A Quaker Perspective - January

The tour of the north I made with my wife Clancy in the first week of the year to film more interviews for A Quaker Perspective was one of the most intensive but fulfilling of my life.  

Standing in Brigflatts Meeting House I felt in the centre of a centuries-old continuity of faith & testimony that was at once robust, unemphatic yet totally contemporary. Zen-like in its strength and detachment. 

The interior was totally unchanged from this 19thC photo (except for the removal of the stove) to the degree that it had no power sockets in the MH – an unforeseen hazard. This drawing of a wedding ceremony was  particularly charming – an interesting period detail being the ‘hat honour’ of the men on the back row.

I felt drawn to go there and shoot an opening sequence. Probably this won't be relevant for a Quakers-only version, but I thought it might be handy for outreach purposes. 

Our first port of call was Marcie Winstanley near Hexham, a 19 y/o Friend who was coherent and focused in her intention to enter politics at some point after she graduates as a teacher. It's an ambition she has held since seeing the Iraq War on TV at the age of 8. On of the reasons for going to film before doing any further fund-raising  

I hope to have clips ready in a fortnight or so. Editing each interview is at least 3 days’ fulltime work.

Some of Marcie’s Quaker roots stem from her grandparents by whom Clancy & I were handsomely entertained. David and Caroline Westgate run a series of Peace Lectures in Hexham, and while we were there they were busy preparing for a WW1 exhibition  voicesandchoiceshexham.org/ presented in Hexham to travel to Noyan, France. 

The next port of call was Lancaster, where Sam Barnett-Cormack spoke eloquently on topics which included disability campaigning and his own position as a non-theist Quaker - a term which I discovered had nothing in common with atheism.

Finally to Ackworth School where Junior Head Katharine Elwis argued forcefully for the importance of Quaker schools as a bridge between doctrinaire nature of the state system and the economic elitism of the private sector.

But for me, the highlight of the trip was Brigflatts. Someone /sun-one was smiling on us since our scheduled afternoon there was the most beautiful ‘mid-winter spring’* amid a week of fairly grim weather. I felt that in that truly sacred space the essence of what I am trying to capture today has always existed and that our job is merely to be the means through which it speaks. 

This film is a celebration of Quaker testimonies in the lives of the interviewees. See our first interviewee Harvey Gillman.

In February I shall announce the next step, which is a crowd-funding appeal in order to meet the costs of the filming - which so far I have met myself. 

LITTLE GIDDING - The last of TS Eliot's 'Four Quartets')
Eliot was writing about the church of the religious community started by Nicholas Ferrar in Little Gidding Cambs in 1625; but what he writes applies just as much to Brigflatts.

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
In windless cold that is the heart's heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
[…] This is the spring time
But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
Not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable
Zero summer?
[…]                 And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city—
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and in England.
                               If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment

Is England and nowhere. Never and always.

A Quaker Perspective - December

This is the first (December 16) news update about my planned documentary about Quakers in Britain.

The idea crystalized on the day of Trump’s election. I thought: there isn't much I can do to oppose the darkness that he represents except to make a film celebrating the light – people who are attempting to do positive things for others and the planet. I don’t want A Quaker Perspective to be sectarian, but I feel that Friends' unique record of peace-making makes them ideal standard-bearers against the kind of divisiveness and spite that Trump stirred up in his campaign. Moreover there is a sufficient diversity of viewpoints within Quakers  to cover the gamut of constructive opinions for people wishing to express both spiritual and non-theist motivation/s. 

The project has arisen in part from the film I made with Shaftesbury Young Friends during this summer featuring members of Shaftesbury Meeting. Despite being principally a musician, I have always enjoyed film-making and always wanted to make a documentary but had never previously found a suitable subject that within my scope to complete on my own. 

Last week I took a meeting with three senior office-holders at Friends House, who were incredibly helpful in making me aware of all sorts of factors and people able to can give the project form.  I am presently commissioning a logo for the film, and have bought a second hi-spec Canon video camera to go with my other and the lighting and sound equipment I have built up over the years for music recording. 

I shall be launching a crowd-funding site in Jan/Feb to assist with the costs of the enterprise. But already I am making filming plans. 

Next week I shall kick off with Harvey Gillman, who was a particularly imaginative and effective Outreach Secretary for the Society whom I knew 20 years ago.  Then over the new year I intend to film three Friends in the north. One has recently been an intern in with an English MEP, one is the Head of Ackworth (Quaker) Junior School, and the third is a campaigner for disabled people. Of those who have already responded to my research these guys struck me as having more than one qualification for inclusion. If possible, I hope to film Quaker Homeless Action over Christmas. Of course, all this has to be fitted in around my other commitments. 


knowing /seeing /hearing in dream

There is a psychological difference between different forms of information /revelation (knowing /seeing /hearing) arising within dream or alpha-state consciousness, such as meditation, active imagination or similar open states.

Knowing (spontaneous unmediated knowledge) represents intuitive psychologically-integrated perceptual awareness within the core psyche.

Where there is the mediation of sight or hearing it indicates that the revelation comes as the conceptualisation of a subconscious inductive process. Strong memorable images arising with sudden clarity are the product of a wholly-subconscious emotional calculation or 'probability presentation' within the continuous psychosomatic processes of the mind, laid bare by the relaxation of beta-state consciousness. Whereas auditory information represents the emergence, either from deep unconscious or/and inter-psychic connection, of conceptual knowledge containing a linear narrative and/or detailed information. 


Dieu Parmi Nous

I could play Messiaen's Dieu Parmi Nous when I was 16. (Or thought I could - there is no documentary evidence.) As I sought to make my way in the world I lost touch with the organ; and didnt return to it seriously until I wanted to play a big piece for my father's memorial service 5 years ago; and then again for Stephen Dodgson's 3 years ago.

Now after a year's regular practice Im delighted to have remastered this monumental work. It's a piece that means a great deal to me. I think hearing Allan Wicks play it in Canterbury Cathedral may have been my introduction to Messiaen. At all events encountering him was like a bolt of lightning - and ultimately led to my decision to run away from school to Paris in 1963. There I would go to hear him play at High Mass on Sunday mornings, but never dared approach him as there was always a crowd of about a dozen pushy American organists jostling for his attention.

Anyway. Now Ive nailed it, and that feels good. 


MM Steer, Knotwork (1/4 piano miniatures) - Finn Murphy

This is a superb performance by my pupil Finn Murphy of the first of four piano miniatures called Knotwork. Their intricate pattern-making is intended to evoke Celtic and Arabic use of design as a aid to contemplation.


Hilma af Klint at the Serpentine

To the Gallery Directors

Too little information was given on what Klint’s spiritual beliefs were. When I viewed the exhibition no catalogs were available, and the displayed information was unilluminating. Accordingly I spent a considerable time trying to decode the symbolism of the colourways, and recurring motifs that seemed to bear consistent meanings across series, particularly what I imagine to be her ideas about the respective spheres of manifest and immanent life, and their interactions. While I gained greatly from the exhibition, I was left tantalised by the question marks that arose.

When finally the reprinted catalog arrived I was disappointed that it didn’t include any meaningful semiotic commentary on the individual paintings /series nor even more than a cursory explication /translation of the Swedish words that occur, or the possible significance of individual letters beyond a general overview.

It seems clear that central to comprehending Klint's pictures is her view of the relationship between the physical and metaphysical worlds. This hardly featured in the catalog beyond a reference to her influence by Steiner, but no real clue as to how or what specific aspects, or indeed any other than passing references to other esoteric ideas current at that time. Not to explore and set forth a credible view of what the artist herself may have intended by creating her work is to reduce it to its surfaces. These are indeed very striking, and it is doubly interesting that she was a woman creating abstract work a decade before men - yet unless we are put in touch with the conceptual-perceptual nexus of Klint’s complex moral motivation we cannot truly enter the pictures nor intuit them their deeper interior meaning/s.  

To me, what makes her work even more interesting and timely for today is that as a woman Klint was not seeking to compete in the male dominated aesthetics of her age; but by not helping to decode more fully what her unique value system was and to present it in contradistinction you do little to assist those making a similar journey today, and merely reinforce the traditional cultural value system that assigns overwhelming predominance to masculine perceptions and proprioceptions, while considering the work of dissidents (& nearly all women) as also ran.

