Tea With The Mad Hatter

Image: Pixabay

It’s been a while since the White Rabbit and I met up with his former cell mate the Mad Hatter. Sorry, I meant to say colleague, yes, that’s what I meant…My companion gives me a calm but deadly stare. There’s a faintly manic look in his eyes that makes me edge away slowly. You don’t mess with Fluffykins (my private name for the arch Trickster). I know that he knows that I know that he knows this most private of affectionate names. We choose to take the road of ignorance where this is concerned for very good reasons.

In this surreal group of ours, namely The Shedies, a little light humour is essential. Especially considering the past history of some of the members, and I include myself in this select number. You may not be aware of this but I love tea, most varieties except for Earl Grey. Never Earl Grey. Apologies for the outburst, it’s a subject I’m passionate about, as well as food history, food, cooking food, reading about it. Sigh. Where was I? Ah yes, tea with a certain tragic figure. Tragic? The Mad Hatter has a sad history. He was the toast of European society for centuries for one very good reason. The man’s skill in millinery was legendary. He lived hats, dreamt hats, and made hats. As for the sobriquet “Mad Hatter”, it pains me to go over that terrible incident.

Many cultures revere tea highly and rightly so. Its serving is couched in mystical ritual and ceremony, often elevating the senses to a state of oneness with the outer world. It can be used as a tool in meditation but that’s another story. Apologies for the digression but it does have a purpose in this tale of woe. The Mad Hatter invited us to a tea dance in a grand hotel in central London many years. White Rabbit, His Nibs (Anubis), Thoth, and I went ahead to the hotel, filled with excitement we were. My heart lifted as we neared the hallowed portals of the building, the smiling doorman ushered us in. We followed the soft refrain of a familiar tune, our feet eventually leading to the main ballroom. Sunlight showered through a glass dome that was the ceiling. The orchestra looked terribly elegant as did our fellow diners. Oh my, we spotted the Mad Hatter sitting at a large table to one side of the dance floor. What a rakish figure! The man was truly blessed with good looks, manners and grace. Admittedly his choice of garb was a little, florid and ostentatious. My heart still raced with admiration.

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Image: Pixabay

This scene was a nostalgic reminder of gentler times (obviously viewed through rose tinted lenses). Yet, I sensed a strange undercurrent running through this room. The more I looked, the more the scene appeared to fragment revealing hidden things. Things perhaps not meant to see the light of day. Such is the energy that accompanies our merry band of misfits and magicians. We perceive the world in ways not usual with many, on highways rarely travelled. Shadowed shapes moved soundlessly amongst those present, were they either living or dead? It was hard to tell. Occasionally a figure would stop and pour something into a tea pot. It looked like light and gold dust. Such was the effect of this act that our surroundings shimmered and briefly vanished. It was apparent that there was another world behind our current reality.

I peered further into this strange new world and could see earth walls and ceiling, with roots weaving through tunnels and a large chamber. Suddenly the words of the Cheshire Cat echoed through my mind:

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”.

Yes, that made sense somehow.

The White Rabbit and His Nibs looked at me silently, whilst Thoth smiled that infuriatingly mysterious smile of his. I could smell the aroma of trickery and illusion in the air. The tension was broken as waiters served us with cakes and sandwiches. The Mad Hatter lifted the tea cup and breathed in the delicate scent of Oolong. He paused for a moment, a terrible look on his face. Was he grimacing? Suddenly a roar cascaded from his mouth, The tea was STEWED, quelle horreur! This was the last straw for the master milliner. He jumped and launched himself at the poor waiters serving at our table. A hand emerged from beneath the table and pulled me under. The White Rabbit rolled his eyes in despair. My other companions seemed to be enjoying themselves and just grinned at me.

I peered at the mayhem going on around us. There was a quality of madness about it. My intuition sensed powerful forces at work. “It’s Faerie magic” a voice whispered in my ear. His Nibs then laid a gentle hand on one of my ankles.  “Just in case” he muttered. Faerie magic. I felt an overwhelming urge to throw myself into the midst of the melee. Food fights seemed exciting and I always wanted to indulge in a spot of this particular mischief. His Nibs tightened his grip on my ankle at that moment. We could hear the Mad Hatter screaming at another diner. This doesn’t sound good. His voice was edged with hysteria. This was more than annoyance, what exactly did the Faerie folk put in his tea? Next thing hordes of police were pouring through the doors. We remained under the table, except for the White Rabbit. He, with the Mad Hatter were being dragged into one of numerous police vans. They didn’t worried, which was a little strange. I swear the Mad Hatter even winked at us.

