Artwork by Mark Titman with an Oceanic theme.
The expanse of the sea, with panoramic horizon and unknown depths is full of imaginary life below and emptiness above. As such it is a great metaphor for the subconscious, with an unknown, unseen, submerged space below, teaming with life: an empty surface rippled and wavy above, blown by a numinous atmosphere of sky and heavens. We in life, float on such a thin surface-reality between these states, occasionally raised like the breeze or winds above the surface and sometimes dipping into the unknowable chasms below. If we explore our oceanic mind, then maybe we will recognise the quantum differences of life below and above the surface. Only then might we relish and realise the beauty of this thin film of normality we call civilisation and the simple beauties of the natural Earth.
The ancient monks of The British Isles, on their spiritual journeys, would venture forth across the Atlantic, guided by God. The Vikings would be guided by sacred Fly Agaric mushrooms. The vastness and void of the seas had to be filled with some great entity, as man cannot deal with such emptiness alone. Yet, this very emptiness can be seen to have deep mental substance- as the Orientals recognised. Here, the total immersion in Nothingness is a holistic engagement of all senses. The sea like the mind has storms, waves, and the sea can be still. But its swell is always full of unseen potential and like the subconscious, should always be treated with respect. The ancient superstitions of sailors reveal this respect for maintaining morale and being wary of disrespect towards the sea and the inner imaginative mind of the group. To say the wrong thing can bring up from the depths of the subconscious monsters of the mind.
At sea one is lost and searching for meaning in amongst the unknown emptiness of open seas. Because these myths are a necessary part of our oceanic-like minds- these inner navigators, the alchemists or the occultists, knew of ways ….these imaginative myths and meanderings of the mind could be harnessed through psychological progressions and set piece mind games- often denoted in symbols. Symbols act as markers, mental “islands” and references to cling to in the storms and voids of mental sailing. These island like moments can also be found physically in the almost monastic rituals of the day at sea: the rum toddy, crossing the equator, ablutions, sleep, telling stories, singing shanties, meals, maintaining ship, embarkation and disembarkation, spotting land, driftwood, sea-life, being on deck, feeding birds and charting stars. Also, these mental “islands” at sea can be found in the knowledge of one’s location; in terms of the sea chart, astral map, bell chimes, Eastings, land forms radio and satellite communication, compass, astrolabe, speed of knots, sea depth….In some ways we are all at “sea” as we progress through our life’s journeys of mind or body.