Human Landscape – Sketches of Beethoven

 

Beethoven at Zum Roten Igel

Beethoven at Zum Roten Igel

Last week, I got very excited about this link:

https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/beethoven-guest-blogger/

Here, Elene explores a musician friend’s contact with Beethoven, comparing it to her own subtle relation with him and with Chopin.

It inspired me to dig out my old sketches of Ludwig Beethoven, and to see what happens: to try perhaps a new one.   I am reminded of a dream I had in 2011, of my hands like a child, and Beethoven touching them and looking onward … or mine resting on his:

My dream with Beethoven, 29 May 2011. He had Pluto and Venus in Capricorn - a musician's Hades-Persephone marriage.  Pluto is again in Capricorn - 2008-2024 - completing a cycle since Beethoven's day.    Pluto is the depth dredger in human affairs, but also represents - particularly in Capricorn - a depth and enduringness of human values, such as those which Beethoven  sang and wrote - as fresh these days, as ever.

My dream with Beethoven, 29 May 2011. He had Pluto and Venus in Capricorn – a musician’s Hades-Persephone marriage. Pluto is again in Capricorn – 2008-2024 – completing a cycle since Beethoven’s day. Pluto is the depth dredger in human affairs, but also represents – particularly in Capricorn – a depth and enduringness of human values, such as those which Beethoven heard, sang as he walked, and wrote. These values seemingly hidden by today’s turbulence, are perenially fresh for those who touch and find.

The Pluto Venus Capricorn glyph in this drawing speaks to me of the master’s depth and tenderness.

Journal 29 May 2011
“I dreamed – An eager young man, with some arrangement with Beethoven, built an Ascension vehicle which lifted us high to behold his vision and his project, for which he was gathering souls like mine, for faith and ballast.  The landscape was stupendously beautiful – a great smooth sunset sea surrounded by distant mountains, their crazy, graceful outlines rimmed with supernal light.  It was heart-catching: awe.  The sea – the LENS – was like a very large bay or inlet, because ‘inland’ or harbour seemed to be to the right, below.  It is my perennial vision of the human coastline and hinterland.  Have faith!

“The man spoke of it all, and somewhere I touched the back of Beethoven’s hand.  The vision was – as in the Eroica – of Beethoven’s divine pride and purpose.  Beethoven was immediately to hand, the writing all joined up.  It was time to go with the man and put it all into action …  the young man’s voice had an Australian twang … …

“… I listened to Beethoven’s Adieux, Therese, the Goblins and the Fourth piano concerto, all played by Arrau … Artists and musicians are forgiven much.  Grumpy old Beethoven – chunks of humanity off the old block – are put there for us to listen to their musical integrity, not to be wise or polite.

“I draw very slowly the line – and it was really hard to get a Beethoven likeness – eventually found photo of his sculpted head, taken from the life mask.  I think this is the one he didn’t like, as the weight of the plaster dragged down his face – so we ALL think he went around with mouth down turned at the corners, and maybe he didn’t.  He is said to have pursed his lips when concentrating, and certainly he stuck the lower one out.  His chin was cleft like a great shell.  His nose was ‘three cornered, like a lion’, his eyes rather small and exceptionally alive – changing colour, dark greenish hazel perhaps.  He tended to roll them upwards.  He was swarthy, pock marked, with leonine black hair ‘like a Spaniard’, and much hair over his body and hands.  He dressed elegantly when he was young.  When a fine lady complemented the nobility of his brow, he said ‘Salute it then, Madam’ and offered it to kiss.”

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Here is one of my efforts to sketch him yesterday – the young Beethoven, from the Hornemann portrait 1802:  before his deafness and at the height of his performing powers.

Young Beethoven, after Hornemann

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This drawing was done perhaps in the 1970s:  the older man bends close to the keys in his struggle to hear.

Beethoven plays

Beethoven plays

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The above portrait was inspired by this painting by an unknown artist – my father has the sepia photo.  I always assumed it was Ludwig Beethoven playing the violin, but if you look closely, you can see his life mask hanging on the wall … like a secret mirror.

beethoven violin

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When I was a child we lived in a farmhouse with a large attic.  Exploring up there, I found this cobwebbed photo of a painting by Franz Stvk.  I have it still.

Beethoven by Franz Stvk

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When I was young, I played a lot of Beethoven on the piano, and identified – often painfully – with his darkness.  In the 1980s I teamed with a violinist, Fred Barschak, and together we climbed the mountains of the Spring, Kreuzer and Seventh Violin Sonatas.

Beginning to play the Spring Sonata

 

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Here are my earlier sketches of Beethoven, and their sources:

beethoven on a walk

beethoven on a walk

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Beethoven at work

Beethoven at work

This portrait was inspired by Batt’s drawing (below) in the Oxford Companion to Music.

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Gallery: Beethoven by Batt, Klein, Stvk and von Kloeber

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Beethoen in later life

Beethoen in later life

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More early studies – I made his forehead much higher than it really was.  Beethoven’s brow had a noble, rounded breadth.

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Beethoven after the painting by F.Schimon

Beethoven after the painting by F.Schimon

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These two pages are from a journal in 1969, quoting Schindler’s visit to the master when he was composing the Missa Solemnis Credo.

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And … within the cosmos of the late Quartets –

Beethoven in last quartets mode

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Glancing at Elene’s other posts touching on Beethoven, here is a teaching of his to a pianist-composer friend – he sat in the car and said to Elene’s friend, “How do you get the perfect cut of meat? – you trim away all the fat.”   While reading the earlier post, ‘More on Lou van B’, these words came to me:  “before sitting down to play Beethoven, open and fill your heart with love.”

It is a struggle for me to find him sometimes – like climbing over fences.  Perhaps it is the spiritual battle of the “heroic” with love;  the personal ego with the truth;  the ‘I-can-and-I-will’ with ‘listen’ … inheriting Beethoven’s philosophical dilemma in the Quartet opus 135 – must it be? It must be.

piano action

piano action

I am at present “exercising” Emily’s baby grandpiano in Southgate. It has a beautiful faded case;  her father used to play popular classics on it, but he died nearly 30 years ago, and no one  touched it since.  The poor thing had sagged to honky tonk with three stuck notes, and yet I found a good, light action.  I persuaded them to have it tuned.  The sleeping beauty is in shock!  – and now between tunings to stabilise – all her strings woke up and stretched and some of them already slipped.   I put a vase of water underneath and a small dish of water inside, to counteract the heating in the house.

Yet her voice came out, singing and mellow, in the quieter places, quite sensual.  It was wonderful to play and hear it in the restful, faded drawing-room which opens onto the long wisteria garden.  I enjoyed a strange sense of flow and freedom of tone across the ‘vertical’ hammer system, in terms of touch and tenderness:  Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and other slow movements spoke with love, and so did Bach preludes.  Some of the bass notes growl. My fingers were – magically – not in the way.  I thought of the Liszt method in Paul Roes’ book Music – the Mystery and the Reality.   Magic happens in an individual variety of tone – part of the charm which older pianos have – which challenges me to find and adapt to its way of singing.  The new or electronic instruments don’t have that playful intimacy.

Instrument.  This is actually my father's Petrof piano, as I have not yet photographed Emily's.

Instrument. This is actually my father’s Petrof piano, as I have not yet photographed Emily’s.

Interestingly, in Elene’s post on conversations with Beethoven, he says new agey views of higher plane diaphanous white robes are nonsense – we wear what we wore in history and sometimes dress up in contemporary style for fun – like he did in a 1940s brown suit.  “He still loves rain, baths, showers and the woods.  His house is in the woods.”  Because generation after generation discover and interpret his music, his commitment to humanity is timeless, covering a very wide landscape, and continually refreshed … “A German word in the ear, meaning energy flowing:  projection:  Vorsprung – projects like rock.

Have we a Beethoven forum?  Visit also https://edwardianpiano.wordpress.com/my-poetry/ for some evocative verse, haiku and pictures of Beethoven I never saw before.  This fascinating site turned up last week in synchrony with Elene’s Beethoven, Guest Blogger;  I had to jump in.

TO BE CONTINUED – my new attempts to draw Beethoven, and some more impressions.

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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 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 2012-2015. 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/

A Poem of Eclipse – the Homeopath

800px-Meadow_saxifrage_flower

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Drag.  Pierce lightly.
Left hand is my power unskilled
at life, the in-tuition.

The opening for a second
is in this broken moment,
unforgettable.

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hand over to higher power

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You said to the imp in a bubbling girl, “You will
be pierced as deep as you now laugh” –
her eyes then filled.

Lightly brushing palm,
did your touch
in mine create havoc?

Here, to the homeopath
we are One.

Pierced water of life burst from the rock;
I start to see:  so now keep quiet –
I place in your right hand my left – a saxifrage.

Starry saxifrage flower growing wild and wet,
cracks rocks.
Helpless fingers curl half closed;
be it so.

You are my brother.
I your little sister.

The cosmos is in fact delicate and gentle
standing still in children
and in gardens and innocence.

From Poems of Eclipse, 1999

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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 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/

The Woman by the Sea

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And who is Lilith’s sister, Eve?

This post belongs with the one two days ago – The Solstice of Each Day – and with my current journey with Jung – see also Mandala, Abraxas and Angel.

A Master’s eye is “through the looking glass” the wonderland of a small child.

young nymph

young nymph 1957

One day (this was last year) when archiving my early art, I closed my eyes and up came (this is rare !) picture after picture – as if an inner chamber were unlocked.  It was extraordinary, because my visual free-rein faculty is not nowadays very good.

I saw a full-page drawing – many –  of  a magnificent woman looking at the blue sea and sky, from a scribbled green cliff-top field.  She wore a big Grecian dress;  her profile in strong crayon was clear, firm and free:  a priestess, a queen.   Her long black hair blew in the wind.  The colours were blue, green and red:  the style was my very own, at the age of seven;  I feel the way I hold the pencil, it is achingly familiar.    It comes from my inner nest, which in the child, is not yet grown – or the other way round, perhaps?

I have NOT done this drawing, yet here it is, complete, finished and unforgettable, unique and instantaneous, and as swiftly fades beyond my capture.    And then come others, under it, one after the other.

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Gallery 1956/7

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Where does this faculty come from, and how?     Who drew this?   The gods operate gaily in a dimension outside time.  In time, through time’s sentence, I labour and produce.

Other pageants welled up through the opening in my mind – romances and a black ghost horse leading my white one up a winding hill path – and things too fast for me to draw, which teem and fade as soon as they become thoughts – the movement of the river.

The force is a primordial treasury.   It is transpersonal, and like a downpour, it finds its way through my life in intimately personal ways.   It compels my recognition and to co-create.

child give birth, 2003

child give birth, 2003

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So I had to get out the old suitcase again, and search among my Cornish sea-cliff drawings of small girls picking flowers, which had this feeling.  It was an ecstasy to be by the sea in the warm sun, and to wear a summer dress, to be six, and to learn to skip rope.

Kitty by the sea near Penzance - you can see St Michaels Mount in the distance - 1955, after starting school

Kitty by the sea near Penzance – you can see St Michaels Mount in the distance – 1955, after starting school

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“To make gold, you must have it” …  in Alchemy, an informed spiritual nourishment translates the essence of the food we eat, into human mutation – the liberated Imaginative base.   I got a whiff of this when I saw my queen by the sea.  Her power is fluid in my consciousness.   Not one of my Cornish pictures is herself in full:  yet many tease me with a profile or an aspect of her.

madonna botticelli 1956.

botticelli madonna 1956

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Suddenly, the Greater Mystery of the Madonna and Child opens to me again;  Queen Virgo is frescoed around my soul.  Virgo rising at my birth, containing Saturn (Binah or Understanding) forms and earths a Seal of Solomon aspect-pattern – custodian of the miracle.   Applying Kabbalah to basic astrology transfigures it to truth.   My everyday concerns are boots and mantle of lead, but the inner Order is illumined, and moves between the stars.   The more my personality bends to this fact, the more she reconditions to the lens.   It shines like a lighthouse at sea.   The real memory breaks through the ground.

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I shall draw her if I can:  but the reconstructive memory is not enough.   It needs the connection of the electricity – like a lightning bolt –  to do itself.  This is for sure:  I don’t do it – it does.  I am a midwife,  I help it along.

In this project, I hear small girls everywhere, playing with their dolls;  the elaborate stories and passions, the self absorbed, dramatic drone.   Children draw freely until they try to be like other people.   Solomon’s gazelle looks through the lattice.

2 May, 2012, London

The woman by the sea …   A few days later, I found her.   There she is, among Angels and Queens, second from the right.

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And this afternoon I thought I might just try to find her again –  so here is: my Xmas Eve …

woman by the sea xmas Eve

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wishing you peace and joy for Xmas
and blessings for 2014

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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 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 2012-2013. 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/

Tales of the Watershed – Mrs Mop in the Tower of Babble-On

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Liverpool 8 - Kids & Cathedral 1968

Liverpool 8 – Kids & Cathedral 1968.  THIS POST IS ILLUSTRATED WITH SOME of my photos and notebook sketches when I was at art college there.

This Watershed Tale is dream work.  I used my subconscious free association to explore a type of resonance from childhood which any of us might have;  to furnish in our private way.   My implicit story here, might be a springboard for your own Mystery tale.  Exploring, touching the membrane, released a profound pre-verbal knowledge:  connection to source.   It is a form of Self enquiry.   Self enquiry breaches the dam.   Self enquiry becomes gnosis.

The first part of this tale records my dream in 1976, which is archetypal – about Liverpool.  But from the point where the two sisters gaze down “through a chink” upon the echoing hymn of the Cathedral’s charladies (also in my dream), I refer back to my journal in 1966, which records the hospital in Somerset where I worked, the Xmas show, and Mrs Woman, in precise detail.  From this factual basis, the dream takes charge again, with the seedpod in my finger, and returns to the two sisters, and to a metaphysical breakthrough and meditation.   The finale – the rising waters of Babylon – completed the dream itself.

Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, during my year at art school next door in Hope Street, was my muse, my vessel of feeling and of God – I was agnostic and 18.   It is a vast and spunky building.  Liverpool is a pool of life.   Jung visited Liverpool in his Memories, Dreams, Reflections  …

In the 1960s, large swathes of Liverpool 8 were not yet reclaimed from bomb damage.   Those flowers in my dream, grew up in the bomb site, with the castaway graves.

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Liverpool 8 - Cathedral & Hope Street 1968

Liverpool 8 – Cathedral & Hope Street 1968

Dreams No 237   17 March 1976

MANY OF the houses and squares of Liverpool Eight have gone.

Those great spaces where bombs fell, where the rubble of people’s lives has been cleared away, are now fresh planted gardens of flowers in which yew and other dark trees grow.   From the open trench of its own excavation site soars skyward a weathered half century of pinkish stone; the Anglican Cathedral.   This grave never got filled in.   The Cathedral stands in its own workshop.   It isn’t even yet finished.

I remember the rotting gravestones of those who built with their battles of faith this tower.   They were slabs piled up, they were torn out of the ground and thrown into the mouldering dark bushes with the discarded bottles of the drunk, like dead playing cards.   The medieval King, Queen, Knight and Knave for a rosy crusade have no place in the modern world.   Uprooted on the undergrowth lie their epitaphs.  Heavy lies their argot in the discolouring rains of the centuries, forgotten is the “art gothique” – replaced by the indomitable resonance of this tower – forgotten like the bombed out slums of this city, whose sweat and vitals flowed on the Irish tongue, whose sailors of old came in from the sea and spread a dusky lichen of Lascar fever on the ground.   Silenced are the voices in the tomb, silenced the fighting,  the drinking and the masonry, the beds which sagged under whole families, the cats which ran around chimney-pots  –  silenced,  to the rainbow arc of a new Babel.

Nobody wants the old graves, or the obsolescence of their tears.   They’ve been swept out, like the old slums.   The human graveyard is now a public garden where people may sit, walk and push their babies.   And God gathers all the nameless masons of the graves, He gathers together the scuffed and blurred chisel of their writing in the open stone quarry, and points that finger, bluntly, back to the sky.   Perhaps God is the maker of rain, of a new lichen of flowers upon soil of fertile carnage.

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 I took my sister to see the flowers.   We scrambled down a bank into the far corner of the trench to approach the base of the Cathedral tower, and look up it.   The trench is now a garden.   The deep warm spring colours of crocus points, and of daffodils, bluebells and snowdrops, with ragged robin, are the carpet that we tread.   I am clumsy – so frightened of crushing them.   They pulse up everywhere in the grass underfoot.   She’s the nimble one, not I;   I trod most gingerly, and cried,  I slipped everywhere in the riot, too sensitive, of colour, the heavy glow of petals in the long grass.   Among all souls, the Cathedral, one giant phallic column, sits upon the navel of the church.   Red-brown brick and stone, it soars roseate to all of the weathers, an anachronistic apostle for this pool of life, this century to inherit.   They are still excavating it from the earth;  a part of it here is grey like a great rock being carved by the sea.

 “Come inside,” I said to her, when we came close, over the banks of flowers.   “come and see the great space inside the tower.”   So we pushed open the heavy door in the wide dark arch at the tower’s base, and entered.

But the interior has changed.   They’ve completed the rear end of the nave from inside.   They’ve put in a false floor of pews midway between vault and pavement, extending over the entire length and breadth.   Gone is the uplifting, uninterrupted fall of resonant space within.   It is cluttered now with construct, with frameworks for theology’s cradle like any stifling church, and I could weep.   We had to walk all along this false floor.  At its furthest end I found a chink in it where some planks had not yet been laid.   “Come over here, come and see!”

1954 bedtime

We squatted on the floor, held onto a joist of unvarnished wood and looked down through the opening.   So far below is the real altar, it makes us dizzy.   And up to us drifts sound, as from a choir.

“Be careful,” she said   “Those aren’t vicars down there, they are buckets and brooms to clean the church!   Can you hear them?    What a heavenly hymn they make!”

“Before they built all this clutter,”  I told her  “you could come in here and hear the organ being tuned.  The deepest notes don’t sound, they rumble ‘till they’re no longer outside but inside you,   you are the pipe,  the vibration itself going out again from here  like a great ripple.    Hey – that fat lady down there sitting on the altar steps to give her feet a rest?   Lena Hill, at the Musgrove hospital back home,  black plimsolls with holes in them for her toes – it IS her! –  what’s she doing in Liverpool?   I bet her ‘usband is still Christmas shopping in Taunton with his flopsy …”

thistle & flowers

We listened.   We did begin to hear individual voices in the ascending celestial cadence.   They echo a place in our past…   “… but I punched the clock 7.30 this morning, you saw me didn’t yer love,  so the Supervisor can go stuff his own nose it’s me elevenses now …”    “… run ring-a-rosies round ‘im she did …”   “Ooh give us a break.   Where’s me fags?   Come on love,  the Reck room won’t clean itself you know –  such pigs they are,  pigs …”

These charwomen don’t sound very Liverpudlian,  they could be in the West country or anywhere at all.   The roar of a floor polisher somewhere blends them.   “I remember Mrs Hill,”  said my sister.   “When Dr Cameron came to tea, he had some stories about her as well.   It was when you were charring at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton where I had my bad leg.    The “wee one-eyed Scottish doctor laddie”  wasn’t very good at exams was he?   He wanted to be a real GP to the crofters in the Highlands with a shepherd crook and those awfu’  black boots  –  he was so romantic.   He didn’t want any of this hospital nonsense.   Anyway, he knew Mrs Hill, didn’t he?”

“Everyone knew Mrs Hill.   The student nurses called her Mrs Woman because of her ‘usband.   I thought she was fabulous, she showed me the ropes and talked about life, but I couldn’t blame her ‘usband really, she never took a bath.   After we’d cleaned up the Nurses recreation room for about a week, she stank so I couldn’t stand it.   But  – do you remember Dr Cameron’s dancing pumps for the Christmas theatricals?”

“Not the ones he went a-shepherding with?”

“Yes, the ones he left behind in our house.”

“They were covered with mud!   What did they say when you took them to the hospital?   Wasn’t he an actor?”

“Well they were going to do Swan Lake in the Reck room for the Christmas party.  They couldn’t find enough white-coats for the dancers, so they decided to put on something a bit easier, you know what they get up to in hospitals.   I put the boots in a paper bag addressed to Dr C Cameron, Kiddies Korner,  because he was interning in Obstetrics.   Mrs Woman took it up to the Labour Suite and left it right by where he scrubs up.   He was only a Junior Wee.   Why did he start coming to tea with us, didn’t he play the flute or something?    He only had one eye, the other winked and watered …”

“He came to tea to chase the sheep with his viola and his crookie.   What sort of a doctor do you think he made?”

“God knows.  Oh look –  down there.   On the altar, see.   Something’s starting to happen.”

In theatre they’ve rigged up a waste paper basket on stage.  A giant papier-mache snake uncoils out of it in mid-charm, wrapped in a lady’s stocking.   Next to the snake the wide bottom of Mrs Woman polishes the stage for the festivities.   Tousled in her dirty flowery overall, and aglow with the stage lights, she rests upon her mop, complains vociferously about her Supervisor, and all the little theatre nurses applaud her.   Two surgeons on stage, who are not Junior Wees but Senior Registrars, have fiddled with the lights and props.   The bulk of Mrs Woman is now thrown into high relief.   Her own stockings are defeated by the girth of her thighs, she wears them rolled at the knee and undresses her marriage for everyone.   The snake in the basket nodded gravely, for the items of the Christmas show ranged from striptease to Socrates.   The bed she lay in was made by the ancillary nurses  – “You don’t need any training for that,”  announced all the cleaning-angels to heaven.

The show was a dreadful flop because of a bust curtain right at the beginning, but all the students received free sausage rolls and mince pies at the Interval, with the Supervisor’s compliments, and someone gave Mrs Woman a cigar for her trouble.   She left her bucket and mop where they were, cut her cigar in half, and shared it with me backstage.   We squatted side by side in a sort of tent between the curtains so the Supervisor couldn’t see us for dust, and the smoke was good and dark.

“I don’t know what they’ve done to me back,”  Mrs Woman went on   “and me ankles won’t stand for it.   You could be an ancillary nurse yerself, you know.   They’re ‘aving an epidemic up there in the Maternity ward, and they need all the ‘elp they can get, it’s better than going around every day on all fours,  look at me, why don’t you try it love,  you’re only seventeen, you shouldn’t be scrubbing floors at your age you should be enjoying yourself.   ‘Ave a word with Mrs Jeffreys.   She’s the Supervisor up there.   When she’s ‘ad a glass or two she’s alright, didjer just see her red face?   Now’s a good moment to get her.   Say I sent you.   But if you see Sidney on the way upstairs,  ‘e pushes the trolley, that dirty old swine, don’t let ‘im getyer under the mistletoe, ‘e’s always trying it on.   “I’ll tell your Supervisor about you,” he says when ‘e catches me   “I’ll tell her what time you clocked in today if you don’t give us a kiss.’   ‘ ‘Oo cares about my Soopervisor?’  I says.   ‘My Soopervisor can go jump in a bucket.   The Xmas shopping doesn’t get done by itself yer know, 2,000 years I been ‘ere nearly, cleaning up after you lot,  and nobody tells me any more when I clock in and when I clock out or whether I should do it meself at all.   I’ll give you Soopervisors!   You can take ‘er on if yer want a punch on the nose from me, and I’m going out now to do me shopping, I don’t care about Soopervisors, and if I see my ‘usband’s flopsy out there in the High Street I’ll trip ‘er up with the greatest of pleasure an’ a ‘appy New Year to you, five kids I’ve ‘ad, thirty years of marriage, thirty years, look at what I’ve suffered.   And I’m not getting no joy out of the inland revenoo for it neither, married or not, they sew it up nicely for themselves, we’re always the losers, we always were.   You enjoying your cigar?   Hey, you’re just not with me this morning, are you love, the morning after the show’s never so bright is it,  ‘oo’s your little friend with the white coat then?   Wasn’t he a cygnet in them bally-dance pumps?   They orter teach ‘im to dance a bit better,  ‘e was all over me floor, ouch –  me back’s killing me when all’s said and done,  thirty years,  thirty years of  …”

liverpool sketches 9, shopper

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But in those days when I was seventeen, I also read the works of Leo Tolstoy.   The ambiance of Anna and Vronsky through Mrs Woman’s flowery overall, made it smell rather over-ripe.   I drifted away from her to wonder about human life, the littleness of human lichen upon the altar of trans-substantiation.   I saw a synchronicity of fire and water,  the miracle,  the enigma of consciousness.   What did Anna and Vronsky see in each other glowing, who did they see?

These thoughts nourished me while I helped clean hospitals for pocket money and heard the problems of Mrs Woman,   So Anna K fell under a train!  the charwomen leaned on their mops, it made their day.

liverpool cathedral 1

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Something hurt in my finger.   It was a greenfly.   It had burrowed into my finger from some flower or other, and eaten its way up along the bone for the last couple of days, and was now a severe pain.   I squeezed and stretched the flesh till the wound opened and out popped the parasite.   It was brown and dry, and it had burst open like a seedcase in autumn.   I ascended like a spider the echoing threads of the chorus around the altar, to the heavenly floor above.   On the new floorboards by the gap, I found my sister still waiting.   The medical drama became a whisper again, a ripple from my adolescence in the deep of time and space.

My sister is now a small plump child in kindergarten.   She has to stay there as a boarder because our parents live away in a different part of the country.   This was my school also.   I waited by the staff room.   I didn’t know whether to address all my former teachers – some of them friendly, some menacing – by their surnames or their Christian names, because I didn’t know how old I was.   Such untidy ignorance embitters and distresses me.   I thought I had left school and grown up, but I haven’t, because I’m here again as a day pupil, with a message for her –  a message from our mother, who is not in Yorkshire any more.   But she didn’t want it.   She is crying, she is very upset about something;   I tore or defaced the letter before I gave it to her, and now neither of us can read it.   She is not interested anyway.   She is too small a child to be burdened with things she can’t understand;  like reading;  like being made to swim so deep a sea.

Something now is happening, something new.   Within her visibly I sense an unknown sister … our other sister, who was born to die.  A speechless sorrow surfaces.   The child’s name before she died at birth, was Bridie.   My father gave her name, Bridie in her Bravery, to the red-pink campion flowers that dance hardy in all weathers by the roadside.

In this moment, time has stopped;   to touch a child unknown, belonging to, and intimate with us, who lives in all the flowers.

Something from her reaches into my silence, to be heard.  She was too small to be burdened with the school of life, where her mother never held her, where they took her away to die.   I maybe looked for her since I was four years old, when my mother could not talk to me of her grief.   Did I draw all those babies at that time for my mother?  That is possible.   There is something children are not supposed or allowed to know;  a gulf that parents and children cannot bridge to each other.  Something was not enough wanted …   something still alive, but deep in the sea, an awareness received and felt, before the enclosures of our language came.

There are transpersonal meetings with the dead, quite outside the fabric of our years.   They arise afresh,  and do not have our words.

I think we know less about ourselves than monkeys do.   We can connect through any time and in any space, by our willingness being open, being quiet;  but it does not speak the way we are taught at school.

300px-Wildflowers_-_geograph.org.uk_-_473362

300px-Wildflowers_-_geograph.org.uk_-_473362

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False floors were built for this, a theologists’ heaven in Liverpool’s Tower of Babble-On.  They are filled with rows of pews like desks – a Sunday school, a crammer of dogma for gnostic children.  They immaculate the birth on earth of God.   They confine the babel of His babble to a totalitarian grammar,  meek and mild.

See sisters straying onto this hymenal heaven with their lost sibling.   They are genuine heretics.   What are they doing there?

