Saturday, January 27, 2007
TOP: "Male Geometry #5," Holly Crawford
BOTTOM: "Persephone Devoured by Pluto," Yuliya Lanina
God does not play dice with the universe.
Or does he?
You were always playing dice with your own life, weren’t you? You kept making pacts with the universe. If there was no resolution to the financial crisis resulting from your single-minded pursuit of the avant-garde, then you were going to accept an offer to go to Afghanistan to help liberate the women. But if you met your partner before that, then you would give up writing and devote yourself ENTIRELY to the relationship.
Life at the cutting edge of the avant-garde had just become too…well…uncertain. Your search – through so many religions, so many disciples – required wiping your mirror clean of projection. So you finally found the profession (if one could call it that)
This morning you have been staring into Pluto’s mouth. In trying to capture an image of the snuffing out of innocence in Yuliya Lanina’s “Persephone Devoured By Pluto” you gazed backward…to the final temptation.
light of innocence is such a precious thing. My healing instructor used to say, “every time there is abuse, a light is snuffed out and the entire world suffers because of it.”
On your path, keeping your flame burning was the most important thing. Indeed, it was the ONLY thing.
The dark energy has only recently been discovered by scientists. When the core of a massive star grows too large, it collapses under its own gravity. The flood of neutrinos released became a tool for studying dark energy.
How else to interpret the dark but in contrast with the light?
Pluto’s final temptation was the biggest challenge of all. It might have snuffed out your light for good. Luckily, the universe provided warnings and you were grounded enough to heed them. Then, as now, you were fasting.
It seems to be a ritual with you, to meet Pluto in the flesh when you are high from a fast. Just when you are at your most vulnerable, when the process of self-devouring brings you to that wondrous lift, suddenly and not so unexpectedly, Pluto enters!
Perhaps the Henry Jones symbols undergoing alchemical transmutation on the screen had you mesmerized. You were just groovin’ on the energy – so sixties yet so contemporary – when J______ started up a conversation about the work. He seemed to be familiar with the territory. You told him that you are a writer and he gave you a card announcing his one-man show.
Oh, the chill in the air!
It is January 27, the Moon entered Gemini three hours ago, you have just two more hours to post this chapter, and you are feeling a distinct chill around your persona as you go about structuring the manner that you are going to rise out of the nest and go to Lily’s to greet the public who have been waving to you as if you are an old friend as they passed by all week.
And in this public manner, your residence in the Nest of the Phoenix between FAME (the silver opaque mirror) and PROJECTION (the glossy banner of Champagne Tango) brings you to the point of no return.
Has the fire gone out?? Or is it simply contained??
You have suddenly reversed your karma. Instead of running away from projections that interfere with your freedom you invite them in. And in they come, staring in the window, asking WHAT IS IT?
Pluto is getting more impatient by the hour. He too feels he can’t go further without his rightful bride. He is filing his teeth, preparing for – not just any virgin flesh, but Persephone. Only she had the hunger that could match his own.
You see, says MP, the starving artist isn’t just hungry for lack of food. The starving artist is hungry for just about everything! The appetite has no bounds.
So he is ornery, scraping the ground, stomping around his old East Village haunts, circling the entrances and too disgusted to go in. He is feeling abandoned by Persephone. He pulled her down to the Underground, didn’t he? The least she could do is spend some time with him!
The archetype and the man converged into your path on September 14. It was supposed to be a sixties happening at the old synagogue on Stanton Street. They were showing Henry Jones films from the sixties and you had long been curious about this iconic filmmaker so you wandered down Joyce SoHo where you attended a Mexican Dancescores performance created in Oaxaca caves.
Your run in with the primitive only underscored the danger of the attraction. He was dripping with charisma and unattached. WHOA! A tall guy with broad shoulders with a dark energy that seemed overpowering …until you saw him smile. When he smiled he was on FIRE. But the heat was delivered with a singular charm. You believed he must have been quite a magician in one, or several, of his past lives.
Or did you read the magic in meeting your partner in a synagogue?
This hadn’t happened for years. Not since before when you lived in the East Village did Pluto try to redirect your life to fit his own.
He wanted nothing less than SURRENDER.
J_____ had the right approach. He handed you the announcement of his one man show engaged you in conversation and then he asked you out for a tea. You left together and he said he was going to take you somewhere with a positive vibration. You ended up in what felt like a tree house in the upstairs of the café in the Ludlow Street organic market. He talked about his life and his art and how they intermingled in his one-man show and script about growing up in the Bronx and his heroin addiction. He has a mission, to disprove the popular conception about heroin addiction.
Did you believe that he was the artist you were searching for – the one who went to hell and back – and lives to tell the tale?
His power puts the others to shame.
And so you surrendered to the fascination, to the IDEA of him and you together with so very little in common but this inexplicable attraction….
…And a willingness to play dice with your own life.
Did it occur to you that you were gambling your future away by opening yourself up to him, granting him a sympathetic ear, allowing yourself to be drawn into his myth, finding a place for yourself in his professional life?
When the conversation waned that first night listening to the rainfall on the roof of your common perch, he insisted on playing a word game. Then he drew you up to dance. You could feel his manliness, and the inevitable demand. “Come back to my place,” he said.
“No, I prefer to get to know you better.”
It was so cozy in the tree house, where you could hear the rain hitting the rooftop. There it suddenly dawned on you that the universe had fulfilled your command: it had delivered into your path a man, an artist who balances dark and light, an artist who is available in every way, a creative individual who has a extra room and is inviting you to come and stay. You finally found the man in the flesh that could drastically change your life and take you out of the eternal realm of the almost becoming!
To succumb to either side would mean the end of the lifestyle you created!
As he took your hand and you grew repulsed about the idea of having a partner, you suddenly had a revelation. You realized that you are most comfortable in the in-between realm– the grey area that is not quite in the domain of the mother but not quite that of the dark lover either. The grey realm is where you get your power. Thus is the true cusp of the avant-garde where dark and light interchange to illuminate a new archetype!
And what of the alternative? What would it mean to spend the night in his bed? Oh, the danger! The warning came in the form of a lovely woman with self-contained, very focused energy, who goes to your church. She handed you a casting list for the short film she was planning on making.
And there was J______ on the list! The description fit perfectly! He was avoiding entering the emotional VOID while attempting to reconcile a past relationship. He projected his confused feelings onto an ethereal woman who was dancing as if in the air. She was the image of the Sky Goddess who could lead him to higher ground. You asked to see the entire script. When you read it, the truth was evident about J_______. He had wrapped up his feelings in a nice package with the script but, like his namesake in “Crystal Palace,” he was basking in illusion rather than face the karmic truth.
And your intuition told you that he needed you to prove that he had worked it out but he hadn’t, so he would have to smash up your relationship in order to face the truth.
The cold bony finger of fate reaching down and you were the chosen bride.
You always made sport of traveling to this edge – this cold clammy realm where fate and destiny existed side by side, where one was hard to distinguish from the other because Saturn, that Old Devil, was so good at adopting disguises.
Funny, when you first saw the card announcing his show in your regular haunt, Pick Me Up Café, you were intrigued. You had the feeling he might be the next to arise from Underground, on a schedule synchronized with your own. But the dates of the show were when you would be out of town.
So, you already felt swept up in his karma and it was therefore inevitable that you would make his acquaintance when you were fasting in preparation for a cosmic gateway.
He was the shadow standing before the door as it prepared to open to a marvelous future.
But this shadow emitted so much light!
The second time you traveled from uptown to meet him in the East Village (you were staying uptown, he invited you for one of those fancy Japanese tea shakes and handed you his scrip. He talked about his acting career and insisted on holding hands as you walked down the street.
FIRE was raging. He stood right in front of a neon fire sign before a spanking new barbeque take out and railed against the loss of his neighborhood. “The East Village has been hijacked by developers!” he wailed.
You said you wanted to get home to read the script and kissed him farewell at the subway. He stood in full Pluto character with his arms outstretched and a plaintive look. As if to say, why are you doing this to me??
How dastardly of Pluto to insist on going where he wasn’t invited!
When you told him about your talk on THE ALCHEMY OF LOVE at Caramoor the following day, Friday, he insisted on coming. It flattered you that he took an interest in your work. Still, you were hesitant about having him at your first presentation of this material. Mad, passionate phone calls all the way to Connecticut and only when the storm clouds were ominous did you tell him not to come. But his desires were pulling at you, even as you tossed out savory tidbits for the audience on the practical applications of THE ALCHEMY OF LOVE. Eros was in the air. The single man danced with three woman as a bat circled the rafters.
The arrogance of a man insisting on imposing himself in every area of your life. Something you cannot imagine anyone doing. You always hated taking responsibility for other people!
Or perhaps it was your own light being reflected by his darkness?
Like the darkest night just before the dawn, the last temptation to enter the mouth of Pluto arrived just prior to the Solar Eclipse, not just any Solar Eclipse but one arriving the day before the Autumn Equinox. It was a gateway and you planned to mark it with a public ceremony in Peekskill, Daniel Rothbart’s Hudson River: Meditation/Mediation.
J_____wanted to participate. But you regarded his enthusiam with suspicion. It wasn’t that he wanted to share your spirituality. He just saw a potential role he could act in. In fact, he got angry when you told him about it during a long one sided conversation you had with him while standing in line waiting for tickets for the dress rehearsal to Madama Butterfly.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he demanded.
“You didn’t ask!”
It was an undeniable truth. What you didn’t learn about him on the first night of your meeting, you learned from his script, but when it came to your life, he assumed everything and asked nothing. Like other East Village male artists who have trouble with female relationships, he had this annoying habit of yelling: “YOU DON’T LISTEN!” whenever you tried to get a word in edgewise to their monologues. Why would the projection from this one surprise you when monologue was his art form?
So, this time you listened. You listened because you had become friendly with the people in line at 9 AM and by the time the line started moving at 11 AM you didn’t want them to know your personal business. So you let him talk as you followed the line all around the City Opera to where it snaked back to the center line proceeding to the box office of the Metropolitan Opera House.
You don’t know why, but you kept trying to make a point about addiction being a universal experience. You were trying to tell him that you weren’t interested in signing up for his crusade regarding heroin addiction.
Finally, as you continued to skirt away when he tried to tie you down to a meeting, he said: “Oh, I see. You are afraid this will be an addiction.”
Such an utterance of truth could only be followed by silence.
“How would I know?” you ask.
You could feel his retreat. “Call me when you are free,” he says.
And that, as they say, was that. You got your tickets and went to visit a collaborator who paid you an advance for a book.
The karma was immediate. By letting go of Pluto, you invoked real change in your life. A pathway to financial independence opened to you.
Scientist think that Neutrinos have their spectrum distorted as they bounce off dark energy and by reading this effect, could learn about the nature of dark energy. Perhaps this explains the pattern of attraction between Pluto and Persephone. Only by having her light bounce off his darkness, could Pluto gain the inner knowledge he hungers!
