My name is Parsifal Solomon. I am what you might call an artist and healer, with a strong leaning towards sacred clown. A fool, at least half the time. I like the earth, and culture which comes from living close to it. At its most fundamental level, my reality is made of meaning and nonsense merging: the healing life force sometimes feels like a kind of therapy of the absurd. This human experience is multidimensional, full of love, surprises, and mystery, and ultimately infinite.
I live in the strange and magical town of Glastonbury. I sing, I dance, I draw, I perform bardic spell poems, I work on the land. I am deeply engaged in men’s work. Always I feel I am building towards a more communal life, of shared power and circular connection, to humans and beyond, and doing my bit to help health along these growing connections.
I have lived a very full life, and done and been many things: visual artist, writer, voice artist, performer, party organiser, surrealist, pataphysician, mobile burlesque peepshow proprietor, ‘Commander of Special Operations’ and global ambassador (marketing a global gin brand), even short stints in architecture and landscape gardening. But for many years, I have been dedicated to inner work and connection with the earth, and more recently, bringing what I have learnt to others.
I have seen the world, and myself, from many different perspectives, and have had a long journey of learning to balance them all. They are all true, though most seem wildly improbable or overwhelmingly fluid to the conditioning I grew up with and am still learning to move beyond.
I grew up in London. When I was 15 I had a spontaneous epiphany, my ego just dissolved while reading a book called Zen and Reality, and I felt the infinite bliss of being absolutely one with everything. At my most open, it was shut down with great force and extremely harshly by my father. I spent a lot of time searching for this experience again, but was always frustrated, and so I found myself turning more and more to other aspects of the world.
From art school I ended up throwing parties, performing, and drinking a lot. I created an image of myself, as a performance and as armour, which helped me express certain aspects of my young man very well, although it totally blinded me to many others. I clung on to this persona for more than ten years – it was how I earnt money, related to people and myself, lived. But by the end it became more and more restrictive, and confusing. Nothing was right in my life, though I was so good at staying on the surface and limiting my vision that I couldn’t really feel it let alone express it. I felt totally stuck in very old patterns. I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t create, I couldn’t concentrate, my mind was a whirl of negativity, I couldn’t get in touch with my feelings or my body, I couldn’t perform, I couldn’t form a romantic relationship, I was constantly terrified I’d be found out as a fraud…
The repression I had inherited from my family was incredibly strong. It kept at bay many generations of horrors: of concentration camp sexual abuse, militarised imperialist masculinity, and a lot of neglect and abuse. But it was strangling me.
Both my parents died within a short space of time. They received their diagnoses of terminal cancer on the same day, though my father hung on to life for a year and a half after my mother; they both died with very different attitudes. I had already taken the first steps back into my inner world: this was the unmistakeable, and unrefusable, call to go deeper.
I left my job and moved to a little cottage in Suffolk, and turned to the earth, and my inner world. I worked a lot with psychedelic plant and animal medicines, including Ayahuasca, Peyote, Huachuma, Bufo, Kambo, Hapé, and Cannabis. I spent a lot of time in the jungle in Peru and Brazil, studying the medicines and traditions of the people there. My deepest connection is with the Yawanawá tribe. I assist some of their ceremonies in the UK.
I held a funeral for my old identity: I dug a grave, read a eulogy for all his joys and pains, in front of two friends wearing masks of my parents’ faces, then took off my clothes and got covered by heavy cold earth – except for my face so I could breathe. I lay there until I was cooked.
It was the earth who whispered me my new name. Like a fool, I tried to negotiate, but the voice was clear, and insistent, and felt like it came from a power it would be foolish to argue with – besides, the very power I had come asking for help from. “Ok,” I said, “Parsifal Solomon. Er, it’s a bit ridiculous…”
“Yes it is. What did you expect, to go through a ceremony like this and be given an ordinary name? Now get on with it…”
I went on the road, I studied Hypnotherapy, Voice, Clowning, Shamanism in various forms, Chi Gung and many other healing modalities. I learnt new ways of being and relating. I walked a lot,I prayed a lot. I was ripped open, ground down, torn to shreds, and, eventually, slowly put back together, new. I explored the landscapes I found myself in, ever deeper under their skin and mine. I saw how much pain I carried from my ancestors, and how much of the pain of the world and others I had accepted to carry, and it took me a long time to release this. I saw I contained experiences of other lives within this one, and what they meant for me in the here and now.
I landed in Glastonbury, and the strong medicine of the land here, and the town, put me in a pressure cooker and turned up the heat. I studied and chanted (and still do) with the Nihang Sikhs, fiercely free and deeply loving mystic warriors. I walked the dragons back home and reopened energy blockages in the land. I continue to find new ways of being with my wounding, deepening my presence, helping others, and enjoying life. 🙂