I love the works of Edward Burne-Jones and this portrayal of the oracle at Delphi evokes strong emotions in this blogger’s heart. It’s a place I yearn to visit, in fact have visited in dreams. The hope is that some of my cremated remains will eventually find a resting place in that hallowed place. The other places are the Ganges and the site of Ptah’s temple in Egypt. One might say that the influence of these three great civilisations have run through my life like veins of gold in rock, precious and incorruptible. The Soul answers to many calls and why not? Our travels through this Universe can be likened to pilgrimages, with the pilgrim carrying much in the form of hopes, dreams and longings. What they take away may be renewed faith and vision of something greater in the here and now and beyond.
Fellow bloggers and old friends who attended the recent Silent Eye workshop, The Feathered Seer, have written far more eloquently than I of their experiences. This is my attempt at making sense of the weekend’s events, my guide Anubis will walk beside me as I recall all and perhaps nothing. I ask my Muse and Guide, The Opener and Walker between the Worlds what he makes of this tapestry woven from our histories. He gives me an inscrutable look (haven’t seen that one before) and whispers:
We carry in our DNA the sum of all existence and memory, from before time existed and beyond the ending of worlds. Linking with others to form gigantic DNA chains in the body of something beyond comprehension. Purposefully flying towards evolution and completion. Harmonious and beauteous in all ways. All return to the point of origin, from whence they came. Then there is no-one and no-thing, we just ARE but our conscious minds are unable to understand this concept except only in dreams and moments of true insight. Continue reading
Many of us have grown up with the older versions of fairy tales, visceral stories that were handed down from generation to generation. I certainly recall the earlier folk tales, devouring each tale with zeal, especially those of the Brothers Grimm. The Brothers collected and revised an enormous number of oral and written narratives covering a breadth of folklore traditions. Many of these have been cannibalised by Disney and the film industry, transformed into either sickly sweet concoctions or vehicles dripping in blood and nothing else. Being a lover of things gothic, this writer revels in the exploration of mysteries hiding in the great forests of the imagination. Where’s the harm in breaking through the hardened layers of bland camouflage to reveal the reality of nature ‘red in tooth and claw’. It’s plain where I stand but not a viewpoint many would agree with.
With tongue firmly in cheek I now march forward in this short and irreverent take on a few favourites. These fairy tales have a subtext that’s worth exploring. Nothing is as it seems, which makes them worth reading. They’re not sanitised but exist in forms that aren’t easy to face. We must ask ourselves why this is so.
Rapunzel is the result of a magical pregnancy due to her mother eating rapunzel lettuce from a sorceress’s garden. The child is demanded as payment by the sorceress and whisked away to a lonely tower in a remote forest at the age of 12. Her only company is the old woman until the fateful day years later a handsome prince comes by and ends up knowing her in the biblical sense. Their trysts do not remain a secret and results in Rapunzel losing her glorious hair and the prince trying to commit suicide, becoming blind and the pregnant woman being banished into the ends of the earth. The prince finds her eventually, a mother of twins, miraculously recovering his sight. They live happily ever after. What do we have here? Child trafficking and teenage pregnancy.
The familiar tale of bereavement and difficult relations with new stepfamily. Cinderella’s mother dies and her father remarries but life turns out to be very difficult for her. Relegated to the position of a servant she leads a terrible life, everything taken away from her including her father by her stepmother and stepsisters. The local prince announces his matrimonial intentions and precipitates frenzy amongst the singletons in the kingdom. Of course Cinderella will not have any part in this affair and her stepmother sees to that but it seems nature has other ideas. Instead of the pumpkin and a fairy godmother we have her dead mother’s spirit and doves helping out. The glass slipper becomes an instrument of torture as the stepsisters mutilate their feet to get into the shoes and eventually have their eyes pecked out by doves. It seems justice is brutally served. Malice abounds in the tale, as does a lingering sense of loss, apathy and brutality. The family are obvious candidates for therapy.
