By Madeline Bocaro
© Madeline Bocaro, 2020. No part of this site may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
Yoko Ono was born under the water sign Aquarius. The meaning of her Japanese name is Ocean Child. It’s no wonder that water is so important in her world, and in her messages to us and to the universe.
Sometimes the river of water in my soul comes out with a gentle urgency
to reach the ocean on the horizon.
– Yoko, Twitter March 18, 2016
The ebb and flow of waves in the ocean is called flux and reflux. The Fluxus art movement was founded in the early 1960s by Yoko’s colleague George Maciunas. He chose the name Fluxus due to its transitory nature. This was at the time when Yoko was hosting her Chambers Street concert series and enacting some performance art. Maciunas and Yoko became close lifelong friends and colleagues . George gave Yoko her first art exhibition at his AG Gallery in New York City in 1961.
I didn’t try to come up from the bottom of the ocean to take a quick breath, as it were. Part of me is still there…
Twitter April 2017
Let me take your hand
And press it on my breast
And you will know that
The ocean is for you.
Twitter, February 2016
Bottle Piece: Shonan Beach – Japan 1964
Photos: Minoru Hirata from the book Art in Action 1963-1969, The 1960s Avant-Garde Works and Profiles of Young Japanese Artists
I never collected anything except sea shells & pebbles.
Because they were pretty.
I lost them because they were too cumbersome to hold on to.
A drop in the ocean becomes a tsunami when there’s enough.
I am a drop in an ocean and very glad that I am.
Twitter January 9, 2018
Love is like the waves in the ocean.
Sometimes it’s calm and sometimes it’s a tsunami.
You should know that and love life with caution, just like you love the ocean carefully.
Twitter, February 2020
Once you are filled, you will quickly dissolve, anyway.
That’s how it is and that’s healthy.
Unless you dissolve, you will become still water,
the fate of which is to decay.
– Yoko Q&A 2016
“This is a well that is receptive to the moon-tide and makes music according to the tide. When we were fish, the sea-water surrounded us. When we came on ground, we carried the sea inside us. Our blood structure is 90% salt-water. There is a very strong tie between us and the moon-tide. They say that when you die a natural death it is invariably when the tide is low. You should have the moon-music in your house like you would have a clock. And when it sings, you will remember the connection.”
– Yoko Ono, Some notes on the Lisson Gallery Show y.o. October ’67 London
Yoko respects the work of Masaru Emoto*. His studies confirm that water actually responds to positive and negative vibrations. Emoto’s experiments using calming or disturbing effects on water crystals (sound, words and other outside influences) clearly show that water is sentient, responsive and has memory. Frozen, water crystals become perfectly symmetrical when exposed to positivity. Water forms distressed, mis-shapen crystals when prompted by negative stimuli.
The water was listening to the song ‘Imagine’ when it formed this beautiful crystal…
“It’s sad that we have to equate water with the word ‘gold’ to appreciate its value. Our society still reveres gold, but the value of gold can never be rated as high as the value of water. Water is more valuable than gold. …Water has more than (memory). Water thinks, feels and heals… You should place beautiful bowls around the house, because an empty bowl is asking to be filled with love.”
– Yoko, Questions for Water Event, Oslo, February 2005
Emoto also observes that water has spiritual qualities. We only perceive what we believe, and this impacts the molecular structure of water which makes up our bodies’ internal physiology. He believes that expanding our subconsciousness to consciousness and creating inner peace will in turn create world peace. Water follows a natural course, flowing downward in paths There are no straight forms in nature. Water meanders, spirals and follows the path of least resistance.
* The Healing Power of Water, Masaru Emoto
Yoko believes that the still water in the half-empty glass on her Season of Glass album cover appears to be sad, reflecting Masaru Emoto’s experiments and studies on the emotions and memory of water. On the back cover, the glass is full.
My Story: Shattered. Season of Glass
I love the sound of the rain.
Water from the sky that gives your skin a rest from the sun.
– Twitter 201
In Yoko’s 1964 book Grapefruit, water – the element of purification, and of sustenance is a prominent theme.
