INTERCEDE: THE URREALIST MANIFESTO
Urperson = original, whole/divided, enlightened/endarkened, initiated, creating person.
Ur-space = womb of all becomings, the Spacio-Psychronic Continuum, multiverse.
Urreality = ritual, sacramental, hieroglyphic heart space, Shared
Forward to the 3rd publication of Intercede: The Urrealist Manifesto
Interceding in times of strife and inviting all persons who come in a good way into a relationship of Creation shared is as timely as ever. The world just witnessed what may have been the largest outpouring of women’s voices in history on January 21, 2017. There is a wave of labor to birth a new beauty into the world.
May we remain engaged as ever with these times, especially in doing all we can to bring forth a sustainable culture in the postmodern West. The call originally made in 2001 remains. During a time of degradation and in the face of those waging destruction, let us continue to choose to wage creativity.
F. Christopher Reynolds
January 23, 2017
Forward to 2nd publication of Intercede: The Urrealist Manifesto.
Since the 2001 publication of The Urrealist Manifesto, a foundation of support arrived at my academic doorstep. The support came from connections to new and existing writings by Chris Bache, Richard Tarnas, Jorge Ferrer, Charles Taylor, Judy Cannato, Sandra Lee Dennis, John Mack, Malidoma Some, Michael Meade, Rupert Sheldrake, Brian Swimme, and Stan Grof, among others. Especially in Bache’s and Taylor’s work, you’ll find both the worldview and the empirical affirmation of the power of creativity as the heart of community. The ‘mental contagion’ that Max Ernst witnessed during Surrealist games early on, now has the theoretical support it lacked nearly a century ago. In Bache’s Living Classroom, he described the space as the mindfield:
It’s as if the floor suddenly falls away. The atmosphere in the room becomes supercharged, and everyone seems to congeal into a unified state. My mind becomes unusually spacious and clear, and my students’ eyes tell me that they have moved into a particularly receptive state. Our hearts seem to merge, and from that open field of compassion comes a slow stream of thoughts that I, as spokesperson for the group, unfold and work with. In these transient moments of heightened awareness, I sometimes have the acute sensation that there is only one mind present in the room. (p.46)
There is also the feeling of being wide awake and fully embodied in Jorge N. Ferrer’s 2006 Revisioning Transpersonal Knowing. He wrote:
Human participation in transpersonal and spiritual phenomenon is a creative, multidimensional event that can involve every aspect of human nature, from somatic transfiguration to the awakening of the heart, from erotic communion to visionary co-creation and from contemplative knowing to moral insight. (p.12)
In Charles Taylors 1989 book, Sources of the Self, he affirmed the importance of creativity being done in community for the sake of community. He wrote:
A human being can always be original, can step beyond the limits of thought and vision of contemporaries, can even be quite misunderstood by them. But the drive to original vision will be hampered, will ultimately be lost in inner confusion, unless it can be placed in some way within the language and vision of others.
Bache, in The Living Classroom, noted that “human beings interpenetrate in a living fabric of consciousness that responds in subtle ways to our choices and intentions to form fields of consciousness within our classrooms.” Since 2001, I have found that this responsive interpenetration of consciousness includes the more-than-human world, especially as regards the Earth, and cosmos in synchronistic affirmations. It’s as if awareness of the relationship with the web of life that sustains our own remains numb until the creativity of the individual is awakened.
May we remain engaged as ever with these times, especially in doing all we can to bring forth a sustainable culture in the postmodern West. The call originally made in 2001 remains 16 years later. During a time of degradation and in the face of those waging destruction, let us continue to choose to wage creativity.
