Esoteric SMiLE Elements
By Rasmus Skotte

D i s c l a i m e r:

  • "Radiant Radish" was the name of a healthfood store, co-owned by Brian Wilson from the summer af '69 until one year later.
  • For those who want to explore more of the spiritual applications inherent in SMiLE (BWPS) 2004 - here is a good place to start: Chris Allen's fanzine Open Sky # seven from that same year.
  • You'll find a SMiLE essay by Peter Reum (PR7), called Light The Lamp in the form of an interview conducted by Chris Allen: www.vandykeparks.com/miscfiles/opensky.html. The accompanying illustration is a painting by Chloe Cummings (on page 4 - here it's figure III): bobtonexador.smugmug.com/photos/199746798_mD6h6-O.jpg).
  • There's the essay Surfing Saints Sunrise by Bill Tobelman (BT7) and another fine illustration (on page 45) from corelDRAW clip art, referred to here as fig. II (as re-edited by me): img38.imageshack.us/img38/6721/deeppeace.jpg. Radiant RayDIODish points towards a unifying link between Peter's spiritual (mainly Judeo-Christian) SMiLE analysis and Bill's spiritual (mainly Zen-Buddhistic) SMiLE interpretations.
  • My own SMiLE trip has lasted 10 years - on and off, evolving around the possible visualizations of Brian's work on SMiLE. One of my intuitive approaches is best examplified by quoting a phrase coined in 2004 by Alex Farquharson in this Brian/SMiLE allegory: "... creative hubris with echoes of Icarus and Doctor Faustus". The notion of a Faustian Brian Wilson was the key element of my own bio-pic, Daft Beach Movie from 2003: www.earcandymag.com/daftbeachmovie.htm
  • The similar elements in the legends of 'Icarus Flight' or a 'Phoenix Rising' (see fig. I, C4) are highlighted in my Mrs. O'Leary's Cow-musicvid from 2006: video.healthhaven.com/find.aspx?keyword=honest+arnie%27s#item0
  • See also fig. III and combine it with the following Brian quote: "I wanted to jump off the ladder... and fly" (Wilson 1999).
  • Brian Wilson's three LSD-trips (Wilson 1999) are staged too in this video (just like in Daft Beach Movie) as they were an integral part of his search for spiritual enlightenment. From seeing God on the street (in the first acid trip): The old man falling over. Being consumed by flames (in the second one) and then regressing beyond egg-stage: The 'Furthur' fire-fighting cow being rescued as a reborn: re-juvenated. And finding enlightenment in the final trip: the sunrise scene (BT7).
  • After my work on Daft Beach Movie I learned that we can all be Faustian Seekers and walk that ladder (fig. III) like 'dumb angels' but it takes an Icarus-character like Brian's to jump off the ladder and really fly.
  • My similar conclusion after having done Dumb Angel Fairy Tale (www.earcandymag.com/dumbangelfairytale.htm) is that we can all be like the fairytale prince of our own 'radio kingdoms' once we have turned on the magic receiver - tuning in and 'listening in the dark'. But only a creative Genius such as Brian Wilson can be like "the Pied Piper from the Faraway Land of Night" and bring us the magic music and messages!
  • For us amateur SMiLEologists hoping to have been the ones to reconstruct SMiLE for the world, it seemed like poetic justice when we were overtaken in our pursuits by the originators themselves (completing SMiLE in 2004).
  • It also made me understand that I had been given my own life a cinematic treatment in the same process. The 'evil queen' and the absent father resembled my own foster home in many ways. I was born in the same kingdom as H.C. Andersen which could explain why I was that inspired by fairytales and urban legends in general, and Brian Wilson's in particular. Maybe it's because I'm "living in one of those frosty foreign countries" (PR7) - in this case Scandinavia. But then again so did the common Love/Wilsons forefather (White 1994).
    Or maybe I'm just one of those 'Hawthorne Bunthornes' as lovingly diagnosed by Andy O'Brien: www.earcandymag.com/fanthropology-rpr1.htm
  • Psycho-analytically speeking ('psycho-babbling') we've found (us) Bri@nalysts/SMiLEologists examine Wilson as if trying to catch up with him - see through his original intuition and intensions and thereby overtake him?!
  • "The wisdom of the recluse, of the Delphic oracle, of, oh, let's say Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. And in addition, in the eyes of the record-buying public he possessed something which was not to be found in Delphi or the California surf: viz., the wisdom of the East" (Rushdie 1999). Althought the artist known as "he" is actually the protagonist in Rushdie's novel, the description applies just as well to the mid-nineteensixties' Brian Wilson in my own experience having sought out the answers - and (me) finding them delivered almost on a silver plate!
In short: I've had a case of SMiLE affliction and auto-theraputically been making SMiLE-flicks as well as (lately) writing stuff like this.


