Excerpt: Lennon #9 Dream

From “Rock Commentaries”

1971: Shaved Fish: #9 Dream

John Lennon achieved some greatness apart from the Beatles. Together with “Mind Games” on Shaved Fish, the dream is a celebration of the mystery rite of love:

So long ago

Was it in a dream?

Was it just a dream?

I know oh yes I know

Seemed so very real

Seemed so real to me

Took a walk down the street

Through the heat whispered trees

I thought I could hear,

Hear, hear.

Somebody called out my name

As it started to rain

Two spirits dancing so strangely

[Ah! bawa kawa, posse posson]

Dream, dream away

Magic in the air. Was Magic in the air?

I believe, yes I believe

What more can I say

On a river of sound

Through the mirrors go round and round

I thought I could feel, feel, feel, feel

Music touching my soul

Something warm sudden cold

The spirit dance was unfolding

   The poem describes a very mysterious and beautiful experience involving love and rain. The song is said to have come to Lennon in a dream. At first he says he knows, at least that it seemed so very real, but then he admits, that he believes, and what more can he say?

   He was walking down the street in the heat, when he heard someone call out his name, and then they met as it started to rain, and their dance was like the spirits dance, as love brings the two to participate in what is like the dance of spirits, within the harmony of things lost from the beginning, in a conjunction of conscious and unconscious mind that is like walking in a waking dream. The harmony can apparently be entered briefly by two in love, and it is this brief contact that makes them both wish that the dance were permanent, and seek to recover the lost harmony in the end. But it is here that for a moment the divided human being can be as if whole, when the two participate in or incarnate the life of the soul which, if it were in one, would be the perfected soul. They are out of their minds, and at the same time more in them than they are likely to be again. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet dance like the two hands of a praying saint, and it is on this higher perfection that love depends for its magic. The two together and the singular soul are both in turn images of the Most High, or show what it means that the soul is an image of God, since here the overflow of the image allows indirect vision, by reflection. In love, the intelligible enters the visible, and so, some very strange things happen, as is commonly reported.

   Here is a nice note from one called Linclink on Steve Hoffman’s Music Forum:

In a weird synchronicity…there are two threads here tonight one on songs with “Sha La La” in them & one on the meaning of John Lennon’s #9 Dream chorus- “Ah! bowakawa pousse’ pousse'”
Well, here we go…when I was living in NYC (’94-’00) I deeply immersed myself in your basic do it yourself basement Shamanism…the mantra I made up was to evoke Love & Magic & it was “Sha La La, Ah Bowakawa Pousee Pousee; Ah Bowakawa Pousee Pousee Sha La La”, or if you prefer “Ah Bowakawa Pousee Pousee, Sha La La; Sha La La, Ah Bowakawa Pousee Pousee”.
The Sha La La was meant to evoke Love, as it’s been used in so many songs as something so jubilant & joyful, and the Lennon phrase because it came to him in a dream, but I had heard, though he didn’t know this, that it was an incantation & I used that to invoke Magic.
Well I became friends with a non-native New Yorker, from which country in Africa I sadly can’t recall the detail of, & when we were talking about mysticism one day I happened to tell him about the incantation/mantra I’d made up. His eyes got huge & he exclaimed, “How in the world do you know about ‘Ah Bowakawa Pousee Pousee’?!?!”. I explained it was from a John Lennon song, & while he didn’t elaborate a whole lot (he was fairly busy that day with customers) he confirmed that it was most certainly a phrase used in some non-Western, non-White (meaning race, not White vs. Black Magic) form of Mysticism/Shamanism. He used to call me by that name, as in “Hey ‘Ah Bowakawa Pousee Pousee’!!”, and get this huge grin on his face when he did so. He was very surprised & amused that any White New Yorker would have had any contact with this.
It came to Lennon in a dream, but it was a very Mystical dream, & I wish I could recall all the details (maybe I’ll look it up again someday), but he said he thought it was just a nice sounding phrase. I think it was a Magical phrase that was delivered to him. “#9 Dream” cracked the top ten (made it to #9 actually) & put a Magical incantation out across the airwaves (which I believe is VERY powerful medicine for the world), just as he might have done in the 60’s had “Across The Universe” ever become the hit single it should have been with “Jai Guru Deva Om”.

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