F. Christopher Reynolds
August 12, 2011
LE PASSAGE DE L’OISEAU DIVINLe monde se distend comme la pelure en impeccable helice d’un citron vert. En scintille la boucle de celIe qui supplia : « Encore une minute, monsieur Ie bourreau! » Et la bouleversante cornemuse, concue en des temps toujours reculables pour epouser lea mouvements du coeur auquel elle s’applique etroitement quoi qu’il arrive, donne de taus ses bourdons A l’etoile du berger. Ou se delace – d’un flot de rubans de Riemann ~ la beaute, qui l’apprehende a deja le pied sur la pedale : « La partie materielle de la plante est tout a fait consentante a etre mangee. » C’est tres volontiers que la chenille qui la devore, se fit-elle arrogante com me celle de la dicranure vinule, s’expose, dans le subtil du devenir, a etre la proie de l’oiseau. Plus rien n’en transparait dans l’aromal : « Un oiseau, un papillon ne sont jamais tristes. Les papillons sont tres eleves en esprit; ils jouent avec les enfants; le papillon le sait et s’en amuse : il s’echappe toujours, meme quand on l’attrape et qu’on le tue. »Paris, octobre-dicembre 1958.
Miro et Breton – Constellations, c. 1958
As a millennial flowing from the still-vital source of the 20th century. Surrealist Manifesto comes Urrealism. During his life, Surrealism’s leader, Andre Breton, was constantly revisioning and adjusting Surrealist thought to fit the Zeitgeist and discoveries of the century. As an admirer and student of his, I would not be worthy of him if I didn’t love his work with the same dedication. Breton sought a surreality that both liberated and completed rational thought by joining it to the marvelous, the imagination, dreams, and the unconscious. Though I retain that noble goal, due to the vast amount of literature and new discoveries that were unavailable to Breton, I must deepen Surrealism’s theoretical foundation. By force of lived experience, I am also required to temper his idealization of individualistic surreality by joining to it the necessity for embodied ecological community, invisible mediators and the shadow of pathology.
The revisions I am now making move us beyond loyal Breton’s era. We must leave our guiding Moses out of Egypt and cross over into the homeland that he and our artist ancestors dreamed for us. That time/place is Urreality. There have already been pioneers ahead of the just arriving main body. They have already begun learning the ways of the deepening territory. I have taken the prefix, Ur, from the work of Eugene Monick (1993) and Lee Irwin (2001). Both men use Ur to represent wholeness in the profoundest sense: spiritual, soulful, embodied, and erotic. Monick applies Ur to mankind and the image of God. Irwin applies Ur to the image of the containing/uncontaining reality. Coming home to Ur from Sur creates a subtle but powerful shift in attitude. Sur, which means, on, in French, or encompassing as in the English, surround, orients us to seek the liberation and completion of rational thought above and all around us. That surreality was above and at the edges and not immediate and intermediate was one of the difficulties Surrealist philosophy had to confront as it aged. What Breton (1934) was seeking was development of the conscious capacity to see through and to receive more deeply. In his 1934 lecture to the Belgian surrealists, Breton said:
A certain ambiguity contained in the word, surrealism, is in fact capable of leading one to suppose that it designates I know not what transcendental attitude, while, on the contrary, it expressed and always has expressed for us a desire to deepen the foundations of the real. (emphasis added) (p. 4).
The homecoming to Ur from Sur assists us in keeping our focus on the here, now and the in-between. It re-minds us that our goal is not one-sided evasion but a fully embodied, deep experience of the mystery of life. For Monick (1993), Urperson is a proper reformation of the Greek anthropos, original man or mankind, also the Second Adam/Urperson/Christ. (p.97). His use of Urperson is a move first to acknowledge and not depreciate the presence of the feminine in the body of human and divine wholeness and second, to acknowledge and not depreciate the presence, the suffering of evil and turmoil woven at the heart of human experience, even unto the knowledge of God. Monick’s use of Ur offers a way through Breton’s struggles with an overly transcendental attitude in 1934 because achieving Urreality includes lived experience of the bitter fact that the inferiority and evil we perceive in others also resides in our own hearts.
Breton was never able to allow into Surrealism the idea that enlightenment included endarkenment. Had he done so, Surrealism might have faired better after the Second World War when the movement was eclipsed by the Existentialists, who were not afraid to come to terms with human atrocity. Urperson, a wholeness with its sense of inferiority and shadow is a paradox, an enigma that forces a facet of life’s mystery upon us; that we and our universe suffer chronic evil, incompleteness, and division to remain whole.
