Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Heavy Roses

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Clementina ll


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Monday, July 31, 2006

Ultimate Seduction

"It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction."
Pablo Picasso

Keeping a Diary

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary."

Pablo Picasso

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The members of some ancient civilisations including the Egyptians knew how to be the conscious directors of dream activity, how to delve into various levels of dream reality to the _fonts of creativity_ and they were able to _use_ that _source material_ in their physical world.'....

The "Unknown" Reality, Session 698
"...When you find yourself as alert responsive and intellectual in the dream state as you are in waking life it becomes impossible to operate within the old framework.

"This does not mean that in all dreams that particular type of awareness is achieved but it is often accomplished _within_ the suggested wake-sleep pattern...."

The Nature of Personal Reality, Sessions 651, 652.

The Dream-Art Scientist

By Mary Barton

"I came to the Seth material, as many of you probably did, skeptical, disillusioned, and feeling powerless. Seth changed all of those emotions by gently opening my eyes to reality and how it is formed. One key component to reality creation, surprisingly, was dream recall and learning to function consciously in the dream state. Once I overcame my reluctance to accept that unique, practically sacrilegious concept, I began recording my dreams to see if Seth really knew what he was talking about. I discovered that he did.

Seth describes a Dream-Art Scientist as a person who learns how to become conscious in the sleep state; someone who can distinguish the different stages of dream events; someone who familiarizes herself with dream symbols and how they correlate to physical symbols; someone who can recognize interior meeting places where communications between various forms of consciousness occur; and someone who learns to separate the various types of dream realities and the laws which govern them.

In this article, we will explore what Seth has to say regarding these concepts and the insights you and I have discovered in our personal dream and out-of-body-experiences (a.k.a. projections of consciousness). Please mail to me in care of Reality Change any comments, questions, unique experiences, or revelations concerning dream/OOB explorations you wish to share . I will try to make this a truly cooperative venture in dream/OOB wisdom.

But why are dreams so important? Why did Seth place such emphasis on the benefits of remembering our dreams and learning to manipulate them? As many of you know, one reason Seth recommended we become Dream-Art Scientists was because the dream state is the state in which man fully experiences all of the unique characteristics of consciousness. Because we have been literally blinded by our beliefs of what constitutes reality and have been erroneously taught the origin of life is based either on Darwin's theory of evolution or some vengeful creator-God, we have not realized the true nature of consciousness. Dream reality is one place we can discover what we truly are. This is where consciousness and its abilities are so unmistakably apparent. This is where we learn how mobile, creative, and powerful man is.

Seth tells us that the dream state is one of the focuses of consciousness from which probabilities are consciously chosen for manifestation as physical reality. As you know, conscious creation is also a direct consequence of our thoughts, beliefs, and intentions; but dream/OOB reality openly demonstrates the truth of these concepts. We learn it is the source of physical reality as we know it. Once you become conscious in the dream state, there is no doubt that you create your own reality. When idle thoughts or emotions spring into form around you while out-of-body, you discover how powerful consciousness is. You discover how powerful you are and how unique, wonderful, and special life is.

Another important reason for becoming a Dream-Art Scientist is that Seth tells us it is in the dream/OOB state that we can encounter our ideal blueprints for physical manifestation. He said our blueprints lie beneath electron activity and are the actual seeds from which physical reality is created. Blueprints cannot be found in the exterior universe but only in the "withinness" of consciousness. These inner patterns are converted into mental images which are meant to give us conscious direction to meet our earthly goals. Blueprints serve as stimulators of development and show us our potentials and how they can best be fulfilled in physical reality.

Seth was a Dream-Art Scientist. He gave us some evocative hints on communicating and reality creation when he said that in order to visit us, he moves through psychic and mental events which we would interpret as space and time. In order to communicate with us, he translated himself into an event we could understand. For us to develop such abilities, we need to learn some "ancient arts" which our society for the most part has deemed useless or non-existent. But as we each learn to manipulate in dream reality, we learn that these tools are not useless or mere fantasies but are some of the most beneficial abilities we may ever possess. Through our dreams we can easily reach other focuses of consciousness. We can reach founts of wisdom and creativity and use that knowledge to make our physical world a happier place. We can learn to heal and travel through space and time. Furthermore, Seth says we can change and influence our history. It appears to me that we can all benefit from becoming Dream-Art Scientists.

Seth suggested we develop our Dream-Art Scientist skills by joyfully building an inner city. This city will exist in fact and can be used by man now in the out-of-body state. This inner city is one where we can communicate with each other and other forms of consciousness, despite apparent separations in time and space. Seth said that this is, in effect, the way all civilizations are built.

The benefits of dream recall and manipulation? They seem apparent to me."

Waking extension

"....The waking state as you think of it is a specialised extension of the dream state and emerges from it to the surface of your awareness, just as your physical locations are specified extensions of locations that exist first with the realm of the mind.

"The waking state then has its source in the dream state and all of the objects, environment and experience that are familiar to you in the waking state also originate in that inner dimension. When you examine the state of dreams however you do it as a rule from the frame work of waking reality .You try to measure the dimension of dream experience by applying the rules of reality that are your usual criteria for judging event. There fore you are not able to perceive the true characteristic of the dreaming state except on those few occasions when you come awake with your dreams, a matter we will discuss later later on in this book ..."

Session 898
“This may frighten us a little. Dreams are often socially transgressive. They chafe at boundaries, championing the rude, lewd, and wholly unacceptable.”

- Marc Ian Barasch - Healing Dreams
Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.
- Edgar Cayce
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited. No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me...” Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca, 1938.

I sometimes dream of devils

“I sometimes dream of devils. It's night, I'm in my room, and suddenly there are devils everywhere. In all the corners and under the table, and they open doors, and behind the doors there are crowds of them, and they all want to come in and seize me. And they are already coming near and taking hold of me, But suddenly I cross myself and they draw back, they are afraid, only they don't go away, but stand near the door and in the corners, waiting. And then I'm suddenly overcome by a desire to begin cursing God in a loud voice, and I begin cursing him and they all rush at me again in a crowd, they're so pleased, and they're again about to lay hands on me and I cross myself again and they draw back at once. It's great fun. Oh, it takes my breath away." Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

If you have your wits about you

“....If you have your wits about you, you can gain information concerning the future by studying your projection environment, if for any reason you suppose it to be ahead of time. Some of this is extremely complicated. You may for example request before sleep that you project into your own future, to see what occurs there....”

The Early Sessions, Book 6, Session 277.
“In sleep the conscious becomes actually the subconscious and the subconscious, in the most real manner, becomes conscious.”

The Early Sessions, Book 1, Session 23.
“On sleepless nights I am conscious of a mission which rises before me like a distant peak... I am affected by everything that goes on in the world - politics, literature, people ... ... anything that happens impresses me and compels me to express it in music.”

- Robert Schumann

Sleep hath its own world

“Sleep hath its own world, A boundary between the things misnamed Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world, And a wide realm of wild reality, And dreams in their development have breath, And tears and tortures, and the touch of joy.”

- Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron) The Dream (st. 1)
“Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.”

Friedrich Nietzsche
"And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.”

D. H. Lawrence

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"..You will only persevere by telling yourself . "I can remember my dreams and I shall, it is possible fo me to remember my dreams and I will,I want to understand inner reality and I shall persevere"

So whenever you tell yourself that you cannot remember , you are working against yourself. No one makes your thoughts but yourself. No one is responsible for them but yourself, so you can change the nature of your thoughts, the nature of your expectations and you can enter the dream state consciously..."
"Now ,I want you to travel through the dream state . No one can journey through your subjective reality but you. It is unconquered unknown territory . It is new and unique reality and if you do not explore it and learn from it , none else will. It is like a garden gone unrecognised.
It is like a treasure none knows about but yourself.

In so doing you can apply the knowledge to help yourselves and others but the unique experience of consciousness is your own and there you will reap some of your most beneficial rewards.I wish you all a fond good evening , and those of you who are ready may have some interesting experiences in the dream state and I will be there to help anyone out of the body who is brave enough to go."

Seth Audio Collection.Casstte 5 section 2 excerpt A
"...Be more conscious when you are awake as well as when you are sleep, but realise that your activity continues in the dream state, that it is not nonsense, that you are missing important clues. Only if you truly desire to remember will you remember. No one can hand you those memories in a package in the morning.."

Goodnight Paul

"What do I need to do to make you come?"

"Paint me remembrances of yourself, through every stroke, make me feel you, in every in every image you bring forth, show me you."

"Then you offer your self as canvas. Could you stand it? You seem such a delicate thing. Too fragile for me to turn into you into the arena in which I act. Is that what you want"?


"But this me that you call forth has a life of its own, in its actions. It comes through and its force is wild. Aggressive, even, feral, demanding, dark selfish and singular."

" I know, do it anyway."

Photo Copyright Hans Natmuth
"True creativity comes from enjoying the moments, which then fulfil themselves, and a part of the creative process is indeed the art of relaxation, the letting go, for that triggers magical activity..." -- The Magical Approach, page 8.

"Was it hard, to be yourself, being yourself amidst it all"?

"It was always hard, but easy too. People's opinions of me were irrelevant. Many found it hard to accept me, they called me a rebel. Being oneself was considered an act of rebellion. I really did not care about them. It was not an act. When I got further away from the usual painters tools such as easel, palette and brushes they thought I was mad and said so. Loudly. They were a braying pack at my door. So what if I preferred sticks and trowels and dripping fluid paint or heavy impasto. So what that I added sand and broken glass? So what"?

