Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Nick Bottom, Midsummers Night Dream

Let me play the lion too: I will roar that I will
do any man's heart good to hear me: I will roar,
That I will make the duke say 'Let him roar again,
Let him roar again.'

Nick Bottom, Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare

I am not a huge fan of Shakespeare as I consider him to be a poor dramatist compared to contemporary writers.  Bardolatry dominates theatre in the UK and across the world often excluding incredible playwrights and their stories from the stage.  Although I am very familiar with his work and have a great deal committed to memory I have only directed the Tempest and the Winter's Tale and the only character I have played in a Shakespeare production is Nick Bottom.*

Who is Nick Bottom?  When I first encountered this character in Midsummer Night's Dream I thought he was a bit of an arrogant goon, Shakespeare mocking a ham actor, and played him like this. In hindsight and with age, I can see that he is a charming fellow who is loved by his friends and driven by his goofy passion for theatre.  His desire to play all the roles in the play of the mechanicals is driven not only by ego but that he knows he will give his all to any part he plays, he is driven by love.  This could even have been Shakespeare projecting himself into the play.

If you are unfamiliar with the Prague Shakespeare legend created by Vincent Bridges, the Bard was said to have spent time in Prague as a spy (during his so-called lost years) and stayed at Edward Kelley's Donkey in the Cradle House.   Some of the supposed evidence for this can be found in several Prague legends, stories and folklore that ended up in Shakespeare's works particularly Midsummer Night's Dream - for instance Oberon is related to a sorcerer from central European legendary history called Alberich, or the fact that a group of guilds-men were in competitions producing plays for Rudolf II at the same time that Shakespeare was said to be in town, or the story of the head of a baby that Edward Kelley turned into a donkey.

Chet, you're surprised - her name is Lille, she's my mother's sister's girl. Good luck Chet! Sam you stick with Chet, he's got his own M.O., modus operandi.

Gordon Cole, Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch

Not by choice, but through virtue of collaboration with other departments in my college, I am studying this text in class at the moment and it made me reflect on only ever being Nick Bottom (as far as Shakespeare performances) and how that connected to my time in the Donkey in the Cradle house.  I have never made the connection before (!) and its quite curious to me, another little element tying me to this place.  Last night I watched Fire Walk with Me and the dream language of Lynch helped me to unpick the dream language of the Bards' Dream. As I reflect on this at the moment I note that Nick Bottom is a weaver, with the esoteric links to the Cathars that this suggests.  It was the weaver that was translated, whose head was turned into an ass and who was subjected to the delights of the company of fairies rather than the bellows mender or any of the other mechanicals.  It was the weaver, driven by love, who was willing to play any part.

I need to give this more thought and there are things that relate to the 231 Gates project at the Tower that I still cannot reveal, the details of certain Enochian rituals during Midsummer and their effects, although I will in due course.  As I promised to myself I attempted my weekly astral work last night - ascended to the astral plane to find some kind of faerie kingdom.  The space weather was decent (although in two days we should have a nice boost of cosmic energy from the Sun), I ate very little meat and also a lot of strawberries and blueberries.  Still on some painkillers.  Managed to see a kind of white fuzz of tangled threads that resolved themselves into some kind of thicket.  I was looking at a glade from the grass level and managed to focus in on some grass and bluebells.  A snarling goat appeared in the thicket and banished me.  When  I tried again, I kept getting memories as opposed to escaping my own gravity well.

I don't consider this to be a particularly successful attempt.  Some of the failure I put down to destination again.  I no longer think** that there are various locations on the astral plane like a kingdom of fire elementals etc, in the same way that I used to although when I was plotting my course it was this redundant thinking that guided me.  Next time I attempt to project to the fae I will plot my course into the past or astral past.  Saying that though, I definitely ended up somewhere and was possibly remote viewing an actual glade where some faerie activity went down way back when and there is very little there now.  This connects to something in Fire Walk with Me***, when Cooper goes looking for another agent and asks what was in a particular place in the trailer park and the trailer park owner goes what do you think was there a trailer! -  my point is that there are probably epic legendary places where there are car parks and dumpsters now so there must be a destination in time as well as space if you really want to get something.

I am curious about the fae in general but I don't know it this is enough.  I am curious about my own history with the fae, and how or if it relates to my prior experiences of life as a weaver**** but this is the exploring of a deep personal memory as opposed to astral work, or at least I expect it to be.  I am curious as to how the Cathars relate the Kabbalists as there has to be some kind of connection there (via the south of France, Sefer Ha Bahir, etc), even if it is virtually impossible to explore from a research perspective.  I will give this more thought, the synchronicities are strong enough for there to be some kind of looping of the thread here so I need to ask myself what I really want to get out of the experience.  What is my destination?  Or like an actor, what is my motivation?

I have had a most rare vision I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was: man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.

Nick Bottom, Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare

*I have played Dr Faustus a couple of time though by Shakespeare's contemporary Kit Marlowe.

**Due to the influence of Raziel.

***Possibly something similar in Mulholland Drive where the hag is hiding in the alley behind the restaurant.

****I have strong connections to the Cathars (past life memories, etc), one of the few plays I have written (I am primarily an actor and director) relates to the legend of the escaping Cathar monks and the text they carried with them.

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