This vivid dream, in 1976, revealed an interior contact, as it deftly stripped away the veils. It is the source of my symbolism with the well, the wood and the root; insights which I find also in the I Ching. “He” gave me later in the narrative, a teaching on the cosmic Law of Sacrifice, which I woke up with, and never forgot.
The Wisdom of the Fool by a Well (1988)
Dreams No.140, 14 July 1975
I’m speaking with someone called Enoch. At a round table we sit, initially with some other counsellors. At other times a car drives around the area under discussion, these wild orchards.
The name Enoch carries an emphasis from Biblical hinterland. It is perhaps a collective name for elements of humanity, which conquered death. But this man is called Enoch Powell – the politician who has strong views on immigration.
When people or birds – and cats! – seek entry into a patch of land which is already occupied by others, they are immigrants. To emigrate is to depart these shores, but as an immigrant you are an invasion to me, until we agree. Indeed, England’s island history is tempered by issues of invasion and conquest. Then this discussion around a table, with a view to a patch of land, is about space – the interior space, the balance of fluidic densities between neighbouring cells. “What do we accommodate?” “Are we idealists? Shouldn’t we be more honest with our limitation?”
For a moment now, I see on the curling mossy boughs of the old orchard trees, heavy fruit rosy and golden, the way it pulps down into deep dewy grass as the summer cools.
The political stance on immigration lies at the heart of Enoch’s private nature. It is where he is vulnerable. It makes me feel important to be seen with this eminent and public figure. Enoch is a powerful man with sharp pale eyes and pencil line moustache. His physiognomy is gaunt and open, his wide jaw reminds me of a vigilant mastiff or lion. His manner of speech, impassioned, informed and forceful, is difficult to ignore.
Is he wearing cosmetics? – yes he is! I kept looking, to make sure. He has black eye-liner traced under his eyes like a sign of his feminine nature. Yes, for he protests about history and about national rape. The black eyeliner, a feminine contrivance for emphasis, is a chink of doubt in his intellectual armour. I think I see his Achilles heel, his secret fear of losing substance or integrity. We are being driven around the outskirts of Buckingham Palace grounds, and the topic under sustained discussion is: “What shall we do with this green-space?”
“I don’t agree with you there one bit.” That’s the lively Liberal dark haired lady from ‘Islington Cares’. “People should go where they like. We all can go wherever we like, and feel the need. Young people from the inner-city should play in these wonderful grounds, our national heritage. It’s criminal to hide them away from the under-privileged. Would you deprive our youth for the sake of privilege? Who needs the space to grow – the Royals or the people?”
“Madam,” replied Enoch “we were discussing private property. Would you like your house to be broken into and occupied by squatters?”
“That’s not the point! Buck House isn’t private, it belongs to the nation. What hypocrisy forces the tax payer to support a public institution – our sovereign Family as you put it – and have no access to the – the sanctuary this family enjoys, on the grounds of – privacy?”
“We cannot afford to indulge in politics,” said Enoch. “I’m not concerned with liberal philosophy but with human values – the real values, if you hear what I say. With reality, madam! – our bastion of integrity. The monarchy represents to ourselves this value, and therefore the need for its own terrain. Apart from that, think of the pressure of public life upon these people. Think of the personal sacrifice they make of their private lives to the postage stamp, to the symbol of moral stability in this country, look at it, I beg you! Doesn’t it cry out to you for the human right – to a place of refreshment?
“You are not in the real world, madam. Do you advocate rape – of our national heritage, the remaining legacy of poets and sailors? Will you allow burglars and opportunists to despoil and pollute this place? Have you no heart?”
“My dear Enoch, you must move with the times, we are not discussing nasty criminals but young people – the birth rate. Have you no heart for the nation’s young, its children, and the problems of the inner cities? This is the young orchard. And it has no room to grow!”
“Madam, our cities are overcrowded through our poor judgment of the ratio of population density to available land area. That is why I spoke out against opening our doors to the incoming tide of our Imperial guilt. Did we treat our immigrants well? Have we accomodated them humanely? Look within and ask yourself. Did they come off the Windrush to a warm welcome, or to a bigoted colour bar? Did we keep Hitler out, to let ourselves be conquered by hypocrites’ oath to a swollen Commonwealth? The sins of our fathers indeed come back to find us. But I beg you again, let us protect the soul of our country from further rotting. The wilderness which lies within the heart …”
“Oh,” said the romantic dark-haired lady “yes, in olden days everybody had some wilderness to wander, and even some mystical feudal superstition to keep them busy, but today it’s the young, those young people from all the big cities whom you would deprive of the right to leave the streets and take solace in Nature. Who else has the right to see the laden fruit in those orchards, to walk along the shady paths? But Enoch, your party and policy is no longer in power. Times have changed. An act will be passed …”
Enoch’s face is dark with grief. “If you do that,” he says “there will be nowhere for anyone to go to. There’ll be no place of such nature left.”