Your body told you whatever they had shared in a week that drew them together – the hunger -- was over.
You dedicated Hudson River: Meditation Mediation to the realignment of the archetypal energies in the Persephone-Demeter myth. You said a prayer that the demotion of Pluto into an asteroid paved the way for equal partnership. Pluto would no longer be Lord of the Underworld, destroyer of all that refuses to bend ot his Power. He will now be equal partner to Persephone. Dark and light will be balanced.
During the ceremony you planted two Narcissus bulbs with your menstrual blood to bring this prayer into fruition. As the narcissus bloomed, you began planning FIRE.
“Sparks fly. Sparks burst into Flames. Buenos Aires is on fire.”
No, YOU ARE ON FIRE!
And as you sit under the red lights at 4:40, awaiting the visit of your collaborator, Daniel Rothbart, to the Nest of the Phoenix, you feel that fire contained in yourself. There is no doubt in your mind that you will never give it away.
“Oh to burn, to burn like this forever! That is my desire”
Reading the opening and closing words to Champagne Tango in the Nest of the Phoenix brings you full circle on your journey to contain FIRE.
It is 4:55 and your visitor is due in five minutes. You have had a plan of what to do, you are going to put on the rhinestone pumps on the shattered ruby goblet and repeat the steps of last night’s ceremony to the window where you will remove your Argentine outfit -- the sizzling hot fuchsia velvet appliqué tunic -- off Inanna and place it on your own body.
Then you will celebrate FIRE!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Male Geometry #4, Holly Crawford
You have been fasting for ten.
Venus entered the LAB with a vengeance on the eve of your birthday, putting...
"Persephone in the Hot Seat"
And so you must prepare for the unexpected. You are inside the nest of the Phoenix, wrapped in your signature black dress with red spiral trim, a Selma Karaka original structured for volume through building strips of fabric into a cone shaped spiral.
Oh, to be the calm center of the cyclone! This has been the vision of your emergence ever since you first gazed upon this dress – to enter through the spiral in which ascending transmutes into descending and descending transmutes into ascending.
You are feeling exquisitely light, not quite human, yet the darkness of the dress, the reflecting satin sheets (a birthday gift from Demeter!), is a grounding force. You feel yourself contained in a dynamic that feels new. Could this be Heaven & Earth converging into the hieros gamos? Hermes would know! You say a prayer to this ancient god, patron of alchemy.
This is the miracle of the alchemical process of writing while fasting. It brings all the dark spirit out of the body onto the rectangular geometry of the page. Through all these years you have not forgotten the levity of Manly P. Hall’s pronouncement: “artists must swallow themselves.”
In the nest you discover the source of this quote, an audiotape, The Golden Chain of Homer that Binds Heaven and Earth. This was the single source of knowledge that propelled you through 18 years of the process of self-devouring. The tape contains ancient knowledge you will carry to your grave.
You put it in the tape recorder and turn it on. You have heard it many times. The ominous words of the great teacher launched you on your journey by connecting you to an ancient tradition. The tape resurfaced as you prepared for FIRE. Its presence in the LAB connects the immediate present to your past and future. You turn it on precisely to the place where it had been stopped and record the words:
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. Any art or science that is commercialized is set back a thousand years at least. It cannot escape into its own integrities. Therefore, prior to the Alexandrian period, it seems that the transforming of base metals was regarded as a literal thing, and it was in Alexandria that this entire concept was made metaphysical and the alchemist became an alchemistical philosopher one in whose nature the transformations were of a higher and exalted nature. Yoga contains a chemistry and alchemy of discipline within the body. India and Chinese traded in Alexandria; there is no doubt that the philosophies of Alexandria were influenced by Buddhism and Yoga. If we take Platonism or Neo-Platonism, or the Hermetic science, and impose a yogic structure upon it, then we have exactly what the ancient symbols of alchemy tell us -- namely that the entire system was founded upon a process of unfolding the potentials in the individual. Yoga became a term in the East and alchemy became its term in the West. They all seem to have been nourished by the same general content and belief. Meaning there was a series of steps in which man moved upward from the Earth into the abode of the deities. In alchemy the abode of the deities would be in man himself.
Fasting is a literal self-devouring. Recording the process through writing – well, that is your specialty. The purification of the body through the transmutation of dark matter into light – the saints knew the importance of fasting to reach the union with the divine but they weren’t alchemists…
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER: All true alchemy, they say, were natural things that were called the prima material, the base substance of everything. And in this base substance is contained everything else. There is a dark earth that is matter and there is a regenerated, redeemed dark earth that is soul power. There is a darkness that is the darkness of ignorance and there is the supreme darkness in which all things of importance are concealed in the profane. There are many levels and conditions of the regeneration of substances but all these regenerations have to take place within the substance itself.
A YOUNG WOMAN IN WHITE GUIDING HER BOYFRIEND TO THE PRESS RELEASE ON THE DOOR. “ I JUST WANT TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING,” SHE SAYS. HE PULLS AWAY, YELLING: “I’M LEAVING NOW!” SHE SAYS: “I WANT TO GET YOU INVOLVED IN ART.” AND THEY ARE GONE.
Venus seems unruly in her passions when, in fact, she is quite harmonious in her actions. We know this from her perfectly geometrical orbit. Your entire process of embarking on The Alchemy of Love was a very orderly method of transmuting the chaotic passions. In this manner your personal passage both invoked and reflected the resurrection of the ancient Sky Goddess into the collective consciousness.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. The mystery cannot be communicated; it can only be experienced. The answer has to lie within; in as much as man is locked within a bottle and everything that is necessary for his survival is within that bottle and he must use his own ways of reducing his materialistic pressures and releasing his spiritual convictions and overtones. So we have in the Hermetic philosophy this concept that all things arise within the forms in which they are generated. All things existing have the seeds within themselves for the perpetuation of their material kind and they also have within themselves the hermetic seed of life by means of which all forms less than perfection can be gradually brought to perfection by letting this seed to grow.
In 1989, you were launched into the process during your Venus Return following Inanna’s Descent in Aquarius. You had spent all your free time studying the ancient art of alchemy in the library of the Philosophical Research Society, within walking distance of your Los Feliz apartment. So, when Hermes appeared during your fast in the person of a mercurial playwright and actor, you SURRENDERED to the process of transforming Eros on the page. The outcome of this erotic adventure was your reality novel, Wolf in the Bottle.
In early 1998, during your next Venus Return following the Descent of Venus, Hermes guided you on a path of professional critic. In 2006, you tracked the backward motion of Venus in Southern Chile, where you wrote the book preparing for the transition for this emergence. On January 20, in the ceremony honoring the first station of Venus with the Moon since her rise from 60 days in the Underworld, you were led out of the archetype of Persephone and into that of Oh Mighty Queen.
For 17 years you have been the priestess and scribe tracking the passage of Inanna on her journey of descent and ascent from Underground. Today, January 26, the LAB is the temple where you bring this knowledge to the public.
The Moon is in gentle Taurus today, the sign of the physical expression of Venus. You have calmed down from the intense infusion of FIRE on your birthday and the celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the hieros gamos cosmology on January 23. It is a day for grounding and reflection.
YOUNG WOMAN AT THE WINDOW: Obviously it is some kind of PR stint.
BUSINESSMAN READING THE PRESS RELEASE: She is an astrologist.
Within the installation you have created a solar system. The Cosmic Tree is at its Center, in keeping with the Mayan belief of the Tree of Life at the Galactic Center. The trunk of the tree consists of three intertwined roots. The base is covered with ashes.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER: The human soul is a tree with its seed in the heart which grows from within and finally becomes the basis of the tree of all knowledge and all wisdom which in the Book of Revelation for the healing of the nations.
The skull in the center of the tree branches is the sun, the dying ego eclipsed by the silver crescent moon. The tree so carefully cultivated by your mother is dead. “Nothing can bring that tree back to life,” she said when you asked her if you could use it for FIRE.
Persephone in her bonnet is dangling in a black balloon from the tree. She is ascending to the Crescent Moon with the Beauty Elixir. The Elixir bottle sits beside the champagne glass before the symbol of Venus created in sea salt. The Venus candle is in the center of the circle. Beside it, the sparkling champagne glass borders the ashes of your past, the broken red candles representing your wounded animus. The skull shaped mound of paraffin behind it is your old skin, the remnants of skin purifying treatment performed under the dark moon.
FROM THE STREET: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?
The seed is contained in the pomegranate, placed beside the symbol of Venus.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. The seed of the Great Mystery is in each person. Transmutation is therefore a transformation from the person’s own experience.
You are in the center of the Phoenix nest more relaxed and calm than you have ever felt in your life. You began the Great Work in 1989. Eighteen years of transforming the lust of Venus through alchemy and the process is now automatic. Symbols guide you through.
Tonight, as you welcome Inanna into the Great Work, you will draw the Mercury symbol in Salt to honor the role of the patron of alchemy through FIRE.
The deity Hermes was the son of Zeus. He was originally a deity of Agriculture and fertility but in the course of the rise of Greek culture, he rose to the position of messenger of the gods. As such he is generally depicted with wings on his heels, a winged helmet and carrying a Caduceus, a symbol today of the medical profession. Hermes, one of the more benevolent deities, was associated with the principle of knowledge, also the communication of messages from the heavenly worlds to the abodes of mortals.
When the Romans dominated the area, they knew Hermes as Mercury, a god of swiftness and messages and the ability to read the human mind.…Egyptians had Hermes as Toth, the god of writing. A deity known under three names was to become a tremendously important psychological force in what we term today mysticism.
Two nights ago when the Moon entered Aires and the flame started burning out of control, you became concerned about the scheduling of the Experiment. Typically you engage in this process from start to finish, with extreme focus on each element until it switches to the next. You have perfected the Great Work so that an alchemical transformation takes place almost instantaneously; it used to take months, even years! There is always the danger of bad timing -- when the element can’t be introduced into the experiment because the planetary influence is not powerful enough. Yet, this was not the problem here.
FIRE entered with a vengeance.
In fact, intensity with which Inanna stepped through the sparks into FLAME, overrunning Persephone along the way, made you apprehensive. Entering the calm center of the Taurus Moon, you understand that your body will carry through the transformation for you; the Experiment will carry you to ever-higher levels but the key to performing it in public is to use yourself as a channel to bring the Great Work to the collective consciousness.
There is a meaningful connection in this particular experiment between the alchemist who typically performs the Great Work in private and the pedestrian who acknowledges the experiment with curiosity as they pass by. It is important to keep in mind that the alchemists, in their struggle to perfect on nature, the alchemists were performing the Great Work for the collective good. In this sense too, you are carrying on the alchemical tradition of self-devouring through FIRE as you honor the 20th century tradition of performance art. The two converge within the tight container of the black box of the LAB.
QUESTIONS FROM THE STREET:
WHAT IS SHE DOING?
DOES SHE LIVE HERE?
