A walk in the forest

As I have mentioned many times before, I’m sure, it is very healing and re-newing to spend some time in nature. Today I went for a long walk in the forest. At the start of the walk, I was feeling quite down in the dumps – with all the stresses of the modern world weighing heavily upon me. Bills piling up, work stresses, feelings of disconnection and isolation, and worst of all, feeling a long way away from my true nature. Usually I can spring myself into a more positive frame of mind, but today I just wasn’t in the mood for any inner work. It seemed like such a chore! So after a few yoga stretches, and a spot of breakfast, and toying with some meditative exercises, I decided to go for a walk in the forest.
 
As soon as I got amongst the trees, I started to feel better. At the beginning of the track was a lovely grove of Sydney Blue Gums, with their cool slate grey trunks marked by wavy darker insect lines. I felt their calmness and un-ruffled presence begin to wash over me, and my poise and equilibrium began to return. As the forestry track wound down the hillside, the Sydney Blue Gums gave way to a mix of Tallow-woods, Grey Gums and Ironbarks, and the feeling of the forest became less lofty or dreamy, to my perceptions, anyway.
 
As I continued to walk, my worries and cares literally drained away from me, and I became calm, and for the first time in several days, it seemed like I had some space around me, in which I could connect with myself again. It was a lovely autumn day – sunshine in a cloudless sky, just cool enough for comfortable walking, and the sun low enough in the sky to give plenty of shade from the trees on the side of the track.
 
As the elevation got lower, and the soil became rockier and lighter in colour, the spotted gums came into preponderance, with the odd White Mahogany scattered around. Ironbarks of course, still in evidence. I always like to be in the company of Spotted Gums, with their many different hues from blue to reds and orange, and their dimples which remind me of boiling water swirling around, then snap frozen. Further down the slope, I came to an area of stunted Queensland Blue Gums, getting ready to flower and in amongst them, I was delighted to come upon three Kurrajongs growing in a clump. I am particularly fond of Kurrajongs, which in my system of magic, assist with the telling of stories which touch and/or express the emotional depths. In my experience, I have usually come across Kurrajongs as single isolated trees, so it was very unusual to see the three of them there. Perhaps under the ground, there was only the one trunk. In any case, I christened them the three sisters, and spent quite some time in their gentle embrace. As I said, I feel an affinity with the Kurrajong, perhaps because I have always felt a bit different from the people around me, like the Kurrajong, the only one of my kind, surrounded by other species of people: you know the types – those who are interested in corporate ladder climbing, the latest fashions, making large amounts of money, with little sense of the spiritual, or the artistic, and whose sensitivities have been dulled by food, drink, and immersion in a heavy materiality. Not that I am opposed to a nice meal or a glass of wine on occasion, or earning a living by honest means, mind you. Just that, like the Kurrajong, I have always felt I was the only one, surrounded by other types of people who didn’t appreciate or understand me. Or perhaps more simply, surrounded by people who didn’t resonate with me.

Kurrajong tree
Kurrajong tree

 
So it was nice to spend time with the three sisters, and draw on their strength and ability to calmly and self-assuredly be themselves, even though surrounded by other types of tree. And as I write now it comes to me that indeed the Kurrajong fulfills an esoteric purpose in its aloneness, within the widespread range in which it is found. For it is like the leaven that makes the bread rise. A small amount goes a long way. I heard a fellow taking about the orders of Hermetic magic this way once – that they were like the leaven that helped the dough to rise – the dough being western society. I think the same is true for all people who serve the Ancient Ones – in whatever way, whether Hermetic, Pagan, Wiccan or any path with heart. There are precious few of us, and sometimes it seems that we are working in isolation. However, together, we help to make the dough of life rise into a shapely loaf – whether through channeling energy, or helping others to recover their true nature, healing or magical works, or perhaps most importantly, having the courage and knowledge to be one’s true self. Most of the people out there don’t appreciate it, or even recognise it. And that is the way it should be!

