On the Legitimacy of the Imaginal Realm
Director's Vision Statement

This film's story acts as a metaphor for my relationship with the Imaginal realm as a place just as real as, and sometimes more real than, the mundane world of physical existence.Personal interaction with the autonomous Muses archetype has inspired many stories, themes and characters in my films but none reflect this inner process quite like OUT OF THE WOODS.

This internal rapport with the Imaginal realm began over fifty years ago as a young boy of six playing outdoor war games with other boys that involved encountering, escaping, and shooting imaginary enemies. My commitment was hundred percent, my heart racing like the wings of angels fluttering over imaginal battlefields. As a teenager in the Sixties, the spirit realms accelerated with regular doses of LSD and cannabis when I sojourned with friends out to the Mojave Desert to trip the light fantastic.

After turning 23, I left childhood war games and teenage drugs behind to began a series of nonstop romances with young women, inflaming the powerful Anima archetype that forced a whole new level of spirit realm interaction. This boy/girl romance ritual went on throughout my twenties and thirties. As intoxicating and thrilling as it was to keep falling in love, over and over again, these deliriums left me emotionally exhausted. Morte importantly, it dispersed my focus and drained the power I needed to create Art, an ongoing passion of mine.

As I entered my forties, I took on a more disciplined, asocial approach to the Imaginal realm through a creative group ritual process I've been developing (since 1977) called Paratheatre. Though I had been doing Paratheatre for the previous fifteen years, I had not yet mastered the medium beyond a more or less self-indulgent process of personal therapy. By applying the trigger methods of Paratheatre with more precision and commitment, I opened up to a whole new dimension of the Imaginal realms where I encountered the Muse archetype.

The idea of “the Muse” and “the Muses” has vexed, haunted, and inspired artists, poets, musicians, book authors, painters, sculptors, and other creatives for aeons. The Muses demand respect. I never call them “my Muses”; if they can be be owned, they are not Muses but ego trips. I call them the Muses for good reason. They come and go on their own accord and schedule. They are not on my watch; I am on their watch. The numinous Muse archetype runs its own impersonal and autonomous agendas beyond the control and the comprehension of anyone courting his, hers, or its favor.

Courting the Muses can sometimes feel like falling madly deeply in love, a delirium ravaging my soul like a rag doll tilt-a-twirling in gale-force winds. And in this feral astral theatre, the Muses witness my little drama unfold with high indifference. No matter how inspiring or stimulating, the action of the Muses creates its own unique stresses on the instrument of self. If I fall sick or suffer pain or collapse and die, the Muses will simply move on to their next vessel. They don't care. The Muses don't care what happens to me; they only care about how well their Presence finds expression through me. If I do not care for the health and maintenance of the instrument of self, the vessel, I become useless to the Muses. Note to self: to stay in relation with the Muses, my chief responsibility must be the maintenance of the instrument of self. To do this, I had to learn how to relate with the Muses with the same indiference they treat me. I need a more workman-like approach and a touch of nonchalance. The Muses are important and they are no big deal.

How can I live in accord with the conditions that are most conducive to keep the Muses interested - how to appeal to the Muses ? I want the Muses to find me appealing. So far this has meant a major housecleaning of the mind. The Muses seem to find my receptivity attractive; the deeper the receptivity, the more attractive I become to them. This means knowing how to pay attention and listen but not just any kind of attention or listening. I must know how to occasionally pay attention without assigning labels or meaning to what I am observing. I must also find true silence within me so I can listen deeply, not just to the words people say but to the tone of their hidden bias and the underlying subtext of emotion.

Staying receptive means dismissing preconceptions as lies of the mind and minimizing all assumptions as buffers to direct perception. Staying receptive means embracing the void as a cosmic nobody; forget about coveting any self-images as "artist" or "creator". The Muses create; I do my best to give that process expression. How to find that place of being unknown to myself? Anyone not interested in living a creative life or staying receptive to the Muses may find these demands next to impossible. For me, they are de rigueur to a life that serves creation.

If I was not artistically inclined and possessed of self-discipline, any notion of interacting with autonomous archetypes, entities, muses, and spirits could easily be misconstrued (or clinically diagnosed) as a schizophrenic episode or some kind of psychotic break. But the truth is, I'm not crazy in that way. To engage those forces that inspire the creation of Art and their products in the world requires a healthy, reality-based ego. Not a big ego but one that constantly checks itself for inflation. As someone wrote somewhere in a book, "to fly higher, plant both feet firmly in the ground."

- Antero Alli








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