There are some unique spiritual insights into the 'Life Symphony' that is SMiLE (PR7) to be found.
Bill Tobelman's SMiLE theory is presented in great details here: pages.cthome.net/tobelman/index.htm
In the 3-way top-down A/B/C-heading of fig. I, Bill's evaluations are titled to the left of the forward slashes: www.dywizjadania.dk//data/images/flag/Smile%202.doc
The 7Rays/7planes/chacras(/octave) overlaps have been mapped out by Theosophical visionary Mark Sullivan (in private messages). The 7 layers/levels correspond also in pairs: 1 with 7, 2/6, 3/5 with 4 as the centerpiece where Spirit and Matter meet and integrate. So maybe the octave scale should be distributed like this: 7:do, 6:re, 5:mi, 4:fa/sol, 3:la, 2:ti (bi) and 1:do?
The three SMiLE movements as christened by Peter Reum are highlighted to the right af the slashes.
If we take the SMiLE centerpiece Surf's Up (fig. I, B4) they are both in agreement that this is where "the Seeker meets God and is transformed~one one Wonderful... a common word word used throughout SMiLE" (PR7). The only difference here being that from Tobelman's perspective, within Wonderful it's the female Seeker, while with Surf's Up it's still the male one.
Here are some spiritual SMiLE statements by Brian Wilson as quoted by Peter Reum (PR7):

"Music is God's voice"
"I can be like a flute, and God plays me"
"I don't know how the process works, I just know it's magic"


Bill Tobelman reconstructs a simpler 'Book-end SMiLE, consisting of the 4 original 'sandbox songs' (fig. I, A2/A7 and B1 backed with B4) which with the Fire and Water elements of the final book-end (C4/5) incorporate all the major spiritual themes represented in SMiLE.
Finally he zooms in on those last two BWPS songs (Mrs. O'Leary's Cow/In Blue Hawaii) as constituting a miniature SMiLE in themselves: pages.cthome.net/tobelman/The_Out-Of-Sight_SMiLE_Site.html
I was inspired by this revelation, when I developed a music video out of that very combo (augmented by Cabin Essence) in an effort to visualize the humour (PR7) and meaningful mysteries (BT7) of SMiLE. I also tried to infuse these qualities into both Wind Chimes and Vega-Tables: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRHQ4-L5P7k
In comparison Mario Ayala does his miniature SMiLE video in another setting: theelements.ca/hnv/heroesandvillains.htm


The whole SMiLE song cycle can happen another way (to paraphrase Brian Wilson in 1966) and still showcase the search for a Spiritual Holy Grail, which is what I tried to establish in the SMiLE feature fantasyfilm from 2004:
Dumb Angel Fairy Tale is a movie divided into 7 suites/chapters (broken down in fig. I, Across). The SMiLE music and songs are interspersed with music and spoken words from Mt. Vernon and Fairway (1973): The fairytale of the Pied Piper, the Prince and the Magic Transistor Radio (with the green 'ray-diods' radiating from the 'radio-dish' as alluded to in the title of this essay): www.earcandymag.com/dumbangelfairytale.htm


One of the endearing qualities of Brian Wilson is his genuine childlike innocence characteristic also of his PP-personas: Pied Piper, Peter Pan and lately of the 'Petite Prince' (an alleged inspiration for his latest song cycle, That Lucky Old Sun - Capitol Records 2008).

