Some people like to take their holidays in a place they know and love. Me too – but let me qualify that statement. For me holidays are about an opportunity to visit somewhere I haven’t been before in a place that I know I love – Britain. You can imagine, though, that having spent over 40 years in these islands finding new places is getting more difficult. M and I therefore agreed that Hampshire and The South Downs should be our target as we had little knowledge of that region.
Before we left I did very little research. I had an idea that I might get to some of the places mentioned in Andrew Collins‘ book “The Black Alchemist“. Something, however, was keeping me away from such places. I think I know why, but that’s another story.
I wasn’t expecting much ‘activity’ as I was supposed to be having time away to rest. However, one day I looked at the map and saw that we were travelling near to a place I’ve always wanted to visit: The Long Man of Wilmington. We had to go!
On arrival we realised that it was pretty busy. If you visit in a motorhome you’ll find that you can’t park at the car park at the top of the village. There’s another place further up the road, so we pulled up there. We were now on Windover Hill – a place teeming with ancient remnants. None more impressive than the giant on the hill, though.
It isn’t the biggest spiral in my life, that award has to go to the promise of the past. But it is a good second one (so far). A puzzle that occasional haunts my thoughts is, where did this journey begin? Perhaps it did start with that promise. Another starting point might be the times that Chris and I spent together discussing the works of Carlos Castaneda more than 20 years ago.
Be a paragon of patience and consistency by fighting for impeccability. Transform yourself daily, restraining yourself with the most excruciating effort. It is a rare opportunity for a warrior to be given a genuine chance to be impeccable in spite of his basic feelings. The act of giving freely and impeccably rejuvenates you and renews your wonder.
Having had an experience very recently that reminded me of that author and his teachings from Don Juan, I found myself immersed in his work once again. In this post, I just want to pull out contextual lines from his work that seem to have bearing on my journey. More as a reminder for me than anything else. The notes are taken from this website by the way.
Notes from Don Juan
When a sorcerer interprets an omen he knows its exact meaning without having any notion of how he knows it. This is one of the bewildering effects of the connecting link with intent. Sorcerers have a sense of knowing things directly. How sure they are depends on the strength and clarity of their connecting link.
The feeling everyone knows as “intuition” is the activation of our link with intent. And since sorcerers deliberately pursue the understanding and strengthening of that link, it could be said the they intuit everything unerringly and accurately. Reading omens is commonplace for sorcerers–mistakes happen only when personal feelings intervene and cloud the sorcerers’ connecting link with intent. Otherwise their direct knowledge is totally accurate and functional.
Intent creates edifices before us and invites us to enter them. This is the way sorcerers understand what is happening around them.
I want you to understand the underlying order of what I teach you. It means two things: both the edifice that intent manufactures in the blink of an eye and places in front of us to enter, and the signs it gives us so we won’t get lost once we are inside.
The crux of our difficulty in going back to the abstract is our refusal to accept that we can know without words or even without thoughts. Knowledge and language are separate.
Think about the proposition that knowledge might be independent of language, without bothering to understand it.
Volunteers are not welcome in the sorcerers’ world, because they already have a purpose of their own, which makes it particularly hard for them to relinquish their individuality.If the sorcerers’ world demands ideas and actions contrary to the volunteers’ purpose, volunteers simply refuse to change.
Stalking is an art applicable to everything. There are four steps to learning it: ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness. Ruthlessness should not be harshness, cunning should not be cruelty, patience should not be negligence, and sweetness should not be foolishness. These four steps have to be practiced and perfected until they are so smooth they are unnoticeable.
Sorcerers’ behavior is always impeccable. Sorcerers, though, have an ulterior purpose for their acts, which has nothing to do with personal gain. The fact that they enjoy their acts does not count as gain. Rather, it is a condition of their character. The average man acts only if there is the chance for profit. Warriors say they act not for profit but for the spirit. We have no thought of personal gain. Our acts are dictated by impeccability–we can’t be angry or disillusioned.
The real challenge for those sorcerer seers, was finding a system of behavior that was neither petty nor capricious, but that combined the morality and the sense of beauty which differentiates sorcerer seers from plain witches.
Anyone who succeeds in moving his assemblage point to a new position is a sorcerer. And from that new position, he can do all kinds of good and bad things to his fellow men. Being a sorcerer, therefore, can be like being a cobbler or a baker. The quest of sorcerer seers is to go beyond that stand. And to do that, they need morality and beauty.
For sorcerers, stalking is the foundation on which everything else they do is built. It is the art of controlled folly.
Sorcerers believe that until the very moment of the spirit’s descent, any of us could walk away from the spirit; but not afterwards.
The nature of ruthlessness is that it is the opposite of self-pity. All sorcerers are ruthless.