I’m sure you will bridle at this, and assert the role of the Serpentine in championing women. But I am moved to write because I think that even where women are heard it still continues to be very much on men’s terms; and thus the subject of my comments is a sin of omission rather than commission, yet its omission is significant in the broader scheme of things because here was a women who chose to evolve and express a very personal set of meanings that were esoteric in character. So this was a gesamtkunstwerk was as-it-were behind double doors. Opening the outer door has been a worthwhile effort, and I am glad it has been so well-received everywhere, but that work is not complete until the inner door is also opened connecting the works’ surfaces with their feeling-world.


We can have any world we want

To me, the creation of beauty is paramount – not just surface beauty, but a quality that encompasses such moral dimensions as honesty, social responsibility and respect for all life-forms.

Today we are overwhelmed by a tide of ugliness – ugly art, ugly power politics, but most of all ugly attitudes that lead to war and infinite suffering for the victims. We humans have made the world as it is, and it is only us who can change it. I believe passionately that creative artists are one of the few groups of people who  by the exercise of their imagination can profoundly affect the future. Whatever we think and feel and make is the imaginative world our children will inherit.

It therefore matters tremendously that ALL children are well taught, and given active encouragement to explore their best aspects and to acquire self-respect and reasons to enter the adult world with hope and self-confidence - because there are commercial forces ranged against them who will exploit their weaknesses and drag them down to the cyber-slavery of consumerism.

I have wrestled with such philosophical questions all my life, and my own role in the 'open conspiracy' of commercial entertainment. It was this that led me to take a complete break from music for a couple of years and get involved in the green consciousness movement.

As I compose, write and teach I constantly reflect on what creates optimum outcomes. I have a body of video recordings which demonstrate how I have achieved this with my pupils and for Cherubim Music Trust, and have recently applied for a Clore Open Fellowship in order to explore whether and how I can translate these ideas onto a larger canvas.

Having achieved a considerable amount in my life without the support of conventional structures I am keen to open minds to how this can be done to achieve positive results that those in power do not always want because they feel threatened things out of their control. I have no idea whether or how I can so this, but it feels like something that is important to me to essay at this point in my life.

Life Choice Dreams

These were both unusually detailed and unfolded at a leisurely pace. Altho I was lucid in each I didn't gain sufficient consciousness to write either down until the morning; but could still retain nearly everything. I felt happy, secure and unalarmed by anything that occurred.

Tuesday I am at a reception held in our former S London house (which we left 20+ y/a but often crops up in dreams) and notice that the hosts have catered with very cheap supermarket food.
Then we all go to the Royal Opera House where we all have to wear the same costume as the orchestra, a sort of black tabard with small geometric gold decoration and a high collar, and sit right around them. I find myself near the cellos and basses. After a fairly calm overture in which the leader stands up to sing at one point (there was no conductor) there is an expectant lull. Suddenly we see above us in the open sky a most spectacular crash as if several gaudily-illuminated revolving fairground skyrides have come off their bearings and flown up in the air towards each other. There are sparks and fires, and everyone is aghast, but the people fall to the ground outside the Opera House and there is no danger to us.
Later a group of us are walking away across the cobbles of Smithfield Market arm in arm when another ride crashes to the ground not far away. Somehow the emergency services are already there.

Then I am on the stern deck of a luxury yacht in a (Caribbean?) sunset. I feel fabulously happy and well. My local pub landlord Ron Turner comes to stand near me filming it on a very noisy old video or film camera. I josh with him about the noise as I'm filming on my iPhone. He says jocularly that I'm always complaining. I then turn away and encounter SA (divorcee of an extremely grand family) as a young woman and we embrace very intimately, which I find both exhilarating and alaeming.

Wednesday Staying in a country hotel I speak on the phone to a woman who says she'd like to rent my room. I discuss the practicalities, but notice that the basin has no taps. Later I discover that she is one of a group of con artists who have swindled the hotel casino and other guests out of a lot of money; but I don't lose any.
Some musicians are discussing me composing a new piece like my Sonnets to Orpheus for them and we all get carried away. My wife says "is it the wrong time to ask how this is going to be paid for?" And I say "yes it is."
Then as we go for a walk by a beautiful clear shallow spring-fed lake (in the same hotel?) we start riffing like Ray Charles What'd I Say? I hand around some excellent Cuban cigars & jump across the short distance onto a rock in the lake, telling the others I'm going to choose a couple of really good bottles from the cellar for lunch. And attempt to jump back, but don't quite make it, and so get a bit wet, which we all laugh off.
I am 'swimming' southbound across Hammersmith Bridge (an ornate bridge near where I used to live in W London 50 y/a). I seem to be weightless and able to propel myself considerable distances along the road without either effort or friction by simply pulling on objects. As I get over the bridge I see a road sign which is like a model cat and wonder what it can mean? The road immediately turns into Barnes Common where there is a village fete, with lots of children enjoying themselves. I am continuing my 'swimming' throu the grass when I awake. 

Guy Huntington's interpretation.
The first location interests me. An old house of ours we left a long time ago. Why am I locating this dream scene here and not somewhere else? I feel for two reasons: one if to bring my attention to myself when I lived in the house with the beliefs I held then AS WELL AS THE EXPERIENCES I also had I am in a belief compartment I feel quite comfortable in.

I commented
  • Actually, no. I’m quite uncomfortable in it. My wife and I often dream about it at times of stress. It was an incredibly beautiful Regency town house where we lived for 12 of our children's formative years. They were always a desperate scramble for money, thus the memories are extremely bitter-sweet, for while Clancy and I did most of the work we're remembered for, and tho we always prioritised the children, the moral compromises I made are not ones Im proud of, tho it did all work out - and we were able to sell the house at a great profit and move to the country. Where I describe my life as a crescendo of happiness.
I am using the reception to indicate I am still celebrating i.e. strongly attached to, beliefs that I have been spiritually consuming, i.e. eating for a long time. HOWEVER, there is some good news here -  finally spiritually awakening to them because of the cheap supermarket food. So i am wondering what these beliefs and their affects are? A hint would be my use of the term cheap supermarket. The effects of my beliefs have to do with money and valuation of things, people and relationships using it as a guide stick.
  • I see this, but here one comes to the nub of the dilemma: how do you realise an artistic /spiritual vision without engaging with the issues of 'the world'? For 20 years I answered this conundrum by engaging hardly at all with the world, now I find myself potentially at a cross-roads where if I am to tackle this issue again I have to get it right, because this is my last call. 
Now I am at the Royal Opera House where all of us have to wear the same outfit as the orchestra. A low vibration colour - black. I also note that there is a small geometric gold decoration. A subtle symbol to myself about wealth and money again. We all have to sit around the orchestra.

So there I am in a large belief compartment, the Royal Opera, dressed in a low vibration spiritual outfit, i.e. my beliefs, AND I am sitting down, i.e. I need spiritual support to even see the effects of my beliefs. As for why I am sitting near the cellos and bases, I am told this is something for you to figure out on your own Michael.
  • That's an easy one, I am a bass, and I consider that my role in life is to build the moral base of structures that others may subsequently erect. 
The leader spiritually raises his vibrations and rises up, i.e. stands up. This is one of my other lives. He then wants to use some of his feminine abilities to communicate, i.e. singing. HOWEVER, the spiritual fun begins–
Now, above us, in the open sky, an amazing crash resulting in sparks and fires. Several fairground rides are now colliding above our heads. So why am I using this in my dream? Hmm

Does this have to do with creativity? No.
Ah a masculine based set of beliefs resulting in a masculine view of creativity? Yes. And now this make sense

Outside the masculine belief compartment I am sitting in, people are falling to the ground, in effect, being killed by the creativity. However, my other lives and I, who are sitting in our low vibration outfits, in a place were feminine creativity is allowed to be expressed in a controlled manner are all safe and sound. If this was my dream, I would be thinking how some of my beliefs, which have a strong masculine component, result in a fear of feminine as being dangerous, in fact it could spiritually kill me. So I then use these beliefs to cocoon myself within some belief walls, protecting me from myself.

  • Well, herein lies the dilemma for any creative individual - how far is it safe to let go?The two sides of art: the Dionysiac vs the Apollonian. What indeed does 'letting go' mean? Anyone who lived throu the 70s/80s will have seen the terrible consequences for many who 'let go' and ended up as roadkill. And perhaps all of us know the expression of being 'too heavenly-minded to be any earthly use.' I full acknowledge that I have to let go much more, in terms of creative modus operandi, this is The Big One for me. But finding the sweet spot between all the competing life-issues where the mind can be both free yet engaged is a life quest.  
I am using symbols of my masculine based beliefs, i.e. rides, to symbolize to myself that my old ideas about controlling my feminine are now coming off the rails, so to speak. Then the scene changes

Now I am walking outside with some of my other lives. Now I can see the effects of my own beliefs. I watch as another ride crashes to the ground. All around me are signs that my old beliefs are beginning to crumble. I miss the point that those are my beliefs and some of my other lives on them AND THAT THE EMERGENCY SERVICES ARE FOR ME. These other lives are now experience the pain of realizing their old beliefs no longer work for them.  However, thatâ•˙s why in my previous scene I was sitting down, safely ensconced in my low vibration beliefs, protected by the masculine walls I have built around me. Then the scene changed.

