The Surrealist-Victor Brauner 1947
The Surrealist-Victor Brauner 1947

Count it down,
Let it begin,
So that we be finished,
Better sooner than later.
We never start something
Without wanting it over,
Done with all that,
To start on something else,
Something brand spanking
So in descending order
Because to go down
Is really an ascension
Concentrate hard
On the numbers chosen
Whether it be
696, 695, 694
93, 92, 91
Or perhaps just
Forever significant
(But everything has significance)
So let the countdown …

She turns over the card and pauses,
Lost in contemplation and glances
Over at the abstracted young man
Looking downwards at the table,
There cannot be any doubt, no,
Not this time for once she is sure:
She waits until his coppered stare
Intermingles with her agate rays
Before speaking, carefully considers
The weight and import of each word
“Do you see this card, Le Bateleur,
Numero uno in the pack, but neither
Aleph or alpha, although he juggles
Worlds and words, a natural Magician
With fast hands and silvered tongue,
A grifter and a shyster, but make
No mistake his quick change routine
Is as magic as magick is, all is illusion
After all and he just sells us dreams
Make believe meanings, confidences,
The glittering allure of glamour;
But through such deceptive practises
He rends and tears the veil
To reveal ultimate reality, maybe;
The workings of chance and destiny
The latent manifestation of will.
Well…can you see now?
Do you understand?”
Lowering his eyes he shakes his head
“No? Maybe you will one day,
When you look in some form
Of mirror that will reveal more
Than just the surface of things:
The entire history from the whimper
Back to the lightening strike of the start.”

Alpha & Omega

The Witch’s Cradle-Maya Deren 1943
Experimental film-maker and Vodou priestess Maya Deren, with the help of the Big Daddy of modern and contemporary art Marcel Duchamp crosses over into the world of ritualistic magic where the nights are longer and the shadows deeper (oh so much deeper) in 1943’s The Witch’s Cradle. The text around the pentagram and enclosed within the double circle says ‘The Beginning Is The End Is’; of course as it is circular you could read it as ‘The End Is the Beginning Is’ or any other variant, depending upon whether the glass is half-full or empty. The phrase refers to Christ’s assertion in the Book of Revelations that ‘I am the Alpha and Omega’, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, it is usually further clarified  with the additional phrase ‘the beginning and the end.’

Maya Deren’s work was a marked influence on the similarly occult inclined 60’s underground film-maker Kenneth Anger, director of such ceremonial extravaganza’s as Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome and Lucifer Rising.