Oh, the mystery! The alchemical art that you carried on in secret is now reaching the people. They receive the gift at any level they are able. They have never seen Persephone in the flesh. They don’t recognize the nest of the Phoenix. But they are glimpsing at your world in which these archetypes are all too real.
WHO ARE YOU?
You never identified with Persephone and you might not be identifying with her now if all her symbols hadn’t been sent your way and you had not developed a literary style of engaging symbol with a depth providing access to a myth on numerous levels. You refused to see your own vulnerability, your own potential of having your light extinguished by her tale.
The only goddess you ever wanted to identify with was Inanna, Oh Mighty Queen of Heaven & Earth. Yet it was Persephone who grounded you all these years. You received numerous signs of her importance in your life during the journey up to Seattle to retrieve the boxes of Champagne Tango, the novel you celebrate here today, the novel born from your identification with Inanna.
On the way up to Seattle, you stopped at a country fair and visited the many booths of homemade objects. At one table there was a group of handmade dolls. You were so drawn to their purity, the pressed innocence. What would you do with her? “Put your name on it and give it to your mother,” the woman said. You looked the heart of the bodice of the doll: it had your name written in script.
The doll now sits at the foot of the Phoenix nest. PERSEPHONE IS IN THE HOT SEAT, a child’s red chair with cellophane on its seat that appears to be flaming from the floodlights.
The astrologer Demetra George interprets multiple dimensions of the feminine in the astrological chart by reading the asteroid energies through their signs and positioning with other planets in the chart. While giving you a cup of herbal tea, she pointed to Persephone in your chart, positioned in Gemini, the archetypal Hermes who rules alchemy. She indicated its positioning in a Yod with your Aries ascendant and Neptune/Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio – the enigmatic lover. Then she directed your attention to the large painting of Persephone with child behind you.
You felt a surging in your heart when you gazed upon the painting. “She is carrying a child.” Demetra explained: “The child is the creative product of the Underworld experience.”
You nodded. Even then you understood about the Seed. You reached into your handbag and removed your novel, Champagne Tango, and signed it for her. She accepted the gift with a smile.
When you returned to your car, you greeted the doll by name: Persephone. You placed her in a box with Champagne Tango in her arms and sent the package to your mother for Mother’s Day.
“She looks just like you!” your mother exclaimed.
Persephone sits in the HOT SEAT at the foot of the Nest of the Phoenix. In her arms she is holding Champagne Tango. The book covers her face. This is familiar to you and you remember with a shock the photo you have of MP holding Champagne Tango over her face.
And now you write the myth for your time, as Homer did in his time. Hermes reminds you of the critical role of the birth in a voice channeled through Manley P. Hall. You turn on the tape recorder again at a critical passage.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. Homer’s Chain is a series of internal steps by which the individual ascends to the final union with the divine. It was represented in the final philosophy with the egg and the embryo. The last change comes when the child is born. The nine months of gestation and the final month of birth.
The birth has to be gestated. You received a message of the dangers of delivery before its time. An artist giving birth to an egg and then destroying it…her life shattering around her as a reflection.
The Blog-Novel is the birth following the gestation that began in March 2006, with the Return of Venus to her position at your birth. But it couldn’t be written until Saturn deemed it timely. You got the message with a Christmas gift of a golden pocket watch in a Tiffany box.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER: Saturn was the gardener who had to take care of the garden of the soul. He had to weed it and water it. He had to protect it against all forms of invasion. He had to make certain it was not infected. Saturn is also the symbol of Karma, the symbol of repentance and repayment, the symbol of the inevitable operation of cause and effect. Therefore it is Saturn who protects the growth of the seed. He surrounds it with protecting forms; he permits it to be discovered only by the pure of heart. He also in guarding it, must if necessary take out the weeds that have tried to gather there. The weeds being false doctrines, false concepts of life that tried to drive out the true wisdom.
Persephone’s identity is replaced by that of Inanna, who was not raped by Pluto and kidnapped into his domain, but consciously made the choice to enter the Underworld, so that she may know and transform herself from Princess into Oh Mighty Queen.
A mature couple in the window loudly proclaiming;
IS SHE REAL?
You move your arm.
YES SHE IS!
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. The growth of the seed in the ground which becomes nutrition and we become part of the growth -- the serpent eating its own tail. It is one living thing after another surviving -- the dependence of life upon life. Out of this interdependence -- the constant feeding of life upon life -- helps all creatures to develop and increase, step by step, until they increase their own perfection.
When the time comes that we have fully blossomed, when we become a cosmic force then at that moment there will burst from us a new solar system, vaster and than anything previously known. We will become a new center of life.
Tomorrow you will arrange for Inanna to be the center of this new solar system. She has arrived with all her fiery intensity and you want to honor her presence and make her feel at home.
A rapping at the window. Holly has arrived with four-dozen roses. One red, the other is flame and two dying bunches in pink, to honor Persephone and her role in this alchemical experiment. Hail Persephone!
Holly places the roses on the bed of the Phoenix: “ Pink is innocent but they are dying. And the red and flame are new.”
Farewell Persephone. Hail Inanna.
Holly is now sitting on the Nest of the Phoenix. “You need a balance between the two.”
GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER: There is no creature in which the seed of perfection is not present. The seed is the thing that lives and all the rest is a protection or husk around the seed. It is the seed that transmits life from generation to generation. It is the seed within which is the final transformer of all things. For everything has within its own locked nature, the secret and means of its own ultimate perfection. Everything that exists is destined to be perfect. It is destined to fulfill the reason for itself but it cannot know the reason for itself until it perfects itself and all the experiences of life that have a tendency to advance the good deed – this good deed grows by devouring itself. It lives off of itself. Every form of growth lives off of itself. Love lives off of itself. It lives not because of its attachments or because of its associations. It grows within itself and it grows by devouring the lesser aspects of itself as it ascends. This is the food chain as it applies to life in nature.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Male Geometry #3, Holly Crawford
Six pomegranate seeds. Six months underground, rising at Winter Solstice. Six for the Lovers. Six for the symbol of the Hieros Gamos. Six for your birthday today, January 24.
Six for PAGE SIX.
You didn’t know about his PAGE SIX obsession when you encountered this singular FLAME outside EXIT ART. But you might have guessed. After all, you only had to assess the delivery vehicle -- Baird Jones! The party impresario/gossip writer has been pursuing you to write a feature about his celebrity art collection.
Right here at the LAB, a few steps from where you sit on your black satin sheets, is where you met. He quickly summed you up as an adventurer and invited you to participate in his making up a new category for his collection: the celebrity imposter artist! But that is another story!
YOU DIGRESS! Back to EXIT ART and the Flame that appeared so suddenly -- as if summoned from Hades -- as your ticket out of the art world which seemed intent on crushing the human spirit with the American affliction of consumerism.
After writing nearly 500 reviews, you are burnt out! It bothers you at times that artists can make a Question Mark on a blank sheet of paper and sell it (IF THEY ARE EXTREMELY LUCKY) for like a million or so bucks while writers are expected to penetrate through the blank page with original insights. It is sooooo taxing on the brain, you know!
So Jones surprised you with Z______ (INSTANT INTRIGUE! A FLAME THAT IS, FOR ONCE, AVAILABLE?!) on a night that you were to paint the town purple. YOU FIGURED THAT YOU MIGHT AS WELL GO ALONG FOR THE RIDE AS LONG AS YOU ARE WRITING A STORY ABOUT HIM. You know how it is; the red carpets rolling out – YOU were once the nightlife columnist in Palm Springs and you helped bring that dusty old village back to life, DIDN’T YOU? You, in fact, used to punctuate your copy with a lot of words in CAPS (TOO MANY, SAID YOUR EDITOR).
Back in New York City, Jones was purportedly taking you to an anniversary party for the hippest Hispanic magazine with some of the hottest Latino stars in the city. The name-dropping didn’t register with you but you love to get down with Latinos!
“How is your Spanish?” he asked.
Yet, standing alone in front of EXIT ART thinking that what you REALLY wanted to do was catch the train back to Connecticut. And then he calls you and said they were just blocks away. Suddenly, it happened. The fickle finger of fate reached down to you, marking your life for a dramatic change. You remember what your healer told you once – how did it go – you have to assess if they are on your path to help you or hinder you.
Too late! SPARKS fly out of the picture and into FLAME immediately. All this takes place before EXIT ART. T______comes on like a tornado, sweeping you into his intensity, proclaiming loudly as he walked through the portal of the alternative space that the people who ran the space were pagans. How did he know? It was obvious that he had an antenna that told him such things!
As you reflect on these memories, gazing out at the passersby on Lexington Avenue and 47th, seeing them gaze back at you and at the symbols spread around you, you remember how it was. Was it a set up? They told you immediately that he was from an old New York family. He certainly had the eccentricities of old money. You were intrigued. There was mystery and intelligence quicker than your own. So why are you writing his legacy into the ashes surrounding the dead tree in this installation? You have to remember every single emotion, every twist of the FLAME before graduating to FIRE.
He would send you through emotions you never experienced, using hurled like daggers aimed directly through your heart. Finally, you sat down close to tears and said: “Well, I will say one thing for our relationship. It has finally gotten me into my body. You make me feel things that I never thought I could feel.”
You met under an Aquarian Moon in early June and the evening unfolded in the most unpredictable manner. After so many years of having your wings clipped while living in Demeter’s house, you felt like you were traveling again! Jones led you across the street to the gas station where he offered to buy beer and snacks. It was there that T____ told you his birthday and you knew immediately that you would spend the night in his bed. You tell him of the book on alchemy you wrote about an actor born on the same day and you add that your last long term boyfriend was also born on that day. So, there was a connection established between you two as Jones sipped his beer from a paper bag while hailing a cab. T______ got Cracker Jacks. He offered the box to you in the cab and you provocatively reached over Jones in the cab for a handful. “Did you get a prize?” you asked coyly, thinking you already found yours.
It was late spring, not yet time for Persephone’s turnaround. The attraction was a pleasant surprise. The cab stopped before a club with the compulsory red velvet rope. “I’ll take care of this,” Jones says and he goes up to the woman with the list. He had a few words with her and she waved you inside. It is a sleek bar with polished glass surfaces and large glass stags mounted on the walls. MMMM. Curious. Silver trays brought bite size hamburgers and you grabbed one. As you approached the bar, Jones made jokes about having to wash dishes if you can’t pay for your drinks. The bartender was pouring some sticky pink liquid into champagne glasses. You asked what it was. Grenadine. And it was complementary.
Ahhh, pomegranate juice! Persephone’s favorite intoxicant!
So right there in the club – not your intended destination -- you had two signs -- the stag heads on the walls and the pomegranate cocktail. You wondered how you got here but knew better than to ask questions. Besides, don’t all events behind red velvet ropes look alike? You groove with the upbeat the crowd and the music as the feeling of entering a myth is played out through your psyche. That is the importance of the properly placed symbol in your adventurous life!