"Many concepts, huge advancements and practical inventions, simply wait in abeyance in the world of dreams until some man accepts them as possibilities within his frame of reality." The Early Sessions, Book 3, Session 115.

"This feeling of abandoning oneself to the power and force of one's own life does not lead to a mental segregation, but instead allows the self to sense the part that it plays in the creative drama of a universe. Such understandings often cannot be verbalized. They are instead perceived or experienced in burst of pure knowing or sudden comprehension." -- The Way Toward Health page 269.

"Still, some people must have mattered."

"Yes, some, but not many, not those creative pygmies who thought to tell me how to paint and what a painting should be. What I should be. I expressed my feelings. I did not illustrate them. They called me abstract because I did not give them pretty easy to understand paintings that they could ignore while sipping someone else's champagne at gallery openings. But I was representational some of the time, and a little all of the time. But when I paint out of my unconscious, strange figures emerge .It is not my responsibility to make sure they recognize them. I expected of myself only to paint, nothing less. I was right and I knew it."

"Again, expectations are not only vital in the formation of physical constructions, but they also determine what inner data of all available, will be received by the individual; and then the individual interprets the data in terms of the same expectations. The core of individuality, then, is the individual's expectations, for he will truly get what he wants, individually and collectively. If a man wants to change his fate, desire is not enough, but expectation is. Desire may grow into expectation, but alone it is not enough. Expectation is actually the main trigger that switches inner data into the realm of physical construction. Without it, no physical construction results." -- The Early Sessions, Book 2, Session 76.

"Was it strange when you became famous"?

"The strangeness wore off. They all called me Jackson, they never knew Paul. Paul is the painter. Turn over. The fame was not about me, it was for them, they constructed it, they destroyed it. But my paintings remain, because each painting has a life of its own plus my life is in them .I come through onto the canvas. Do you understand, that I am inside"?


"It is only when I lose contact with myself and the canvas before me or under me that the painting that results is a mess; that my motions are impotent. Otherwise in the action, in each movement there is pure harmony. An easy give and take, a rhyming that sustains. And the painting comes out well. Turn over. When I am painting I have a general notion as to what I am about. I can control this flow of paint: there is no accident, it is all highly emotional."

"The emotions come closer than anything else to the vividness of inner data." -- The Early Sessions, Book 1, Session188.
"In the morning you may like this, what happen and me or you may not. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my paintings didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was. He was a better friend than most of those adoring masses."

"It is late darling and I must leave."

"I Know."

"When you look at my paintings now will you feel me and see me."


"Was I what you wanted, did you come"?



"The personality when it leaves your plane for good will have developed its potentials as far as it possibly can." -- The Early Sessions, Book 1, Session 163.

Paul Jackson Pollock: 28, January 1912-12, August 1956.

Desperately Seeking David

The first time I saw David I was under whelmed. Here was Michelangelo's great triumph, the classical epitome of male beauty. Ungenerous in his manhood but what matters that? This was Man. However, being somewhat curious about the things some humans consider important, David being one of them, I looked and ponderedÂ…is there a message' for me?
In spaces, I have a feeling of a `knowing' being just within my grasp. All I need is reach out. One of those teasing nuggets that TSM is sprinkled with is that information is a form of aware consciousness and it moves towards those that desire it. I desire it, even so I often-such information slips away. That's how it was with David. He played hard to get.

I wake each morning with 'Artist ' tattooed to the inside of my eyelids. I see that first. It sets the tone for the day. It is a native way of being. I blame my family; Sumari entities can be that way.

Sumari (Sum-mar'-i)
SETH: innovators, naturally playful, humorous, relatively unfettered. They are impatient however. They will be found in the arts and in the less conventional sciences.

Rob Butts:"to provide the cultural, spiritual, and artistic heritage for the species."

Actually Seth was being Kind; there are few other adjectives I could throw in here for those of an artistic temperment.

And here is something more from Robert Butts:

Is the Concept of 'Families' Really Discrete?

Jane said: "We regard Seth's material on counterparts and families of consciousness as excellent explanations - as thematic frameworks that help us perceive and organize aspects of our greater reality that are ignored by conventional academic disciplines. Seth's explanations stand for aspects of reality that usually escape us." [Rob's notes, session 737]

And this part is from Paul Helfrich:

To further understand the concept of 'families' try to imagine the psychic reality of the collective consciousness; sort of like the science fiction species - the Borg - from the TV series Star Trek. But imagine that this human collective is psychically related and holds the ability to communicate telepathically and clairvoyantly.

Next, try to imagine the reality of six billion human beings as individuals that make up this vast group. If you were to think of this group, figuratively speaking, as a Rainbow of Consciousness, then each discrete color would represent an innate 'family' leaning or intent. When viewing this Rainbow from afar, you can't find the exact place where red ends and orange begins, yet you can clearly distinguish both colors.

As your vision zooms in each color also reveals infinite shades of gradation and the edges, that seemed separate from a longer distance, literally disappear. So the foundation of nine can easily be extended into an infinite spectrum with plenty of room for individual variations. Therefore, we really aren't limited to nine discrete 'colors'.

Or to cut a long story short if you have been told that you are self-absorbed sort, all temperamental who only thinks of art: 'you might have been born that way', take comfort you are only acting in accord with your nature. More on the Sumari in sessions 736 - 737.And remember:

"The names and designations aren't meant to be taken too literally; these aren't to be interpreted as esoteric clubs but as natural psychic 'conglomerations' to which we all belong." [Session 737].
I favor artists whose work was about themselves, their feelings their hopes and dreams, who did not laden their art practice and hence the finished art object with any missionary zeal. These are the artists who return me to myself.

They are termed narcissistic, that word again, but that critcism of them arises in part from a past where artist were thought to be given a gift by the God and exhaltorted to use it wisely. for the betterment of humanity. And with that direction was the implicit belief that art has a quality that is (or ought to be) uplifting and good for the human spirit.

To me the art has no such duty, nor is it a calling, it is simpler than that. It's just a natural way of being for someÂ…to make things, its like breathing. Self-expression saying as a child would this is me. Or this is what I feel or this is what I think. Also this is what I amÂ…but that comes later. This is I in my creation, I give birth to my multitudesÂ…or to David.

Thus I cannot distinguish David from David's maker. When I see David I see Michaelangelo. Someone who expressed some thing or event in his own fashion, to his own liking and likeness. This is what I see. I like to think I see with `wide open eyes. That does not mean that I understand what I see, that is another skill entirely.

If The Seth material awakens anything in me it has been questions and not answers. I cannot think of myself as the artist that molds the creative force of the universe, (I know some see themselves in a less active role, they are vessels into which divine inspiration pours ) and then proceed to suck on Seth as a child would it mother's nipple.

When I see The Seth material, I see Jane. Her expression of her abilities (nor do I forget Rob) creativity. Jane is a very interesting Kettle of fish. Those weird abilities of hers; now how did she do that, and why? And how did Michelangelo get create David out of a lump of rock, a project that had thwarted many before him. And David was the one who slew goliath and the world with its limiting beliefs can be no less goliath like when it transfixes with it official version of reality. Is there a monster to be slayed? Jane created and left. The Seth material remains, existing now for others to ponder over; mis-interpret, interpret, turn into dogma, try to establish propratorial rights over or make a mess of.

In Michelangelo's day sculpture was considered the finest from of art, to them it mimicked divine creation. And as oft repeated 'the image was already in the block' all it took was the hand of Michelangelo to release it. If only it were that simple.As in thinking that all TSM says is chant is 'I create my own reality'and thus it happens. Conscious creation consists of more than that . Imagination released the image from the block, as did skill. Michelangelo did not sit there a-hoping and-a-praying' that David would pop out if only he believed in David enough.

When I read Seth and do an exercise or two, I find my sense of self released from the less desirable attributes and beliefs regarding what it is to be human. Those limiting beliefs can beas rigid as and as embracing as the block of marble, which encased our dear David. I think there is more, that one is not just an expression of the creativity of some Uber Artist but the personification of Creativity and all that stands in the way is 'seeing' clearly.

How can the artist give us back ourselves, or some clear seeing? Or does the awake artist remind others that they are more than they recall. If any person can find the air knocked out them, or was for a moment startled when they came across a work of art, read a poem, heard music is it the artwork that they are reacting to? Or maybe something within the person in that moment remembers itself.

Secondhand God

"Why not meet God directly? Why take someone else's story about hearing someone else's story as your own religious experience? If you are inclined to meet God why not go out and look the fellow up? Why take some else's word for what God is like?"

Substitute 'God' for 'Being an Artist', being a writer, a dreamer, even being a person. When I watch my fellow humans still bowing before an old man in white robes in Rome, supposedly the embodiment of God's will on earth,l marvel at the structures humans live within and call real. It could only ever work if in the infinity of lifetimes , this was but one, yet I still question if ego development and the experience of the earth plane requires such bizarre beliefs regarding the nature of self. Could we not have incarnated with with a little more awareness of where we are from and what we are ,intact?

A reason I have taken the study of dream art science enthusiastically ,is that it is my sure through-route to the Self that I am pre and during this incarnation. Much as dream symbology interests me ,if it were only that, I could as well spend my time reading the symbology of the stars. This experience and plane incarnation ...seems to be a grand exercise in forgetting. I am coming to a personal conclusion that this forgetting does not enhance the process. I am inclined to think rather, that 'it must have seemed like a good idea at the time'.