Now I am on a masculine set of beliefs I am using to distance myself from my feminine (i.e. a boat on the water). I note that it is not any old boat but a luxury yacht. Another not so subtle hint about the effects of the beliefs I am using, i.e. money, wealth and perception. I note that it is sunset hint, hint, hint. Time to acknowledge these old ideas/beliefs are no longer going to work for me. Ron is beside me. Is it him or, is he a symbol? Yes it˙s Ron. He too shares the same underlying beliefs that are supporting us. However, he is using some old masculine based symbols to record the beginning of the end of our beliefs, i.e. old film camera that is now old and making lots of noise. I however, am using a modern masculine symbol, i.e. a iPhone. I am making fun of him missing the point of why he is in the dream with me. At least he now is beginning to spiritually wake up about it while I am making fun of him.

  • Fair point - but I owe my present tranquillity to having learnt how to handle such people /issues rather dextrously, and it's difficult to see where the line is between letting go constructively & doing so disastrously. Altho I do accept that in spiritual terms that latter can have a better outcome!
I then encounter a young woman who comes from a grand family. Hint, hint - another reference to wealth, prestige et al. Is it her or, is she a symbol? It's her.
I am sexually attracted to her. I feel there are several levels to this
First is my sexual beliefs which are somehow intertwined with my beliefs resulting in money, prestige, wealth et al.
Second, there is a probable life where I did have a relationship with her? Yes.
Third, all of this impacts my current present life.

  • Disagree here. To me she felt much more like an anima figure, someone who was attracted to me (rather than vice versa) and in a position to guide me.  

WEDS dream,,,

I note with interest my location. I am in a country hotel. Hotels in my dreams are usually symbols of large sets of belief compartments I have used in many of my other lives. So I am "checking into" one of them to experience one that I am using in my current life. I also note that this set of masculine based beliefs is located out in the midst of my feminine country.

A young woman is on the phone with me. Who is she? Other life.
She˙s wanting to rent my room. So once again this dream has something to do with beliefs that result in effects of my surface level beliefs of money and control. I am using rent rather than own to illustrate that my spiritual hold on these beliefs is now becoming more tenuous.

Then i notice that the basins have no taps. A very interesting set of symbols to use. Water, a symbol of my feminine. Basins and taps – masculine symbols to control the flow of my feminine into my belief compartment. No taps = no control over the flow of my feminine.
Later I find she is a con-artist. Recall she is me in an other life I am relieved I haven˙t lost any money unlike casinos and other guests. Once again, I am showing myself how my beliefs affect my perception of value, wealth and control. Like in the scene outside the Opera house, I am untouched by these events, i.e. I am not yet able to face myself to deal with this.
  • Useful balancing material from the unconscious - but it shows the dilemma that I have to consider in terms of the costs and responsibilities of old age, and how (on the whole) my success in staying on the financial tightrope is no mean achievement when you see how many fall off or can never get on. And it is a tool to be used - for instance when fund-raising for charity, as I do.
Now some musicians are discussing with me creating a new piece. Who are the musicians? Other lives. My wife? She's a symbol of my feminine. So my feminine brings up the issue of money. I am not yet ready to deal with it. ( i have learnt from my own dreams Michael that many of my own beliefs about money, wealth and perception come from old feminine based polarities. )

The issue (to my mind) is not about wealth–which I dont have–being bad, it's about )a not being corrupted by it love of it, and b) allowing it to flow freely and responsibly throu you as a tool for the greater good.

Now  am walking with some of my other lives around a lake.We are in our feminine, i.e. nature. We then break into a riff like Ray Charles What'd I Say. When songs appear in my dreams or, in my daily life in my head, I have learnt to pay attention to them. So I went to look up the lyrics for this (http://www.songlyrics.com/ray-charles/what-i-d-say-lyrics/). i advise you to read them and then contemplate on why this set of lyrics.
  • Very good. I like that. I saw Ray Charles live on his first European tour in 1963 when Id run away from school to Paris. I had (and have) never seen anything like his phenomenal energy and trance-like focus on a stage
However, I note that the beginning of this song contains "See the girl with the diamond ring, She knows how to shake that thingˇ. Further, the song relates to a women shaking her body in a sexual way. So what happens next? Why I hand out expensive Cuban cigars and then jump across the water to a rock to get some bottle of wine. If this was my dream I would be thinking that my beliefs are creating a dependency within me to value things using money, wealth and status. It is also tied in some ways to my beliefs about myself sexually and how I then sexually interpret others.
  • Fair enough - that's you. But I dont think that's true for me. Im utterly indifferent to status, except as a means to open certain doors when a job needs doing. Cuban cigars and good wine are a couple of the few pleasures that nature has allowed me to retain since I ceased to be a sexual being. Tho meditation and spiritual attunement are greater highs than either of them. 
There is some good news I fall into my feminine when I attempt to jump back. However, my other lives and I miss the point and laugh it off
  • Nice one!
Now I am swimming through my old masculine beliefs, i.e through a road on a bridge over a river – hint, hint. Down below me is my feminine. At least I am now learning about what I am swimming through.
I can now effortlessly move through my masculine. 
Then i come to the star of this scene- a sign like a model Cheshire Cat. So why am I using this? Symbol? No. 
Totem? Yes. I advise you to get a hold of ˛Animal Speakˇ by Ted Andrews and read the section of cats as a totem. I also note that the cat isn˙t yet real in my dream. i make a note to myself to ask the cat to assist me more spiritually. 

After seeing my totem I now find myself swimming through my feminine, i.e. grass. Lots of people are at a fete. They are some of my other lives, all celebrating my slow but steady spiritual progress. I need to release some old beliefs allowing me to spiritually stand up and walk supported by feminine and masculine and not just my masculine onuses I have in the past.

Guy. This is both remarkable as an interpretation and remarkably perceptive about my present dilemmas - tho, as so often I wouldnt've seen this for myself as the dream-mirror shows the quintessence of my life from an angle that is far more obvious to others than it is to me. And here’s the paradox; dreams are like the medieval oak trunks with two locks you sometimes find in english country churches known as Churchwardens’ Coffers where each churchwarden had one key, and thus the trunk (containing church deeds or valuables) could only be opened when both were present. Someonelse can see the moral outlines of a dream much more clearly than the dreamer, but only the dreamer knows what it means. Yet the treasure is only released when both work together.Very good. It's perfectly obvious when some kind person like Guy holds the mirror at the right angle. A great blessing to have discovered this site; and blessings to Guy for curating it. Im off to look into cats and 'Animal Speakˇ by Ted Andrews. Being decidedly a dog person.



The Dumbness of God

'Immortal, invisible, God only wise' said the hymn writer WC Smith. But after a lifetime of reflexion I wonder whether the last epithet is at all correct? Even before studying the Tao te Ching, and its ideas of cosmic flow, I had begun to feel that there is an astonishing paradox between the idea of a guiding intelligence in the universe and its apparent inarticulacy.

I have no doubt that there is a supreme intelligence at work in the universe, but caution against thinking of it in any way relating to human ideas of the characteristics an intelligent or 'smart' consciousness would exhibit. At the present time scientists are being forced to redefine definitions of sentience to include the way in which flora and fauna can select breeding partners for optimal habitat adaptation and indeed the way they can employ non-intellectual thought and memory to develop heuristic strategies.  

The innate problem with the use of any noun to describe such an ultra-creative intelligence is that it tends to become the proprietary brand-name of a particular perception. For me the term the LifeForce is preferable – for this is in effect what whatever-we-call-it is, whether in the Tao or Upanishads or Allah, or as known to the Jews as JHVH (simply, He Is; rendered as The Lord owing to the Hebrew prohibition on invoking the name of God except when spiritually conscious).

Like Orthodox Jews, I’m against giving this LifeForce a name – since what name can you give it that doesn't distort or limit what the phenomenal reality of such an entity must be. Also because all names necessarily encode the human projection that created them.  I personally see this LifeForce as comprehending both the heuristic drive of evolution and the power of love. But, I humbly submit, omniscient it certainly isn’t. And IMHO it doesn't even pretend to be: it's just that humans can't cognise the existence of a kind of intelligence that is so unlike the human conception of intelligence. The popular conception of the word God was of course fashioned by men according to certain masculine characteristics.