Kurrajong Flowers
Kurrajong Flowers

Kurrajong Fruits and Leaves
Kurrajong Fruits and Leaves

 
However it sometimes takes its toll when one marches to a different drum beat to that of one’s colleagues and peers. People’s suspicions and ill feeling are easily stirred by someone they sense as being vaguely different, or motivated by unfathomables. In the old days, it was the teaching amongst the wise that those who followed the path should make every effort to appear no different to a typical person. Their dress should be unexceptional, and as befits their trade. Their demeanour should be temperate, and their behaviour moderate. They should engage in the customs of their village, town or country as befits any respectable person. They should have friendly relations with all, and if such were not possible with a particular person, such a person should be avoided. If one was brought into conflict, in spite of one’s efforts to avoid it, one should give every opportunity to have the conflict resolved fairly. If this proved impossible, due to a person’s ill will, then the conflict should be engaged impeccably if it was possible to win. If, however, one’s opponent was so superior in resources or social position as to make victory impossible, then this should be recognised, and one should allow them the victory, and move on. As tempting as it may seem, one’s esoteric knowledge should not be used in order to revenge oneself on such people. Typically, they lack the knowledge and skills to defend themselves, and the grief or harm that you may cause will undoubtedly spill over to effect others who are harmless and undeserving of ill. Thus the wise teach of old that the power is not to be used in this way, except that those who continually do serious harm, and where efforts by ordinary means to address the situation have failed, then a binding may be conducted to prevent further harm. The web of life will reverberate with their actions, and in time they will reap the rewards due to them, good or ill, as will we all. This guidance is no less true today as it was in days gone by.
 
The chance to connect with and work with spiritual brothers and sisters is priceless, a treasure without price. In those times when one’s brothers and sisters are far away, or yet to be discovered, one may draw strength from the Kurrajong, who is used to being different, and knows the way of it.
 
As I walked back up the hill, feeling refreshed and re-newed, I noticed many birds, which had seemed absent on the way down. At one point, two pretty little finches came and sat on a tree branch only a few feet from me, and enjoyed my company as I stood watching them for several minutes. I fancy that they could sense the clear and open energy that I carried, as I walked back, a far cry from the dense and unhappy energy as I started my walk.
 
So get out into the forest, and amongst the trees! You will feel better – I’m sure of it!