Everyone “laid low” for several days. The White Rabbit and Mad Hatter were released after a couple of days, bail being put up by a mysterious benefactor, only known as “Queenie”. Hm. The Mad Hatter saw me briefly before going on an extended road trip. He kissed my cheek and then slipped a package in my hand. It was a box of tea, Assam in fact. All he said was, “treat it with respect”.

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Our band went separate ways for several years, only to meet up two/three years ago. My chance meeting with the White Rabbit in Llandudno recently was an omen of further shenanigans.

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Fiendish, Furry, and Feisty: TRICKSTER ON THE LOOSE

Image: The White Rabbit, Llandudno, Jan Malique

The public are warned to keep away from this mischief-maker. If spotted, run and hide somewhere on the other side of running water. Wait, that relates to vampires. Anyway, make sure it’s deep water. Quite deep water. I suppose he would swim if forced to. The miscreant has left a swathe of victims in his wake, some so traumatised that they’ve been forced to watch repeats of Twin Peaks. Yes, that’s how bad things are. Personally I have great affection for this gem, being a David Lynch fan how can I not?

He’s an entity filled with mysterious powers, capable of causing time and space to warp, black holes to appear, and facial hair to sprout instantaneously.  His wicked wiles will enchant and lead you down subversive paths. Beware, beware! Once glimpsed he can never be forgotten, never shaken off. Don’t drink from the chalice offered by this fiendish, furry, and  feisty fellow. Remember the warning about not drinking and eating anything whilst in the domain of the Faerie folk? It applies in this case as well. Not sure how that works but his lawyers somehow managed to work that into our contract.

Our contract? Hm, forgot to mention that. I didn’t sign it in blood exactly. Can’t stand the sight of blood, even my own. Not sure what happened. One day I was walking down the road with His Nibs (Anubis to you) and then I found myself down a rabbit hole. There appeared to be a tea party going on and I was chief guest. Strange, I never got an invitation. His Nibs just smiled mysteriously. Not a good sign when he does that. As for that dang contract, there were no body fluids involved. Sounds rather, disgusting but there you are. Apparently the red liquid was pomegranate juice. Uh, oh I hear some of you mutter. You are right to express concern considering the symbolism of this fruit. Didn’t Hades give Persephone pomegranate seeds to eat during her imprisonment in his domain? Enough said.

 

 

 

 

 

Possibilities

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Image: Pixabay

I was speaking with a friend of mine earlier this afternoon, we’d known each other from the age of 12 years. It’s been a long friendship, both of us are now (mutters incomprehensibly). Perhaps our ages aren’t so important eh? There have been several job changes, illnesses, bereavements and relocation of homes. Let’s just say it’s been a full and interesting journey for both of us. Our childhood ambitions were and still are creative endeavours; alas this was not to be and we ended up in different professions. Both of us are at another crossroads in our lives, considering a variety of options and assessing the possibilities. 

Possibilities. A word worth its weight in gold. Much like Hope, it can sustain us when all appears bleak on the horizon. Our youthful selves were fired with energy and great expectations. As adults our experiences have tempered those expectations, that’s only natural. Hindsight is a great teacher, realistic but not unkind.

My younger self believed she could make a difference and create a better world for all of us. I passionately believed in justice, fairness, tolerance and equality. Still do. I’m going to come out of the wardrobe, fall out of it more correctly and admit to being a Socialist. Still am at heart but its nuances have changed slightly but not its heart. I’ll go to my cremation as one. Protest marches were a staple for me – against apartheid, racism, erosion of employment rights, sexism, etc.  I’d grown up in a culturally diverse part of London, attended a primary school in Soho that had children from many different ethnicities. Secondary school was a little different but still great.

That’s not to say there weren’t tensions in society. London at the time was a place of political and social turmoil. Nothing has changed! The 1970s, 80’s and 90s saw profound upheavals, many necessary. Additionally the activities of Far Right groups like the National Front (and other more extreme groups) created an atmosphere filled with violence, fear and tension. It seems humanity’s atavistic tendencies are once again rising to the fore. The gates of the Underworld have been loosed and the inmates are on the rampage dear friends. One hopes they’ll be dragged back to their cells soon.

