« 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.
« Dissolution » is a very short section which represents the moment of physical death itself. It corresponds to the first « between world, » or first bardo :
The first bardo comes at the very moment of death, when there dawns the Clear Light of the Ultimate Reality. This is the very content and substance of the state of liberation, if only the soul can recognize it and act in a way to remain in that state.
If the dying person can recognize that their own mind and self is identical with the Clear Light, implying that they themselves are the Ultimate Reality, while in this supreme state at the moment of death, they will attain liberation – that is, they will remain in the Clear Light forever.
The following section, « Dance Of The Archetypes, » is a longer instrumental that is intended to depict the potentially overwhelming experience of the second bardo.
If the soul is still not liberated after the first intermediate state, it will descend into the second bardo, which is said to last for two weeks, and is divided into two parts :
(...) in the first, the soul of the deceased encounters what are referred to as « the Peaceful Deities. » On each of the seven days, a particular Buddha-being will appear in radiance and glory, with a bevy of angelic attendants.
In the second week of the second bardo, the soul meets seven legions of Wrathful Deities: hideous, terrifying demons who advance upon him with flame and sword, drinking blood from human skulls, threatening to wreak unmerciful torture upon him, to maim, disembowel, decapitate and slay him.
If the person awakens to the fact that all these creatures are not real, but are merely illusions emanating from their own mind, the creatures will vanish and the dying will be liberated. If they can't, they eventually wanders down to the third bardo.