Journey from Death to Life by Elaine Mansfield

A powerful post on bereavement and healing by Elaine Mansfield, who lost her husband through cancer. This details her journey through loss and encounter with the mysterious  Green Man in dreams. A remarkable journey. I reblogged this in the hope that her words will be of help to others experiencing grief. It resonates strongly with me.

https://otvmagazine.com/2017/09/18/journey-from-death-to-life/

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Fall from Grace: Diary of a Previously Unemployed Knife Thrower

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Image: Eve, John Collier, Wikiart

Saturday 5 August 2017

The look on Eve’s face is telling, or is that the artist projecting his own notions of shame against the Mother of all? Let’s face it, She was set up. There was a power struggle going on, the male priesthood and establishment need a scapegoat and she fitted the bill. Compared to the divine ancestor my situation is a mere gnat bite on the body of humanity. Okay, a slip of the hand and my assistant, the little anaemic sop… Let me correct that, he was anaemic by the time they took him into the ambulance. Accidents happen at work, why on earth they had to involve the Health & Safety people I don’t know. It’s an occupational hazard for anyone involved in the business. To be fair his threat of a lawsuit forced their hand.

Talking of accidents, that no-good, con artist of an agent got her comeuppance today. The zombies she was representing finally had enough of being ripped off and demanded a pound of flesh. In fact they got several pounds of the stuff, the police had a problem identifying her. Justice has been served with a bottle of Rioja!

Sunday 6 August 2017

Still can’t get that image of Eve out of my head. When I knew her She was like a star of the brightest light. Why did it go wrong? Humanity wasn’t meant to be mired in darkness and ignorance. As for the lie about using one of Adam’s ribs to create a companion, well, it leaves you a little speechless. Does that mean that if she was injured or happened to become existentially challenged. Wait, what do I mean? Anyway, if she died, would he die as well? To be honest the heart of humanity suffered great a grievous wound when they wrote the various Books. Bad PR folks, look what they did to Lilith and Mary Magdalene. Shame, shame and shame. I’m ashamed to be a man. To be honest the women are just as bad, maybe even worse. Makes you wonder what kind of deity/Higher Being/Cosmic Conscious they believe in. I’m Freud would have plenty to say about that, he wouldn’t have minced his words. He was a straight talking guy when I knew him.

I’ve been six months in this temp job now, the people are just as dysfunctional as I am. Fit right in. Hard though being cheerful, not in my nature to be a ray of sunshine. It’s been a challenge keeping my tongue quiet, been sorely tempted at times to tell some of those people what I really think of them. Humans can be so, needy and malicious. At least your average chthonian or solar deity would display such negative traits with a bit more style and aplomb. Persephone warned me about cutting back on the bitchiness. Do I listen to her? Not always alas. I miss Eve and Lilith.

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Image: Lilith with a Snake, John Collier, Wikiart

Monday 7 August 2017

These thoughts about our lost Paradise are making me maudlin. Well, Paradise hasn’t been lost exactly. It’s just that humanity is on an attachment this material plane of manifestation for a while and will return to HQ when it’s been completed. Although I don’t think humanity quite understands the work that’s involved in working from the Divine Blueprint. That doesn’t apply to all the work experience people though, many actually get the concept of Free Will. I’m making it sound like a huge corporate nightmare, perish the thought! It’s more like a centre of learning/temple without walls or boundaries. That’s the best I can do. That reality is hard to describe, even though I’ve visited many times. The supervisors are numerous and often hard task masters, or that’s how it appears to human perception. I think humans know them as angels, archangels, etc. Just realised, I keep referring to ‘humans’. I’m, no, I used to be human. Not sure what I am now, not undead, not either living or even dead. It’s a strange existence, I straddle several worlds. Makes your thighs ache like mad! Heh, heh. I thought it was funny.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Angels. Now that’s a subject I could go on about for hours but won’t in deference to them. They’ve been viewed variously as benevolent and sinister. Depends on which side of the divide you stand, the Abyss can be a nasty place to fall into. I’ve peered in and it isn’t somewhere you take the family for a night out. The ones known as the Fallen have been viewed with fear and more. There’s been so much misinformation bandied about them, some of it deliberate. The great ‘War in Heaven’…What was that about? Did we ever stop to think what was really going on there? Nothing, nothing, ever happens just by chance. Humanity has a destiny to fulfil but has managed to get side-tracked many times, not easy I suppose maintaining a balance between their twin natures. Hard having the both in one body can be problematic. Sandalphon ensures I get to hear all the latest news. We have a chat when it’s quiet and when I can bother to get out of ‘grumpy immortal git’ mode. I should open up to them a bit more but it’s centuries of conditioning I need to discard before reaching the inner, sensitive man.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