Thus I've come to see how this huge energy within the universe actually requires the only species with the power of choice to collaborate with it in order to achieve its ultimate and optimal purposes. Perhaps we can say that the LifeForce itself is a blunt instrument of phenomenal power which requires our (human) attunement to it in order to fine tune it for the world's reception.

For most people, the idea of a creator necessarily involves a controling intelligence, but what if the true nature of the Creator is that of a facilitative intelligence? What if the 'daimonic intelligence' within the universe is in fact 'dumb' or 'blind'?
      (Consider how in the humans sphere people with a hearing or speech disability often have exceptionally acute  compensating faculties.)

The idea of a 'permissive intelligence' facilitating the work of others is not so ridiculous when you think how the whole extraordinary act of imagination which is the WorldWideWeb has transformed both consciousness and communication. And indeed how often some great creative genius has only been able to manifest his (and alas it generally is his) powers because of a partner who nurtures and gives critical feedback.

Also, consider certain human inventions whose ultimate use was substantially different from that envisaged by the discoverer or creator – two examples of which would be wireless telephony and the saxophone. Neither Marconi nor Saxe were in any sense an 'impaired' intelligence ... yet that makes the point.
      While each was the cleverest in their fields, they were 'blind' to how the reiterations and repercussions of their machines would both transform and be transformed by interaction with the collective heuristic of intelligent users. Notwithstanding that these subsequent folk did not, and probably could not have, invented what their technical proficiency enabled them to exploit.
      Yet they took each invention to a totally different level by developing a fundamental concept in ways the creator did not foresee. And the developers achieved ther goals by aligning the product/s with an archetypal human need, ie positioning them as the medium of a new form of communication /expression between people.
      This is just as true of the inventions/discoveries of Babbage and Turing which led to modern computing – where, in artificial intelligence and robotics, each benchmark achievement forms a heuristic platform on which the continuing trajectory of successive generations' endeavours are erected – mimicking the great arc of species evolution itself.

The difference between the power of the LifeForce and that of human beings is that the former is sui generis, expressing the elemental force of a cosmic inchoate unconscious—a willing or yearning incomprehensible in human terms and inexplicable in human language—whereas such power as humans ever acquire is always conditional upon, and/or leveraged by, the willing or yearning of human unconscious finding its collective expression in a certain thought-form or product or work of art that manifests a conscious reality corresponding most closely to the aforesaid inchoate willing or yearning.
      Yet we respond to such power where and how ever we find it: and have given it such enigmatic names as Tao/Dao and Chi/Qi to embody its unknowable unpredictability. (A separate argument is that the word God has lost its power/reality precisely because Christians allowed themselves to suppose they could define it. And thus by fixing its meanings to a certain worldview the more irrelevant those meanings became once that worldview was superseded. Yet there can be few who have not experienced or observed the interplay of transpersonal dynamics in their lives, regardless of whether they choose to assign a vocabulary to this experience.)  

The reason we have a hard time imagining anything like 'dumbness' in relation to our concepts of a creator-spirit is for the same psychological reasons that, as children, most of us (quite literally) could not imagine our parents' limitations – since, by and large we only later come to understand these as we encounter our own painful shortcomings once we become parents ourselves.
      The problem with detecting the presence of a formative mind or generative consciousness within matter is that whatever it might be bears very little relationship to the characteristics of its human equivalent. In fact what the nature of this difference is, or might be, has engaged the finest minds since the dawn of literature - which itself was probably the mystery that gave rise to abstract thought in the first place.

Thus when those who claim insights into the nature of this creator-spirit say that it is 'radically other', surely the characteristics of 'dumbness /inarticulacy' fit that description? Especially when we call 'blind' the heuristic by which we come into being … namely, love itself. "My love must be a kind of blind love: I can't see anyonelse but you." As the songsmiths wrote.
      (The central teaching of all evolved—sky god—faiths is fundamentally that 'God is love’ once the characters and story-lines are stript away, and the cultural (mis/-)understandings about the nature and quality of that love are factored out.)
      In searching for parallels to this it's worth considering the emotional power of music. From which we see that we're regularly exposed to a phenomenon capable of illustrating and/or amplifying certain aspects of the psyche with great emotional clarity – which nonetheless is incapable of delivering detailed 'arguments' without the aid of words.
The unique role humans appear to be assigned in this proposition is that we alone have the cybernetic capacity to comprehend duality and thus to develop sufficient sensitivity to (re-)interpret the nuances we sense as emanating from this LifeForce.
Why should we think that anyone or anything is trying to communicate with us from outside our terrestrial existence? My answer to this that of course we cannot know, but if the majority of the best minds among our predecessors thought it was worth their while to try to figure out this conundrum, then—at a bare minimum—we stand to derive insight and emotional depth from exploring how they cognized this Otherness.
      The sophistication of thought demonstrated at the dawn of human history by a few individuals such as LaoTse or Moses, and the Mohenjo Daro civilisation that gave us Sanskrit, offers us important perceptual tools for examining the nature of the LifeForce, whether we think a personal dimension exists to it or not.

The impulse to write and to compose and to produce interweave within my life, and the differing strands ebb and flow over periods of months without any clear long-term patterns being discernible – at least by me. Like like dreaming or mental openness within meditation I describe what occurs as dependent on 'psychic weather'.
      I view creativity and spirituality within me as what naturalists would term ‘a behaviour’ – it's just what my brain is set up to do, and feels best if/when I allow it to. When I was young I imagined one or other of these activities would have significance for others, but 70 years have disabused me of that illusion. Nevertheless I do what I do because it’s how I witness to being present in my life, which is to say ’that of God within'.

Perhaps there is something about the nature of the insights that occur naturally to me which is at odds with the prevailing perspective of the modern world, and for that reason people collectively cannot hear me - maybe because my work addresses a part of their psyche they're not listening for within themselves? I have no idea. And so on that principle, I keep going because if I’m right then I’m onto something that other people DO need to know—even if they don’t want to—and if I’m wrong then really nothing matters much either way.
      YET this proposition I've articulated is one that can only become true if I act consistently with its being true, and therefore allow it such space as I can command to be true
      For much of my life I thought having been given Faith was a curse that singled me out as some kind of freak; but finally I've come to accept that this is what Faith is for - it is to make things true which are otherwise conditional.
      And it is in (and perhaps is only in) such quiet faithfulness that I or any other individual can attune themselves to the silent voice present in all of us and so articulate to people who are 'hot in the world' those rivers of living water that we ourselves experience internally which seem to flow throu the silence of the unconditional love which is that 'dumbness' that gives all without stint. 


Inrterpretation of Jane's Dream

"I climb, ascend as in my imagination should be a building. Having climbed very high, I expect to find a storey, an apartment, at least doors leading to a big platform. Instead of that I find difficulty in getting on the tiny balcony, carrying my satchel on my back, which gets stuck in the strings attached to the sides of both corners, almost causing me to tumble and fall from enormous height.
Then I find instead of doors leading to halls or whatever, kind of a mirror (at first this seems barricaded, as if I've got to push some big black bear or other animal aside), but it's not a true mirror though. This tiny balcony, me having climbed all the way over here, apparently with full expectation, and now acrobatically having to climb all the way down. And... most astonishing: what first was supposed to be a high storey building, turned out to be a brownish closet with open shelves... So I go like an acrobat, one hand then the other, one shelf then the lower and lower... There's no end to it it seems.
When I arrive ground floor the dream proceeds with the topic it originally had, namely 'my piano recital'...
OK... For some reason I think I get the message, but it's awfully scary.
I want to get direction in my life, being completely devastatingly damaged, and all I get is dream symbols which only point to the fact that: NO YOU WON'T GET THERE WHERE YOU WANT."
Could someone shed a different light on this weird fragment?
I was just rereading an essay by Marie-Louise von Franz called The Discovery of the Self in Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche. In it she says (p371):
Perhaps someone facing an imminent and problematic decision might come for a consultation. S/he wants to get a divorce, for example, but not give up hir children. And what do dreams do in such cases? They do not touch upon the burning issue at all, but they comment on the dreamer’s rationalism or obstinacy or other secret character defects. To begin with there is disappointment, even shock, that the unconscious took so little notice of the urgency of the current situation. Only later in retrospect does one discover that, in avoiding a confrontation with the rigid position of consciousness, by ingenious subtlety the unconscious was pointing towards dismantling some rigidity in the dreamer’s approach – that would result in the problem resolving in an entirely unforeseen way.
However, even after the study of 40,000 dreams, I would never predict what a person’s dream ‘should’ be like regarding a given situation. Each dream composition is always so creatively unique. The intelligence of the dream can only be compared to the other miracles of nature: the ingenious organisation of DNA, or the processes of molecular biology, or the development of higher organisms altogether. [I have adapted the writing to gender neutrality.]