T_____ was talking to the D.J. and you merely wanted to dance. But your companions refused to partner with you. So you danced alone.
There are all kinds of people peeking through the windows of the LAB now, commenting on your activity. “She just sits there and writes on the bed?” a woman exclaims. It didn't occur to you until this moment that you are on public display. The realization was prompted by an e-mail from a friend that commanded you stop fasting and stop letting the art world make you into an icon. “I want your old self back!” she declared. So you replied: “Too late. I have passed through the fire!” You understand now that MP’s ceremony set up the threshold that allowed you to walk through the gate from the residue of your old skin, passing through a revisioned rising Persephone to don the golden spiral cloak of the newly emerging Love Goddess.
It is rush hour on your birthday and you have been in this public/private space for nearly the entire day and the previous night, trying without success to sleep under the red gallery flood lights and the noise and the occasional drunk rapping on the window. Getting used to the idea of being on public display.
You remember the last time you sat in the front window – just before you disappeared underground. It was raining. You conduct an interview with your publisher, Abraham Lubelski, while he is naked in the window caressing a skeleton. You focus your eyes on your legal pad and asked him pointed questions about the nature of his performance, something like ”was it cold?” He tells you that he is facing his past, present and future. He is mourning his parents and his old patterns. He is meditating on nothingness.
And you, what were you doing interviewing the naked publisher of NY Arts magazine in public? You were beginning to proactively enter the realm where your erotic adventures carried you -- the transformation into the opposite (critic/reporter into performing artist) in a public/private space. But there was a personal purpose for the interview as well -- you were working through your feelings about your Jewish father walking around the house nude. The result was a revelation (you realized you were embarrassed, not for yourself, but for unprepared visitors to the house) and a transformational dream in which your right hand, your writing hand, was a throbbing phallus.
You begin to write a series of articles on The New Eros while delivering this elevated consciousness about sex into your lifestyle. You sell the first piece to The New York Press and the second to Art New England. The New York Times turns you down. “We aren’t ready for that yet,” the editor informed you.
Your friend Gae is rapping on the LAB door, laden with gifts. Flowers – two bouquets! She takes a health green drink out of a paper bag and another purple bag with a sculpted gray scarf you immediately put on and a wrapped present. "Open it!" A dictionary of symbols! Perfect. She sits on the bed with you, looking stunning, and tells you about the New Man in her life. “He meditates!”
“No more pretty boys,” she declares. You think how ironic it is that you are writing about this pretty boy for your birthday posting and you wouldn't be able to do so if you hadn't let go. Fasting doesn't just apply to food intake!
She moves to a chair where she can look at you. “I accepted a man who comes to me,” she says.
She is having work in The Chelsea Museum show opening tomorrow. Dangerous Beauty -- which is how you feel dangling your feet over the shattered ruby red goblet and having people wrap on the windows as if demanding to be let in. Do they realize that this is a space blessed by the union of Heaven and Earth? Something so new and they can't get over the dichotomy, confusing eroticism with pornography, which actually serves to accentuate your light with their projections of the shadow. Doesn't this installation/performance you created sum up your life experience??
“You are the only avant-garde writer!” your friend declares as she dismisses Chelsea as having gone over to commercialism.
You laugh. So avant-garde that I stopped writing about art!
She sums up the East Village scene as dead. And so, you gradually begin to realize why you had to make the circle. Swallowing the Six Seeds to go underground at the Summer Solstice after you met T______, a fated encounter pre-ordained by timing. Yes, even the timing was right. This close to the shift of paradigm, Persephone wasn't to be kidnapped on her conscious premeditated descent; instead she pursued the man capable of equal partnership into the Underworld. So, you followed T______ to honor the unfolding of a new cosmology.
Male figures hovering outside the window: “You have to be writing about something pornographic to pay your expenses!”
“There is no way in NYC she could pay rent for this place.”
“What is the gimmick?”
You are thinking that people in NYC cannot understand someone doing something out of love, out of passion, something that enriches the soul and isn’t for sale!
A woman outside the LAB door is reading the Epilogue to Champagne Tango, written about the tormented reunion with the Beloved in the East Village after you returned from Argentina. Here is the story of how past, future and present converged on that fateful night prior to the Summer Solstice when T______ exploded as you slinked through the shadows of Thompkins Square Park; it was right out of the Epilogue to your book!
This exhibition is generating much interest among women! There are so few spontaneous expressions of passion in this cold capitalist city! You watch them bring their boyfriends to the window with a knowing wink while pointing to the box of Ginsing labeled Woman's Love Tonic. Here is a synchronicity unfolding in real time as you write! Women on the street are waving at you, supporting your new interpretation of Eros. They come with their men, holding hands. A young woman saying to he mother: “See, it is about magic, astrology, the New Moon and the Winter Solstice!”
They get it! Who are these publishers to tell you all these years there is no place for you in commercial publishing? What do they know? It seems that Persephone was confined to the Underground as long as her gift of penetrating the darkness through her light of innocence was rejected. What a loss to human consciousness to have her remain in Underground exile all these years!
But she is emerging and this is your story! The mother and daughter are looking at you wide eyed through the window and your heart surges when you think of the mother-daughter relationship that will be transformed by this journey! They too are living, at some level, the myth of Persephone and Demeter. Maybe not as extreme as YOU and your mother, but they too could experience the shifting of the lunar and solar light as a form of family ritual!
So, this IS the New Paradigm, you think. Indeed it is and you are reveling in being INSIDE the feedback loop generated by your art. What a gift you have been granted on this Six day, the day of your birthday! Six is for the seeds Persephone swallowed in the underworld. Six is for the Lovers Card. Six is for the personal year when Persephone met her match! Six is for PAGE SIX that inspired this exhibition as a convergence between a new form of celebrity who celebrates the cosmology and the artist arising from the Underground!
By while you were awaiting the signal to rise, T_____brought FLAME into new meaning. It began that fated night when Jones sent you east with him in the cab. Around First Avenue the inevitable happens: he invites you to his trendy hi-rise building for tea.
Or had you gone into the Underground one more time so you could meet your match? How did the poem go? She sought a man that would keep her guessing! The unpredictable personality that would never bore you, the man that could speak to you on all subjects. Yes, that is it! You recognized this intangible quality in T____ right from the start during his explosive entrance into EXIT ART. And when he invites you to do something that you never do -- cross that line separating the Third Estate -- you think, well, he is my ticket out! There is purity in any decision influenced by Eros!
You never feel threatened when there is a mutual attraction at work. And this certainly was a case of mutual attraction. A man that fulfills the ideals that the gender-bending East Village created so many years ago -– a man who falls into equal partnership as part of his nature.
Stepping into his lair was like entering various parts of his brain. He had a chain saw on the floor before the window! Various occult symbols were interspersed with various media and technology. His art making was imbedded in his lifestyle and he made art for living. But what was most impressive was a single remote controlling his lighting, music and media viewed through two video screens. "Other people have their place centrally wired, but I did it on my own!" As he shows you his paintings, his emaciated cat screams for his attention. “She is dying,” he says, stroking her as she wails. “She has been my companion for 13 years. It is very traumatic for me that she is dying.”
Weren’t those Persephone’s famous last words before being swallowed by the Earth and falling into Pluto’s clammy grasp? Or was it simply a declaration of innocence?
But T_______ is not nearly so threatening as all that! He had that quality of applied charm that knew just where to focus in order to win a woman and he could shift on a heartbeat. Her first impression of him was -- oh elegant in his custom made camel double-breasted jacket. And he occasionally shifts to a persona of the crazed genius.
Now, you would think that being so nubile and innocent, qualities not expected in an art critic, would leave you vulnerable. Yet Persephone’s ability to see in the dark were just what was needed to identify the new millennial art forms. And here this talent came in handy for other reasons!
Little did you know that going to his studio meant spending the night on his bachelor leather divan. How could you NOT open yourself to him when the magic appeared as soon as you entered his apartment? A mirror with antlers! The message was all too clear. He was engaged in the mythos of the dying god, to be reborn with the light at the Winter Solstice. But as you took control of the situation and instructed him to lie down for a chakra balancing, your own erotic feelings removed you from your familiar roles -- reporter, critic, healer. This is a fiery inferno you are standing on -- barefoot!!
"I'm a survivor," he said.
Ahhh the perfect mirror, at last. "Me too!"
With this mutual affirmation, you descended into the myth together as if mutually aware of the pleasures and pains that would arise from this spontaneous union. You already were apprehensive about his lifestyle, hanging out with the leftover vampires of Andy Warhol. “I was Jesuit trained,” he reassured you. “And now I am exploring the irrational side of things.”
By the time you were frolicking naked on black leather, Persephone was crying out for penetration: “I want to feel you inside me!” What a surprise to hear your usual line coming back from him: “I prefer to get to know you a little better first.” And then, he was as good as his word; you talked most of the night. Every time you rose to detach, he pulled you down to taste his seed as if clinging onto a raft in the chaotic sea which summed up your positive/negative force of attraction. “You are living out a myth,” you tell him, adding: “I am too. What we have in common is that our art and lives are completely transparent.”
With his Gemini Moon, his emotions are like quicksilver gliding through the range of male archetypes – from lover, to brother, to friend. No wonder the gossips love him!
“It was one of the most amazing nights I have ever spent with a man!” you were to tell him the next time you appeared in his studio for your first official date. “Good,” he replied.
When the sun rose that first morning and shone on the terrible red spot (the spilling of the seed?) on your exquisite antique silk chartreuse dress, he provided you with a detailed analysis of the weave and an operation to save the dress (the work is in the lace) if the stain refused to come out.
A woman with a high voice now outside the window: “This is very odd!”
You saw clearly the trajectory: T______ was going to have to die in order to be born again. This made you fascinated with your appointed role – mother, midwife, Beloved? The duty of Persephone is guiding the souls of the dead to and from the Underworld. This also applies to ego death. The Queen of the Underworld giving her blessing to the killed-off ego of the 20th century artistic genius in order to gently guide them across the River Styx to a 21st century renewal. How these downtown artists struggled to hold on to an outdated myth! You were always incredulous about how little they know about healing, the chakra system, or nutrition for that matter! Didn’t they realize that they must purify themselves in order to be a channel for a new archetype?? But cleanliness does not suit the image of the creator.
The lead, or shadow, is the prima materia of the alchemical experiment. The passage through fire is how lead is transformed into gold, the quality of the King. And it seems to you that every male artist you encounter in the renegade East Village is engaged in a hand to hand combat to be King!
Isn't this why they so actively seek you, Persephone? You are Underword Queen and they are enacting a pre-classical myth in seeking that you annoint them King!
T_____ invented an ingenious blackboard form, like this blog-novel, in which he could dispell the shadow through an unfolding personal narrative through the universal symbol. "We have something in common," you tell him. "Our art and lives are united -- and completely transparent. We cannot hide anything from the public."