BB
Rob
Originally Published April 2008

A Finer Division of Energy

One of the fundamental guiding principles of many Neopagan paths, and indeed the Western Hermetic tradition, is the characterisation of all phenomena into the system of the four elements, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Many add a fifth element – Spirit, which combines, centres, and harmonizes the other four. In my own work, I use the four elements to characterise the energetic essence of all phenomena that interest me. Books and lists of elemental correspondences are an important step in learning the craft, learning to recognise the common energetic signatures of phenomena and entities from the different dimensions of existence. For example, an elemental association can be found for herbs, gems, metals, minerals and trees by consulting various sources of traditional lore.
However the division into just four energetic types is too gross a division to account for all the fine differentiations one finds in the world of nature. For example, there are thousands of different herbs in use, and their characters and properties are all unique. In order to begin characterising energies on a finer division, one system that can be employed is the sixteen fold division of energetic movement. This subdivides each element into four aspects, themselves corresponding to the four elements. Thus we have Air of Air, Fire of Air, Water of Air, and Earth of Air. Where as Air as an element corresponds to beginnings, thoughts, communication, the mental realm, and changeability, Air of Air corresponds to the quintessence of Air, the beginnings of thought processes, the conceptions behind planning, the guiding principals, the rules of logic, the very beginning of any enterprise, etc.
Fire of Air is the next stage, corresponding to the action stage of mental endeavour, such as fleshing out a novel once the plot and characters have been defined, talking about plans with others, developing ideas with others, allowing a touch of inspiration into one’s plans. Water of Air is the next stage of the process. It may correspond to getting feedback about one’s plans, it may symbolise the beginnings of emotional attachment to one’s goals and plans, it may correspond to sharing, or the desire to share one’s plans with others, perhaps to gain their support, or admiration. It may symbolise the contribution that the unconscious impulses may make to beginnings and plans, or which may unsettle the mind and cause changeability, or lack of confidence. Earth of Air then corresponds to the process of bedding down, locking in, and making a commitment to the proposed course of action, which prepares us to move onto the element of Fire, which symbolises action.
First is Air of Fire, which symbolises the initial steps, the beginnings, the first testings of action. It may also symbolise actions which are achieved or take their form through mental processes, such as writing letters, creating works of literature, or other mental activities that are themselves acts which affect others. Fire of Fire is the essence of movement and action, enthusiasm and inspiration. Water of Fire represents responsive action, guided and directed by feedback from its environment, or the things upon which the action is directed. Earth of Fire represents habitual action, action that has been locked into place through habit and repetition, or action that is practical in nature, or actions that build over time and repetition to achieve their constructive purpose. Whereas Air of Fire is changeable, Earth of Fire is solid action, and almost impervious to influence.
After Fire in the sun cycle of manifestation, is the element of Water, generally taken to be associated with the harvest, the rewards of action. Also associated with compassion, intuition and the subconscious, and the womb of the great mother. So we might take Air of water to represent the beginnings of the harvest or the rewards, with more still to come. We might also take Air of Water to symbolise intellectual expressions of compassion, or intellectual descriptions of the psyche – such as various forms of psychology and psychotherapy. Indeed any intellectual description or categorisation of intuitive, unconscious, dream or other non-waking realities, could be described as Air of Water. Fire of Water moves us into the active phase of reaping our harvest, and the activity of compassion, intuition, and delving into the greater self in some way. Water of Water, brings to mind the quintessence of Water, of compassion, intuition, the inner life. It is the returning current, and it is the mystery of connection. Earth of Water brings to mind the practical expression of intuition, compassion, and inner development, inner connection with the Great Mother: the habit of openness, the habit of compassion.
The Earth element then takes us through a period of stasis, of breaking apart, of composting to form the substrate for the next cycle of manifestation, the time of digesting experience. So Air of Earth is the intellectual expression of deconstructing one’s experience in order to do something better next time, a conscious reflection on events. Fire of Earth brings to mind a cheerful reflection on how things went, bringing to bear humour on a situation. It is also the active step in decomposition, perhaps symbolised by a wriggling mass of worms turning vegetable scraps into compost. Water of Earth is the final return, the reward of one’s reflection, and the processing of one’s subconscious mind, and of the group mind, below the level of awareness. Earth of Earth, is the final stasis after deconstruction and reflection and intuitive insights have been digested, leading to a stable foundation for a new cycle of manifestation.
Further insight into this division of energy may be gained by considering the court cards of the tarot deck. For example, the Pages represent Air, the Knights Fire, the Queens water, the Kings Earth. So Page of Coins is Air of Earth, Queen of wands is Water of Fire, etc.
This illustration of the four fold division of each of the elements is just one means of further characterising energies, and refining correspondences. We may apply further dimensions of characterisation. For example, we may characterise people physically, emotionally, intellectually and according to personality, each according to the 16 elemental divisions described, which gives approximately 64,000 different characterisations of a person. While every individual is unique, the richness of such a characterisation is sufficient for most purposes!
If you want to play with this system of characterisation, starting with people is reasonable, as people are something everyone has experience with. You might also like to consider dog breeds, birds, flowers, herbs, trees, classical music or motor-cycles – whatever your area of interest is. Select one example a day. For your example, decide first which element to place it in. Then within that element, which division. Consider everything you know about the item. Consider also how you feel about it, what you sense about it, and your perception of its energy.
Be prepared to revise your assessments as you go!
I am sure you will find this a rewarding experience that deepens your relationship with the elemental energies.
In Her Service,
Robyn

What is being spiritual really?

Quite a number of years ago now, I became involved in a Spiritual Teaching, and a Guru. It was fun for a while, but then it turned out that many of the groups publications were copied from elsewhere, and re-published under the name of the founder of this particular teaching. I was a bit upset when I found out, and the long and the short of it was that I parted companies with this teaching, which turned out to be a good thing for me personally, so I am not complaining. However, at the time it was a bit traumatic, and I wrote a story about Guru’s, teachings, copying and tried to work through the issues using fiction.