Hansel and Gretel
The story of a poor woodcutter and his wife who abandon their daughter and son in the forest due to their dire straits. Social services would have a field day. The father is emotionally blackmailed into abandoning their children and the dirty deed is carried out but the children manage to find their way back home each time. Eventually this becomes impossible and they find their way to a house made of bread, hunger soon forces them to gorge on the house. The building is really a lure to attract children to the house of a cannibal, an old woman who is a witch. They are soon trapped and preparations are made to cook Hansel but Gretel manages to trick the witch into climbing into the oven and is killed. The children escape with treasures found in the cottage and return home to find their father has been widowed. Child abandonment, a serial killer, psychological trauma. Not a pleasant story is it?
Little Red Cap (Little Red Riding Hood)
Supernatural goings on in the forest, which do not end well for a wolf. The familiar Little Red Riding Hood is in fact Little Red Cap, beloved of all who meet her and her family. Her grandmother as a special gift gives the jolly young woman a red, velvet cap. A day comes when she is asked to visit her sick grandmother, whose house lies in the forest. She is told not to stray from the path under any circumstance. The journey through the forest brings Little Red Cap into contact with a wolf, an amicable enough encounter. Strange that the girl does not question the fact that this creature is not what he appears to be. She falls into temptation and strays from the path, encouraged seductively by the beast. Away she goes with the fairies as the beast makes his way to the grandmother’s house. She becomes the main course, as does the girl. Not very bright that child. A passing huntsman rescues them and the wolf is killed and skinned. Questionable practice to send a child out on their own into a strange place don’t you think? Who is the real victim here the wild beast or the humans? The story appears to have rather Freudian overtones, steeped in symbolism (look up the red cap mushroom the Fly Agaric, its associations might interest you).
A perfect child is asked for and the Universe delivers. Skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony. The story has a tragic ending as the child’s mother dies in childbirth. As again the widower remarries within a year but the stepmother appears to be a psychotic character who suffers from pathological jealously. She orders Snow White to be killed and her heart and lungs brought to her as proof. This is not done but animal organs substituted by the huntsman. Cannibalism rears its head again. The young woman ends up in the home of seven dwarves, who promise all to her if she stays with them. Interesting…More murder attempts follow, asphyxiation and poisonings. Until the very last one, a poisoned apple sends her into a deep coma. Our beauty lies in resplendence in a glass coffin until passing prince spies her and begs to buy her from the dwarves. Eventually she awakens and they marry. Jealous stepmother is invited to the wedding and is unmasked, forced to wear red-hot shoes and dance until she dies. An inventive but horrific method of torture.
I sense this post is really about the dangers of losing our connection with the greater world, its realities and us. Our modern, technologically advanced societies contain many marvels but it comes at a price. The great forests of steel, glass and concrete grow ever higher and push back the boundaries between wilderness and ‘civilisation.’ Humanity stands on the boundary staring back at the wolves, bears and fantastical inhabitants of ‘out there’. In reality are we staring at older, wilder versions of ourselves? There’s no sense in trying to tame that which refuses to roll over and admit defeat. I was struggling with taming the ‘wild things’ over the last few years and now appear to be standing on the cusp of a breakthrough. I stare back at the inhabitants of ‘out there’, foot poised over the boundary. Funny how insights can appear in the most unlikely of places.
I’ll be attending this workshop in April and once again the participants will be gathering from all parts of the UK and abroad. Last year’s workshop unleashed powerful life changes and literary offerings. Methinks the energies of this will indeed sink into bone, flesh and blood.
When I met her, I thought her no more than a dream of the landscape, born of the mists and the magic. Imagination. Fantasy. Perhaps she is. Perhaps I delude myself with my listening. Perhaps my tears have fallen for a will-o-the-wisp. Who can say?
Do I believe in ghosts? The dead have better things to do with their lives than linger here in longing, clinging to a world they cannot touch and wishes they cannot hold. Do we call them back with our desire? Are we children tugging at their apron strings as they move forwards through the layers of existence, passing through otherworlds we try to glimpse in our fear and curiosity, in our inability to let them lie?