They found a small rent in the mourning weeds of original sin.   Lost to theology, they look down through the gap in wonder, to where each and every life babbles regardless, deep in the soul.   A kingdom in a shared memory is theirs to share again.  Mrs Woman of the vintage guild of Mops gets someone else to do her clocking in.   A Scottish houseman in his peaked cloth cap, one eye bright brown,  the other a watery wink, romances the ewes on his days off duty.   The little girls see the eternal serpent of knowledge dressed up in a Christmas stocking.   They see the distribution of the Eucharist from Mrs Woman’s operation, with the innocence condemned by centuries of Church Supervision.

Inside the church they see a hospital.   Inside the hospital is a theatre.   Inside a theatre are the needs of the flock, and a rood-screen or curtain of the tabernacle.   Children of Israel floated their Arc of Covenant on the sea of their wanderings.   They birthed the medieval Mystery plays.   Shell after shell opens, like a babushka doll, in Mother Russia.

Our tower to heaven has around it a moat of flowers.   They were planted with a rain of grief for the ones who fell under doctrinal dispute, for those who were born and forgotten ;  and for the chorus walking hidden on earth, which jests, which births its own responses through the maidenhead, and which the pulpit extinguishes if it can.

Rest in Peace!    Chinks in the dogma allow stray odours of life to bloom, like flowers through a paving stone.

liverpool sketches 18 tower on hill..

In Faulkner Square 1968

In Faulkner Square 1968

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And I seem to have stumbled in the radiance of those flowers outside, their vulnerable upthrust, because the next awareness in my dream is of water, the waters of earth which have risen through the soul,  which earth can no longer contain.    By the waters of Babylon we sat, and wept.   A stormy channel divided us from land for whose tender shores we yearned.

So near, so far, and in so deep a sea did you and I swim, we could be nowhere else, for it carried us further and further out and into itself.   Whatever happened to us, was in its hand.   I was sure we would reach the other shore if we swam, and that was that.    In the turbulent tossing sea between dark and light, day and night, I shouted, I loved the waves which swept me up and down, trod buoyancy over unimaginable depth.   Then I put my head down to swim, as you must do, and the lift and surge of the ocean waves increased.   Greater and greater they grew, then a wave broke over, submerging me.

And I struggled, strove against drowning, to become a fish, to awaken by two, by two …  upon the Ark of Noah,  to light.

Cornwall 2011

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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 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 2012-2013. 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/

The Tarka Trail, a Red Book, and a Lamp

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Bike under my kitchen table

Bike under my kitchen table

This post is linked to an earlier one last year – a poem-of-eclipse (1999) about my father and his violin: see  A Tendency of Concentric Rings.

Tarka Trail

For many years, I wondered if it was possible to visit Peter by bike from Bideford in North Devon.  He was getting too old to drive, and could no longer fetch me from the National Express bus.  It is about 15 miles inland, and very hilly.

I bought my fold-up bike for this purpose, six months ago.  But National Express run only one bus daily from London:  it takes five hours, and the evenings are dark too early now, for a long bike ride to my anxious parent.   I discovered the travel timetable is much more flexible – one every hour – if I take the TRAIN to Barnstaple – another eight miles further to ride.   It costs a lot more than the bus, but who cares!

The Tarka bike trail was opened up as a conservation project along a disused rail track. It follows the coast line from Barnstaple, then bends through Bideford into the Torrington district, all the way down to Petrockstowe.  The railway was closed in the 1970s.

Tarka Trail Barnstaple to Petrockstowe (red dotted line - about 21 miles.)  The train (Tarka Line) travels up to Barnstaple along the  river - centre wriggly line, which shows the road.

Tarka Trail Barnstaple to Petrockstowe (red dotted line – about 21 miles.) The train (Tarka Line) travels up to Barnstaple from Exeter along the river and the green A377 road – centre wriggly line. Then the Tarka Trail sets off from Barnstaple station into the sky, the dunes and salt marshes of the Taw estuary and the sea.

Tarka is the name of the otter in Henry Williamson’s novel, who was born and died along the Torridge river.  The entire region is alive with the Tarka mythos.  I always wanted to see the spectacularly beautiful river region between Bideford and Torrington.  The old railway gradient ensures no steep hills!

You can hire bikes on the Tarka Trail website, or on the spot at Barnstaple Station, Bideford and the Puffing Billy.   Mine folds up, so I took it on the train.

Bike last spring, near St Albans

Bike last spring, near St Albans – with Roman ruin

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23 October 2013, near Buckland Filleigh

... Nearing my father’s house on its hilltop at dusk, hot and sweaty from the climb, soft thrum of the wind in the air, and an ever changing sky like the sea.  Woodlands feather the fields; delicious the huge quiet, sweet the smell and to be the sky, the open scent of cows.    I thought of my old Letter on the Gate poem:

Above a hidden loop of the sour Torridge river 
– brown and sleeping snake – 
coppice of toughened oak and beech 
with cow parsley’s tryst entangle; 
and on high rough meadows 
the rush pricked pasture 
is dotted with dry flakes of dung. 

To Dartmoor’s wide wing 
cloud-borne in the southern sky, 
acorn tufted slow sheep-back hills 
undulate an inland sea: 
and on the road from Sheepwash to Shebbear 
I found a notice on a field-gate, 
white paper pinned: 

a local dance, skittles champion, an eyesore planning procedure perhaps:  
or addressed to the Winsford Hospital League of Friends?”

Jim Ede and ...?

Jim Ede and …?

Idly I glance;  then widened eyes – 
an open letter is posted for all to see, 
fresh in the late Jim Ede’s 
unmistakable economy script … “

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The poem goes on, it was based on a vivid dream-vision in 1999, which carried many depth messages and ancestral themes.   Jim was my grandfather – Peter’s father-in-law.

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Apart from that, Peter and I have an interesting relationship:  he is like a guide.  He points to my path – a book I should read, or something he is interested in – without either of us realising how significant the detail will be for me.   It  happens when I visit him, and is always unexpected.

The journey in a nice chug-a-chug local train from Exeter to Barnstaple along the single-track Tarka Line, and then by bike along the 20-mile trail to Marland, was ROMANTIC beyond my expectation.  It awoke in my memory the recalled delight.   The drivers of the up and down trains stop and exchange keys for the single track between Eggesford and Umberleigh.

Later on … the hills, the lush woods, the brown river, the legends of the otters and of Victorian engineering, the gradient of the old railway line as it rises and falls, a high level aqueduct canal the Victorians built, and their ingenuity in “ramping” the 40 foot descent to the tidal-level lock;  the song of the place names dear to Henry Williamson – all sprang to life and love again.  It is among the most beautiful and secretive landscape in Britain.

My bike ride – with frequent stops to admire the view and the river – took nearly four hours, and by the time I was climbing through the old woods near Torrington to the hilltops and a familiar view of Dartmoor, I was very tired.   But I cheered up again with the gradient descending, and reached Dunsbear Halt – more scruffy than in the online photo.  A remote lane on the map crosses it – the line continues down to Petrockstowe.  I turned off to the right just after 5 pm, to toil the open hills.  In Devon just when you think you are reaching the top of a hill, it tosses its head.  It was heart warming to begin to recognise the lie of the farmland around my father’s care-home – the little tower beacon at 500 feet on a nearbye skyline curve, a fringe of larch forest, a dip of fields and zinc-roof barns.   Then, with dusk about to fall, the familiar lane towards Buckland Filleigh – I had found it!.

I rode into the farm – now a care home for the elderly, and for “supported living”, staffed by local good-wives, and the long root-runners of regional gossip.  The young entrepreneur who runs it, lives like a creeping buttercup.  He and his family are established in farms and cottages throughout the district, and thrive.  The care home has an excellent reputation, and runs on bio-fuels.  They had a very poor alfalfa harvest this year, so the place is running on wood-chip at present.

Later, I went up a ladder in one of the barns, to look at the process.   It moved, alive and warm in the vast woodchip pile, like a dragon!   A half hid wheel with wings slowly turned and rustled in the depths, as it laboriously ate the collapsing fuel:  the whole pile in slow motion:  warmth and sound – the serpent moves.

the old piggery

Peter’s self contained cottage is a converted piggery with a pitched roof, skylights and attractive timbers.   His arm waving in his kitchen window – his shout, Hooray!    A dyed-in-the wool Capricorn (like myself), he was waiting there for the last 15 minutes.   I rang him from the narrow lane at Dunsbear Halt.   I arrived just in time for tea.   He is nearly 91, and his heart weakens steadily and gives him trouble and anxiety.   But he looks well.   He is less puffy round the eyes, than when I saw him last.   His facial contour emerges in a different way, it has refined.  He might die at any time.   How will that feel?   We didn’t discuss it till the end of my visit.  He said for him there is no death.  One becomes “everything” rather than the single imagined “particular”.  But the physical body gets instinctively panicky.

“Listen to this,” he said again.  “One night I was told – I had to get out of bed and find my glasses and go to my desk and write it down – I was told by a Voice, very clearly – I am … You are … a particle-ar expressing of the Universal energy.  There is no separation.”

Then he reminded me, he joined a London buddhist Sangha back in 1957 or so, when we were living in Surrey.  He went to the Sangha leader, tense with questions about enlightenment and how to live.  The Sangha leader had a little room with nothing in it at all. He sat in his robe, looked up and said, “The Past is Over.  The Future has not come yet.  The Present is Now.  DO NOT WASTE IT”.

Don’t waste it.

To travel the contour satisfies the soul.  In modern high-speed trains, I feel nothing and I am cocooned and cut off, and I just want the journey to end.  The faster it goes, the longer it seems to take, and I only want to arrive.  In local bone rattlers I am in the present with the journey, and I see and feel everything: the wheels, the rails, my body, the passengers, the view;  there is no time.  The sun came out in my inner life, with an amazed smile.

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I didn’t think to take my camera.  Perhaps this is just as well, because my journey would have taken twice as long.  These online images of the trail must suffice.  The rest of the photos in this post, are my old ones.

Impressions – non-chronological, but just as they come – of my ride:  a hire-bikes cafe deep in the woods called The Puffing Billy.  A lean youth in a hat and curly hair, broad Devon, potters affably, and his spaniel chews a rubber ball with ecstatic expectancy.  Here I enjoyed a tub of Cornish ice-cream and a flapjack, while admiring the power of the swollen brown river below, through steep forest.  Not far off is the titanic roar of the small falls, where salmon sometimes leap.   It was lovely to keep hearing the swirl and shout of the flooded brown waters.   The river winds and twists in a bewildering series of steeply engraved ox bows and sudden emerald meadows.  Wherever you come upon it, the current runs now to the left, then to the right.  Peter says the whole geology lifted while the river was carving its alluvian bed.

The ride goes through a tunnel or two, which was fun.  The beautiful oval bricklaying is illumined by regular lamps – the darkness, then the russet, ochre and olive splendour of the curve, the detail – like an alchemical secret in the bowels.

There are stopping points, with maps to illustrate the wildlife, the human history and the source – near the waterfall and the raised canal – where Tarka the Otter was born and began his journey.  The water, the stone and the woods are incredibly atmospheric.  There are footpaths away from the path, to climb, stalk and dream along.   Further down the trail  are startling sculptures of seated souls – or conversing otters? – decorated in lively mosaic by local school children – a strip-cartoon Henry Moore series, among the alder and the oaks.

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More memories:  Setting out from Barnstaple against the wind, the dead straight lane into the enormous question of sky-weather, estuary, marshlands and the bumpy brown Burrows of Braunton across the water, was rather formidable with my long, unknown journey ahead.  As when beginning to climb a rock face, you don’t give up with one hold.  One leads to another.  You just keep going,  until you are the whole journey:  the flow and knowledge of each ledge and hold of the rock face.

So I keep pushing the pedals round and round until the landscape and horizons are embodied.   It is my life.   Being nearly 65, an instinct in my body is fearful, and protests.   The instinct is frightened my bike might break down, or I might be very late, and my father will worry.

Path

Path near Buckland Filleigh

Yarde is the last old station before Dunsbear Halt.  I was told at Puffing Billy back near Torrington, there is a really good cup of coffee at Yarde.  But the cafe was closed;  a middle aged hairy hobbit busy rebuilding some steps … a round-house in the garden (they put up travellers) … a remote and tender furred flow of landscape … a slight fall of the gradient just ahead, to rest in top gear, after a long slow climb.

The lane is metalled and smooth from Barnstaple to Torrington, but by Torrington where it enters the old woodland, it is a path of dark gravel, puddles and old leaves; and discreet posters at each crossroads or historic halt, proclaim the North Devon Biosphere project.

Passing Bideford – a strange North Devon “Riviera” with its terraced small city, elderly bridge and boats – was enchanting, as I left the coast and went into the unknown interior.   From the direction of far-off Marland came huge rain clouds against the sun, and a spattering drift of shower here and there;  yet they seemed to disperse and break up, on meeting sea currents.   Light spilled, glowed and was veiled.

I passed hikers, bikers and dog walkers.   Every single person smiled.

The Tarka Trail and its maintenance is part of a project to promote a conscious ecology.   It transformed the old railtrack – which began to close in the 1970s – into a sylvan liberation, a new way of life.  Some landowners along the route at first refused to allow the way to be opened, so there was a tussle, which the Trust won.   In its full length the Tarka Trail is the longest maintained bike path in Britain, off the road all the way.   It links with cross country hiking trails almost as long, to the west and towards Exmoor in the east.

Young cattle near Buckland Filleigh.  Buckland Filleigh is a curiously sinister grey mansion and chapel on a wooded hill.   In it, conferences and training-courses are held.  It would make a marvellous centre for a whodunnit series.

Young cattle near Buckland Filleigh. Buckland Filleigh is a curiously sinister grey mansion and chapel on a wooded hill. In it, conferences and training-courses are held. It is a splendid location for a whodunnit series incorporating the gossip-lines all over the countryside; the old peoples’ care home nearbye – where the prime suspects are! – and remote farms in frost-pockets off the grid.

