On Death and the Fire-Bird of Peace


Sacred India Tarot 13, Siva & Kali  - detail

The Grand Cross easing, opens up for me –  I discover, and so do others – into unimagined joys:  as in a conversation, the other day.

This morning there is white mist, I feel rather damp and warm, the eclipse has passed and I feel better, and now blessed –  a difficult easter it was.  Up at 6 again, even after a long layabed.   Bells ring inside – angelus bells, Liszt’s Angelus, bluebells.   The birds are busy and the morning is quiet.   Adonai, thou art God.

A companion came here last week, wanting to talk.   So he sat down and did.   He spoke for a long time and explored, about Death.  (How harmonised this is, with all the themes of eclipse just now).

You played your inner keyboard, like a jazz musician improvises – death as the existential support of Life.   Not only the violent and tragic deaths, whose martyrs empower survivors; but death as the Now, facing that we die. Each moment we die to ourselves, extends life.  Life is aware and has no limit.

The only way I can recall what you said is to re-enter my inner ear, this morning, and let a kind of translation happen.


Sacred India Tarot, 13, Yama the Lord of Death.  For all these meanings and their release, read KATHA UPANISHAD - the dialogue of young Nachiketas with Yama, who gave him infinity.

Sacred India Tarot, 13, Yama the Lord of Death. For all these meanings and their release, read KATHA UPANISHAD – the dialogue of young Nachiketas with Yama, who gave him infinity.


Time, through day and night, is full of tensions, obstacles, fears, and getting stuck.   Each of these is death – a broken continuity: a cut off point, having to deal with a bill, a loss, or a shock. Or a sudden hurry. Or looking for a letter.   Or stress. Or dislocation and fear before sleep – the lift-shaft drops and jolts. Each time I am absorbed into a fuss, I am clouded over, darkened, and I die.   When I am on autopilot I am dead. Most of us walk around churning the grey stuff, as the living dead.

(Yet the neighbour greets; and we smile, the sun comes through.)

But when I truly die, I open my eyes and there is no die. No dying, ever.   My awareness is not linear, which is the place where we believe in death and stoppages.   My awareness is circular, concentric, a sphere, it is without end, like a wave of sound: Now.   Now.   Now.   What dies in the spreading of the sound?   The player perhaps.   In conscious dying I am every … where without end.   This is so, even in the moment before my body dies, the moment before the silver thread breaks.

There is nothing but awareness of life, in death.   This is the secret of the Self realised sages and the empty Fullness.   They are not on autopilot, nor do they serve time. They are time and space.  They flower, they are ever dying and opening.

Arcanum 13 death:ScorpioThe skeleton moving through Key 13 scorpios is the common ground of us all – our bones.   Death and sexuality pass through each other, because the fertile seed dies to become a tree.   Death and sexuality are simultaneous, as One.   Most human trouble arises through separating them. But sexual feelings are enhanced by death. Wars increase population: the survival instinct.   What is the survival instinct, beyond propagation?   Life, the fact of life, the shine and shrine of life, the inescapable enigma of life with the equally inescapable death: the circling of day and night, the Sun around our Earth.


fishes and lockgate poem

People are deeply afraid that they won’t exist.   When this is severe, they are sometimes helped by being reminded that their actions rippled through other lives (persons) in small consequential changes – the butterfly wing effect continues.   People are deeply afraid that they DON’T EXIST, and therefore have no meaning.   I am afraid I don’t exist in your eyes; this is fear of death?   The pulse of Life insists on cognition and to create. It only has the cognition.

But in my death, EVERYTHING ELSE IS ALIVE!   So what am I?

Fishes, 1988

Fishes, 1988

The automatic reactive mind (the Tree’s feeling-triad, self-image, think and feel) scampers into past and future mode, because when I am quiet, when I am NOW, it dies, and is no longer important. Human mind-life is a running rabbit.   We are creatures of the mind.   But when we come into our embodied centre of gravity, we die and we are limitless.   I AM.

Ramana and Rabbit

Ramana and Rabbit


Most persons believe the embodied awareness – physical consciousness – is around what we do to our bodies, in terms of consuming, exercise, stress, or sloth.   But that is the mind being identified to a Thing. That unconscious attitude drives our body to the grave, as if it is inert and must be chivvied or controlled like a car.