I read Seth again and again .I marvel at what I read today that was 'not' there yesterday. In truth I know it is an aspect of me that is here today that I was unaware of yesterday. Listening to a favorite raging debate yesterday evening ' The role of the modern artist in society today' , it felt like a dream I walked in or woken up within ,It certainly had something of the surreal to it.

They/we were arguing for _something_ , the right to _something_? But what? What were the rules in an age of 'Me-Art' and Me-Artists' one man spat out that the artists of his age ( as in the Now) had become 'imbecilic narcissists' . He was not without support. Yet what was his case, other than that increasingly artists chose to create as they chose, not according to some dusty Greek cannon , not as ordained by Papaji in the white robes in Rome and not according the elitism of The Academy.

The desire for Self expression is sufficient cause for the modern artist to put paintbrush to canvas and many no longer feel an obligation to society or a great need to be understood by the viewer .Their status as Artist is legitimized by themselves Their art has become as personal as their dreams and who really looks to another to tell one how to dream..or how to know God? Some do I know , but there is a distinct 'no vote' in some when it comes to being told-be an Artist thus or know God thus.

Who or what will tell and guide the artist?. How is she to create if she or he does not even have the humility to understand that she or he is 'divinely inspired,and gifted'.The booming voice of Authority states: "No Artist creates", it is all down to God through her, God's gifts bestowed upon her. The thread in last evenings debate was an empassioned plea for The Artist to know her place.The debate, at its core says - we do not create our reality -, not our own art,not even the textures and colors of our own lives . We exist but only by the Grace of God. But what if that idea of God in dead? How is the 'idea of God' compatible with Ycyor?

To know oneself as responsible for creating ones own reality in what ever form to me has meant stepping cognitively into the place that once was occupied by that 'God idea'. I cannot bring it back, though I do miss the mystical poetry of it .

Not Dreaming As I Used To

I once said that I don't dream as I used to. It wasn't meant to be a statement of enigma.

There are times when the fabric of reality, tugs. It is an internal thing. Realities interactions become oblique. It's a waking dreaming waking state. To wake in the morning and be uncertain. This could be a false awakening, or entering the dream within the dream.

A few steps to ascertain which reality I am on. Though these are not foolproof. But when waking-dreaming happens two or three days in a row, when its there again in the middle of the day, it is time to create the space to allow this my state to be. It can last for 5 days or 10 days. I am in control and in I can stop it and ground it if I wish. But I often don't wish because I like it.

Reality is a stream of consciousness where the significance of things is no longer latent, they are dynamic and they interact. The converse with each other. I have my understanding of thing and me, I recall Jane's puddle creature. A heightened state of 'being' the dream memory carried forward into FW1 and interacts with this reality. I can sense the boundaries but they are transparent.

When first began 'waver' within the 'solidity' of FW1 I could not ground myself within the experience or explain it sufficiently not to felt fear. Then I no longer was afraid but I found the experiences of the melding of realities and my own non-locality disorienting.

Then I decided not to have an opinion of it either way.

In the dream plane I am in my City, I am browsing through a large heavy ornately covered book. A book of substance.
Each page is a painting, and my attention and intention grows each painting becomes a film that I watch.

I say to myself, 'Ah, this is how the reality of the painting within the picture frame goes on, when I wake I must remember this.'The painting is still, or I instruct the painted scene unfolds fast forward or I rewind the painting to before the point where I came in to observe it. Or I can run the painting backwards watching it turn in on itself.

Now FW1 I am in a museum or a gallery looking at a solid painting. Then I say with intent 'forward' and the painting begins to move just as in the dream, or is this the dream?

A few checks and I am sure I am in FW1 and as I check I also see the painting retains its framework 1 stability and over laid (so that the original image is in the background) is the continuation of the image.

I do not know what the other people are seeing as they stand and look at the painting. Sometimes I have the desire to tell another person what I am seeing.

I know that this is not advisable, but as I feel that desire I feel the energy presence of others, of my artistic family of friends and happily we begin to discourse.

I cannot stress strongly enough that these are not imaginary friends. Some have been human, some not; some have no intention of ever being human but find humanity and its art forms of interest.

At times I am in the gallery with the same set of friends and tutors that I am with in the dream plane, I feel their energies as acutely. At times we collectively enter into the painting in FW1, exactly as is commonplace in my personal City and within the dream plane.If you tapped me on the shoulder at times like this I would be able to converse with you just the same, but I am also aware of the expansion of consciousness and that I am doing more than meets the eye, the outer eye at least.

I feel anyone can thrust the continuation of the dream plane activity into FW1 activity and realities. Mixing and matching to ones hearts content as any painter would her colours.Where art is concerned, certainly in the creative learning process there is no real benefit for me in keeping the realities separate.

Genesis Unplugged

The Fall of Man as seen from the Gnostic perspective

Once upon a very long time ago, when the very first Mommy and Daddy starred in the world’s first piece of Reality Programming, an unexpected snafu occurred, the sort that drives producers and program executives nuts. Mommy, whose name was Eve, began to act up. She began to question the so-called reality of her show, which was known by the title: GENESIS: In the Beginning.

Eve sat naked on her haunches beneath the forest canopy, alert as always to the sights and sounds of Eden, while Daddy, who was called Adam, snored bearishly at her side. Adam could not seem to get enough of the good things in the Garden, and spent much of his day in a somnolent state, occasionally muttering, in the peculiar argot of those times, “This is as good as it gets.”

Eve was not so sure. She had seen distorted faces reflected in dewdrops, heard urgent things in the whisper of the giant ferns. Unsettling things. She had sensed the presence of Others. And yet, there were no others, were there? Surely, the watchful eyes of the timid tree creatures could not alone account for her feeling that she walked in the shadow of another reality.

Adam’s belly was filled with the ripe fruit of the Garden; Eve’s belly was filled with Adam’s seed. She touched her swollen breasts, and it was then she heard her own name called from afar. She rose and followed the call to the depths of the forest, where there stood a tree whose alluring red fruit she had been warned in a dream not to eat. Dangling by its tail from a low branch was a creature with the body of a salamander and a face eerily familiar to Eve, a face not unlike her own.

“Who? Are? You?” the serpent mouthed.

“I don’t know,” said Eve, not having thought a lot about it.

“Why play along,” the serpent asked, “when you know the show is rigged? Why remain in prison when the cell door is open?”

“Where is this door?” asked Eve, innocently enough.

The serpent rolled its eyes upward, beyond the leafy canopy to the radiance above. Eve’s gaze followed, and lingered, and when she looked again at the tree, the shiny, red fruit was before her.

“Take. Eat,” said the serpent.

“Then I shall surely die,” said Eve.

“Only on television,” said the serpent. “Only to illusion.”

And Eve ate, and was amazed, and ran back to rouse Adam from his torpor, saying, “Try this! It’s amazing!” Adam, never one to resist a new treat, ate also of the apple, and when he had, turned to Eve and said, “Whoa.” He shook the sleep from his head, thumped his chest and roared, presumably to the show’s seldom seen Producer, ”Why didn’t you tell me it was a setup?” With a mighty groan, he stood, took Eve’s hand and said, “Let’s get dressed and get the hell out of here, honey. This is a sham.”

There were suddenly thunderous footfalls in the Garden, and Adam was sore afraid. When he came in dreams, the show’s Producer had always been a petulant screamer, forever reminding Adam of his contract and the dire consequences of asking too many questions. A nasal voice on a bullhorn honked through Eden, causing the forest creatures to tremble. “I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL IALDABAOTH, AND YOU TWO INGRATES WILL NEVER WORK IN THIS TOWN AGAIN!”

And so began Eve and Adam’s long journey home.
—A. W. Hill

We are through the looking glass

LA weekly
MAY 19 - 25, 2005

Exile in Godville
Profile of a postmodern heretic
by A.W. HILL

On May 7, 2004, as dusk was falling, a plume of black smoke as big and ornery as a Texas twister rose above Los Angeles. And though no one later raved on local talk radio that he’d seen the face of the devil in the ominous cloud, a knowing onlooker in a sufficiently altered state might well have glimpsed the Whore of Babylon, the face of the eternal Rome to which Philip K. Dick referred when he famously wrote: “The Empire never ended.”

The rundown, two-story building at 4516 Hollywood Boulevard, which for 27 years had been the peculiar home of Bishop Stephan A. Hoeller’s Ecclesia Gnostica, was in flames. No one was injured, and the vessels of communion were salvaged, but unbeknownst to most, a landmark of hidden Hollywood had been lost. In this tiny hole-in-the-wall of a chapel, to the streetside accompaniment of bleating horns, sirens and the occasional gunshot, the gnomish and erudite Dr. Hoeller had held forth most every Friday night on subjects ranging from Kabbalah and Sufism to the psychedelic sacraments of Eleusis. And on each Sunday, he’d lighted the incense, donned his vestments and conducted a mass that was Catholic in all but its subtly subversive liturgy, for Hoeller is a Gnostic, and the sole American bishop consecrated by the Duc de Palatine, mysterious bearer of the English Gnostic Transmission.

