Indoor Games

- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Lizard
pg. 2 - Cirkus | pg. 3 - Megaphonium Fanfare
pg. 4 - 'Worship!' Cried the Clown | pg. 5 - Entry of the Chameleons
pg. 6 - Indoor Games | pg. 7 - Happy Family
pg. 8 - Lady of the Dancing Water

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Indoor Fireworks | Nothing But Your Armour | Teetotum Spins | No Ball Bagatelle | Broken Ladder

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The denizens of Indoor Games , instead of cultivating the inner self (intuition), are fully immersed in worldly and trivial pursuits. Their lives are an indoor (psychological) game of doing everything they can to avoid looking inward.

"The sage patterns himself on Heaven, prizes the Truth, and does not allow himself to be cramped by the vulgar. The stupid man does the opposite of this. He is unable to pattern himself on Heaven and instead frets over human concerns. He does not know enough to prize the Truth but instead, plodding along with the crowd, he allows himself to be changed by vulgar ways, and so is never content."

- Taoism. Chuang Tzu

All of side one of the album deals with worldly concerns, the realm of the lower chakras.

The First Chakra

"Through the first chakra, one is ready to master the forces of matter - and thus becomes materialistically involved in physical life through the play of the senses within the kinetic forces of the earth. From this, men become blind to spiritual laws..."

"The three lower chakras below the diaphragm, controlling the senses, unceasingly energise procreation. They also activate the desire to cling, to crave, to have and to possess."

- Chakras and Levels of Self
by M.Alan Kazlev

"The scriptures speak of seven centers of consciousness (chakras). The mind may dwell in one or the other of the centers. When the mind is attached to worldliness, it dwells in the three lower centers... The mind has no higher spiritual ambitions or visions. It is immersed in the cravings of lust and greed."

- Kundalini Yoga

"At this historical epoch, a majority of human beings on Earth have evolved to the third chakra and are deeply involved in the countless variations of giving and getting that make up the acquisitive world of commerce. An individual in this stage of life tends to take life as it comes without wondering much about its meaning, worth, or purpose. He seeks enjoyment through the senses, or by cultivating emotional pleasures, material security, or achievement of personal ambition. Because of the limited view afforded by ego-based consciousness, he believes that the only reality is that of the physical world, and therefore he is strongly attached to earthly goods."

- Madness or Transcendence?
Looking to the Ancient East
for a Modern Transpersonal Diagnostic System
John E. Nelson, M.D.

"Enter by the narrow gate. The gate is wide that leads to perdition,
there is plenty of room on the road and many go that way;
but the gate that leads to life is small and the road is narrow,
and those who find it are few."

- Matthew 7.13-14

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"Indoor fireworks amuse your kitchen staff"

"Indoor", of course, refers to "inside the house" and "fireworks", in this context, connote any sort of domestic drama or excitement which distracts the individual from looking within himself. The excitement/distraction might be generated by anything in the world such as an argument, a party, a game, a fad or a new toy (i. e. a television or a computer). "Indoor fireworks" also allude to the necessary psychic fireworks yet to come (those which take place in Bolero - The Peacock's Tale, The Battle of Glass Tears and Big Top) and suggest that what is taking place in Indoor Games is a poor imitation of that experience. Because the "fireworks" can only "amuse" the kitchen staff, we know that what is going on here, even the "drama", is not terribly important. We also know, because the "Smiths" (as opposed to the "Jones") have a "kitchen staff", that the people portrayed in Indoor Games are affluent.

"Individuation is for the common person-the person of ordinary stature or less. Someone famous, rich and successful is more likely to be comfortable in that situation and have less of a desire to become individuated."

- Individuation and the Biblical Concept of Wholeness
By Kenny Ammann

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

- Matthew 19:24

"Dusting plastic garlic plants
They snigger in the draught"

As "garlic" is used to ward off evil spirits, the "Smiths" consider their "plants", and all of their material possessions, to be talismans useful for avoiding (inner) confrontation. But evil spirits, the dark, the Shadow can only be successfully combatted via confrontation and so the "plants" are "plastic", offering no real protection.

"The shadow that represents the dark, earthy part of our personality, and may even appear demonic to our well-bred, conscious selves, is often clearly delineated in dreams. And it has to be accepted and loved before the psychic energy it commands can be properly integrated into the personality."

- Precarious Living
by Dr. Martin Israel

"We want to avoid the Devil; we pacify and smother disease with our allopathic medicine, deny death with cryogenics and self-induced myopia, avoid filth and waste with a system that dumps our garbage on someone else's doorstep—usually Mother Earth's. Those with the spare time to drop their culture's dominant religion and sit around pondering religions from around the world— obviously mostly from the leisured classes—can very easily forget about this process of collective denial. They can happily believe that 'All Is One'; all the problems of the world, poverty, torture, disease and despair, all can be happily absorbed into the soft mental cocoon created by luxury... and forgotten."