Whereas the embodied spiritual conscienceMalkuth on the Tree (the root) – awakes, respects, and listens to our living, moving earth-body from head to toe, hears and is the cord of gravity, the DNA connection to the stars and – through heart and belly and bum on seat – to souls.

This conscience is not  bothered by diets, exercise, management or medical propaganda.   Sufficient is supplied by nature.   All I do is dance.   I think the root of disease is : if I subconsciously fear my physical texture as an enemy – but that is just my view.  As consciousness, I embody it, right into my toes and fingers.   At any agreed moment I am the fields, the limitless horizon, the halls of wisdom – but only when I am not locked in a pain-box, a worrybox!   That is when I play dead for a time.   Today I am free.

Line dance 2


Action.   What is action?   What is right action?

Line-dance, January 1988

Line-dance, January 1988

Always there is movement.   A rock, a stone, is an intensity of sub atomic vibration, and it mutates through geological pulse. Rabbit runs or freezes in the road!

Movement is a book of changes, through the empty capacity which is always full.   The movement is the acceptance of tides of pain through the sea which is free and constantly adapts: the waves break onto the beach.   I am physically not other than the beach, the landscape, the hills, the sea, as I breathe in and out.

My mental life is an imagined and consolidated entity … for a while … considering itself immortal, and fearing the opposite.   But I can choose, at any moment, to imagine and be Gaia, the planet.   What separates planet Gaia from her encircling magnetic field, the Sun, the solar system’s electron orbits, the far constellations?

Yet, how often do I stop my merry-go-round and step into the open point?

"Discovery" - painted at school in 1963

“Discovery” – painted at school in 1963


What is right action?   All too often, “right action” is mentally induced, and is disempowered.   Right action waits to be fully informed ; for the wave to form and grow and carry it through. In the Buddha nature, right action surrenders.   Seldom do I have the patience.

But sitting still when something is happening that I love:   this is home. And then it acts.

Self enquiry: who acts?   Who does?  Who dies?

Ramana Maharshi & Arunachala Children

The sage Ramana Maharshi & Arunachala Children

The imagined, personal I is most often in the way.   But if you sing, it gets up and dances, and then it is no longer worried about itself.   You are not a bounded person, but as the universe. You where you come from, are not outlined.



Life – existentially – is the flow unbroken.   When you are not there, it is anger and death for a moment.   Continuity and flow are reciprocal, relying on contact and response.   As things are in the human arrangement, we deal constantly with interruptions and hiatus.   Such are the many towered citadels our beliefs built up.   Rabbit scurries in and out of the towers. Rabbit wanted that, so there it is.   One day, rabbit wants and materialises and eats a different landscape. It is all of the mind.   Human habitations, even centuries long, are ephemeral compared with Reality.

Angel with Rabbit

Everything we see is an end-product or effect.   Believing in that effect as permanent, harnesses us to existential death-and-decay – and fear.   We all have it. It is hard wired into our sense of safety. It is in our blood.

But in our blood also, is the edgeless freedom to be.

Then I am free to be the sharpness of sorrow and the fear of death and the anxiety & panic of life, and the trying to act in the right way … equally as the bliss of being, the purity of loving.

Getting lost into any of those, singly, I suppose, is death as it conventionally appears.

Conscious death is an everlasting dying moment. Conscious death passes into infinity.   At the other side of this way of birth, there seems to be a re-formulation into “Am”; only the locus of memory which clustered and entangled that stream of life, is gone, it is a coat taken off.   I think the “Am” looks and sees what the life-strand was – its principle pattern and detail – without the personal memory which flavoured and “determined” it – i.e. was born, got married, gave birth and died.   The “Am” sees and is the whole floating carpet, not just the one thread.

As I sit still and look, I practice this “Am”, for when I die.

I think this is important. The quality of dying reverberates back into, influences and tinctures the whole of life.   Dying is a daily and profoundly fertile practice.

And the word “UNCONDITIONAL” was mentioned: open sesame.

Where rivers cross – as in a Grand Planetary Cross – there is some turbulence:  then the flow continues.

It develops as a conversation, an open sesame.   Back and forth, and the “sesame” or open-ness between, is the shared discarnate Teacher, the magid – the living field where we connect.

My “death” yesterday morning delivered itself, and I no longer needed to talk about it.   I can’t remember today, what it was.   Swim deep, little fish.   To listen and to wait, is to meet, and to unfold.   You are not limited.

