Chapter Sixteen


- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Islands | pg. 2 - Sagittarius | pg. 3 - Formentera Lady
pg. 4 - A Dragon Fig Tree's Fan | pg. 5 - The Sun | pg. 6 - Tanit
pg. 7 - The Crystal Cabinet | pg. 8 - Sailor's Tale | pg. 9 - Seizing the Ox
pg. 10 - The Letters

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Ringed by Ants | Old Strings

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"Here I'm shadowed by a dragon fig tree's fan"

"Fig trees, which are sacred to Dionysos, represent both vitality and enlightenment. The figleaf is shaped like male genitalia and the fig fruit like female genitalia; to this day in Europe the fica (sign of the fig/vulva), a gesture made by placing the thumb between the first two fingers, is used for protection (as also are phallic gestures). The Bodhi, under which the Buddha found enlightenment, was a fig tree; so also our Idiot will be illuminated beneath fig-laden branches."

- The Pythagorean Tarot
by John Opsopaus

There is no variety of fig tree known as the "Dragon Fig Tree" but there is a Dragon Tree. Dracaena Draco is a giant tree of the East Indies and Canary Islands, and shares with the baobab tree the distinction of being the oldest living representative of the vegetable kingdom.

"In the greek myth of The Eleventh Labor of Hercules: The Apples of The Hespérides, there is mention of Ladon, the hundred-headed dragon, guardian of the Garden of the Hespérides.
In order to fulfill his task to bring back three golden apples from the garden, Ladon the dragon is killed. Ladon's red blood flowed out upon the land and from it sprung up the trees which we now know as 'Dragon Trees'. The sight of Dracaena draco is certainly enough to inspire such legends and the alleged location of this fabled garden, an island beyond the Altas Mountains (Morocco), would seem to indicate that this tree is indeed the basis of the myth. The tree exudes a crimson sap called 'Dragon's Blood'."

- Dragon Tree, Drago de Canarias

The death of the dragon alludes to the previous album, Lizard. Incidentally, Ladon was the son of Typhon. Hera rewarded Ladon by putting him among the stars as the constellation Draco, which wraps itself around the North Pole like Ladon wrapped itself around the trees in the garden. One of its stars, Thuban (Arabic for 'dragon'), was the Pole Star around 2700 BC, when Ladon’s story was first being told. The pyramid of Khufu contains a passage that was built to point at Thuban.

On the island of Tenerife, there is a particularly ancient specimen of the Dragon Tree.

Dragon Tree, Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife

The first man, Adam, is also depicted under a Dragon Tree in the Heironymous Bosch painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights.

"Shadowed" refers to the Shadow which was confronted in Lizard. "Dragon", of course, also refers to what occured in the previous album, Lizard, and Kundalini or the unconscious content which "shadows" (shades and protects) one from too much sun (consciousness). The point here, as elsewhere, is not that there is something wrong with consciousness but that the psyche needs to find a balance (a meaningful dialogue) between consciousness and the unconscious.
"Conscious and unconscious do not make a whole when one of them is suppressed and injured by the other. If they must contend, let it at least be a fair fight with equal rights on both sides. Both are aspects of life. Consciousness should defend its reason and protect itself, and the chaotic life of the unconscious should be given the chance of having its way too - as much of it as we can stand. This means open conflict and open collaboration at once. That, evidently, is the way human life should be. It is the old game of hammer and anvil: between them the patient iron is forged into an indestructible whole, an 'individual'. This, roughly, is what I mean by the individuation process."

- C. G. Jung, Essay: A Study in the Process of Individuation
This collaboration between conscious and unconscious is what Jung called "active fantasy", the product of intuition.

" fantasy is one of the highest forms of psychic activity. For here the conscious and the unconscious personality of the subject flow together into a common product in which both are united. Such a fantasy can be the highest expression of the unity of a man's individuality, and it may even create that individuality by giving perfect expression to its unity."