Culturally it was an exciting time from what I remember, well, it was neither boring nor safe in terms of output. I do get nostalgic at times for the spirit of those times, more due to the people who I’d known and met. Each one of us has a different perception of that era.

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Image: Pixabay

As for this entity called Possibilities. His Nibs (Anubis) advises that I should network and when am I going to book in a meeting with it. I reply ‘soon’ and look away furtively. He lays a hand on my shoulder and squeezes. Oh boy, the Opener of the Way knows me so well. ‘Check your calendars’ he says firmly. It seems I’ve been too long in the company of certain rogues and low life, namely Procrastination, Fear, Ill health, Being Unfit (call me Cuddles) and the two worst of all, Inertia and Lack of Confidence.

He looks at me for, oh, ages. There is only kindness and sympathy in his eyes. I smile at him in thanks. My spirit needs re-energising. Writing contributes to a sense of great well-being and this blog is a blessing as are spiritual studies/training. I serve both Anubis and Thoth in spirit and reality, the power that is Ptah is never far away. What I don’t serve are other people’s unrealistic expectations of me and the beast of ‘living to work’. Although the latter does have me in a headlock. A bummer as they say.

Back to scheduling this meeting. His Nibs has passed me a list of ‘To Do’s and admitted they were only reminders as I knew what needed to be done. I scrutinise it, fair enough. Clear and simple objectives, the fine detail will require work. Not a problem. To travel between the different planes of consciousness one has to be fit in more than body. Mine needs a little maintenance admittedly but the mind, even if I say so, is resilient. It can be a little wayward, stubborn and undisciplined at times but still manages to survive adversity.

To travel through the landscape of the Collective Unconsciousness requires foolhardiness, a level head, resilience, self-insight and trust in oneself. Many falter, deceived by manifestations of their own Shadow and human longing. We also have to acquaint ourselves with the lexicon of symbols needed to engage and converse with the inhabitants of this other Universe. A guidebook of phrases and possibilities you might say. Keep your wits about you at all times, for the soul and mind can be seduced by all manner of suitors and enemies.

Most important of all, a Guide is vital. So far I haven’t upset His Nibs (and hope I don’t).

“I’m not going anywhere, if I do there will always be another one of us with you. Even if your angelic friends want to come along” he mutters interrupting my thoughts. I’m vastly relieved and don’t think it’s wishful thinking. “Have Trust” he loudly responds. Of course. The vista opens up before us. We sit down and take our time looking at the strange sights appearing out of nothingness. Images from my life, one after the other. Regret, unhappiness, happiness, anger, loss, fear, manipulation, capitulation, success, failure, hate, love.

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Image: SURREALISMART.ORG

I also see the ancestors amongst these many aspects of myself. We all need release it’s evident. My hands are clenched, holding on to much. He kneels before me and takes my hands in his. I can sense the power and gentleness within them, as does my heart. We wait, breath held in, silent. My fingers are uncurled one by one until both palms are facing upwards. We see the remains of things that were long gone and begging for freedom. Smoky wisps, rising and falling. He breathes upon them, chanting incantations. There is no other sound except for his voice. He gathers them up and deposits them in a barque that’s appeared to one side. Their journey now begins to the Duat (ancient Egyptian Otherworld).

I sense the release of the many from all my line, we are being unburdened one by one. My eyes close, seeing the world as it appears to the inner eyes. It ebbs and flows, inhaling and exhaling, communicating in ways that I didn’t think were possible. In silence can we hear the Universe as it unfolds its mysteries.

As Khepri rises in the sky so do we feel our own Coming into Being, that oft repeated phrase holds a wealth of meaning, highly symbolic. How we forget the beauty and magnificence of the stars, the Imperishable Stars, holders of memories from the birth of our existence. What of the light that’s journeyed for millions upon millions of years? Possibilities upon possibilities exist, why not take note and draw in that light into our own being? Bathe our cells in its essence. My thoughts scatter in all directions, seeking, questioning. How fare the ancestors? Of like mind it seems, all respect to them. Yet, I also understand that their burdens and history, good and bad have been passed down the line to end with my siblings and I. Do we accept their legacy?  Not if it perpetuates further negativity and damage to body, mind and spirit.

Anubis is still kneeling before me. I return to the present, time for the introspection to end. The evening light casts a golden glow on everything in the garden. It feels so peaceful and still. I sense the Opener is still here, watching. “I agree to do it” is all I say to him. Where’s my diary?