- Dionysus Risen
by Gyrus

"Dusting" suggests that the "Smiths" have been practicing their evasions for a long time.
The "draught" is also significant, suggesting that something unwanted is getting into the house (rising to consciousness). ("Close the door. I feel a draught!") Vampires, a certain type of evil spirit, are said to be able to enter a dwelling only through an open door or window.

"Both this room and your bedroom have been prepared with wolfsbane. You will be safe if Dracula returns. Miss Mina is to wear this wreath of wolfsbane when she goes to bed. Watch her closely and see that she does not remove it in her sleep...And under no circumstances must these windows be opened tonight."

- Van Helsing's instructions to a nurse (from the 1931 film, Dracula)

"...integration is a project that cannot afford to avoid anything. And it is ironic that we may find some of the most lucid philosophical attempts to redress the balance by going back to one of the original popularizers of Eastern mysticism, Alan Watts. In The Wisdom of Insecurity he suggests that we must realize that those things we usually feel to be 'alien' and 'horrifying' in nature—"the clammy foreign-feeling world of the ocean's depths, the wastes of ice, the reptiles of the swamp, the spiders and scorpions, the deserts of lifeless planets"—are also part of ourselves. "Our feelings about the crawling world of the wasps' nest and the snake pit are feelings about hidden aspects of our own bodies and brains, and all of their potentialities for unfamiliar creeps and shivers, for unsightly diseases, and unimaginable pains."

- Dionysus Risen
by Gyrus

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"When you ride through the parlour
Wearing nothing but your armour -
Playing Indoor Games."

The "armour" is "ego-armour".

"What is ego?
Only the means by which I protect myself as if I were in a battle,
as if every other person is my enemy,
and the only thing I care about is winning the victory."

- The Enemy Within
Archimandrite Dionysios
Elder of the Christian Orthodox Church

What is Enlightenment? - spring/summer 2000

"Soon, the child's clear eye is
clouded over by ideas and opinions,
preconceptions and abstractions.
Simple free being becomes
encrusted with the burdensome
armor of the ego."

- Peter Matthiessen

"One string puppet shows amuse
Your sycophantic friends
Who cheer your rancid recipes
In fear they might offend,
Whilst you loaf on your sofa
Sporting falsies and a toga -
Playing Indoor Games, Indoor games."

In light of the torrent of images received from the unconscious in The Dance of the Puppets, "one string puppet shows" indicate that Mr. Smith suffers from an impoverished inner life. Due to the paucity of (unconscious) material rising to consciousness he is not a very interesting person (a "Johnny One Note"/ "one string"). Without guidance from within, anything he "cooks up" is a "rancid recipe" for success (like the "insufficient schemes" of In the Court of the Crimson King). "Falsies" also point to the disingenuous nature of his inner and outer environment. Because of all of this, his ego will only allow him to associate with flatterers ("sycophants").

"Even if they wanted to, hardhearted people could not "listen" to the emotions of others because they would find it unbearable to experience the fear, envy, hatred, revenge they have provoked. They must surround themselves with admirers, and admiration becomes a drug for them to blunt the self-disgust they must repress.
For such people, repentance requires a total change of heart. They must change their minds, intentions, and actions. This requires the willingness to experience full self-disgust and turn to a new path."

- Michael Maccoby,
The Gamesmen: The New Corporate Leaders

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"Your mean teetotum spins arouse your seventh wife"

A teetotum, according to Webster's, was "a child's toy, somewhat resembling a top, and twirled by the fingers". "Used for playing games of chance," the teetotum "was four-sided, one side having the letter T on it, standing for Latin totum all, meaning, take all that is staked, whence the name. The other three sides each had a letter indicating an English or Latin word; as P meaning put down, N nothing or L. nil, H half."

Like the divided Self and its four differentiated functions, the four-sided teetotum can only rest on one side (utilize one psychological function) at a time. The teetotum therefore serves as a symbol of the divided psyche.

"The big teetotum twirls
And epochs wax and wane
As chance subsides or swirls;
But of the loss and gain
The sum is always plain."

- Double Ballade of the Nothingness of Things by William Ernest Henley (1877)

"Ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho!
Time's teetotum,
If you spin it,
Gives it quotum
Once a minute."

- First You're Born by Gilbert & Sullivan

"Who pats her sixty little skins
And reinsures your life,"

"Sixty little skins" refers to his wife's mink coat, a status symbol which validates his existence ("reinsures" his life). His wife taking out another life insurance policy on him suggests that his marriage is about as genuine as his "sycophantic friends", his "plastic garlic plants" and his "falsies". It is also significant that he has managed to "arouse" his "seventh" wife. As will be shown in the next chapter, in order to experience some real "indoor fireworks", Prince Rupert will need to "arouse" his "seventh" chakra.