I dont know if <the topic it originally had, namely 'my piano recital'> means that you are a pianist, or whether this is merely a performance anxiety dream which expresses itself this way? 
   Looking now at your Burglary Dream I see this is so. 
But speaking as a musician I know for myself the intimate relationship between psychological experiences and one's own craft or art. 

What I find your dream evokes in me is the sense which I sometimes have that 'if there were any justice in the world' something I have done should be recognised. I may have ascended to a great height within /as a result of my endeavours - yet am deeply disappointed to find this doesn't produce the response in others I had hoped for. And why? Look at the baggage I am carrying, which causes me to get hung up - and ultimately to stumble and fall. Fall from what? From my expectation of what should occur - as if I can control the outcome, the responses of others, as I seek to control my own performance. (Damn them!) 

So what do I have to do? I have to climb down, to re-ground myself. Is this humiliating? It shouldnt be, unless we have a puffed up ego, and the whole experience is like a pin to a balloon. Well, we had great hopes, but were they realistic &/or were they congruent with our soul/psyche? Did we want to make a great splash, and have a virtuoso career? All well and good if this is our path (often q a superficial and limiting one) or has our inner dynamic or daimon/genius some q other pathway for us to follow. 

We will always be at our most potent and strongest if we're standing on the ground to which our soul/psyche has led us, for there the complex resonances of our personality will acquire an amplitude and resonance they cannot have where we dont 'belong'. That place of belonging/home is the lifelong search of we born into the deracinated culture of the West, for only the lucky few are born with the network of meanings that come with membership of a peasant culture.

Look, in this dream instead of a high storey building (eminence/celebrity) we find <a brownish closet with open shelves> and guess what? In this secret recess of the soul 'the cupboard is bare'. And brownish? Well, you may not like this, but in the period of my life when I was creatively blocked I had a tremendous number of dreams about pooing accidents. For our lives to shine on the outside, they need first to shine on the inside, and that means cleansing ourselves of the stinky grievances /wounds /grudges that fester in our hearts. Once one engages with that process, miraculously, mysteriously, the cupboards are no longer bare.

Is there no end to it? Yes there is. And it can stop the moment we accept we're in the right situation for us right now. If we go on thinking we have to find out how to be someone in order to be acceptable, then yes, it's an endless climbdown. But once we say to The Powers That Be, yes, Im here, this is me. Im ready to work from my true centre - then we immediately discover 'the ground of our being' and are in a position to building something real and lasting where we can give of our truth to the world without pretence or the charades involved in trying to have a career simply by virtue of being identical with a class of person or performer.

I'll tell you just a little bit about my own journey. There were several points in my early life & career when I thought yesss! Im on the inside. Now I can do it my way. One was when I did my first studio recording for the BBC. I thought the gates of valhalla had opened for me. It all went well, everyone was pleased, but thereafter nothing got easier. Then about 12 years later one my first day as a BBC music producer with my own office and a secretary I thought: now I can make things happen. Only to discover that the nearer you get to the centre the more intense and cut-throat the competition is for artists /studios /slots etc, and the clearer your position in the pecking order is made.        

I did good work that Im proud of today, but all the experiences of my career made me realise that for me to sing my heart song I must stand alone and decode my own inner mental patchwork, independent of anyonelse. This led me into a dark 20 year wilderness, where in the silence I did truly encounter my authentic Voice (for there was noonelse's there) and learn how to use it, and bring much of my own inner darkness into the light by marrying up some of contradictions – a never ending task.

And then when Id done all that, and thought I was composing stuff that had integrity (so, to a degree, I thought I was inboard once a again) I had to face the disappointment that the new language Id evolved meant nothing to anyonelse. And that has been the hardest part - but you know? that just brings me back to the crucial thing about authenticity: it doesnt matter what it means to others (the small business of earning a living aside) it's what it means to yourself that counts. If you know youve nailed it, that is its own reward; and that certainty is what connects you seamlessly to Bach—did any of his contemporaries ever see why his eternal masterpieces were different from from everyonelse's?—or whoever your gods are. 'Justice' in artistic or legal terms is rarely quick: but if you know youve put the work in then simply trust in your inner connexion that transcends time. When ultimately the quality of everyone's workmanship is revealed, at 'the latter day' if not before, yours will stand the test of time: because it's time itself that winnows away the chaff. 

Once you're truly on your own ground, you cannot be shifted by man or earthquake - until then breathe the words accept and allow. I went throu 5 years of my life in mortal dread, and as each new blow struck I would simply say 'they will be done.' And my reward? I found myself weightless in eternity, no longer falling, no longer rising, with the exhilaration of having come throu a hailstorm of epic proportions, and realising that not only was I still alive but nothing other people did to me could hurt me. And there is no greater reward than that.  


A technological reminiscence

Today it took only about 20 minutes to upload footage of my pupils performances from the camera cards to my computer.
When I started recording my pupils’ concerts 20 years ago it was on a borrowed Hi8 analog tape camera. Editing was impossible, but I got quite an ace at dubbing off pupils’ performances onto each family's own dedicated piano VHS tape. At this time we used to have our concerts in the drawing room at Pyt House, when it was a retirement home.
The next stage was when Pyt House closed and the concerts moved to Port Regis. Initially they were recorded by a  film-maker mum on an expensive early Sony MiniDVtape camera, which involved realtime camera playouts to upload. I edited on iMovie 6, before moving to FinalCut. Around that time DVD emerged as a consumer format and, ever the early adopter, I wrestled with producing each concert onto DVD. Nowadays DVD production is a piece of cake, but then I called it DVooDoo, because in the early days there were so many user-programmable settings and, being before rise of Google, NO way to find out what they all did except by sucking & seeing; and hoping that you remembered what setting you'd chosen if it came out OK.
Then in 2006 two things came along to make everything easier. One was that I began uploading the videos to uTube; and the second was that Simon Davison and the Nadder Film Club got 2 sassy Sony MiniDVtape cameras.
Over the last few years I've invested in new cameras and portable digital recorders myself, including the handsome prosumer Canon used on this occasion.

I was always fascinated by the relationship between reality of performance and the process of capturing it. What is the most marvellous thing is that in my lifetime everything I wanted to do when I was 17—but couldn’t because it was far far too expensive and required technicians and none of the technologies linked with each other—I now can do pretty much single-handedly in my studio, thanks to digital.
My techno-memories go back to the very first Ampex multitracks. The first time I saw a 12” spool of ¼” tape, called a NAB hub, in a professional studio I just thought it was the most exotic and beautiful thing Id ever seen. I think they cost £4,* which was a lot of money in 1971. And the 12” spools of 2” tape used for multitrack recording were about £36* - and to me were more wonderful and alluring than anything else in the world. (*around £55 & £500 in today’s money).
Once Id seen the inside of a recording studio I knew I never wanted to do anything else with my life. I was totally in love with all forms of recording technology. I still think the smell of opening a can of film when rushes are delivered straight from the lab is about the most intoxicating perfume I know - the simultaneous hope & fear of being about to see what you did the day before makes the headiest cocktail.

Why then did I leave that world? And the answer is the filters which increasingly came to restrict the kind of programming you could make. Academics talk about the ‘discourse of broadcasting’ - by which they mean the consensus perspective that expresses mainstream political/cultural/moral perceptions while simultaneously marginalising alternative ones.
As my life and career progressed I became increasingly aware of the savage contrast between the potency of the technology to achieve positive effects on society and the lazy cowardice of those who were only in it for the money/fame/status. Despite some successes, I realised that I too was as trapt as anyonelse by the very luxury of the technology itself, and eventually I came to feel that if I wanted to reach my own creative potential I needed to reenter the roughness and imperfection of the analog world.
And that is how I come to be teaching the piano in Tisbury, where nowadays I feel I can do much more lasting good in a small area of the world than I could within the adverse currents of the big wide one. But what I learnt still comes in handy; and my hope is that in the long run fellow educators may look at the body of work I've created in these videos and ask themselves if there is something about motivation in the approach they could learn from?