My story was about a Guru called Sri Pompous Q McNinney, and a renegade disciple called Vortan the Deceptor who stole Sri Pompous’s teachings, and used them under his own name to set up a rival religion.

Here are a couple of Sri Pompous stories….

Truth

Sri Pompous Q McNinney tells the following story:-

“Once when I was a young man, I happened to read in the back of a comic book that I could send away and for only $2.99 receive a pair of x-ray vision glasses. Intrigued by the prospect of seeing people’s underwear, I promptly raided the piggy bank, and sent for my pair. I discovered the glasses to be a cheap fraud. But I knew that x-ray vision was no less a possibility because these glasses didn’t work for me. I turned to eastern mysticism, as it spoke of the third eye, and I felt that this might hold some promise in achieving my goal of x-ray vision. Not only would x-ray vision allow me to see girl’s underwear, but I could become a super spy, seeing secret documents inside safe deposit boxes and so on. So I practiced meditation for many years, and in the course of life have become an old man. I’m no longer interested in girl’s underwear or being a super spy. I never did develop x-ray vision. However I have a great recipe for savory millet dumplings in a white wine sauce.”

Enlightenment

Sri Pompous looked up from his plate of rice crispies, and saw that a group of devotees were gazing at him expectantly, waiting for his pronouncement of Divine wisdom.

“Go away, you silly people,” he expostulated lovingly. “Go and get your own rice crispies. Let me have my breakfast in peace.”

“But Master,” interjected Vortan the Deceptor, “I have a dozen quotes from as many holy scriptures that elevate the master-disciple relationship to a sacred and inviolable trust.”

“Yes,” replied Sri Pompous, “But not at breakfast time.”

“The disciples are arguing amongst themselves about the precise location of the heaven of the Zanslucian lamas,” persisted Vortan, “Surely it is your duty to settle the dispute so that harmony can be restored.”

Sri Pompous merely picked up his spoon, in the bowl of which adhered a single rice crispie, damp with milk. Holding the handle of the spoon between the finger and thumb of his right hand, so that the bowl of the spoon was raised upwards, he used his left index finger to draw back the spoon in the manner of
a catapult. At once he released his missile, and the soggy rice crispy flew through the air, landing on Vortan’s forehead, precisely at the location of his third eye. There was an audible pop, and in that instant, Vortan the Deceptor became illuminated.

The Presence of the Master

Sri Pompous had decided that in order to reach the true seekers, he would set up an office, with a shop window, in which could be displayed various uplifting Spiritual frescoes and models. The centerpiece was to be Vortan the Deceptor’s model train set, which was to loop endlessly on its track to symbolize the tyranny of Karma and the wheel of births and deaths. It was arranged that Vortan could still play with it between the hours of 9pm and 12 midnight, when passing traffic had died down, during which time he would assume responsibility as night watchman.

On one such evening, as Vortan happily played with the miniature railway, there came a forthright knocking at the door, and Vortan opened it to reveal a plump middle aged fellow, heavily mustachioed, wearing thick framed glasses.

“What can I do for you?”, inquired Vortan, wondering if this were perhaps a seeker after truth, hungrily waiting for his words of wisdom.

“I came to warn you,” said the fellow. “I used to follow that master of yours. But he’s nothing but a cheat and a fraud. I’m a Seventh Day Adventist now, and I’ve come to convince you to join me!”

Vortan was overcome by an intense desire to ring the fellow’s neck, so overwhelming was his outrage at the insult to Sri Pompous.

“You shiftless scumbag!”, expostulated the Deceptor, “you hardly deserve to breath the same air. Why, Sri Pompous is the pinnacle of Spirituality, and you’re a dirty dog. Get out of here, before I lose my temper. Seventh Day Adventist! Bah!”

“Does your master teach you to insult and threaten others, and belittle their religion?” asked the fellow.

