Here is another Liverpool sketchpad from 1969. I was at art school there, for a year. You can use the Search button on this blog, to find my other Liverpool sketches – I use my blog to archive them !
I shall companion this post with my next one – Jung’s account (in Memories, Dreams, Reflections) of his vision in Liverpool. He called Liverpool the pool of life; the dark city flowed around the glowing centre of a mandala. It led him to the Way of the Golden Flower. He had just finished painting a mandala which he called the Golden Castle – through its portal, he entered the I Ching.
Some of the drawings in this post are of London, where my Italian sweetheart lived. I hitch hiked south at weekends, to be with him.
In those days, I met and talked with strangers a great deal. There was something to learn from everyone; I was a captive audience.
This sequence is more visionary:
I just found this passage in my journal, early spring in 1969. My meeting with John left an indelible impression in my pool of life, and a sketch:
“It is all a bit like practicing Bach – the complexity of fugal themes and analysis of fingers, with which one has to think hard and precisely; and the sudden resolution, the fitting into place of a phrase like a jigsaw piece in harmony – before it flies apart and you have to work some more. The sudden realisation comes out of the bed of a sea of data, facts and study. Intuition must have form to pass through as expression, otherwise it is dumb – unresolved spasmodic movements in the dark. Intuition must be completed through a receiving set of Reality, to come to the light – as music, as painting, as love.
“I’m spending Saturday afternoon at John’s, practicing.”
“Here is John playing the organ. He lectures also at the art college. He is from Trinidad. He is an aggressive person, tremendously active intellectually – immersed in philosophy and music. He pushes his argument to the bitter end, just for the hell of it, and says he doesn’t have many friends, he prefers to live off his own means. He “travels” in his room. I am fascinated by his personality. He has no time for refinement: it might weaken him.
“He admires intensely the ancient Greeks, whom he emulates in his direct, self sufficient state of enquiry. He likes to be with people who spark off debate which he carries to the end of the road and beyond. More an organist than a pianist, he makes music with all of himself – ‘Here I am!’ – he thrusts. Fred who visited, heard me playing, and said it was interesting to hear a woman on the piano. ‘Makes a change from your brute force, John!’
“The pair of them went out shopping in the freezing snow and ice, so I had some time to myself. I try to be a still, small rock of truth somewhere in myself, over which the waves wash their colours. My contacts with people are intense; at the same time I can live from my own means … I don’t want to copy their styles, I don’t want to crash through a Brahms sonata I grew up with, for I knew its exquisite pain when Aunty Lonie and my father played it together – the same exquisite pain is in sex – I hope one day to climb the mountain.
“John and I like discussions which fly from pole to pole, and find each other interesting as opposites; but I am too bendy so he gets bored. He is a hard man; he allows human frailty no room; I live with it because I have no choice. We both stick to our guns. In the evening after we had tea, two people came with their little two year old daughter who said “A garden on the wall!” when she saw the wood-carving hung there. She is at the age of fascination. Her dad is an architect with a gentle face, a “street acquaintance”. Because I was feeling defenceless and raw, events and people took on a magnified intensity, harsh and new. I knew suddenly, a powerful music of life. John put scraps of Messiaen on the record-player…
“Later in the evening, John said ‘Would you like to come and play the organ in the Swedish church?’ The place we drove to, down dim frosty streets, was in an unfamiliar part of Liverpool, nearby. Suddenly we found ourselves in a warm room with Swedish lamps. It was a Swedish mariners’ club, and rather elegant. The TV was hidden; a few men with jutting Nordic faces and bristly hair sat on settees and drank black coffee. There was a girl there, a trainee occupational therapist. She was working in a mental hospital and found the experience depressng.
“I’d like to speak their steely language, and to see the midnight sun. John is like them. He and I went upstairs to the circular vaulted church, hard and white, where the organ was. He is black but his mind is blown from the North. Sitting on the altar step I listened and watched his feet fly around on the pedals, his silhouette dark against the keyboard lamp. The music of Bach and Cesar Franck lifted my thoughts in great celestial waves; I felt so HIGH.
“When I had a go, I tried to synchronise both hands and feet in the architecture which is organic harmony. The place had a strange atmosphere, like a German expressionist film. I felt ‘resurrected’ and on the pulse of great mysteries.
From journal, early spring 1969
That picture of an angel in society, feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable – I dreamed it, the way it spoke, and the tender buds behind the shoulder blades.
These sketches are mostly of London, and contain an awakening.
The figure in the smoke above Battersea Power Station is a “Wicked Prince” searching for a Ruby. Whenever he rolls the plain grey rocks and stones around in his search, there is thunder. When I was a child, my grandfather Jim Ede told us tales of The Wicked Prince year by year. The saga ended at this point when I was about twelve; Jim shut his mouth – though we begged him to go on – and wouldn’t tell us any more.
The Wicked Prince is still on his adventurous quest. He is locked up in the sky. He seeks the Ruby – alchemical tincture of the Stone: a rare wine that grew in the water: a wine that grows in the rain.
Battersea Power Station was in those days still functioning, and a truly marvellous building – created by the architect of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. It lifted my soul.
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 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/