Kingfisher is an artist extraordinaire that respects dreams as part of the
creative process. His new web site, The Vesica Piscis Labyrinth, is a wonderful
contribution to music, art, poetry, cultural commentary, mythology and "herstory"
on the web, as well as to the online dream community. The site is centered
around Kingfisher's Vesica Piscis CD, released last month by First Light Music.
Of particular interest here is NADIS, the "Numinous Archives Dream
Interactive System." NADIS is an interactive "dream machine" that
resides in the south chamber of the Vesica Piscis Labyrinth. It is place where
users can log their own dreams, and by means of a unique search engine search
the archives by keyword, then save and title their results. Both the concept for
and the word "NADIS" came themselves from one of Kingfisher's lucid
[RCW] : [Richard C. Wilkerson for Electric Dreams]: It is clear from your web
site that the Vesica Piscis album is influenced by a multitude of levels and
realms. One important realm you identify is the dream world. Do you have an
intention of looking for songs in dreams or do they just happen?
[Kingfisher]: I don't expect to have a dream and write a song about it.
Usually the song is in fragments, and the dream rather pulls them together,
almost as if the music was a kind of premonition. I'm not really sure which
[RCW]: So you have developed a kind of personal dreamwork that interfaces
with your waking life work?
[Kingfisher]: Yes, I would say so - indeed, they've become so interfaced as
to become one and the same. But I hesitate to say "I" developed the
interface. The music and dreams support one another, and the work grows
organically. The thrust of my conscious intention has been to stay out of the
[RCW] : You have been writing poetry and songs since the age of 10. Where any
of these inspired by dreams?
[Kingfisher]:I've always been a dreamer, but they only became an overt part
of my waking work after my first trip to Avalon in 1993.
[RCW] : What is the first dream you remember?
[Kingfisher]: My earliest dream recollections are more about feelings than
images. Playground carousels, needles, autumn leaves, and time running
backwards: sheer terror and helplessness. A giant gorilla, a fairy flitting
about on vibrant, animated diagonal stripes, a little house with lace curtains
and a stop sign on the door: an overwhelming giddiness.
[RCW]: When did you first start recording your dreams?
[Kingfisher]: I rarely wrote them down until about 8 years ago. The real
intense ones I never forgot: meeting Jesus in a dream two days before my
bar-mitzvah, drowning in a tidal wave after an earthquake when I was 19. There's
a lot of early ones I remember, and by now they're all pretty much written down.
Over the years, I've had several experiences with the dead as well, and with
astral travel - I'm not sure I'd call those dreams, though. These days I
regularly keep track of my nightly journeys in a journal.
[RCW]: Do you have a favorite dream?
[Kingfisher]: I love the dream that preceded NADIS. Assuming it was a dream!
It took place in a beautiful village on an island, and mostly involved me
drifting about and admiring the art and architecture. At the end I was greeted
by an alien, who claimed he was from the distant future, and had built the
village himself. He said he had gotten hold of and ingested some of my DNA -
which he called "bone-shake" - and through some related process
accessed my dreamtime. Sounds like sci-fi, I know! I was extremely lucid, and
awoke quite shaken and excited. Before I actually awoke, though, I dreamt I
awoke - you know, one of those. I sat up in my bed, but the bed was on the wrong
side of the room. Where my bed was supposed to be was a table with a computer
monitor on it, and a keyboard and mouse. On the screen were the letters
N-A-D-I-S, and the phrase "log-on", which was flashing. I woke up
thinking about the alien, and trying to decipher those letters. That's how NADIS
was born. If you go to the site, the front page is just as it was in my dream.
The alien dream in detail is in the NADIS archives, titled "Dream of the
[RCW] : It seems you see dreams as, among other things, a force that
creatively binds together disparate fragments into meaningful images. Is this
how the Vesica Piscis notion came together?