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24 October  Red Book

The dew is heavy this morning, and spiders covered the frames of each window with perfect jewelled webs that blow in the breeze.  Last night we walked out and saw all the stars come out, including two shooting stars, the tail end of a meteor shower, as the sky deepened to darkest night.  First we spotted Cassiopaeia, then the Plough and the North Star;  then the Little Bear;  then the long smudge of the Milky Way as the gloaming deepened to black … a diamond-studded galaxy.  But no sign of Orion!  Perhaps he was still climbing from the horizon’s haze.   My daughter rang up and sounded happy and said she wants to do this ride with me, to Grandpa’s.  We shall have a beer when I get back.

Patina

Patina

Yesterday I visited another resident, who lives in the converted barn. He is bipolar, and said he has been ill for 40 years. We talked about his condition and how frightening it gets when he is high, and how he misses Dulverton.  I liked his landscape paintings on the walls of his spacious quarters – he is wealthy.

We discussed Jung a bit, and he cheered up with my company and made me a good cup of tea –  and fetched his copy of THE RED BOOK and lent it to me while I am here.

The mysterious – The Red Book is my Miracle manifested.  It is a great slab of pure red gold.   He bought it on Amazon a year ago, but hasn’t been able to look at it much.  It cost nearly £100.  I shall buy one as soon as I get home.  It is every bit as important as getting  new specs to see properly with.  Isn’t it amazing to touch, and see Jung’s paintings and inner mosaic – his alchemical journey from the dark into the light – and to have that process to read and absorb, as I begin my new work.   I had heard something on the grapevine, but didn’t know it is published in full facsimile, with translation and history.

Jung & his house at Bollingen

Jung is so much more than the founder of Jungian psychoanalysis.  He is a Paracelsus reborn, and the composite of many great medicine sages before that.  He is depth.  He embodied the twentieth century Conscience, with all its Shadow;  he holds the medicine-Staff.  As I knew well during my 1980s odyssey, I stood on his shoulders, and where I went was because of where he had been.  He faced Baphomet and illumined the Way.

One of the paintings in the Red Book is a great face, mosaic’d in graded squares of blue and violet, with down turned mouth and great inward eyes, like many of Jung’s interior Companions.  The expression is how my old friend Elisabeth looked:  the down turned “jungian” intensity is classic – a medieval priest embodies a path of Awe in the other realm.  Without a doubt, Elisabeth today steers me to this treasure, and to learn to become an art-therapist, like she did when she was my age.   She met Jung when she was much younger.

The above drawing was done after Jung visited and spoke to me in a dream.   In my dream, we met in a secluded garden near a house.  I showed him four drawings arranged in a square;  at least two were new portraits of him – (which I hadn’t ‘done’.) He looked at them carefully, and asked me would I please xerox him a copy?

Thus prompted, I drew it “for him” the following day.   Here it is, above; and here is another.

Jung with pipe

He visits me again, and nudges.  Carl Gustav Jung you teach me, as I want to learn to guide others.   There are some unmistakable signs and symbols around at present.  You, the 20th century in full, come from deep history, a greater and wilder depth and breadth than is generally realised on the surface … greater than even you were aware of, in Yesod.

I knew just one thing about the Red Book, as described in Memories, Dreams, Reflections – it is the abyss, the ferment from which your life’s great work, and all the academic studies, emerged.   The Red Book and the Seven Sermons to the Dead (which I have) are your creative foundation.   It is the crucible:  the rest is for linear consumption.    Elisabeth Tomalin gave me her copy of the Seven Sermons.

Elisabeth Tomalin

The Red Book is the painstaking aesthetic completion – in hand script and with all the illuminations and paintings – of what was scribbled down in Jung’s Black Books.   The Red Book was an artist’s great labour to build a monument, a Gothic cathedral.  It took decades to finish, and it is not complete.   It breaks off mid-sentence.

It seems to have begun during the Great War.  It was born from a black depression which Jung feared was psychotic;  during which he continued his clinical work, and to support his family.   His capacity was to travel, to imagine, to visualise and to remember, profoundly.  The Great Archetypes of the Styx cohered into sub-personalities, psychopomps and sages.  I remember how impressed I was in the 1980s, to read about his deep, deep dives into the ocean, at his desk – into the collective Unconscious, opening the way.  He tumbled backwards into it, like a diver, down and down:  then he painted and wrote it forth.

The Red Book emerges as the secret Fire from the great black slabs of his depression, and from the two great Wars of that era.

fountain of life

fountain of life

I used to imagine him sitting at his desk, his study, and closing his eyes and descending from there into the collective unconscious, as he journeyed.  He might be in the Underbeing for hours – his family would not disturb him.  I think it happened as he wrote.  He wrote and painted it forth.  Like Paul Foster Case touching base with Master R, Jung in his black and red books and the Seven Sermons, laid the psychic foundation … on which he would build and fill in all the volumes of his academic work, shelf after shelf, room after room.

When a house is built, a concrete foundation is poured.   When a new psychology is developed, the contact is poured, a serpentine drift of luminous colour and profundity:  the seeing in the dark.

Jung’s artistic cliché is a Celtic-christian ornamentation, rather serpentine.   These curly motifs appear in nearly all his work.   The colours and their intricate labour and subtlety are extraordinary, like medieval stained glass.  They are serpentine.   Some of the images are wonderfully disturbing.  My father took a look, and said they are phallic.   Jung began having visions of the European Fate when he was a little child.

8n Stone and Jung

One of the volumes: “Modern Man in Search of a Soul

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Depression is a great slab of confinement which either captures the soul in its dream for forty years or more, OR releases the Keys to travel and liberation under the slab.  Eventually they grow up and through and crack the slab like flowers.   The Keys are always offered, but few have the ability to accept and use them.   Depression is a locked-in creative potential, not really an illness.

Jung’s Great Keys are of fluid iron, and wrought into floral patterns.  I am sure he began his visionary paintings and mandalas by doodling first, these patterns behind his eyes, and slowly, obsessively colouring them in;  he descended into the dark;  the mandalas and the statements grew into colour, organically, expanding outward into Themes, Archetypes, Great Shadows and his guide, Philemon.

The Key is the devoted precision in outlining the strange shapes behind the eyes.  It was the way I worked also.   It is the way I shall try to follow again – my signature – and encourage others to follow their own, in due course.

Another similarity is that in some of his paintings are made-up hieroglyphs.   They resemble my made-up hieroglyphs.  The fascinating pressure – of ancient forgotten languages – is engraved in the Subconscious Stone.

outgrow the gods

outgrow the gods

Underbeing & topsoil

Underbeing and the topsoil person 1988

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Suddenly I have the secret of his Sermons to the Dead:  the contact he called up:  the neglected mythos.  The living stone awakens through the grave.   Tolkien did this, too, in The Return of the King.

Discovery such as this, is ongoing, day by day:  the state of discovery tends to overlay and conceal its items, as it steams along.  It is a level of living:  the passion swiftly leaves the past behind.   But in the quiet hallmark of the Red Book and the converging Jungian hints recently, and the fact that my father introduced me to Jung (though it isn’t his way at all) – (he gave me Laurens Van der Post’s biography of Jung for my 37th birthday) – is a gathering together of threads.  For me, Peter tends to be a Messenger where major signposts stand.   He is there at the crossroads.   When he dies, I will find him still welcoming me at the crossroads, and passing it on.

Peter – whose process is somewhat more Zen:  he attends to the NOW –  observed rather stiffly that Jung seemed unable to escape Christianity.  Paradoxically, the items Peter passed over to me were usually Christian – like Jung … and the sacred geometry of Notre-Dame … an article in Resurgence about quantum-physics alchemy.   Peter was raised a Catholic and rejected it during the war.

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26 October     Return

Home again.  Another equally wonderful long ride yesterday – Petrockstowe to Barnstaple, stopping from time to time, to read the history, talk to people and look around at where Tarka was born – near the waterfall and a little downstream from the stone canal-viaduct bridge:  also to understand the ingenuity of the architecture in the raised canal, its ghostly remains, and the steep inclined bit at Rolle where the clever Victorians cranked the watery conduit and its traffic up and down 40 feet between the woods and the riverbed.   The young guy mending bikes at the Puffing Billy told me one of his mates saw an otter today – they are coming back.  Salmon leap up the falls sometimes;  the otters like to eat them.  My daughter saw the leaping salmon once, when Peter took her for a drive/walk up the Torrington valley.

The weather all the way averted the sharp showers around Buckland Filleigh – just a faint spatter here and there, from far off;  warm blue sky and swift cotton clouds.   It was an easy ride up the line from Petrockstowe to Dunsbear – hardly any gradient.  I pretended I am on a Kabbalistic journey, and I “went up the Tree”.   I have the map in my body and being.   I am an old train.

I stopped at Bideford Station on the trail, for a bite – where a retired railway carriage is parked.  An elderly lady from Manchester runs the cafe in it;  she made me a delicious bacon bap and coffee, and I basked in the nostalgia of the crafted older trains with proper seats and windows (the modern cattle trucks insult their passengers) and took away two free Bideford newspapers.   Bideford is the Riviera-regatta of North-west Devon.   The revisit is enchanting.    I crossed the river and rode around the bright old town.   It was the gateway towards our family holidays on the Hartland coast, fifty years ago.

At Instow sands, I walked out across them to the water’s edge, little waves.   The brisk wind knocked Bike over, and nearly blew away my shoes – I had to run after them.

Instow sands looking across to Appledore - a Victorian painting

Instow sands looking across to Appledore – a Victorian painting

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The hardest bit of the journey is the Barnstaple estuary because it is very exposed to the wind, and endlessly straight.  Footpaths off it invite you to the wild life sanctuary along the water-lands, which was reclaimed and nurtured by a Gaia society since the war.   This is an exploration for next time.   Along this five-mile part of the route, you have to be the sky and keep plodding.

Unknown-3

When I arrived at the station, there was a train waiting, the guard said “Come.”   Bike and I hopped on, and off we went, back up the River Taw and down the River Something-or-other to the Exe and Exeter.  All the rivers were brown and swollen with huge rains, the trees waded in them, almost spilling into the bright green fields.   More rough weather arrives this weekend.

At Exeter there was only a ten minute wait for the Duchy of Cornwall to London, which was full up, everyone standing and disconsolate.   Here I discovered I had lost my purse, containing memory-stick and dongle.   The only place I could have dropped it was at the train cafe in Bideford when paying for my bacon bap.   Trying not to fret, during the long stand-up two and a half hours to London … how to contact that nice old woman in Bideford through the Tarka Trail management …

At home I cancelled my debit card, but at the end of the evening I FOUND my purse in the blue rucsac – where I had searched before, unable to see or find it in the hugger mugger cattle-express.

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Conversation

Conversation

An Old Man and a Lamp

I know a young woman who got trapped in a broken lift with a powerful persuasive personality.  The P.P.P. installed his voice and his beliefs in her Systems Preferences.  Now the lift is getting repaired …

Mixed metaphor of being trapped in a lift with a maniac – and of the way a programme installed in her operating system is being gently de-installed; for re-programming.   The System board on our computer is where we have all our settings of time, memory, security etc.  Doesn’t this happen an awful lot in difficult relationships?

When I wrote “trapped in a lift” up there, I mistyped “life” – life with a maniac.   Most of us live with our Inner Maniac in some form or another;  and fine ideas get nowhere.  The Maniac might be projected grotesquely onto our environment;  when we meet and fall in step with someone who is abusive.   The inner Maniac is a negative archetype – something we came to believe in.   Now comes a working insight:  going back long before the pattern of abuse manifested …  what, in the soul’s hinterland, brought to the foreground this particular Maniac?

I got a feel for it just now, like the wind on my wetted finger.    Psychotherapy can touch the place, by feeling and holding that interior thread as it comes to life; and becoming response-able to it.   The language may be a past-life memory, or it may be existential, beyond speech.  Therapy with a wise counsellor, is as transmutative as the Alchemy which self-hears.   It is the same process.

Jung sat down with his clients, and they investigated the subconscious together, like two old philosophers.

If you begin to feel safe with someone, there are lurching episodes when you don’t;  and that is where the living thread – the fishing net – is tested.

Something profound in my subconscious, born to receive the Laws of Karmic justice, welcomed the presence of a Maniac in my life, and in someone else’s.   I see that influence now, and I see its victim, not as someone I think I know, but as the greater part whose history I don’t know, the part which entered my life stream with its own burden and agenda.   The confluence made me the richer in understanding, and broke many shells.

I speak enigmatically.   Insights arise, which I want to share right now, but confidences are kept. The bearing of a heavy Karmic burden is yet a centre of gravity and truth, and it inspires respect and affection.

oak and ivy

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I am reluctant to write about people I am close to.  I am shy to, without asking them.  I select matters of common interest – things which happen to us all.

We had a really good relaxed time together.   His lungs are a bit watery.   We took the keyboard action out of the Basche piano – it is a Petrof baby grand, made by his Czech grandfather for a wedding-present to his wife – and filed the small knobs of lead in between each wooden key inside, with a nail-file, so they won’t stick.   They tend to swell in damp weather.   Then I gave the whole inside a good clean – a century’s small dust and lead-particles!   My great-great grandfather positioned the wood sections under the keyboard, now clean and good as new:  his handiwork, his touch.

The whole task required concentration, especially our accurate coordination together to lift the heavy action back into the frame.  Concentration on the job at hand, third eye focus, is really a simple key to everything.   Skill is wellbeing;  and skill is application.

I had a few happy hours with some new favourite bits in the Beethoven sonatas.   Spell them carefully, concentrating with the finger detail, and sometimes getting it nearly right;   climb the amateur mountain towards the astounding spiritual beauty of Beethoven’s musical thought.  He jotted it down as he walked and shouted in all weathers, among wet trees with an open coat.   I  dreamed once I met him too, in an underground room.  He had a small daughter, who had already lived so deeply it was beyond telling, in her eyes.

The Basche Petrof is a lively beast – the action takes some mastering;  the bass octaves growl;  a lyrical voice is coaxed forth surprisingly, dusky with the depth and song of old Beethoven.   This piano had a hard time when it lived in the damp Pittbridge valley:  it does a lot better on the hilltop with discreet underfloor heating.

