- chapter index -
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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Strangely Synthesised | The First Comes Last | The Fallen Sun

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"God", sang the Sea goat, "is always on both sides".

And so are we (i.e. the creative and the destructive, yin and yang, the ouroboros etc. etc. etc.).

Neil Ingram:

In Dylan's anti-war song God is on our side

"O now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war."

The futility of the war becomes obvious if God is on both sides. There can be no winners, only losers.

Jon Green:

I see it as all of us being both winners and losers. No matter what we think or do, we will taste the sweet and the sour, experience the light and the dark (both within and without), the peaks and the valleys. The futility comes in believing we could ever get one without the other.

"If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same,"

- Rudyard Kipling, If

"Change" sang the sea goat "is constant as the tides"

The endless oscillation between creative and destructive, yin and yang.

"Nothing endures but change."

- Heraclitus

Neil Ingram:

"Constant change is here to stay" is attributed to Voltaire. The Sea Goat knows all about the inconstancy of the constant tides. 'Time and tide wait for no man'.

The final part of the song links the Sea Goat to Jesus Christ and to the elemental cycle of the first four Crimson albums. There is a powerful restatement of many of the themes that have dominated the thought of the Crimson King.

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"And this play" sang the sea goat "is strangely
When your part of a cast where the first comes last
Where the east goes west and the sun is burning out"

The union of opposites, ideas of alchemical transformation, the reconciliation of East and West through Frederick II, the metaphor of the sun are all here. It is an alchemical distillation of Sinfield’s ideas in one last blast from the Sea Goat.

Jon Green:

Yes, this does seem to be the last King Crimson song ...and the first Peter Sinfield song. In The Song of the Sea Goat , Peter is saying goodbye to the past while also facing up to the future. It is a simultaneous goodbye and hello. Here is Peter Sinfield at the crossroads: simultaneously commemorating the past and looking to (prophesying) his own artistic future while, before our eyes, creating it!. ("Aladdin's lamp", indeed!) He is the shaman straddling past and future, writing his prophecies in the sand, putting away an old persona/archetype/approach to his craft and establishing a new direction. It might even be that the Crimson King and the Sea Goat, as archetypes or personae, served something of the same purpose to Peter Sinfield that Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and the Thin White Duke provided to David Bowie.

"And this play" sang the sea goat "is strangely synthesised

I think we can conclude that The Song of the Sea Goat is a meditation on the influence of the Capricorn archetype in three realms of life.

The Three Realms

1) the personal (Peter Sinfield, the artist's dilemma)
2) the cultural (advertising, commercialism, the music industry)
3) the political (Uncle Sam, militarism, jingoism, etc.)

It should now be clear just how it is that this "play" is "strangely synthesised". Peter Sinfield reconciles with the ending of a major chapter in his life by understanding it as a new beginning. He is is also somehow equivalent to the US government! (i.e. the Sea Goat, Uncle Sam, John Bull and any other imperial power - such as the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick II - are all possessed by the same archetype.) And all of us in this world are naive young soldiers on the way to the front. We are all in this mess together, playing our different roles but suffering the same delusions and moved by the same impulses (archetypes).

King Crimson was concerned with the union of opposites and from the first to the last this was true. In The Song of the Sea Goat , Peter is deeply concerned with reconciling his past with the sobering changes taking place in his life (his future). In this respect the song is very much like Cirkus , wherein Peter stood in the middle and understood "opposites" as points on the continuum of change. As stated elsewhere, resolving conflict (opposites,contraries) always entails a looking inward, a reconciliation of the inner with the outer, a sincere sustained consideration of the "pearls and gourds" rising to consciousness. In this way iron is transmuted to Gold. In this way the world is healed.

The true ending of the first incarnation of King Crimson and the beginning of a new phase in the career of Peter Sinfield, The Song of the Sea Goat is yet another of Peter's masterful accomplishments: a profound personal and stylistic transition expressed and effected in the course of one song. The Song of the Sea Goat is the last step in Peter Sinfield's alchemical Magnum Opus. As above so below. As within so without. When the individual is healed, the world is healed. Transmuting panacea.

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"When your part of a cast where the first comes last"

...suggests the life of that well known Capricorn, Jesus Christ and, perhaps, two other Capricorns of note: Frederick II and Peter Sinfield.

December 25 Jesus Christ
December 26 Frederick II
December 27 Peter Sinfield

"Capricorn" means "goathorn", and the horn was an emblem of intellect and spirit, probably as growing from the head. Christ is a sacrifice for mortals, the "Scape-Goat" of ancient dramatism. His death for man spells tragedy which, oddly enough, in Greek means "goat song".

