Theatre in Tintagel, Cornwall.
This is an experiment. I have a collection of “Tales from the Watershed”. These are short stories written down from my dreams recorded in 1974-1977. I call that period The Watershed, because from its stress and upheaval, as from a mountain range, my life flows a mandala, past, future and all around. It formed the bedrock geology of my (later) Kabbalist and Hermetic “re-discoveries”. I shall include the tales in this blog, from time to time, as they were my raw material. There are already a few, embedded in their respective posts – you can find them in the “Search” box or in the Watershed Tales category. The stories so far, are “Foal”, “Sunflowers”, “The Man in the Ravine”, a mention of “Jupiter & Rosa”, and episodes from “The Rain Check Dream”.
The Violet Crystal is a bardo of interconnective relationship essences: a state of becoming. Years later, I did a sequence of paintings inspired by it. (See also, Gallery below this post.)
“The Violet Crystal” – (Dreams No.227, 21 January 1976)
I WAS NOT sure whether this was really my home or not. It seems to be my flat, but I may have inherited it, or be there on sufferance. I spent the night there. It’s a long place divided into two sections. One area which I do not remember well, is rather cramped and crowded; the other part is a big, very spacious room with a double bed in it, and not much else. Somewhere in the centre of this room was a pillar from floor to ceiling, and resting against this slender column was a big crystal or rock of uncut precious stone. The crystal glinted peculiar hues of violet, pink and purple light in relation to some other similar object nearer the ceiling, and according to the way these two harmonised in their relationship. It was very unfamiliar, as if not of this world, and of a shape that I found sometimes displeasing and clumsy, it was a rock, it was very strange; and I grew to value it very much.
It became, in relation to the few other things in the room, extraordinarily beautiful. This was to do with the way that I saw it, or juxtaposed its relation to other things by moving it or them a little, so that they caught the light in a particular and deeply satisfying way, like a marriage.
The formation, though not large, dominated the place with its atmosphere and the violet light within it.
The place did not “belong” to me, even though I lived here, and was visited here. It was a treasure entrusted to my keeping which awed me a little. There was nothing recognisable of mine here, no pictures. It was almost bare. It had so powerful an essence or personality of its own, that it needed no decoration. It seemed to contain almost too much already. At the end I touched and arranged two windowless curtains at the far wall of the room, so that their pink-violet colour lent its own intensity, moved by an unseen wind; there may have been windows behind them.
A man stayed the night a day or two ago. He was a stranger, he was not Louis. I remember nothing of him, except that I wrote down his name twice in thick black writing in my address book and I wondered why; and crossed out the second entry of his name and address.
Houses of soul along the sea
The other visitor was my sister. I think she also stayed a night here. She wrote in a diary, just like me, and she kept leaving it open so that furtively I could look at the page and what she had written. In it she revealed herself. I thought she wouldn’t like me to see it and read it, yet I was determined to do so if possible – and she kept leaving it around lying open, and I saw scraps of it, tried to read it. There was anger in it. She seemed to be having problems with her husband. She was angry with him, they were sexually incompatible and this was a source of terrible shame, like mine with Louis. I longed to read more of her inner wealth and honesty, but I couldn’t trust that she would allow me to; I did it behind her back. She wrote also about the riding stable where I used to work when I was twelve years old, about the field with its trees, the mud and the horses; this place was essential to her revelations.
She lives just up the road along a terrace of seaside houses; I know that she lives there in her actual Bishops Lydeard house in Somerset, and when I went to visit her there a little later, I found that she had pasted her open diary to the window of her kitchen so it could be read by all who passed by. I began to realise that she actually wanted it to be read, she wanted me to read it, like a call for help. But I never had time to read more than a snatch of it at a time, for I was always waking up, or worried in my travels up and down this street, lest I oversleep, forget to write down the dream, not get up when I should, or get to where I ought to be; and all my teeth were hurting again; something seemed to be happening to them, just as in my dream last week. I tested and felt them with my finger, they were all in place, and not clenched or jumbled up, yet the muscles along my gums and the roof of my mouth were tense with some memory, with pain. The pain was not as bad as last time, but I couldn’t work it out. I wondered at its source. Was it self pity? a calling for attention? identity problem? All my teeth were in their usual places, though exhausted and sore.
At the school playground by the sea, a large fat boy or man put on huge inflated white shoes which should enable him to walk on the water like Jesus. He started off, walking backwards over the incoming waves. His movement was clumsy and he soon fell. I thought he was rather stupid to do it this way. The shoes were so ungainly, and why go backwards with the waves pushing him forwards? What could he be getting out of it? It was as if he should be water-ski-ing but had opted for this laborious and unrewarding sport instead. He got into the sea confidently, walked backwards with difficulty, fell in and tried again and again.
It looks easy from outside, for Louis to write short stories, to dip into source, to allow the sea to flow into him by travelling back into it, his hinterland … but then we are not doing it. He is. And the incoming waves just overturn his progress, and process as they must, to break upon the shore, the seaside town, the world. Why is he facing the wrong way?
I found a better way for myself, while playing with some people over the massed bulges of inflated rubber that the sea had now become. I jumped and played on these, and learnt to keep my balance. I too wore special shoes, but they were of a better design. It was good to be in company – I do not know who they were – doing our tumbling acts together, and attaining a certain skill and dexterity.
(Postscript … the way treads the tides of panic, receiving them in full so that clarity dispels them. Now I see the waves on the shoreward sea, and how it felt in my violet crystal room; I was so lonely here. Out there on the sea and beach, the world was playing. I want to go out there and try to join in and do it too.)
All of this took place in a greyness like twilight, early morning, the still heat of summer midnight or the greyness of the mind. The air was slightly oppressive.
Back in the flat with the violet crystal, I discovered something else. I could hear the sound of the sea, and I went to an unexplored side of the room and found a window; and when I opened this window I found it looked out onto a wall and bushes leading away from me at a right-angle, so that I could probably climb out and along it. And here indeed was the sea! deep and grey in thick mist. The waves were rushing along the very walls of the house. The sea was just outside my window, and yet there was this wall also, like an L- extension of the roof, which I could at a pinch climb along, so as to be nearer still.
The sea seemed to be thus enclosed in a big back yard; yet it was not enclosed. It heaved with all its power and cold grey quiescent menace, and I could not see from where it came. The waves appeared out of a dense mist. It was fairly calm now, but there would be storms. And already I wanted to climb out along the wall to sit in a place where the waves would be coming right at me; for perhaps the wall marked the shoreline, a beach of rocks. I looked forward to the storms, to the thunder of it. And at some point, Peter my father joined me and stood in the window also with me, and shared my delight in this discovery. I was pleased and so satisfied that he should have cause to envy me, a room with such a view!
I knew by now that the subconscious sea washed the whole terrace on which I lived, right beyond me and up the road, to my sister’s house and further, though she would be higher above it than I, being on a hill. We lived on the same seaside terrace then, and the incongruity of this L-shape wall from my house, with its bushes, was an extension of reality which I didn’t even try to explain.
There was a whole condition of things which irritated her. It was an opening, a window into her, a rare offering of herself to me. She wrote clear, large and black in her big diary, that her husband didn’t satisfy her, that she was angry with him, he came too soon; and about the field with mud and horses. I didn’t feel particularly sad for her. We are sisters. I was glad that she too, doesn’t find life to be all roses.
GALLERY – paintings 1988. With photos of the sea by Marisa – Cornwall 2011