Allegro from the Funeral March Sonata opus 26

Allegro from the Funeral March Sonata opus 26

The Petrof

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My father calls the care home where he lives, “the community.” It has a lush green garden, a couple of stunted old oaks, and a few young apple saplings drop fruit.   Around the main farmhouse live three or four elderly and independent folk in their barns and piggeries.  Inside the house is a convivial bedsheet chaos of the demented, the bedridden, and the lonely dying.  The place prospers with friendly root fibres all over the region, linking to farms and villages.  They have good cooks, and a cheery Devon staff, and the architectural conversion is excellent – but carrying my father’s dinner tray back to the kitchen in the main house, I skidded on mud and the dishes went flying!    When Peter first moved there, the manager rigged up a video link from a nest of young blackbirds in the garden to all the TV sets – it was rolling news.   But the residents in their armchairs dozed.   When Peter was stronger, he helped with the garden roses, and pruned fruit trees in nearby farms.

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lamp outline

We saw his neighbour again for tea.   He got out a pile of his watercolours to show us.  He also read out some poems he wrote when he was high.

When it is acute, it is indeed incommunicable.   Depression is an obsession with oneself.   Depression is an inability to concentrate on anything else, and the sufferer gets shut out from humanity.

I found the poems authentic, deep and interesting.   But for a tiny neural imbalance and the ignorance in medical and family conditioning, the sad old poet had access to The Path.  He said that during his “episodes” he starts to “save the world”.  I know that feeling, and  the intense sorrow of its non-viability.  Nowadays the drugs knock it down:  a culture of addiction and isolation, which knows no other way at the moment.  I gave him my address to keep in touch.

It is astonishing to find the red book in the barn.  Before the barn was converted, and the poet came to live there, it was full of old zimmer frames, spare walking sticks and puddles from a leaky roof.   The red book glows and shines forth from within the depression, just as it came forth from Jung’s dark night of the soul.   The depression is a slab which covers the secret fire, until it is ripe.   The depression is a charcoal burner.   Inside it there are pictures …

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The Secret Dakini Oracle 37 represents TWO fires.  The fire in the background consumes the Earth (planet).  The flame in the foreground is a crucible of the Self, observing the other.   There is a radical letting go – a burning up – of past confinements and attachments.

Lamps get rubbed and release genies.   Dark,dirty lamps.

Most of the old poet’s landscapes are Devon and Exmoor scenes – knotted trees, fields and the colourful personalities of cattle.   He did a farming life.  In some of his more manic and radiant watercolours, he sketched a lamp of the soul – an oil lamp, clear and lit.  He fetched from another room the lamp which is their model.  I remembered the sound, the glass and chink of old oil lamps in cottages which didn’t have “the electric”.   Such a lamp with its glass amber glow, took us upstairs to bed.

The poet’s lamp was spotless clear and clean.  It is dormant.   It is in his life.

The issue of rubbing old lamps, and releasing the genie, is interesting.  The image was in my Watershed dreams from time to time, in the 1970s.   Old lanterns! – a pile of them – and old water-jars;  and changing the light-bulbs in hell.

The lamp is covered with Karmic smoke, and when Aladdin rubs it, out jumps an unknown genie in a snaky whirl of smoke and light, who asks him what he desires.

The genies are denizens of the soul.  Their first appearance can be very scary and unpredictable.

butterlamp - Version 2

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Secret Dakini Oracle 27 – The Magic Carpet – takes us to the Arabian fables and Tales of the Lamp.

When I discover the Treasury of the Self, as Aladdin did with his Lamp, I then decide and learn how I will handle it for the rest of my life.   Learn the psychology of my wishes, and what they bring forth.

self portrait, 1975

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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 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 – posts about Master R and “What is Love?”

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2013. 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/

Childhood Part Two – Scent of Red Geranium Leaves

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princess writes

princess writes

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Cornwall 1955 -1957 (continued from Part One)

I found in a book a princess named Griselda.   Suddenly the pages opened to me their secret.   Like water, they joined up as stories, after long months – I am a slow learner – of patching capital letters together with the Janet and John books,  to spell “catch” – (and I get a whiff of it now.)   Then it dawned:  I could read for myself, whenever and wherever I liked:  it didn’t have to ‘spell’.

At school they couldn’t stop me from reading.   I read and read through all the lessons. At 7, I began to read Charles Kingsley’s The Heroes – the Greek myths of Perseus and the Gorgon,  Jason and the Golden Fleece,  and Theseus and the Minotaur.  I drank up the rhythmic prose of the Aegean sea, the stars they sailed by, the labours of the heroes, and the beauty of their captured queens.

I copied out these stories with great labour in my round hand, embellished them with further detail about the loveliness of the queens, and illustrated them.  I sat at a round table in Jim and Mam’s house.  They gave me Renaissance paintings to copy with my pencil.  Botticelli whom I loved best, was my drawing Master. There were two large plain cloth-bound books, which I looked at and worked from.  One was blue and called “Details” and the other was green, and called “More Details”.  They were full of paintings of the Madonnas in the National Gallery, close up,  and of the Primavera,  the Birth of Venus,  and Centaur Cheiron with Pallas Athene.  I was in love with their faces, and the flowers around them, and the way their hands and feet were drawn.   They were my music.  They smelled and sounded like my grandparents Mam and Jim.

I drew that beauty into my drawing-book, usually with a pencil, sometimes with brush and ink, and the grownups said they liked my clean bold lines.    They didn’t like shading or scribbled drawings, or drawings done to look like somebody else’s at school.

GALLERY ONE

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In the story of The Golden Branch by Countess d’Aulnoy, a crippled prince and princess transformed to their essential nature: “They set out in solemn silence and found the golden branch itself in the middle of a wonderful garden.   The walks in lieu of sand, were strewn with small oriental pearls, rounder than peas.  The roses were crimson coloured diamonds, and the leaves were emeralds ;  the blossoms of the pomegranates were garnets ;  the marigolds were topazes;  the jonquils, yellow brilliants;  and the violets, sapphires;  the bluebells, turquoises;  the tulips, amethysts, opals and diamonds.   In short the number and variety of these beautiful flowers dazzled more than the sun.”

This I heard again as sound, many years later,  in the music of Olivier Messiaen.   Of his ‘Amen de la Consummation’ for two pianos, he says :   “In ever-closer rhythmic canons,  precious stones of the Apocalypse ring, collide with, dance, colour and perfume the light of life.”

Here is a link, Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen V – Vll:  the ‘Amen de la Consommation’ is Vll, it begins at 13 minutes 24 seconds.  A fine performance, with score.

GALLERY 2 – mostly from a bit earlier

I had a passion for wild flowers, fairies and for jewels;  my favorite colours were “gold and silver”.   I began to draw girls in fields by the sea picking flowers, while I was still learning to write.  Then, after I discovered the Greek myths and heroes, I wrote and illustrated long tales about tragic queens who for hundreds of years “strived against progress”, were stabbed with swords by John Knox in Scotland,  or chained to rocks like Andromeda.  I drew Perseus coming to rescue the naked Andromeda with his great sword and shield;  I was deeply aware of eros and of cruelty to queens and to animals.  Very dreamy at school, I told lies, and was often feverish, susceptible to viruses.   I had a weird feeling about being ill and about doctors – both unpleasant and erotic.  But I loved falling down and having a plaster put on, loved blood.

GALLERY 3, including two from 1987 when dowsing memories

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The village school at Caerhays was a bundly brick building with big arched windows surrounded by a playground of tarmac and grass with a see-saw and a slide, and a high wall around it.

On my very first day – I began with half a day –  I had a strange new feeling in my tummy which I had never known before.   It was butterflies.  It felt very  important. My school teacher was called Mrs Willis.   She wasn’t young or pretty.   She had curly grey hair and a plump face with red veins in her cheeks, and a chatty sort of voice without a forehead, but she was kind.  She took my hand and said “Would you like to go to the toilet?”  I glowed, jumped up and went with her to see the toys.   But there were no toys at all, just a shed behind the schoolhouse with a lavatory inside.  I didn’t want to go.

My favourite lessons with her were when she taught us how the insides of our bodies work.  She sat at her desk and explained about our “digestion”; how hard it works all day long, kneading and working away at the food which comes down at mealtimes.  Her plump hands would mix and grind and turn until it was nearly done, and she could rest.  Then she looked up, her rosy face turned to dismay:  “Oh dear,  here comes some more!”  Those, she told us severely, were the between-meals snacks, the sweets and the chocolate.  One day she slapped my hand crossly when I started to paint blue decorations on a small clay cake we had made.  “You silly little girl!   Who ever heard of a blue cake?”

Mrs Willis and Mummy were friends, and Quince went to stay with her when Simon was born.   Mr Willis wore funny glasses and had a round nose.  He could balance a telegraph pole on it, and walk around their yard.  They had a big daughter called Linda who was busy doing “Extrams”.

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GALLERY 4

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I saw pictures of Queen Elizabeth II in her ermine and jewels.  If anyone in our family mentioned royalty, I got excited and blushed.  One day they told me she was coming to Cornwall to look at one of her farms.   A great crowd gathered along the lane outside Tregony to welcome her.  It was raining.  The car came at last, and went by so fast, you could hardly see her.   There was no ermine, no jewels or crown – just a woman in a suit waving a gloved hand.  I was bitterly disappointed.  But I never grew out of Kings and Queens.

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Ventonwyn

Ventonwyn

We lived at Ventonwyn Farm near Caerhays on the South Coast near Mevagissey.  Our house was a large white cottage with hollyhocks and apple-trees around it.  I didn’t at first like it, because I wanted to live in a big grand house in the city of Gathertegen.  But my parents said it was very pretty, and the garden was full of flowers. Fruit-trees grew at the far end of the front garden, by the lane.

Tall stems.  Tall stems by a window sill, and the blue corona of the scabious flower.  Here is the pungent scent of red geranium leaves.  The blood-purple heart of a pansy’s yellow velvet sun, on the ground.   Round furry leaves of drab green whose vein of purple releases to the touch the cloying fragrance of mud and cowpats in the yard, of weathered concrete, of trees in the sky and wet grass down the lane,  of Quince trying to play Mummy’s cello in the garden.   It releases the flowers I drew and named as I drew, and the tart tang of Lionel Miskin’s metal paintbox.  I wore socks on my feet, and sandals and cardigans, and I was ashamed of my body when I was ill,  just like a car.  Streams drench the lush thorny meadows, and the clouds fall down when it thunders.  Hot sunshine on the chalky concrete road leads up to the farm called Pencois where I waited for the taxi to school.   At Pencois in a new concrete house lived Mr and Mrs Dowidge and their boy called Brian, he with whom I trod on a snail.

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It is a smell of grey soil and cool trees bursting hot warmth from summer.  It is full of stories.   The round and purple heart of it has crimson edges.  It splits the world into golden voices.  It hovers at the very edge of my senses.  I can’t catch it.  Nor do I try.  It’s just there. It is red and green by a window, sharp rot and turpentine.  And it is warm and kind.  It’s a lane going down to a seaside beach, a beach I cannot quite remember.  It opens all the passages behind my throat and all the way down my back, it strokes my hair;  the metal of it is soft,  and when it happens I fall for that second into a place where light glances and slants,  and I am wide.

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butterfly

Red flowers, white walls, and the sunlight in the lane.  At the other end of the lane, the meadowsweet grew.  It has a luscious, unbelievable smell that you eat.  The meadowsweet with golden kingcups crossed an overgrown brook.  Here I looked for and found the magic Swallowtail Butterfly:  my prince with long horned moon-yellow wings, darkling tipped.  But the grownups didn’t believe me.  They said there were no swallowtail butterflies in England.  Nearby, in the wood, the wet dark undergrowth pushed up in spills and clusters, the pungent flavour of dogwort,  and of flowers which did not wear bright party dresses.

Daddy loved the ragged robin flowers, and pink campions.   He called them “Bridget in her Bravery” because they bloomed when all the other flowers died.  Near our house was a tall wide oak tree, which had had its top cut off.  One day Daddy climbed right to the very top and sat on the stump, looking fierce.  His employer Mr Strauss who came sometimes in his big car in a big suit and tie with big gangsters, wanted to cut the tree right down, and Daddy did not.

GOSLING learns to fly, 1987

GOSLING learns to fly, 1987

We kept geese in the back garden by the orchard, who stretched out their long white necks and hissed and frightened me.  Once I found an egg in the grass.  I picked it up and dropped it on the ground to see what would happen.   It burst open, sticky and yellow and messy.   Mummy arrived –  “I didn’t do it!” I said – and scolded me.

i didn't do it

i didn’t do it

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After that, I started to tell a lot of lies.   If I wasn’t happy with my day at school, I improvised a wonderful day by the sea, on the beach.   Mummy had to ring up Mrs Willis to find out what was going on.  Below Caerhays and the school was a long narrow bay.  The tide went out so far, you couldn’t see the sea any more.  It left wide shining sheets of sand and big dark rocks.

The Schlapps – Mam’s brother Robin and his wife Mary – gave us a quantity of very peculiar homemade clothes, which their children had grown out of.  They were both professors at Edinburgh university, and so these clothes didn’t look like anyone else’s clothes, and none of them fitted.   We used some of them to bathe in the sea.   We wore hand-knitted Schlapp swimsuits, which hung down dark and heavy with sea-water, almost to our knees. caerhays beach Auntie Lonie came to stay.   Daddy showed her the Bach violin sonata he was learning, would she play with him?  and they did, and she was most excited – “Well you see dears,  we keep on making discoveries!”  She wore her wispy hair in a net, and a black velvet band around her throat, because she said her old neck was too long and scraggy.  She had a funny sweet smell rather like Daddy’s, and an agitated voice.  She came with us by the sea, and crawled along the cliff-path in her stockings and big narrow shoes, to play with us.

One day they found out that Auntie Lonie had taught the piano to Mr Strauss, when he was a small boy in Hazelmere.  On one of Mr Strauss’s visits in his big car, Daddy let her look at him from an upstairs window, and Aunt said “yes dear, oh dear, there’s my little Ronnie!”