“Not normally,” replied Vortan, exercising his razor sharp wit, “but I’m sure he’d make an exception for excrement like you.” At this Vortan spat at the fellow’s feet, and shouted “Be-gone, agent of Satan!”

Immediately, the fellow whipped off the false moustache, and removed his glasses, to reveal none other than Sri Pompous himself, with a pillow shoved inside his shirt.

“Good God,” cried Vortan in mortification, “Sri Pompous!”

“None other,” he replied, then turned and beckoned to a fellow across the street. “We thought we’d test out the new video camera,” continued Sri Pompous with a smile. “Should be a hit at the devotee’s Christmas party, don’t you think?”

If you would like to read the entire story, you can download it here…

Pompous

If you enjoy it, or find it helpful, feel free to make a donation!





If you want to discuss republication, please contact me at

r.wood@conjunctionpress.com.

Enjoy!

Rob

I am Her Lover

Man has failed
And we teeter on the brink of doom.

I reject manhood and all its implications
I reject manhood and all its failings
I reject the pecking order, the top dog and the underdog
I reject the hero ready to save all comers
I reject the drinker with a skin full of liquor
I reject swearing and crudity and objectifying others
I reject the sexuality of power and privilege
I reject ownership of others
I reject the boss in myself and others
I reject the lure and exercise of power
I reject investments in the economy of desecration and despair
I reject the idea that money talks
I reject taking my due
I reject the idea that anything is rightfully mine
I reject judgement, damnation, playing hard, knowing better
I reject providing, endless work, and the measurement of worth in coin.
I reject adulation, and the worship of the phallus in business, church or state
I reject the pursuit of wealth at the expense of others.
I reject the use of fear and threat.

Man has failed.

I am a seed carrier, a giver of sensual delight.
I am a seer, a hearer, a smeller.
I am a raiser, a creator, a friend, a lover.
Always a child of Herself
Always Her lover
All else is naught.

We are people of the new dawn
We are expressions not perversions
Love and light guide us through the dark night of Man’s making.

Piercing the veil

To truly grasp the message and actualize the teaching of any religion or spiritual path, one must go beyond the doctrines to the reality behind them. The esoteric position is that it is as if there is a veil between us and the ultimate reality. Upon that veil are the symbols of our religion or spiritual tradition. When we look towards the ultimate reality, we see the veil, and the symbols placed upon it by ourselves, or by our traditions or cultures. Many people are happy enough with the symbols on the veil. A large number however come to believe that those human created symbols are the reality, rather than the decoration.

Any path worth it’s salt will encourage you take up the sword of truth, and pierce the veil, and thus come face to face with the reality behind all appearances. From which time, you will be one of the few who have pierced the veil, and will see all human activities from a very different perspective, and you won’t really be too concerned about a persons religion or worldview, which are but illustrations upon the veil and of little ultimate consequence.

Rob

Building up your circle

One of the practices that is taught in the Fellowship is to build up a circle of allies from different planes of existence. As pagans, we work with the four elemental qualities, Air, Fire, Water and Earth, and we understand phenomena through their relationship to the elements, and the various cycles of manifestation, which I have discussed on another occasion. One component of the magical enterprise is building up a strong and impregnable aura, which has built into its nature symbolic keys through which various energies and aspects of consciousness can be accessed and amplified. These symbolic keys are receptacles for imaginative energy which creates a living nexus that links the practitioner to the energy and consciousness behind the symbol. These symbols can be purely human created, by ourselves or others, or they can be natural symbols, objects or entities which pre-exist in the natural world or on one of the non material planes.

As an example, I work with four different varieties of trees on a regular basis. They are all tree that grow naturally in my surroundings, and or places I frequently visit. They are naturally Australian Native trees, as that is where I live. For each tree I have made a wooden stave, from a branch that has been dropped. I use these staves in ritual settings, to mark the four quarters. My tree friends are the Ironbark, who I regularly place in the Air Quarter, as I wish to emphasize practicality and solid reasoning in my mental sphere. In the Fire quarter I place the Brushbox, which has a transformative energy. I the water quarter I place the Paperbark, which for me calls to mind the dark still, reflective tannin stained waters of the Paperbark swamps of my region. In the earth quarter, I place the Bunya pine, which bears an abundant harvest of nutritious edible nuts every few years.