I’ve been getting to the urge to slap one of the team across the face with rotting fish. Swear I saw his eyes turn black momentarily and an aroma of sulphur follow him out of the room. He’s a wiry individual with a spiteful streak. He reminds me of one of the demons I came across when wandering the wasteland many years ago. Now that was the perfect place for some of the not so friendly Fallen. Gross material matter has a tendency to change things in unexpected ways. No laughing matter, I’ve seen the effects on so many that came through the planes of manifestation we know of, also the innumerable ones we don’t. Humans need to keep their boundaries more secure, by that I mean not allow any ‘walk ins’ to get a foothold. They allow fear to cause breaches in their protective shells, letting in things that are quite nasty.

Thursday 10 August 2017

This diary’s beginning to go places I don’t want to. Probably because of the hovel I’m currently inhabiting. The landlady advertised it as a ‘jewel of an apartment in a desirable central location’. It’s next to a recycling plant and built over a doorway into the infernal regions. Sounds funny written down but I’m not laughing. Even the cockroaches and silverfish had thrown in the towel and left en masse. They begged me to leave with them but I couldn’t afford anything better. Anyway, they left me a phone number of a good estate agent (think I just saw a pig fly past my window) just in case I changed my mind.

The landlady gives me the creeps and I spent several decades as assistant to a Necromancer in Tartarus. They were the worst years of employment imaginable. Something about her makes my skin crawl, although the plastic surgery has rectified that issue. I don’t look a day older than 670. My skin looks luminous (that might be the accidental exposure to radiation) and you can bounce a rubber ball off my toned posterior. Where was I? Yessssssssssss, my landlady. I’m not sure what else she does apart from instil a terrible feeling of dread in the soul. She’s never around during the day and as soon as twilight approaches her door creaks open to reveal…I can’t even write what she looks like because I can’t remember. Strange that. I have a theory about what she could be but uttering it aloud and even writing it down could cause a terrible tear in the fabric of the Universe. Sandalphon and even Mikael dropped hints about her true nature but I was rather preoccupied with other matters.

Friday 11 August 2017

I managed to corner Sandalphon and Mikael this morning. They were a little reticent about the matter. I think they were trying to be polite, kind even about my lack of awareness. They don’t view reality as humans do, and human emotions are quite alien to their kind but many have chosen to work with humanity. In order to help them achieve wholeness and evolve; to become divine beings once again and bring back knowledge of the material world to the Source and angelic hierarchy. Anyway, I digress. I was quite shocked at their revelation. Bad luck seems to follow me round like a hungry dog.

The house is built over part of the Abyss and the landlady is a ruler over one of its levels. I’m cursed, that’s the only explanation. Mikael gently commented that I was quite right about the curse. Coming from this archangel it is doubly wounding. Well, at least he’s on my side. I’ve upset many in my long and illustrious career, so it could be anyone. Mikael waited patiently for me to run through the suspects. Four hours and 42 cups of coffee later I remembered who it was, who cursed me that is. The ancient Egyptian serpent Apep. I recall trapping his tail in one of the gates in the Underworld. I wasn’t meant to be there at the time but wandered in through the wrong doorway. Set was about to spear Apep when I interrupted them. Well, you can imagine their annoyance. My brief sojourn in the Underworld didn’t go well. That Apep has one foul mouth on him! I need to get a hobby. Roll on the weekend…

How Fares The King of the Wasteland?

