May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989
Ahhh, Dali! The sound of the name alone is a magical invocation!
More than a man, he is a myth, a universe all in himself. Daring to travel to the razors edge facing over the abyss, he swan dived into the Endless Enigma, emerging from the weird depths of the subconscious to the roaring applause of millions of devoted initiates, praised for upholding the outrageous in a world where it is never enough!
An epitome of the Artist as Shaman, Dali traveled to the world in-between, a place of madness and paradox to bring us back artifacts of the journey. For what else is there in this world but to travel to the edge and return?
Dali resonates most strongly with the Magus archetype of the major arcana in the Tarot. He even painted himself as the Magician in his own alchemical deck featuring Hebrew letters on the trump cards to reference the Jewish Kabbalah. The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet synchronize with the 22 trumps of Major Arcana and the four worlds of existence with 10 stations on the Tree of Life synchronize with the four suits of the Tarot, each with 10 numbered cards.
Dali once proclaimed that “the only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.” Truly then, there was a method to his madness which was behind his hyper-real enigmatic paintings. He dubbed it the “paranoiac critical method” and it was championed by the Surrealism movement.
His method required one to enter a trance, a paranoiac delirium where perceived reality was spliced and dissected to reveal the mysterious connections between seemingly disparate archetypes existing in the subconscious mind. This technique is a superb tool to stimulate creativity for it is a net allowing one to dip deep into Dreamtime during waking life, catching the fish that will nourish, discovering hidden treasures below and even bumping into the occasional deep sea monster.
Paranoia is a “personality disorder characterized by systematic delusions.” What are our archetypes but man-made artifacts fashioned by our own delusions? As Dali wrote, “The paranoiac mechanism whereby the multiple image is released is what supplies the understanding with the key to the birth and origin of all images, the intensity of these dominating the aspect which hides the many appearances of the concrete.”
A few of my friends were curious about my blog name, so I am going to use this post to clarify.
1. One of a number of women regarded as oracles or prophets by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
2. A woman prophet.
[Middle English sibile, from Old French, from Latin Sibylla, from Greek Sibulla.]
The name of my blog is ‘Sibyl Eyes’. This has several meanings, as well as being a play on words.
First it is an ode to my favorite writer, Philip K Dick, who wrote an autobiographical short story called “The Eye of the Sibyl”, one the first pieces written after his infamous VALIS experience. The short story pinpoints the moment Phil decided his fate as a sci-fi writer.
Now for some historical background, there were many sibyls, the most famous of which was the Cumaean Sibyl who assisted Aeneas in his descent to the underworld. In the Aeneid, written at the close of the first century BC, Virgil names Cumae as a place where Daedalus, flying from Crete, built a temple to Apollo, and where he later dedicated his wings. Virgil also describes the sibyls sanctuary as a labyrinthine network of caves.
Although she was a mortal, the Cumaean Sibyl lived about a thousand years. The story goes that Apollo offered to grant her a wish in exchange for her virginity, so she took a handful of sand and asked to live for as many years as the grains of sand she held. Later, after she refused his love, she withered away because she forgot to ask for eternal youth. Her body grew smaller with age, eventually being kept in a jar until only her voice was left.
A verse about the Sibyl by the great poet Virgil:
“At last the Final Time announced by the Sibyl will arrive:
The procession of ages turns to its origin.
The Virgin returns and Saturn reigns as before;
A new race from heaven on high descends.
Goddess of Birth, smile on the newborn baby,
In whose time the Iron Prison will fall to ruin
And a golden race arises everywhere.
Apollo, the rightful king, is restored!”
The sibyl is a wild haired woman possessed by ecstatic visions of the future. She is a vessel for the oracular god Apollo, who whispers softly in her ear, the echo of a thousand voices vibrating through her cave.
Time is cyclical and history repeats. The Sibyl knows this. I hear her in my dreams and now she’s breaking into waking life. When once I used to resist for fear of madness, I now allow, becoming a channel for her voice, the artist of her visions.
The eyes of the Sibyl see the future and the past superimposed on one plane. This is the “time outside of time”, the shamanic Dreamtime.
Oh my friends, what a joy! For it is that TIME again. We’re at the bridge between the old world and the new, the chrysalis, the Great Transition.
And with this I shall coin the word “sibylize” to give a name to this act of invoking the Sibyl, which has been misunderstood as madness before we learned to decipher and understand.
Today the Sibyl is a voice that flows through all of us, echoing through the labyrinthine caverns of the internet, using the world wide web as her medium of choice…