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pg. 1 - Introduction | pg. 2 - The Song of the Sea Goat | pg. 3 - Aquarian Runes
pg. 4 - Shaking in the Dome | pg. 5 - The Smoke-Filled Road | pg. 6 - The Fallen Sun
pg. 7 - Under the Sky | pg. 8 - Still

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The Sea Goat

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The Song of the Sea Goat

The Song of the Sea Goat is the opening song on the album. Themes from the D major Lute Concerto by Vivaldi invoke the ebb and flow of the waves, and a fragile exquisite beauty is shaped by many layers of imagery.

There is a numinous sense of timelessness, even though it contains many contemporary references. The balance between the mythical and the topical creates a framework that enables listeners to project their own interpretations upon the song. Thus a song built upon a social foundation also contains a sense of personal development. How can so much be achieved in so few words?

Jon Green:

It is a magnificent performance on every level. Stirring, majestic, enigmatic, provocative; it is everything the old King Crimson used to be - and more. Like all of the songs in the first four King Crimson albums, The Song of the Sea Goat is full of hidden symbolism. But what is even more fascinating about the song is that it is also very significant to Peter's personal life and career. It is, as far as I know, Peter's first deeply personal song, very much unlike anything he had done before while, in a sense, also very much like what was to come. It is interesting to note that this new personal dimension to Peter's work was foreshadowed in the "sailors' words" of Islands .

Neil Ingram:

The position of songs on Peter Sinfield's albums is always interesting. The Song of the Sea Goat has the pole position on Still , a distinction it shares with 21st Century Schizoid Man , Cirkus and Formentera Lady . The first two songs are political reflections of contemporary society that use stark images as symbols of modern turmoil. Formentera Lady , in contrast, is more pastoral and uses small details of personal observation.

Jon Green:

The first song on each album is very important because it defines how the narrator sees the world and, therefore, himself. In other words, in a Peter Sinfield song the outer world always mirrors the inner world. In 21st Century Schizoid Man , the world is at war because the narrator is completely at odds with himself. He, like the world, is dominated by the will to power (over the disowned parts of the self). This is projective identification - or, as an old Jewish saying goes..."We don't see the world as it is. We see the world as we are."

Because on side two of In the Court of the Crimson King our protagonist acknowledges his shadow (Eros), In the Wake of Poseidon the will to power has subsided (or, more accurately, gone underground), replaced by love, or Eros. As explained in Eros and Strife, Eros has a dark side (poverty or desire) and this becomes the filter through which the narrator sees the world. The narrator now worries about his own desire (or fallen Eros) which has risen to consciousness, rendering unconscious his Promethean impulse, his will to power (as represented by 21st Century Schizoid Man ). This overwhelming sense of desire is projected out into the world as depicted in Pictures of a City . Please note: the world has not changed from one album to the next. It is only his perception of the world that has changed and his perception of the world is very much colored by his own internal state. Your description of these two songs as "political reflections" is accurate because our "politics" is always reflective of who we are as a society (i.e. our spiritual condition or where we are on the continuum between the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions). I don't know of any governments that operate from the transcendent position! I suspect such a government would be called "anarchy" (or no government at all) in the best Marxist sense of the word.

In Hand of Sceiron , the protagonist confronts the "monster" of his own will to power, represented by the Mars theme (Aries), the sign of the 21st Century Schizoid Man . This is his own shadow rising up from the depths. In Garden of Worm , he reconciles the two opposed poles of his psyche (conscious Eros and unconscious will to power) to overcome, if only momentarily, his sense of duality. The two opposed poles are always specific elements of conscious and unconscious within us. The world is only as divided as we are within and any sense of unity we feel is nothing more than the unity (of conscious and unconscious) within ourselves.

And this is where we arrive at Cirkus . Having overcome duality in the previous album, the narrator now feels compelled (qualified?) to expound upon its vagaries. While, in The Devil's Triangle , the narrator came to understand Logos and Eros (the will to power and desire) as points on a continuum, he has yet to sufficiently overcome either of these forces. The will to power (Logos) is only present if power is desired (Eros) and the motto of Scorpio, the sign of Lizard , is "I desire". The problem of desire is "mirrored" in the worlds of Indoor Games and Happy Family . Desire rises up from the unconscious in Lady of the Dancing Waters (much in the way the will to power rose from the unconscious in The Devil's Triangle ) to announce itself overtly as the problem our narrator is now facing. And so, on side two of Lizard , he renounces the world, makes the journey into the wilderness (within and without) and confronts, in a last battle, his shadow, his desire and all of the baggage of his ego.

Emerging from this "dark night of the soul" in Formentera Lady , the world is bright and new. He is whole again but the sense of unity does not last (it never does). The material world (of Maya, the Formentera Lady) soon intrudes and leads to our protagonists "Fall" (or re-fall, as it were). This time driven by feelings provoked (brought to consciousness) by a woman (or women) he again journeys into the underworld of his own unconscious ( Sailor's Tale ). After several painful experiences with women, he realizes he has not approached his life with the right attitude. The "right attitude", as in the previous three albums, is attained only in relation to the narrator's unconscious. I get the impression that, after the storms of life depicted in Sailor's Tale, The Letters and Ladies of the Road , the narrator seeks (or finds) solace in his own unconscious. This relationship between inner and outer (the individuation process) is depicted in Islands . The biggest revelation in Islands is that the narrator is using "words" ("sailor's words - pearls and gourds are strewn on my shore") rising up from the unconscious to know himself. The sailor is Peter Sinfield.

