Family - The Waddells - Andrea Waddell - Sounds of the Soul

Front cover

Sounds of the Soul:
Adventures in Time

copyright

Sounds of the Soul: Adventures in Time, Andrea Waddell Published by Scribbulations LLC www.scribbulations.com ISBN 978-1-935751-00-7

Front cover photo by Ben Hawley. Back cover photo by Lee Towsey.

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suggestion

If after reading Andrea's poems you would consider making a donation in her name to a cause which was very close to her heart, may we suggest The Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research, which awards grants for medical and scientific research without the use of animals.

The Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research
Millbank Tower,
Millbank,
London SW1P 4QP
(Tel: 020 7630 3340)
www.ldf.org.uk

vocabulary

Andrea had a rich and varied vocabulary, and so you will find at the back a glossary of some of the more unusual words she has used.

contents

foreword9
preamble13
psychology18
an epic of sorts19
ars vivendi20
chariots of fire22
missive24
bungie in the jungle26
philosophy of the forenoon27
reflections on will-power29
Christopher Robin and Pooh31
a tale for two33
ode to ice34
Wiccan Logic / Wiccan Grace35
basic interrogation techniques37
the harpies38
demons lost and found39
the power of rage41
the emotion tree43
metamorphosis from reality into image46
no bogeyman48
other souls50
my soggy socks51
love in the night (original)52
love in the night (modified)54
lust56
spiritual acrobatics in a world of Newtonian mechanics57
painting the chiaroscuro of love59
a token expression of good-will62
to absent friends64
the geography of the spirit67
the theatre of the absurd69
the truth about dialectic71
underneath these clothes, my soul is naked72
this human zoo74
being me75
more freedom, please77
what is living?78
a fable80
what it is / to have to work like a nigger81
Anna Akhmatova83
sociology86
theory and practice87
séance with society88
supernatural strife90
is the spirit anachronistic?92
on freedom95
the questionable merits of the law97
on Mammon99
confronting Christianity101
a cautionary tale about drugs102
civilisation and its discontents103
now even reality's been branded across its ass104
in this poem I will pull no punches and tell you how it really is106
a theory purporting to explain why we eat chickens107
my anarchist poem108
be very angry110
the natural world112
back to basics113
psychic symphony115
the joy of squirrels117
my affair with the floor118
the body119
stealth of the weather122
my psychic exposure on the heath123
a letter to the all-powerful machine125
time128
meditations on time129
tomorrow as the start of the rest of my life131
summer-time delirium133
Pamplona135
the prodigal son137
vivisection138
déjà vu140
thought142
thursday thoughts143
truth and delusion144
roller-coaster146
de profundis147
the zen factor149
the artistic endeavour150
broaching the limits of poetry151
poet's block153
wild-child154
the secret155
somewhere down my 'to do' list157
all the spirit needs is paper and ink159
nervous twitch161
art, my saviour163
reading a sentence of Proust164
a writer's skill165
a dedication166
is it poetic justice?167
occult168
the games of fate169
passing time171
thoughts on karma172
the spice of life173
the pattern174
rendez-vous in Samarkand175
glossary178

foreword

Andrea died tragically at the age of 29, but those short years were crammed full of diverse experiences, all of which are hinted at in her poetry.

She studied Philosophy at the University of Durham, and later completed an MA in Social and Political Thought at the University of Sussex, all the while suffering severely from fibromyalgia (which is a syndrome of problems including painful muscles, abdominal problems, sleeplessness and depression). The constant pain often meant that it was impossible for her to carry shopping or textbooks, to stay for long in any one position, or even brush her hair or hold a telephone to her ear. (She always found ways round these problems: for instance, she would visit a local hairdresser each day, and for 50p they would brush her hair for her!)

After achieving her degrees, Andrea decided to study massage and aromatherapy and, in spite of her painful muscles, she was able to give massages which the recipients always found amazingly beneficial. Later on she went out to Thailand on two separate occasions, for several weeks at a time, to study for diplomas in all the various Thai massage techniques.

