Poem: The Bellringers

The Peal of Bells, St. Paul's Cathedral, 1878.

The tintinnabula of faraway bells,

Bell-ringers swinging on ropes,

The suspended intestines of the universe –

Each bell a reminder of something not by

Lips, but brass, spoken

 *

What do they say?

If you could take those resonant peals

And translate them into language,

What would they speak of?

 *

Whispers never sang out so loudly,

Bursts of poetry, etched on sky,

A blink from the silhouette eyes

Of a peacock butterfly

But you cannot trust these fluttering tatterdemalions

Not to be slyly mystical – each time their Japanese

Door wings collide, a crash as loud as galactic timpani,

Causes all nearby auric membranes to explode

But deafness is not the start of silence,

But a gateway to a higher kind of music –

The kind of music that conjoins imagery

With sound in a startling panache of

Form-bearing lucidity, climbing out of

Of formless bath

 *

So, ring on, bell ringers, ring on,

And once those brass hats

Fall on your heads,

Your gravestones will peal all the merrier

 

 

 

 

Diary: Imagery of Heaven

olympus.jpg

Feeling very grateful to be living in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Reflecting on what heaven on earth would really be like: an eternal spring – a passion of wildflowers – lying on a grassy bank, feeling completely connected to the earth, being in love with the sky up above – kissed and caressed by the breath of the wind.

In another dream, I am in the centre of a lake on an exceptionally still and clear day, meditating in an old rowing boat – the sun is at the centre of your every thought, approaching dusk, without ever disappearing – a return to the land of Hyperborea, where light is inescapable and eternal.

I long for the light, as I long not to be so darkened, so demon-plagued, so wrested from my own self-control. To be blessed with an easy consciousness – to have a mind that is all forest, mountain, and wood – that is rooted in the very essence of serenity, and has slayed and subdued the teaching demon called PANIC.

To be a poet is to be a prophet, and the act of putting pen to paper can be so intense, so thrilling, and so dangerous, that it can be a horror and a wonder to behold your own words; especially when you’ve had the experience of writing things in mystic cluelessness, only to have them realized perfectly later – to predict the words you will spontaneously utter, as you scream in an empty field.

And at our most weak, terrified, and vulnerable, everybody longs for a great cosmic mother – for some warm and undying essence to inject us into its arms, when we call out “That’s enough – I can’t take it anymore – o, please, o please, just give me some rest!”

And she comes then, that mother, that Tara, that Virgin Mary, that Shekkinah, that Prajnaparamita, That Ground of all being. She comes, and she bundles you into her arms and says – “It’s all right – I’ve got you – you are safe, warm, and protected – nothing awful ever needs to happen to you again.”

Is fear the gateway to that mother? Fear can be a gateway to many things, and the presence of The Divine Mother can be experienced in a myriad different ways. Hecate and Venus are one. Kali and Lakshmi are two sides of the same loving and destructive coin – pacifying you and terrifying you in accordance with the motions of the stars.

And while I am not of the kind to shun a fear that can teach me so much, I still request that I be granted a leave of absence from The Palace of Anxiety. I do not want to be reduced to a fit of tremors and screams anymore. Grant me some warmth, some peace, some friendly bosom to lay on; for while I am a Child of the Universe, this child does not want to be a burden on anyone – he wants to be blessed with the tranquilized peace of mind to chase butterflies in the woods.

 

Diary: The Fox On The Kymin

fox

An ecstatic walk up The Kymin. For the first time in a long time, I have experienced joy in being completely alone. One is never alone in the woods. Everything here conspires to occupy your senses – bird song wreathes you in melodic clusters, and you feel the complete fullness in the emptiness of existence. The air is fresh with flavour, medicinal pine sweeping into my lungs – you just want to grasp every protruding piece of bark in your hands, like Mayan hieroglyphs, that are actually secret keys to organic space stations.

“I pause for a while by a country stile” opening onto a meadow, where, in the coming summer, one’s eyes will be blinded by bluebells. I see the visions of a century’s old boy perched on that stile, and feel impelled to access my own inner child, walking along the stile as on a bucolic tightrope, limbs wrapped around the wooden vine-posts overhead. I look down on a friend’s hilled mansion and marvel at the power altitude can lend to perspective.

I feel happy standing here – all else ceases to matter; no interruptive thirst for conversation, or brooding desire to be touched, when I am already touched by the penetrative essence of the wood. Everything glistens – every rock is a jewel – and the trunks of old trees are the gnarled faces of old men; sylvan spirits that find beauty in the grotesque.

froud-autumn

There are wood nymphs, too, of course – a whole panoply of fair folk, dancing in ecstatic procession behind The Spring Queen of the wood, somehow still gentle, even in the maddest of their March-mad antics.

