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?

Master of Ceremonies

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Image: Pixabay

I came across this suave gentleman whilst looking for an image for another blog. He intrigued me and I wanted to know more of his story. Who, what and where, raced through my mind. At one point I thought he looked a little like the late Argentinian jazz saxophonist Gato Barbieri. Hm, maybe not. Perhaps I want this man to have a history filled with all manner of adventure, loss, love and creativity. Magic even.

Writers have spun concoctions from the meerest scrap of an idea, why shouldn’t I from an image found out of thousands? People interest me, I love observing them, at rest, work and play. Human nature repels me (and many others) when it manifests in ugly hatred,  malice and selfishness. On the other hand, It enriches my spirit when the true beauty and poetry of the soul shine through. I digress. What of my mysterious stranger? I named him the Master of Ceremonies for a good reason, which will be explained later. His demeanour and roguish good looks hint at, a life infused with spiciness and whiskey flavoured jazz melodies. A little overstated? I can’t help myself.

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Time to Remember

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“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?