Her life reads like a catalogue of challenges and difficulties. She was anorexic in childhood, then diagnosed with scoliosis, later developing the fibromyalgia mentioned above. She was bullied at school, knocked down by a car in Battersea, mugged in Prague (where she was teaching English in her gap year), and once was attacked by a gang of young thugs in Reading. While completing her second degree she developed acute ulcerative colitis which was nearly fatal, but she underwent a successful operation resulting in an ileostomy, which was later reversed. It was also at this time that her lifelong gender dysphoria was resolved surgically. In spite of all these vicissitudes Andrea never lost her zest for life and her sense of humour, and indeed she seemed to become stronger and more concerned for others as a result of every situation in which she found herself.

Andrea loved music (classical was her especial joy) and going to concerts; and she enjoyed visiting art galleries. She read voraciously (she was still working her way through the final volumes of Proust!); and she practised yoga and worked-out at the gym to keep her painful muscles under some sort of control. She was also studying Spanish; and she refused to own a television!

She was hailed on one internet site after her death as a 'vegan animal activist', and she did indeed work tirelessly for animals. However, she was also vitally interested in people, and always wanted to help anyone who was disadvantaged in life.

We knew Andrea wrote poetry, but it was not until after her death that her brother found the complete opus of poems on her laptop, composed between 2003 and 2009 and already arranged into groups (the headings are all Andrea's), and with her Preamble already written, in typical Andrea style! We, her family, are very happy to now complete Andrea's task and finally to publish her poems. We are very grateful to those special friends and members of Andrea's family who have each contributed comments on some of the poems.

Andrea was beautiful and brave, witty and clever, funny and (definitely) scatty. She was a private person, trying to be independent in spite of all her problems, and never complaining about the hand which Life had dealt her. We think that everyone she came into contact with, in whatever walk of life, went away feeling better, inspired, touched by her light. We are so proud of her.

Andrea's family

Front cover

preamble

Philosophy is finished. The futility of seeking to assume the mantle of a wholly universalised, impersonalised voice, (that construction designated by the darling 'reason' of philosophers, with which we might rather say that, in their conceit, they presume to speak) has been rudely exposed in the history of its making and its demise (though the failure of a grand dream does not prohibit living on in denial, which is of course all-too-typical of dreaming). Despite its natural nobility, in seeing itself exempt from the ordinary obligation to appeal to people's sensibilities, philosophy killed their desire to believe in its own pronouncements, to inhabit their visceral essence and so feel swept along by their vital power. In consequence, the l'enfant terrible within people's souls never tired of seeking out the hidden paradox, through its self-appointed role as a devil's advocate, an activity which has always had all the stature of a parlour game.

Well, just as the practice of poetry pre-dated the birth of philosophy, let us all become poets once again! The spirit of philosophy will always burn in the living soul. Poetry, then, is the vehicle for the continuation of philosophy by other means. The secret ingredient of my collection has been a radically subjective viewpoint. I do not believe in the possibility of expounding totally impersonal and objective universal truths. I grapple with ultimate concerns and I treat this grappling as a form of art in itself. I appeal to the authority of my own subjective avowals as the only veridical security I should ever need.

My methodological dictum has been to avoid any reference to the 'real world' as commonly understood. In some of my pieces I actually seek to problematise the very notion of a 'real world' or 'external reality'. It is my belief that poetry must strive to capture that primordial sense of unitary experience – something of which we are all dimly aware yet all too often feel ourselves forced to disregard.

I wanted to prove the very possibility of such a project, bound by such a stricture. Yet where it may be said that I have deviated from this stricture, I intend that the particular worldly artefacts alluded to must be seen as naked, devoid of context, and absurd, rather in the manner of Marcel Duchamp's "readymades" (the classic example of which being the ordinary urinal put on a pedestal and summarily declared as art).