Queen with child, 1956
The grounds of the palace, are enclosed by high and weathered walls. Within this boundary extends a sylvan oasis of landscaped gardens, and un-mown meadows. Through the woodlands, birds call – a place of rest and mystery in the heart of the city. The rougher and more untamed regions are the area under discussion; here are gathered, in a shaggy garland of luxuriant wild orchards opening one into another, many old trees that slant hither and thither in haphazard rows. They bear apples, pears, cherries and plums, self-pruning. Around their knotty trunks grows a profusion of deep sorrel, buttercup, pink campion, royal blue scabious and thorny briar rose; and foxes trace a magical maze. Here the butterfly flourishes. It is a fragrant and secret garden. It hums with near and distant song and silence.
This is the soul which Enoch feels belongs to us all, and should therefore be kept inviolate, and which the liberal dark haired lady feels, for the same reason, should be open to the public.
At first I thought she was right. Enoch’s immigration policy was never popular. People should come and go, nibble the fruit in these orchards, sit and dream or have sex in the natural arbours, sniff the thorny roses and spot Royals. Anyone should be able to go there, to go where they like.
Enoch’s personal distress became real to me. The domain where time stands still is the real world within each one of us, which is not easy to access. Here we grow and breathe among the tangled web of our fruit, our convoluted petalled fragrance of the wild rose; and only those should enter who are invited. For it flowers and opens, from a dark and winding stem of thorns. The pathway among radiant trees and flowers is a briary labyrinth in which the foolish or unwary, or mere litter-spilling sight seers, get lost, stolen or strayed.
Should we crowd that end of the enclosure? It is the private part. The liberal plan parades a crude ideology.
Enoch noticed that I’m turning from the eloquent dark haired woman to him to listen. My ambivalent point of view seems to interest him, but there is nothing I can yet say. She crowds me out. She talks all the time, there is much, much that I feel and would like to say, the pressure from my heart like unripe fruit on the bough, I feel for him, I want to tell him this but not to gush or take sides, and I don’t know how. So I am silent.
As I understand it, Enoch would suffer in himself so acute an unhappiness if the Act were passed in the palace grounds, particularly the sacred area of orchard growth, that as in Blake’s “Elegy”: – “O Rose, thou art sick; the invisible worm that flies in the night in the howling storm, has found out thy bed of crimson joy: and his dark secret love does thy life destroy!” – he too would sicken and die.
It is to do with guardng the fertile and sacred wood. Wood and water work together into the fourth dimension as an osmotic cycle. The welling growth from under the ground to the warm rays of the sun, along a series of neighbouring fluidic densities, is a series also of changing texture in time – through the tender pliability of young stems to the great oak, and what the old tree returns to earth from the sky. This is the “now” in a river’s movement of many centuries.
In matriarchal land husbandry, the kings must die, and their seed as generations rise and fall; but the wood is the terrain of life, the concentric rings of time, the uplift and downfall of the waters. In the wood is drawn the Akashic record for all seasons. This is one of the closely guarded mysteries. A druid, to her nature true, may approach the power and knowledge which lies hidden in the tree, wisely, and with love.
Then Enoch is a guardian. Only those may walk in nature’s temple who earned or inherited, by their effort, the right. The wood and the water are a well – the deep sunk root to the high, flowering branch. Wood and water well an oasis in the mental life. Our rulers are an elected sense of purpose, but also a private source of refreshment. How hungry we are for the gutter press, their domestic difficulties. And when so much is cut down, so much is given out, how essential is retreat, for them: and for ourselves.
mary queen of scots exiled from france, on a ship – 1957
Enoch may be Powell, the unpopular and forceful politician who cares more for principles than for votes, but who and what else is he? He asserts an individuated view. He is a rugged individual. He is any individual in any time or climate of everyman who, when over-run with the mere ideas of others, dies. The politician is a mask of convenience for a messenger.
The Person behind the mask is universal. “I am.” How much of this commodity is sacrificed to the mask? for the sake of being “available”?
goddess with swan – 1956, copy from Leonardo
Our dialogue has now become intimate.