He keeps asking you if he should take all the gossip items off his website. “I have never seen it before,” you tell him. "The art world disdains the world of celebrity." You parrot Valery Gallery’s adamant condemnation of celebrity art. “Celebrity and art have nothing to do with one another." What you don't bother to add is Valery's warning that a forray into celebrity will ruin a reputation in the art world.
He seemed to have two personalities. The serious artist and the Ladies' Man about town obsessed with having his name in the columns. "So, I am complex," he replies when you point this out. You feel he is tempting his fate. “I don’t want to lose you,” you tell him once while lying in his embrace. “You get caught up in that PAGE SIX projection and then you are gone.”
The root of the tension between you is familar - the critic vs. the artist who is hungry for reviews. He dispells this tension by hurling you with accusations of "wanting to get on PAGE SIX" which you swat away as a projection. When he is just plain bitter he says: "You aren't PAGE SIX material." You thank him for the complement. He retaliates by accusing you of being a fake.
When you try to discuss the role of celebrity journalism in undermining your profession (celebrity rags pay millions of dollars for photos and Tribune cannot afford to give me 200 bucks for a review?) Dripping with self-satisfaction, he tells you that PAGE SIX presents him as a Ladies’ Man. “They have always treated me good,” he says as he sits back against his leather divan. His smile turns into slight grimace when you snake through his smugness: “they have to build you up before they can tear you down.”
You are so separated by our belief systems, that he has no idea that he paid you a complement when he told you, in a voice heavy with disdain, that Jones and himself could not define you: WHO ARE YOU?
They obviously never met Persephone in the flesh. Because that is who you were, heading to the Underground to shine your light in the darkness, to find the worthy artists and bring them midtown to the LAB. Proving once and for all that there is a midpoint between the opposites!
He attacks you for violating your professional attachment through your appearance in his bed. On the other hand, he berates you for not writing about his art. Through the futility of this armed struggle you come to a realization that liberates you. As a female critic who is single swimming in a sea of sharks, no matter what you do you will be attacked. So you decide to do exactly what you want.
Armed with this new perspective, you no longer believe that Jones, in his Diogenes guise, sent T_____ to you as a gift ((DIDN”T YOU USE YOUR MAGIC TO OPEN HIS HEART THAT DAY HE SHOWED YOU HIS ART COLLECTION?) You now embrace the possibility that Jones had sent a targeted missile aimed at your heart. He wanted to see what you are made of, or perhaps he did it for his own amusement. But the intent doesn't matter; all that matters is the attitude of the alchemist who must invite in Hermes, the patron of Alchemy, in order to embark on the Great Work.
And anyway, danger is imperative. Persephone was continually faced with the possibility of her own demise! Oh, the energy was simply too dark for your sensitive system. Not as dark as Jones believes the energy to be around him, which of course is a projection of the darkness in his soul. Every time you end up in a taxi with him there he is mumbling about the gang wars. "Whoa, we were nearly done in that time," he would say as he gave you a nudge. "Did you see that guy pounding on me?"
So you appeal to Darryl Tookes, who is releasing his new CD, Journey to the Hieros Gamos, for a New Male perspective. "Can you live in this celebrity gossip world and still consciously embrace the hieros gamos?" He doesn’t hesitate before answering: You can’t worship at both altars: PAGE SIX and the Hieros Gamos.
You stew over this for a moment: “But that is pitting the opposites against one another! The hieros gamos is about reconciling the opposites! That is a paradox.”
"Yes, it is a paradox," he replies.
After you think about it for a few days, you are thrilled. Every leap into a new paradigm requires surmounting a paradox (with Andy Warhol it was using mechanical means to create original art reflecting everyday existence) and you realize now that this last journey to the Underworld threw you right into the paradox! Faced with the duality of T_____, you were forced to hold the tension of the opposites; otherwise you would spend all your time together fighting. So, T_____ was both catalyst and contrast for you to define yourself in terms of a new archetype.
T____ is irritable because he isn’t eating right. Paying a ridiculous rent in the upper scale art colony projecting an ironic communist image leaves him with no money to eat. So, you go to the Green Market in Union Square and purchases bags and bags of fresh organic vegetables and bring them to his apartment. You instruct him how to detoxify with Flax Seeds.
He is touched. “No one has ever done this for me before!” Yeah, you noticed collectors enjoying luring artists off their paths with resplendent images of a sale and impending fame over cocktails. They don't want to nourish the artist. Why would they: it is sport for this money guys to watch the starving artist self-destruct.
“I thought the least I could do for you is feed you,” you say, taking on the role of Demeter as you secretly think how fortunate it is that you return to the Underground with no money in your bank account. If you did have funds, Pluto would siphon them all to feed a voracious appetite.
It was starting to unfold like a dramatic enactment of Shrondinger’s Cat. Was the cat alive or dead? It had to be one or the other; it couldn’t be both. Meaning is he ready to a transformation, like the Scorpio actor who shared his birthday and accompanied you on a path of magical discovery before you pulled out to write WOLF IN A BOTTLE (YOU SMILE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WERE SITTING OUTSIDE AT A LARCHMONT CAFÉ WITH THE MANUSCRIPT ON THE TABLE BEFORE YOU AND THE SCORPIO WALKED RIGHT UP TO YOU AND ASKED WHAT YOU WERE DOING)
So, it seems that no matter how far you go, you have to return from whence you came.
And this is what happens with T______. You make a late date for the Pink Pony on the hip and happen' Ludlow Street. He is late even though he lives close by and by the time he gets there the café is about to close. He suggests you go to the Mexican food place around the corner. After you eat, he accompanies you back to the East Village.
It is about 3:30 AM when you arrive at 7A and you tell him that you are going to hang out there and write until sunrise. The truth is that you don’t have enough money for a cab to take you to Avenue D and you are prudent in not walking alone so late. “I’ll feel guilty if I leave you here," he says and accompanies you inside.
And it happens. Just like in the Epilogue to Champagne Tango inked on the red paper taped on the windows of the Lab. A tale that began…oh what the hell, you can’t remember anymore what really happened and what came from your imagination.
You give him the essay you wrote, the one revealing the myth that rules him, and you murmur something about its value being a million bucks. He explodes. You are confronted, not with the man but the Wolf in the Bottle. He berates you for trying shake him down, his exact words, for money. An accusation that is laughable because he didn’t have any money! It is really ugly and you turn your back on him but he follows you, screaming all the way: “Trying to shake me down for money, are you!” You walk on the edge of Thompkins Square Park and his yelling follows you as you shiver all the way to Avenue D. You don’t know what is more menacing – him or the muggers hiding in the shadows. Even as you are totally absorbed in this whirlwind, there is a detached part of you that knows this is where the alchemical experiment goes out of control, threatening ruin for you both.
That should have ended the relationship but you give him another chance. You know you must because he has threatened, numerous times, to ruin your reputation. It is this underlying menace which gives the relationship a nightmarish, feverish quality. This is precisely where the alchemical experiment goes out of control and everything you have struggled for ends up in ruin.
Transformation is the only way out. You ask him on a date. He picks Forbidden City, arriving on his skateboard. You laugh when you saw that it was decorated with a Goddess on one side and Phoenix on the other! “And you say you are not a goddess worshipper!” You tell him that you want to do a show about the tension between celebrity and art. He says he will provide you with a life size cut out of Baird Jones.
Ironically, being with him in public that night makes you aware of how very attracted to him that you are. And this is the danger, the cycle of attraction and repulsion that maintains you in a pattern. But it has been over twenty years and you have learned something from your time in the Underworld. You have learned how to cleanly remove yourself from any liasion.
His cat -- Shrondinger's Cat -- alive or dead? You pack your bags in prepaation to leave the East Village. You meditate on the Surrender. You know you must go to him prepared to die; otherwise the SURRENDER would not be authentic. You appear at his door, fully prepared for the unexpected. Is the cat alive or dead? You won't know until he lets you in. You hear the wail. The cat is still alive. He is in his bathrobe and livid because you are interruptinghis call to -- what else but PAGE SIX! You stand silently holding the energy. He says he is in pain and asks you for a massage. You give him a massage and see how he is broken out from the toxics. "Your heart is closed." Refusing his offer of seed, you tell him that you need to talk – seriously. His hand is frozen in the air. “About what?” You tell him that you want to have a relationship with him. His look is quizzical. “I thought you didn’t want a relationship.” You tell him that you changed your mind. You kiss him on the forehead and tell him to think about it.
He doesn’t take your calls the next day, or the next, or the next.
In fact, you don’t hear from him again.
The Great Work is intact. You managed to save your reputation along with the FLAME. You have pulled your stuff out of the East Village but you can’t leave the Underground. The journey is not complete without FIRE, the biggest test of all.
So, something was to draw you back there. It was only September and not yet Persephone’s time to rise….
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Male Geometry #4, Holly Crawford
BY INVITATION ONLY: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!
They say “you make your bed; you must lie in it.” What the hell, I made a bed with roses and I’m lying in it. Come and see! I have every intention of lying in this bed until FIRE exhausts itself.
This nest of the Phoenix is surrounded by long stemmed blood red roses, like the one you were kissing with your Coco Red lips on the cover of Champagne Tango, a live literary creation of yours re-invented as a banner five feet high on the wall behind you.
Two nights ago, you had a dream about children re-creating themselves with images molded on their T-shirts and a town named Stop that used its own image on the geometry of a stop sign. Didn’t you use your own image to fill the rectangular geometry of the Champagne Tango book cover?
Presently, you are utilizing sacred geometry to reflect a new image emerging from the introduction of two characters, Y & FAME, into the narrative. FAME is in hanging on the wall in the mandora shape of an opaque silver mirror. This object is placed opposite the glossy Champagne Tango poster with the image of you kissing a red rose before a mirror. Underneath is Y in the shape of a silver and gold U shaped Oaxaca carving with a face at the base, Salamander slithering down the golden right arm, and Snake coiling down the silver left arm. Sun (gold) and Moon (silver) alchemically merge in the face marking the apex. This alchemy is also present in the photographs you have taken of the opaque surface of the silver mirror.
The evolving work of art that is the Roger Smith Hotel is the obvious birthplace of the hieros gamos. Over the years, the sculptor James Knowles created a primordial language of symbols for the resurrection of the feminine. These metal works placed in the hotel lobby, outside the entrance and the façade of the Roger Smith Hotel. This evocation of the primitive origins of the Goddess beautifully frames your installation of Her emergence in contemporary art. His son, John Knowles, demonstrated an innate respect for the power of the Goddess. He stood at the rim of the circle after videotaping the ceremony, waiting to be invited inside.
In the front window of the gallery is FIRE, the work of art you created with the Olivetti typewriter on which banged out the first draft of the tale of your Underworld passage. The image of yourself on the front of the book, now threaded through the typewriter, passes into a new generation. This process of the writer re-creating herself through an icon is reflected by your dream. Your dream image was of a town called STOP utilizing the geometry of the stop sign to project its own image. This activity was taking place even as the sign served the mundane purpose of declaring HALT!