You are water
we’re all water in different containers
that’s why it’s so easy to meet.
someday we’ll evaporate together
but even after the water’s gone
we’ll probably point out to the containers
and say, “that’s me there, that one.”
we’re container minders
– For Half-A-Wind Show, Lisson Gallery – London 1967
DRINKING PIECE FOR ORCHESTRA
Imagine letting a goldfish swim across
Let it swim from the West to the East.
Drink a liter of water.
Imagine letting a goldfish swim across
Let it swim from the East to the West
Steal a moon on the water with a bucket.
Keep stealing until no moon is seen on
Listen to the sound of the underground water.
“…All of us are 80 per cent water or maybe more. So when I say to you, “I hate you,” I might be saying it with a laugh, but the water takes it seriously. So your water is saying, “Omigosh, she hates me.” I say, “I love you,” you get it. But at the same time I’m water too. So I’m saying to myself that two people may be in love, God they must be in love because they look beautiful.”
– Yoko, to Thurston Moore & Byron Coley, Scream at the Sky
Arthur magazine No. 6 Sept. 2007
During her This Is Not Here retrospective exhibition at Everson Museum of Art in 1971, Yoko invited participants to create a sculpture by submitting an idea or a container which would form half of a water sculpture, for which Yoko would provide the other half (water). This was also re-enacted during 2019 at her Peace Is Power exhibition in Leipzig, Germany and in other exhibitions. The invitation was extended again for her 2019 Everson Museum exhibition Remembering the Future.
Read my story about Yoko’s Everson Museum exhibition(s):
This Is Not Here exhibition invitation 1971:
“It was a zen joke, I thought. Jokes and laughter are very important elements in Zen. This particular joke is that I get all the containers from the artist to fill them with water, and the water I supply is conceptual. Meaning that I never fill them with actual water. I like that bit. It gave me a laugh right away, as soon as I thought of the idea. Then I knew it was a good piece.”
– Yoko, to Hans Ulrich Obrist, Questions for Water Event, Oslo February 2005
Yoko’s Water Songs:
‘Don’t Count the Waves’ Fly, 1971. As much as Yoko repeats the words ‘Don’t Count the Waves’ I can’t help envisioning waves and counting them! Yoko commissioned Fluxus musician Joe Jones (an associate of composers John Cage and LaMonte Young) who created weird home-made percussive instruments, lending an earthy ambient timbre as Yoko’s voice reverberates and reiterates. These atmospheric instruments (drum machines, chimes and drones) were prevalent on ‘Don’t Count the Waves’.
‘Don’t count the waves’
‘We’re All Water’ Sometime in New York City, 1972
Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao enjoy a carefree naked dance on the album cover above Yoko’s lyrics to ‘We’re All Water’ illustrating that there is not much difference between them, nor between any of us. This photo was censored with a permanent sticker in later reissues. During the week that John and Yoko appeared on The Mike Douglas show in February 1972, Nixon made his infamous visit to China and shook hands with Chairman Mao.
We’re all water from different rivers / that’s why it’s so easy to meet
We’re all water in this vast, vast ocean / someday we’ll evaporate together
My Story: John & Yoko – Some Time in New York City:
‘Winter Song’ Approximately Infinite Universe 1973
There is beautiful shimmer about this song in its gorgeous strings and especially in the sacred lyrics…
The lake is shining like a drop of Buddha’s tears.
‘Winter Song’ – Read my story & listen here:
‘Walking on Thin Ice (For John)’, single 1981
I knew a girl who tried to walk across the lake
Of course it was winter and all of this was ice
A terrible thing to do, you know
They say the lake is as big as the ocean
I wonder if she knew about it…
See my story all about ‘Walking On Thin Ice’ ‘ “Just a Story”
‘Cape Clear’ Starpeace 1985
Yoko is referring to the same girl who walks across the lake in ‘Walking on Thin Ice’, who could also be herself.
All of my life I felt like I was in the middle of an ocean
Unable to touch the horizon…
Yoko’s New Year Message
Nov 28, 2003:
WE ARE ALL WATER
We are now facing the dawning of our global village, amidst polluted air, water and insanity.
Fear not. War Is Over.