Image: Pixabay

Lonely and embittered is the King of the Wasteland. Ruler over phantoms and of regrets, he sees little of worth including himself. How blind, how tragic.

I watch him tread the path well trodden. Deep are the furrows, in body, mind, and spirit. He perches on the precipice, unwilling to retreat. The breeze whispers, torments endlessly, carries the voices of those abandoned, those unloved.

We circle one another, my shield and sword at the ready. Strong is my resolve, harsh is my gaze. I shall not be cowed, shall stand my ground, shall challenge forthwith. Where is my compassion? Held in abeyance, held in Hope.

Be still and at peace I say to ruler of all and ruler of none. How his gaze falters, how his gaze darkens. The tears flow, they glint like diamonds. I say yield unto Love, yield unto Forgiveness. Will he listen? Will he speak?

Heal he must, rejoin the living. Discard hurt he must and notions of revenge, notions of anger. Free yourself, free the others. This I urge but will he listen? Battle he must the fears of his heart. Shadows past and shadows present stand in his path. They are but empty shells, dust filled memories.

He advances but I do not retreat, cannot retreat. How the wounded beast circles, aches to bite, aches to tear. His heart bleeds, his tears fall. Dare I wipe them away? Dare I soothe his heart? Both he and I must divest all that hinders, all that pains. Naked must we face the other, tread the path of freedom. How vulnerable we are, like newborn babies. Hush, hush the Mother whispers. She hears our cries and soothes our hurt.

At last the Sun rises, bringing Light into our Darkness. Yet the path goes on, beyond the horizon. Yet more we should divest, do so in the fullness of time. Gain illumination say our hearts, gain flight and freedom. Be at Peace one says to the other. Journey further, learn much. Part in humility, part in Love.

Image: Pixabay

A Fleeting Glance

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Image: Pixabay

The spectre of a creature inhabiting the dark places of our subconscious emerges into consciousness once more. It’s been a while since I visited this landscape, the last time was in Ancient Bloodline – Moonlit # writephoto. Love, although a dysfunctional and destructive one, was the basis of that story. How could it be otherwise when it involves the Lady of the Bright Red Linen (one epithet of the goddess Sekhmet) and demons such as vampires. The ending was not a happy one. Why should it be?

The memory of that tale and an old project prompts me to weave another story involving yearning and love. My interest lies in exploring the depths of this creature’s psyche and also ours. Whether I succeed remains to be seen. Alas my protagonist doesn’t fare well much like the one in “Ancient Bloodline”. Crimson kisses and exquisitely painful emotions lead only to oblivion. My general of armies of darkness and blood has followed his ancient Egyptian priestess through centuries of search. Often glimpsing her but not quite able to touch, until now. Such an obsession is his undoing. Continue reading

Sing to Me of Yearning and Loss: Spirit of Love

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Image: Pixabay

 “Sing to me of yearning and loss. Bring my heart to life. Let me feel the passion of her kiss and agony of her death” he commands. Yet, does he want to be reminded of his loss?

The musicians stare at the archaic god, one whose voice and musicianship have bowed even the heads of the infernal deities in Hades. Once his eyes bore the light of stars but now are touched with deep shadows that tell of ordeal and tribulation. Despite the kiss of deep sorrow he still bears an unearthly beauty. Mighty king of Thrace, blessed with gifts beyond measure to calm even the mightiest storm. How can they refuse such an honour? They are no strangers to the Orphic Mysteries and it is no accident great Orpheus has come upon this place. Continue reading

Escape from Montségur: The Parfaite’s Tale #writephoto

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Photo: Sue Vincent

My response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt – cave – #writephoto. The offering here is mere speculation and the weaving together of various strands (fictional of course) recounting the story of a survivor of the massacre at Montségur. She escapes, bearing a very important artefact. Sanctuary is eventually found in a cave far from the horrors left behind in Occitania and a time of introspection begins. This little piece may take on a life of its own, I’ll wait to see what it does!

