Last time, over some blue flower coffee, i spoke about the way that the way we conceptualise music stops us hearing it’s imaginal qualities. Today, I want to talk about the promise of a sudden shade of blue – the moment when the blue feeling emerges from whatever black mood, despair or stuck place has a grip on us.
Music gives us access to the imaginal because more often than not, it is the song of the dreaming heart. I think the split between nature and psyche runs right through the human heart. Just as we are part of a culture that objectifies nature as a resource to be exploited, so we very easily objectify the heart and then each other in love.
Often quite subtly, the magical other becomes the fantasy gateway to apparent paradise. The dreamy thought starts to think “If i can just meet the right person, get the right validation, get the right kind of love, it can seem, the gates to paradise will open, and my dreams of happiness, creative fulfillment, the right kind of work will all come to fruition in garden of their love.”
Yet this kind of person, male or female is not a real person at all, but a kind of divine image, we carry within us. I think we glimpse the radiance of the divine image most strongly in the beginnings of love. Even if we know other people are not magic gods who will transform our lives into a new Eden, the heart still has it’s say.
love, is generally not their godlike powers, but something far more ordinary and less
glamorous. What is really attractive about other people is just that they are who they are, and act like they do, with all their problems and scenarios, the small things that define them, their foolishness and bravado.
Orpheus had to learn that the hard way, when on his exit from the Underworld heneeded to turn back to confirm if it really was his beloved or just another song he had sang, and she slipped away, back into the shadows. It was only then he learned the limits of creativity in relation to real life and that any image he made of his beloved would not match the experience of knowing her.
Placing that image on another, although perhaps inevitable, is also destructive. Moore also says : “Everyone talks of the power of love to build relationships; they say nothing of it’s capacity to destroy them.”
This destruction comes from the imperative that what we are attracted to in others can will destroy us if we can’t relate to it as a part of ourselves. In the creative process of making a song recently i found myself sining the words
“What i need from you/Is what i need to do.”
Just as we can subtley exploit and objectify each other in relationships when we idealise the beloved, so we objectify and exploit the heart when we feel it to be solely a source of wisdom and goodness to tap into. Perhaps the heart is not simply a source of radiant compassion but what Yeat’s called “a rag and bone shop”.
Perhaps rather than a divine oracle, it could be the centre of a lifelong alchemical operation, where innocence becomes experience, and shadows gain substance through love’s winding tortures. Because more often than not, the language that the heart sings is yearning, loss, grief, blue notes and tones of blue.
The torture of love can help this shift from black to blue. As what we are unconscious of about ourselves lies in the black, in the places we don’t want to go, the shadow that I “everything I am not”. We seem to always realise this about other peope before we realise it about ourself. It seems no accident that the lover and the shadow are so entwined, that the intense love of the other leads to a perception of their darkness. Blue then represents the movement away from purely projecting our own shadow onto the failures of the beloved to be the sacred image, and into our own blues. Our own recognition of our limitations and inability to control other people. In some ways, blue represents the feeling of not being able to change the other, or the world, and the sorrow that transforms.
A sudden shade of blue (lyrics)
Oh I saw your letter
The door where does it lead to?
All these places go past
Oh I see these places
Oh my heart it seemed so innocent
Walked through a doorway
Oh I waited for a season
All those seasons they have aged me
A soft heart a humble heart
I got my flower
My heart it is flaming