Mummy called Mr Strauss and his gangster brothers “the Four Apocalyptic Horses”, when she wrote to Jim and Mam in France.  One day we were taken for a sail from Mevagissy harbour on Mr Strauss’s big yacht.

In the yard there lay a bad tempered dog with sore bones called Bonzo, who did not belong to us.  Our own dogs, Moss and Nell, were working collie dogs and lived outdoors; they had both taught my father about sheep.  In the winter it snowed – the only heavy Cornish snowfall on record;  we must have brought it with us –  and I made three big round snowmen with lumps of coal for their eyes.  My fingers were red and numb; thick ropes of green mucus ran down from my nose all day,  and I wore the black and white striped hat Mummy had knitted for my birthday.   She took a photograph.   They also gave me a green fairy bicycle.  It was in the living-room, wrapped up for my seventh birthday in strips of brown paper.   At first I thought it was too big, a motorbike, and was cross, but then I learnt to ride it in the farmyard, by scooting down the concrete slope again and again until my balance suddenly and joyfully stayed up by itself.   Sometimes Mummy ran with me and held the saddle.

I learned to skip with a skipping rope.   I told Mummy seven is such a wonderful age to be, because I learned to do so many new things.   But I hated and feared snails and slugs.

skipping & smart plasters, 1987

skipping & smart plasters, 1987

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My parents became friendly with Derek Savage, Louis Adean (who lived in a wood near the sea),  Michael and Evie Fussell and other local painters and poets.  I watched Lionel Miskin – his long bony body and dirty hands, his laughing lined face and exaggerated pantomime way of speaking, violent like the strange faery voice of Cornwall and its weather, darned end to end with telegraph poles.

I watched Lionel paint the clay-tip landscape from our back garden, with his square-tip brushes, and smelled his strong turps. Mummy made me a swing in the orchard – the new ropes squeaked around the wooden seat.  I swung on this swing and watched the sun chasing clouds in huge galloping shadows across the fields.   I lay in the fields and watched the great clouds changing faces in the blue sky.   Sometimes the clouds turned to rainbow coloured petrol or oil, and fell as thunder.  They bruised and hurt the shining wet fields, and frightened the cows.

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Cornish china-clay-tips near St Austell by Lionel Miskin

Cornish china-clay-tips near St Austell by Lionel Miskin

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Along the horizon there was a range of mountains.  They all had triangular white points like a fairy story.  The pyramids rose in a jumble from a dark bumpy ridge of moorland.  As the day passed, they turned from white to blue, violet or silver.  Sometimes they sparkled and sometimes the weather hid them.  Sometimes they were grey as the ridge they grew from.  Among them clung small tin houses, a shambles, a  fairyland.  They were our back-drop.  They were there always.

Lionel sat on the grass and painted them onto his narrow boards.  His paints smelled thick, strong and sharp.  I watched him mix a thick corrugate of colour on his stiff brush and dab it accurately onto a small, unpainted place among autumnal tints.  Then I looked at the view.  There it was, that same patch of gold or pale yellow, in the clump of a distant copse.  Lionel built a patchwork of sour strong smells, drab light and pungent colour, realising the tints and flavours of that very ground.  His painting belonged to the white dusty hills. There was no gap between these and what he did with his hand, brush and messes.

I did not “like” or “love” this.  I took it absolutely for granted, like the times my body filled with sound and didn’t move.  His painting crossed the sky between me and the hills, and happened here.  And his painting, with my hills, was messy and smelly and sometimes menacing, and I lived with it.

Lionel by the Sea (1987)

Lionel by the Sea (1987)

Sometimes we would go for a drive among these pointed hills – the china-clay mines behind St Austell.  They were very untidy.  Their violent intimacy didn’t know itself – it was all exposed, skinless and open.   Many years later, Lionel gave me a book of savage poems by a man called Jack Clemo who lived in one of the little tin houses among the white peaks and the black pits.  He was most of the time totally blind and stone deaf, he lived in darkness.  And sometimes his eyes and ears for a moment would open and he could see and write his poems of darkness and of dazzling light.  Then he fell into their unspeaking shadow again.

Crongt and Furt.  Cornwall was darned end to end with telegraph poles

Crongt and Furt. Cornwall was darned end to end with telegraph poles

At school the monster was arithmetic.  I hated sums.  We were made to learn our times tables by heart and chant them.  I didn’t know how they worked, or what they were for, and I couldn’t remember them.   Mrs Willis got cross and so did my parents.  One day we had to have a test and I was terrified.  At the very last moment I found out how it worked.  After six twos are twelve, you carefully count up another six on your fingers and add it on,  to get six threes are eighteen,  and so on.  At last it worked.  For the first time I got them all right – I had discovered how to cheat – and Mrs Willis gave me a star. But figures were my continuing horror throughout my school life.  I got tied up in knots with the punishment around them.  I couldn’t follow Daddy’s repeated and finally infuriated attempts to explain, or my mother’s.  There were many tears.  My mind became blank, a block swamped with stuck metal like a car which won’t go.

Mrs Willis could do nothing to stop my incessant reading.   I left the ground and flew.   I made up my own fairytales.   In the school taxi I sat in front and told them to the other farm children, as they unfolded in my mind, and as I lived them.  I had no trouble in telling them at all – that came later.  Princesses, flowers and fairies poured through me and I took it for granted.  When I came back to school after being away ill, they pestered me in the taxi for more, and the driver warned them,  “Leave her be.  She’s got a cough, she hasn’t been well.” At the other side of our house, near the concrete lane which goes up to Pencois Farm, there is a brown pond with a tree across it like a bridge.   I sat on this bridge to read my book.   One day I dropped my book in the still brown water, and never saw it again.

Quince with beer bottle Quince was fond of drinking beer out of bottles, and helping with the cows.  She and her boy-doll called Jollis brought them in from the field for milking.  Jollis had been named by a smart Frenchwoman to whom he was shown in France, when we went to see Jim and Mam.  I think she probably said “mais c’est joli”.

I wondered if French children laughed in the same way as we do.   The French words and the Cossong river were strange sharp nasal noises which often sounded cross.  Jim made French noises sometimes, but we were told he did them badly.

I had another doll called Canchumemba who looked like Mrs Ireson, the teacher at school who taught the older ones.  She looked rather severe, and was made out of pale velvet and black hair.  I may have been given her in Bransdale.  Mummy asked me time after time, what’s her name?  what are you going to call her?  I replied always “I can’t-chu-memba.”  Mummy said crossly “Alright then.”  So Canchumemba settled down with that regal name for herself among the Friends.  She reminds me of Auntie Lonie.  Quince was given another doll for Christmas, a larger and more modern one than Susan,  called Judy.  I was jealous.

Fingaloo and Fart

Fingaloo and Fart

I often found it hard to get other children to play with me, or to join their games.   Sometimes it was alright, with Grandmothers Footsteps and huge circle games of tag.  I hated the “rough boys” with their skinny arms.   In the school playground, the best thing was the big see-saw.  We sat each end in twos, back to back.  One day I edged myself further up and pushed Ivor who was sitting with his back to me right off the edge.  I think this was an accident.  He splattered to the ground, and when he got up his face from nose to chin was gristle.

Sometimes we would climb and sit on the high wall at the edge of the playground.  The woman who lived in the next-door house looked up at us from her area where she gossiped, and said “YOU’LL KILL YOURSELVES UP THERE.”  I didn’t know what “kill” meant.  I thought it meant to be hurt very badly, and gloated down at her from my summit.  If one is hurt very badly, it means Smart Plasters of an enormity beyond one’s wildest dreams.

My importance was boundless.   One day I walked up the ridged concrete road – raised slightly from the grass – to Pencois and School, and a big white van came slowly down the hill towards me and stopped.  The people in it wore peaked hats and looked concerned: “Is this the way to Ventonwyn?” “I’m Off to School,” I replied, with self conscious dignity.

Later that day, I found that I was going to stay with my friend Mary Jobson for a whole week, because Mummy had gone off in an ambulance to hospital in Red Roof to have her new baby.  Quince went off to stay with the Willises and their daughter who did Extrams.  Mummy has just told me that this clear memory is inaccurate.  She says her waters broke during the night, and the ambulance came for her before I went off to school;  we all waved bye bye to her and I said to her “I hope you have a LOVELY time.”

It was a miracle to live so close to the sea

It was a miracle to live so close to the sea

I was very happy in Mary’s big grand house at the bottom of a garden full of rhododendrons.  Our mothers were friends.  Mary had a small fierce daddy called Major and a horrid small brother called Robert.  Her mummy was tall, dark and brisk;  I liked her being my mummy for a week,  except when she made me go to the lavatory each morning after breakfast.   I pushed and pushed but nothing came out.   I didn’t want to go, but she might make me stay there all day in that little room with the door shut, so I tried.

Mary’s mother helped me to write letters to Mummy in hospital in Red Roof.  I felt so important that I began my letters with “Dear Mrs Adams”.  Mary’s mother didn’t think this was quite right, why don’t I write “My Dear Mummy”?   It is more loving.  So I obeyed.  I wrote to her that I was very pleased about the Baby, and yes I should like to call him Simon,  and that Mary and I had such a lot of fun climbing and sliding down the ruff.

the sea

Mary’s house had such big attics that you could climb out from them onto the roof and go everywhere on the tiles.  One attic led into another, mouldy and brown with dust.  In them hung grey columns of sleeping bats upside-down, like strings of onions.  They had sharp pointed wings and squeaked like mice if disturbed.

When Mummy came back from Red Roof with tiny baby Simon, she was smart and slim, and we all came back home again.  She brought him in his shawl up to Pencois where the school taxi came, and held him up in the air so that all the other children could see my new little brother and cry  “Aa-a-aah!”

She let him lie out in the sun all summer, and fed him from her warm brown nipples.  He turned brown as well, like a shining conker with white hair.  He was a gentle baby with bright blue eyes, and Mummy said he looked exactly like Jane.

Quince let her doll Jollis lie in the hot sun with Simon:  but Jollis – who was made of rubber – perished, began to smell very bad, and eventually had to be buried.

Daddy argued with the owner of Ventonwyn,  Mr.Strauss, whose regular visits in his big car with gangsters upset everybody –  Daddy refused to cut down any trees at all – and we had to move.  Mr Strauss rang up Daddy and said “You are a nasty, rude, ungrateful young man, Goodbye,” and put the phone down with a bang.

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My favourite Cornish photo.  The weather hides the pyramids, which were visible all the time behind the field and the two tree stumps.

My favourite Cornish photo. The weather hides the pyramids, which were visible all the time behind the fields and the two tree stumps.

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_48021123_swallowtail_butterfly_512

GALLERY 5

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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 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. 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/

Tales from the Watershed – Enoch and the Well

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.

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The Wisdom of the Fool by a Well (1988)

The Wisdom of the Fool by a Well (1988)

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 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.

politics-conservative-party-conference e.powell

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?”

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bluebell time at broomlands

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“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.”

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Queen with child, 1956

Queen with child, 1956

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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.

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roots at broomlands

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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.

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mary queen of scots exiled from france, on a ship - 1957

mary queen of scots exiled from france, on a ship – 1957

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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”?

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goddess with swan - 1956, copy from Leonardo

goddess with swan – 1956, copy from Leonardo

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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.

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sleep - 1987

sleep – 1987

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“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.”

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A fairy godmother, 1957

A fairy godmother, 1957

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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?

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12 hanged man - Version 3

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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.

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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.

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Dancing goddess, on the Heath Extension

Dancing goddess, on the Heath Extension

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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 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. 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/

 

Tales from The Watershed: The Lens

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hieroglyph

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vesica by dino valenti

vesica by dino valenti

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IN THE 1970s, I joined a team of portrait painters.  We were commissioned to draw and paint children at boarding-schools for their parents;  at first we were called Portrait Artists Ltd;  later our manager William Deeves formed a registered charity – The National Portraiture Foundation.  Our work brought us a basic livelihood;  later, the Assocation’s additional aim, as well as introducing portraiture to households at a bargain rate, was to sponsor and train gifted young people.  

Working with a fraternity of senior artists, I enjoyed the intensive and (for me) exhilerating weekends of my artistic apprenticeship.  I learned to work fast and accurately,  drawing five and occasionally up to ten portraits in a single day.  In the evenings we hit the town, exhausted, and caroused.   We travelled and worked together, and formed  close friendships.  It was like a Renaissance bottegha.    

Sometimes I stop to reflect on my many hundreds of portraits in unknown living rooms up and down the country.  They were all done with a passion which glows.  Those children are by now grown up, with children of their own.  Occasionally we converge again, for me to sketch new additions to the family.   It was a remarkable period of human richesse, adventure and companionship.

(Gallery 1 – to view, click on any image, and wait to upload)

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At the same time I had a deep and prolonged relationship-stress at home.  Like the gems within a geode, its safety valve was my dreams at night.   I wrote them down, and they became the foundation for my spiritual journey to come – my Tales from the Watershed. (For others in this series, see under Categories.)

“The Lens” when I dreamed it in 1975, underwrote a tough growing curve.  My then partner was trying to turn me against my family and my grandparents.  

This tale of vision, an alchemical catalyst, breaks through the crust each time I rediscover it.   At times, life has to be hard and painful, and to crack, to let in the light.   

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strata

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Dreams No.203 – 6 November 1975:  “The Lens”

THERE’S A touch or fragrance of landscape – like winter in Wales.   It reminds me of Jim Ede.   I see his books in shelves of white weathered wood;  the backs of these books are a faded spectrum of grey, blue and dusky green like the sea.   The books are in my early memories of my grandparents.   Some of them are about mountains and the men who climb snowy Annapurna, and some have “Details” and “More Details” in them of Renaissance angels in the National Gallery.

These were my masters.   As a child I sat in a high chair at a round table with a big book open to a Botticelli madonna, angel, Primavera or cluster of hands, and copied them.   They taught me to draw.  They showed me how beautiful a line or curve can be, and its mythology.   There is no half measure of grace.   I drew what I saw, breathed the fragrance of those old pages.   The beauty is pain to hold until it can find again a pencil.