We do spend an awful amount of time in the woe is me corner don’t we? Another term that we might use is self-pity. Of course this isn’t just reflected at ourselves we are often in a place of pitying others too. You might be wondering what this has to do with the topics in this blog? Read on my friend…
Pity is the inward looking companion of compassion. If you do a bit of googling around on the matter it seems clear that whereas compassion is focused out into the world, pity is focused inwards. What does this mean? Well, I might help someone out of pity. This would mean that I am helping them because it is hurting me, emotionally and so I want to stop that and to do that I help them. Let’s leave it at a loose definition like that for now.
Self-Pity is a kind of self-flagellation. There is an apt saying that I think goes well with it “get of your cross” It’s the kind of thing that gets you into a spiral of “Why’s”…Why did that happen to me? Why did I get into this again? Why isn’t the other that this has happened to? You get what I mean right?
Well…the other day I got into a situation and found myself in pseudo sadomasochistic mode of self-pity. The reason isn’t really that important (lest I hammer nails into my palms again…) But suffice it to say, the “why” questions, and the “I don’t deserve” statements were plundering my consciousness. This happened for about 20/30 minutes until absent mindedly I was reaching into the fridge for something when a flash of cold air hit my neck…from the back.
With this blast came a whisper of sound, but it wasn’t a voice, just a sound. I knew it. Even though I have only felt it once or twice before. It was the flavour of the Ice Dragon I had been bound to at the Druids Circle last year…was it only last year?
What this sudden breath had done was shift me to a place that I had read about but not understood. Many many years ago, Chris and I were students of the works of that confused sorcerer Carlos Castaneda. In his books he learns about this state of being that can be reached. That state is called the “The place of no pity” While it is too huge a topic to attempt to put Castaneda’s works into context, here is a link to where this place is mentioned.
Self-importance is a monster that has three thousand heads. And one can face up to it and destroy it in any of three ways. The first way is to sever each head one at a time; the second is to reach that mysterious state of being called the place of no pity, which destroys self-importance by slowly starving it; and the third is to pay for the instantaneous annihilation of the three-thousand-headed monster with one’s symbolic death.
Consider yourself fortunate if you get the chance to choose. For it is the spirit that usually determines which way the sorcerer is to go, and it is the duty of the sorcerer to follow.
I read about this and attempted to understand it many winters ago, I think I was 23 at the time. But could not fathom or gain an understanding of it. Maybe the life-experiences were missing.
When the dragon’s breath hit me and transported (my assemblage point?) I arrived at that place. I knew it instantly. It was like having a place described to you many years ago and then suddenly realising that the place you were standing in, was that place!
Given my knowledge about it and now this experience, I can totally see why the (ice) dragons breath transported me there. The place of no pity is a cold place. A harsh place, a ruthless place. It brooks no crosses and certainly no pitying. It shut (mentally) me up completely. Even when I wanted the comfort of traversing that road of self-flagellation. It just wouldn’t allow it. It made that road feel hollow and empty.
What an utterly bizarre feeling and it takes me back to Castaneda’s work and what it means to my life…
I have been around the block enough time to know better and yet I am still flabbergasted by my ability to not follow my own advice. Last night, I get a message from a friend…“I have a headache, can you send me some healing please?”
A simple enough request and one that was easily fulfilled. I won’t go into the understandings behind healing, sending and any other logistical concerns. If you don’t believe that it can be done. Fair enough.
However what I will go into is the backlash that I got. Of course I had grounded and protected myself. It’s standard operating procedure. Given that, I was surprised when a few minutes after completing the ceremony (yes there is one) that I began to get a headache of my own. It was only a small one to start off with but then as time (mere minutes) passed it grew into a stinking big one.
Now, I don’t normally suffer from headaches and certainly not something akin to this. I mean seriously! This was a truck-load of ache and no mistake. Sometimes, healer heal thyself, doesn’t enter into the equation since the affliction knocks out ones own capacity to heal. Bummer when that happens. In such instances one is sometimes left with the drug method of healing.
Even after popping a few pills this monster was little abated. Have you ever had pain to the extent that you utter (perhaps with only a smidgen of seriousness) “I’d rather be dead than suffer this?” It is a statement that I have only once before uttered and in fact in similar circumstances…another story.
Anyway there I was, laid out and in between gasps of pain, pondering the why of it all. I was sure by then that this headache was a backlash along the connection. But why so strong. Surely my friend wasn’t suffering to this extent? This was a get to the hospital kind of pain to be sure. Another point on my mind was the protection and grounding. What had happened to that?
Well, after ministering to myself for a couple of hours I was able to rid myself of this pain-filled burden and had strength enough to question my behaviour and experience.
Here is the thing that I knew but forgot. Protection isn’t perfect, nor is it complete, nor is it infinitely strong. Every one of those factors has influences. And indeed there are many other factors too. An important point to note is diagnostics. If you are a therapist of any kind you will know that it is important to get data on the condition and the person in the condition. Healing 101 right!? In my defence though, how many times have you heard for a request for healing and just upped and sent some?