I have described the process of making a stave elsewhere…this process is a mechanism by which a relationship with the tree spirit can be established and strengthened. And this relationship can be honored and the connection strengthened within ritual, by honoring those tree allies at the four quarters when establishing sacred space, and by further meditative work within the circle as appropriate.

In addition to the trees just mentioned, I also have four gem stone allies that I work with in the same way, selected for their relevance to my energies, and placed in the four quarters. Being interested in herbs and their uses in healing, I work in the same way with a number of herbs.

In addition to these regular helpers from the worlds of stones, herbs and trees, I sometimes draw in special helpers for a particular working or occasion, in order to work with a particular energy.

You can build up your circle this way over time, adding additional circles of trees, stones, herbs, animals, birds, mythic creatures etc, depending on your interests and proclivities.

Blessed Be
Rob

Coping with Calamity

We are coming to the point in human evolution when humankind must either learn to do things in a different way, or continue it’s headlong rush towards calamity. Humans will survive the coming calamities, but it is highly likely that what we know as the Western Way of life will come to an end.

It is an important question then, how do we prepare ourselves to face the coming upheavals in our agricultural, transport, economic and political systems? Certainly the position of the adept is to resist the temptation to give way to fear, hopelessness and despair, and to to remain steadfast in the higher consciousness through the focussed practice of love, compassion, gratitude and generosity, combined with whatever practices of prayer, visualization or meditation provided by their tradition to remain centered in the higher self.

Life will move much more towards a survival level, and people will begin to be motivated by a sense of desperation, fear, and anger. While some governments are attempting to deal with the transition to a less materially “wealthy” future, with alternative energy and social transition policies, many are not.

We are already seeing the signs of this around the world with the rise of Fascist ideologies in the European countries and their colonies of North America, Australia, Canada and such places.

These angry xenophobic movements which by and large blame foreigners for all the perceived ills of the modern world, and see climate change as a communist conspiracy, are unknowing tools of the ruling class in their last ditch attempt to extract as much as possible from a terminally ill system.

Make no mistake, the champions of climate change denialism, and the fomentors of right wing extremism, are engaged in a cynical exercise of manipulating a class of aggrieved people in order to line their own pockets, whilst knowing full well that calamity approaches. This callous, selfish attitude, which would hasten destruction for the masses, in order to safeguard one’s own self and family, is the height of short-sightedness.

But there is very little that anyone can do to directly confront these titanic forces at play in our world. The board has been set, and the pieces placed in motion, and now we must observe, hope and pray, and each make our small contributions. But shall we think only of ourselves, or of everyone? One way forward for the person of Spirit is to grasp the opportunity to create community, and to explore the possibilities of cooperation.

It is by cooperation that the ordinary person, will be able to survive the times that are coming. The industrialized society has made us too distant from nature, from gardens, from the source of wealth all around us. It has kept us busy with projects of desecration and despoilation. It has made us so busy, we don’t even properly know the people in our own families, let alone neighbors and community members. In fact, we don’t want to know them, because they might have different views, or be dangerous somehow.

So join a community garden, start learning how to supplement food from the industrial supply chain with your own efforts in the garden. Find out what survival skills you have around you. Develop practices of love, and generosity, which build interdependence and strengthen community, as opposed to fear and selfishness which ultimately isolate people from one another.

There is a growing movement involved in taking back community control of our food supply – be a part of it! To do so, you may have to free up some time by working less, and having less income. Don’t be afraid of earning less money, because you will replace that lost money with the real wealth of nourishing relationships with other people and the natural environment. Nourishment is not just physical nourishment, but nourishment of the heart and soul as well. We need all these nourishments to be healthy and enjoy life. If and when calamity strikes, we will be in a position to survive together. We won’t be in any great position on our own, no matter how much money we have in the bank, as that money will ultimately prove worthless.