Irwin (2001) describes whole space as Ur-space. Of Ur-space he writes: The womb within which all worlds, planes, beings, and cosmologies evolve and become — the great All-Containing and Unbound Limitless Mother Space — radiant with energies from hyperdimensional superstrings to the bursting glory of exploded stars and whole galactic clusters separated by cosmic voids and invisible matter, thoroughly inhabited by every kind of creature imaginable and divisible into infinite dimensions of spiritual subtlety and difference. (p. 1)
His language brings forth the wonder that is implicit in reality. If Monick’s sense of Ur suggests for us the importance of shadow, or Nigredo, Irwin’s usage suggest the importance of evolutionary flourishing, or Albedo. Ur-space, with its sense of burgeoning life forces upon us the mystery that we and our universe suffer chronic transformation, incompleteness and division because that is the process, the birth/death of Life.
Urperson and Ur-space together form an effective pairing, one that allows us to continue in Surrealism’s quest for a symbiosis of consciousness and unconsciousness, but a symbiosis that includes the advances in psychology, science, and spirituality that have occurred since Surrealism’s formative years. The two also form a loving pair with Urperson being the contained and transmuting expander, and Ur-space being the all-containing, yet breakable vessel of transmutation Their coming together is Urreality.
Perhaps Apollinaire’s original coining of the word, surrealism, and Breton’s taking it up were done too quickly. Had they known the difficulties the movement would later encounter, I think they would have been more mindful of the opportunity history offered them. What is described here as the Ur/Sur distinction rested heavily upon the West’s older wound between faith and science, the loss of a healing artscience, an alchemy, an Ur-art that combined them both.
The Urrealist’s world view eases the intercourse between faith and science by insisting on an enlightened return to what was formerly named the geocentric universe in order to increase the value of Earth. This is in no sense a sacrifice of the last 500 years in order to retreat into a medieval simplicity. This return to Earth is to fully embrace the mature, now exponentially triple value of Earthly incarnation with the consciousness that there is a here that is science’s planet Earth in the abyss of the universe, the now of lowest sphere, the ancient Earth within the bathun of higher spheres and an open, fertile space between.
For ages, there was no separation of the sensual world of our home planet Earth and the reality of meanings made of air, fire, water, earth, joined to the higher spheres. The two realities were as one. We can no longer afford the comfortable but violent ignorance of that simplicity in an age that features an Earth to the third power. It is possible to perceive the Earth cubed by considering her position in the new cosmology. It is as if the planet has shifted 90 degrees from its ancient axis and now we are in flight, shepherded by the sun. The sun too is in flight, shepherded by a galactic center, while the galaxy is also sailing along, circling a center we don’t know.
Under the current cosmology there are two ways leading upward. There is an above that is literal which extends well beyond our home sphere into infinite space and there still remains the ancient Above that is Eternal. Throughout modernity, the sensate sphere expanded to tremendous age and size. Today it‚’s called the universe or the space/time continuum. What this means for us is that we can leave the planet Earth while still being earthbound or subject to the laws of the material world. Nowadays, the realization of the endless expanse of the Earth sphere into starry space has revealed the wondrous fine-tuned harmony of the universe and the fragile, singular beauty of our tiny planet Earth. Life on our pale blue dot calls us to a collective deeper reverence, far more than what was expected in the past, a point Sagan made well enough.
Yet, this same axial shift displaced the ancient Heaven because it materialized the Heavenly bodies. The continuing expansion of the literal starry abyss forced the spheres of the moon and above to take up residence within and behind the material world. Quite wonderfully, what was once imagined as far away and beyond death, all of the ancient higher levels of meaning, fell closer. They now enliven even the very tissue of reality Breton intuited this and if we pick up where we left off in the 1934 lecture, he implored, “surrealism expresses and always has expressed for us a desire to deepen the foundations of the real, to bring about an even clearer and at the same time ever more passionate consciousness of the world perceived by the senses” (Emphasis added) (p. 4) He understood that the old concepts of ascending and descending now had to do with seeing through and receiving more deeply. He was naturally drawn to Freud and his psychology because it was Freud who was able to demonstrate how laden with meanings the tissue of the body actually was. Woven into the fabric of the body were the threads of lost Eros and memory, threads that influenced its movement.