The word is gnostic (nah-stick), from the Greek gnosis (inner knowledge), and as opposed to agnostics, who claim to know nothing of the divine, Gnostics are privy to a secret both terrible and wondrous. It is a knowledge that has kept them underground for 1,800 years, tarred as heretics by the Christian orthodoxy. It’s hard to say whether or not Cardinal Roger Mahony has ever heard of Stephan Hoeller, but it’s not difficult to imagine that there are nights when he wakes to see a shadow on the wall, an elfin shadow with a Beat Era goatee and a round belly. Gnosticism is the dog that nips at Rome’s heels, the orphaned child tugging at its cuffs, reminding the Church of what — and whom — it left behind. For nearly two millennia, the family secret was safely in the crypt, but in 1945, as we shall see, the ground shifted, and in the early years of our new century, thanks in some ironic measure to the very mainstream success of The Matrix and The Da Vinci Code, the vault burst open. Stephan Hoeller is the counter-cardinal of an L.A. nobody knows, and until last year’s fire destroyed his church, he was the bishop of Hollywood Boulevard.

In less than one hour, the L.A. outpost of what one Catholic apologist has called “the most dreaded foe the Christian faith has ever confronted” was in ruins. The size and fury of the blaze belied its humble origins, but may have been attributable to what the LAPD suspects was a methamphetamine lab operating in an upstairs apartment. A junkie and her boyfriend had rented the flat for years, and therein lies an irony that would not be lost on Gnostic sensibilities. The fire that gutted Hoeller’s sanctuary was not lit by torch-bearing fundamentalists or commandos employed by Opus Dei, but was the consequence of a modern affliction engendered by the sorrow of being “trapped,” to paraphrase comic icon Howard the Duck, “in a world we never made.”

Like the Adam and Eve of Gnosticism’s alternative Genesis (see sidebar following article), the recipient of gnosis awakens one day to the sobering realization that the world we live in is, in Hoeller’s words, “the flawed creation of a flawed Creator,” and that we are “strangers, lost in a world that is ill-fitting and absurd.” From that moment on, perception is altered, belief is cast aside in favor of experience, dogma is abandoned and the search for the True God begins. Oh, yes, Virginia, there is a God, if not quite the God of your Fathers. This God would not bar you from the priesthood, or seek to keep you barefoot and pregnant, but this God also might not be invoked by a Tori Amos song. This God takes some getting used to.

If it’s not apparent how dangerous such an altered worldview is, and why it once led straight to dungeon and stake, consider this: Just as you can’t smoke a joint and take a politician seriously, you can’t experience gnosis and take the business of the world — producing and consuming — to be of terribly great consequence. Gnosticism embodies the eternal counterculture, and as with expansion of consciousness by any other means, it has always been a grave threat to the established order. In the Gnostic Genesis, not only is Eve the heroine and the serpent in effect her fairy godmother, but the tyrant of Eden is none other than Jehovah, the Old Testament God who would “have no others before him.” The Gnostics know him as the Demiurge — the “Half-Maker” — or Ialdabaoth. So who or what, then, is the God of the Gnostics? It is both aeons away, and closer than we think. It is, to quote Hoeller’s liturgy, “that whose name not but the silence can express.”

We are through the looking glass, and the disorientation can be profound. But to attend a Sunday mass at the old Ecclesia Gnostica, you’d have been forgiven for not noticing right away. Most of the liturgy would be familiar to any Catholic, as would the vestments worn by Bishop Hoeller and his clergy. Only the place, and perhaps the parishioners, would make you feel you had picked the wrong door and wandered into a catacomb art-directed by David Lynch and populated with extras cast by Tim Burton.

There were no flying buttresses or gothic arches at 4516 Hollywood Blvd, only a low-ceilinged, rectangular room barely 24-by-12-feet, appointed with images of the Babylonian prophet Mani and the psychoanalytic pioneer Carl Gustav Jung, a draped flag bearing a Templar cross, and an array of chivalric symbols and Christian icons suggestive of a mode of worship far removed in time. For a resident of daylight Los Angeles, arriving with Starbucks cup in hand, the very act of crossing the threshold could seem both furtive and daring, like entering a graveyard after midnight for a rendezvous or crashing a very private wedding party. But heads never turned to regard the trespasser, either with false welcome or slit-eyed suspicion. One could enter and leave for months, as I did, without getting busted. It was a genuine sanctuary.

The parishioners, in those days never more than the room could accomodate, were as off-center as the locale. Generally over 30, almost invariably unaccompanied, they were the people of the periphery, those you glimpse in the rearview mirror. The people whose names you never learn: the tall Asian gentleman whose mystique was undiminished by his frayed collar; the pretty, pensive young woman, her jaw tight with some concealed anguish; the spinster in the high-collared dress who had probably read every book in the library. Quiet people, but not conformists. They had two qualities in common: They were introverts in an extroverted culture, and thereby misfits, and they had faces that spoke of a somewhat endangered species of intelligence.

The Hollywood Ecclesia Gnostica filled with incense and plainsong as Hoeller entered, wearing his lavender skullcap and preceded by the cross, just as it does now each Sunday morning in its new (and considerably more spacious) digs in Atwater Village. The Mass proceeds as it has for centuries with a Collect (the call to worship), a Lesson, a reading from the Gospel, at first glance distinguished from the ritual of Saint Peter’s Church only by the presence of both male and female clergy. But if you listen well, odd things begin to present themselves to your ears, as if the well-known liturgy were mutating in the heat of the sacrament.

Here, for instance, is the Gnostic take on the prayer known to all Catholics as the Hail Mary (“Hail Mary, full of grace . . .”):

“Hail, Sophia, filled with light, the Christ is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among the Aeons, and blessed is the liberator of Thy light, Jesus. Holy Sophia, Mother of all gods, pray to the light for us, Thy children, now and in the hour of our death. Amen.”

On any given Sunday, such new strains of liturgical DNA emerge from the Mass, with an effect that’s a good, working definition of subversive. Today, four Sundays after Easter 2005, Bishop Hoeller opens the service with a whispered invocation that might almost slip the radar of an inattentive Grand Inquisitor:

“In the name of the unknown Father of the universe, in truth Mother of us all.”

Some 40 congregants have assembled, nearly two-thirds of them female. Bishop Hoeller’s flock has grown, and although the numbers are small, it seems quite reasonable to think they’ve been debited from Cardinal Mahony’s side of the ecclesiastical ledger. It’s also impossible not to wonder how much of this spiritual gender gap might be owed to what Time magazine will sooner or later dub “the Da Vinci Effect.”

The scriptural reading is from the Gnostic Gospel of Saint Philip, and the passage concludes this way:

“God created man and man created god. So it is in the world. Men make gods and they worship their creations. It would be more fitting for the gods to worship men.”

In a brief homily following Holy Communion, Hoeller, seated against the deep, star-sprinkled blue of the chapel’s rear wall, offers his take on this blasphemous bit of scripture, quoting Voltaire’s “God created Man and Man returned the favor,” and arguing, from personal experience, that no greater proof of mankind’s knack for blind worship exists than the events of the “Centum Terribilis,” the 20th century. As a child, Hoeller watched the demiurgic forces of Nazism and Stalinism come head-to-head in his native Hungary, and has not forgotten.

Stephan Hoeller grew up in wartime Budapest, the only child of an Austrian baron and a Hungarian countess, soon to see their ancestral estates appropriated by the Soviet cyclops. As Hoeller tells it, his devoutly Catholic parents were tolerant of his youthful fascination with the outlaw philosophies of Simon Magus, Valentinus, Basilides and others whose visions had gathered like vapors in the cauldron of second-century Alexandria. “Ah, well,” he says, conjuring his father’s voice. “So the boy is interested in an obscure heresy . . . let him explore. Perhaps one day he’ll write a book about it.” Indeed, Hoeller’s spiritual rebellion remained mostly academic through his teens. He went on to study for the Catholic priesthood in Austria and, briefly, in Rome itself. It was the conjunction of a chance personal encounter in postwar Belgium and a momentous discovery in Upper Egypt that fanned his own heretical spark into flame. Both events convinced him that the Gnostic tradition had withstood both the test of time and the slings and arrows of its persecutors.

As a boy, Hoeller’s own access to unfiltered Gnostic writings was limited to the three “codices” then in existence. One of these, the Askew Codex, includes the famous Pistis Sophia, the story of how Sophia (Wisdom), a distinctly feminine emanation of the godhead, was drawn into the dark sea of chaos by a reflection of her own radiance, ultimately conceiving through the error of self-desire the misshapen Ialdabaoth (Childish God), also known as Samael (Blind God), or Saclas (Foolish God), creator and Chief Archon of the Lower World. This, not the sin of Eve, is the Fall that Gnostics mourn, and Sophia herself went to great pains to reverse it. The revelation of God’s feminine face in this alternately tender and harrowing myth would have been enough to rock a Catholic boy’s world. But there was more to come.

Due to suppression and concealment of authentic texts, would-be Gnostics like Hoeller had been left for more than 17 centuries to comb through the anti-heretical screeds of early Church fathers for shards of meaning, an exercise which may explain the Gnostic knack for finding truth in opposites. Then, in December of 1945, it all changed. A fortuitous find in Upper Egypt brought Gnosticism home to Jesus.