The Spiritual person of any description would do well to prepare for hard times ahead. Not just materially, but they should prepare spiritually as well, by practices which nourish generosity and community. There will be a great pull towards selfishness in the coming years, in fact we have seen it on the gradual rise for decades, as a political viewpoint, and a personal orientation. One task of the awakened person in the coming years is to show the power of generosity and community, and to resist the pull of fear and despair which are even now isolating so many in their false cocoons of selfishness.

Blessed Be
Rob

Daily intentions

Declaring a daily intention before Spirit, your Deities and Spirit Contacts can be a very powerful practice that supercharges your progress on the Path. To do this practice, one simply declares sacred space, calls one’s Deities, Spirit Contacts, and or Spirit. And then, in a clear and forthright voice of power, declare your intentions. If necessary, the declation can be made inwardly in an imagined voice of power, if, for example, there are concerns with privacy or disturbing others. Here are the intentions I articulate in my morning practice at the moment.

1) Higher Self. “I declare my intention to allow the Higher Self a clear channel to manifest itself this day, in everything I do, and with everyone I meet.”

2) Spiritual contacts. “I declare my intention to be open to receive all positive and helpful communications from my Deities, Guides and inner plane contacts, for the highest good of all”

3) Great Work. “I declare my intention to fulfill my part of the Great Work, and my True Work this day, to the degree that Circumstances permit, for the highest good of all. I offer all my activities this day as a vehicle for the Great Work.

You can do the same, or come up with your own intentions that suit your current state of being. One piece of advice though, try to be open and expansive in your intentions, so that Spirit has room to bring you what you need, work with your Higher Self, and touch the Higher Self of those you meet. If your intentions revolve around the wants or needs of the lower self, then it is missing the point somewhat!

Blessed Be
Rob

The Sword

In this essay, I would like to explore why the sword is used to esoterically represent the mind. My understanding is that the tradition likens the action of the mind to a sword or a knife, cutting something into separate pieces. The mind establishes categories, labels and names, so that we can understand the world we experience around us, and remember our experiences and learn from them. Ideally, our system of categories and names corresponds reasonably usefully with the reality that they try to represent. For example, if we can recognise, name and remember a useful food plant, we can seek it out again, talk about it to others, and remember when it is in season. If our main interest is in recognising useful plants, we are likely to have a different system of classification to someone who is mainly interested in how plants evolved.

If we get our food from the supermarket, and have no interest in botany, our personal classification system for plants is likely to be very simple. Trees, shrubs, flowers (perhaps a few named varieties), weeds, some vegetables, maybe a couple of different types of trees. For example, when one person sees a Gum tree, someone else might see a Mountain Gum, and a third person might see Eucalyptus Dalrympleana.

Take another example. Someone who is interested in Astrology might categorise people as Cancers, Gemini, Libra etc. When meeting a person, they may enquire as to their birth date, and they might be careful to get compatible star signs when putting together a group for some purpose. Or they may meet a person, and decide that they fit the profile for a certain sign, and then use that information in order to conduct their relationship in the most harmonious way possible.

Another person might think star signs are a bunch of baloney, and categorise people according to Meyers-Briggs personality types, or Jungian types, or even in simple terms such as friend or foe. All these ways of classifying the world, and our experience are represented by the esoteric symbol of the sword.

The Ace of swords tarot card in the Rider-Waite tarot deck depicts a sword piercing a golden crown, from which hang two boughs of wood. On the right, appears to be a palm branch, on the left is what appears to be a laurel, with red berries, or perhaps an Olive branch. According to Paul Fenton-Smith in “The Tarot Revealed”, the crown represents the material world. The symbolism may be deepened by noting that the arrangement of the sword and crown is representative of the union of male and female. Traditionally (in Western Anglo-Celtic Esotericism), the material world is seen as feminine, as in Mother Nature, and the Goddess of the Spring, the Goddess of the Flowers.