The Light has retreated into the Silence and the stench of burning flesh and screams are a world away. The Inquisitors have been ruthless in executing their plans, thorough but not thorough enough. We live. Our spirits being inextinguishable. Yet, this gives me no comfort. I tried to save many but to no avail. Their blood can never be cleansed from my hands. Such horrors I have seen, praying for blindness to remove the visions. What of my vows? Poverty, Chastity and Obediance. Shall they be abandoned at this time of great adversity? Am I worthy to call myself Parfaite? He foretold of this time of tribulation, when our faith and lives would be put to trial by fire. The hatred in the hearts of our persecutors burns unceasing day and night. It is the forge within which are fashioned weapons of darkness and hatred. I fear that darkness may have tainted my heart. Yet, compassion and understanding hold fast to my beleaguered spirit. They urge me not to falter, not to fall prey to the delusions of this false world.

What being has brought me to this place? It’s familiar air brings solace to my soul.   This sanctuary, vast in earth and stone. Its halls trodden by ancient feet. What hand etched such strange beings on its walls? I seek answers to calm the turmoil within. My heart entreats me to listen to the silence. Gnosis exists within the Silence. It is the space within which we commune with our brethren. Prayer and contemplation are the pillars of my house. Our time is not dead, I sense we will take on different guises in ages to come. Far will we travel on our journeys, as mine will be now. May strength and courage help me carry out my sacred duty as guardian of the vessel. May I be a source of strength to the Credentes.

“E vec vos eu so com vos per totz dias entro a l’acabament del segle”.
(“and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”).

That voice, finally the Light has emerged from the Silence. I’ve waited long for this moment. How may I serve?

Grief and Loss: Initiatory Journeys

 

 

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Grief has usually been allied with death but it encompasses so much more. Throughout our lives grief makes its presence known through all the great and small acts of loss we suffer, be it loss of good health, the death of a pet, redundancy, loss of friendships, loss of favourite keepsakes. Each loss impacts upon our psyche in differing ways. Sometimes we recover quickly and move on, other times the loss cuts deeply and the pain never fully subsides. Each person’s reaction to grief differs depending upon factors such as life experience, personality, spiritual beliefs, culture, circumstances surrounding the death of the deceased, and family relationships.

Conflict also has a place within the bereavement process, most often manifesting during the arrangement of the funeral. Relationships may become strained as people attempt to cope with the overwhelming emotions facing them at this difficult time. Death it seems to be the last great taboo we are scared to face. The thought of our own mortality can open up a landscape of fears, a place devoid of all those we love and care for. Perhaps in our modern, technologically advanced societies we have forgotten how to approach important rites of passage, such as death, passage into adulthood and the wisdom of the elder years. There is much to think about under these circumstances.

The bereaved may undergo a process of catharsis, moving through several stages of grief ranging from:

  • – Numbness and denial
  • – Yearning and anger
  • – Emotional despair, sadness and withdrawal
  • – Reorganisation
  • – Letting go and moving on

Suppressed feelings may manifest in symptoms such as tiredness, inappropriate anger, psychosomatic illness, depression, hyperactivity. There may be a sense of unfinished business to contend with.[1]  The sense of loss may continue for years without any appreciable improvement. Some people who have lost their husband, wife or partner seem to descend into a state of numbness, forcing them to live a “normal” life but with no purpose. In certain cases the partner that is living may die soon after. The grief is no less devastating with the loss of a child, friend or pet. Brings to mind Tony Lake’s comment about commitment to life in the midst of grieving:

“But these people who are less than fully committed to life seem to me to have partially given in to death. They have accepted discouragement and decided that for a certain part of their time, life is not worth living.”[2]

How many of us can recognise ourselves in that description? Others talk about the deceased as if they have just “popped out” and will be back later. Such is the strength of the bond between the two people. I say “is” because it appears to be an unbreakable bond, untouched by death. Was this the case with Orpheus, braving the depths of Tartarus to bring back his wife Eurydice, only to lose her for all eternity due to one mistake?[3] One can only wonder at the power of the mind and how it is utilised to revivify the dead and create memories. Letting go can be so hard but a necessary process if we are to live healthy lives and let the dead live theirs. Otherwise we bind the dead to this earth (and they bind us), which can cause all manner of ills. Soul rescue is an option we should not have to resort to but it must be done under these circumstances.