- Jung 1971/21 (p. 428)

"This fourth stage is the anticipation of the lapis. The imaginative activity of the fourth function--intuition, without which no realization is complete--is plainly evident in this anticipation of a possibility whose fulfilment could never be the object of empirical experience at all; already in Greek alchemy it was called "the stone that is no stone." Intuition gives outlook and insight; it revels in the garden of magical possibilities as if they were real. Nothing is more charged with intuitions than the lapis philosophorum. This keystone rounds off the work into an experience of the totality of the individual."

- Jung 1954/46

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"Ringed by ants...."
"Ants are as much like human beings as to be an embarrassment.
They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war,
use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves,
engage in child labor, exchange information ceaselessly.
They do everything but watch television."

- Lewis Thomas
The Lives of a Cell

The ants form a circle, a symbol of completion, a mandala for contemplation...

"...and musing over man."
"The self, I thought, was like the monad which I am, and which is my world. The mandala represents this monad, and corresponds to the microcosmic nature of the psyche.

...When I began drawing the mandalas...I saw that everything, all the paths I had been following, all the steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point--namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation."

- Carl Jung
Memories, Dreams, Reflections
"Circle, sphere, and round are all aspects of the Self-contained, which is without beginning and end; in its preworldly perfection it is prior to any process, eternal, for in its roundness there is no before and no after, no time; and there is no above and no below, no space. All this can only come with the coming of light, of consciousness, which is not yet present; now all is under sway of the unmanifest godhead, whose symbol is therefore the circle.

The round is the egg, the philosophical World Egg, the nucleus of the beginning, and the germ from which, as humanity teaches everywhere, the world arises. It is also the perfect state in which the opposites are united--the perfect beginning because the opposites have not yet flown apart and the world had not yet begun, the perfect end because in it the opposites have come together again in a synthesis and the world is once more at rest."

- Erich Neumann
The Origins and History of Consciousness

After the words "musing over man" and before the beginning of the first chorus, there is a pause, a pregnant pause.

"Developing intuition through a 'pregnant pause'...

I've coined this a 'pregnant pause' because it literally gives birth to inspiration, innovation and/or resolution. If practiced daily, it will enliven your mode of thinking and vastly accelerate your creativity."

-The Pregnant Pause
by J. L. Read

The chorus signals his return to consciousness. It is at this moment, while "musing over man", that the narrator, in a flash of intuitive insight, apprehends the entire truth of his life. He suddenly realizes what has and is happening to him, the archetypal "pattern" of life.
Jung on his moment of revelation
"It is not that I understood from the moment I was born but that after exhaustive investigation and grinding discipline in an instant I knew myself."

- Lin-chi
Intuition as pattern recognition

"Intuitive insights suddenly appear as ideas or feelings. The solution to a problem leaps into your mind. You have a strong anxiety about taking some action but cannot understand why. Where do these things come from? You are continually, without conscious attention, recognizing patterns in the stream of sensations that impinge upon you."

- Einstein's Revenge by Paul P. Budnik Jr

"The ego or conscious person which wills has at its disposal four functions:

1. thinking – reasoning about experience using logic as our guide
2. feeling – responding to the affects, emotional energy, that specifies value as + or -
3. sensation -- appropriating the external world through body stimulation
4. intuition – spontaneous awareness of a whole situation.

- The Jungian Understanding of Person
by Dr. Charles T. Davis

"Intuition is the function that allows us to see the picture as a whole."

- The Genesis Model
by Gerry Anne Lenhart

Or, as Jon Anderson would put it a year after the release of Islands ...

"A man conceived a moment's answers to the dream
Staying the flowers, daily sensing all the themes."

In the previous lines of the song the narrator has simply described what he has seen. Now, with his new found insights, he begins to make pronouncements.

