A serious outbreak of Actually Existing Work has kept me from blogging recently, but lo, the winter solstice has arrived, and it happens that this year it marks the start of my festive break from the aforementioned Work. So now that I have time to breathe, let me share with you a strange instance of hyperlinked synchronicity, that follows on from the previous post about the great Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and the recent visit of English Heretic to the Shoreline.
As Andy Sharp noted on the English Heretic blog following his visit here, the beach at Saltdean is reached either by flights of steps from the clifftop, or via a tunnel that passes under the cliff:
Every nekyia needs its hypogeal ramp and the beach at Saltdean is reached by a tunnel cut into the cliffs. The shallow descent through the tunnel gives Haunted Shoreline’s perambulations a magical imperative. The beach is cut off from the mundane. As we left the beach through the tunnel, a sign above the entrance showed the numbers 902.
The photo above shows this sign, with the numbers 902; this sign is positioned directly above the entrance to the tunnel, which is officially named the Undercliff Walk:
It acts as a portal – something akin to a wormhole in a sci-fi movie, through which the protagonists will pass and find themselves in some hyperdimensional realm, tangible yet somehow orthogonal to the known space-time continuum. To illustrate this, here is a picture of my daughter, carefully guiding her space cruiser through the undercliff wormhole, and about to emerge onto the beach, the Haunted Shoreline itself:
Andy and I had already pondered the potential significance of the numbers 902, our musings being based around the extensive symbolism of the number 11 (gematria: 9+0+2=11). But after his visit, I found myself returning to the numbers, and also to the figure of Leonora Carrington, whose work had animated our beachcombing explorations that day and haunted my imagination thereafter. And so, on a whim, I typed “leonora carrington 902” into Google.
And this is what I found- the first result:
It’s a page from the website of New York’s famous Metropolitan Art Museum. All the rooms and galleries of the Met are numbered, and Gallery 902 is devoted to… Surrealism.
A curious synchronicity, I thought. But it gets better- it turns out that there is, indeed, a work by Leonora Carrington on display in this gallery, and I was amazed to find that it was the very painting that Andy and I had discussed, her early Self Portrait:
This is one of her best known works and the most direct representation of her curious affinity with the hyena, which she regarded as a kind of personal familiar or totem animal.
Amused and perplexed, I fired off an email to Andy to let him know about this peculiar coincidence, through which the Shoreline current had apparently looped back on itself via cyberspace.
And then, seven minutes after sending the email- and I have the screenshots to prove it- what should happen? Why, this very same painting popped up on my screen, in my Facebook feed. (The painting was posted to Facebook by the Leonora Carrington FB account. I do not know who runs this account – Leonora herself died last year, at the age of 94 – but it would appear to be someone with access to a significant archive of her work, as images of paintings, drawings and sculpture are posted throughout the day, every day. I think the account owner may be based in Mexico, where Leonora Carrington lived for most of her life).
And at that point the tingling electric shiver of the Uncanny was well and truly manifest, crackling through and around me.
Now, I do not attach beliefs to such happenstances. I have written before about the absence of belief in the Shoreline method. But even without attaching any certain meaning or value to synchronicities like these, or to the Shoreline current in general, one can choose to follow a thread and see where it leads.
And so I find myself considering a trip to Mexico.
Mexico is a place I have never visited, but in addition to being Leonora Carrington’s home for most of her life, it featured in a highly significant dream I had early in 2011, many months before I initiated the Shoreline project (or it initiated me, perhaps). This dream was too personal to discuss here, except to mention that it ended with me warding off a snapping dog or fox-like creature..
..dim echoes of Anubis, or Leonora’s hyena.. or maybe this, another of her works, an etching this time:
.. and this strange mesh of symbols, resonances and portents leads me on.. ever further along the Shoreline, ever further down the wormhole.