This is indeed your intention in having the image you sculpted, FIRE, as the cover image for the invitation to this installation performance. It represents a burning through the tangled web of projection of your inner fire and rising from the ashes like the Phoenix surrounding the discarded broken red candles intended, in your former incarnation, for the ceremony anointing the New Man. Does he exist outside of your extremely active imagination?
The linear strands of red & black Olivetti ribbon, interspersed with the shimmering ribbons of audio-tape meticulously hung by Holly Crawford on the back walls of the space indicate a more hopeful future: the shift away from the chaos of the ribbon in FIRE to a more linear masculine perspective swaying with the motion of shifting energies. The strands are draped over Crawford’s erotically charged “Male Geometry” series of paintings and the encaustic “Prologue” and “Epilogue” archiving your journey.
FIRE signifies an embrace of Uncertainty -- with a conscious intent – to STOP the destructive patterns, the seductions of Pluto thwarting the journey to the Self. The effort towards self-empowerment has been chronicled through mounds of your writing that will be made known in subsequent phases of the alchemical experiment.
You are not a sculptor, but like children in your dream who mold their images subsequently worn on their bodies, you have sculpted your discarded skin in paraffin, the remnants of a treatment you had under the dark moon, and you are currently sculpting the identity you will embody as you exit FIRE.
The road to transformation, they say, is paved with projections. Even when there was no companion on the path to reflect the emerging Self back at you, there was always a mirror where you could interact with a newly evolving manifestation of the Self. The one that you loved the most was the image that emerged out of the Native American sweat lodge, the womb of the Great Mother.
And here, in the installation you created with your female collaborators, your polished image blown up to five feet is mirrored by FAME, the silver mirror reflecting not a human reflection but the alchemical union of Sun (gold) and Moon (silver), the hieros gamos.
Three nights ago, you had a dream of wandering through the innards of a hotel service area until finally you arrive at a large ballroom where the only person inside is a developmentally disabled boy labeled EROTIC CHILD who entices you to engage with him. This, you know, is the only way out of the hotel, through the transformation of your inner sun/son. And so, after a decade of surrendering your expectations on the threshold of how many artists’ studios, pen in one hand and tape recorder in another, you are now inviting people into a space that has been charged with both protection and attraction by MP, visionary to the process.
You gaze around you – opening yourself to “Male Geometry” and Yuliya Lanina’s inventive characters of the Persephone-Demeter myth. Last January 23, Yuliya unveiled in this very space a sculpture of a flowerbed as womb to the birth of androgynous female, the human reflection of the Aquarian Sky Goddess. With these charged images forming the edges of the space, you are secure in knowing how powerful the boundaries are in the center, in the nest of the Phoenix, because John Knowles, the hotel videographer and first man to enter the installation, would not enter the circle without permission.
Today, January 23, you have a visitor scheduled for1:30 PM. His name is Richard Humann, the artist whose explorations of self have been guiding him to the universal Self, the hieros gamos. You met him in the spring of 2001, shortly after you entered the New York art world, and you have been in dialogue ever since. He is forthright in accepting your invitation to join the performance; he leaves two hours in his schedule for the process; finally, he arrives without expectations. All the prior conditions of surrender to Uncertainty are met before he steps inside the gallery.
This journey comes with only one expectation: to embrace the unexpected. The unexpected is in the air on this fortuitous day marking the 10 year anniversary of the cosmology of the hieros gamos – the six pointed Seal of Solomon imprinted in the sky (see www.thehierosgamosproject.com for explanation of this amazing event). Richard revealed his acute sense of timing when selected not only the date but the time, 1:30 PM. Gemini is rising and Pluto is setting while positioned on the Galactic Center, a prescription for a highly transformational dialogue reflecting the Paradigm Shift.
Richard’s appearance in the installation is a projection of the inner change you are feeling. Your entrance into the Apple store on Fifth Avenue across from the Plaza Hotel in the bitter cold last Saturday night felt as if you were crossing the threshold into the Age of Aquarius. As you descended into the spiral stair to purchase your MacBook, you took the giant leap towards an instantaneous connection with the collective consciousness manifested through your Blog-Novel. This personal shift is mirrored in the political shift to the feminine power. Demeter responded with crocuses sprouting in January!
You and Richard launch into a passionate discussion regarding the transformation of art through the ready availability of technology, the sudden impact of images passing unfiltered into the collective consciousness and the entrance of the feminine power in politics. You agree that the shift in paradigm is transforming the collective consciousness. The proliferation of the Internet translates into imagery uncensored by the patriarchal grid that pioneering artists were butting against in their personal trajectory during the change in millennium, at times with tragic outcomes.
This impersonal dialogue gives Richard time to absorb the symbols surrounding him. You indicate for him to sit in the chair you placed just outside the border of protection. Before doing so, he removes the rose. The action is a sign that he is not to be considered a target of seduction wooing for entrance into the circle. It is a redundant action, for the physical boundary between you has always been respected as you engaged in a pursuit of the conjunctio through the merging of right/left brain, symbolized by the black tree behind him filled with doves that have eyes on the top of their heads.
You introduce him to the archetypal characters of your drama: the menacing head of Pluto; the glowing red nipples of Demeter; Persephone in her bonnet; Inanna in the window wearing your fuchsia appliqué tunic purchased in the Argentine antique fair. Y is to his right and FAME extends geometrically through the center of the apex.
During your dialogue, you are sitting on the bed with your feet dangling over a shattered ruby red goblet on the floor. He points out how your posture sums up the danger of your invention. He is acutely aware of this danger. Every time you move, in fact, he tells you to watch for broken glass.
He gets it!
In those pre-September 11th days, when postmodernism was dying a slow and agonized death, Richard was focused on a solitary path of excavating, deconstructing and transforming personal identity through his materials. For example, he made a work of sculpture out of a vitrine containing his torn up identification documents. At the time, such personal explorations of self could only be located in artists’ closets or under their beds.
Art containing personal narratives of transformation was the only work that interested you because it reflected you path as writer. Your dialogues with RIchard led to an avant-garde theory summed up by the new Darryl Tookes CD, Journey to the Hieros Gamos. Music, they say, is the purest art and therefore the first to express the emergence of an archetype.
You don’t feel comfortable on the bed anymore. You start moving around it. You spontaneously offer to give Richard a chakra-balancing and he thoughtfully declines; he says he needs his inner darkness to create the tension to bring his current series to the next level. This friendship has supported you both through the dynamic of the shadow – the personal shadow and collective shadow – in years of extensive dialogue regarding a mutual process of emergence. It is fitting that symbols of the shadow now surround you: the skull in the dead tree covered in ashes; Persephone in the mouth of Pluto. Yet, there are also symbols of birth in the narcissus shooting up from the green pot; they were planted in a pentacle, the geometry of Venus, around a green stone in the shape of a heart
With your unique history – which exposed you to the collective shadow as an infant through the drama of your father’s psychotic episodes -- you are at odds with the hegemony of conceptual art sanctioned by the art world, work that doesn’t have the necessary levels to make the paradigm leap into the fourth dimension. Only recently have you seen evidence of work reflecting a personal/collective mythos enter the galleries.
How can something that denies the role of the collective unconscious in human evolution be called art? The mind flatters itself into believing it captures the whole picture but only captures part of the picture. Conceptual art is a lie that flatters the mind into thinking it is free even as the human organism remains guided by unconscious impulses.
You discuss Colette, whom you invited into FIRE at last week’s closing party of her exhibition “Transformation Portraits.” This international artist has been on the scene since the seventies through a public performance persona that places her in bygone eras when aristocracy set the standard for beauty. Her beautifully crafted art mainly personifies her image in many forms of media. The work seems to be an extension of the images she creates in public performance.
Richard remains on the chair at the edge of the circle of protection. He faces you as you sit on the edge of the bed, feet dangling over the shattered ruby red glass. There is no seduction going on here; Richard and you always have respected the other’s personal boundaries. Y has guided you through previous dialogues and Y guides you through this one.
Y: The nest of the Phoenix is charged with transformative energy. To access it, you only had to place yourself in Uncertainty’s embrace.
Will the geometry of this installation deliver a breakthrough? You have faith that it will, for you were present and participant in the opening day ceremony in which MP offered a prayer for the creative product from this alchemical experiment to reflect the highest good. And your dreams revealed the support of an awakened man to pull you through.
Y: The awakened man in your dreams is your animus, your inner male. You must release your desire for a companion. In pulling back the projection, you will have the energy to pass through the fire.
RICHARD: The truth about fame and art sales is that it is NEVER ENOUGH. Once you begin to consider these issues and make them apart of your daily personal dialogue, you will come to the realization that you are NEVER famous enough and that you NEVER sell enough. But again, without the other positive balancing side of the argument -- I am famous enough, I do sell enough -- it is not a dialogue; it is a monologue of self destruction...
YOU: Fame is a subtext of FIRE, which is about hunger...
RICHARD: You want to know something...when I got your e-mail, I wasn't certain what your show was about; I thought, Lisa is now part of the art.
YOU: It is a reflection of my philosophy -- about confronting opposites so they can be integrated. The opposite of the critic is the artist; for me to embrace the artist, I liberate the inner critic. The last time I went to your studio, you were plunging deep into the collective shadow.
RICHARD: I am exploring the darkness, the public spectacle -- devices for execution – the rack, the electric chair, the cross – all in an amusement park setting.
YOU: Death and Celebrity – the legacy of Andy Warhol.
RICHARD: No artist today escapes being influenced by Andy Warhol.
YOU: He hooked into what was going on in the collective conscious and put a mirror to it. (Points to the glossy poster of her book cover for CHAMPAGNE TANGO) Like this; it is about narcissism.
RICHARD: There is your mirror. It is a triple mirror. There are three people in there because we are looking at it too. There are the two people in there that are the same person and the person who is looking at it. We are looking at it as well. And you are looking at it yourself. If I look at the poster, I look at me looking at me looking at me looking at her. Four people are involved.
YOU POINT TO THE OBJECT OPPOSITE, THE OPAQUE SILVER MIRROR CONTAINING AN IMAGE OF A WOMAN KISSING HERSELF IN THE MIRROR.
RICHARD: That woman looks like Marcel Duchamp’s altar ego, Rrose Selavy.
HE STANDS BETWEEN THE TWO MIRRORS – ONE FLATTENED BY A PHOTOGRAPH AND THE OTHER A THREE DIMENSIONAL OBJECT OFFERING A MULTI-DIMENSIONAL PROJECTION. HE ABSORBS THE TENSION OF THE OPPOSITES OF HIS ANIMA, THE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN SELF AND THE COLLECTIVE, AQUARIUS LEO -- ARTIST AS SELF-PROJECTING CELEBRITY OF THE MOMENT AND ARTIST AS VISIONARY GUIDING COLLECTIVE HUMANITY.
YOU: I wanted to discuss narcissism with Colette because we both use our own image in the material of our art. Actually, my book cover indicates the text is about narcissism, so I am interested in how women artists can use their own image without falling into narcissism.