On a cold, moonlit night, Mohammed Ali al-Samman and his brothers sheathed their knives and set off from the desert village of Nag Hammadi to avenge their father’s murder, stopping en route to fill their sacks with mineral fertilizer from the great caves at Jabal-al-Tarif, a mountain honeycombed with hiding places. While digging through the soft soil, they dislodged an earthenware jar a meter tall, and the rest, as they say, is history. Once Mohammed’s lust for booty trumped his fear that the jar might contain a jinni, he took a hammer to it and found 13 papyrus volumes, bound in leather, comprising 52 Coptic translations of sacred texts from the early Christian era, including “previously unreleased” gospels attributed to the apostles Thomas and Philip, and, most surprisingly, abundant references to the special status of Mary Magdalene. Once these fragile manuscripts had made their way through the black market into the hands of biblical scholars and archaeologists, there was no question of authenticity, only of orthodoxy — with an edge of shock and awe.

The Gospel of Thomas opens with the enigmatic line, “These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and which the twin, Judas Thomas, wrote down.” You can almost hear the text’s first translator, Gilles Quispel, take a gulp. None of these “secret words” had been allowed into the canon we now know as the New Testament, yet it’s possible they were recorded before Matthew, Mark, Luke and John put quill to papyrus.

The Jesus who comes across in what are now known as the Gnostic Gospels is less a lawgiver and moralist than a kind of Zen master–cum–depth psychologist: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” He is alternately loving and stern, playful and sober, even sensual. He dances, drinks and, in the Gospel of Philip, kisses Mary Magdalene on the mouth, stirring a hornet’s nest of resentment among his male disciples.

Moreover, the Gnostic Jesus powerfully suggests that the words “I and the Father are One,” attributed to him in John 10:30, do not describe a unique relationship. Again, from the Gospel of Thomas: “He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am; I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.” Anyone who attains gnosis, the knowledge of the greater self, will know that God resides both in a far country and within us (thanks to Sophia’s descent), just as in Indian religion, the atman (the soul) is one with boundless Brahman. If this is what Eve learned from the serpent, it’s no wonder Ialdabaoth wanted her uppity ass off the set. (See sidebar.) Seasoning his apocalyptic Judaism richly with Tao-like insights, the Christ of the Gnostic Gospels becomes the augur of the New Age, and “Know Thyself” is the one law that matters.

Historically speaking, what the Gnostic scriptures reveal is that Christianity in its earliest phase was far from monolithic. The Church did not, in fact, become “Catholic” until the end of the second century. In a Mediterranean world with Alexandria as its intellectual capital, Christianity was a vibrant counterculture, more a new way to be than a new law to obey. At the beating heart of it was a conviction that the teachings of the Nazarene Jesus had sprung mankind from its prison; that the fallen world could go to Hell. The imperial right hand of Christ’s new church hammered this into self-serving dogma; the heretical left hand stirred it into ecstasy. The left hand was amputated and the Gnostics cast off. A New Rome, the orthodoxy said, could not be built on do-it-yourself salvation.

The availability of the Nag Hammadi scriptures fueled Hoeller’s own epiphany, but gnosis, in his words, “originates in an experience of the psyche,” not the intellect. You can’t read your way to enlightenment. As a refugee in post-war Belgium, still not yet 20, he encountered “live Gnostics” affiliated with a revived French sect. These mysterious mentors, living in a Europe that still branded them heretics, befriended him and opened the door to the spiritual kindred he found when, in 1953, he was admitted to the USA as a “stateless person” and placed in the city of Los Angeles.

In 1958, Hoeller was ordained a priest of the American Catholic Church by the bishop of the Church of Saint Francis in Laguna Beach. The ACC was a schismatic branch, and decidedly not on the Vatican’s party list. A year later, Hoeller founded his own parish at Melrose and Western and christened it Ecclesia Gnostica, drawing a small congregation from attendees of his frequent lectures at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Feliz. In 1967, while down the street the Doors held court at the Whisky, a visiting British Gnostic prelate known as Richard, Duc de Palatine, dubbed Hoeller a bishop of the Pre-Nicene Gnostic Catholic Church. It was the Summer of Love, and as Hoeller puts it, Gnostics “looked with great interest on the consciousness-raising endeavors of the counterculture” for signs of a genuine revival of their tradition. He knew by then what to look for, for only a few years earlier, Hoeller himself had broken on through to the other side. His faith was now beyond belief. It was a matter of experience.

The vintage Beachwood Canyon apartment Hoeller has occupied for most of the 51 years since his arrival in Los Angeles is as paradoxical as its tenant. Scholarly but unstuffy; modest, yet adorned with emblems of a noble birth and memorabilia indicative of a nostalgia for vanished royalty. The living room is a library stocked with old, hardbound books that reflect a lifelong devotion to Jung and a youthful embrace of Theosophy and Freemasonry. In a room that honors French existentialists, psychedelic pioneers and even the institution of gay marriage, it is nonetheless not entirely surprising to spot a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker curled in the nut bowl, but for reasons as unconventional as David Lynch’s purported admiration for Ronald Reagan. You don’t find standard left-right polarities in the home of Gnostics: They are the quintessential contrarians, and Gnosticism transcends any convenient category. Wherever there is a too-easy consensus, the Gnostic in the room can be counted on to take exception. Then, too, there is the fact that young Stephan Hoeller saw his father shot point-blank by Joseph Stalin’s goons and left lying in a pool of his own blood.

In any case, a good Gnostic sees the world as the province of a bumbling, idiot son who mistakes himself for the real thing, so political affiliation may be a matter of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. These days, the word gnostic is on the wind, and on the sometimes windy breath of pop-culture pundits, so it seems a good time to learn from this learned man about the weirdly beautiful and unsettling worldview that gave him his calling.

I ask Hoeller about the recent revival of interest in Gnostic themes spawned by popular phenomena like the Matrix films and The Da Vinci Code, as well as Hollywood’s continuing dance with literary Gnostics like Philip K. Dick. At 73, Hoeller’s awareness of such things is keen, and he answers, “Well, I think that we need to remind ourselves, as Jung did, that pop culture is still culture, and that it reflects whatever is churning in the collective unconscious. Things got a bit muddy with all the millennium hubbub, but there are authentic expressions of the tradition out there. It’s a matter, as always, of separating the wheat from the chaff. One can only hope . . .” A rabbinical tilt of the head, a lifting of brows and a barely audible sigh follow, suggesting that Hoeller’s heavenly hopes are tempered by a worldly fatalism. If there is a Gnostic among A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh characters, it is most certainly Eeyore.

But then, beneath the bushy brows, there is a gleam in his eye, and when talk turns to The Matrix, it grows brighter. A scenario in which our everyday reality is a digitized illusion projected by malevolent overlords of AI. Shades of the Demiurge? “Yes,” Hoeller affirms. “The outlines are there. Especially in the first film, where this notion of a counterfeit reality in which we’re trapped, and a dark, manipulative will behind the veil, is clearly expressed. Neo seems to be a classic Gnostic seeker.”

There is something akin to the Hindu concept of maya in all this talk of veiling and illusion, and I ask him if it’s simply a matter, as the gurus say, of our failure to see things “rightly.” “Yes and no,” he answers. “As with Hinduism, the ‘righting’ of our perception comes with a change in consciousness. A jnana, which we call gnosis. But, in general, the Eastern religions don’t acknowledge that there are malign forces whose interests lie in maintaining the illusion — so well that most people never see it.”

We never see it, I think out loud, unless there’s a tear in the fabric of our “reality” that suddenly reveals the Man Behind the Curtain — as when in The Truman Show the spotlight falls from a clear blue sky and lands at Jim Carrey’s feet.

“ ‘There’s a crack in the world,’ ” adds Hoeller, quoting Leonard Cohen. “That’s how the light gets in.” The bishop smiles a Mona Lisa smile. “Yes,” he adds. “You see, to cite another chapter from the Matrix series, the Architect of this illusion is not all that skillful. There are flaws in the blueprint, fissures in the foundation, through which we can glimpse the supernal reality. But we must be very attentive, because as soon as a crack appears, the enemies of gnosis — enemies of a direct human perception of the true nature of God and man — begin to paper or plaster it over.”

Hoeller is speaking of the Demiurge and his cohorts, the Archons, and I cannot stop myself from asking the agnostic question: Are we talking allegorically here, or should I double-bolt the door tonight? His answer provokes a shiver, and makes me wonder if M. Night Shyamalan should be added to the list of Gnostic filmmakers. Hoeller describes these “enemies of gnosis” as “forms of transpersonal consciousness which have been actualized in some way and have an existence outside the individual psyche.” In other words, they’re not simply “in our heads.”

For the skeptical (and all Gnostics begin as skeptics), it may be worth noting that no less an authority on human psychology than Carl Jung wrote that flying saucers were an actualized projection of both nuclear-age anxiety and the deep longing for wholeness. They were not merely in our heads either.

Unlike Kabbalah, the mystical strain of Judaism whose mythos of divine emanations and scattered sparks of God-stuff closely parallels its own, Gnosticism doesn’t have a celebrity spokesperson like Madonna. That may be partly because its sobering epiphanies don’t lend themselves to a feel-good conclusion, and partly because Gnostics tend to observe the Zen axiom that “Those who know don’t say, and those who say don’t know.” But the Gnostic tradition is clearly enjoying a revival by way of popular culture and cyberspace, and the Gnostic worldview, while underground for ages, has always been “in vogue” among the intelligentsia. A bold case could be made that gnosis is the ultimate form of hip, in the sense of knowing the score: You couldn’t ask for a headier jolt of inside dope than that the god of this world is a fraud. From William Blake to William S. Burroughs, from Goethe to Henry Miller to P.K. Dick, anyone who’s ever sought his illumination straight from the source, or doubted that the evil in the world was owed to the “Original Sin” of one errant couple, has felt the Gnostic twinge. It may be true, as Hoeller asserts, that “any serious artist is already half a Gnostic.” Certainly, any serious comedian is, comedy being the rearview mask of angst.