But the view on top of The Kymin beside The Round House is unrivalled – it is addictive; you look at anything else, and it only makes you want to look at it more. There is a beauty to the cluster of town houses in that expanse of free landscape; and I pick out all the places I am used to experiencing at insect-level: the row of path-lining aspens down Vauxhall Fields – the single oak that stands as an Axis Mundi in its centre – the spire of St. Mary’s – and the many Welsh mountains beyond.

Axis_Mundi.jpg

Families chatter around the railings – unappreciative parents stuck in irritable protection mode – imagination-led children – and people picnicking in a square field circumscribed by electric wire.

It is interesting to hear how birdsong develops this time of year. Robins, who whistle so thinly, sadly, in winter, become full-throated. Blackbirds, who began singing at the end of February, uninspired, and repeating the same half-meant phrases, as though cleaning the cobwebs from their syrinxes, have now really taken to their theme. You can hear the languor-suppressed passion and excitement in every phrase they sing, occasionally taking the best-loved phrases of their combatants, and then striving to make them better, like duelling saxophonists and trumpet players in a throbbing bebop band. I have occasionally heard the explosive rapture of the blackcap, but I do not think they are in full-concerto mode quite yet.

red

But, until The Universe grants me more longevity in love, Nature will remain my First Woman. I shall cling to her – hide myself in the verdancy of her bejewelled clothing; loving getting to know even smallest parts of her – the flowering of wood anemone – the perfect meditation mats of mineral-encrusted boulders – the primroses, common speedwells, forget-me-nots – the effortless affability of daffodils – the duelling riverine currents of The Monnow and The Wye.

There’s something deeply therapeutic about the sun in spring and summer; the way it penetrates your skin and sinks inside your soul, chasing even the weediest of your dark thoughts away.

But now for the crème-de-la-crème: while still sat on my woodland stile, without either of us thinking of it, a fox sauntered unexpectedly by. His coat was faded from dirt and hunger – but I was so awe-inspired, honoured, majestified at having this prince of creatures stood so near to me, that I sat there, slack-jawed, unable to look away.

But, once we’d both gotten over this little spell, as though returning to the normal rules of things, he scampered over the new-grassing meadow, intermittently looking back to see what I was doing – a fox looking back at a fox. Sylvan muse indeed!

foxx

***

There is something very shocking about spring now. I am so much impaled on the point of every moment, that each moment seems eternal. Like laying on the slope in Chippenham Park yesterday, nailed to the ground by the rays of the sun. I felt like I would always be there – and, in the intensity of mixed joy and heavy pain, I had little to prove me otherwise.

And now, sat here, blue tit and great tit beeping out to one another in crystalline Morse code, I can feel the light heaviness of that eternity again – just page and pen, page and pen – on and on into the sunset.

I’m definitely feeling healed now.

Coming up here is one of the best things I could have done.

Poem: The Love of Unreason

guardianbirdsl

Much to my surprise, I discovered a lost

Land upon my doorstep. The face of the

Forest loomed over the Waters of the Deep,

And The Lady of the Chaffinch bore her red

Breast, still brooding with pelican blood.

 *

“When I die,” said she, “bury some flowers

In my chest, so that once I am gone from this

World, I can still paint the roses crimson.”

*

From this vermillion isolation went I.

*

“Come into my hole!” said The Mole.

“It’s pure William Morris, don’t you

Know!”

*

But, I did not know, for I had already

Fallen further.

*

This is why I now sit in this garden, and

Read my fortune in the fallen leaves,

Scrying the undergrowth, as I descry:

“The sky is not a black skeleton, but a

White rose – a nest of lilies – a silken dress –

A watch – a sensuous caress that never quite

Stops.”

*

I said this, and the crumpled leaves were

Black skeletons, dancing the slow pavane

Of finite decay; such fragile, fading fingers,

Every touch a shiver; every lingering kiss

The seduction of substance, sinking back

Into sky.

*

I tried to put the mute button on my heart.

I had my season. But the tears rose up with

The dawn – and Aurora tapped my chest with

Her opal fingers, saying:

*

“Come on, now – your time is come”

And I felt sad for no reason.

And I felt lonely for no reason.

And everything was so wonderful,

So perfectly unreasonable, that I

Couldn’t help but be moved by its

Beauty.

*

“This is it,” said I. “This is the opening of

The well; the chastity of enlightenment;

The milky sickness of nights and mornings

Merging into one. This is the whiteness of

The Magpie’s Chest, and the fortitude of

The Sun. This is the Love of Unreason –

The creeping in of Winter’s Thorns.”

