“Awake!” – “the great sleep of certainty”

February 3, 2008



“Initiation is always the attempt to create a new imprint.” – Robert Anton Wilson.


i remember sitting in Andy & Tess’ lounge many years ago, listening as Andy shared his desire for a shed at the bottom of the garden in which to paint, pot and/or sculpt – I think he was working at Safmarine at the time, so this must have been in the late 80’s. many years passed, during which i trusted that this vision would one day come to pass. his recent call to ask me to write a short piece on his latest painting therefore thrilled me deliciously.


Poet, painter, prophet, skeptic, trickster. these and other manifesters of the shamanic spirit, both reveal and guard an ancient & sacred road. through initiation, the shaman/initiator attempts to shock the nervous system into a state of openness, at which point a new imprint/view of “reality” can be received. many earnest seekers eschew psychotropic drugs or intentional near death experiences – two classic initiatory tools – and in many cases, for good reason.


thankfully, those of us seeking to awaken from societal & media induced slumber have other means available – the painter and the painting being two of them. by using symbol, the artist enables us to subvert and escape from the tyranny of words and the hypnotic power they wield over us. this brings me back to Andy’s project: his proposed use of three related but unusually shaped canvasses struck me as a potent device. inventive questions lead to fresh ideas and solutions and the act of setting himself new challenges – for example, “how do i physically mount 3 odd-shaped canvasses on the damn easel!?” – marks it as initiatory.


dogma & fundamentalism – those dripping, rabid teeth – lurk within each one of us. how many of us mistake the map for the territory? the menu for the meal? the way we see the world and our neighbour for how it/they really “are”? as we determine to challenge our current perception of reality and begin to realise that we are all greater artists than we realise – perception as a creative act – we increasingly awaken from the great sleep of certainty.


meme: doubt = holy.


in this latest project, Andy in a very concrete sense forced his heart and mind to en-vision new shapes and spaces by using unusual canvasses. as well as us sharing what he continues to bring back from his initiatic-artistic journey, let us also become increasingly enthused by our own path towards initiation, beyond which a new world awaits – and a future us.


As the gospel of thomas suggests, the kingdom of G-d is laid out upon the earth but we see it not.


“The poet – you need him to show you new ways to see.” – Bruce Cockburn.






7 Responses to ““Awake!” – “the great sleep of certainty””

  1. Nic Paton Says:

    Yea verily, be ye imprinted…

    Dark and dangerous musings from somewhere under the left side of the bedde. Ambitious, flaming holy madness, resonant with yearning.

    Everything taken on in doubt, every beginning, every risk, can be intiatory, as it involves awakening from the “slumbers of certainty”.

    Enthusing – “Godwithinness” – is a sign and a symptom of alchemical contact with the Wild and the Truly Alive.

    Arise, oh Progeny of the One True Source.
    Rave on, you Doctors of the Soul.
    Burn on, you Magi of the Light.

  2. timvictor Says:

    feotu, it’s nice to hear the heart of the artist expressed in prosaic writing.

    I love the bit in Alice in Wonderland where they speak about making the accurate map at a scale of 1:1. The problem is that it gets and the way and needs to be continually updated.

    Having made maps for the past two years I’ve often mused that no two maps are the same, even of the same territory at the same scale. Interpretation and abstraction comes into mapping. The value of the map is in how it’s used and whether it helps you navigate the terrain.

    There’s an adventurer and explorer in all of us 🙂

  3. Andrew Says:

    Yes, the process of expressing/mapping and abstracting is a journey in itself. But this journey does not take us pass the artistic/ creative initiation. The point of tranformance from creating to the created is never clear. It is possibly true to say that this endeavour never ends. A map is a reflection of the physical relating to a moment in time and historical guide to how the material could be in the future. There are parallels in the work of art relating to the essence of the subject matter or the statement of nought/anti. In attempting to capture the spiritual in art, this task seems as challenging as finding God itself. It is as if the subject matter is constantly changing when in reality the artist is constantly changing. My difficulty is capturing the moment, the split second, the instant. I feel like I’m moving too fast or moving all over the place. This constant initiating/ becoming/ fluctuating/ transforming almost prevents the completion of a painting as while the paint is still wet the perspective has changed.

  4. liquidlight Says:


    i love what you said here: “This constant initiating/ becoming/ fluctuating/ transforming almost prevents the completion of a painting as while the paint is still wet the perspective has changed.”


    if no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived…then the artist, the shaman the visionary, these make maps of realms as yet unchartered, on the fringes of dream.

    whispers or pre-echoes of future glory.

  5. liquidlight Says:


    thanks for the call just now and i’m pleased you gleaned something from the doubt = holy equation. i can’t prove it scientifically – yet – but it makes poetic & logical sense and so i embrace it.

    light appears as both particle and wave, depending on how we look at it. i see doubt as the particular – a period of angst/wrestling of finite temporal length – and faith as wave-like, flowing…

    mutually inclusive.

    doubt fearlessly!


  6. nic paton Says:

    this has been a great meme, worthy of further holding and reflection.

    i want to take it apart, lick it, kick it, stick it, with a pin, crack it, hijack it, kn-it, frame it, unname it, blame it, race it, shame it, trace it, face it, pray it, recite it, ignite it, embrace it, grace,


  7. liquidlight Says:


    great punchy flow of words from you senor.

    jujitsu lit!


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