"Whilst you sulk in your sauna
'Cos you lost your jig-saw corner -
Playing Indoor Games, Indoor games."

Again an image indicative of both the inner and outer state. He can't make sense of himself or his life. It's a puzzle.

"Neurosis is the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning."

- C.G. Jung

"Each afternoon you train baboons to sing
Or swim in purple perspex water wings.
Come Saturday jump chopper, chelsea brigade,
High bender-trender it's all Indoor Games."

"Perspex" is plastic and yet another reference to artificiality. Though training "baboons to sing" and swimming in purple wings are apparently among his weekend diversions, these also seem like dream images (or images from a dream) and tell us, again, that Mr. Smith is simulating in his outer life what he should be experiencing in his inner life.

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"No ball bagatelle incites
Your children to conspire."

"The religious vision, and its history of persistent expansion, is our one ground for optimism. Apart from it, human life is a flash of occasional enjoyments lighting up a mass of pain and misery, a bagatelle of transient experience."

- Alfred North Whitehead

"Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind, and within, the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all that passes, yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest."

- Alfred North Whitehead

The word "bagatelle" is French. Translated into English, it means "a trifle" or "small thing". The game of Bagatelle, without a ball, is like a life without meaning, purposeless. The bizarre and chaotic instrumental passages of Indoor Games and Happy Family, therefore, are also a reflection of Mr. Smith's outlook, his meaningless life.

"Within the strait-jacket of his individual persona, modern man sees the world as a meaningless jumble of disjointed fragments, one of which is himself. Drained of its energizing penumbra, human experience takes on the colorless, barren and monotonous cast of the Wasteland -- a psychic landscape painfully familiar to 20th Century man."

- In Quest of the Grail
by Thomas Jude


The dogmatism and social convention offered and expected by parents and society renders life a trivial game and "incites children to conspire".

"They slide across your frying pan
And fertilise your fire;"

"Out of the frying pan into the fire."
On one level, the above could be a bit of social commentary. "Your children", being the offspring of the middle-aged bourgeosie, is possibly a reference to the "hippies" of the era. Or it could be any of the "Smith's" children. In any case, by sliding across the "frying pan", the children avoid cooking in the pan with their parents. But, as they end up being fuel for their parents fire, the children apparently fall into the fire. On the surface, this would appear to indicate that the children are in more trouble than their parents but the "fire" that Peter Sinfield is talking about here is a spiritual fire, a necessary and cleansing fire that everyone must walk through. What the fire burns away is ego. So the children are cleansed/purified in the fire while their parents are on "slow-burn" in the frying pan. In other words, because their egos have not fully formed and they are not so entrenched in their ways and beliefs, the children are actually closer to spiritual enlightenment than their parents. The attitudes and behavior of the children "fertilise" the fire of their parents by threatening and provoking a reaction from their egos (challenging them to grow).

As the Buddhists say,

"If you want to escape the heat, jump into the fire."

And as Carl Jung said...

"Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering."

"If we try to escape the pain and frustration of our existential situation by always trying to find a means of escape, we are like a squirrel running around in a cage, and our suffering is totally neurotic and unproductive. But if we are able to hold the powerful psychic energies that get constellated when we go inwards, and try to consciously explore the meaning of the experience, genuine transformation occurs."

- Alchemy
by Paul Levy

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"Still you and Jones go madder
Broken bones - broken ladder -
Hey Ho ..."

The broken ladder signifies an inablity to reach for higher (spiritual) things.

"Now that my ladder's gone
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart."

- W.B. Yeats, The Circus Animals' Desertion

"On the Devil tarot front of the Devil stand two thralls -- individuals who are mentally, morally and physically bound to him. They are literally enthralled by his temptations, bound to each other and to the Devil by a golden chain that encircles them all. The chain circles them around their hips, meaning that they are bound by their lowest chakra, corresponding to material existence and generation (Haich 121). The thralls think they are free, since they have turned their backs to the Devil and his bonds, but he controls them from behind the scenes, like a puppet master. Constrained by custom, habit, instinct and ignorance (the chain); they are unaware of their lack of freedom. If only they could see the chain by which they are bound, they could step out of it and achieve new freedom. Ultimately, they are victims of their own complacency, and it will take (a) shattering bolt... to awaken them from their slumber;" (Nichols 266-8, 280)

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

"The Devil tarot card represents...Domination of matter over spirit. Sensation divorced from understanding."

- Gray's commentary on the tarot

"The Devil's more usual meanings are illusion and oppression. The main illusion is materialism, a term which we usually think of as an over concern with money, but which more properly means the view that nothing exists beyond the world of the senses. The Devil's power rests in the illusion that nothing else exists."

- Pollack's commentary on the tarot

Dark Night of the Soul : Cirkus ~ Entry of the Chameleons

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Dark Night of the Soul : Cirkus ~ Happy Family

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
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