I believe, we, the human race has opened our eyes to save ourselves and the planet at the 25th hour. The first good news came two months ago, from North Carolina scientists who successfully made a monkey move an object
psychokinetically. One monkey influences 100 monkies, as they say. But if one monkey can move things psychokinetically, imagine what millions of human beings can move together (We can move mountains!). Military personnel immediately understood the power of this experiment. “Now we can kill our enemies psychokinetically.” That’s what was said. But why not use the power to save ourselves? I believe you and I will.
The second good news has come from an experiment done by a Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto*, who has discovered and demonstrated that “water reads.” This is unbelievable information, but it’s true. To put it simply,
Emoto put water in a bottle, put a label on the bottle with a word written on it facing inside the bottle. He then froze the water and examined the crystal created by the water under a microscope. The photos of the crystals show, that when you write a word such as, love, regardless of which language, the water creates a beautiful crystal. When you write “happiness” it also creates a beautiful crystal. But when you write “unhappiness” it cannot form a crystal. Interestingly, the word “Hell” created terrible dirty water. Don’t ask me why! (Messages from Water: Masaru Emoto, translated in English).
Sentences create equally fascinating results. When you write “how pretty you are!”, it creates a beautiful crystal, whereas “you stupid guy!” creates muddy, ugliness, reminiscent of extremely polluted water. The water reacts to very delicate differences, too. When you write “you better do it!” it creates a muddyness like an expression of rebellion. However, it creates a beautiful crystal if you write “let’s do it, shall we?” Of course, the biggest hit is “I love you.” There is no limit to how much this sentence in many different languages can do to clean the water and create beautiful crystals. The muddiest, polluted water can become clean.
The water not only reacts to the written words but to music. When music was played to the water, many beautiful crystals were created. It was interesting for me that the song “imagine” created a crystal very similar to the word “angels.”
And, of course, 80 percent of our bodies are made up of water! What does that mean?
We are probably making very dangerously muddy people as our opposition by constantly throwing verbal attacks at them. If we make them muddy, we will pretty soon become muddy, too. Just by sending good words, it not only
clears the people you send the good words to, but it clears you, too. So if you are insulting someone, that is the same as insulting yourself. All this is demonstrated by the photos of the waters and their crystals.
The power we have is wisdom based on clear information we share with each other. The power we have is our sanity and the knowledge that we are all water, and that water changes by what it reads and what is communicated. So
now it is clear that we can change the world without leaving our homes just by thinking, holding, and communicating the right idea!
Since things happen in threes, I propose that we create the third bit of good news ourselves – by coming together this New Years Eve, and ending the year with a clear vision. Let’s visualize all the people living life in peace. 10 seconds. One hour. All day. Anywhere and anytime of the day.
Carry the clearest vision of a peaceful world you can imagine. Let’s do it with a spirit of fun and joy. Not with anger, not with fear. Let’s not march. Let’s sing, dance and hug each other to bring in the New year, and, with it, the new world. Let’s report to the Universe how happy we are to be on this planet which is a part of a beautiful constellation. For opposite of love is fear, not hate, opposite of wisdom is confusion, not stupidity, and the shortest distance between two points is our desire and our unwavering belief. So listen to your heartbeat and enjoy. It’s worth every
minute of it.
An extra special Happy New Year to you.
Remember, we are all water in the same ocean. I love you!
Something especially wonderful was told to me just recently. Two scientists who were researching the effect of waves in the ocean for two years, came to the conclusion that the smallest stimulus to the water be it a drop of a pebble, or a child splashing the water at the shore, affects the whole ocean, each time. Well, I thought we do affect each other on land, but I hadn’t realized that that was true in the ocean as well! What a blessing!
Nature is making things so easy for us!
So now I call ourselves the small pebble people. Send small pebbles to the world. Don’t make big splashes with large stones. That will attract people and the wrong people as well. Our quiet revolution will not make announcements, but one day will be accepted by all people as the norm of life… Small pebble people are people who know that small pebbles, when they’re dropped in the ocean, will immediately affect the ocean of the whole wide world.
Again, don’t throw big stones. It scares people and creates repercussions.
– Yoko, imaginepeace .com July 4, 2011
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