Thoughts about the Celtic World

Studying the intense ornamentation of the BM's Celtic Art Exhibition gave rise to its diametric opposite, and made me wonder about the relationship between the emergence of the ornament-free International Style of architecture in the early 20thC and beliefs in the triumph of rationality. In that era they believed the Nietzschean proposition that the intellect would ultimately triumph over the anarchy of the unconscious by eliminating sentiment and superstition and thus a new world order would arise from the ancient chaos with the human will in place of gods. Well, in a way it did—for that was the intellectual seed-bed both of Communism and Nazism—with consequences nobody imagined. It must have seemed at the time that the simple certainties of science, medical progress and reason offered a radical route-map to sweeping away disease, squalor and the inherent corruption of capitalism.

Aside from the irony of this perspective a century later, after the destruction of the Arab social order by Western militarism and consequent tide of refugees now sweeping into Europe—not to mention the backwash of terrorism—it's strange how psychically uninhabited Modernism now seems.

Spending time with the Exhibition Catalog studying the intensity of the Celtic craftsmen's cornucopious use of ornament embellishment and symbol has led me to think a lot about the world as they saw it. Nowadays our imaginations are circumscribed by ease with which smart devices and the visual familiarity of mass reproduction trumps what we can laboriously produce unaided. It is the very extent of our knowledge that disempowers us and, paradoxically, the very ease with with which we can produce images that devalues them.

Before the 18thC there was no restriction on anyone's imagination because there was no body of knowledge accepted as objectively true: no one knew what the land mass of the earth was, and few had any conception of life in the remoter parts of their own continent. Prehistoric technologies like farming and metallurgy were regarded with awe and but also with wonder. Yet in this world everything was possible: to their kinsfolk, rich and poor, every storyteller, every smith, was a magician whose power was limited only by their capacity to convince.

To me the fabulous artefacts of that complex, diverse yet illiterate, civilisation transcend time to speak to us of an engagement with the energies of the natural world – that wide, mysterious, psychically-inhabited darkness bordering their small enclaves. Those who left this vivid record did so in the face of an unpredictable and deeply unsafe environment, where survival itself couldn't be taken for granted and where each had first to invent the very tools and technologies which they employed to such memorable and harmonious effect.

Thus it seems to me that it was the very difficulty—the hard grapple with the very grain of existence—that imbues their creation with such extraordinary numen and vertu. If they were going to make it at all they needed to make it beautiful not merely because it occupied weeks, if not months or years, of intense labour on which their entire economic future might depend, but also because each object, being unique, represented a score card of the skills they had acquired. Therefore the motifs and symbols they used needed to be those which were most valued and potent within their communities.

Looking at them now you can sense a chaos of overlapping belief and value systems whose vigour and syncresis formed a folk art tradition that was still visibly alive in the gargoyles and misericords of medieval church craftsmen. Consider this seventh century Bible where, in place of a cross, the cover is plastered with the triskeles, a primitive trifold symbol of energy surviving to this day as national icons of Sicily and the Isle of Man.  

The exhibition brought home to me again the numen / psychic resonance / artistic power we have lost by the ease and safety of our lives and art. We may have gone a great way towards eliminating religion, disease, discomfort and physical distance - yet in the process Westerners have also lost almost everything from which the Celts derived authenticity: the indefinable magic of identification with a landscape, the intense bond of tribal identity and its cultural certainties, the intuitional qualities of shared belief and ultimately a dynamic relationship with the natural world. It was a wonderful way to reconnect with the way out weirdness that was the Celtic world.

We cannot turn back the evolutionary clock, any more than we can reenter childhood, but we can revisit and cherish these primitive parts of our collective psyche in a similar way that we can reinvigorate our minds by contact with the freshness of children's minds.

This is perhaps one of the great functions of scholarship – and the one we are in greatest danger of submerging by requiring all education to be market-driven.


Behind the Scenes

Those who go to a concert probably think that the musicians turn up on the day, possibly rehearse a bit, and it's all over. So I thought it might be interesting to know a little more about what goes on ahead of the event. Being butler, doorman and bottle-washer it’s my dubious privilege as both performer and producer to be responsible for both the big picture and the niggly details.

Two and a half days last week were spent hand copying orchestra parts from the score for Catrine’s arias. Why is this necessary? Because some of the pieces we’re doing don’t have hireable or downloadable sets of parts, and even for those that do the cost of hiring quickly mounts up; and the object of the Cherubim Mozart Plus Weekend is to make money for Cherubim not pay publishers.
    I started my professional career in 1970 as a copyist for Sandy Faris, who at that time was doyen of the West End arrangers. It’s amazing how skills you pick up over a lifetime become relevant again. In those days there was no tippex, and the neophyte copyist’s friend were rolls of self-adhesive blank single stave (5 lines), newly arrived from America, you could stick over errors and rewrite. Photocopying was new, prohibitively expensive and there were only a few specialised bureaux that did it. Even tho life is infinitely easier these days with scanners and music writing software, sometimes you still just have to roll your sleeves up, get out the quill pen and cover sheets of manuscript paper with legible dots and dashes. Easy-to-read parts = happy musicians = good performances.

You can hear the result on Saturday 5 September at 1930 in Tisbury Parish Church when Catrine Kirkman is the soprano in a programme titled Obbligato Extravaganza, where each song also features an instrumental soloist, accompanied by Cherubim Chamber Soloists and directed by myself.
    For example Handel’s famous Let the bright Seraphim showcases oboist Mana Shibata. A highly unusual aria by Cherubini (patron composer of Cherubim!) from his opera Medea features bassoonist Cat McDermid. We have Gilda’s exquisite Caro Nome aria from Rigoletto by Verdi featuring the two flute of Suzie Watson & Octavia Lamb. And for fun we need no excuse to finish with Johann Strauss’s delightful Laughing Song from Fledermaus. Do follow these links to hear the music.

    The second half is a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet featuring Joseph Shiner and the Consort Quartet.

To find out about the music over the whole weekend: http://cherubimtrust.org/

Tickets from £9, children free. To book http://cmt.eventbrite.co.uk/ (card fees apply) or in person Tisbury Post Office


A Dream Journey interpreted

The dream is ranged left. My interpretation is indented.

I was walking along what seemed to be inside a huge blood artery, not knowing where to go nor why I was even there at the first place. The only thing I somehow knew was that if I stayed in one area too long, a horde of mutated flesh eating insects would crawl out of the little holes around the artery and eat me alive. Therefore, I kept walking forwards, hoping to find a miracle.

It wasn’t long until I went into a ‘Y’ intersection. One would get me out of this strange place and the other would lead me to my doom. It was at that time, a tall and skinny young man with short red hair and neatly trimmed mustache and beard appeared from behind me. He was wearing a business suit with a light blue shirt with a beige jacket, pants and dark brown leather shoes. Without saying a single word to me, he walked passed me and went right into the right tunnel. Even though I’ve never met that gentleman, somewhere in my gut feeling that this man could lead me out of the artery. Therefore, I had decided to follow him. After a short journey, I saw an onramp to my left which led us out of the artery. I followed him onto the onramp and exit the artery. 
As has been said, arteries carry life-blood. They are crucible in which oxygen is integrated and dispersed, and disease eradicated. As such they¹re not comfortable places to be. And so it is when we¹re in crisis - when, paradoxically, one of the things that most seems to attack us is the freedom of choice we have in those moment when ordinary rules are suspended. That seem to be where the dreamer starts ­ and can't wait to get out of it: to lock his world back down to its conventions and certainties.

Questioning and choice always involve fevered blood /anxiety. It's all too intense. So when he sees a businessman, emblem of normality and unquestioning venality, he's only too keen to escape. Well, we can all understand. Wasn¹t it St Augustine who prayed ŒO Lord save me, but not just yet¹? At one level we desire change, but at another we¹re terrified by actually doing it.

Insects to me are autonomous somatic reactions we feel yet are often apparently trivial and remain below our mental radar so that they BUG us, and make us irritable because we can't master and suppress (ie kill) them. Would they eat me alive? Or would they instead guide me to hidden correlations in my behaviour patterns or thought processes and certain consequences in the external world that my better self would wish to change?
Just as understanding how certain foods produce reactions we may not at first see as related. Also I see insects as being analogous to doubts that nag at my peace of mind.

But whatever is going on in this cauldron of blood is too much for the dreamer.