Fragile and Luminous

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photo credit: EmsiProduction The Time Rabbit via photopin (license)

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

Party in the Shed: Solstice Celebrations

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Image: Pixabay

Not long to go before the Winter Solstice is upon us. I have to say visitors, long-term residents and the proprietor (moi) of The Shed are rather excited. It’s been a long, dark and emotionally tiring period for all concerned. Finally do we emerge from the darkness into the light. Hope and life return, bringing with them a promise of rebirth. The focal point of course being the birth of a child of Light. An event that has been central to spiritual traditions throughout the world for millenia.

This is also a time for reflection, going into the inner and, and. Sorry, I’m just a little distracted by the sight of Cerberus wearing a traffic cone on his head. Well, the third one to be precise. Hope he hasn’t been given any alcohol. Last time he and His Nibs went out on a drinking spree they ended up incarcerated in Tartarus. The bane of my life those, mutts. You may think me a little disrespectful but they deserve it at times. The Trickster dons many guises in order to dispel self delusional perceptions and behaviours.

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Image: Pixabay

Back to my discourse, may the gods save me from further interruptions. It has been a year of challenges, physical impairments and dissolution of  outmoded mindsets. At times it has appeared as if my dark night of the soul would never end.

‘Do you have more canapes?’

‘What? Do you mind, I’m in the middle of talking to my readers. How very rude!’

The White Rabbit stomps off in a huff. Odin and Sekhmet edge towards me slowly. Both give a thumbs up and then pin me into a corner. They have comical grins on their faces that indicates worse to come. My self pity kicks into action and I am lost. Lost to a world that appears sane, yet the reality is untrue. It is the darkest point before the Sun rises above the Horizon.

Odin is snivelling into a hanky and Sekhmet is rubbing his back gently. This time of the year always makes him emotional. Everyone is expressing sympathy with the One-Eyed One. What can I say? This is turning into one strange celebration. An occasion when all your eccentric and very strange relatives grace you with their presence. You really wish that they hadn’t taken the trouble.

Where’s my sense of humour gone?

As far away from this place as possible. Oh well, I await the Child of Light with joy in my heart.

Then I spot the penguin in the doorway.

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Image: Pixabay

The Wizard of Odd

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Image: Pixabay

I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir, said Alice, because I’m not myself, you see.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll

Alice has a point, I consider myself a fellow sufferer. What’s happened recently to bring about this state of affairs? The time of year is an important factor in this identity crisis. It’s a season combining aspects of death, regeneration and resurrection. Our departed loved ones, including the Ancestors gather near the thinning veils to grace us with their presence. The Shaman senses and sees all between the worlds, viewing the interplay of Light and Dark unfold. The iconic Star Wars theme is playing in the background whilst I reveal the workings of my inner life. Geek alert, geek alert. Most of my recent posts have been related to mythic journeys taken to the Underworld. For those of us sensitive to the nuances of Nature and the mysteries of veiled realities it is a time of change and reflection. Accordingly my writing has echoed such themes. Sounds heavy going, please stay with me. Not sure whether I can due to having a grotty cold. To be honest I’m sporting a hairstyle that says ‘dragged through a hedge backwards’ rather than stylish; wearing white, rose patterned jammies and furry slippers reminiscent of yeti feet. ‘What a terrible fashion sense’ my alter ego remarks, dabbing her nose delicately with a scented hanky. Apologies in advance for these, these cavalier interruptions. Since the Shed altered its admission policies all manner of ruffians have wandered in. Where is the Force when you need it?

Such unseemly digression, time to get back on track. The absence of silence is noticeable in a world filled with discordant and at times frightening noise. When we enter into a state of silence the voice of the Universe can be heard in all its beauty and simplicity. The Mystic, Poet and Writer are familiar with its rhythms; we offer our prayers within that space. Prayer is attuning yourself to the life of the world, to love, the force that moves the sun and the moon and the stars (Music of Silence, David Steindl-Rast & Sharon Lebell, 1998). How right they are! Mystics aren’t restricted to just the main spiritual and religious traditions. Our paths are varied and we are many, all united in a search for meaning and illumination in an often mysterious Universe.

‘I’ve not heard from you in a while Jan’, a voice comments from the sidelines, ‘sounds like it’s been busy.’