Obversely, each concept I invoke might be interpreted as deriving from that aforementioned "real world", yet I want to display it naked, divorced from the myriad contexts which sully it every time, always waylaying our attention and skewing it towards that "real world". I, on the contrary, want to showcase the possibility of beholding real meaning. A word is the ultimate conceptual minimalism. I want each word to do the maximum work made possible by its pure form, so as to yield its maximal cognitive distillate. For a word in nudeness can evoke more than the greatest of poets is able to, in seeking to string a collection of them together. I like to lean on the barest of metres, often incorporating just a two-stress pattern, which allows maximum stress to be placed on the individual words.

My words and metaphors thus become larger-than-life; my poems are surreal. This is not supposed to be a slur on their truthfulness. Their surrealism is the tool with which I seek to achieve this goal and draw the purest of pictures before the mind's eyes. They are literally "not of this world". But suffice to say I had no intention of writing "science-fiction". Yet the pedant who insists on picking apart my poems with his analytical scalpel will no doubt delight in proving their lack of everyday meaning.

The possibility of meaning likewise becomes an urgent problematic in light of my rejection of the possibility of universal truths. We have a whole battery of cognitive protocols which allow us to put to trial any assertion which presumes to claim special significance for itself and spurns our usual everyday hermeneutic contexts.

A poem, then, is something whose beauty of form alone allows it to say the unsayable. We freely circumvent our normal protocols of cognitive validity when in the presence of beauty of form. It is obviously churlish to put beauty under the knife. Yet we also positively demand the beautiful to be meaningful, in contradistinction to the pronouncements of philosophy which we commonly delight in subverting. (And if it happens that we don't find that beauty, there is clearly nothing to be gained from dissection).

This, then, has been, my ultimate, but humble, criterion for my poetic creations: that yielded by the desire to create something beautiful. At the same time, creation must be tempered by destruction. I have pruned each poem to its bare foundations, so that it might function quite apart from any secret intentions with which I might have overlaid it in my mind. I want each poem to be about the words themselves, and not at all about the artist, so that each word might set specific mental cogs moving for the reader. We can marvel at their play. Each poem is a little machine. Perhaps the only meaning to be found in them at all lies in their aesthetic form, if by meaning is demanded something potentially other than the words used (until we branch off in our own particular reverie). I don't pretend to any kind of intellectual rigour which would stand sceptical scrutiny outside the magic circle of my own poetic reveries.

I spurn empirical and narrative poetry, or rather: I re-forge it according to my methodological requirements. In the main, though, it seems to me that the poetic pre-occupation with the doings of other people and with the material realm betrays a fear of revealing our own soul and confronting our own demons. Similarly, narrative literature so easily misses the critical dynamics governing the heart of the life-process. For the thinner we spread ourselves in narrating events, the blinder we will be to disclosing the ultimate dynamic of 'real experience'.

Yet just as in the 'deep empiricism' of an introspective, subjective standpoint which allows me to find a voice where the pedantry of analytical philosophy struggles to speak at all (though it lives in denial) – time, nonetheless, manifests itself as my ultimate and insurmountable adversary. Because I can only recount my critical impressions through time, they will always be temporally indexed. While I can claim a certain 'sincerity in the moment', here lies the root of my ultimate doubts regarding my poetic veracity.

With a simple crank of time's screw, our deepest convictions can evaporate or be up-ended. This uncertainty goes to the heart of the poetic form as I understand it. Each of my poems may be thought to involve a dialectical movement. This may be a critical dynamic between fulfilment and despair, or more fundamentally: between grasping at a nugget of truth and watching it seep away; between upholding the very possibility of meaning and yielding to the infinite and eternal void.

Yet the very concrete form is then disingenuous. For a poem has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Yet time may not be so easily divided. Thus in insinuating the form of a conclusion, by one lookout I may have inadvertently turned truth on its head, for the flow of time is seamless and inexorable. It is futile to seek to determine in good faith where a poem should begin, and where it should end, or, pari passu, to seek to adjudicate between the causes of optimism and pessimism.