The scene here was absolutely beautiful. The sky was clear and the weather was perfectly warm with a cool summer breeze. I then found myself standing on flat ground on top of a cliff looking down at a perfect valley below with green trees on the side and a calm river in the center with another set of high cliffs on the other side. I kept following the gentleman along the clifftop until I arrived at the edge of the cliff, and he disappeared.
Just when I thought I was lost, I noticed a very attractive young lady sitting on a huge rock to my right side while looking towards the valley away from me. She was about 5’4” with long black hair down to her bra / mid-back level, was wearing a silk white v neck dress with front slit, and was barefoot. As I approached her, she turned around and smiled at me. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. Without thinking, I went on and introduced myself to her. Her name was Sabrina

Sabrina: Lovely, isn’t it?
Me: Indeed, but where are we?
Sabrina: Where do you want to go?
Me: I have no idea. In fact, I don’t even know how I got here. All I remember is that somehow I got out of this creepy place that looked like a blood artery, and I am here, looking at a beautiful scenery and a perfect angel in front of me.
Sabrina, blushing: Actually, I’m not what you think I am. I am a yaoguai (translated as spirit in Chinese mythology), a moth, to be exact.
Me: Then you must be a beautiful moth. I don’t think I’ll be afraid even if one day I see your true form.
Sabrina smiles and gets up: Anyways, you can’t stay here for too long. You need to get to the cliff across from here. If you just follow the trail on your left…
Me: If you’re a moth, you must be able to fly. Can you please help me? Besides, I would love to have you by my side from now on.

Sabrina nodded. She then approached me and told me to hold her tight. As we held each other, she spread her wings and we took off across the great valley. Even though the valley must have been very beautiful, I just couldn’t take my eyes off her. I felt like I was already in heaven and there was nowhere else I would like to be except with her.
After a long flight, we have finally arrived at the other side of the cliff. As soon as we landed, Sabrina told me that I should find a weapon to defend myself as this area was not as safe as the other one. I took her advice and started searching for one. This place was a little different from the previous one. While the other clifftop was a flat land with only one rock (the one Sabrina sat on), this place was like a pile up of large rocks. It wasn’t long before I found a cave to my right. We embraced passionately with a kiss, then I headed for the cave, promising that I’d be back and I’d take her with me wherever I go from now on.
Beauty, or rather, glamour, is often a great distraction, isn't it? Big business uses it as a way of selling us things that are not in our best interests, because our poor little brains can't disentangle the mental processes that lead us towards harmony, pattern and symmetry (simplicity) from the ways in which the clever manipulation of such symbols and our own biologic urges often entrap us into patterns of behaviour which are devilishly complex - be it debt, sex or addictions. This is the very raison d¹être of adland and the media corporations.
Here the dreamer is contemplating the world into which he must descend if he is to real-ise himself, and thinking I could really do with a soulmate I could share all this with. When lo & behold his wish creates the reality. But what reality is it? Does he create a real woman with needs and a mind of her own? No, its a fantasy woman - as is indicated by her name. Were you aware that Sabrina is the latin for breast? She is a masculine projection of the feminine whose only job is to gratify his wishes and stroke his ego. And what is her surname but (Cunni)ling(us)? She's a sex doll.

And now this seductive anima-projection offers him the ultimate fantasy of not needing to go down into the confusing valley of full incarnation where one cannot see the wood for the trees and the path of certainty peters out before it reaches the great river of destiny. Just like a super-salesperson leading the dreamer to fantasise that all his problems will be solved by buying the super-expensive gadget of his dreams, he is hooked. What are moths drawn to? So who is the moth here?

Unsurprisingly, by choosing not to descend to engage with his anger /aggression /confusion the dreamer finds it all there on the the next peak he reaches, and a ready way of expressing to hand. Why was it not as safe as the previous? Because every time we don¹t take an opportunity to deal with our stinky stuff it gestates and magnifies itself as we delude ourself that someonelse (someone who represents otherness in our life) is actively preventing us from reaching our goal/s.


The cave was wet and dark. After a few steps, I found a hunting rifle with some bullets beside it. I took it immediately and noticed something strange – a torch to my left lit up, revealing a huge brown moth creeping up from above me, and it seemed ready to attack. Because I noticed that Sabrina’s wings were white, that would not be her. Besides, Sabrina was outside waiting for me. So, I quickly loaded up the gun and blew its head clean off, then watch his body fell down onto a pile of rocks in front of me.

As I was about to head back, I noticed another small tunnel to my left. This one was covered with shining gold powder. Without hesitation, I went and scraped as much gold as possible and stuffed them into the pockets of my blue jeans. After having my pockets filled with gold, I headed back outside just to find a giant white moth standing with its back towards me. Without thinking, I fired 2 rounds at the right side of its body, mortally wounding it. As I approached it, I realized I have made a grave mistake – I just shot Sabrina! I immediately rushed to the dying moth, just as it morphed back to its human form (Sabrina), and held her tight in my arms, telling her how sorry I was. She gave me a heartbroken stare, then closed her eyes and died.
I was grief stricken, but somehow I was unable to cry. I fell to my knees, holding her lifeless body in my arms wondering why I was stupid enough not to recognize her wings. After a short while, Sabrina’s body disappeared. Without any other options, I had to move on.

Why did the dreamer need to enter the cave? Because the cave is the fertile womb, the unconscious where change /metamorphosis happens, a safe space where we can release one mindset and allow another to form. Was this what happened? No, it felt like the dreamer to a very unsafe space and accordingly he latched onto the classic male response. I think it was GB Shaw who said that the first thing a principle does is to shoot someone.

The thing about change is that it involves intense cognitive dissonance, and this can bring on or accompany exactly the kind of psychosis that makes men shoot others, either literally or metaphorically by pumping logic bullets into the soft flesh of those who think and respond differently in order to eliminate the perceived source of the cognitive dissonance.

And here we have to bear in mind one of Jung¹s greatest dicta: the unconscious always shows us the face we show it.

Was the brown moth(er) attacking? Do moths attack? No, it¹s a human projection because we attribute the same motive to others as we ourselves hold. But it¹s OK to shoot a bad brown moth - surely? Just never shoot a white moth. But here we see the classic madonna-whore dichotomy. Some women /people /things are bad and deserve what¹s coming to them; others are above reproach, unique, too good to be true, immortal. Our dreamer thought it was OK to blow the head off the dark moth, but actually such were his compulsions that he couldn¹t help blowing the head off his true love.
Thereby demonstrating the truth of Oscar Wilde¹s stanza in the Ballad of Reading Gaol -
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Given what the dream is seeking to show the dreamer, is it surprising that he is so preoccupied by filling his pockets with gold that his shooting of the white moth appears to him an accident? This pursuit of outer goals, be it money /career /or legitimate ambition is often how men kill their relationships without even knowing that they're doing it ­ by not recognizing from their wings.who their partners actually are.


After another long walk, I came across the entrance of an abandoned amusement park. The entrance gates were all rusted and there were some blood stains on the windows of the security booths. I immediately went to a defending position with my rifle in front of me just as I saw a huge Siberian tiger jumped right out at the gate, growling and staring at me. However, before any of us could launch a first strike, a familiar male voice was heard from the back, “Buddy! No!”
The tiger sat down quietly as the man walked out of the gate and I was very surprised to see him – it was my cousin Edward. I went forward and gave him a brotherly hug.
Me: How the hell did you get here?
Edward: I don’t know man, I just know this place is fucked up, and I found this tiger stuck in some cage in that damn circus(?) (pointing to a large circus tent on the left), so I rescued him and now we are friends. Anyways, did you meet any unusual friends on the journey?
I was silent as I suddenly thought about Sabrina, how we spent our short time together, how I foolishly killed her without recognizing her wings. Edward patted me on the back as if he could read my mind.
Edward: Forget that I asked, now you got me and Buddy. Let’s go.
With that, we went through the gates and into the park.

The amusement park was one of the scariest places I’ve ever seen. It was like walking through a theme park in a horror game. The concrete floor was cracked with weed and fungus all over it. Right after the entrance, there was two ways through the park with a worn out wooden sign in the middle. The road to our left would lead us to a circuit and an aquarium while the right would lead us into the booths and rides. Edward told me that he just came from the left and it wasn’t pretty (which he didn’t explain why), we went through the right and quickly arrived at the booths section. The game booths were completely empty. The food stands were empty with spilled ketchup, mustard, and relishes all over the booths. Although this part looked scary, we didn’t find anything hostile in this area. After a few blocks, we entered the rides section of the park.