*

And, as I swept up leaves I would rather have

Left scattered, I turned my thoughts into lilies,

And planted them,

One by one.

Love Sonnets 9&10

burne

IX.

Oh, wake me not, unspeakable dawn!

That brings only cruel, unforgiving knowledge;

More bad news that cannot be borne,

Couriered in death’s ineluctable carriage,

I wonder why I am even alive?

A creature created solely for pain,

With only suffering for my wife,

And plucked by torture’s fiery reigns,

How can I go on like this?

Tear-soaked, yet inexorably sentient,

Life denying me my chance of bliss,

Begging me, amidst thorns, to be patient,

For, only after wading through great oceans of pain,

Can I ever expect to be happy again

X.

Oh life! – why have you made me love,

Someone who cares not for me –

Who would rather betroth all else above,

Than this man of worthless pedigree?

Each day replays old patterns of hurt,

More knots of misery I cannot untie,

And leaves me with embroidered agony girt –

A blind man now with sightful eyes,

That sees clearly the nature of his fate,

To be alive – and yet alone,

Never to have a welcome mate,

A forgiving heart I can call my home,

This groom shall never take a bride –

From the Hells of happiness I’m cast aside

 

Poem: Song to a Muse

piggirl

You are a bower of bliss

A little fortress of possibility

Slithering into my awareness

With those unforgettable brows

And that visage of excitable calm

How could I not take you as my daughter

And leave you in the road to die?

Oh, don’t ask why!

Isn’t it enough just to know

That I am here to be your guide;

Your psychopomp through valleys far and wide?

And to teach you to address

Those chains of experience

That will thus constrain and arouse you?

Why you should be on THIS raft of the living

Is your purpose alone

To guess

But your power is great

And it is just my delight

To bring it into fruition

 

The Classic of Mountains and Seas: In The Muddle Thick of it All!

Classic-of-Mountains-and-Seas

One of my favorite books is the ancient Chinese ‘Classic of Mountains and Seas.’ The character depicted in the picture above is the deity, Muddle Thick. The Classic has this to say about him:

“There is a god here who looks like a yellow sack. He is scarlet like cinnabar fire. He has six feet and four wings. He is Muddle Thick. He has no face and eyes. He knows how to sing and dance. He is in truth the great god Long River.”

On the face of it, such descriptions may make the classic seem like a ridiculous bestiary. But, when we remember that it is a Taoist sacred text, and that Taoists loved to hide profound, mysterious teachings underneath absurd surfaces, the symbolic, shamanic richness of the text begins to become clear. The various gods described in the classic are just symbols for the variegated attributes of the Tao, which itself, can never be illustrated or described.

Let’s start with Muddle Thick. Muddle Thick is just a middle. Like eternity, has no beginning, no end, just a never-ending present; and, being the middle, he is also a symbol for the moderate mind and lifestyle of the Taoist Middle Path.

His very name is itself a perfect example of Taoist humour. Whilst Taoists advocate cultivating wisdom, spiritual power, undying strength and flexibility, eventually attaining spiritual immortality, they know that the more great power and wisdom are flaunted, the more readily will they be lost. Thus, they recommended wayfarers to ‘hide their enlightenment’ appearing to be ordinary, even dumb, absent-minded, and dull, so that their light could be preserved, only displaying and using it when beneficial and necessary. As it says in the I Ching, Hexagram 36:

“Light enters into the Earth, illumination is concealed. Thus do superior people deal with the masses, acting unobtrusively, whilst in fact illumined.”

And Hexagram 38:

“Above is fire, below is a lake, disparate. Thus are superior people the same yet different.”

So, Muddle Thick, embodiment of sagacious wisdom, gives himself a stupid form and a stupid name, saying he is confused and dense, when he is actually clear and enlightened. If you walk around wearing jewels, everyone will want to rob you. But if you hide your gold within, and robe yourself like a beggar, no one will touch you or harass. They think you have nothing to offer them, when in fact, you have it all. Muddle Thick is following the same principle, increasing his infinite greatness by countering it with lifelong humility. Trees with the best wood are chopped down. Great statesmen attract assassins. Who would want to bother a lifeless torso?

That he is a yellow sack shows that he is earthy, grounded, and receptive, capable of being filled with infinity, and receiving all wisdom – yellow being the color of the Earth in the Chinese philosophy of the Five Elements, located in the centre – in the very Muddle Thick of it all!