There is toast and honey for tea:  a droll solemnity in Jim’s blue eyes.  My grandmother’s voice is crisp as a bee in the Scottish hills, as she turns the old pages with me.  “Don’t fuzz the line, let it grow bold and clean.”

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(Gallery 2 – includes drawings circa 1956/7)

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How strange then !  on this journey with the other portrait artists on a job, somewhere near Malvern or the Welsh border, to find these very books on shelves in the house of shy George.  George is the new artist who joined our itinerant group.   He is “non-descriptive”.

I cannot describe the strange pleasure of discovery the mute volumes give me, or the delicate hues of their closed cloth covers,  but it brings me home to a vivid light in my grandfather’s eyes,  and the sharp smell of beeswax.   It is the in-dwelling essence also of this remote and hilly part of the country.   Many hills up here are untrodden, many small valleys unseen;  it rains, and cloud veils a sudden opening to the sun.   The woods, the villages and ways of life here, a closed and forgotten book, lie open to the sky.   A celestial radiance plays havoc within this house …   why has George inherited it?

madonna botticelli

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George, the shy one, invited us to stay with him rather than go to a hotel, for his house was near the school where we worked.   He speaks very little, wears drab dark garments, and never allows anyone to see his work.   The rest of us like to amuse, learn from, or draw moral support from each other.   We are qualified in the art of likeness, and do the same drawing over and over, more or less.    Sometimes I am arrested, by an angel glimpsed in the face of a child at school, and a touch of magic begins …  but George is a kind of non-person.  He whispers.  He leaves almost no traces of his passage on his surroundings.

The interior of his house is a kind of splendour.

He draws with his eraser.   He builds a delicate web with his pencil, then transforms it with the eraser to a textural smudge of suggestion.   He doesn’t like any of us to see what he is doing.   Under his cloak, behind his thick lensed spectacles, he hides a delicate draughtsman’s act of discovery and uncertainty.   The creature covers its tracks.    Yet he doesn’t mind us seeing his house – he suddenly decided to trust us.   So we ran all over it like children, in delight, curiousity and personal pique –  for we have not been kind to him behind his back, we laugh at his non-drawings.

We explored the bric a brac in timbered and palatial rooms,  the nameless antiques of personal history,  the vases of flowers on scrubbed white shelves of veined driftwood,  the drawings and canvasses on the walls,  some of these his own work.    The geometric flora of vesica pisces in medieval architecture is a recurring theme, and so is the zodiacal calender, containing detailed studies of local wild animals.  Circle enters circle, making love:  the oval lenses widen, giving birth to fishes and hexagonal stars.  Long wide corridors lead out into the gardens to view the woodland paths and thistle tufted meadows of George’s violet country.

How dim and dark his house looks, until you step inside.   In many of the rooms I found upon shelves, Jim Ede’s old books still standing.   Their silvering script seems to protrude through walls and out of doors, like the sky or sea within.  The wood came in with the sea.

So George also knows.

winter

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And I wandered from George’s house into the extensive and rather untidy gardens.   A path through the cider orchard brought me to a heterogenous group of outbuildings, maybe the old stables, or a wattled barn with an apple-press inside, where tiny insects flit and drink.

But no, they resemble a castle.   As I came nearer, I noticed an ornate and graceful architecture.  Grass and weeds flourished untended;  a mixed growth of hazel and oak around it formed a natural glade.   I entered a serial maze.   One building opened or led loosely into the quadrangle of another through a graded sequence of archways growing at the same time greater and lesser.   The sequence was not a linear one.   Into an encircling depth of centre I travelled through dark stone walls, through alternating shells of greenery and masonry with a few old trees and some sheds for the chickens, garden tools and lumber.   It is like a rose.  It is all rather overgrown;  and suddenly every arch meets and opens into a single flower; and I am brought to a halt by a vault that surrounds me;   and through the high apex of the vault comes the light of the sky all around.

The vault enspheres the anthem of this space.

vesica 1

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I’m brought to the standstill of my breath by a wordless music.  A Gothic stone spiral around interwoven curves and planes of the arch, opens into, from and out of itself, a web of variations on one theme – where all ways meet.   Here is silence.   It leads the eye of my mind into contemplation, an angelic stair,  it leads me entranced to a kind of window,  crystal lens or sightless “eye” above me.

Yes.   The trance is entry, entrance.   I am drawn into the “ar’got” or secret tongue.   My vision drawn up into the web, the polyphony of stone and timber, evolved as one of those dark caves of limestone rock whose glory drop by drop the rain carved out through the aeons.   As stalagmite to stalactite, is my soul’s growth from the ground towards the point of meeting, of reflection in that imperceptible deposit of cosmic mineral.    Let us draw together through time, this space of meeting.

The moment of the whole is my small candle flame.  It lifts away from the wick to unite with itself in the upper waters on the rock – an inverted flame approaches.   The interpenetrating planes of the sphere – petals of  vesica pisces – dissolve as a droplet.   Not by earthly measure a large chamber, this vault; one candle would suffice to illumine it;  a single drop contains itself a sea.

madonna

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In caverns of limestone the work is through ages of darkness.   The candle must be brought to it, to reveal what is being formed.   The organs of our inner body, like that which gleams in the cave, work in the dark.  Beyond sight, they glow.  In the hollowing of the Gothic sphere or chamber, I am the hour-glass of the ages.   I see inverted or reflected pinnacles in the web – in an instant, yes, the instant of awakened vision, the fire of light.   It infinitely illumines.   The trance is my entry.  It subtly, inexorably captures my mind into Sight, into the loss of my known cities, into the persuasion of that lens in the roof.   I enter the focal point through a series of shells, of planes of vision superimposed.   I am bound into a spell, into the curve of an arc meeting infinite solvency around and into that dance,  the line of a drawing under the Master’s Eye.

In this organ I have no known learning, no “argot” or translation.   How am I to see?   Shall I look inward?   Only, it is said, to the extent that you are able to see from within your own dark,  may you begin to perceive What is looking in !

Who is being encountered and instructed in this place of meeting?  to grow from the ground as vision itself within the eye?  CREDO in unum deum, like flower to sun, through the resistor of the earthly membrane.   Lord, thou art God.  I am that I am:  TAT TWAM ASI.  Around it flow details and yet more details in the ballet of stone, of rocky argive,  or webbed timber.   I know nothing but a sudden flood of response to my calling, the music of aeons in an overpowering instant;   I am the draughtsman’s line.

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I am sensing also some springtime petals of cloudy blue.   Harebells, those modest dancing goddesses.   They are waving in the breeze, and it is sad.  “Bye bye my April, I am five and we are moving house.  I am five years old, and I have to go to school to learn to read and write.”

We moved away from Bransdale on the Yorkshire moors to go to school in Cornwall.  It was April 1954.  The harebells had just come through the long winter snow.

Bye bye Finella

Bye bye Finella

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There is also in this magnetized place, a fear of what is capturing me;  of the loss of my innocence or my state of unknowing,  of bondage into a vibration or ray of light that might burn out all my centres.  I might submit to a dark or merely occult power which alienates.   But on that trembling verge, I have beauty, the Eye,  the incandescent power of seeing.

I could hear the voices of the other portrait painters nearbye,  they too were exploring the outbuildings, talking history, shop and pigments.  They teased their way along a string of covered cloisters.   Whether in the desire to share, or to boast of my discovery – for I am lonely with it –  I called out to them from the chamber,  “Come and see this,  come and look up through here!”

But they passed through some time ago with a glance, and went on.   They are not arrested by the sight of that strange Lens, and its actual relationship to life.   They cannot see it, even though they are artists.

Three Graces

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I can see, even though I am not really an Artist but –  an Astronomer.   The temple arresting my gaze, is an optical organ or instrument.   I am the evolving or revolving science of optics, a vision or lens, which is being developed for observing the universe.   I am designed to bring the stars closer, through instruments.

The temple is an observatory.   It was the pineal power of sight, both inner and outer, bestowed in times gone by, upon the human beings of today.   It tutors our perception.   The choices we make with our gift of sight follow the lines of personal evolution.

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Ring on table Emblem 9

Later on as I came away from this place, different frames of time superceded the vault to heaven.  My fascination with the lens turned malign.   The voltage in my cells was too strong.   As I had grown no experience in handling or mastering the gift, its flow of ions – condensed from aeons –  became a resistence factor against “me”.   It began, like matter over-energised, to work against the tide of my feeling,  in things I did or that happened to me.

No longer could I flow with  life.   My way across the grain distorted it.  It grew heavy in what I did and what received.   I stuck in the grain of a round wooden table, towards the edge, the river of life.  There were incarnations, apprenticeships and jealousies.  It crossed me – bad temper, frustration,  rebellion against the grain.   I was barricaded from vision, and defenseless against the barrage of all encompassing petty grievance – my immaturity, my envy of others.

I began to fear very much the Lens, and my temerity in looking through it.   I fear the betrayals to which I now am vulnerable as I make my way back to life through the trees, to the “Round Table” of my colleagues.   I am superstitious in the wood.

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(Gallery 3)

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The next thing I see is myself no longer at centre,  but on the rim of a circle or mandala.   We’ve left George’s house and the unassuming glories of his inner world, and are back at work drawing and painting schoolchildren.   We have been placed around a large table to work;  it is of light oak;  the flowing grain has trapped pale flecks like feathers or flocks of birds.   There isn’t much elbow room.  We are in each other’s way, looking at the other’s way of doing the same or the done thing, like a ferris wheel of mirrors.

My problem in this wood is the grain not of truth but of the copier.    Who is faking?   Who is the forger – the forager ! –  of works of art?

Peter has come.   Peter my father who is a farmer, brings his own grain of truth to the table, to join our circle.  He is getting out paper, charcoal,  making space for himself.   I always knew he has the eye.

Oh, but what is this?   He’s been commissioned to do two paintings here, in oil!   But he  jumped the grade – the new apprentices should begin with drawing.  Colour is the art of the master.   He’s not a painter, he’s never done a painting in his life!    My own two sitters never turned up, I lost time and money, dark jealousies within me oppress and sting my eyes with tears.   I’m in a long flag-stoned passage near the kitchens.  I can’t get through to them or their families on the antiquated country telephone with its knotty brown cord.   My anger and hatred detonate everywhere into everything that obscures, obstructs and harasses me.   Next I dialled Bill Deeves, our entrepreneurial manager, but got cut off.

I have no sitters, no work to do or be paid for,  and everyone else is productive and busy,  I’ve been let down,  the two absent sitters are two blanks of sight before me.   “If you don’t use a Talent, you lose it!” – they were given to him while I was away –  I was far away, in the strange Lens.   I might as well be blind.   Life gathers atoms of misfortune into tides of flickering pigment, should I look?    Or should I not?

Within the frame.  Within the wood. Within the body.

“Let thine eye be single, and thy body filled with light.”

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I had to walk here –  along the toils, the coils and branches that meander into the dark,  along the path of honesty.   This path, the work of the seer, is an essential thread or filament to unravel in my being.   It leads from light in the mirror, back to light that is its source, in the Self, the sacred Eye.

And i was late.

And i had lost all my gear.

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(Peter remarked in 1992, after he read the first draft of this story:  “What a masterly drawing you do of George and of his house.   Was there really this astounding Folly, this temple?   Your moment of seeing there, of Eternity, was like T.S.Eliot’s beside the sunken pool in the hidden garden –  ‘quick, quick, said the bird’.  

“Strange how at quite early ages we know we have the “sacred eye”, the gift that is both burden and light, and yet through time and time we cannot or will not use it, or forget it is there,  until another nudge reminds us of our work.   Never mind about being late when here is all, and once here you do not need your gear,  so it is better lost.

“What is ‘pineal’ sight?   Pineal is to resemble a pine cone,  or is the stalked Pineal endochrine gland in the brain.   Is it a folded upon itself leaf by leaf cone of inward and outward sight that unfolding radiates outwards,  seeing all?   And argo is jargon or slang of a trade or calling – in argot’s case,  usually of thieves?”)

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angels

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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 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/

The Playground

Do we look at our children – the miracle – and wonder?

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tyre swing

In Parliament Hill Playground  (1983)

Children, tender-lined
splash and tinkle sweet flesh unfinished
on water, sun and sand.

Mothers with breasts and veins
and fathers with hidden lusts and large legs
among their offspring, wander watchful.

On the other side of the sunny screen
is the Dark world of love,
the memories and messages in dreams.

Here are tall poplar trees, the grass,
the splash
and the screams
on Sunday, a picnic lunch;

and there, twelve daughters comb twelve heads
of the wizard who plans in pasha sleep
their marriages.

A drawing by R.A.Brandt from "Why the Sea is Salt" and other Norse fairy tales, 1946

A drawing by R.A.Brandt from “Why the Sea is Salt” and other Norse fairy tales, 1946

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Across the sea from those tranced islands
that little brat in the sandpit’s mine!
Fresh and strong as a sunflower, she runs and plays.

I bore her from an island
into whose ravine I sank with a man
from a different world
in sad and catastrophic collision.
Within its crater,
with debris and by shattered wells
he wrote his alien sign
imprint of peace and pity scalpel sharp
within my sleep.
And seas of time and settling sands
did drown them in the deep.

High tide brought today, the messages
clear writ, unfaded, scraps within my keeping;
water sheds …  to whom can they be told?

That little one with a brand new friend in the sand,
is my child!

tyre swing 2

They called me, come see their print –
their peak of sand with flagpole twig,
stick drawn circles, scuffed cities of play.

Lightning strikes
my life up till … and yet to come.

All our messages are these same
scraps of stories.
Sad adults play with them too
from one dark island to another dark land.