[Kingfisher]: No, I don't see dreams themselves as some kind of creative,
binding force per se. I don't believe there are any disparate fragments to bind
- creativity comes into play in learning how things in actuality are already
connected, in discovering meaningful images where none are apparent on the
surface. Among other things, the Vesica Piscis symbolizes the unity of seeming
opposites, much like the yin/yang symbol; but is unique in that the aspect of
unity is expressed as a passage. Thus unity is not represented as a resolve or
closure, but as open, alive, ineffable. Dreams, visions, and otherworldly
experiences are the final element in a sort of internal combustion, a key just
waiting to unlock a vast awareness.
What ultimately positioned the Vesica Piscis as the touchstone of this
project is two-fold: that this passage, the pointed oval, is an archetypal
symbol of the Divine Feminine; and that the symbol speaks to a place of
transition, a place between worlds. As to the first, our culture, this
monoculture of which almost all humans have become a part, is collapsing under
the weight of 10,000 years of repression of the Divine Feminine - the nurturing,
birthing, destroying, equalizing, Mother of Compassion. Misogyny, homophobia,
Earth-trashing, the transcendental fascism we call mainstream religion - they
all seem to be rooted in this same fearsome repression, like multiple faces of
the same ugly coin. In response to that, the Vesica Piscis shines as the
vibrant, breathing heart of a deep ecology, an inter-cultural, inter-species
pursuit of compassion, surrender, and right action. I relate to the "place
between" aspect of the Vesica Piscis on a more personal level: as a
two-spirit person and a dreamer, mainly. I don't think I really have the chops
yet to define myself as a psychopomp or a shaman, although my "straddling
two worlds" experiences in those areas have drawn me to the symbol as well.
[RCW]:What is the notion about historically and mythologically?
[Kingfisher]: The term "vesica piscis" is first recorded in
literature in 1809, but is no doubt much older. It translates from Latin
literally as "fish bladder," but more likely refers to a bladder that
takes the form of a fish when filled: a sewn skin that holds wine, for example,
or the air sack of bagpipes.
The Vesica Piscis is made by linking two circles together, bringing the
outside edge of each to the midway point of the other. The pointed oval at the
center of the image is called a mandorla. The mandorla can easily be seen as a
grail or chalice, which connects the symbol to Avalon. The Chalice Well in
Glastonbury, England - where most people believe Avalon to be - is covered by a
wrought iron lid in the shape of a Vesica Piscis.
When the Vesica Piscis is displayed vertically, the mandorla forms the shape
of a fish. The word "fish" translates into Greek as "ichthys",
which is an acronym for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." Early
Christians adopted the fish symbol as their own, and used it as sort of secret
code to identify themselves to one another and avoid persecution. The Vesica
Piscis, and in particular the mandorla, has been much used in Christian art and
architecture: as a frame for Jesus and the saints, or as the passage between
heaven and earth through which Jesus ascends.
When the Vesica Piscis is viewed horizontally, however, the mandorla becomes
a different sort of passage: the birth passage, the vulva of the Goddess,
surrounded by the crescents of the waxing and waning moon. The mandorla as birth
passage can easily be seen on the sheila-na-gig figures found on Irish churches,
and in the squatting figures of the Hindu goddess Kali. The
almond/yoni/fish/ocean/Goddess connection is present in several mythologies,
from Egypt and Greece to India and China.
A medieval hymn calls Jesus "the little fish in the Virgin's
fountain." Christian art sometimes shows Jesus inside a mandorla,
superimposed over Mary's womb. Mary herself can be equated with the goddess
Aphrodite Marina, who brought forth all the fish in the oceans; Marina's blue
robe and pearl necklace, like the Christian Mary's, are classic symbols of the
sea. On Cyprus, Mary to this day is worshiped as "Panaghia Aphroditessa."
The connections between Christianity and the Goddess traditions it absorbed -
and all but destroyed - drew me to the Vesica Piscis in yet another way.