Cinnabar is a substance much prized by Taoists, and constantly mentioned in the classic. A scarlet rock containing mercury sulphide, it was an ore of transformation. Mercury is unstable, volatile, elusive, changeable. This is just like Tao, which is impossible to pin down or grasp, always changing so as to transcend all definitions. Fire has the same qualities, and also represents the heart – the need for compassion and silently roaring joy.

Having six wings shows that he has risen above the five elements by combining them into one; his four feet show that he flows in all directions. With no face, eyes, or distinguishing features, he has completely renounced the shackles of selfishness by making himself faceless, unknowable, incapable of being seen. Having no face, he can take on all faces. Having no eyes, he can see through all eyes, beholding everything, everywhere.

Though mouthless, he sings and dances, because his silence makes him capable of singing every possible song, and making every possible noise in the entire universe. Dancing, moving and shaking, he demonstrates the movement and change that arises from stillness and constancy. Being in truth, a Great River, he flows on into eternity.

So, we see how the profound can be hidden within the seemingly stupid; how sobriety and sagacity can be hidden in sheer absurdity. Be like Muddle Thick. Belong to The Way.

 

Book Blog: The Jesus Mysteries

Jesus Mysteries

The subject of this book blog is ‘The Jesus Mysteries,’ by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. Subtitled ‘Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God?’ the answer is an overwhelming and incontrovertible ‘YES!’

The myth of a dying and resurrecting ‘Godman’ is one that can be traced back to the very dawn of humanity. Shamans would undergo a mystical experience in which they would be spiritually killed and then reborn, opening them up to higher planes of consciousness, which they would use to heal and educate their tribes.

But this myth did not disappear, only to be rediscovered 2000 years ago – it was present in just about every religion in the ancient world: mystery religions that would tell myths to the public, but only reveal the truths they encoded to the initiated.

The Godmen who prefigured Jesus, and from whom his entirely fictitious biography was cobbled together, are too numerous to list, but here are the names of just a few:

  • Dionysus
  • Osiris
  • Attis
  • Adonis
  • Mithras
  • Serapis
  • Pythagoras
  • Socrates
  • Tammuz

Jesus Christ was not an historical figure – rather, he was (and still is) a spiritual principle. He embodies the spiritual death we must all undergo, killing our lower selves, so that we can become unified with The One. None of the Pagans who worshiped the gods listed above believed them to have been historically real. They understood that they were just useful myths, symbolizing the spiritual transformation of man into immortal, all equally interchangeable.

But how was it that these great spiritual truths got corrupted into dogmatic history? The authors suggest that as Jews of the Diaspora become more intermingled with the pagan cultures in which they found themselves, they sought to make Judaism into its own mystery religion, whilst still remaining faithful to their extant scriptures. So they fabricated a Messiah, based on a reworking of Joshua from The Old Testament, to become their own Judaized godman. These original Gnostics and Essenes preached a truly mystical and spiritual version of Christianity, based on personal experience and transformation, instead of blind faith and dogmatic fervor. They were in existence centuries before Christ was even claimed to have been born.

So, if Christianity was just a recontextualization of an ancient pagan myth, why did it come to vilify paganism so thoroughly? As Christianity became corrupt, and spirituality got perverted into an inflexible, and watered-down history, it inherited the intolerance of the evil old god of The Old Testament. To the citizens of the ancient world, it was obvious that Christianity was just a re-working of pagan myths. The only way Materialist Christians could succeed was by destroying every last pagan culture and religion they had stolen their ideas from, so that their claims did truly seem to be authentic. It’s very easy to corner the market when you’ve killed the competition. And once Constantine made Christianity the state religion (without actually embracing Christianity himself,) and the emperors that proceeded him followed suit, it became easier and easier to make this happen.

And thus, The Dark Ages were born, as all the learning, philosophy, science, and attainments of the ancient world were condemned as heresy, and destroyed. Science isn’t something we invented in the last few centuries – it is something we have rediscovered from the past – a revived gift left to us by our supposedly ‘primitive’ and ‘devil-worshiping’ ancestors. It is hard not to read of the widespread destruction and intolerance authorized by the Roman Church and not feel utter horror and indignation at the righteous lies that are still being bequeathed to us. Every time I hear of the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, I want to weep. And all in the name of a made-up man who openly preached compassion, tolerance, and universal love.

Just imagine how history might have played out if Gnostic Christianity and Paganism had carried on living harmoniously side by side, without being corrupted into a literal account by the Roman Church. Untold amounts of death could have been prevented; the mysteries of the past could have been preserved; the Jews would have been spared millennia of persecution and The Holocaust; Spiritualism may well have trumped over materialism; and people may have recognized that they themselves are Christ, and not been killed as blasphemers for coming to that realization.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the Truth about our past.