The rides section was even scarier than the first one. The Ferris wheel on our left was completely rusted and was slanted slightly towards us. There were only 12 dangling passenger cars left and the wheel was slowly turning in a clockwise motion, making an eerily squeaky sound as it turned. To our right was a large bumper cars ride. Like the rest of the park, it was abandoned. There were 6 cars scattered on the lot and the colors were as follows (starting from the one closest to us): RED, LIGHT BLUE, YELLOW, LIGHT GREEN, PURPLE and ORANGE. The cars were all rusted and the seats were destroyed (like they had been clawed by wild animals). What caught my eyes though, was a mysterious narrow doorway at the end of the lot. It was then I remember that I had seen this arena and the doorway before in my previous dreams. The doorway that led to an endless maze scattered with booby traps and flesh eating zombies. As we went passed the doorway, we started hearing moans and growls coming from the inside of the doorway. I quickly got myself in a defensive position with my hunting rifle while Buddy the tiger got himself on full alert. However, since 3 seconds have passed and nothing came out, we have decided to make a run for it.

The last section before exiting the park was a gigantic roller coaster. The tracks were huge, it was about 600 feet high and around 8,000 feet long. The tracks were of red steel and like the other rides, it was rusted all over. The train, however, was made of wood and was able to seat 18 people in rows of 2. It was dilapidated and there was mold all over the train seats. It was at this time a heavy fog suddenly descended onto the area. Sensing that something was terribly wrong, we had decided to make a run for the exit (Another rusted steel arch like the entrance).
There¹s another useful maxim here. The sharpness of our moral vision is a direct consequence of the karmic choices we have made in life. Have we shirked them, and remained pygmies, or shouldered them and grown in stature and clarity of perception?

It's pretty grim this so-called Amusement Park, isn't it? Nobody has been amused here for a long while.The idea of pure pleasure always contains the seeds of its own downfall, because pursued for itself it¹s ultimately pointless. When it¹s over, what has been gained? Just an emptiness waiting to be filled again by more pointless pleasure - like a drug, preventing one from awakening and taking control of one¹s life. There¹s another thing that strikes me, each of these rides is an image of reincarnation. What goes around comes around - until we can learn to step off the roller-coaster of pleasure-pain, excitement-despair and learn to walk calmly to the exit sign. The 12 dangling passengers also speak of this - 12 being the number of a completed cycle (an octave in music, a day or night by the clock) in the duodecimal system which was universally used in the ancient world.

Here in this derelict environment the dreamer encounters not merely his alter ego, but also his killer instinct, his truth. And between them all in these unpromising circumstances some spiritual traction occurs. Of course his fears manifest but at least here he finds the resource to confront them. (BTW I assume the word circus is meant where circuit is given). Then the dreamer sees a way out, not a final solution, but at least a way forward; and its significance is its insignificance. Not only does it remind of that
Œstrait (narrow) is the way, and narrow the gate that leads to wisdom; but Marie-Louise von Franz points out somewhere that all truly great moral revolutions start at the margins of society - Christ born in a hovel, etc ­ because Œshit is gold & gold is shit¹. It's only the outcasts who have the psychic energy & need to overcome the inertia of the insiders. We saw earlier in the dream what the pursuit of gold led to. Now we¹re seeing the dreamer fully immersed in a really shitty place.

What does stepping throu the door lead to? A maze. Are we amazed? No, because life only seems to be a maze as long as we cling to our illusions. Once we surrender these and allow ourselves to fall we realise that in the ultimate scheme of things there is no good or bad, up or down, or duality - there is only being in the present, and using our inner truth to navigate the apparent choices we face.


After we left the park, we continued on until we went through a long narrow wooden suspension bridge with 2 rows of steel towering over an endless fog. In fact, the weather was so foggy that we could hardly see anything in front of us. It would be another 15 minute walk (or so I guess) before we finally hit solid ground and the fog began to lift
Here we meet The Cloud of Unknowing. (Check out the book of this name by an  anonymous 15thC english mystic - it¹s one of the most beautiful and timeless books of all spiritual literature, and speaks to us even more vividly now, because we admire the author for not surrendering to the object-based religious perceptions of his age). He says this cloud (depression) is there for a purpose and that we have to beat against it with the darts of prayerful longing for a sight of God(dess)head. The wonderful thing about this Œbridge over troubled water¹ is not only that we are reassured that others have walked this way by sight of its soaring (cloud-capped) towers and majestic stability - but here we see how ridiculously short the time was which seemed an eternity when we were in it.

As the fog lifted and the sky became clear, I found myself back to the flat ground above the blood artery. We walked to a giant hole in front of us and I looked down and was dismayed to find out that it was the artery tunnel I came from.
ME: Shit! That was where I started. What now?
EDWARD: Well, we are going down there with or without you.
ME: I wouldn’t go down there. I don’t know what but something isn’t right there.
EDWARD (smirk): So what? Look, we can do whatever we like as long as we are man enough to take the consequences, right?

Before I could react, Edward and Buddy leapt down towards the hole and immediately, screams of fear and agony was heard from them. Then, all was silent. “Fucking idiots!” I thought to myself. Now, I am alone with the hunting rifle, so I continued walking straight until I saw the exit I came up from. There, I saw the same red headed gentleman emerge from the exit and kept walking straight, and so I followed him to the same edge of the cliff where he disappeared again. I then stood there dumbfounded, wondering where to go from there, staring at the same rock where Sabrina used to sit.

I warmly salute the dreamer for maturity that he has acquired on this journey. Because  when he returns to the point of departure, as we invariably do, for instance at a Saturn Return, he demonstrates that he has been transformed by completing a revolution of the spiral rather than just gone round on a funfair ride & ended up back where he started. Altho his conscious mind remains fearful of the intensity of the transformative journey (the anarchy of the wild blood) his wise inner self and his instinctual nature are both prepared to engage further with the evolutionary process.

I’ve just started to reread Marie-Louise von Franz’s Alchemical Active Nature. And in it she writes something relevant to the dreamer’s dilemmas. 
…people get caught in a trap. They enter a castle and the door shuts behind them, and that always means that now they are in the Self [transpersonal otherness or Soul]. Now they have reached that point in their psyche where they can no longer run away from themselves. Now they are in for it, and the ego, which always flirts with the idea of getting away from what it ought to do, knows that it is caught in the mousetrap and has to fulfil the requirements of the Self and will not be released before that it accomplished.

In all fairy tales and mythological patterns one is always [ultimately] released […] but only after one has done the heroic deed. Trying to run away is no good, for you cannot escape [until you complete the task and are thereby released from it].
Origins of Alchemy p24

It's noteworthy that the dreamer cannot release the idea of ego protection, the gun. Observe how the truly powerful people of the world, such as the Dalai Lama, require no protection – their spirituality is confidence enough for them. In this context it’s clear that the dreamer is at risk of losing the integration that the dream exhibits if he doesn’t stay true to /follow his higher self and instincts. It is only within a further encounter with(in) the crucible of his own blood that he is likely to encounter to encounter his true inner feminine, and thereby be ready to manifest such a person in reality.

I close with another quote from Von Franz. This time from The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, which contains this lapidary paragraph.

There again loyalty to the reality of the psyche gives the only possible solution, and generally the anima tends to maneuver a man into a situation which is meant to be without issue. Jung said that to be in a situation where there is no way out or to be in a conflict where there is no solution is the classical beginning of the process of individuation. It is meant to be a situation without solution: the unconscious wants the hopeless conflict in order to put ego consciousness up against the wall, so that the man has to realize that whatever he does is wrong, whichever way he decides will be wrong. This is meant to knock out the superiority of the ego, which always acts from the illusion that it has the responsibility of decision.

Naturally, if a man says, “Oh well, then I shall just let everything go and make no decision, but just protract and wriggle out everywhere,” the whole thing is equally wrong, for then naturally nothing happens. But if he is ethical enough to suffer to the core of his personality, then generally, because of the insolubility of the conscious situation, the Self manifests. In religious language you could say that the situation without issue is meant to force the man to rely on an act of God. In psychological language the situation without issue, which the anima arranges with great skill in a man’s life, is meant to drive him into a condition in which he is capable of experiencing the Self, in which he will be inwardly open to an interference by the tertium quod non datur (the third way, which is not given, that is, the unknown thing).

In this way, as Jung said, the anima is the guide toward the realization of the Self, but sometimes in a very painful manner. When thinking of the anima as the soul guide, we are apt to think of Beatrice leading Dante up to Paradise, but we should not forget that he experienced that only after he had gone through Hell. Normally, the anima does not take a man by the hand and lead him right up to Paradise; she puts him first in to a hot cauldron where he is nicely roasted for a while.