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"I'll unwind my old strings while the sun shine down"

Peter Sinfield's "puppet string theory". In The Dance of the Puppets the "Yellow Jester" (Hermes, the unconscious) "gently pulls the strings". The "old strings" are the unconscious ideas and urges the narrator is integrating into consciousness. Here at the "mid-point" between consciousness and the unconscious, he has developed some awareness of his own unconscious motivations (i.e. the influence of archetypal forces within his psyche). He is able to "unwind", or undo, some of the puppeteer's strings. Seen another way, he can "unwind" (relax the defense of his own ego) the old strings of his guitar and play a new song.

    "In the ego conscious state of self awareness, the personality is buffeted by conflicting forces and desires beyond its conscious control. When these forces are brought together through the power of intuition and integrity they sing a "new song" of harmony and complementary action."

    - Dance of Ecstasy
    by Michael Wassil

"Won't climb any high thing while the sun shine."

"The sage does not attempt anything very big, and thus achieves greatness."

- Lao Tsu
(Tao Te Ching 63)

That he "won't climb any high thing" tells us that he intends not to stray too far (too high into consciousness) from the "middle dwelling" of intuition. This statement also tells us that he has given up the promethean over-reaching which characterized the original Crimson King (the first album).

"The message in the myth of Icarus is not that man cannot or should not creatively channel the archetypal or planetary forces: rather, it is that a delicate balance must be maintained ("flying" not too high; not too low) and that one must not under any circumstance lose one's head, i.e., become psychically inflated or overidentified with an energy which, in essence, is far beyond the pale of mere human manufacture, origin, comprehension, etc."

- Psychic inflation and the misuse of Transcendental Energy
by Robert Couteau

"Formentera Lady sing your song for me"
Formentera Lady sweet lover."

"Formentera" is derived from "terra forma" (earth forms). The Formentera Lady is the earth, the World, Maya. In Lady of the Dancing Water , our protagonist said "farewell" to the outer world of the senses in order to undertake the inner journey depicted in Lizard . He now believes he is prepared to face the world and not be deceived.

"The term dervish literally means "threshold," and that picturesque description itself provides the crucial clue: the dervish calling has something to do with the meeting of two worlds. For the hermit, reclusion is the bottom line: he or she leaves the world and lives apart as a sign of renunciation and poverty of spirit. The dervish is drawn, almost in spite of himself, back and forth across that threshold. He or she lives at the boundary between pure solitude and the need to spill back into the world, still pointing like a weathervane in the direction of that other. Try as one might, the tension won't collapse. The solitude drives one back into the world to communicate (not necessarily in words but in the quality of one's aliveness) some vestige of that divine intensity that aches for human expression."

- Sounding Solitude
by Rev. Cynthia Bourjeault
Raven's Bread
Vol: 2 No: 3 August 1998

Islands can also be viewed as a "down to earth" (earthbound?) application of what the protagonist has learned in his inner journeys, the first three albums emphasizing the protagonist's inner process and the last album his life's outer course. After spinning off into outer space, in Big Top , the protagonist comes down to earth and deals with real life (his wife, his lovers - his own imperfections).

"The individuation process is a chain of transformation within the individual personality. During individuation, both the inside and the outside experience of a person's life must be given their due."

- The Imaginal Within The Cosmos: The Noosphere and Cyberspace
by Beatrix Murrell

"Jung believed that we become involved with people in the world who correspond to our essential nature. As Redfearn (1983) put it, in development "one can only introject what one is in the first place" (p. 99). The unconscious, form-determining (archetypal) components of the personality, and the complexes of ideation and affect that form around them seem to act like inductive magnets for certain events and affects to which they correspond (Jung, 1960, 1969c). The result is that the "inner" psychic predisposition of the individual and his "outer" world become one and the same, joined within an interactive field.
Unconscious aspects of the self are therefore experienced as "outer," according to Jung, so that we "happen to ourselves." Some aspects of the self are consequently experienced only with relationships, which are faithful mirrors of intrapsychic dynamic."

- Kohut and Jung
by Lionel Corbett

Islands ~ Formentera Lady
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Islands ~ The Sun

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

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