Fig. II seeks an esoteric explanation as to why BWPS is subdivided into 3 (movements) multiplied by seven (songs): img38.imageshack.us/img38/6721/deeppeace.jpg

Follow the red sun (BT7) moving clockwise and you'll find 'The Seven Rays' radiating into each individual - here it's Brian (and Van Dyke Parks). This BrianEssence/Cabinessence (David James 1999) is then grounded upon the bottom black bar, representing the SMiLE incarnations within it's timeframe from the midsixties (right) into its fulfillingness 2003/4 (left) and then finally blossoming into BWPS - branching out into it's 3 movements. And from each of those limbs beam the 7 songs - once more reflecting "the seven rays".
Within his reference to The Little Prince it would seem that Brian has now fusioned the two distinct characters from Mt. Vernon & Fairway fairytale: That lucky Old(est) Son out of the 3 little princes (having survived his 2 brothers) AND the part of the Pied Piper from the Faraway Land of Night (Asteroid B-612/the Never Never Land?). He is in fact NOW both of them - merged into ONE.


Table III holds the same elements as fig. II (though less abstract). The tree and the sun (Brian Wilson representations) the black earth and SMiLE in the shape of 'Dumb Angels'. And adding a ladder.
"I wanted to jump off the ladder... and fly" (Wilson 1999). And maybe "sail right into the sun" like Brian sings on Sail Plane Song (1968). These imaginations appear to have been perfectly illustrated in Chloe Cummings' painting, Light The Lamp: (bobtonexador.smugmug.com/photos/199746798_mD6h6-O.jpg). Brian masked as 'that lucky old son/sun' in spiritual enlightenment (the essence of Brian) has already jumped off the ladder and is sitting up a tree (another Brian-essence as per 'A Day In The Life Of A Tree' 1971). He's like Petite Prince on asteroid B-612 in a beobab tree which would grow into 3 movements/treetrunks each branching out with (up to) 7 songs spreading all over. "and if the planet is too small... the planet explodes" (The Little Prince, 1944).

"I'm a leaf on a windy day - pretty soon I'll be blown away" (from 'Till I Die 1971). We can see that "the children know the way" (Surf's Up) and are walking what seems like 'Jacob's ladder' like little 'dumb angels' thereby (v)indicating SMiLE. But for Brian Wilson who after Pet Sounds and later the SMiLE project was on top of the production race, it could just as well represent the career ladder he wanted out of and finally jumped. Brian Wilson's favorite fairytale is Jack and the Beanstalk. This makes sense in relation to Cummings' illustration and my own interpretations. In Rosemary Wells' adaptation (DK Ink Book, 1997), Jack lives with his mother and their cow (much like Mrs. O'Leary's - see "Deus Pax Machina"). Earlier a giant had plucked up his father to take him home into the clouds. Jack is now asked to sell the cow, but instead he exchanges it for some magic beans. One of them grows into a beanstalk reaching up into the sky - right outside Jack's attic. He climbs it (like he "[s]tripped the stalk green" from Vega-Tables - DPM again). He finds the Giant's castle.

The second time he enters it, he finds his father (who is being kept there as a prisoner) singing and playing a harp which has an angel as its frame. They are all grabbed by the giant until the angel frowns - making her strings 'shrill and twang worse than underworld ghosts'. The giant drops them as a result. Here it's a magic bean leading to the mysterious music while in MT. Vernon it's the magic green radio. Jacob's ladder becomes Jack's ladder. Sometimes Brian is like Jack - sometimes he's like the father/Pied Piper. Just like his own father resembles the Beanstalk father - other times more like the giant Ogre. "... and his father taught Jack how to play songs of love and loneliness on the Wonderful harp." (Wells, 1997). "There was that transistor up in the same tree. Then from inside of it came a strange voice: "Hello, I'm the Pied Piper from the faraway land of night" (Brian Wilson from Mt. Vernon & Fairway, 1973). Or in the words of Gary Pig Gold (quoted from 'Wonderful' in Fishwrap 2001):

"... The numbers, the chalk,
T-shirts cut-off
and a pair of headboard angels
who spoke of many things:
the mother and father,
the magic, the Piper,
the once-gold locket
dulled and silent,
its kinda sad radios
no glowing, showboating..."