For a “man of the cloth,” Hoeller can be irreverently funny, a sort of ecclesiastical H.L. Mencken. On the eve of the millennium, he hosted an “End of the World” party that included such “guests” as clueless ’50s TV prognosticator Criswell (raised from the dead) and outré diva Tequila Mockingbird. I once heard him quip at a Friday-evening lecture that “a more suitable doctrine for modern life than utilitarianism would be futilitarianism.” I ask him if he thinks that cutting-edge comedians like Lenny Bruce and Sam Kinison were Gnostics in their own way. “Well, yes,” he replies. “Freud wrote that our reaction to a joke was an explosion in the psyche. When a person gives up the attempt to make sense out of a world that is largely bereft of it, it’s liberating. The realization that the machine is defective frees us from the constant temptation to tinker with it, and lightens the soul.”

Well, maybe not for everyone. The pessimism implicit in the Gnostic outlook has made it a tough sell from the first century onward, with critics asking, essentially, “Where’s the comfort in a religion that says the inmates are running the asylum?” Hoeller emphatically does not back away from the controversy when he fumes, “I’m fed up with hearing everyone chant ‘I’m okay, you’re okay, it’s okay.’ Well, everything is not okay!” And he’s decidedly not prescribing his doctrine as an opiate for the masses when he cautions, “When encountering Gnosticism in the spiritual supermarket, we may be tempted to embrace some parts of its worldview and disregard others . . . such as the presence of evil in the very fabric of the universe.” Although it may be more accurate to characterize Gnosticism as mystical existentialism than the nihilism it has often been labeled, it’s clearly an acquired and rarefied taste, like absinthe or Nick Drake or, to cite another cinematic exorciser, David Lynch.

Lynch’s work has frequently been pegged by film critics as “Manichaean,” and Mani, the third-century Babylonian prophet who framed the world in terms of the eternal struggle between co-equal forces of Light and Darkness, is a Gnostic hero. Hoeller has seen Mulholland Drive, and I have a hunch he might view the gruesome bum with the blue box who occupies the alley behind Winkie’s Diner as an embodiment of the Demiurge, manipulating reality so as to keep the characters (and us) from seeing the truth. His reply is Jungian: “I can’t say if David Lynch is familiar with the writings, but Gnostic archetypes are present in the underground stream of the subconscious, a place he clearly taps into.”

Aside from its dismissal of Judaic law and its challenge to Papal Writ, one of the things that undoubtedly drove the suppression of Gnostic scripture was its depiction of “the prostitute,” Mary Magdalene, as holding equal status with the 12 disciples and special rank with the Son of God himself. Like Eve, M.M. “gets it” before the guys do, not infrequently prompting grumblings of “What’s up with her?” This brings us to the zingers breathlessly reported by Dan Brown in the widely read pages of The Da Vinci Code.

Since Bishop Hoeller is a bona fide scholar of the lore alluded to by the now stupendously rich Mr. Brown, the question must be posed: Was it some sort of tantric sex thing between J.C. and M.M.?

“Although I’m delighted by the interest in Gnosticism it’s stirred up,” Hoeller says, “and by its part in restoring Mary Magdalene to her place at the side of Jesus, I must confess that my regard for The Da Vinci Code is considerably less than for The Matrix. For one thing, Mr. Brown seems to have an agenda. He appears to be deliberately courting certain ‘interest groups,’ among them conspiracy buffs, enthusiastic but badly informed Goddess worshippers and almost anyone who harbors a grudge against the Christian faith. And though the Gnostic Gospels do identify the Magdalene as having a unique spiritual kinship with Jesus, there’s no suggestion that the relationship was sexual, much less that it produced offspring. This is a canard derived almost wholly from an earlier piece of sensationalistic pseudo-history called Holy Blood, Holy Grail.”

“According to which,” I interject, “the bloodline of Jesus produced the French monarchy . . .”

“Yes, well . . . the Merovingian dynasty.”

“And your opinion of the Holy Blood theory?”


Nookie or no, the stupendous popularity of The Da Vinci Code has let certain cats out of the bag, and Hoeller is the first to admit that it could not have found such a ready audience if intimations of the Divine Feminine were not already percolating through the collective unconscious?. The psychic tremors from a discovery like the Nag Hammadi texts aren’t felt immediately. By analogy, Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was published in 1905, and most of us are still struggling with the notion of space-time. But at Nag Hammadi, the dike of orthodoxy, built by the Fathers in part to keep sexuality and subversive “feminine” elements at bay, sprung a major leak, and the amniotic waters have been trickling through ever since. Gnosticism’s most formidable and vociferous foe, Tertullian (155–225 A.D.), may yet have to eat his words on Woman: “You are the devil’s gateway . . . The sentence of God on your sex lives on in this age; the guilt, necessarily, lives on, too.” Contrast this misogyny with the gender-bending of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas: “When you make the male and the female one and the same . . . then you will enter the Kingdom.”

In spite of Hoeller’s somewhat bristly relationship with feminist theory, the fact that two of his order’s priests, one deacon and two acolytes are female seems testament enough to his rejection of ecclessiastical misogyny.

Today, the Gnostic Revival is abetted by a sea change in popular culture that began in the pre-millennial ’90s: The “alternative” now becomes mainstream in a heartbeat, chaos theory and quantum uncertainty rule the scientific roost, and no less a scholastic Brahmin than Harold Bloom calls Gnosticism “America’s native religion.” I ask Hoeller whether he thought that 2,000 years of persecution had come to an end. His reply is that of one who, in the words of a friend, has “lived out the myth of the exile” and learned how hard it is to come home.

“We’ve been persecuted because we assert that genuine salvation comes only through an essential change in consciousness which has nothing to do with obeying rules. This makes fundamentalists of all stripes crazy, because they’re all about adherence to ‘the Law.’ As long as this remains true, I suspect we’ll remain outsiders. Gnostics obey the traffic laws like everyone else . . . we just don’t happen to believe you can get to Heaven that way.”

And what of Rome, I wonder. Will His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI extend a hand to his estranged Gnostic brethren as his predecessor did to the Eastern Orthodox? “Is the Pope Catholic?” Hoeller replies, with a twinkle in his eye. “No, he seems to be a damage-control man, and there is plenty of damage to attend to.”

The last question is the toughest: Once our eyes are open to the absurdity of the world, what do we live for? It’s essentially the same question asked by Sartre and Camus in the midst of the Holocaust, but Hoeller’s reply is lit by that glimmer in his eye. He quotes the Gospel of Thomas:

“And Jesus said, ‘Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will be troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.’”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Painting a New Visual Vocabulary

Aboriginal Women Break With Tradition
By Jessica Dawson
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, July 22, 2006; C02

When we talk about Australian Aboriginal painting, the kind made on linen or on canvas, we're talking about a recent phenomenon. Yes, indigenous Australians have been making art for millennia, painting on bodies and fabric and rock. But acrylic paint and canvas, the foundations of Western practice that allow artwork to travel quickly and easily, weren't introduced into native communities until the early 1970s.

So when we visit Aboriginal painting in museums or galleries, as we can right now in two exceptional shows at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Embassy of Australia, we're looking at a still-nascent creative phenomenon, and one that belongs largely in the domain of women.

Both the museum's "Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Painters" and the embassy's "Painted Stories: Contemporary Painting by Australian Aboriginal Women" suggest how women have so broadened the visual vocabulary of Aboriginal painting that they have practically reinvented its practice.

They have loosened traditional forms. Their works are still based on historical images and ideas -- maps of watering holes or the retelling of "Dreamings," which are the creation myths of Aboriginal culture. But more recent paintings from the 1990s and early 21st century function in another important way: They are explorations of color and gesture that sit comfortably in the Western tradition of non-narrative painting. Gallery-goers disenchanted with the arid intellectualism of latter-day minimalism and third-generation abstraction will love them.

For those unschooled in Aboriginal symbols, a picture like Inyuwa Nampitjinpa's "Travels of Kutungka Napanangka from Papunga to Muruntji" from 1999 at the women's museum looks like pure gestural abstraction. A big loop of color encircles smaller concentric circles that appear to float inside. But Nampitjinpa sees these lines and colors differently than we might. The painting's loops and colors suggest a well-told story of a devil-like woman named Kutungka Napanangka who got revenge on a group of bothersome boys by cooking them up for dinner.

On the one hand, her painting offers aesthetic pleasures. On the other, it presents ancient legend. (That is, if we bother to decipher its symbols. To aid us, the museum exhibition opens with a glossary of common "Dreaming" symbols and their multiple, sometimes contradictory, definitions.) That such a picture functions on these two levels simultaneously lends it that much more power.

There are plenty more works at the museum that offer pure aesthetic appeal. Among the most striking are those from artists in the Northern Territory. Emily Kame Kngwarreye's untitled five-panel installation features broad horizontal strokes of white paint on black ground that make a striking impression. It's as if the painting were a record of the artist's arm gestures and the canvas retains the vigor of the artist's movement. And the netlike grids of tiny dots by Alice Springs resident Dorothy Napangardi Robinson couldn't be more delicate -- or more reminiscent of a minimalist such as Agnes Martin.