The Old Ones honoured their dead, giving them a place of peace by the hearthfire or laying them in the womb of earth to be reborn to a new…
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‘Deep breasted Ge, how exalted are thee above all.’ The words still echo in my mind. We stood in the holy of holies offering our service and fidelity to this most ancient of beings, Creatrix, Destroyer and one of the protogenoi (primordial ones). I was someone else then, not gone but slumbering. Waiting to be called once more. What sights I have seen and experienced as to render me almost speechless. My life story may appear rather bizarre at times. From priestess, healer, Sumerian alchemist and now storyteller. There are more but those lives are not yet ready to be revealed. It is the same for the path to the mysterious ancient Egyptian god Anpu. The Opener teases me mercilessly it seems. My senses are unsettled after witnessing the death of that star. I’ve watched many pass through the gates of death but still my heart feels their…
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Sue’s photo prompt this week, Gate #writephoto, had me in a quandry. What could I write in response? Here was a gate, perhaps leading to a whole different universe. Might I deign to keep my feet firmly in this world rather than scurry off exploring strange vistas? Decisions, decisions. This was difficult; the waters of creation were drying up. Aha! A ‘light-bulb’ moment suddenly occurs. Water, creation, depths, subconscious. Dear reader, it appears the gods have thrown me a tablet with instructions for weaving this tale. On closer inspection it looks like the Sumerian equivalent of a text, don’t like text speak. I can’t read ancient languages but due to the generous assistance of a certain Sumerian deity, Enki no less, I can reveal its contents:
Mting the reliees, wnt to cme? Oh, brng a dvng suit. LOL.
Meeting the relatives? An honour and quite a terrifying prospect. The terrifying part relates to the primordial parents Abzu and Tiamat, god of the sweet waters and goddess of the salt waters respectively. They’re joined by Mummu, god of the mist who arises from both entities. Thus is the primeval triad completed. Enki is the Sumerian god of wisdom and water, one of four creation gods. He is known as Ea to the Akkadians. Magic, spell casting, knowledge of the arts and civilizations are amongst his other talents. His sacred centre was based in Eridu, considered first of cities in existence before the great flood. E-abzu (House of the Abzu) was his temple, also known as E-engur-ra (House of the subterranean water). Such a weighty history behind them all!. To dip into the primordial waters would be an unforgettable and transformative experience. Also a little dangerous I have to add. Is it worth the risk? I scry the waters of my own inner being for advice and portents. Follow closely dear reader lest you become lost in the watery abyss…
The Gate opens. I stand silent before the portal. Darkness is obscuring my vision, there appears to be a nothingness on the other side of the Gate. Much like the Fool of the tarot I step forward to leap into the unknown. No sense in hesitating on this occasion. The darkness clears to reveal water, everywhere. This is no ordinary body of water. It utters words so ancient that a language hasn’t been invented yet to decipher the meaning. Understanding of its being comes through signs and not-yet-speech. Humans later spoke of this realm as one of the Great Nothingness. Much like the realm of the First Mound to the ancient Khemetic culture. Memory is shared by all and lost by none. Signs and portents are passed from generation to generation, stretching into eternity. We can neither glimpse its beginning nor its end. Much like my experience in this ocean. Infinity above and infinity below. I can sense another presence, She moves as if in a dream. Appearing insubstantial but very much present and alive. The great She-Dragon glides and scrutinises. This is her world, where being and non-being co-exist. Where dreams gestate and histories are woven. I glimpse others in these waters. Geometric shapes of sublime beauty. Anunnaki, angels, otherworld beings. Call them what you will. They watch, they witness, they create.