What happened to the due diligence? What happened to after care? What happened to the sense of responsibility? Do these even play a part in this scenario? Interesting questions.
Today, I got in touch (after-care) with my friend and she told me that the headache had been that bad that she had collapsed and had wanted to die it was that painful. Interesting, right? If I had known this before hand, had I done things differently? You bet your bottom dollar I would.
So it seems that lesson still needs to unfold in me. Be concerned with what you are about.
You might be asking, as Chris just did, “Was this avoidable?” The answer was yes and required two things (as the dowsing rods informed me) :
- Extra protection in the form of an Amethyst on my Crown and a Flourite on my Brow chakra.
- Extra grounding using the skills I had learned in Brittany using the Earth element.
The Spring Equinox was complete. We had been all around the mid-eastern side of the country from Rutland, through Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, and now we were heading home via Derbyshire. Did someone say “heading home”? Not yet! As we dropped down into the end of Bakewell and idea began to stir in our febrile minds. What if… we went to Arbor Low? The sun was dropping behind the tall hills and ridges that line the route between Bakewell and Buxton, but it was still a relatively pleasant Spring day. There was life in it yet!
It took only a few seconds of discussion to say “yes”, but then we ended up having to circle around to get back to the A515 near to Monyash. We went in a gigantic loop, but then everything about Arbor Low is gigantic – its scale, the size of the stones, the strength of the bitter wind!
Despite being out all day we were relatively spritely when we arrived. Hunkered up against the inevitable cold we raced for the huge earthwork surroundings, hoping for respite within its deeply-trenched interior. The long shadows mimicked our long day and made us look like giants striding across the landscape as the sun dropped quickly into a pool of red light. We had paid our dues in more ways than one as Kal pointed out that we had been on the go for about 13 hours.
It was twilight when we arrived. Kal strode into the earthwork and off to the right-hand side. I got my dowsing rods out to find an entry point. It was the main entrance this time – a rarity. What wasn’t a rarity was the location that was to be my workplace – it was the usual recumbent stone that I have come to know and love. I sat facing East. East and Spring – such a powerhouse today, that orientation!
As I sat and meditated with nothing to disturb me except my own mind and the distant lowing of cattle, I began to ask whether I had completed my quest to germinate the seed. The answer was that I had done so. Whatever that might come to mean over the course of this year, I had prepared the soil, as it were, for growth.
That turned my focus to the question of a new quest. Was there any new quest that I could be undertaking at this time between Spring and Beltane? I sat in expectation, and soon a single phrase emerged in my mind.
As has recently been the case it came in the form of a riddling phrase whose meaning was laden yet obscure:
“Become the giant”
Simple. Inexplicable. But somehow so entirely appropriate for the imagery and sentiment of this place.
Now all I had to do was to figure out what that could mean for me over the course of the next few weeks until Spring really got going and Summer was beckoning. Everything, it seemed, was on the increase.
I was happy, I really was. Or should I say I was happy with my internal system of beliefs. Yes, there were the odd messy things such as Tarot cards and Aliens to mention two. But on the whole I could live with those bumps in my understandings.
But then, along comes the monkey with a wrench and drops it square in a place where it hurts. What is one to do with such simian reprobates?
Let’s start at the beginning or rather up until a couple of weeks ago. At that time and a significant time before then, I was happy with my understandings of Death and the smidgen of time thereafter. As this blog notes (on several occasions) I have no aversion to the notion of shades as the energetic remains of people (and animals) death.
It’s just like a physical corpse, only in this instance an energetic one. And to a large extent I am still comfortable with that notion still. But what then about our spirits? Well therein lies the rub, as the Bard would say.
My faith (note the use of the word) was that spirits where not of this world. Now, when I say of this world, I include the energetic domains, parallel universes, other dimensions etc. They (in my Faith) were just not active or accessible in this world. Now you might be asking all kinds of questions such as ghosts, mediums and feelings of a person. But frankly there are umpteen answers to each of these questions and none that require the return or presence of the departed.
The spring equinox of 2015 was a fifteen hour affair. We visited churches, stones, wells, woods, stone circles and a maze. Some useful, some just to take a picture of and some were just not found.
Was there a theme to the day? I didn’t set out with one but suspected that it would be patience since that is an ongoing theme at the moment. However the universe (or whatever) had other ideas. At almost each place we visited the message was either do a gratitude ceremony or some learning about devotion.
Honestly, I have a ton to be grateful for. I know that a gratitude list is of infinite length. However at this moment in time, there seems to be an abundance of abundance passing my way. All at the right time and at the right place. Call it coincidence, call it synchronicity or call it a series of lessons in patience.
I’ve called it all three over the last few months. So this day has been about Gratitude and the ceremonies that go with it.
On another tack I have been coming across devotional energies in a few places. So much so that it has caught my attention. Perhaps it is something that will play a big theme this season or perhaps it is just on my radar for a day. Time or some being will tell.
Let the ride be smooth, sacred, surprising and wonderful