She followed the Seven, Guardians of the Lore into the innermost depths of the sanctum. Torches glowed with a preternatural brilliance. Here was housed their most sacred lore, memories emanating from an era when neither Light nor Darkness existed in that Universe. A time when the Omniscience held a germ of all that was to be in their thoughts. So did life and death unfold. They showed her the way, then the Holy of Holies emerged from thoughts and soundless voices. Thus was she shown the beginnings of her people, of her kin. The images played out before her, of a time and place not of their world: Continue reading
This was a strange one to write. I love the sea and feel its pull strongly, it calls bringing voices of the past and something yet to come. On this occasion it brought with it a tale of something and someone lost. A mariner who lost his life due to treachery and seeking revenge on the perpetrators. Revenge is a toxin that can remain even beyond death if we choose to accept its embrace. This lost soul yearns for his former love, haunting her steps in the waking world and within her dreams. He also haunts the living, filled with a raging hatred.
Such is the strength of the mariner’s ire that the gods are compelled to deal with him. One such divine being is enlisted to calm the storm within this soul and release him from this purgatory. This isn’t a poem. I listened to my feelings and tried to translate them into a narrative that had elements of a song. I like the sound of words and the images they create:
Tread softly dear love,
Lest you crush the rose so avidly sought.
How so you question, this way I answer, dampen your ardour.
How your eyes of Autumn fire seek fulfilment, entreat passion,
This is not to be, she walks the lonely shore,
Carrying memories of times past, love that is past.
Leave her be, heal she must.
The rose blooms still upon her cheek, the heart still beats within her breast.
Tread softly dear love,
Lest you crush the rose so avidly sought.
Deep, deep I take us,
Through Earth and rivers of Fire,
Into depthless Oceans, forgotten Realms.
Soft are your words, hard is my Response.
Human man, how you drown in bitter waters, endless tears.
Speak to me of visions loving,
Of echoes of distant trysts,
Not of bloodied revenge, such things are gone and should not be called.
Retribution shall come but not by your hand.
It is not your task, for that is for the gods.
Ancient Mariner, why seek revenge on the living?
Your heart blazes with unnatural fire, quench it you must.
Our people call to us, many are their prayers,
Seeking release from the darkness that you bring.
Desist! Return to your watery grave in Poseidon’s realm.
Why become the very thing that seeks you out?
Lift yourself from these sands,
No presence of your former self shall you leave.
Gone is he, into depthless Oceans, forgotten Realms.
No graveyard dust shall you have but pearls of shining.
Tread softly dear love, your time is passing,
Dry your tears lest the depthless Oceans embrace the land.
Hear the song of the birds and the crashing waves upon the shore.
Give thanks for what you had, give thanks for what you shall have.
The Fates have decreed and so it must be, why seek hubris even beyond death?
Embrace the wine dark sea, taste its lips for evermore.
Tread softly dear love, your time is passing.
Come, join me into depthless Oceans, forgotten Realms,
In shining halls and forests of green.
Embrace the wine dark sea, taste its lips for evermore.
Tread softly dear love, come into my arms, your time is only beginning.
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
The White Hare watches me and then looks down at his watch. His face is solemn, voice silent. Finally he intones, “we are fragile and luminous. Intricately engineered things of beauty, ephemeral like snow crystals glinting in the rays of the Sun. Such is life, such is beauty.”
His words give me pause for thought. Typical of the Lord of Magic and Wisdom to throw me such a morsel! Oh, did I forget to mention that the Hare is intimately connected with the ancient Egyptian deity Djehuty (Thoth) and his centre of worship at Khemnu? Wise is he in all things associated with knowledge and higher wisdom. Rather like Jedi Master Yoda. He tries to hide a smile at my comparison but I spot it. His eyes scrutinise intently, making me feel unsettled. The silences seem to stretch into infinity and hold a wealth of meaning. I have no words to offer him, only what lies behind the gates of my soul. Continue reading
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
This post came about due to a morning’s clear out of a storage box containing old comics and diaries. It felt rather strange looking over the past but they were good memories. Shall we shall these artifacts are my equivalent of Proust’s madeleines. There are regular repeats of children’s cartoons on television and I thought this one deserved to be given quality attention.
The Scooby gang first hit our screens in 1969 and as they say the rest is history. I’m sure all Scooby afficianados looked forward to Saturday mornings to see our heroes in action. Secretly we wanted to be like them, unmasking villians, straying into danger and just having a lot of fun. Who were these fearless teens? Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Fred Jones and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers and Scooby. The Fabulous Five of course! Their powers of detection, courage and sheer athleticism (well Scooby and Shaggy anyway) always won out. The forces of good triumphed over evil every time. The number of villains and monsters were legion but there are a few that merit a special mention (that includes Scrappy Doo, annoying little varmint!). Please feel free to argue amongst yourselves about the list. Continue reading
The hidden world has its clouds and rain, but of a different kind.
Its sky and sunshine are of a different kind.
This is made apparent only to the refined ones – those not
Deceived by the seeming completeness of the ordinary world.
The great Sufi Master, Jalaludin Rumi, hints at the reality behind reality in those words. Humans have been curious about their world and the greater universe for a long, long time. In our spiritual and magical endeavours we’ve attempted to reach out to the objects of our worship and the world at large, becoming transformed in the process. Mystics and non-Mystics alike have long sought this transcendent state of being throughout the centuries; to rend the veils obscuring true vision of reality as we know it. Such mysteries have made their presence known over millennia and been used as raw material in literature and meditations. Words hold much power and have a presence that’s tangible. They’re sacred sigils of enchantment, imbued with the ability to both destroy and create. As for my little creation, why write it at all? I was urged on by a vivid dream in which the Delphic Oracle was consulted. How could this experience be put into words I thought to myself. A few days later this was the result. This occurred more than 15 years ago. There were other factors involved, namely my studies at the time of the Qabalah and other mystically inclined subjects. Continue reading
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. 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.”
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? 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.” 
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.
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
“How long is forever?” I’ve asked that question over and over again. Only to get a different answer each time. Where are you leading me White Rabbit? The twists and turns you take through the forest and field make me dizzy. You weave your words of confusion and magic, leading me further into the rabbit hole. Leading me further into the Labyrinth. Ancient roots, ancient memories. Those I can see, those I can feel. I am ancestral blood. I am ancestral memory. Earth and Sky united.
“How long is forever?” Not long enough. Who will keep my memories once I’m am gone. You pull these questions out of me and I’m more than willing to let you. I remember a time White Rabbit when the world was young and our roots were strong. Now we are unravelling, bit by bit. What will be left when we have no more stories to weave? Existence disappears down the rabbit hole. We cease to be.
“How long is forever?” Trickster, you open the doors of perception so that we can live our truth. Yet we fear to tread over the threshold. Time, we fear Time. We live enmeshed within its web, willing prisoners. If we have time to fear, why not have time to remember?
“How long is forever?” As long as you want it to be. My words fall like shattered glass on the page, forming random patterns only you can understand. Do you see?