Andrea Waddell
May 2007

an epic of sorts

behind the
simple-minded
peace and quiet
of the same-old psychic sound
of here and now

lies a parallel spiritual realm
untold till now but most profound
(but behold)
this bloody internecine drama
is ready to come flooding
hither into the otherwise vacant mind
with its apocalyptic flicker

this dead-weight of guilt -
a penance each moment bestowed
from not excelling in effort -
is sinking my ship;
of course, it's all in my mind -
unveridical apparitions -
yet how I fidget
as I listen
to the dripping of time

my soggy socks

as I skip
past the puddle
of the aura
of another
the splash on my socks
weighs down my world

now I secretly see
how physics transfigures
the shape of the splash
and the sound of the squelch
into the outline
of a Life

theory and practice

by right of theory
this world we live in
is so very easy

behold the sprawling web
pre-spun'd
- a bureaucratic wonder!

just skip along
your flaxen prong
till ye find your chosen inn

my privy sensory reports
would mark me down a spoiling sport
yet they pronounce it fit
for solely Superhuman Sorts

back to basics

I know a still small place
where the world just floats -
the landscape of experience
just takes place:
midwife to all
new life,
in the nascence of sensation.

please picture those many things
so wanton to bestow
their many shocks and blows -
now nothing can evade
my eagle-eye'd gaze

in the shadows do I hover
ever hawkish to a twinkle
though the merest premonition –
as I ponder
shifting shapes
as they constellate in space
(though a new-found natural wonder)
each must declare itself afresh
friend or foe
else I embed further
and more securely in my hole -
then the ripples will dissolve
the reflections in the pond
so foreboding

in this world of ghosts oft-times besieged
I authorise, by course, what comes in, what may leave
ever on the qui vive
lest a trojan spy-horse
by her siren sound-track
infiltrates my sacred cave
so to wreak its wide-scale havoc -
spirits loom large, then bounce back
leaving me shaken
yet unscathed.

yet in my sequestered mental work-shed
this army of objects
has infiltrated my defences
and colonised my mind
to co-habit in my mental dell
each leaching my attention
debasing my awareness
resulting in this mindless, fuzzy mess.

when I meditate upon this suffocating landscape
I recollect each gift-horse
came emblazoned under auspices
of a little slice of paradise
on condition this hermit left her still small place
to dote upon her new-found babe
- until all autonomy of thought was gone
yet the stench of cadavers remained

with a little upheaval
can I retire to the cradle of nature
with nothing to make claims
which weigh on my attention;
instead do I behold
naked life
taking place -
for the world just floats
in my still small place

meditations on time

they say the past is dead and buried
each moment hallowed
for single use only
in the structure of the whole -
blink and you miss it -
each dark chapter of the past
consigned full-faced to the dustbin of history
or filed away till judgement day
but so many times in life
the shadows of the past do resurrect it
as if from nowhere they rear their head

what's further, if we merely rearranged the tables and the chairs
who'll dispute
we'll be re-living ancient affairs
over again?

how I write off dim memories
well and ill
as picture post-card snaps
their once pulsing life
which did augur of the future
slipped between my fingers
in the crumbling sands of time
such that I can no longer distinguish
what's real and what's illusion

yet they say of here and now
'tis the face of reality's finest hour
even the whole being
of the blooming existential flower
or wilting lily

yet 'tis recurrently the case
the present has an emptiness
while I try muster faith
that the manna of life past
will spin again about the carousel
to bring us face to face again
but just as plausible
that centrifugal forces
will fling my vital sustenance
hurtling thither
into the bowels of deepest, darkest, outer space

thursday thoughts

these thoughts
coruscate the psychic sky
flashbulb flares they fill the firmament
each cerebral scout
searching
for the Way
Out

these thoughts
spit and splutter; they
hit their heads
on celestial clutter.
Each psychic dart
sacrificing self
to the Puzzle
of the Promised
Pasture-land

these thoughts
fizzle and flop
all looks like a leisurely lull,
a mental road-block.
In fact from the flanks, do Satan's snipers,
(under guise of materialist matters)
secretly slay
my thoughts for the Day,
like clay pigeons
they Shatter.

these thoughts
leap like lemmings
to death's daring denouement
sending shrapnel to the skies
scratching my spectacles
and also my Eyes.

