That was the deep uncanny mine of souls.
Like veins of silver ore, they silently
moved through its massive darkness.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, ‘Orpheus. Eurydike. Hermes.’
PYROCLAST is an ongoing metamorphosis and healing process rooted half in reality, half in the unseen. A digger journeying through nocturnal visions, I always carried a mysterious and deep ocean within, a powerful forge. Intuition and guidance come to me in dreams, and I started to archive mine and practice oneiromancy as a young child. My rich inner world is like a golden abyss, a whale rising from the depths to breathe under moonlight. The place where I sleep is my own sibylline oracular shrine, or sleep temple. I enter it with reverence to incubate, then transcribe the messages of such chthonian realms in a poetic way. Sentences, animal guides, otherworldly guardians, and intuitive truths are collected like treasures.
A man is asleep in front of me. He has two pairs of eyelids and removes one to awaken. He gives it to me and I ingest it. Some gold drops are weeping from a fracture in dark earth and turn into small golden bones. The man takes these bones in his hand and puts them back into the fracture. I feel that it is because time has not come yet, to let the gold out. Incubation and maturation still take place. I then see him as a master of ceremony, at the end of a table that has shadows as guests. In front of each one, a head lies on a plate, and they all start to eat. In disgust, I taste the head in front of me, removing layers of skin. To my surprise, it tastes very good, sweet. I reach the skull and check the teeth. I now realise that I am eating a wolf’s head. The man is asleep again, and, again, he awakens by offering me the eyelids keeping him blinded, so I ingest them. While doing it, he says to me:
“Each time you will awaken, I will have put somebody else to sleep.”
I then hear a voice saying:
“Human warmth. Please.”
I am walking on a path in the woods under blue moonlight. I see a beautiful man in the middle of the path, with brown hair, a beard, and shiny eyes. He is staring at me without being threatening. I approach him and see wolves moving from one side of the mountain to the other like a river, but running silently, and with a lot of grace. I am now close to the man and whisper:
“I, too, want to become a wolf.”
I then caress his cheek and soft beard with my own cheek, eyes closed, feeling but bliss. I open my eyes and see that his cheek is covered with fur, and that he is a grey wolf. We are soulmates that bring warmth to each other.
I pick up a heart-shaped leaf resembling a butterfly. It is red and shiny like flesh. I contemplate it with a smile and walk in a tree-lined avenue, bathed in the sun. A gentle young and blonde man follows me and smiles, too. I offer him the leaf.
On a cliff I see a strange creature vaguely resembling a deer. I know it is a female and see two human legs come out of her chest. The creatures glows and seems to be absorbing the moonlight, peacefully. Grace and peace surround her. I also know that she ingests the human element and say to myself:
“The process of assimilation is taking place.”
I flee a small village in the middle of vast forests, because the people are cruel and oppressive. When they fall asleep, I head towards the woods. On a mountain path, a mythical being rides on a white horse in my direction. A warrior dressed in a white samurai outfit, he wears a white cotton mask on the entire face. A voice says:
and I understand that only those to whom the message is intended, see him.
“He is indispensable here.”
His presence is imposing, otherworldly. We face each other in silence, and communicate without a word. He warns me to be careful and awaken my inner fighter, and I understand that he will be my secret ally from now on. Then he withdraws, gallops reversed, on a horse now black.
White cats on a hill during full moon. They run silently like a fog’s wave, softly, and some lie down here and there. Nearby, one of them covers another dead one with a shroud. I take the dead cat with me, and bury it with its weapons. He was a warrior.
A woman sets a dog on fire. His fur in flames, he runs erratically as if he was looking for something important he lost. It was a kind of German Shepherd dog, with long hair. I see him approaching some pool of dark stagnating water, and he is scared to enter the water despite him being a walking torch. When he finally dives, I realise he is metamorphosing. It isn’t a Shepherd dog anymore, but a big black dog, a Cane Corso. He never screamed or expressed pain while burning.
Strangers who want me to die try to drown me in a lake. Everytime I try to surface, they make sure I cannot breathe. Underwater and panicking, I inhale water, feel its taste and temperature invade my lungs. It seems that I’m about to die. To my surprise, I am sirenlike and able to breathe underwater. Now sitting at the bottom of the lake, peaceful and light-hearted, I watch the malevolent shadows of these people waiting for me to surface. I let them believe that they killed me, all while enjoying my newly discovered powers.