The manifestations of grief can present certain challenges to all parties concerned, in particular the Priest or Priestess involved in the organisation of a ceremony. The Officiant in a sense has taken on the (symbolic) role of the “Walker between the Worlds”, guide and protector of the deceased, priest or priestess officiating over the sacred rites of life and death. Accordingly the weight of responsibility upon their shoulders is a heavy one, as are the expectations of the family who has engaged their services. The grief being experienced for loss of the loved one may also touch upon deeply buried emotions, which may relate to their feelings around death. Sogyal Rinpoche commented:

“You cannot help a dying person until you have acknowledged how their fear of death disturbs you and brings up your most uncomfortable fears. Working with the dying is like facing a polished and fierce mirror of your own reality.” [4]

The pain of losing loved ones and dying a painful death can be disturbing scenarios. They may feel like the Void of no return. I’ve grieved deeply at the loss of many things in my life, and to an extent still doing so. This is not a negative thing. Our empathy, compassion and understanding shape us into people of responsibility, who are strong enough to take on the task of helping others cope with their grief. I’ve seen this in my work with bereaved people, both in paid and voluntary capacities. The important thing is to learn to transmute these strong emotions, feelings and beliefs into tools to enable us to move on and grow.

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In conclusion, if I may go back to a previous point about our modern society forgetting the ritual of rites of passage. How prepared are we to face the reality of our own mortality? Death inspires fear and panic, a long shadow that we hope to escape but our steps only seem to lead back into its presence. The journey is serpentine and never linear, it is a walk into the centre of the labyrinth. We grieve at our losses (loved ones, memories, possessions, sense of self), bitterly at times. The emotion can be all-consuming, trapping us in its darkness. At other times we stand before it filled with fear but asking it to do its worst (“feel the fear and do it anyway”).

Sogyal Rinpoche comments quite wisely in “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” that we can use our lives to prepare for death and not wait for the death of someone close to reassess our lives. We can use the present to find meaning, make every moment count, take every opportunity to change and prepare with peace of mind to face death and eternity. Wisdom wrapped in simplicity but at times so difficult to put into practice. We don’t have to undergo these trials on our own, the support is there for the asking.  We can also help support others through these difficult experiences, be they living or dead.

 

Bibliography and Resources

Cruse Bereavement Care. Information pack – Understanding Grief

 Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths: Volume 1. London: Penguin Books, 1960.

Lake, Tony. Living with Grief. London: Sheldon Press, 1984.

Rinpoche, Sogyal. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. London: Rider, 1992

 

Just mooching

Just mooching accurately describes my present state of being. It is a hot and sunny day and I am sitting at a perfect vantage point in the garden. There are houses below us, farmland beyond with the valley rising to hills and mountains in the distance. I can see the hazy outline of the Great Orme, Llandudno in the far distance and numerous wind turbines in the sea. The murmur of traffic drifts over from the A55, that’s okay. Regardless of the state of the weather I feel blessed to be living in a place like this. Being a transplant from London to a rural part of North Wales has not been easy. It has involved several years of living in shared digs in Cheshire and Manchester (that’s for another day) and a long daily commute to work in Manchester. We were renovating our house at the time and it was 95% habitable. I came home at weekends, then decided one day to move in permanently. The move occurred on 31 October 2010. My ancestors must have heard all the prayers and eased my situation.  My partner helped me move and that was the last I saw of the weird landlord. Hooray! My adventures in shared digs were a mixture of the Twilight Zone and a bad film noir. Continue reading