Mothers with breasts and veins
and fathers with hidden lusts and large legs breed
from their treasure chests

the mystery,
combat, tedium, joy
of their childrens’ sunrise.

family

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The background of this poem is the genesis of the Watershed Tales.  It was a summer’s day in 1983.  The day before, I unearthed from the back of a cupboard, a large pink ring-binder containing carbon-copies of hundreds of recorded dreams during the 1970s.  I had forgotten  it.   The rediscovery opened Pandora’s Box.  They woke.  There were stories !  There were dimensions !  I was in shock, and couldn’t sleep all night.  I worked with them – on and off –  ever since.   They are my raw material, my esoteric garden.

ringbinder 2

ringbinder 1

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cotswold stone

Here is a birthday card from my daughter this year.  It is called “Cotswolds Wall” and the photo is by Catherine Ames, but it reminds me of the dry stone walls on the Yorkshire moors, and my recurring early-childhood dreams of birth.  It was hard work to cross the garden of sorrows, to reach my mother, who stood at the wall, by a tree, and called me.

crossing the garden of sorrows

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A demand

This is a drawing of “a demand” – a troubled relationship – a hand outstretched which could or would not be filled.  The woman in the wall is the shape of an ear, but the man doesn’t know she hears him;  and so she grieves.

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Sisters in Bransdale, Yorkshire

Sisters in Bransdale, circa 1954

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Parenting

Parenting 1999

Heart strings

… and stretching heart strings.  (1999)

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vera and iona

A friend, who gave birth at 42 (1983)

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Lambing

Lambing, at Bransdale, 1954.  My father midwifes the ewe.  We called the lamb “Rossita”.  Behind him in the third photo, you can just see Moss, the watchful border collie, who taught my father everything he knew about sheep.

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tree on mountain

And here is a peak of sand with flagpole twig:  I Ching 53 – Wind over Mountain.  “Mountain” is “keeping the back still.”  Wind is “Gentle”, Wood, and thus a Tree whose roots penetrate the rock and it is seen far and wide.  The Hexagram is called “Development – Gradual Progress.”  It came up in the oracle early this week.   (As it did last November – see “Mandala, A Demonstrated Democracy“).  Tensions fall into place and are fulfilled.  It is serene.   My bottom line is found again – profound, beautiful and unplumbed:  for GIVE.  It is the Tree of Eden and all its fruit of all the worlds, silence.  Silent night.  I felt a shift deep down.  It dropped and fell open.  Something extraordinary happened this week.

Watch the tree, and even a whole wood on a mountain, visible and growing slowly:  the long term project.   The attitude of oasis.

Ecology is a science of echoes.  Keeping still, let the woody veins of the weather guide the field.  In the keeping still is warmth, life, light, vibrance.  Tao, the Middle Way, finds itself, or is found, like divining the river in the night.  The magnetic threads “draw together” as dharma, the right way to swim with, and for things to grow.

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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 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.

See also the Aquariel Link – “On Gaia as our Self” – a landmark article about Autopoiesis.

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/

Tales of the Watershed: A House of Hundreds of Rooms

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wave break

The Watershed stories were written down long ago, around events which are more or less done and dusted.  But as they were dreamed, they have a tendency to reverberate, and they come to me as teachers, past, present and even future.   This tale underlies my emotional landscape of the last week or two – somewhat bumpy, but beginning to settle; to acknowledge, and let go.  It is another tale of incarnation or birth, the parental mystery from womb through tomb.   Mastery of any art is again, a spell-thing.

sphere

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“The Witch” – Dreams,  No.270   October 1976

I SAW a great roll of sea race into the bay and up the beach.   My father dived into this witchy wave as it turned to race back out to sea, and I saw him rapidly carried by the current very far out from the rocky beach.   He swam and shouted in the distance, his head could hardly be seen.   “He’s too far out!”  my mother shouted  “The current’s got him, he can’t swim back to us against it.  Oh!  He can’t get back.   We’ve lost him …”

But I began to get ready.   For yes, I am going after him,  to follow him out into the wondrous wild grandeur of that surging grey sea.   It pulls every fibre of my body, I must be there in that music,  else my life ends in envy.   There is no more after that in my memory.   There is only the tug of the boundless white element, the wave.

But there is also a huge house in which I lived for a time.

In this house were hundreds of rooms.   Many of them were bedrooms, as in a hotel,  but they also were clustered to form large apartments loosely interconnected by corridors, kitchens and utilities.   The living spaces communicated with each other like a grapevine.   The bedrooms were large, the beds in them wide and neatly made:  sometimes there were two or more beds to a room.   They were extraordinarily inviting.

Cupid & Psyche 1973

Cupid & Psyche 1973

They tugged my body.   I wanted to sleep in them all.   I couldn’t make up my mind.   I felt also intensely sad and deprived, because none of the rooms, beds or clusters belonged to me.   Others lived in and occupied them.   The rooms were redolent of the warmth, the pain, the sensual expectancy of those lives, sweet poignancy, my heart filled with an anguished longing and envy.   I wanted to be with a man on those beds, to have sex, to have affairs.   Dark, close, divinely rotting is the fruit, so thick the air, and intense the waiting.   How to possess any of those rooms?   They were allotted to people there, haphazardly by the management;   to my sister and to my brother;   both of them were in this place.   They knew their place in the music of adult providence.

In the kitchen a stout jovial woman cooked meals and looked after people.  Is she the owner,  or the mother of them all?

Cooking - 1987

Cooking – 1987

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Within the walls were a musty honeycomb of dark staircases and passages.   I went quite often to the kitchen to talk to or watch Queen Bee the jovial woman, to blur for a few minutes the sharp edge of my anxious loneliness.   Her kitchen had, I think, no windows.   She was always busy there, and she was not a tidy cook.   The electric light was strong, and her stoves, airing cupboards and hand-me-down furniture were massive.   Dishes piled up briskly by the sink and vegetables upon the table and newspapers on the chairs.   She kept her recipes on scraps of paper within the leaves of the great philosophers, and lost them from year to year.   She strode on large legs, voluminously aproned, and tied her dark hair in a knot.   The walls of her kitchen were painted an old fashioned yellow, and the wainscoting was chocolate brown.

The Tale of Samuel Whiskers by Beatrix Potter

The Tale of Samuel Whiskers by Beatrix Potter

In the walls were yielding places.  By the broom-cupboard, a small area yielded to deep channels of shadow in the “fruit” beyond the wall;   yielded to an ancient breath of corruption.

This very small aperture in the kitchen wall frightened me.   It was stifling and rather hot.  I might get stuck.  A thick flap or curtain covers it almost to the bottom.   It is uncomfortable to submit my body to the slanted twisting plane of this confined space.   There might be claustrophobia, cannot breathe.   But I crawled through it into a passage that led upwards for some way, like the chimneys in Tom Kitten,  and then down a steep flight of stairs, narrow and murky, to the door of a closed room which was a witch’s  hole.

dragon eats tail

A cloth hung over this door.   I removed the hanging cloth and pushed up the screen to open it.   An appalling square of darkness rushed out at me, paralyzing my memory.   I took the body of the witch in my arms – it was hanging on the door mummified, long preserved and undisturbed, wearing a petrified cap encrusted with jewels – switched on the electric light into the room and walked across it.   I think I laid the witch down on a box bed at the other side and in the corner.   The room was empty, fusty and full of dust.   It was redolent of petrified spells and latent powers.

scorpio force spiral

spell-thing

scorpio glyph

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Having opened the door,  I have returned many times to that room.

Many times I crawled through that disagreeably small aperture into the passage and the murky flight of stairs.   The woman in the kitchen did not prevent me from doing so.   But in her genial way she was anxious.   She warned me to be careful, making almost a joke of it.   I was a little afraid she might become severe and forbid my access.

During my visits to the room, its atmosphere became tangibly charged with ions (condensed from aeons)  of purpose.   Awakened feelings and influence throbbed up from the bare worm-eaten floorboards,  making me wish to do strange things with my body, to burst out of it, to abuse, to copulate with the air,  to leap around, to fly upside down.   These things however I did not do.   For I must not dissipate the serpent force.   I am playing in this place with an ancient danger.   I am very frightened, but I do not think my fear will overcome me.

 floor-boards

What did I set out to do?   I cannot quite see.   To the limits that I’m allowed, I am an observer of the ancient danger.   I am its explorer.   I renew the life-force of the witch and the spell that she herself placed under seals in time gone past.

Water flows from rock, from life and thought, from fossilized bone.   The seals were cryptic diagrams and stars to trace with my body in the dust of the floor.   And I am their release.   They in that room had no speech, no form.   They were perhaps evil.   Their current was an increase of power from fancy to substance, getting hotter.

I am the serpent that awakens in the shivering land.   I am uncoiling from sleep, and the room is a solid flying creature like a rainbow, earth broke open.   Night is devouring light.   Every tree under the moon is a vipers nest of lights whip-lashing earth.   They penetrate my body like severed conduits of current.   They spark, they writhe.   I can’t get back, I’ve lost them, I the spectrum of all precious stones, I a prism for pure light into the rainbow, into coloured fog, night to devour the light,  go back, go back, pour the oscillating pulse back into the trembling equipoise of stillness, yes, stop it moving, stop the circling thought.   Pour its iridescence back into the floor-boards, mischief is the excess of things.

Baphomet sigils

Again and again I would leave the room and creep through the little opening back into the kitchen where the jovial woman reigns among her kitchen stove, sink, steamer-pots, pans, peas and parsnips which she baked in sesame oil.   She – her sympathy with me is cooling.   I am beginning to lose her alliance, she turns her back on me, she looks perturbed, she’s bending over the oven, its heat is all around.   “Wait, can’t you,” she snaps   “It isn’t ready.   In this house are hundreds of lives to feed …”

And then I must return again to do whatever it was that I was doing.   “What are you stirring up?”   she asked suddenly.

Shepherdess, 1988

Shepherdess, 1988

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A time came for final retreat from the room where my body lay.   It was full now of elementars, and of vaccuums of a viscous grey entity whose force was stronger than I,  and frightened me very much.   Last time I went in, a shrill twittering and shrieking greeted me.   I saw a live horned bat hovering outside one of the windows.   There are windows to this room, windows to some further degree of night that cannot be uttered.   This bat was hungry. It was attracted by the light.  It would come in and sweep its dubious soul through every dark dream in the house at the other side of the aperture.   But into light the bat flies blind.   The light makes it stupid, it cannot see.   So I left the Light on in that room.   I closed the door and pulled the green cloth screen down over it and escaped back to the kitchen and to the company of the genial Queen Bee.

Lovers & their History

Lovers & their History

“There’s a bat there now,”  I told her, trying not to shake too much.   “I left the light on in the room.   For a creature of darkness, light is a Black Hole.   It extinguishes the night vision.   It makes the creature’s sight collapse in on itself, it is gravity sort of, in reverse, so it’s alright isn’t it? to stop the bat at the window?   Otherwise it’d just go on and on, find all the dark that is in the world …”

But the jovial woman was very alarmed.   “On no account must you go back there!” said she.   “Yes, it is well that you left light there.   That bat is eternity.   Eternity is looking in.   Eternity is wanting to belong in,  to own just one little room of time.   Eternity is you and your curiosity, you foolish child.”

“But,”  I said  “I made a barrier of light,  the illumined room of the witch.   It bars the bat from flitting through the room and the door and –  and into where people are living in all the bedrooms –  oh –  what if I left a crack,  an opening?    I’ve got to – go back,  haven’t I?”

The woman said,  “Yes,  you’d better.   To be sure within yourself.”

Crevassemoth Ally - Sketch

Crevassemoth Ally – Sketch

I went back.   One more time,  to make sure all is safe and secure.   I had forgotten one thing in my haste,  which is to cover the door and the green screen with the cloth.

So I crawl again through the stuffy aperture in the skirting-board, up through the passage of night and down the murky stairs.   The staircase now is full of horror.   Hesitating at the top, I steeled myself.   Now I am plunging into an abyss, entangled in a grotesque cobweb from the bannisters, ropes that grope to strangle me.   At the bottom I pull the cloth covering right down over the door, over the green screen that covers the door, tucking the edges of the cloth closely in all round to leave no gaps.   The screen yields to my touch as if it hangs free and is alive.   I pull it down closer to the ground, hoping there is no way through for the bat.   The Light will stay on always, as a lure to the whole force of the bat.   It will curve its particles of will inward, how can it go anywhere else?

Then I escaped up the stairs.   I looked back.   The cloth hung still, quiet and pale over the door, with a great rose coloured cross designed upon it, which reached to its height and breadth.  And when I looked back again, there hung upon the rose-coloured cross the witch, who has apparently been put back in place.   But this time no cap hides her head.   It is a human head, sorrowful with drooping eyelids and long brown hair combed as if for some ceremony.

rose cross seeds of light

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In this house are hundreds of rooms.

They are the honeycomb of my sad soul,  soul of the world,  for “being” is transcendent,  measureless through all the rooms.   “Being” is you and I and the fields that we know and the seas that we don’t.   In infinite depth or series of transparency, I look out through every  window of history.   There is no floor.   The gleam of light that is realised in consciousness within, through  and beyond this house of hundreds of rooms deeper than the Universe, is a key to the world.

World tarot compass

World tarot compass

The passage back to the key-hole – aperture to the kitchen of the jovial woman who reigns in and feeds a house of hundreds of rooms – intersected another passage on the way.   I discovered this passage opening out to the left.   It is a big and open flight of stairs descending towards the basement, to the nether regions of the house.   I can hear people, the voices of men down there.   Perhaps they are working,  or repairing something.   I seem to hear the percussive ring of tools.

I have been down that great staircase a little way, but not to the bottom.

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ramana & annamalai brick laying

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Here is a song of the Earth and Sea.  I painted it many years later, while listening to Cesar Franck’s joyous Symphonic Variations.  “Crevassemoth” is a meeting of the elements in my soul, where waves break into Earth, atoms interact and shadow spills Light.   It is an alchemical transmutation.  The sun glints my golden path in the waters’ embrace.

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Crevassemoth Alchemy 1987

Crevassemoth Alchemy 1987

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More dream stories in this series, are in the Watershed Tales Category on the sidebar.

WordPress make it great fun to insert a mosaic gallery and wonder what order they will show up in.  This post was intended to be “pictorially restrained” with a small gallery at the end – even so, a surprising number of ideas popped up from my files;  I discarded about half of them, so this is what is left.

GALLERY

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. 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/