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Image: Anubis, Jan Malique

His Nibs. I turn to look at Him. The Wizard of Odd makes another appearance. For all those unfamiliar with my relationship with this entity, you may know him as Anubis. It’s been a while since we had a chat. I look at him tiredly; he lifts an eyebrow and suggests we take a seat. The silence flows around us for a while. He clears his throat and makes a remark about the weather, then shudders in shock. Spending too much time in temperate climes. How do I tell him that there is another one waiting in the shadows, someone I’ll have to share my affections with. He has a bright and utterly mischievous gleam in his eyes. The god’s face rearranges itself into a semblance of pathos. It isn’t working; I’m immune to such dastardly tactics.

‘When is Anubis number three coming? I’m a little upset understandably but will try to cope,’ his voice breaks on the last word.

Is he joking? His Nibs leans forward and starts laughing. This light-hearted banter vanishes the previously heavy atmosphere. He reiterates the importance of trusting my intuition and self-belief. The power of the mind and soul are immense he reminds me. Attune to the flow of the greater Consciousness, see  how it permeates and infuses matter in all its glory, including myself. It speaks clearly and resonantly within the silence, it hears my prayers, it hears my heart.

The Universe is manifest in his eyes, he steps aside and shows me the extent of the silence that is available for the Mystic to immerse themselves in. It is a liminal place, mighty like the Ocean breaking upon the shores of our dreams. A strange and luminous space. Charles Panati offers us one viewpoint of this creature named the ‘Mystic’ in his book ‘Sacred Origins of Profound Things’:

‘Mystic: A person who professes to undergo enigmatic experiences, occult or parasensory, not always pleasant, often unpredictable, by which he or she intuitively comprehends truths that lie beyond ordinary human understanding. The moniker is from the Greek mystes, “one who is initiated”. Mystics have always been regarded with a certain degree of suspicion.’

Hm. That explains a lot. Why are words necessary when the heart can understand things most profound and seemingly incomprehensible? My exposition is meandering down paths that appear random, they are not. I look across at the Great Silence and wait. He waits with me.  A Hare appears at my side.

Strange Tale of the Disappearing Post- Part 2

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Photo: Pixabay

My client phoned demanding to know why I’d left a message asking her to meet me tonight. She was already in Scotland. Damn! The Hare’s influence was spreading. Time was being affected in strange ways. My blogger accidently deletes her post in the middle of trying to edit it. The so called White Rabbit leaves a rabbit foot as a message. Shades of The Godfather…My senses were off kilter and I didn’t like it one bit. It may also be due to the fact that I was covered in midge bites. Both arms, my head and neck had been ravaged by the little devils.

“I know a good cure for that, don’t go out when the wind drops”.

That voice. He was here. My personal alarm was in the rucksac and I had no way of getting to it in time. Mr Rabbit made his way out of the shadows. There was a wild look in his eyes. I backed away. He then burst into laughter.

“That’s what you expected my little literary PI”, he rasped.

I can see what my client meant about him being annoying. The Trickster is what he likes to call himself. Continue reading

Strange Tale of the Disappearing Post

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Photo: Pixabay

Yet another strange case of the disappearing post lands on my desk. My alter ego, a frustrated blogger tried to edit “Life in Draft” several times. Always the same phrase, which refused to succumb to the edit option. On the last try it just disappeared into the ether. She believes the White Rabbit may be behind the sabotage. Apparently he’s been getting rather cranky of late. I’ve been digging into his background and come up with some interesting information. ‘White Rabbit’ is a pseudonym, his real name is Hare. A strange breed, blessed with an unpredictable wildness. Comes from an ancient bloodline steeped in magic, folklore and secret knowledge. I’m inclined to agree with my client. He’s my number one suspect. Continue reading

Seeking Silence

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.

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Photo: Pixabay

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.’

Meetings with the Stag of the Stubble

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White Rabbit is looking quite unlike his usual self these days. Gone are the white jacket and strides. In their place are things most primal, edged with a fine trim of mischief. The Stag in the Stubble is making his presence known and I’m quite intrigued to be honest. I watch him from the safety of my so-called civilised world. He knows of things that I’ve forgotten. Mr Hare, Mr Hare, the wild places of my heart are calling and I want to follow. Dare I step over the threshold? My civilised world is filled with as many dangers and traps in the natural world, or so I’m told. It has to be said that the living are to be feared more than the dead in my experience. He wonders how the conversation has turned to thoughts of the dead. Mere chance I reply, although my alter ego did have a literary brush recently with the great Angel of Death, Azrael. Mr Hare gives me a most peculiar look. Strange woman he mutters. He then proceeds to agree with my comment about the living. What a capricious nature!