“I have myself studied sacrifice,” he told me. “I made, over long periods of time, very many years, a special depth study of all shapes and forms of sacrifice. When my interest was anthropological, I was drawn to consider first the primitive form, the votive offering of animal vigour from within the tribe to heaven, to protect the tribe. The more valuable the victim from the physical world, the more it focused the source of protection and strength. Adonai takes the first of the fruit and gives back Himself. This is psychology.
“You can see then a rate of exchange, a currency. It is the equilibrating of fluidic density from one plant cell or dimension of our universe, to another. See what comes back in faith. You can see the human victims on Mayan pyramids, the sheep and goats of the Hebrews, the bulls of the ancient Greeks, and the bodies of early Christian martyrs. Now, how would you yourself define sacrifice?”
“I think,” I said rather stiffly after a while, straining to hold his attention to my empathy and not wake up in my bed – “that it is the gift. I think the sacrifice transfers my attachment to earthly opinion. It goes to a higher and more subtle sense of gravity.”
“Then,” he said “you are the chosen container of your sacrifice. To sacrifice is to give faith to the laws of renewal within you. It is the offering to the Universal, what I, or you, have earned, and the willingness to change station in consciousness. Each living heart contains a mystery, which should be guarded – the ability or willingness to do just that. This element alone is taken alive to heaven.
“In the law of reincarnation, the Tree grows up to heaven and descends as fruit, as seed. Each leaf put forth from the stem, the woody capillary, is unique. The seasons are the fountain’s rise and fall: the tidal breath of Adonai.
“In some forms of sacrifice, a pleasing fragrance is burned from the entrails of animal power and pride, to favour the ruling forces of Nature and persuade their alignment to a human cause. In the Iliad the gods themselves sat down to feast with the heroes. But in other forms of sacrifice a Man falls from heaven to earth like an apple to enrich the ground plan. This, like golden leaf-fall, or treasure from the tree of life, is the Messiah. He ‘falls’ into the autumn of each year or cycle of human history, to teach it.
sleep – 1987
“And,” he went on, “sacrifice is the slow and welling growth of new wood from the old. Sacrifice metamorphs the butterfly from chrysalis, the snake of wisdom from many essential skins of ignorance. Sacrifice is metanoia – the turning – of self’s wisdom from the personality’s temporary possession.
“This is difficult for you to understand and for me to tell. It is not ordained by a limited mind like ours. We touch on matters, which the transcendent plane inverts. To sacrifice, or give away what we have, is to receive it, is to be the receiver. To die is to be born. To live in light, I cast away concentric rings of the darkness which defines me.
“I have studied these things so deeply, over so great an epoch of time, have given so much of my attention to this independent science, one body after another, that if I chose, they could make me a Doctor and put me out to grass. That would be a solution to the political problem, wouldn’t it? But in fact, so much have I suffered for the royal art, so much outgrown, sometimes prematurely given away, or died to, that I came to cherish a little too fiercely the remnant I have left. This is the hardest part of all. I should have hung onto the old witch-doctor, to salve these old scars on my stem of life; my devotions and denials.
“Do you understand? That place where the fruit trees are – is one that I WON’T give up. It is my childhood. It is sacred to me.”
A fairy godmother, 1957
Enoch Powell is still wearing cosmetic eye-liner with a curious consistency. Perhaps this is so as to underline his point of view.
“It is very good,” he says in his former voice “and very necessary to study an independent science. But do not let the philanthropic philosophy philander you.”
His skin is brown and tanned by the sun in the gap between his trousers and jersey, his hair is black, he emits to me a masculine vibrancy and seems to be turning into someone else.
Enoch is the collective name of an ancient gesture: “he who walked with the Lord and he was not: for the Lord took him.” His thoughts on sacrifice are like looking into a well. Everything is upside down. I look down into the well and see, around my reflected shadow limned in light in the quiver of still water, the sky above. What is above is in the depths of the earth.
The Hanged Man in the twelfth Tarot Arcanum hangs by the left foot smiling, from a wooden crosspiece over the well. Why?
Who is in the well? We look up into each other. You returned to earth head first, to give it fruit, to be born to die. I can see my earth-brown shadow, deep in the well of life, but not the features, against the light.
With hindsight, I find the political awareness in this story interesting, pre-dating the decades of Margaret Thatcher’s market-forces policy, the Wales marriage, Prince Charles’s global network with the ecological and humanitarian emergency, the social turmoil, consumerist inflation and collapse.
Dancing goddess, on the Heath Extension
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. 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/