The first strike on the Neptune Gong is a rising wave of icy water that breaks and splashes off the face of the metal. Cold and drenched, I open my eyes to find myself standing in a dark, wood lined bar. Not the busy sort of tourist bar you find at the side of any harbour, but the back-street one you find down a narrow alley hidden behind old warehousing and long-empty fish markets.
It smells of tobacco smoke, beer and fish. As my eyes adjust to the dim light from a fire burning steadily in the corner, I can see an old man with a bushy yellowing beard sitting at a back table. He’s wearing a heavy dark-blue coat with the collar up around his neck, I’m sure I can see a wisp of seaweed hanging from one pocket. There’s a half drunk pint of heavy ale in front of him, along with a whisky chaser.
He nods at me and his eyes indicate the vacant seat opposite. By the time I get there another glass of ale is waiting for me. Up close, his face is ancient and leathery, his beard wild but clean, his eyes like bright jewels against his brown weathered skin. I hear words in my head but his lips do not move, I see visions in front of me even with my eyes open. There are heavy seas with waves taller than buildings, there are wild white horses storming the beaches, There are salacious nymphs sitting naked on the rocks, waiting for sailors to fall for their charms.
He tells me of oceans teaming with fish of all sorts and of the reckless adventures of mortals seeking new lands. He shows me that the abundance of the sea is tempered by the treachery of the storms and the cunning of the thick fogs. I feel the fear of being lost in the depths, my body cold and swollen. Even in that small room, warm with the yellow flames from the logs, tendrils of cold from the sea creep in and clutch at my face.
At last he shows me that trust is the key, trust in him and you will be safe. Trust in him and abundance will flow. Trust in him and the earthly pleasures of creation are available.
He controls it all. From the dark bar, down the alley.
Behind the old fish market.
John and June Shapter, Healing Sound Practitioners and founders of The Chiron Institute UK