broaching the limits of poetry

I must confess
the normal living-state
to be an uncomprehending daze;
for as far as the eye can see
it's all surface and no meaning
which maketh the mind's eye glaze over;
and wherever it finds a prickly bit, its gaze retracts inward;
thus I'm confined to a flat landscape
described not by poesy but by prose

yet the poet in me
wants to roam freely
planting unlimited flags
all about the mental landscape
like a gung-ho imperialist;
yet what she's really seeking out
and her heart's craving after
is artistic uplifting
and the epicentre of doubt

so should this metaphysical East Anglia
be walled off
as a no-go area
for the aspiring poet?

yet as soon as I puff
on a cannabis roll-up
my questioning hound
breathes into being
and suddenly nothing is out of bounds
she'll sniff where she pleases

and as I thump
along the ground
and the wave of vibrations
makes my skull shudder

thoughts are sifted
through the mind's sieve,
and from time to time dislodged
from a barren precipice
until they emerge
fully formed in the conscious world;
it's like collecting the booty
in a fairground amusement

yet I may take no credit
when inspiration strikes
for the muse always takes me
by surprise

the games of fate

when my spirit's driven
to imprecate 'gainst the iniquities of living
and thereby garner all the pleasures accrued from being
dismissive
and I fancy launching myself out of the quotidian into orbit
with my crack of the whip;

in a lucid instant
I wonder whether life is just the neutral reality
in which we float and pursue our multifarious activities;
or if it's something else,
to wit, a game which is being played at our expense;

and whether or not
we're in the lap of the gods
the origin of life was obviously no regular phenomenon
which painted life a peculiar stain
on the physical landscape;
yet it's my opinion
we're being toyed with
because life's so habitually tainted
with the interference of fate

yet whenever we sense
some supernatural event
the memory immediately begins to fade
until it's consigned to time's landfill-site
and we prefer to doubt that it ever took place

and when reason hits a stumbling block
despite every appeal having been made to logic
and reality's functioning
appears to have hiccupped
it's easy to perceive the work of the gremlins
though in the final reckoning
it's impossible to prove if the gremlins exist or not

when a person is plucked from the public
to rendezvous with us
it's clearly a miracle that it's this particular individual;
yet we're blasé enough
to let them seep back into the crowd,
perhaps gambling on the possibility of another encounter

and fate is accommodating
with a spurt of chance liaisons
before she sucks this person
forever back into the masses,
never again to be heard of -
I can almost hear fate's cackle

while fate marches apace
we're left navel-gazing
searching for some rhyme or reason
driving the persons we meet,
whether it's to be love at first sight
or, including both at the same time,
ships who pass in the night

glossary

glossary of unusual or challenging words used in "Sounds of the Soul: Adventures in Time"

