Chapter Seventeen

- side two -

- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Ladies of the Road | pg. 2 - A Flower Lady's Daughter | pg. 3 - Taming the Ox
pg. 4 - Prelude : Song of the Gulls | pg. 5 - Returning Home | pg. 6 - Islands
pg. 7 - Earth, Stream and Tree | pg. 8 - Beneath the Wind Turned Wave | pg. 9 - Dark Harbor Quays
pg. 10 - The Ego and the Self | pg. 11 - Magnum Opus

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Gaunt Granite Climbs

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Islands , the album and the song, begins with the image of the island surrounded by sea. In the first line of Formentera Lady , the island guards "a pale shoreline". The first line of the title song communicates essentially the same idea.

"Earth, stream and tree encircled by sea"

"Consciousness, no matter how extensive it may be, must always remain the smaller circle within the greater circle of the unconscious, an island surrounded by the sea; and, like the sea itself, the unconscious yields an endless and self-replenishing abundance of living creatures, a wealth beyond our fathoming."

- C. G. Jung 1946

"Encircled" suggests an encampment (Ego Consciousness) under siege (guard), surrounded by hostile forces. These hostile forces are, of course, unconscious content. In Lizard , the forces of the unconscious were represented by the terrifying Herukas of the Chonyid Bardo. But our protagonist has already been through that and though the old tension between conscious and unconscious is still there, it exists in a milder form. The narrator, the "sailor"/wanderer, now understands himself to be under the sway of a feminine power.

Islands by Julia Fryer
(from the Peter Sinfield book, Under the Sky )
"...the beginning place occurs in the psychological function of intuition. But intuition is also the ending place that is represented in mythological literature as the return to Paradise. In psychology, this has often been described as the desire to return to the womb, the mother, or the feminine."

- The Genesis Model by Gerry Anne Lenhart

"The sea is the favorite symbol for the unconscious, the mother of all that lives."

- C. G. Jung
The Special Phenomenology of the Child Archetype [pt. 4] Psyche & Symbol

""Athirat (Asherah, Ashtartian - 'the Lady of the Sea', Elat - 'the goddess') She is both mother and nursemaid. She frequents the ocean shore."

- Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology

The Mother Goddess . . . became Tanit."

- Ibiza Night

"Individuation is a process (not a realized goal) in which the ego becomes increasingly aware of its origin from, and dependence upon, an archetypal psyche."

- Method: Individuation

ocean, sea, water:

"Represents birth, death and rebirth. Water is the life force of the earth, the amniotic fluid from which all of life on earth began. The sea is the uterine abyss, the deep, an uncontrollable elemental force that destroys and kills as well as purifies."

- Calypso and Circe
by Alicia LeVan

"Tanit - the enigmatic Mother Goddess and protector of love and fertility."

- Live Ibiza

"Waves sweep the sand from my island."

The inevitable/inexorable influence of the waves/the unconscious upon the life of the individual. This is the process of individuation.

"My sunsets fade.

After sunset comes dark, the same darkness portrayed in Sailor's Tale and The Letters . Note that Peter Sinfield uses the plural ("sunsets") to convey the idea that this (individuation) is an ongoing process. Just as the sun rises and falls, in any life there will be many descents into darkness and many re-entries into the light.

"Like a seed growing into a tree, life unfolds stage by stage. Triumphant ascent, collapse, crises, failures, and new beginnings strew the way. It is the path trodden by the great majority of mankind, as a rule unreflectingly, unconsciously, unsuspectingly, following its labyrinthine windings from birth to death in hope and longing. It is hedged about with struggle and suffering, joy and sorrow, guilt and error, and nowhere is there security from catastrophe. For as soon as a man tries to escape every risk and prefers to experience life only in his head, in the form of ideas and fantasies, as soon as he surrenders to opinions of 'how it ought to be' and, in order not to make a false step, imitates others whenever possible, he forfeits the chance of his own independent development. Only if he treads the path bravely and flings himself into life, fearing no struggle and no exertion and fighting shy of no experience, will he mature his personality more fully than the man who is ever trying to keep to the safe side of the road."

- Jolande Jacobi, The Way of Individuation

"In that tragic involvement lies what Hegel called the deepest intuition of the human mind, that from suffering and destruction comes spirit: Oedipus as saving seer; Prometheus Unbound; from the burning body of Semele, Dionysus, god of the vine and tragic art, in the end of immortality."