These artist's loose, expressive images mark a change from the early 1970s. Early works, most done by men, employed traditional symbols -- concentric circles, animal tracks and heavy dotted forms. (The Australian Embassy has several examples in its permanent collection and on long-term loan.) Women, too, worked in this style. Yet, by the 1990s, women such as Kngwarreye had broken away from stylistic precedent, broadening the definition of Aboriginal painting.

Despite the many changes practitioners have made, the very fact that these pictures derive from indigenous cultures means they sometimes risk marginalization as ethnographic imagery. Both "Dreaming Their Way" and "Painted Stories" argue the contrary. This is fine, fine art.

Norrie and MacDonald
At G Fine Art, a pair of non-native Australians, Fiona MacDonald and Susan Norrie, engage the Aboriginal plight and world politics in their charged installation (MacDonald) and video (Norrie).

Norrie's 9 1/2 -minute video "Twilight" looks at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, a tent city stationed outside Canberra's Old Parliament House. Though Parliament moved from the building in 1988, the controversial shantytown that has occupied the site since the early 1970s remains. Norrie's video is a study in the architecture of power, contrasting images of haphazard tents with shots of the impassive modernist Parliament and its eerily illuminated fountains. The anonymous regularity of power and the jerry-built structures of poverty assert contradictory viewpoints.

MacDonald's installation looks something like a living room, complete with curtains, wallpaper, a rocking chair and lamps. It suggests that the quotidian and predatory often share space. Wallpaper and matching upholstery boast an M.C. Escher-esque design where silhouettes of leaves exist alongside a competing pattern of rockets and fighter jets. Nearby curtains have an equally disturbing pattern with rosettes formed from jet fighters.

The installation's most striking object is a lampshade twirling wildly on its base. The piece is a zoetrope; when you look through the shade's slotted holes, a black bird seems to circle above a crowd of black men. The lamp's Linda Blair-like turns suggest a metaphor for the larger ghosts in this house.

The title of the G show is "Dream Home." These words conjure both the lore of Aboriginal dreamings and Western fantasies of freedom from strife and want. Both come off as welcome diversions in a world where neither fairness nor security is guaranteed.

Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Painters at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW. Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m., 202-783-5000, to Sept. 24. $8 adults; $6 students and those 60 and over; 18 and under free. Visit .

Painted Stories: Contemporary Paintings by Australian Aboriginal Women at the Gallery of the Embassy of Australia, 1601 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 202-797-3176, to Sept. 1. Visit .

Fiona MacDonald and Susan Norrie: Dream Home at G Fine Art, 1515 14th St. NW. Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 202-462-1601, to Aug. 5. Visit . Online catalogue: .

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Monday, July 24, 2006

Done with translations

I look at the title of this book. And eat it. Like tasting music. Does it mean that my evolution and value fulfilment in FW1 will in large part depend on the conscious relationship I have with the dreamplane.

Here. now is an image of the lover who turns around and asks 'What does last night mean?"

I say, "What do you want it to mean?"

He is perplexed, perhaps I am toying with him.

There are pages after page on dreamsin TSM, why not consolidate them all into the one book.Perhaps because to separate it thus is to perpetuate the myth that the two modes of consciousness are separate. And why did seth say it/he was a Dream Art Scientist, was that in itself a clue or a tease as to what dreams and the Dreamer may become .

There is something to the `process' of dreaming that is creationist in nature. And here I wish there was better term for what I intuit than `dreaming'. I wonder if you create your own reality is just another way of saying _you dream your own reality into being_? Dreaming then is activity ( not direction) of Consciousness. Too much emphasis is placed on the _where of_ dreaming and the recall of dreaming. I want to know more about the _What of dreaming_

What is a Dream?
What is Dreaming?

The imagistic nature of the dream plane and of dream memories is a translation of an event .I want to understand the event and be done with the translations

stop becoming and be

`......Jasper Johns couldn't find his unique artistic vision until he dreamt it in the form of a large American flag. Salvador Dali and his colleagues built surrealism out of dreams. Today Lucy Davis chief architect at a major firm `dreams her extraordinary designs into life .In film "Twice I have transferred dreams to film exactly as I had dreamt them" confides director Ingmar Bergman; so have Federico Fellini, Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Robert Altman and John Sayles. From Mary Shelley's terrible nightmare that became Frankenstein, to Stephen Kings haunting dream as a little boy, which lead to his first best seller, countless writers have consulted the Committee. Musicians from Beethoven to Billy Joel and Paul McCartney have whistled the Committee's tunes.

In science many dream of winning a Nobel prize, but physiologist Otto Loewi worked with the Committee on the medical experiment that earned him the real prize….'

Born in South Carolina during the Depression Jasper John's artistic aspirations led him to New York where he painted for several years without finding a unique voice.

In 1954 he resolved to "stop becoming and be an artist". His inspiration was a dream in which he saw himself painting a large American flag and the next day he began exactly that project later entitled flag. A lengthy series of flag paintings followed which established Johns as a major artist…Johns later told an interview "I have not dreamt of any other painting. I must be grateful for such a dream......"

The Committee of Sleep, D. Barrett, page 1

Let us slay him

Not everyone loves a dreamer, a cause of the strife between Joseph and his brothers was his dreams:

'Here comes the dreamer,' say the brothers. 'Let us slay him, and then let us see what will become of his dreams!' (Gen 32:19)

Das Exercise - Stepping Out 1

"These are my instructions. You may consider this your first lesson. We will go by easy stages, for we do not want you betwixt and between. You may induce a medium trance in whatever way you choose. On occasion this will be spontaneous, as you know. For best results in the beginning it is good to make a projection attempt when you already feel physically drowsy, but pleasantly so. When you have induced the trance state, then begin to examine your own subjective feelings until you find recognition of the inner self.

"This involves recognition of yourself as distinct from the fleshy fibres in which you reside. Then begin to imagine this inner self rising upward. You should experience even at this point an internal sense of motion. This motion may be from side to side, as you gently shake yourself loose, so to speak.

"It may be a rushing upward. Whichever motion you experience there will be a moment where you feel yourself, your identity and consciousness, definitely withdrawing from the physical organism. Before you attempt the projection, however, the suggestion should be given that the physical organism will be well protected and comfortable. Now when you feel the consciousness withdrawing, there are two things you may do. I suggest the first step I shall give you in preference to the second. The first step is this. Forget the physical body, or what you are to do with it. Will yourself out in a quick motion. There is no need to experience the voice hallucinations mentioned by the author, Fox. If the projection is a success you'll instantly lose contact consciously with the physical body. You simply will not be in it.

"Now your consciousness will not be in it, but it is hardly lifeless. Its maintenance is being controlled by the consciousness of the individual cells and organs of which we have spoken. I will give you alternate methods of projecting, but I will be concerned now with what you can expect the few moments after You have left the physical body.

The Early Sessions Book 6, Session 265, Page 210

Concepts beyond language

"...Some knowledge involves concepts beyond [language]. Both of you will have a series of highly vivid and memorable dream experiences, seven in number and you will remember them. In these you will be given information that cannot be given verbally. It will come through direct experience. Each dream will mark a point of advance.

"There will be no doubt in your mind after each that....they represent a necessary stage through which you must pass. They will consist of various illuminations. They will not be close together.

"They will be evenly timed. At the end of your seventh dream you will be acquainted with your immediate environment after death. You will indeed have a glimpse of that next environment.

"The seven dreams were incipient once your own psychic education began. They will also represent culminating experiences, in that you have been progressing in other levels of reality in the dream state for some time.

"Consciously you have been unaware of this. Each dream however will serve as a break through into your conscious awareness, a graduation drama of a sort of which you will be fully aware.

"When you are considering the sort of questions of Which you spoke earlier...remember not to push too hard for answers on an intellectual basis.

"The intellect does not know the answers

"The intuitions can deliver within moment’s knowledge that the intellect struggles with for years

"Part of this involves making your self available intuitively so that the answers may come. The way you phrase questions to some extent colors the answers. Seeking the questions behind the questions will often give you the initial answer that you wanted...."

The Early Sessions, Vol. 9, session 492

Electron realities

“In a fashion your own dreams operate or appear as electrons in other realities. That is, they change their form, their subjective force or direction, and become part of the working mechanics of the universe. The same applies to your own thoughts. They are not ‘wasted’ after you have thought them (with humor), or simply discarded. They do not become extinct either, but go on to serve other functions in the universe than those with which you are presently aware”

Dreams, “Evolution,” and Value Fulfillment, Vol. II by Jane Roberts. Session 935

Thermal images

Thoughts however are connected with language and with highly organized ego development. They are translations and symbols for inner activity. As a rule they are highly physically oriented, their function being to acquaint the physically adapted ego with some inner data. The thoughts may rather faithfully, though never completely, translate such data, or they may considerably distort it. Behind thoughts are images, which are more basic but still physically oriented. Because they are more basic they have a stronger effect. They are more emotionally charged, more concise than thoughts, and they are directly connected with the mechanics involved in translating inner data to physical reality. Behind these, so to speak, exist what you may term temperature pictures, in which delicate gradations of heat form ever-shifting emotional patterns that so have a semi-physical outline. From these, you see, normal images are built up, and from the images thoughts are formed...Thus thought becomes an inner image which is translated into a thermal image, and then into intuitional form, into highly condensed and codified data, and then into a pure and direct sort of experience which you cannot understand as physical creatures.