Neil Ingram:

The Song of the Sea Goat combines both stark images as symbols of modern turmoil and small pastoral details of personal observation. It melds complex imagery from alchemy and astrology with ephemeral images. Like Cirkus , it probably started as a song for and about modern society. At the same time, perhaps inevitably, an agenda for personal development is spelt out.

Jon Green:

I agree that the song is about modern society but hasten to add that the song is also "for and about" Peter Sinfield. Peter's art is always meant for his own personal development (i.e. the "agenda" is to write poetry, meaningful healing poetry). That said, I see the overall mood of The Song of the Sea Goat , superficially at least, as one of despair (on several levels) - but we'll get into that later.

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Neil Ingram:

The Sea Goat is Capricorn, the tenth constellation in the zodiac. The figure has the head and body of a goat and tail of a fish. The image of the 'Sea Goat' is central to this song, and we are immediately drawn to a powerful symbolic figure involved in magical activity.

Jon Green:

Powerful symbols always express something about the psyche and the Sea Goat (with the head and body of a goat and the tail of a fish) represents a union of unlikely elements (opposites).

As you note, the sea goat is Capricorn. Therefore, The Song of the Sea Goat , like Ladies of the Road and Travel Weary Capricorn , is a meditation on the astrological sign of Capricorn. Why three songs about Capricorn? Peter Sinfield was born under the sign of Capricorn, December 27th, 1943.

The Monster Born of a Cosmic War

"The shape of the Sea Goat commemorates an incident in the cosmic battle between the Titans, the elder generation of gods, and the younger gods, the compatriots of Pan, led by Zeus. In a vicious and destructive ten-year war the younger gods overthrew their elders to take control of the cosmos. The very earth herself, Mother Gaia, was so outraged by the violence and destruction that she brought forth the terrible monster Typhon, a monster so powerful and uncontrollable that it could even threaten the gods with destruction.

Swimming Away From Danger

The gods were taken by surprise by the approach of the monster. At the last minute, Pan shouted a warning and suggested that the various gods disguise themselves as various animals in order to hide from the monster. Pan himself took to the river to hide in the form of a fish. In the Sea Goat we see the god being transformed but because of the rush, he did not succeed in completing the transformation. Only his rear was transformed. The front part of him remained in the form of a goat.

Capturing the Monster

Later Zeus grappled with the monster Typhon. He was severely injured in the fight, but Pan and Hermes working together succeeded in restoring Zeus to his powers, so that Zeus was able to cut down the monster with thunderbolts and to confine it deep within the earth underneath the slopes of Mount Etna. The earthquake and eruptions of that volcanic mountain are due to the restless Typhon still snorting fire and struggling against the bounds of it."

- Capricornus The Sea Goat

Frederick II, another Capricorn, was born December 26th (1194), a day before Peter Sinfield.

"Legend also associated Frederick's palace of retreat with Mount Etna believed to be the seat of Satan's empire. A Minorite brother, while at prayer in Sicily, reported that he had seen an army of 5,000 horsemen riding into the sea, whereupon, as if these troops were clothed in red-hot armour, a hissing sound arose from the water. One of these horsemen, the leader, was identified in the hallucination of this visionary friar as none other than Frederick II, 'for it was at this moment that Frederick died."(p.528-9)

- The Emperor Frederick II von Hohenstaufen Immutator Mundi
by Thomas Curtis Van Cleve

Neil Ingram:

"The Tenth House, overshadowed by the Mid-heaven, is the house where personal ambitions get expressed through projection onto the larger world."

Jon Green:

"Projection" as in reflection. As in many other of his songs, in The Song of the Sea Goat Peter Sinfield is projecting part of himself onto the world. Or, to look at it from the other direction, the world reflects back who he is. As you note elsewhere, Peter Sinfield is a Capricorn. He is the Sea Goat in the sense of being influenced by the archetype of Capricorn

Neil Ingram:

"It is the desire to create a structured and nurturing home turned outwards. It is both father and fatherland. It reflects our need to serve the fatherland and to contribute to the maintenance and enhancement of paternalism within society. This is the house of public honours and personal reputation in the civil community. This is the executive branch of the government and all means of enforcement, from police to the military. It is also the seat of upper management in large corporations. Even as the "terrible Mother" of the Fourth House is the mother who so loves her children that she devours them and drains them of all life, so too the "terrible Father" of this house is he who becomes "Big Brother", the all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful master of his domain whose harsh justice and quick sword immobilises his subjects. It is the wellspring of martial prowess and all worldly ambitions, the font of all honours and all punishments."

- Aquarian Age

The image of the Sea Goat as "the all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful master of his domain whose harsh justice and quick sword immobilises his subjects" is established from the first line:

Jon Green:

I see the above cite as describing the negative aspects of an archetype (Capricorn). Frederick II certainly embodied much of this. The narrator of The Song of the Sea Goat is dealing with (addressing) this archetype both internally (within himself) and externally (in the world). Very helpful cite by the way. I wasn't aware of the military aspect of Capricorn -which is all-important to an understanding of this song.

Neil Ingram:

Equally interesting, as we shall see, is the idea that [this] is the house where personal ambitions get expressed through projection onto the larger world.

The song is a vehicle for projection, for the author and also the listeners. This may be the secret of its enduring power.

Still ~
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Still ~ Aquarian Runes

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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