Yin Yang peach

Yin Yang peach



Red Book, Liber Secundus, heading for Chapter 7 - like a Tao symbol

Red Book, Liber Secundus, heading for Chapter 7 – like a Tao symbol

Interlude – More Red Book

Jung went into that flowery wooded landscape and met the Red Devil Rider and the Hermit Ammonius, both aged and totally changed and grey! They looked at him with horror.   He looked down at himself and saw he is covered with green leaves. He has become the Green Man.   They called him, “Damned pagan riffraff!”

Sacred India Tarot Buddha Knight of Disks:  the Green Man

Sacred India Tarot Buddha Knight of Disks: the Green Man

What a terror early Christianity had, as a jewel – terror of its old gold setting.   The jewel was frightened of the ring.

It insisted on its own tale of death and resurrection, and would blot out every other version if it could.  The decaying and superstitious pair of old glamours blame Jung for his ancient curiousity, for leading them astray.   Ammonius Sacca told him, “Your remark that I probably needed the closeness of men to arrive at the higher mysteries stunned me like infernal poison.   Soon thereafter I called the brothers of the valley together and announced to them that a messenger of God had appeared to me – so terribly had you blinded me – and commanded me to form a monastery with the brothers.”

And so it became organised – a religion.   The holy brothers built their monastery where they could see the ships passing by, and they got intoxicated and muddled with the world.

It is very funny. Ammonius persuaded himself to go to Alexandria to see his bishop, but once there he got pulled into life and got on a boat to Italy, drank wine, wallowed in pleasure and turned into an animal.   When he got to Naples, there on the shore stood the Red Devil – alack, alack, the evil one.

The Red Devil said “Be silent, old fool. If I had not been present you would have become an outright pig. When you saw me, you finally pulled yourself together, cursed the drinking and the women, and returned to the monastery.   Now hear my story, damned hobgoblin …”

I guess from this point, religion and all its prejudices and scapegoats got Organised.

The Red Devil’s story was that Jung introduced him to dancing. So he joined a monastery, fasted, prayed and converted himself.

“In my blindness I wanted to reform the Church liturgy, and with the bishop’s approval I introduced dancing. I became Abbot and as such, alone had the sole right to dance before the altar, like David before the Arc of the Covenant. But little by little the brothers also began to dance; indeed, even the congregation of the faithful and finally the whole city danced.

“It was terrible. I fled into solitude and danced all day until I dropped, but in the morning the hellish dance began again.”



Young Fool with Phoenix - detail

Now I remember more.   The phoenix, the ashes, and death.   The ashes are sorrow and loss. The renewal takes wing and sings and survives as Life through Death.   Without Death there is no Life.

phoenix copy from master r

Re Death: see the Katha Upanishad, Juan Mascaro’s translation – the dialogue between Yama and young Nachiketas.   And their picture in the Sacred India Tarot.

Meanings convert fluidly into new versions.   To get stuck in one version is to die, and to deny the river.   When I am stuck in a version, I try to convert others to it – like old religions did.   Some of the early Xians were consumed in their Mystery and its meaning.   Their brief was to change the world. During the middle ages, that belief gained power, wealth, palaces and prisoners.   It stamped furiously on all heresies and Gnostics.

But Yeshua was Gnostic.  He knew.

Loaves and Fishes - Rabbi Yeshua breaks bread with lepers and untouchables

Loaves and Fishes – Rabbi Yeshua breaks bread with lepers and untouchables





Pelican & Phoenix, Alexander Roob

Pelican & Phoenix, Alexander Roob

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/

10 thoughts on “On Death and the Fire-Bird of Peace

  1. As a Scorpio with a Phoenix tattooed on his wrist I found much to resonate with in this post. Plus, the Art is simply beautiful and deftly illustrates your concepts. Thank you, Jane, for this illumination on death and sex and life, and much more.

  2. Such a lovely and insightful meditation on death Jane! …and your illustrations are beautiful.

    Death is the background, or the ground of life, yes? How wonderful to walk with death daily, our forever companion that sharpens our awareness into love and presence.

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

  3. Hi Jane, Love your site! Looking for a contact point for you – was drawn to your site when looking for an image of a mobius strip I would like to use in my poetry book which will be published this fall. Poetry is commercial, but also non-commercial? Wondering how you view this request. Yours, Katy Bohinc

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