or should I say, Persephone has boldly examined this underwold and surprises us with her findings . Her wonderul drawings and pictures deftly illuminate these discoveries

  2. Pingback: Recall at Xmas; Sap of the Tree | janeadamsart

  3. Pingback: In the Sea and onto the Beach | Aquariel

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