“I agree with you on that matter. At least the dead are quite honest about their intentions, unlike the living at times.”

Nice to know we’re talking from the same page. He winces at that comment. On reflection it sounds too much like ‘corporate speak’. Oh, well. Shall we forget I ever made that comment?

Talking of dead ‘things’. Mr Hare gives me a withering look as if to say ‘back on that subject are we?’. Yes we are, but not in the sense of truly dead things but things metaphorically dead. If you get my meaning. My world is currently filled with stalled plans, stalled studies, taking exams, waiting on exam results and a body desperately needing an MOT. Do I sound like I’m moaning? He lifts an eyebrow and tries to hide a smile. Mr Hare shakes his head and gestures behind him. I look a little puzzled and wonder what’s going on. A figure emerges out of his shadow. Another hare. What a surprise! Wonder where the third hare is? Not the right time it seems for the Triad to be in one place, yet. I respect their decision. The second hare then melts into the shadows. I can sense him running through the cornfield and jumping over hedgerows. He leaps and turns in the fields. There’s a wild look in his eyes. They convey the passage of time, the turning of the seasons and old memories. I stand in a strange world, one in which the inner world is at odds with the outer. Convention is stifling my nature and as the cliché goes ‘I’m a round peg trying to fit into a square hole’. Quelle horreur!

Mr Hare scrutinises me intently. He’s aware this was going to come to light eventually. I tell him it feels like I’m standing still, not quite rooted to the spot but ‘waiting’. Anpu did say to be self-aware and not to feed the fear. Mr Hare’s lips curl into a smile. He’s up to something. I ask him if we’re going down another rabbit hole, as my knees are a little painful at the moment. He shakes his head and points to the woodland in the distance. Where did that come from? I roll my eyes. It’s magic and anything can happen in this little adventure. He runs off and stops periodically for me to catch up. We stand at the edge of the wood, the air shimmers briefly and then we step over the threshold.

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‘You wanted to follow the call of the wild places of your heart’ he mutters as we stand in the middle of a clearing. I’m wondering if it’ll involve any running, as it could be a problem. He seems to have a skill for reading my thoughts, hope he didn’t hear my previous thought. Oh dear. There seems to be a lot of fly agaric mushrooms in this place. Mr Hare stands to one and just watches me. This place seems far removed from the noise of human activity. All I can hear is birdsong, other unidentifiable noises, and the movement of animals through the wood. There, it sounds like a stream. The wood doesn’t feel oppressive and enclosing. There’s a lightness and great age about it. I realise how shut off I’ve become in my daily life. Only to keep out the noise of other people’s thoughts, erratic and emotional energies. I don’t think I’m the only person in the world to feel like this. Like Mr Hare’s alter ego, White Rabbit, I seem to be constantly racing against time. Time. Perhaps I should step outside of Time and its constraints. Who first measured time and forced us to follow its regimented schedule? ‘The wild places of my heart are calling’. That phrase has journeyed with me throughout life. It’s remained hidden at times and then emerged into the light to remind me to wake up and live. We should all heed the call of our hearts and find the wild places. Gosh. This is turning into one of those art house films filled with existential angst. Mr Hare looks a little surprised at the art house reference. I feel like laughing.

Suddenly the mood changes and we sense the presence of something wondrous and unearthly. They’re coming. The sunlight streaming through the canopy highlights a myriad of golden sparks. We sit down on a fallen tree and wait. It takes me back to an experience I had at a lakeside in Onatrio, Canada many, many years ago. We were camping by a lake in one of the national parks. The sun hadn’t risen yet and there was a mist rolling over the lake. It looked quite beautiful. The only sounds we could hear were the call of moose and coots. The noises didn’t distract from the immensity of the either silence or the sense of being a part of something greater. Great Spirit was truly present in that place and time. I was fully present in that moment. A voice whispers in my ear, ‘find that place within yourself again’. I look up and there they are. All that populates the wild places of my heart. What are they? That would be telling. Mr Hare agrees with me. With finger on my lips I keep it a secret and journey back to the threshold and into the real world. Not bad for a day’s work.

photo credit: Rijmpjes en versjes uit de oude doos j 30 ill pg 21 jan Wiegman via photopin (license)

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32299138@N08/5416279989″>P2041521 – ‘Hares’ via photopin (license)