- The Doctrine

"The Sea-Goat is a mythological figure symbolizing the dual nature of Capricorn. It alludes to the evolution of spirit from the sea of the collective unconscious to physical materialization and embodiment on earth. If you've retained the sympathetic nature of your fish-self, you'll eventually rise to serve humanity. But a duality of choices offers you the option of scaling the mountain to gain control over those below for selfish, personal ends. However, Capricorn represents the father figure, and unless you've been severely wounded by your own father, you probably have the welfare of the community or family at heart."

- Capricorn

I might also add that, in their order of appearance in the four Sinfield albums, the "first" psychological function (intuition) is the "last" to be dealt with (Islands).

"Where the east goes west"

"Oh, East is East, and West is West and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgement Seat;"

- Rudyard Kipling
The Ballad of East and West

"Place of devotion. Place of attention. Place of Power. Frederick II used the eternally recurring figure Eight in its horizontal shape as an emblem of eternity. A symbol of balance and of justice. Castel del Monte symbolised the meeting of East and West."

- The Catholicism

"Strangely synthesised", one might say.
East going west also suggests intuition going into the realm of (being overtaken by) sensation. The result: "suave pirates words of apricot crawl out of your veneer".

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"and the sun is burning out"

"Castel del Monte appears to be a clear metaphor for the man behind it and his power. Sacred places usually tend towards the Heaven and are located on high dominant positions; they are related to the image of the Sun and the point where it rises. Christ is associated with the Sun and named sol invictus or sol occasum nasciens, churches are therefore "oriented" eastwards. Now, how can one ignore the relation between Frederick and the sun, if after his death his son Manfred writes to his brother Conrad that the sun of the world has set (...), the sun of justice ?" How can one forget that Castel del Monte, beyond the connections with mathematics, astronomy, astrology and science, is really oriented eastwards, with the main entrance and the so-called Throne room oriented towards the sun's rise?"

- Altamura and Castel del Monte:
the exception and the rule
by Consorzio Idria

"Now the high holocaust of hours is done,
And all the west empurpled with their death,
How swift oblivion drinks the fallen sun,
How little while the dusk remembereth!"

- Edith Wharton
Moonrise Over Tyringham
Century Magazine 76 (July 1908): 356-57B

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt

"To mount up high you first must sink down low"

"The Goat represents Capricornus, the Water-Goat. In other words, he is the Fallen Sun, fallen from the supreme position down into the seas, into the infernal depths of the great abyss.

Of course, the fall of Pan is an allegory of the fall of the Celestial God who, from a mountain goat — a dweller in the summits — fell into the seas, and became a sort of fish or marine deity. Capricornus is the makara, the Hindu sea monster that causes the Flood. The makara (or sishumara) is a sort of dolphin or sea monster.

But the makara is also Kama, the Hindu love god who was the archetype of Eros-Cupid. Kama is also the son and lover of Rati. And Ratio is an alias of Aphrodite, the mother and lover of Eros, his Greek counterpart."

- The Horse Sacrifice

"These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye:
The weak lay hand on what the strong has done,
Till that be tumbled that was lifted high
And discord follow upon unison,
And all things at one common level lie.
And therefore, friend, if your great race were run
And these things came, So much the more thereby
Have you made greatness your companion,
Although it be for children that you sigh:
These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye."

- W.B. Yeats, These Are The Clouds

"It is all
Happening to the sun
The fallen sun
Is in the hands of the water"

- Ted Hughes, 'It Is All'
Remains of Elmet

"I am the fiddler. Ere the world began
I had two notes, and only two. The one
with tumbled sunflakes dripping, I called man,
the second had no name and needed none.
I am the fiddler. Like a golden fan
I folded the long feathers I had spun,
and, as I folded them, a shadow ran,
silver, between the music and the sun.
I threw my bow over the stars, and no man
remembered Krishna, but, till the world is done,
there are but these two notes, a single tune—
man, that I named before the world, and woman.
so named when she redeemed the fallen sun
with the vicarious silver of the moon."

- The Lovers
by Humbert Wolfe

"Within a month of his death, the Emperor's followers are writing in the style of the Tiburtine Sibyl, "like the sun when he sinks from the heaven into the Western Sea, Frederick has left a son-sun in the west and already the crimson of the dawn begins to glow."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 686)

Seagoat by Louise Ingram
The Song of the Seagoat by Louise Ingram

Still ~ The Smoke-Filled Road
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Still ~ Under the Sky

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
Works Lyrics
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Peter Sinfield
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