 word
or phrase
meaning or interpretation (as used in the poems)
nb prefix A signifies a word newly devised by Andrea herself
abjureto solemnly reject, disclaim or swear off something
abscondto run away secretly, especially to avoid punishment
absurdistdeliberately ridiculous art, or theatre, to parody and mock real life
accoladepraise and acclaim, especially by award of an honour of some kind
agglutinationa mass of stuff congealed or stuck together like glue
aletheiathe philosopher Heidegger saw this as open connectivity between the truth of things
amorphouswithout any definite shape
anachronisticfrom a completely different time or era than its surroundings or context
angstacute, indefinable, sense of anxiety or indecision
annuitya regular income in return for an initial sum of money paid
anthropologicalrelating to the study of human beings and their culture
anticlimacticfinishing in a disappointing or ineffective way
Aanysoeveranything whatsoever
apocalypticrelating to a Doomsday ending of the world
Ariadneher thread enabled the Greek hero Theseus to escape from the Minotaur's labyrinth
arrow of timethe unchangeable direction that things happen in science and life generally
ars vivendithe art of living satisfyingly
artefactsomething made by someone, or inevitably caused as by-product of some event
atavistican emotion (or impulse, or action) coming from primitive instincts
athwarta sailing term, meaning across the direction of travel
autonomyindependence, freedom of self-government
avowalan emotional declaration
awola military term, meaning temporarily absent without permission
axioma reasonable basic assumption which can't be proved without assuming something else
bastiona military fortification, or someone defending strong principles
behemotha gigantic creature or organisation
beholdenindebted or morally obliged to someone
behoveto be appropriate for someone to act in a certain way
bentan enjoyable skill or interest
bifurcateto split into two different directions
burgeonto develop and flourish successfully
cadavera corpse, especially in medical situations
capriciousimpulsive, changeable, unpredictable
carnalsexual without love or emotion
catharsisa liberating or purifying emotional experience
caveatan advisory warning or caution
chariots of fireold-fashioned poetic image of dramatic divine force
chivital energy in Eastern medicine
chiaroscurothe interplay of light and shade in a painting
churlishresentful or grudging
clipperan exceptionally fast nineteenth-century commercial sailing ship
cochleavital part of the inner ear, connecting to the brain
cognitiverelating to how the brain converts sensation and information into feelings and ideas
confabulateto talk together, to create narrative together
conjectureto make reasonable guesses or suppositions about something we don't know for sure
constellateto make into clusters, like groups of stars
coquetryromantic flirting or teasing
corporeitytangible physical existence, embodiment as matter
coruscateto sparkle with light
crepusculeold-fashioned word for the period of day immediately following sunset
cubismstyle of painting initiated by Picasso in which you see several sides simultaneously
deadweightan oppressive burden
definitiveunequalled in quality or authority, a benchmark for all the others
demisedeath or termination
descryto see by looking carefully
detrimentalhaving a harmful effect on something or somebody
detritusa random mass of fragmental decayed remains (animal, vegetable or mineral)
devil's advocatesomebody who deliberately argues to the contrary to battle-test a point of view
dialecticalharmonising two different points of view by smoothing-out their differences
dictuman authoritative statement or arrogant assertion
diktata decree issued by a dictator or conqueror
dint [by dint of]a specialised word implying virtue, eg "Her success was by dint of very hard work"
discombobulationa state of muddle or confusion probably caused by somebody else
disingenuousdiminished truthfulness, esp. by pretending to be more naïve than you really are
disparatetotally different in quality or quantity from others in the same general category
Adistainwell, not sure, maybe to disdain, or to remove a discoloration
diurnalhappening regularly during daytime, or at least on a daily basis
Elysiumin Greek mythology, where good people go after death, though not where the gods live
Elysian fieldsElysium is most frequently referred to as the Elysian Fields; an agnostic euphemism
empiricalbased on experiment or observation rather than theory
enfant terriblea brattish person in polite company, behaving unconventionally and being indiscreet
entropya universal number constantly increasing as time passes and things crumble & decay
epiphenomenonallegedly secondary to reality eg "mind is an epiphenomenon, brain is the reality"
Erosthe mythological Greek god of Love, equivalent to the Roman god Cupid
evanescentfading away, transitory
Aeverysoeveranyone, or anything, whatsoever
exigencya very urgent, or very demanding, situation
existentialrelating to human existence, or to existentialism (a rather negative philosophy of life)
