"I am seeking a distant point at the origin of creation; where I sense a single formula for … all the forces surrounding us." Paul Klee



It began with a Tarot card reading on a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 1977. High on magic mushroom tea and worrying about the future, Kay came clambering in through the first floor window on a mission to read our fortunes. Our first visitor since installing our only means of entry – a warped, wobbly ladder. At the time I was a squatter living behind barricades. Not wanting to appear ungrateful, I accepted her offer.

Kay proceeded to lay down ten cards in a spiral pattern she called the Tree of Life. She intimated an adjacent, shadow layout, a Tree of Knowledge mirroring and preceding the first. A quarter of the way down each spiral she missed out a card, calling this the abyss, the place of transmutation. At which point my mind instantly grasped what it was showing.

It was a two-dimensional mnemonic for a double helix – DNA hidden in plain sight.




Over the ensuing months I scoured libraries and bookshops in the vain hope of finding this enigma explained. In exasperation I took a three-month sabbatical and using felt tip pens on graph paper I fleshed out the first draft of this work. I then began to solicit feedback. Adults quickly lost interest within the first few pages. Kids, on the other hand, fell into a reverie and generally sped up towards the end. Not the outcome I had anticipated but possibly the one that makes most sense.

I put the work to one side and tried to forget about it. The eviction had been called off and I was now devoting all my time to the setting up and success of housing co-operatives.

Then one day I was aimlessly wandering the aisles of my local Borders Bookshop and my eyes fell upon two books, sitting side by side, that gave me goosebumps.

One concerned “DNA and the I Ching – unlocking the code of the universe” by Katya Walter, whose synopsis read: “evidence of a Master Plan in which God is the all-encompassing pattern present in all life”.

The other, “The Tao and the Tree of Life” by Eric Steven Yudelove came with the following recommendation: “This unique text reveals for the first time the fascinating parallels between the Hebrew and Western Traditions of Cabbala and Taoist Internal Alchemy”.

Of course neither author made reference to a third connection but between them the proposition had all but been made. By way of an unwanted Tarot card reading I had stumbled upon a serendipitous synchronicity between the ultimate leitmotif of molecular biology and arguably the most ‘sacred’ of symbols for the meaning of life.


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