- Charles G. Bell, Symbolic History

"Field and glade wait only for rain"

"Through inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither."

- William Wordsworth
Intimations of Immortality

"Field and glade" are land-locked and dependent upon rainwater (here, again, water represents the unconscious).
As in the wilderness journey depicted in The Peacock's Tale , or the state of the man in Gemini ( I Talk to The Wind ) prior to the "first keen onrush" of water in Cancer ( Epitaph and Moonchild ), in the The Letters the protagonist was completely cut off from his unconscious. There are dry periods in the life (individuation process) of every person.

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"Grain after grain love erodes my
High weathered walls which fend off the tide
Cradle the wind
to my island."

The gradual process of unconscious content (unclaimed thoughts, feelings and sensations) rising to the surface (or washing up on the shore) and being accepted into consciousness. "Love" is the individual's acceptance of himself, his shadow and other people.

"Unconscious aspects of the self are experienced as "outer," according to Jung, so that we "happen to ourselves." Some aspects of the self are consequently experienced only with relationships, which are faithful mirrors of intrapsychic dynamic."

- Kohut and Jung
By Lionel Corbett

"One of the great lessons of the Fourth Noble Truth, and of the Buddha's teachings in general, is that it is possible to learn a new way to be with one's feelings. The Buddha taught a method of holding thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the balance of meditative equipose so that they can be seen in a clear light. Stripping away the identifications and reactions that usually adhere to the emotions like moss to a stone, the Buddha's method allows the understanding of emptiness to emerge.

As psychoanalysts have continually pointed out, it is the tendency of the neurotic character to become estranged from emotional experience, to see thoughts, feelings or sensations as "it' rather than "I," to deny fundamental aspects of the self-experience. Correctly understood, the Buddhist perspective is that we are nothing but these experiences: to deny their subjective reality is to further empower them as something fixed, powerful and out-of-control. The person in such a predicament is then cut off from essential aspects of the self-experience. It is a fundamental tenet of Buddhist thought that before emptiness or self can be realized, the self must be experienced fully, as it appears. It is the task of therapy, as well as of meditation, to return those split off elements to a person's awareness- to make the person see that they are not, in fact, split-off elements at all, but essential aspects of his or her own being."

As the third Zen patriarch, writing in the early seventh century A.D., articulated with great clarity:

When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
nothing in the world can offend,
and when a thing can no longer offend,
it ceases to exist in the old way. . . .
If you wish to move in the One Way
do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to accept them fully
is identical with true Enlightenment.

- Thoughts Without a Thinker
Mark Epstein M.D.
(p. 101-2, 206)

"True Love in this differs from gold and clay,
That to divide is not to take away.
Love is like understanding that grows bright
Gazing on many truths; 'tis like thy light,
Imagination! which, from earth and sky,
And from the depths of human fantasy,
As from a thousand prisms and mirrors, fills
The Universe with glorious beams, and kills
Error, the worm, with many a sun-like arrow
Of its reverberated lightning."

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

The "high walls" of the ego, though weathered by time and tide, continue to "fend off" the unconscious, to support Thinking ("cradle the wind") as a differentiated ego function. But the narrator now understands this dynamic and accepts this tendency within himself, observing it without judgment. This is the same conflict with the unconscious depicted in Sailor's Tale and the fourth Oxherding Picture, a struggle, a process, ongoing and eternal.

"Unity is a certain state, but you don't stay in unity as long as you're in the world, because as soon as you have a single thought, you're no longer in unity. As soon as you have a single impulse or idea or word or action, you're no longer in unity, and even Buddha didn't stay in a unitive state. He had his unitive experience, then he came back and preached and founded monasteries and was very active in the world."

- Ralph Metzner

In summary, verse one portrays the still egocentric individual in a state of resistance (to the unconscious) but paradoxically aware (like the narrator of I Talk to the Wind ) of what he is going through. As he continues to reflect on the cyclic nature of life, in verse two, the resistance drops.

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"Gaunt granite climbs where gulls wheel and glide
Mournfully cry o'er my island."

"Finally, we should reflect that the language of Nature, as the great feminine, is called the Language of the Birds."

- Commentary on Chymical Wedding
by Jack Courtis

The Song of the Gulls . In life there can be lean (gaunt) years and (granite) hard uphill "climbs". And what makes life hard is ego attachment. Though real life tends to entail a thousand little ego deaths (instead of the one profound moment of truth depicted in Prince Rupert Laments ) here the narrator (through the gulls) is expressing the same pain and loss expressed in Prince Rupert Laments - the pain caused by ego attachments and the inevitable loss of these delusions.