expurgationediting out, or expelling, the offensive parts of something
extrapolateto guess at something you don't know, based on the things you do know about it
factoidan unreliable fact based on unverifiable sources or urban myth
feignto put on a pretence of some emotion or interest
firmamentthe complete expanse of sky and starry heavens around the earth
fluxa flow of something, or turbulent change in something
Fortunathe Roman goddess of good luck
fracasa noisy quarrel or brawl
garnerto gather or store something, as does a farmer with his grain
genuflectto bend one or both knees to something holy
Agloopythick, viscous and glue-like, or temporarily twonkish
glutinousviscous and sticky
googleplexan unimaginably large number: a google is 10^100, a googleplex is 10^google
gremlinan imaginary imp supposedly responsible for mechanical or electronic problems
gutturalspoken from the back of the throat
harpya Greek mythological creature, having a woman's body but with wings and claws
haunchthe hindquarters of an animal
hephaestianrelating to Hephaestos, the Greek god of fire and blacksmiths (like Roman god Vulcan)
hermeneuticrelating to the interpretation of Scripture, or of the purpose of life in particular
hermetically sealedairtight
hithertowards this place (where speaker or narrator is)
homunculusa fictional miniature human being in alchemy or early biological ideas
horse-whisperingestablishing a natural rapport with horses, especially wild or traumatised ones
houria nymph in the Islamic paradise
idas told by Freud, the subconscious mind containing the primitive human instincts
idiosyncraticto have uniquely personal characteristics
incumbentdown to the subject person to do whatever it is
inexorablerelentless
ingénuea naïve girl or young woman
insipidbland, lacking in flavour or excitement
internecinemutually destructive or deadly to both sides in a conflict
liminalat the lower limit of sensation
lumpendull, stupid or unthinking
lustregloss or shine, especially of a jewel or ornament
lustroushaving a noticeable lustre
machotough, masculine, swaggering
Mammona false god in the New Testament, personifying wealth and greed
mantraan unthinking slogan in popular usage or business-speak
masqueradea festive occasion where masks and costumes are worn, an elaborate pretence
metamorphosisa complete change in something, as in tadpole to frog, caterpillar to butterfly
metaphysicsthe branch of philosophy attempting to grapple with the nature of external reality
methodologythe organised procedures by which some complex task is achieved
militateto (impersonally) influence strongly against (sometimes for) something
minimalismart, especially music, using the simplest elements to the best possible effect
missivea letter, especially a formal or official one
modulea self-contained subunit of something
multifarioushaving many parts of great variety
mundaneordinary, humdrum, boring
nadirthe lowest or deepest point of something, rock-bottom, the pits
nascencebirth, state of being born
netherworldunderworld after death (eg Hell), otherwise the world of society's underclass
neuronea nerve-cell
nexusan interconnection centre in a system
nihilisma belief that nothing, even life itself, has any value or importance
noeticrelating to the mental world, especially the intelligent thinking side
numinoushaving a deeply spiritual or religious quality, mysterious and awesome
obeisancedeference, a respectful gesture
oblivionstate of forgetfulness, or being forgotten, or both
obversethe front side of something, such as the heads side of a coin
ocularrelating to the eyes
Odysseusa Greek mythological hero, famous for his resourcefulness and his adventures
oesophagusthe food-pipe from the throat to the stomach
Aoomptey-oompgentle brass-band background music in our inner world
opineto express an opinion that …
origamithe ancient Japanese art of paper-folding
osculateto kiss
osmosisthe energy-driven spread of fluid through a barrier or membrane
Pandora's boxIn Greek myth, the First Woman's casket from which all evil came, but Hope remained
paradigmthe perfect example, or stereotype, of something
pari passuin equal amounts, or at least proportionately
parseto analyse the grammatical structure of a sentence
penancea voluntary self-punishment for a sin or wrong-doing
penumbraa partial eclipse, in which the shadow is less than complete
peripherythe outside boundary line, or surface, of something
peristalsisthe muscular contractions of the digestive organs that push their contents down the line
perniciousharmful or deadly
phantasmagoriaa dreamlike medley of images, real and imaginary
phantoma ghostly, or even imaginary, image or mental symbol
plethoraa large or excessive number of things, a super-abundance
pinionthe junior partner in a gearwheel relationship, having fewer teeth than the other wheel
pragmaticapproaching issues in a practical rather than theoretical or ideological way
preamblean introductory statement
prescientcorrectly anticipating events before they happen
primordialexisting at the very beginning or earliest stages of time
