The next Silent Eye workshop in April 2018. Going by previous workshops this one sounds just as intriguing and mysterious.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives several definitions of Illuminate:
“Light up something”
“Help to clarify or explain something”
“Decorate a page or initial letter in a manuscript with gold, silver, or coloured designs”
The origin of the word is from the Latin Illuminare (Illuminate), from Lumen (Light).
I think all of the above are relevant for the purposes of this post, after all this blog consists of “musings of a wandering mystic” as I like to call myself, in addition to being a “non-poet” of course!
I’m aware that some of my posts may appear a little incomprehensible in their subject matter. Apologies for that. They take their place on the (virtual) page when my inner world deems that a little enlightenment is due. More for my benefit than anyone else’s. Perhaps I’m hoping to “light up” the shadowed places my feet take me on this life journey. There are many challenges being faced in the inner and outer worlds, some harder than others to overcome. It isn’t as bleak as it sounds. These things occur in cycles, differing in energies, much like those of the natural world and the greater Cosmos.
Our burdens can at times feel like those of the Titan Prometheus, although perhaps not to such an extreme extent. Prometheus sacrificed himself essentially to bring divine fire to humanity to help them survive and lighten the darkness of their existence (in more ways than one). Zeus punished the Titan by having him chained to a rock and an eagle eat his liver, which regenerated daily. The gods were rather imaginative and cruel in their choice of punishment dear readers.
Darkness gives us a time to recollect, rest and regenerate ourselves. On the negative side we have a tendency to view it as a home for all the terrible things of our nightmares. What did early humans do in the absence of fire? What did they fear lurking in the darkness of their environment? It’s not a mystery why the coming of light, sunrise, was celebrated so joyfully by all cultures. Although the idea of perpetual darkness and light is not a comforting one. Balance in all things is what we should aspire to, if only for sanity’s sake.
What of this mysterious thing “Iluminare”? Have I been successful in lighting up the hidden places in life and within myself? Have there been moments when I’ve shouted eureka and the scales have fallen from my (inner) sight? Yes and yes. Also No and no. My feet have walked from the shadowed places at the sight of light emerging in the distance and it has been a wonderful sight! At other times the torch lighting my way through the darkness has gone out and a sense of heaviness has descended. It can be described as a sense of desolation. The infamous “Dark Night of the Soul” then envelops us, revisiting our lives many, many times. That’s not to say we’re on our own at such times, we’re never alone. I recall one occasion years ago when I’d reached a very low point in life, my spirit felt utterly crushed. I asked, no one in particular why this was happening to me. No audible answer was forthcoming, except for a gentle and compassionate touch on my shoulder. There wasn’t anyone there, not visible to my sight anyway. I was quite upset at the time and brushed it away. A strange incident but whoever you were, thank you from the depths of my heart.
Moments like this are when we add further embellishments in a page in the Book of Life, our life. They act as gifts from our Higher Selves or Guardian Angels, bringing beauty and light for us to use. We use them to illuminate our lives to best reflect the wonder and splendour of both sorrow and joy. The contents of our Book of Life can be read on so many levels, nothing is what it first appears to be. Words become unnecessary at the moment light strikes at the very heart of our being.
With the Heavenly Seraphim or Hordes of Darkness?
Chaos and Balance straddle realms unknowable, realms inconceivable.
Good and Evil masquerade as the other.
Ignorance and Illumination falter, battle for eons.
We hold one and then the other. Vessel half empty, Vessel half full.
Stands the Lightbringer betwixt the two.
‘Choose your Side’ He pronounces.
They are within YOU, neither nightmare nor dream but realities known, hiding in shadows and slumber.
Which side of the Abyss do you stand?
With the Heavenly Seraphim or Hordes of Darkness?
Time has moved on since the Alchemist and his infant daughter encountered the great angel Gabriel. The world has since fluctuated between tyranny and fear, settling down into a semblance of stability now. Their journey has brought them to a place that has seen the rise and fall of great empires. Knowledge and insight are to be found in many places, not all illuminated by light though. The lonely path is often strewn by jagged rocks and beset by hungry beasts, of the inner and outer. The path laid out for the child was always going to be challenging, for that is how she was to gain knowledge of the human condition. Both parent and divine being pour all care and attention into fanning the holy flame within the young woman. The omniscience is tempered by total innocence, for she is the Fool going forth into the world of matter. Her eyes mirror the totality of existence, worlds upon worlds emerging out of the great Cosmic Fire of creation. From out of Darkness and Silence do Light and Speech emerge. She knows ending and beginning and as her humanness evolves, an ocean of emotions tinged with sorrow and joy. ‘Is this wrong?’ she asks and they cannot answer. Her task is pierce the perception of what is real and unreal. Continue reading
My story of an Alchemist and his daughter was first aired in Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt Flames #writephoto, it was entitled Ignis. The short tale can be read on many levels, with alchemy at its heart. The simplest definition I can find so far of this venerable art comes from Cherry Gilchrist’s book “Alchemy: The Great Work”, obviously this is only one source. Adam McLean’s website at http://www.alchemywebsite.com is a thorough and comprehensive library on the subject, worth a look. Now for the definition from Gilchrist:
“Alchemy is the art of transformation. The work of the alchemist is to bring about succeeding changes in the material he operates on, transforming it from a gross, unrefined state to a perfect and purified form.”
