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Between Worlds


Maitreya the Conqueror by Nicholas Roerich

Maitreya the Conqueror by Nicholas Roerich



« Between Worlds » is a composition that started as a song entitled « Requiem » which was written in response to the deaths of my father and maternal grandmother, both due to cancer, at the beginning of the 1990s. Inspired by « The Tibetan Book of the Dead, » the piece eventually turned into a suite in five movements intended to present the successive stages of the death process as described in Tibetan culture.

The original draft eventually became what now constitutes « Departure, » the introductory section of the whole composition. Meant as an illustration of physical decay, this first movement is presented as a plea for euthanasia coming from someone in the throes of a degenerative illness. It is followed by dissolution and passage into the successive « between worlds, » or intermediate states (« bardos » in Tibetan), finally leading to rebirth.

« Dissolution » is a very short movement which represents the moment of physical death itself. It corresponds to the first « between world, » or first bardo.

The following section, « Dance Of The Archetypes, » is a longer instrumental that is intended to depict the potentially overwhelming experience of the second bardo, wherein the soul of the deceased encounters what are referred to as « Peaceful Deities » and « Wrathful Deities, » illusions emanating from the mind of the dying, and which, if their unreality is recognized, lead the person to liberation.

« Deliberation » refers to the subsequent experience and depicts a fluid state wherein the dead hovers about the world, observing the surroundings and other beings, but without committing to any specific course of action. Eventually, the soul will recognize and be drawn to something in the environment, perhaps a being, or what looks like a feature of the landscape. The object of this attraction will in fact become the entrance toward their next rebirth.

The last section is entitled « Determination » and is intended to represent the intermediate state of rebirth, known as the « sidpa bardo. » Featuring karmically impelled hallucinations, typically imagery of men and women passionately entwined, the bardo of karmic becoming, or transmigration, eventually results in rebirth.



Chapter 11 : Departure

Talk to me, tell me it’s you
Clear sight has gone astray
All is dark outside and in
I’m sure glad you made it today

No word still of even a slight chance
It gets harder every day
I fear it won’t be long before
It takes my mind away

Don’t be sad my friend
This life is all behind me
Stay on for a while
Listen to my plea

Don’t be mad my friend
There’s not much that we can do
I’m reaching the end
Just help me through

Is there a point in trying to find
Reasons to keep going?
I’ve seen a lot through this lifetime of mine
No fear of death keeps me waiting

What’s left for me but this life of dependence
And fading memories of freedom?
I’d rather accept that my time here is up
I’d rather know where we all go

I trust you can understand what I’m going through
This body, numb, is a jail
I know it’s no easy task that I ask of you
Promise me that you won’t fail

Don’t be sad my friend
This life is all behind me
Take me to the end
With dignity

Please be strong my friend
Give me the shot that’ll kill me
Save me all this pain
Do it for me

Chapter 12 : Dissolution / Dance Of The Archetypes

{ instrumental }

Chapter 13 : Deliberation

{ instrumental }
{ possibly lyrics / under evaluation }

Chapter 14 : Determination

{ instrumental }
{ possibly lyrics / under evaluation }



Excerpt from Departure (MIDI Demo)

Excerpt from Dissolution and Dance Of The Archetypes (MIDI Demo)

Excerpt from Deliberation and Determination (MIDI Demo)

Excerpt from Departure, Dissolution, and Dance Of The Archetypes (Live @ L’Autre Caserne – 2002)



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