problematiccausing a difficulty
problematisecast constructive doubt upon
proselytiseto convert people from another religion to your own by means of a campaign
prosodythe study of poetic structure
proteanreadily able to change from one shape to another
protocolan agreed form of behaviour, communication or negotiation in official business
psychicalrelating to supernatural events, possibilities or capabilities
ApsychositiesI'm not really sure!
qigonga health-giving Chinese technique of breathing and exercise
quagmirea swamp, a hopelessly tricky and embarrassing situation
quintessencethe most concentrated inner spirit of something, its spiritual DNA
quotidianoccurring every day, commonplace
realmoriginally a royal domain, nowadays any major area of involvement or interest
recalcitrantstrong-headed and disobedient
recapshort for recapitulate, to summarise or restate a story so far
redemptionsomething which cancels out the guilt of wrongdoing
redoubta fortified position or stronghold
refluxdistillation and recondensation
reveriean absent-minded daydream
rilla small brook or stream
river of Lethein Greek mythology a river in Hades causing total forgetfulness to all who drink from it
Samarkandlike Timbuktu, or Shangri La, or Ithaca, somewhere we all yearn for inwardly
sasquatchin Canadian folklore a hairy manlike beast which leaves huge footprints
Aschwurr schwoarsthis rails against the predictability of association and things doing what it says on the box
scrutinise to look at something and examine it very closely and carefully
scrutinyclose visual examination
seguestretch away from something like pieces of music played without a pause
sensibilityemotional depth and responsiveness
sequesteredunfrequented, secluded, lonely
seraphimangels of the highest rank in Christian tradition, though not in Judaism or Islam
sinuousgraceful, snake-like in movement, or like a waveform moving across a screen
skulkto move stealthily and lurk in the shadows
soliloquyspeaking your thoughts aloud in a theatrical way, especially when alone on a stage
solitudinousbeing or existing in solitude, though not necessarily in a lonely way
Asomberinghaving a deeply serious, even melancholy or gloomy, effect
soothold-fashioned word for sooth (as in the word soothsayer)
spinners of fatein Greek mythology, they controlled the thread of life of every mortal from birth to death
stomaa microscopic breathing pore on a plan's surface, letting atmospheric gases in and out
stricturea severe criticism of somebody
stupordullness, lethargy or even semi-unconsciousness
subjectivepurely personal perception, emotion, thought-process, or prejudice
subsistencea life-style geared to whatever necessities are available
subvertto undermine or sabotage a person's loyalties or belief-system
succourhelp or assistance, especially at a time of extreme distress or difficulty
superfluousmore than is necessary or required
suppositto adopt or integrate something into ourselves, to take it on board wholeheartedly
surrealdreamlike and bizarre, mixing the everyday with the unreal and impossible
tabula rasaclean slate, without mental baggage of any kind, as new-born infants are (allegedly)
tai chia Chinese system of light exercises and coordinated rhythmic movements
Tantalusin Greek mythology, was punished by fruit and water being always just beyond reach
taoChinese concept of the basis for things to exist and events to happen
terra firmasolid ground
theophanya visual manifestation of God, such as the burning bush or the pillar of cloud and fire
thwartto frustrate or successfully oppose something or somebody
translucencesemi-transparent, allowing light through but only partially
travestya grotesque imitation in mockery of something or somebody
troikaa group of three people in power, or in charge of something, maybe dictatorially
trompe l'oeilartistic, decorative or architectural special effect to create an optical illusion
tsunamiJapanese word for a massive tidal wave that sweeps inland and causes destruction
utopianrelating to a hopelessly idealistic state of government and social harmony
vacillationindecisive fluctuation in somebody's determination or intended course of action
vacuousmindless, dopey, devoid of sense or meaning
vagaryerratic action or behaviour
velleitythe lowest possible level of interest or intention, a wish or urge too slight to lead to action
veridicalpreviously dreamt of, or revealed in dreams or hallucinations
vernalrelating to springtime, or occurring during spring
vestibulea lobby outside a office, or small antechamber
vialan old-fashioned word for a small bottle, containing some costly liqueur or medication
visceralrelating to bodily organs (especially intestines), hence to deeply instinctive intuitions
wantonlacking in self-restraint, immoral, vicious, or destructive
wiccanrelating to the modern cult of pagan religion and white witchcraft or Druidism
wonthabitual practice, accustomed tendency, to do something
zeniththe point in the sky vertically above somebody or somewhere (opposite of nadir)

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