Freud was able to demonstrate that meanings participated in embodied life, whether individuals were aware of that or not. At that time, the unconscious stories, complexes and constellations that were shown to compete with and complete daytime, problem-solving consciousness gave Breton’s Surrealism a map of the terra incognita he needed. At this time, the Urrealist world view takes into account that re-covery of the unconscious, but also travels deeper with Jung and Hillman through to the archetypes, deeper still with the Singing Light of psychosis, near death, spiritual and ritual experience, deeper still to the Dreaming Ground of Being, finally arriving by not arriving as Urpersons in Urspace where deeply embodied living is the Art. The Urrealist lives and strives in time with direct knowledge of the timeless, in the fullness of time.
It is possible to understand the 20th century’s steady psychological descent into the depths as a collective rising to remember of the bathun of the spheres, a return to the Above that is Eternal. With Freud, we Arise to the erotic memory of the Moon. With Jung, we Arise to the organizing poetic power of the Sun. With Hillman we Arise to the initiatory archetypal depths of the starry Heavens. With those pre-modern cultures still caring for the ancient Heavens, those who are in love, those die and return, sin and repent, those who pass through the psychosis, those who are born in the spirit, those who feel the flowering of the heart, with those who see visions, we rise and hear the choirs of the angels, the prophetic Presence. As Urrealists we live the thrice-blessed, humble, flawed but holy tissue of being, both here and now, Urpersons in Urspace, flesh made words.
Urrealism, then, at the beginning, requires schooling in a new literacy, one that allows the above that is literal and the Above that is Eternal to be joined as the here and now. The Urperson requires a way of hearing, reading, writing, and speaking appropriate to that individual’s fullest capacity to understand. Hebrew kaballah and Egyptian hieroglyphics are prior models of such a literacy. In both, the letters are images indicating not only the concrete signs of the here, but also the layered symbols of the now. In both, there is the physical image that presents itself, the emotional story behind that image, the number that is the quality of that image/story, the sound that is the understanding of the image/story/number, and finally the Silence that is the beginning and end of the image/story/number/sound. Those kinds of literacy come closest to the Ur-heart’s capacity to be a center for comprehension and expression. For Urrealists, living in a time of ignorance of kabbalistic or hieroglyphic language, the fundamental image is the creative product, the original art, with the understanding that an individual’s bringing to the world that which only he or she can bring into the world is the contemporary hieroglyphic. As it was for the kabbalists or the sacred scribes, for the Urperson in Ur-space, the created universe itself is also hieroglyphic. Much of 20th century art is like a hieroglyphic school attempting to speak in sacred writing in a time of tremendous materialist compression and oppression.
Unlike Surrealism however, the important additional step to Urreality is the fertile in-between where two or more are gathered. Urreality exists where there is a conversation done sincerely, in a spirit of lovingbalance with some art form. By art form, I certainly mean painting, drawing, music, prose, poetry, construction, dance, theater, sculpture, film making, but the list is always incomplete. We can and often do expand further into gaming, quilting, cooking, storytelling, prayer, with passion being the key to an art’s hieroglyphic content. That the deepest conversation is done with art means that there is a corresponding necessity to hear, to read, to comprehend and respond to what is being stated. Instead of relentlessly barking together at the culture from the outside, Urreality is the creative space with an open invitation to join in. Interestingly enough, the Urrealistic source can be found in the early days of Surrealism.