Session 341, The Early Sessions, Book 8

Awakening Reality

“I come to you as though I appeared through a hole in space and time. There are [warps] in space and time through which you can travel: and in dreams you have been where I am. You are dreaming. You have yet to awaken. The inner senses will allow you to awaken and to see the awakening reality behind your dream.”

ESP Class, February 29, 1968.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The beauties

‘…Others finished with reincarnations and of a different over all nature, may begin the long journey leading towards the vocation a creator. On a much different plane this could be compared to geniuses in creative fields within your physical reality.

Instead of paints words, musical notes, the creators begin to experiment with dimensions of actuality; imparting knowledge in as many forms as possible-and I do not mean physical forms. What you would call time is manipulated as an artist would manipulate pigment. What you would call space is gathered together in different ways.

Art is created, then, using time for example, as a structure. In your your terms time and space might be mixed The beauties of various ages, the natural beauties, the paintings and buildings are all recreated as learning methods for these beginners. One of their main preoccupations is to create beauty that impinges itself in as many various dimensions of reality as possible..’

Session 547

Ever Yours, Vincent

Some traditions seem to point to an understanding of the importance of rituals as a 'form of communication' between people. The ritual embodies what for those people sustains 'correct' order. In Japanese samurai folklore the warrior on arriving home after leaving his lady--the morning after the night before--writes and sends a love poem or letter, which custom dictates she must receive before noon. I prefer letters to poems. Men who write letters appeal to me.

Vincent writes me letters. He looks stern, the type of man who would never reveal himself. Yet in his letters he is extravagant with his expression of complex emotions. Being temperamental has its pitfalls, so it benefits me to have a lover who does not require that I be other than I am.

True, an affair with a dead artist or two can lose you friends. But I am never one to concern myself with opinions of others especially where my pleasures are concerned. I plunged straight in, an advantage of being a non temporal, multidimensional entity is that one can line them up (men that is) in whatever hue, race, disposition or point in history. Not that I am an advocate of metaphysical promiscuity, all the same a good man is a good man, dead or alive. And one ought not to allow a small thing like physical death to get in the way of ones hearts desire or creative boldness.

Vincent has such humour, dark at times and a ruggedness that looks physical reality square in the eye. Every so often, he spits in it. I see daring in his positioning within life. I like men who are not afraid. Or if they are, so what? Still they express it, in spite of it all. I love the wildness of vibrancy in his paintings, but his letters are the 'things' that touch me.

Letter from Vincent van Gogh.
Antwerp, 6-7 December 1885

"I feel a power within me to do something, I see that my work holds its own against other work, and that gives me a great craving for work; lately… One thing is certain, that I want my things to be seen. Later on we may lose courage, but we will try and put it off for a long time…

…A great deal may depend on my being able to stick to my guns. And one must not look too hungry or shabby either. On the contrary, one must try to make things hum…"

I pay no attention to who he might have appeared to write this to. To me in this space time the words are personal. He whispers his wit and endurance and his passions to me in the now. He shows 'time' up for the masquerade it is. Because it is today that I needed to hear him write to me "Later on we may lose courage but we will try to put if off for a long time"

If he did not know the beatings of my heart and the self doubt that creeps in every now and again how would he know to have written those words for me? And there was that day when I was tired and the studio that I share with some others was colder than a morgue and I felt miserable and sorry for myself, that no one would understand how impossible it can be at times. But on my table under the vase,
Vincent had left these words in a letter to remind me of the warmth of flowers in even the coldest of spaces of the place of color and the importance of consistency.

Letter from Vincent van Gogh
Antwerp, c. 15 December 1885

"I do not feel faint as long as I am painting, but in the long run those intervals are always sometimes rather too melancholy, and it grieves me when I don't get on, and am always in a bad fix. Do you know, for instance, that in the whole time I've been here, I've only had three warm meals, and for the rest nothing but bread? In this way one becomes vegetarian more than is good for one. Especially as it was the same thing in Nuenen for half a year, and even then I could not pay my color bill.

Painting is expensive, yet one must paint a great deal".

I admire the steadfastness of his spirit. It reminds me to hold firm when I forget. Through his letters I borrow some of his spirit until I am steady again. I am also extravagant, though not by design. It is this passion for color, and pigment. I want to eat color. I could live on Prussian blue, with just a hint of madder pink. It makes economic sense to use student quality oils for preparatory sketches, but I don't. I can't .I want professional quality oil, with extra, finer pigment. I want colors that are unapologetic. They come with a price tag to match my lust. Vincent understands, as does Seth why color moves me as it does.

The Early Sessions: Book 7 Session 286, page 45.

"Color is closer to emotional experience than shape. It is also, believe it or not, closer to sound. The connections between color and emotion are too obvious to discuss here. To me, an emotion will automatically be translated into color in many instances. Here you see - but try this: do you see a connection between the color red and the word quick?"

It is not that I believe that the personality that was Vincent still exists. The entity that was he, has long since gone, but the energy, the psychic construct remains and that is what is important, that is what I use. And its reality is larger than the human that was. One could say I access aspects of the psyche that was Vincent. It is an intimacy, and this intimacy can be thought of in terms of sexualities and sexual metaphor will suffice here. Not that I am asking not to be misunderstood, though that would be helpful.

Psychically it requires a certain passivity and submissiveness so that its/his energy is dominant, impacting and thrusting. That's one way; another is immersion, entering into his world, seeking, searching and probing his interior space.

If you have ever tried this exercise you'll know what I mean by passivity:

Seth Speaks Session 570, page 249.

"You usually glide from wakefulness through to sleep without ever noticing the various conditions of consciousness through which you pass; yet there are several. First, of course, with various degrees of spontaneity, there is the inward turn of consciousness away from physical data, from worries and concerns of the day. Then there is an undifferentiated level between wakefulness and sleep where you act as a receiver -- passive but open, in which telepathic and clairvoyant messages come to you quite easily."

It's not dissimilar to being taken, more accurately it is like being entered and it is far from unpleasant. The emotions evoked can be trusted, ridden, and translated into a way of working. Vincent says of his own emotions, it's pillow talk, a confidence shared. "The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech."

When I first began choosing dead artists I used to use a type groking technique, long used by shamans. At that time I wanted to 'become Vincent', I sought closeness that way. But I found after a few years that this does not work well when I need to retain my sense of 'I'. In addition as I grew I wanted dialogue. Often, there is a point of view Vincent has which is best communicated in a 'direct knowing fashion' and 'becoming him' is far easier. I still use groking. It requires a willingness to let go a sense of 'I'.

My purpose in all of this is becoming a better artist, one richer and more able to translate itself (I could say herself but that is not quite true) into the images and objects I make. Vincent's firm guidance assists me see the multidimensional nature of self in the multidimensional nature of the object.

The Unknown Reality: Volume II Session 723, page 462.

"You may not realize it, but your language actually structures your visual perception of objects. Sumari breaks down the usual patterning, therefore, but it also releases the nervous system from its structured response to any particular stimulus."

There is a condensation in the art making process, it is identical to the way dream symbols are made which contain multiple meaning. The sculptures I make are closer to an event than they are to an objective object. This is a conscious process where I can 'see' those significances flowing into the objects as I make them. It's a form of imagination made physical. Yet it is also me using the stuff of 'me' to make another form of me. Vincent did similar things with his making, not always consciously (he would be the first to admit) but a heavy psychic charge remains in his paintings for these reasons.

Another point here is also a practical one. It is easy to access these dead artists and it is a joy to be taught by some of the most significant entities that have passed through the earth plane. One can also access 'future painters', but that is another story.

There are places where lovers meet and they exist in a realm, and also in memory. But one can go there, say to the Cafe Terrance in Arles at night. Sometimes Vincent is there, waiting but if not, when the waiter brings the glass of wine there is a letter left for me.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh
Etten, 7 November 1881

Does a man who has not learned to say, "She, and no other," knows what love is? … When they said those things to me, then I felt with all my heart, with all my soul, with my entire mind: "She, and no other."

Perhaps some will say, "You show weakness, passion, stupidity, ignorance of the world, when you say, `She, and no other.' Add another string to your bow, do not commit yourself definitely." Far from it! Let this my weakness be my strength. I will be dependant on "her, and no other"; even if I could, I should not want to be independent of her.

When I go home at night or work through the night I am reminded that Vincent found the night to be an inspirational time. Strange, but all the times in the past when I have felt lonely none of them have been at night. I attempt to reach out with my inner senses to those like me who across time have seen the night times as being closer to source and to true nature. Vincent comes in those still times, he tells me that in all things I must have courage and conviction because when I leave the earth plane, and in many respects only after I have left will I see the importance of it all. In this same stillness there is a remembering, of him of me and of others like us. And so I hold fast and do not lose heart.

Letter from Vincent van Gogh
Arles, c. 4 May 1888

As for me, I shall go on working, and here and there something of my work will prove of lasting value - but who will there be to achieve for figure painting what Claude Monet has achieved for landscape? However, you must feel, as I do, that someone like that is on the way - Rodin? - he does not use color - it won't be him. But the painter of the future will be a colorist the like of which has never yet been seen. Manet was getting there but, as you know, the impressionists have already made use of stronger color than Manet has.

I can't imagine this painter of the future living in small cafs, setting to work with a lot of false teeth, and going to the Zouave's brothels, as I do.

But I'm sure I am right to think that it will come in a later generation, and it is up to us to do all we can to encourage it, without question or complaint…

Well, write me soon.

Ever yours, Vincent