"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 graciously accepted the 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. In a flash of insight, I ‘knew’ its name.

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 taking felt tip pens and graph paper I sketched out this work. Applying the geometric ‘rules’ of the above mnemonic I back-tracked the movement to uncover the increasingly simpler antecedent stages. Zeno’s binary tree and Pythagoras’s tetractys.

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. So I put the work to one side and tried to forget about it. The eviction had been called off and I was now engaged in the pragmatic business of setting up a housing co-operative.

Many years later I found myself aimlessly wandering the aisles of my local Borders Bookshop and my gaze fell upon two books sitting side by side in the New Age section.

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 – DNA and the Tree of Life – 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 an arguably ancient ‘sacred’ symbol for the meaning of life.


So here it is. Those early sketches transfigured through photoshop into a work of art that may or may not be whispering the true name of God. For a hard copy of this work please contact the author.

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