During his 1952 interviews with Andre Parinaud for Radio France, Breton (1952) describes Urreality. He states,
“At that moment, automatic writing experienced a great revival, and more than ever our attention was drawn to dreams…I believe we put into practice a true collectivization of ideas, without individual reservations…We all looked forward to enjoying the fruits of our mutual gift, of what we had shared…Games, too, were very popular with us: written games, spoken games which we made up on the spot. It was perhaps in these games that our receptivity was constantly regenerated; at least they sustained the happy feeling of dependence we had on each other. You have to go back as far as the Saint-Simonians to find the equivalent.(p. 56)
Along with the Urreality of those early days, one of Breton’s creative means of choice over the years was the collaboration, be it with Soupault on Champs Magnetiques, Eluard on Conception Imaculee, or with Miro on the prophetic Signe Ascendant. He seldom created alone. In fact, it’s difficult to tell if Surreality begat Urrreality or the contrary. Either way, Urrealism is Breton’s path not taken.
Additionally, because the Urperson is freed from the Freudian fear of mysticism, the artful intercourse is experienced as more than holographic, more than just a third form created by the interaction of two. The merrie fourth, the Spirit of Mediation enters when the Urlanguage is art. This is to say that there are always invisible visitations that enter the manifold space. Something divine can come to the table. These emerge as as-if presences, are felt as shifts in time, are perceived when turns of phrase come forth thick like sandwiches, trailing scintillae, are recognizable where the cramped and constricted ease with re-newed life. In Urreality, the full body begins to awaken to the conversation, golden chills wash over the shoulders, warm the heart, draw attention to depth. There is a sense of clarity about the face, a clarity of sensing. One is aroused and even the sensate world unveils herself delighting to be seen and truly appreciated. The heart flutters.
Urreality, as a conversation done with art, is a living ritual space for a time hungering for a ritual that reverses the degradation and reveres the sacredness of individual creation and the sacredness of the individual Earth as Creation. Urreality is a doorway, a container capable of tempering by giving direction to the present-day energy of the Apocalyptic mythos, the time of the seventh fire. The world to come becomes lived experience as a steady flow of unexpected revelations in the here and now. Hear and know and the world is revitalized.
Finally, like the Surrealists, I retain their insistence on the power of the dream. Urrealism, too, requires learning to see through dreaming and receive more deeply. I re-assert with them the fact that dreaming is the royal road to the unconscious, yet I must add that dreaming is our ever-faithful companion, our guide-dog to the living underground watersource, our threshold where we speak to the departed, our healer, our Divine message-bearer. In dreams we find the same original and hieroglyphic technique that we have found in our art. Our art is Shared Dreaming, dreaming shared, a cosmos re-enchanted.
Orphan Soul (Reynolds, 1999)
When you meet the Orphan Soul
may you talk all night, because the time is full
may you know the growing edge of you
the secret questions, what your dreams told you.
Where did you wake up in this world?
These are the meanings, the signs I explored.
Feel your words grow thick, the synchronistic clues
feel the golden chills for the beautiful and true
Minds from All Times
visit our time
Minds from all times
are visiting Our Time
When you meet the Orphan Soul
talk of erotic love, the southern and the northern pole.
As philosophers held out their mirror
again you know yourself.
Together the Mind is clearer.
Once in painted caves, cathedral rooms
Across the wide oceans, along the winding roads.
Know each other by laughter and heart,
by the passion for your work and your Art.
Minds from All Times
visit our time
Minds from all times
are visiting Our Time
When you meet the Orphan Soul
talk of your loved ones from the young
to the invisibles.
Share this ritual, bless the human kind
with an Eternal Heart
Who is in love with Time.
Minds from All Times
visit our time
Minds from all times
are visiting Our Time.
Breton, A. “What is Surrealism?” [ http://www.lyrik.ch/lyrik/lyrisurf/breton.html]. (1934).
Breton, A. (1952). Conversations: The Autobiography of Surrealism.(Mark Polizzotti, trans.). New York, NY.: Paragon House.
Irwin, L. [firstname.lastname@example.org]. “Ur-space: Thoughts on the Spacio-Psychronic Continuum. Private e-mail message to F. Christopher Reynolds, [email@example.com]. 30 May, 2001.
Monick, E. (1993). Evil, Sexuality and Disease in Grunewald‚ Body of Christ. Putnam, Conn.: Spring Publications. ¬†
Reynolds, F. C. (1999). Unio Mentalis: The Mind of the Land. (CD). Berea, Oh.: Shirtless Records.