Y: Through the alchemical transformation…
YOU: She is entranced by artifice and therefore avoids the shadow.
RICHARD: She doesn’t know that she does.
Y: The shadow comes up in her persona but not in the art.
RICHARD: I agree. Collette is her art.
Y: She needs to do a public performance of the complaints of a woman performance artist who everyone steals from and is unrecognized for her art.
RICHARD: Maybe she does. Maybe when she goes to someone’s opening and complains, maybe that is her art!
YOU: Oh, my god! I get it! Colette doesn’t want her performance to be her art! If she did, she would have to become conscious of her shadow. Otherwise, the shadow surfaces in the unconscious performance!
RICHARD: I don’t think it has to be conscious.
YOU: In the 21st Century? Of course it has to be conscious. How else can you embrace the Uncertainty Principle!
RICHARD: If someone makes a gestural painting, it doesn’t have to be conscious.
YOU: We have come full circle, Richard! You said earlier that you can’t just make a painting anymore; you have to understand every aspect of the materials that go into a painting…including the shadow!
RICHARD: But it is just as conscious for her to learn about it from you as from herself.
YOU: That is why I need to write about it! This is why I have this Blog/Novel; I am writing about people who refuse to collaborate with me! Is it necessary? I don’t know what that was important but it was.
RICHARD: Maybe they are working with you, just not consciously.
YOU: I think they want me to write about them, but only in the accepted manner – not the only way I can do it – which is my way!
RICHARD: You do it your way and they will be just as happy.
YOU: This all boils down to my re-visioning fame. As long as they spell your name right, you know! But I’m not putting everyone’s name in this Blog-Novel. Some people’s names are left out. Do you know Jones – the celebrity art collector, party impresario, the Devil’s Advocate of the art world?
RICHARD: He is the guy you could heal.
YOU: I met him here at an opening reception. He introduced me to the FLAME that was addicted to PAGE SIX.
RICHARD: JONES and the FLAME obsessed with PAGE SIX aren’t so far from one another because that is what JONES does for a living.
YOU: They need me to reveal their shadow to them.
RICHARD: That is the full circle. I get e-mails from JONES all the time and I don’t go.
YOU: I confess I went once, to an exhibit of his celebrity art in a club and it was soooo disappointing! I felt attacked as soon as I entered; maybe the lost souls there attached themselves to me because they thought I was a celebrity! I felt like I was in a nest of vampires! The experience left me with such a negative impression of the bloodsucking energy surrounding celebrity!
Y: We must revision celebrity for the Age of Aquarius!
YOU (HAVING AN AHA MOMENT): Richard, this is a culmination of all these years of dialogue!
RICHARD: I’m very happy I came here.
YOU: You had no reservations at all; you picked the time and day and just did it! I want all the guys I write about to come here. They all want me to write about them and all I want to do is engage them in a transformation! I want them to enter this space for a healing -- right into the mouth of the Lion. That is fame – the Strength card of the Tarot with the image of the woman putting her hand into the Lion’s mouth!
RICHARD: You have a few more sessions left. This is just the first. Let it happen. It takes an hour and a half just for a breakthrough.
YOU: Was it a breakthrough for you too?
RICHARD: It felt really good.
Y: YOU have made your bed and now you are lying in it, awaiting those who dare cross the threshold…
BY INVITATION ONLY: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
"Male Geometry #1" Holly Crawford
SPARKS: EAST VILLAGE USA 2004
They say you have to be cool in the art world. But you never do what is expected. YOU ARE HOT! Burning with fever. Even in your coolest moment, posing at the entry of East Village USA where you are having your photograph taken by Patrick McMullen, chronicler of New York nightlife, you are burning through the weave of your aqua leopard print coat because you suddenly forget your role.
Are you covering the scene or part of the scene? Hard to separate the two as you were sent here by a certain Newspaper of Record to report on the exhibition opening, which swiftly and assuredly propels you right into the red-hot center. How does a reporter on the party scene become invisible during a time when everyone and anyone is seeking FAME as a partner, with the elixir of immortality as wedding gift. In this day of sequential divorce! As one of your editors used to say: “Your job is to report the news, not to make the news.” Will you ever be cool enough -- either for the art world or the Newspaper of Record? The dastardly finger of fate, as we shall see, had its own say in the matter. But would you find your way through this fate – to repeat the cycle of Persephone – pulled between long suffering, possessive Demeter and the dark, alluring Pluto – again and again?
And there, in that hot spot, tape recorder in hand, on assignment for a certain Newspaper of Record, your cool is under fire when Aaron Olshan delivers you an artist burning to tell his story. This artist gives you a rushed account that you don’t understand – something about his print being removed from the wall during the press preview earlier in the day. He points to the spot in the sunken area where videos are on display in the dark. “It was there!” he says. There is a sweetness about him that touches your rapidly beating heart. He places into your waiting palm a postcard with the name of his exhibition. You notice Aaron is on the list of artists printed on the back. “He had all the art stars there for his opening last night,” Aaron says. Art world intrigue! Sparks fly from his pen as he writes all his numbers: his home, his studio, his cell. “You have never heard his name but you have trusted Aaron’s assessments of the authentic in the past (“YOU are authentic,” he said to you once in that passionate booming voice of his, “and baby, I was born in the art world. I have seen everything!”
This artist in front of you is burning with fever – just like you! A mirror of yourself and you always have had a weakness for mirrors! He has that East Village icon look even today, 20 years after the fact. Maybe it is just that you recognize in him a fellow traveler from the Lost Generation. That is what your teacher said when she read your first manuscript, written in the eighties. “You are writing about the Lost Generation.” So lost, it didn’t even have a name! So lost, the chronicler couldn’t get it published commercially and had to do it herself! This was a specific energy that courted FAME as a flash emitted from the divine. Not the ME Generation with Pluto in Leo, not the whining Generation X with Pluto in Virgo, but the SUPERSTARS with Uranus in Leo. The lucky ones like this fellow took off like rockets and then crashed with the art market in 1987.
You tell him that you want to see his “alternate” EAST VILLAGE exhibition and will call him in the morning. He directs you across the street to the Proposition Gallery where one of his paintings is on display. And there you meet Ellen, who ceremoniously guides you to a painting of a horse in a bathtub with a frame made of a broken window. “This is typical work of R____,” she says. “The frame was a broken window from the neighborhood.” And immediately, with your fresh eye far removed from the battlefield, you get it! The dead horse meaning the death of a movement, not just any movement, but the last urban movement in which the breaking down of boundaries between writers and artists and musicians and scene makers made the last big happening scene. Before the Internet made it unnecessary and skyrocketing rents made it untenable for scenes to take root in greater New York. Before you now was an image chronicling the breakdown of structure (the frame pulled from urban decay) that permitted the rise of nonconformity as squatters took over abandoned buildings, homeless people established a tent city in Thompkins Square Park and neighbors gathered to plant gardens in abandoned lots.
Ironically, the notoriety of a movement that tore down class, gender and racial barriers is what made the neighborhood so attractive to students and urban professionals. So, twenty years later, the history still has to be written and EAST VILLAGE USA struts forward to fill in the gap. Not in the way intended by the catalogue in which contracted writings mock news stories that unintentionally highlight the absence of archival documentation in the exhibition. But it happens in the way of Pluto, the shadow element of power at work in writing a legacy. And here YOU are, guided by Persephone, penetrating that darkness with your flashlight shining on this dastardly deed: the ripping off the wall of the authentic, so all the cheap copies could be marketed as true relics of a movement that closes the door on 20th century art. So, what a story! The print hidden in the dark and the aggressive manner of having it officially ripped off the wall. Nothing short of performance art new millennium style! Your sensitive body was already confounded by the exhibition in which graffiti art gave way to geometrical paintings that were so absurdly commercial (the NEO-GEO movement the curator was to tell you in a telephone interview when you cornered him the next day!) -- sn obvious cash-in by greedy dealers in cahoots with museum professionals! And what of the authentic artist chronicling the paradigm shift through his materials, boldly placing himself way ahead of his time by attaching narrative to his graphic imagery through mythological characters? He gets edited out of the exhibition in a manner worthy of performance!
The underdog in the dog eat dog art world with a sizzling story. What journalist could resist? You rub the burns that propelled you into this East Village War. It was the belligerent artist, C______, whom you met in the corner of the LAB, the precise spot where you sit as you juice up your laptop while scribing this first person account of your experience in the battlefield – the fight for the legacy of a neighborhood quickly becoming a tourist attraction – the last art scene before the Internet made it unnecessary to have a scene and Starbucks reduced the coffeehouse culture to a commercial enterprise.
As you juice up your laptop in the back of the LAB, at the corner of Lexington and 47th in midtown Manhattan, where you are now fully launched into the first installment, FIRE, of your Blog-Novel under the spell of Holly Crawford’s spiritually empowering Male Geometry series, you wince as you remember the sparks flying about on that cold day in December 2004. It comes back to you now, the sequence of events; how at a LAB dinner you met this swaggering character C______ who insisted on giving you a ride to the East Village in his truck and then invited you for a nightcap at LIVE Café. That is the East Village hangout where they danced on the tables in RENT. “This street had one gallery after another in the eighties,” he says, pointing to the building facades. You remember how it was. On the way to your Ave D home, with its fire engine accent covering doors and stairwell, you could have five or six glasses of cheap wine. The inebriation did not serve to help you comprehend the so-called art of the neighborhood. It seemed to you that many of the artists were from elsewhere and made art purportedly about the angst of living in a crime ridden rundown neighborhood in which they resided by choice! Why would anyone be interested in work reflecting the artificiality of artists moving to a location in order to reflect that particular environment in the most superficial slapdash manner – rather than digging down into their personal mythos where art becomes a guiding force for transformation rather than simply a reflection of societal ills?
It is the same mistake you made in Buenos Aires, isn’t it? Believing that you could absorb the native passion because you refused to connect with your own! It all boils down to the ego attempting to escape the fire rather than the soul entering the fire! East Village art seemed too much about this dynamic taking place on the surface rather than going down deep to explore the transpersonal forces at work surrounding the Phoenix. It is these forces that I examine on this chilly January day in 2007 on a bed with black sheets protected by a circle of wax created by MP in a Saturday ritual commemorating the first gate of Venus when this heavenly body brings forth a new archetype of the feminine as she meets with the Moon on her way up from the Underworld.
So the forgettable art of the East Village struggled to reflect the angst of living in a crime ridden drug addicted milieu of gender bending expressionism without having the individual artist personally surrender to this upstart dynamic that surged through the East Village streets. It was not so much a political revolution, as in armed combat in the streets, but a cultural revolution where inhabitants raged against the forces of corporate hegemony that were to overtake the character of New York City and the world. The best part was the human interaction that arose out of the familiarity surrounding this breakdown – a physical place where gender stereotypes were inverted and perverted, where boys were free to act like girls and girls were trying to figure out a new way of relating where they weren’t just the Persephone object/victim of Pluto’s desire but a co-creator with the Divine.
