. I woke within a dream, standing in a field on a path that led to a hilltop.
Where I stood a great silver-gold wise lion met me without a word he brought his massive head towards me and place his head in my chest calmly he was oh so big his fur was silver with age gold from birth. He was old and strong and he wanted me to follow him as he turn his great body with a gentle nudge I knew I had to follow him along the path we both stood. As he gently moved I remember seeing his fur and his muscles move this great creature. I knew this was a blessing to have an audience with him and I knew he wasn't here to harm me as he walk before me I remember placing my hand on his rib cage to feel his fur which glittered in the sunlight.
What am I doing here what is this place?
As we walked along the path we reached the feet of a hill I could see my trust guide stop with a gentle huff I knew it translated I had to go further up but without him.
As I slow-walked to the descendants of the cliff I looked back at my guide he stood alone but with such pride and as I walked away from him I remembered this lion I have met before how and where I could not put in my memory as I was unable to pull the story of him all in my mind as his story was greater than my ability to hold such content in my puny mind. However stood great and tall watching me with great concern that I made it up this hill like it was his last mission, the gentle breeze blew his fur as he sat, I remember seeing so many statues of him in my little life from the flag of the country I was born to the footsteps of Trafalgar square. He needs me to walk up this hill as I walked along this path I started to see a Shinto gate at the peak of this hill as I got close taking each careful step a gentle breeze bought the sound of what seemed like bees humming like the first break of light on a summers day.
As I got closer to the gate I was shocked to see two bears sitting like toddlers but nothing like in comparison in size their bear frightened me by their size its seem in the world the kings and giants were the animals.
As I approached them I slowed my stride just so I could take in this sense which seem so strange the two bears each sat at the opposite post of this great Shinto gate which was the strongest red like it was painted yesterday.
As I got close I noticed the bears have not cared about me being here they both wore beautiful jewellery decorated like kings or the most prestigious generals of a great army. I could help to notice their complete focus of the big wooden blow which was carefully placed between their legs each carefully indulging their paws in the golden syrup which looked like the thickest honey. As I approached I saw them both dipping their great paws in the pot and pulling the sticky and runny golden and glittery as the sunlight reflected off the syrup their tongues long as they pulled the paws out of the big bowl lifting the paw high saw they could catch the glowing syrup with the long tongs, devouring the honey they didn't care that I was there one on each side of the gate looked at me with a gentle gaze and almost without words I knew I was okay to pass these massive guards of this holy gate.
I remember I was walking slowly in the gate which was at the apex of the hill I was fully observant of the sounds and the vivid details so clear that to this day sitting here talking about it I can still hear the wind hissing and the detail of this grand structure which looked like it has been played on this hill for many many lifetimes ago. As I passed the pillars I looked up and noticed the scale of this shrine it was truly breathtaking. I become for an instant submerged in this structure and I could help to wonder why a Shinto may be symbolically it meant more than I understood with my little human mind. I remember as I passed the bears having a feeling of such blessing to be here. And to my overwhelming surprise I felt all the emotions one could feel in a whole book of life as suddenly I had passed and for what I could instantly recognise as what looked like a Hindu poster of shive however it wasn't a poster but there in his glory shiva arrived just as the break of dawn in his full glory, I remember at this point I woke up but was still I had one foot in that world and one foot in this world, as I pulled my self up gasping for breath I was covered in sweat and I remember bursting into tears. Like every time I opened my eyes I was sitting in my bed in the darkness of the night in the real world however every time I closed my eyes I was facing his majesty lord shive arriving sitting gracefully on top of a beautifully decorated elephant I instantly regained this as Ganesha. The emotions were overwhelming as in that instant I felt joy sadness beauty and ugly pain and pleasure what was happening to me? As I sat in my bed sobbing and feeling my heartbeat as fast as running for a sprint I felt incredible pain behind my neck and head and I could taste blood in my mouth and at some moment I thought I was having a nose bleed as this dream vision visit experience had brought or taken something from me or for me. It was hard to say as I sat there crying and knowing I don't dream often or hardly but this was the removal or giving of something which I had carried with me for many lifetimes ago.
I am not Hindu not Shinto but this postage of symbolic gods or God had given me the metamorphosis the vividness the clarity of this experience put me into the work of depicting this vision as the only tools I had were the only ones I needed.
The Shinto gate
The place of one foot in the dream world and one foot in the waking world was my ability to pull from that world which I could never do justice in recreating it was too beautiful too perfect. I was nearly a servant to that world whatever it might be however crazy and trippy it might have been. I found myself 3 and a half weeks later displaying the largest works of art I had created to date.
I still remember the pain behind my neck I still remember the taste of blood in my mouth, I still remember the grace and beauty of wind blowing through lord Shiva.
That place is not for anyone but all. Time had no place there but with my trusty friend the lion which now I still see sitting at the pillars of palaces in London and around the world, I learned that he is here within my ribcage ready to be freed.