I am on a spiral staircase in a chamber full of magma with a stern guide. I feel the walls tremble and know something is wrong. The person says to me not to worry, that nothing will happen. He says the sounds I hear are the Earth’s heartbeats. I listen carefully to each heartbeat that shocks the walls. The trembling escalates and I know the volcano will explode, but my guide is in denial. Everything starts to collapse. We are blocked off and cannot reach the surface anymore. The guide realises that I was right all the time but it is too late. The walls are destroyed by magma and the guide is killed, while I swim in the lava unaffected and reach the surface. The sky is black, the volcano hurls pyroclasts, and I hear Buddhist monks singing. They seem not to be able to survive the eruption, their voices disappearing. I see an animal running and climb on its back, whispering directions in its ear so we can escape the fury of the volcano. The animal trusts me and obeys. I hear the word
A crocodile in a small river stands on his two back legs like a human would. He stares at me with his black eyes while bones start to appear on his body; a metamorphosis is taking place. I run toward the woods on the mountain while I hear a voice saying,
[ Phoneme cutting the head in two ]
I am deep in earth, in a cave full of clear water. A crowd of skeletons swims at the surface, so I decide to dive to escape them. Beautiful bioluminescent plants grow on the floor, I pick some then crawl towards a door.
[ Shore (Icarus) ]
A woman stands in the middle of square-shaped graves filling one of them with soil. Occasionally she stops to pick a feather from the ground, cleans it, then puts it at the top of a pile of feathers she keeps nearby. They seem very precious to her.
[Our faces printed in the snow]
A friend metamorphoses into a fox. I follow him into a tunnel he has been digging in the snow. The season for creating a burrow, a home, has come. He digs with his forelegs, then suddenly freezes: we realise we are in a city and the ground is too hard to dig and create a nest. He watches his paws in despair. We both feel sad that our instincts have been thwarted. Nature is calling us back.
[ Shelter created by a stranger ]
I am in a black corridor. In front of me, in the distance, I see an enormous orange sun. Below me I see an abyss. I am hanging onto a rope over the abyss, and swing from one rope to the next, trying to reach the sun. For that I need to leave each rope behind and jump into the unknown with no safety net. Every time I jump I hope there will be another rope to grasp onto so as not to fall into the dark depths. My whole being is focused on the sun.
I see two wild children, trapped and kept hostages by adults. I fight to free them. An authoritarian woman says that the prisoners will be able to live if they act docile. Another child, male, has been sent into exile above the clouds for decades because he has the power to create entire worlds through sheer force of will, and the adults fear him more than anything. He understands life’s visible and hidden layers and is a demiurge. I see him bathed in light, he creates a luminous tower summoning up the force of his mind. I am suddenly in the young boy’s body and mind. We morph into one being and I feel the luminous tower in my own mind. We are both turned inward, while the external tower grows. An unshakable power seems to be rising, absolutely unperturbed by external attempts to thwart it.
IN THE CRATER,
In an ancient, underground temple, there is an exhausted and sick lion in a rusty cage that sits on a pedestal. The cage is too small for him, but I have the key. I free him and he jumps out. He immediately goes down some stairs, and, as he moves away from the pedestal, he begins recovering his old flamboyance and power. He appears to be burning now, and I can see his powerful muscles. He stands on his two back legs and spits a fireball into a hole on the right side of a huge door made of stone. I can’t see what is behind this door, it is all a black abyss. On the left side of the door I see a shadow. The shadow moves toward another hole in the wall and I feel it wanting me to approach and enable something. I put my finger in a ring that I see in the hole, and pull it out. The ring is fixed to a chain connected to an apparatus that rolls out a scroll covered with characters in an unknown language. Intuitively, I understand that the scroll recomposed itself, that its separate parts had been hidden inside the bellies of animals in order to protect them from the pillaging of the city that took place. The lion and the shadow are supportive and calm. Before I can cross the threshold of the dark door, I first have to understand this mysterious language.
I walk in the woods, on a snow-covered path in the mountain. I wear almost no clothes and carry no bag, do not know where I go. The sun is setting and I worry about finding a shelter before night. A white wolf appears in front of me, soon followed by his pack. I form a circle gesture with my hand, my forefinger touching the thumb, then I hand it to him. He takes my hand into his maw, canine teeth in the circle. He doesn’t hurt me. We remain silently bonded, face to face, and close our eyes.
I am now summoned by Anubis. When I arrive in front of him my arms become covered with shiny scales, precious stones, and feathers. I then start flying and feel very comfortable in his presence.
A panther walks next to my river. The night is dark, but wild grass glistens. A child tries to cross the river to come with me, but is suddenly attacked by a boar. I jump in the water, fight the boar and rescue the drowning child. When I give him the kiss of life, he transforms into a cat, awakens, and starts to lick my face with gratitude.
[ My milk teeth, my cat’s milk tooth, my dog’s milk tooth ]
All photographs are available as limited edition museum quality prints to collectors.
1. Unique edition. Found photograph, Sanguisorba leaf picked in a wild mountain meadow (stops bleeding), wild solid gold that I collected in a river, wild forest moth legs (natural departure).
2. Unique edition. Ancient found postcard with wild solid gold that I collected in a river (glued on the eye), and flower petals harvested in Norway’s landscapes by my best friend.