Posts Tagged ‘tantra’


The constellations of stars have the lustre of the blazing deadly fire,
But they have the mudras of bestowing boons
And freedom from fear in their hands…….

Here is the thing:
We seem, we define,
We come to terms with the world,
Plan our exits,
all with strong threads
Of memory.

Yet nowhere,
(Despite the most fervent wishes,
Despite the sharp snick of scalpels,
The dull drum of scans, the following
And cataloguing of nerve and fireburst),
one memory
Ever been found,
in the skull’s bone world.


In the chamber of lapis lazuli,
The rivers have icy chill waters.
The waters in the lakes have sparkling lustre
Free from dust.
The lakes are adorned with cranes, swans
And lotuses,…

The tragic analogies: library,
Telephone exchange, computer,
Holographic image, desperately
Conjured, falter and fail.

We are, it seems,

(This cold wind through dry leaves,
This long cry on a starless black night).

Though perhaps,
Firstly, we should consider
The heart, the bones,
The muscles –
Closer, dearer to us
Than this
Chattering doubter,
This artiste,
This hogger of limelights.

A matter of attention,
These thoughts:
Caged, wheeling
Through sawdust,
Pink-toed, sharp-eyed.
Listen more deeply
To the language
Of spleen and liver,
Of knee and tarsus.
The rippled tides
Of our borrowed waters,
Fountains, rivers,
Estuaries of blood and lymph.


To follow every signpost must lead to endless confusion.
To know a destination
Or to never care.

(Cool winds rock the hedgerows,
Piling in from the north:
A bank of fast cloud.)

There is one, some say a goddess, some a shepherdess, or, I say, a mouth of greenest laughter, who gives a taste of other memories, other lives ( a bouquet of burning skulls, a posy, a displaced, replaced mirror).

to locate comfort.
(Rain slaps across windows
Bright now with sunrise).

He should then meditate upon his own soul and the form of the deity, without distinction between the two. He should sit in the padmasana posture facing the east. He shall sit steadily without thinking of anything else….

Endless are the conversations of sages,
the warring of equations,
the battle for the ending of knowledge,
the prize of certainty.
The sage spouts endless words
commentating on the nature of silence,
Each scratch a mudra,
Each splutter, mantra.

(Silent ground turns sunwise,
Sparrows leap the bare branches,
Knowing just one thing,
And are happy.)

He shall take the eight groups of letters in the navel, in the heart, and the throat, at the root of the heart, and on the head….he shall place the letters on the surface of the Earth in the same order…

If the head is void of memory,
if the heart has forgotten all
but the rhythm of continuance,
if the blood does not shudder
and sing the times past in molecular waves,
in electric sighs, remember, remember,
reconstruct, reconstrue, imbibe,
fill the empty spaces, the vestibules,
the ventricles, the wind chambers,
the echoing vaults,
where shall we place the shining, golden letters,
the sounds of,
footprints of,
evidence for continuity?


These fragments, shattered mirror,
A thousand views
Of a world unimagined.
(We, perhaps, that mirror,
Erroneously supposing corporeality,
Intuiting infinite distance, profound volumes
Where all is simple reflecting surface from elsewhere.
We, unrippled, unmoved, medium, ether, field).
Here, though, that grand error:
Not being something does not equate
With being nothing.
A simple matter of perspective
Resolving paradox.

But how great a thing is this, even the possibility!
That memory resides elsewhere.
Not locked in brain, not stored, not filed,
Not embedded.
Worlds turned inside out,
Talking back, we belonging again,
To the beyond, to the weather,

The movement of birds in the firmament is not observed distinct from the sky. The movement of aquatic beings in water is not discerned distinct from water. Similarly the great conduct of noble-souled ones is not distinct from their environment.



Occasionally I dip into Rupert Sheldrake’s “The Science Delusion” as a remedy for the bitter excesses of Big Science. Though the processes and structures that lay down memory are somewhat identified, all attempts to locate memories in the brain have so far failed. The concept of molecular memory ‘stored’ seems deeply flawed. The idea of a filing system requires another layer of memory to remember how to locate the memory, and so on ad infinitum….. It can, of course, hardly be countenanced that ‘we’ might exist beyond our physical bodies, one dogma too far for the tortuous illogics of materialist science.. But if it were found to be so……!!!!

The quoted sections are from the Brahmanda Purana, the section on meditation on the letters and mantras of the Goddess, Lalita. The Puranas, like all Vedic texts, always seem to me to be precise mathematical and cosmological equations in the form of complex symbolic mythological imagery…

The art is a wittering reflection of memory, action, and suspended process, going somewhere unmapped….

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The Ten Mahavidyas

The mahavidyas, or “great wisdoms”, “wisdom goddesses”, or “Ten objects of Transcendent Wisdom” is a medieval Indian system of metaphysical thought that brings together aspects of goddess energy in a powerful and evocative manner. In certain aspects it falls outside the more familiar Hindu orthodoxy, whilst deepening and adding commentary to the esoteric traditions of the Himalayan region.

I first came across the Mahavidyas in my fourth year at the University of Edinburgh and was drawn to the powerful imagery- especially as presented in Alain Danielou’s “Hindu Polytheism”- so that I incorporated elements of symbolism in my sculpture projects. At the time I was using the image of the bowl a lot in my work and it seemed an ideal form to express the numinous within the familiar. A container of space, requiring emptiness to define itself, the bowl has often been employed as a metaphor for the polarity of existence.
Much more recently I was asked to make images representing each Mahavidya in the same way that I found symbolic forms for tree energies. It took a while to consider. It is one thing tuning into a tree energy and seeing how to visually freeze that unique energy dance, it is a different matter of scale to do the same to a powerful universal energy presence. Resolution came when I acknowledged that the Mahavidya energy patterns are transgender, transhuman, transspatial, transtemporal, transcultural entities. In other words, it was not necessary to get “permission” or authentication to begin this work. They do not belong to any one species or gender or time or theology, though their symbolic references will be culturally specific. I am possessed wholly by these energies as I am with the frequencies of the electro-magnetic spectrum. I do not need to achieve knowledge or understanding outside of myself. In fact they have a more permanent existence than what I consider to be my own personal reality.


Great Time
Time accumulating,
your considerate sciences,
Your careful measured certainty.

Definitions cease.
Knowing Her
There is nothing else to know.

Beyond subatomic passion,
Endless rest, but awake.

Untramelled Reality,
Radiant darkness
Embedded, entangled,
Woven into solidity

Solid time
Still time
Waiting time.
Ungraspable, unavoidable

Warm red tongue
Licking your soul.
Warm lips clasping.

Atrocious vastness,
Contigious unity,
Invisible light

Exploding souls

The image above is one of a series of prints I made of the Mahavidyas and related energies. This one is Kali, the Great Night of Time, Deathless Silence, Perfect Bright Darkness. Kali means ‘time’.
Though these energies are personified and worshipped as deities, they transcend all human categorisation and all cultural niceties. They are raw reality, which is why they are so scary! Any image is Mahakali, every concept is Mahakali. This image I have made is therefore perfectly MahaKali, though not exclusively so!!

If you are interested inseeing the other images or purchasing a few(!!) please go to click here

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