"Love to say DA" {Dumb Angels}/DA - in {Descending Arpeggios}: This is the musical watermark heard in the 4-noted figure moving down from the main tone (do-bi-la-sol) - most prominently found in the SMiLE cornerstones of Prayer, the Surf's Up-coda and the Good Vibrations-chorus:"I'm pickin' up GOOD" (Love to say Da-da and Dumb Angel being working titles for In Blue Hawaii and SMiLE respectively).
Each description in the 21 boxes of table I, can be used for meditating and/or visualizing purposes, while listening to the corresponding selections of music - preferably in the dark using earphones as is always the sound advice from Brian Wilson himself! Or you can just use the charts as inspiration if you want to explore the spiritual levels of SMiLE: www.dywizjadania.dk//data/images/flag/Smile%202.doc

Or imagine the ladder from fig. III as being the three movements in fig. I. Like 3 ladders side by side. Once you've experienced one movement you can jump off the ladder and fly to the top of the next movement.
The following esoteric prayer/blessing by William Sharp is also the key element of the new rendition of DAFTfilm's Elemental Suite:

Deus Pax Machina

Deep Peace of the Running Waves to you
Deep Peace of the Flowing Air to you
Deep Peace of the Quiet Earth to you
Deep Peace of the Shining Stars to you
Deep Peace of the Son Of Peace to you

Another variation of the same concept can be found in an olde Irish blessing. Again inspired by the 4 elements leading up to the quintessence in the 5'th line:

May the Road rise to meet you
May the Wind be always at your back
May the Sun shine warm upon your face,
and the Rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again - may God hold you in the hollow of his hand

My final example of a blessing 'in disguise' is created by contemporary singer/songwriter Chris English in his hymn 'God is in the Silence' (a conclusion similar to the one I reached in the on-line musicvid Deus Pax Machina) from his 2008 album Dreamtown (on sideBmusic). In this song he updates the tradition of the 5 elements - but now coming through the modalities of the 5+ senses (sight/inwards seeing, hearing/inner voice listening, touch and taste/smell).
In the following few lines he may very well ALSO have summed up - successfully how the esoteric SMiLE experience was conceived of (BT7) by Brian Wilson.


"I climbed the mountain
I searched the skies
And on the ocean
I closed my eyes
No hesitation my heart is free

I heard the thunder
I felt the fire
I tasted raindrops
I heard the choir

Where have I been - where will I be
When will I ever hear the voice inside of me..."

Original sources on paper:

Open Sky # seven (quite!) from 2004 edited by Chris Allen
David James: The Essence Of Brian (1999) from the book 'SMiLE Sun Sand And Pet Sounds' edited by Stephen J McParland
Brian Wilson: Wouldn't It Be Nice (1999). 'Autobiography' with Todd Gold
Timothy White: The Nearest Faraway Place (1994)
Alex Farquharson: Brian Wilson - An Art Book (2004)
Bill Tobelman: SMiLE (1997) Pamphlet
Bill Tobelman: A New Interpretaion of SMiLE. Essay in Endless Summer Quarterly #41 (1997)
Bill Tobelman: Brian Wilson's SMiLE - Mysteries Full Of Meaning. Essay in
E.S.Q. #83 (2009)
Esoteric Mantras guided by A. Lorentsen (2008). Weekend workshop.
Fishwrap (magazine): Edited by Marty Wombacher (2001)
Salman Rushdie: The Ground beneath her Feet (page 42, 1999)
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince (1944)
All linked earcandymag.com entries: edited by Ronnie Dannelley

This essay concludes my SMiLEology series:

Vol. 1/7: Daft Beach Movie (Brian Wilson/SMiLE bio-pic) w/ Andrew Martin, 2003
Vol. 2/7: Dumb Angel Fairy Tale (SMiLE fantasyfilm 2004) w/ Lars Kjelfred & Jesper Madsen
Vol. 3/7: Heroes & Villains (music video 2005) w/ Lars Kjelfred
Vol. 4/7: Honest Arnie's Cow's In The Pasture (music Video 2006) w/ Konstantin Furman
Vol. 5/7: BRIAN WILSON'S Radiant RayDIODish (article co-edited by Bill Tobelman) in
E.S.Q. #84, 2009
Vol. 6/7: Deus Pax Machina (videosampler, 2009) w/ Patryk Gerowsky & David Lakshøj-Hansen
Vol. 7/7: Radiant RayDIODish (expanded reconstructed on-line essay, 2009)

Thankudos to: Mette-Marie Jablonsky & Patryk Gerowsky (for technical support)

Rasmus Skotte
copyright 2009*
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Rasmus Skotte
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