And there in Live Café on the eve of the EAST VILLAGE USA opening at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, you are told about a woman, a pioneering critic of the East Village scene, a woman who – and, as they tell you the story, you get this feeling of dread – came to a bad end and got written out of the history. The artist, who was already drunk when you left the LAB, proceeds to get drunker and more belligerent, bruising his sidekick with assault after assault. Are they doing this for my benefit? You wonder about this and ask yourself: is this armed drama for my benefit? You are feeling weak now, completely without defense and overwhelmed by the toxicity of rotting corpses of a dead scene where the vultures are picking to the bones. A scene hammered into oblivion by developers aiming to torch the quaint neighborhood and turn it into luxury high-rise developments. The abuse is flying mostly in one direction, sending sparks across the table and you end up spilling your tea because the energy of this battlefield is more than your delicate system can handle. And you realize even as it happens that you are succumbing to the Plutonian darkness. Indeed, it is the dark before the return of the light at Winter Solstice and here you remain, not because these are reliable sources but because you believe that entering the fire will cure the hunger that keeps drawing you back to the East Village. This is no longer an illusion. The surfaces are not nearly as enticing as they were in the eighties, the danger of the streets not nearly as palatable to the senses. No, it is something rumbling below the surface that has faded in time and development but still tends to draw you in…
Oh hell, maybe it’s just the assignment that gets your adrenalin going, your first actual story for a national outlet, jumping your readership into scary dimensions! Couldn’t you have made the leap with something more…. well, tame? Something with clearly defined boundaries and no iconic beings to lure you back into the Underworld after struggling so long and hard to get out? But no! Your karma doesn’t have time for the tame, the timid, the self-effacing. Your karma is about head-on confrontation. DRAMA!
And so, you go over your notes from the opening and a long interview with Valery Gallery, a brilliant Romanian critic and poet, a thirty-year East Village resident who has faced down dictators in his past and was livid at the atrocity of East Village USA ignoring legends from an earlier generation, some of whom, like John Evans, are still making art. It was as if -- this critic and eyewitness to history declared -- the East Village movement in the eighties sprang out of nothing! And, of course, that was the intent of the show, like so many exhibitions in the art world, to enhance the value of collections.
So, on that December morning following the opening reception, you finished your breakfast at 7A, the 24 hour meeting place, and left a message for your editor about your juicy scoop before calling the East Village Icon on his home line. As you hold a pen in the right hand, the left hand is checking the cosmology. Right and left brain aware of how monumental this meeting is – there is a line up with Venus, Mars and the Moon this very day – all in Scorpio. Here is the energy of attraction getting in the way.
You nailed it accurately. He comes in and sits across from you and you focus your kundalini in the Third Eye, narrowing your gaze because you are on deadline and time is all-important, but you want to hear his story before you see the art. It is always important to separate the artist from the art; otherwise you could get overwhelmed and lose the human focus essential for the story. So he tells you about the curator who pulled the show together and all the while he is speaking he has this manner of touching his metal ring and then poking at your fingers. You don’t say anything but this seems to be an unconscious action to keep the force field between the two of you alive – to charge the encounter with sparks.
“Why would the curator take you out of the exhibition once he had put you in?” you ask, pen poised to paper. And he tells you something curious. “I’m not gay.” You are wondering if this is a come on. It seems so distant that this would even come up in the interview but this is the abyss that you and he are standing over – ready to jump. The alleged gay mafia in the art world that keeps control over who is in and who is out.
And now you are really intrigued, enough to forget your focus, or perhaps this is your focus, to determine why a guy who, for all practical purposes, appears to be gay would be rejected by a gatekeeper because he is straight. And boy, the Goddess seems to be guiding you and it feels good because you feel empowered, you have the weight of the Third Estate holding you down, after all, and the wall of the Third Estate to shield you from the sparks! Oh, but with this external cloak of power to cover your vulnerability, your innocence, your hunger for the REAL, little do you realize that you are soon to discover the answer, in a manner that cannot be printed in the newspaper!
And so, you decide it is time to go to his studio and he walks you down the street and kicks aside some debris. “It used to be broken windows everywhere,” he says and you arrive at a door with a padlock at an untitled windowless storefront on a street off the park where the homeless people used to live in tents. It is something of a feat that this character, this Icon whom you just met matches the description of the man you described in the book you wrote in the East Village. The book that traces your hunger from the East Village to Buenos Aires; the book that you dare identify with your image on the cover, an image that now hangs over five feet tall in the LAB over your bed of satin where you right this narrative on this nest of the Phoenix awaiting the birth of the Aquarian Age Goddess who will then birth the New Man in the image of her transformed animus.
So, you have to go back and experience the fire all over again. You remember how it goes, don’t you? You wrote it into your first novel, Champagne Tango. It began with a spark. “Sparks fly. Sparks burst into flames. Buenos Aries is on fire.” And this is the linear sequence you return to in this circular Blog-Novel. A spark. A flame. And finally fire. All threatening to destroy you on your journey to embrace Uncertainty and discover the New Man hiding within!
As you sit in the back of the gallery juicing up your laptop while writing this first posting of your Blog-Novel, you reflect how you have come full circle in two years time. Back to the very spot where you met the artist who confronted you with his venom and through this assault gave new meaning to Live (as in evil spelled backwards); the very spot where you received the message on your cell phone from the editor of the Newspaper of Record giving you the assignment while you were talking to Matt, the LAB gallery director. About holding a dinner for three generations of East Village spoken word poets that you hoped would attempt to answer the riddle of the East Village and its legacy for 20th century art. You sat on the ledge at the LAB where the Raven now perches on the dead tree, the very spot where your editor gave you the assignment. You think back and it feels like ancient history! Here you sit, writing about the path in which you surrendered to embrace the inevitably of the Uncertainty Principle as you simultaneously struggled to the standard, to the best of your ability anyway, of the old media where you relied on your editors to keep you clean. No favors, no meals, no lodging, no transport. The contracts got stricter as you worked your way upward from the local paper covering the Connecticut gold coast to the Hartford Courant to the Newspaper of Record. What if the art world is a seedbed of corruption? You have a standard of ethics TO UPHOLD AND HONOR, inscribed by THE Columbia Journalism School!
Now, as you sit inside this experiment called THE LAB and gaze upon Yuliya Lanina’s jet black Raven with the punk hairdo, and the primitive warrior dolls in Mohawks and scant leather S&M gear made of duct tape, you remember the date of that fateful encounter. The hardcore cosmology of the moment you stepped foot across the threshold and viewed R_____’s green demonic female figure sliding on a pole. So, this is why he said, “I’m not gay!” You turned on your tape recorder and he so sweetly provided you a visual tour through the works on the walls. At some point in the interview… you cannot remember… he gives you a plaintive look and unexpectedly, in a voice that sounds like a moan, tells you that you are beautiful. “I’m so attracted to you,” he says and he puts his arms around you and the only thought that comes into your mind is: “I’m on my first assignment for a certain Newspaper of Record and WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME!” And you stand like that for a moment, frozen in place until you slide out of his embrace and collapse on the futon, saying: “I feel faint.” And he sits down beside you, so close that his legs are touching yours and he guides you deeper into his world. He tells you that he grew up in the bohemian milieu of the West Village, where his mother still lives, and he trained professionally as a dancer. “I still have a good turnout,” he says with a grin as he takes off his shoe and shows you just how good it is. And you remember that feeling in the eighties of how all the great guys were turning gay, sometimes right in the midst of your relationship with them, and now you think you get it. You think he might be the icon you were pursuing: the icon described in your book by way of a quote: “You want a man who looks gay but isn’t gay, who is brilliant but not an intellectual, who knows how to dress but isn’t self-conscious about his style. He doesn’t exist.” OR DOES HE?
You recall that quote from your book describing the icon combining the opposites as you sit on the ledge of the LAB. You remember you know it at the time by instinct but couldn’t acknowledge it because you were blinded by the shadow while trapped in the citadel of the Third Estate. You remember that nuclear pull of his force field and thinking: I have found him, this iconic energy in a man who sums up EAST VILLAGE USA in his work and his body. Yet, here he was, this icon worthy of your literature, booted out of the first exhibition that sought to place the East Village into the history of art. And suddenly, you do something that will take over a year to process. You throw away your allegiance to the Third Estate and proclaim your pursuit of the Beloved in a fated embrace with Uncertainty under that remarkable cosmology of Venus and Mars mating in the heavens with the Moon.
Before the return of the light, you changed the course of your existence. You embraced your fate. From that day forward you assumed your destiny by making your fate conscious on the way to shattering the illusion of “objectivity”. Although you couldn’t have known it at the time, it was a path that liberated you from the natural tension between critic and creator, a livelihood ruled by the seasonal cycles of Persephone’s passage to and from the Underworld, perched forever in that grey zone, the middle ground between forbidding lover and possessive mother. You learned to hold the tension of the opposites and bring a new paradigm into the culture, a paradigm that requires embracing Uncertainty in order to move beyond Uncertainty.
You remember this triggering cosmology for the culmination of a long and exhausting journey as you focus on the present moment. Your battery charges up, now at 36 percent, an effort that takes you off the warm spot of the bed with its black satin sheets (50 percent silk and 50 percent nylon) that Demeter gave you as an early birthday present.
You sit on the chair beside the ledge and watch the raven on the burnt tree in this clever and oh so telling installation and look to the flower with the eye in its center – the eye of consciousness which protects the innocent. Beside Punk Raven are two East Village characters with Mohawk hairdos rings in their ears and holding arrows before a dead dove with a little girl’s face. The death of innocence! Walking back to Avenue D late at night you see them. The legions of young Persephone-ruled girls spilling out of bars with drinks in hand flirting their way into a seduction with Pluto, a few of them murdered by the unconscious struggle to make the universal personal. Sometimes you wonder what they are looking for and other times you know. The same thing you were looking for; the only difference between them and you is the hunger, the ravenous hunger…that sends you back to the underground in a never-ending cycle of life, death and rebirth!
It was in this corner now covered with torn garbage bags that you scribe the mythology. It begins with the sparks flying across LIVE café, stirring up the tensions of the East Village of Old. When a swaggering character insisted you hear the TRUE ACCOUNT of the life and death cycle of the East Village scene. Everything topsy-turvy because the man whom you would think has that Plutonic disdain for the feminine gave a woman credit for birthing the East Village moment with her pen! You remember how you retained this tidbit of information as a spark of light in the darkness driving you out of the Café where the characters of RENT performed their dance of exaltation into the streets and where you now brave the cold of the East Village USA night to walk into the depths of Alphabet City and up five flights of fire engine red stairs to the bright and shiny temple of East-West exchange. Where your friend and generous hostess Gae Savannah has risen above the opposing forces that are roiled once more in the East Village streets through the unexpected material of the bright and shiny… hair accessory…