[RCW]: When did Avalon and the ancient myths of Britain become part of your
[Kingfisher]: In the spring of 1993, I took my first trip to Glastonbury. I
have always had an affinity for the English countryside, and a passion for
British history. I had just finished Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of
Avalon", and the idea of a different history, or herstory, that had always
existed but never been told was fresh in my mind; I was excited to see the
sacred isle at last. When I finally set foot there, though, nothing in
particular happened. I found the place at once compelling and unsettling, and a
good fit in an odd way. We stayed for a couple of days, and I vowed to return.
As the next five years unfolded, my anguish over human injustice and
environmental destruction grew, and I delved into eco-feminist writings and
pagan practices; I began a more serious study of mythology and folklore,
especially of the British Isles; and I discovered an ancient, rich world of
queer spirituality that sang to a part of me that had been kicked shut,
intimidated into silence since I was a child. Friends died. I fell in love. My
lucid dreams went off the map. I wrote lots of music. And the legends of Avalon
and the Vesica Piscis took on an ever deepening significance.
[RCW]: I found it interesting that in your "Sister Falling" dream
you are pursuing many religiously charged images, such as the Oriental man being
chased into the Barrow Downs. It's almost as if you have taken the
"Eastern" and planted it in Celtic ground.
[Kingfisher]: The contemplative traditions of both Europe and Asia feel very
similar to me at an essential level, although their practices and even their
intentions can be very different. To my eye, the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth
approximate a kind of radical Buddhist Judaism, without the later Christian
dogma. If you zoom in, there's all sorts of osmosis going on. But Britain is
imbued with the Celts, just like the land where I live is steeped in the lives
of the Miwok and Maidu; it's the flesh-blood-dust-water of a place that finally
ignites the spirit. And the spirit of ancient Britain ignited my dreams,
especially after my trip to Avalon. California ignites me too. I think the
things we need to accomplish, though - mindfulness, non-attachment,
loving-kindness, honoring the Earth and body - are simply human endeavors. East,
west, indigenous, find your fit. As to the Sister Falling dream: I was a
Christian nun trying to talk an old Chinese man out of suicide; we struggled
with an axe and I fell to my death. Go figure!
[RCW]: The songs on Vesica piscis album are quite fascinating. I felt as
though I was really floating on a mist that is particular to the Glastonbury
area, yet universal and accessible to all at the same time. (To readers: you can
hear the Vesica Piscis songs at the web site) How much of this style is
something new to you, or has it evolved over the course of the many years you
have been writing and composing?
[Kingfisher]: The style of music on this album is definitely something I've
evolved into. I've written a lot of music, a lot of different kinds of music - I
have, after all, been playing and writing for 30 years. It's uncommon to see an
artist release their first full-fledged album at 40 - but it's almost as if
until now I was afraid to say what I meant, to be real, to fully surrender to
the process. I wasn't aware of this fear, of course - I was being as real as I
could! I guess I'm just a slow cooker, a late bloomer. This project definitely
has a "coming out" aspect. Thelma and Louise driving off a cliff comes
to mind! I didn't like that film, but at this moment that last scene strikes me
as a beginning. Funny I missed that.
[RCW]: Do you have any advice for other artists who would like to access
their dreams for inspiration?
[Kingfisher]: I don't think inspiration is about effort, it's about making
room. Make a point of remembering your dreams - keep a journal. Learn to do that
and see what comes. Relax and have fun!
[RCW]: Kingfisher, thank you for your time and the wonderful project
[Kingfisher]: Thank you, Richard, for your delightful questions. It's been
The Vesica Piscis Labyrinth, the NADIS system, the music, and access to
ordering CDS are all available at http://www.kingfish.net
Kingfisher * Sadhana Music * Songs of the Kelabim (BMI)
http://www.kingfish.net * http://www.nadis.net
"All day long I have exciting ideas and thoughts. But I take up in my
work only those to which my dreams direct me." -C.G. Jung