May all beings recognize the Christ within.

Meditation: Seeing the Mountain

 

Open

When I last saw my father  and told him I had become a meditation teacher, he said:

“Meditation? So you teach people to sit still and do nothing? What good is that?”

In fact, Chinese mystics from the three jewels of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism have long referred to meditation as ‘sitting still doing nothing.” They recognized the immense treasure to be had from stillness and emptiness.

Our culture has always encouraged movement over stillness; excess over emptiness; intellectualism over transcendence; and opinions over observations. So, to most of us, emptiness and stillness sound like strange and frightening concepts. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we associate stillness and emptiness with death, and so avoid them as much as possible.

But they’re right. Meditation is death. We use it to kill the egoistic/selfish mind that is the source of all our suffering. Because people have identified themselves with their egos for so long, they think that, were they to be truly egoless, that would kill them. But only when we are free from our concepts of self, do we have the freedom to really become ourselves, without definitions, distinctions, attachments or delusions binding us, and keeping us restricted. As one translator of the Tao Te Ching has it:

“If you do not forget yourself,

Then how can you become yourself?”

Let me draw an example from my own life. Where I live in Wales, we are blessed with beautiful countryside, amazing mountains, and dramatic skylines.

On a bad day, when my ego mind is calling the shots, and I am lacking in inner peace or stillness, all of that natural beauty might as well not be there. I get encumbered by my thoughts, and, as a result, I am afflicted with perceptual tunnel vision. A phoenix could fly before me, or a dragon sprout from beneath my feet, but it would’t matter. Like an overflowing venue, my mind is already too packed with thoughts to allows anything else in. The dragons and phoenixes will have to wait.

However, if I am at my best, and have achieved inner peace and stillness within, then all is bliss. Not only am I able to relish these mountains and landscapes in all their beauty and wonder, I feel them, I become them. Such is the state of receptivity thanks to my emptiness that I can perceive everyone and everything with the utmost perceptivity. Boundaries between self and not-self disappear. All is unified. All is one.

So, emptiness is the difference between seeing the mountain and being the mountain. Try as you might, you won’t be able to eat one on a full stomach – how much less so a full mind!

Lost Technology of the Mind

Akashic

 

It occurred to me that much of what we consider to be our civilization’s culture has largely been architectural in nature. All the wisdom, learning, accomplishment, folly, history, and vanity of our culture has been stored and encoded in buildings; infusing every library, temple, pyramid, castle, and palatial structure.

But, since the invention of the internet, despite the mass-production of useless gadgets, gidgets, and geegaws, much of our culture has become digitized. It’s no wonder that so many technophiles gush over the internet, almost as if it were a god, when it contains such an infinitude of information: some practical and inspiring; much of it trivial and disturbing.

But say the internet were destroyed, and electrical technology as we now understand it became a lost concept – what would our descendants make of our culture – so much of it able to be condensed onto wireless tablets and iphones?

We face the same dilemma when look back to the mythological ancestors of The Golden Age. These people had no need for buildings, pyramids, libraries, and especially not digital technology. They didn’t need buildings, because they were capable of regulating their own body temperature and living in harmony with their environment. They didn’t need such buildings as pyramids and temples, for they lacked vanity, and saw the universe as their temple. Accepting impermanence, and living at one with creation, what need did they have to create? They didn’t need libraries, because their consciousnesses were capacious enough to record everything. They would only need hear or observe something once in order to remember it for all time.

And, most of all, they did not need digital technology, because they were in possession of the spiritual technology of the fully awakened mind. A technology we all still possess, and are capable of using, though most of us are wholly ignorant of that, or reluctant to put in the work to awaken it.

Though this might sound like an absurd fantasy to most of you, it is worth remembering that many such abilities are still with us today, or were prominent in only the recent past.

The Australian Aborigines went nude throughout all seasons, even during the winter, for they were capable of controlling their internal thermostat. Yogis capable of remaining indifferent to even the most extreme of weather conditions have long been recorded. Anthropologists have long been amazed that illiterate tribal peoples were able to convey long accounts of their history, mythology and pre-scientific knowledge without changing so much as a single word. For us, literacy is considered a touchstone of civilization. But, to our ancestors, writing was a considered a backward step, in which we added an element of artifice into reality, presenting a barrier between ourselves and the truth.

So great achievements are not just visible, tangible things – great monuments and landmarks that we create to ejaculate onto our own egos. The greatest landmarks and achievements are internal and exist within. They can only be witnessed by those who’ve developed the eyesight to see them.

So, which type are you more interested in? Are you willing to do what it takes to develop and nurture the insight?