Nearer and nearer does the She-Dragon move. She encircles, gazes and encircles further. Does she instil fear? Yes and No. I’m only human and cannot help being overawed. Abzu whispers and Tiamat responds. I float in this matrix of life, reshaped and reshaped further. Enki smiles and I respond, brng a dvng suit. LOL? His hands cradle and lift, higher and higher we ascend. Abzu below, Mummu above. Emptiness in all directions. It feels so old, so old. Mummu shrouds all sight and then reveals, endless waters and horizons. One of the Three are they, one part of the puzzle are they. Concealing and revealing in equal parts. Arising from the Two to become something else. From the stars they came, bringing the gift of life and knowledge. Such things we were not privy to, beings not yet even existing. Beings not even ready. I ask Enki, ready for what? He looks and shakes his head, not yet, not yet but soon. How cryptic! I feel a pull into a time before the primordial triad. So silent, so dark. No fear but dreaming and sleeping deep within the womb. Fire and Light illuminate the virgin darkness. Sound shatters silence. The One is split asunder and becomes the Three. I am without speech, words cannot make sense of such a sight. The Three wait and watch. I return to the sweet waters and finally glimpse the She-Dragon. Abzu whispers and Tiamat responds. She gazes and encircles. Scaled behemoth, mother of all. I float in this ancient ocean, reshaped and reshaped further. Witness to the Nothingness, witness to Non-Being shaped into Being. My breath issues forth in a sigh and He says, not yet, not yet but soon. How cryptic.
Time to return and he escorts me to the Gate, Enki’s Gate. I gaze at him and smile, he responds. Enough for now. I step through the portal and into a thunderstorm. It cleanses and releases all attachment to the Primordial Beings. For they and I are not meant to exist in the same space, same time. So beware of bringing back things which are not meant to be in the here and now dear reader. Close the Gate, firmly.
Finally back home from much-needed rest in the Highlands of Scotland. We stayed in a gem of a bothy just feet away from the sea. The combination of endless water and skies instilled a deep sense of peace. It was a time of simplicity and thankfulness. Freed from the constraints of everyday concerns the mind was able to focus on the mysteries contained within silence. Quite healing it has to be said but ‘home is where the heart is.’ Dorothy was quite right when she said “there’s no place like home.” I am of course referring to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Life of late has been much like ‘not being in Kansas’ anymore. You can see my dilemma. The magical and mundane have collided to produce a strange alchemical mixture, orchestrated by the elusive Hare is my belief. I was born under the Chinese astrological sign of the Rabbit (also known as Hare or Cat). Like the Hare, Rabbit has lunar connections and a link to lunar deities including Aphrodite, Thoth, Eostre, Freya, Hecate, Hermes and Anu. They were considered sacred by the Celts, being an animal of the Goddess. White Hares also indicated the presence of the Otherworld. First Nation peoples considered Hare to be a guardian, creator and Trickster par excellence. Hare is the Great Manitou. Brer Rabbit in African and American folk myth. I could engage in a lengthy discourse on its symbolism but will spare you the agony. Hare is adept at evading its predators, being a symbol of fertility and good fortune.
Hare is also a messenger bringing to the forefront issues you’ve been avoiding. They are also urging the need to be less dogmatic, be open to new forms of creativity and expression. It appears that White Hare has solid reasons for stalking me over the past few months. My attitude has been mired in stagnant waters, unable to break free of its fetters. The rather strange offerings appearing on my blog this week were clear indications that trickery was afoot. To add to my sense of precariousness another otherworldly being appeared to reinforce the Hare’s oracular presence. Wild Cat emerged from the depths of the wildwood. She and I had met earlier in the year in a workshop facilitated by the Silent Eye Mystery School. It was an environment steeped in the mysteries of the Goddess and Arthurian mysteries. The Green Man made his presence known in ways we couldn’t predict. The magical currents ran deep and strong. They wound themselves round us like the mystical ivy on the forest floor. The She Cat sheathed her claws and surveyed me with a keen gaze from top to toe, from the outer to the inner. What of the message she brought from other realms?
With sensuous abandon stretched from tail to silken paw
While sheathed until required stay the guardian’s wicked claw.
From sunlight watching through the veil she sees the moving shade;
With otherworldly vision are her subtle judgments made.
Love does not bind nor fetter, yet in love she takes her rest,
Not holding to nor imprisoned by, she sees love at its best.
Wild Cat perceives the realm of the spirit and Otherworld. She teaches the arts of magic and developing the inner senses. The reading of omens and signs is her gift and one that should be accepted with grace.
It sounds a fantastic tale but the path of the Seeker is littered with the disbelief and derision of others. The ‘others’ often being ourselves. So where does this leave me now? Since my return from a place of stillness and peace I feel lighter. Yet, a little voice within me whispers, ‘don’t get used to it, there’s more to come.’