There are several dimensions to the alchemist’s work, physical, psychological and spiritual. The physical involves the transmutation of base materials via various chemical operations into gold. On the psychological and spiritual levels this would involve a process by which the self engages in a quest to perfect it’s nature. Alchemical texts can be often shrouded in symbolism, mythology and allegory. This allows the texts to be interpreted on many levels. Although it doesn’t mean that the material is either easy to decipher or understand until further research and work is undertaken by the seeker. This can take a whole lifetime! Of course it’s always best to read the original alchemical tracts if you can. Production of a substance called The Philosopher’s Stone (variously called the Elixir or Tincture) is the aim of the alchemist’s work. It’s thought to contain the power of transformation on both material and spiritual levels. A key to knowledge and only to be used wisely and responsibly. A noble undertaking, although as human history has illustrated again and again, ‘wise’ and ‘responsible’ don’t always feature strongly on the agenda.
Apologies to any alchemists out there, this is a rather simplistic viewpoint but sufficient for this exercise I believe. What this exercise is, is an ongoing contemplation of my place in the Universe. Many, many years ago I met a man in a qi gong class in London who confirmed what I’d been feeling for years. He commented that once someone had begun a journey to seek answers they would be changed forever. It would be a lonely path and their loved ones would not either recognise who they’d become or accept the new person. The world can never be viewed in the same way again.
What of the main players in this story? Time has moved on and we find the father and daughter in a different place. Father may be an Alchemist primarily but he is also many other things as is his daughter:
The child stares at her reflection with great curiosity. Same eyes, same nose, same lips. The mirror remains silent, waiting. Her father watches with intense interest. Such curiosity and thirst for knowledge in one so young! Children like her are quite rare, for she is the attainment of the Great Work. The human spirit contains within it a seed of the eternal Sun. The man’s eyes reflect his temporary withdrawal from this world. How many lifetimes has it taken in the quest for knowledge and perfection? He would willingly live yet many more lifetimes to see and experience all that has gone before. Once the mysteries of the world have been glimpsed one cannot return to the old life and self. The world is not what we perceive it to be; its atoms being self-aware shift and remould themselves into, what they desire to be. They also reflect what we desire and choose to see. Much like the mirror the child is looking into.
He is brought back to the present by the gentle touch of the child’s hand and looks down at her with much warmth and love. She sits on the ground and beams a brilliant smile at him. Her young eyes are like two deep pools, bottomless and wise beyond her years. She contains the sum of all knowledge and experience in the Universe. There is no sadness within her. She knows of what lies beyond the human experience, for it has been transcended. That is not to say she has not experienced grief and loss, anger and pain. They have informed the eternal and immortal being within, tempered their distance with compassion and understanding.
The infant hands the adult a picture she’s drawn. Her father scrutinises it carefully. Adam Kadmon (“primordial man”), a divine blueprint. She looks at her father and waves a chubby little hand, he laughs in response at the numerous drawings spread out on the floor of the living room. She has been busy. A pillar of light materialises in the western corner of the room. It shimmers like a ray of moonlight, white interspersed with silver. They hear the sound of bells, delicate sounds swimming in a sea of light. Then the figure of a woman appears in its stead, youthful in appearance but emanating great wisdom and power. She looks directly at the infant. The child gives her father a knowing look. It now begins.
Here ends my discourse.
Things of beauty, gossamer fancies and rainbow dreams. The Dreamer weaves. The Great Emptiness gives a knowing look. Stardust flows from her hands and wondrous mysteries from her thoughts.
Billions upon billions of stars, diamond bright and filled with unceasing fire sing their songs of praise. They know what it is to be born from the depths of the furnace. They live with a passion untouched by doubt. There is no death, only immortality. There is no sadness, only joy.
She is the eternal mercy, compassion and love. These gifts she weaves into matter, flesh and blood. To dream is her gift, an act of creation and regeneration. She is the Mother and the Father. She is the beginning and the end. Such gifts She passes to Her twin. The Universe thus continues its cycle of being.
She has knowledge of all in the Great Dream, memories vanishing…
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