"Individuation can be the result of a gradual development consisting of many little transformations, or a sudden transformation brought about by a shattering or mystical experience (e.g., St. Paul's blinding on the Damascus Road or Jakob Boehme's seeing a vision of God in a bowl of soup). It can be experienced as a continuous development extending over a whole lifespan, or a cyclic process constantly recurring in unchanged form."

- Individuation: The Process of a Lifetime
by Howard W. Tyas, Jr.

"My dawn bride's veil, damp and pale,
Dissolves in the sun."

Like the natural process of fog evaporating in the sun, the dialogue between conscious and unconscious is dissolved when the demands of life (the velocity of modern life depicted in Mirrors and 42nd and Treadmill ) require more attention to the outside world.

"Love's web is spun - cats prowl, mice run:

"All is one law, not two. We only make the bull a temporary subject. It is as the relation of rabbit and trap, of fish and net.."

- Kakuan's Commentary on the Seventh Oxherding Pictures

Here Peter Sinfield's verse recalls the complementarity and balance held between the opposites in Cadence and Cascade and the policeman and bareback ladies of Cirkus .

"Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.

Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short contrast each other:
High and low rest upon each other;
Voice and sound harmonize each other;
Front and back follow one another."

- Tao Te Ching

"...that which is feared also belongs to the wholeness of the self -- the sub-human, or supra-human world of psychic 'dominants' (archetypes) from which the ego originally emancipated itself with enormous effort, and then only partially, for the sake of a more or less illusory freedom. This liberation is certainly a very necessary and very heroic undertaking, but it represents nothing final: it is merely the creation of a subject, who, in order to find fulfillment, has still to be confronted by an object. This [object], at first sight, would appear to be the world, which is swelled out with projections for that very purpose. Here we seek and find our difficulties, here we seek and find our enemy, here we seek and find what is dear and precious to us; and it is comforting to know that all evil and all good is to be found out there, in the visible object, where it can be conquered, punished, destroyed, or enjoyed. But nature herself does not allow this paradisal state of innocence to continue for ever. There are, and always have been, those who cannot help but see that the world and its experiences are in the nature of a symbol, and that it really reflects something that lies hidden in the subject himself, in his own trans-subjective reality."

- C. G. Jung
from the introduction to The Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary

"Wreathe snatch-hand briars where owls know my eyes"

As it forms a circle, or even a spiral, the "wreathe" represents the cyclic nature of the individuation process, which does involve loss (the "wreathe" representing The Letters ) and pain ("briars") but, ultimately, can lead to wisdom ("owls"). The "wreathe" also seems to be made out of "briars" - suggesting a crown of thorns. Just as the "gulls mournfully cry", the "owls know my eyes", mirroring the narrator's inner state and demonstrating, again, the intuitive "language of the birds".

"Jung makes it clear that his concept of the self...consists rather in the awareness on the one hand of our unique natures, and on the other of our intimate relationship with all life, not only human, but animal and plant, and even that of inorganic matter and the cosmos itself. It brings a feeling of 'oneness', and of reconciliation with life, which can now be accepted as it is, not as it ought to be.

- An Introduction to Jung's Psychology
by Frieda Fordham

"Who sees his Lord Within every creature,
Deathlessly dwelling amidst the Mortal:
that man sees truly."

- The Bhagavad Gita

"Violet skies
Touch my island,
Touch me."

"Ultimately, the archetypes also drive individuation and provide a counterpole (the "violet end") to instinct (the psyche's "red end"): image and its dynamism."

- A glossary of Jungian terms
by Craig Chalquist, M.S.

The Color Violet

"Jung illustrated the notion of the archetype with two powerful similes. One of these involves the spectrum of visible light: from the high-frequency/energy (short wavelength) blue (the ultra violet) end, to the low frequency/energy (long wavelength) red end. Closure of the linear spectrum into a circular ring or wheel is made possible because of the unique properties of the color violet, whose frequencies mostly transcend the upper limits of human perception. This may remind us of the color wheel, since violet can be produced by mixing the hues of red and blue from either end of that linear spectrum, in order to close the circle, ring, or wheel."

- Kekulé: Enlightenment

Islands : side two ~ Islands
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Islands : side two ~ Beneath the Wind Turned Wave

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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