This union of the material ground of being (feminine) with the mental perceptive apparatus (masculine) gives rise to the phenomena of existence, just as a mother and a father give rise to their children. The symbolism reminds us that our experience has two sources – raw undifferentiated nature, and the mind’s categorising and sense-making efforts. The mind is nothing without something to work on, and raw experience is unintelligible without a mind to categorise it and find commonalities and regulaities.

This symbolism is also expressed neatly in the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention”.

In meditating on the symbol of the sword, hold the intention of becoming aware of how your experience of the world has two parents – the external undifferentiated reality, and the internal categorisation you place upon it. Every name becomes a symbol that holds both a cultural and collective experience, and a personal resonance of lived experience. As useful as the mind is, it brings this baggage to everything we experience. This can be incredibly useful, and also a mechanism for holding us in bondage to our past. The symbol of the sword reminds us of this, and reminds us that we can turn our perceptive powers on to ourselves, and free our selves from the bondage of mental constructs that have outlived their usefulness.

To meditate upon the symbol of the sword, a useful practice is to place the Ace of Swords from the Tarot at eye level. Establish sacred space in your usual manner, and invite the presence of your spirit helpers and Deities, and become relaxed. A useful method is to focus your attention in turn on the right palm, the left palm, the sole of the right foot, and then the sole of the left foot, and then the third eye. One can also move the attention in the manner of a pentagram. The third eye represents the point of spirit. The right hand represent the point of Air, the left hand the point of Fire, the left foot the point of Water, and the right foot represents the point of Earth. Different paths may use different attributions, this is the attribution used by the Fellowship in the Southern Hemisphere. Move the attention from Spirit to Water to Air to Fire to Earth and back to Spirit again – Brow, Left foot, Right Hand, Left Hand, Right Foot, Spirit. This movement represents the the divine impulse working in the life of the Adept. The spark of spirit causes the intuition Water) to deliver images, feelings, or knowingness to the self. These inputs are then processed by the mind (air), and appropriate action is decided upon. Action is then taken (Fire), with the intention of honouring the Divine impulse. The action is grounded (Earth), drawn to completion, and the ground of being responds. The cycle then begins anew.

Once you have become relaxed and have harnessed your attention, then begin to move your attention between the tarot card and your third eye. Move it out to the card as you breathe out, and back to the brow as you breathe in. Visualise a thread connecting the third eye to the card. Do the first few with eyes open, then with eyes closed, visualising the card in as much detail as possible. Continue this exercise for at least four or five breaths, more if you feel that would be useful. Open your eyes and look at the card if you need to refresh your visualisation. When you feel it is right, begin the next part of the practice, which is to be receptive, and to allow whatever insights and inspiration you may be priveeged to receive to arise. Gently note them mentally as they arise, so that you can write them down afterwards.

And of course conclude by thanking your Spirit Helpers and/or Deities, and returning the space to normal.

I am sure that you will find this exercise beneficial!

Blessed Be

Rob

Caduceus Practice – revisited

I have written before about the caduceus practice. Here is a quick recap in case you missed it!

Like much of my work, it works with the Union of the the two fundamental principles of life and creation. In the Fellowship we work with this at many levels. At the level of energy, we work with the red dragon current and the white dragon current. The red and white dragons appear in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “Life of Merlin”, and I have posted previously on this topic. The quick précis is that Merlin observes the red and white dragons fly up from the buried lake under the hill on which king Vortigern was attempting to build a tower. Upon seeing the dragons battle above the ruined tower, Merlin is precipitated into a visionary and prophetic state. For more background see the very good work by Robert Stewart.

The view of the Fellowship is that the dragons were not battling, but embracing in ritual courtship, which to the initiated may be indistinguishable from battle. The red and white dragons are viewed by the Fellowship as representing the two primordial energies, the male white dragon current, and the female red dragon current. These two currents combine to bring life, intelligence, and the nourishment of the soul.

To begin the caduceus meditation, draw up the red dragon current from the centre of the earth, and concentrate it at the red pearl below the navel. One method of doing this is explained in detail in my post on Dragon Walking. Then, as explained in the same post, draw down the white dragon current from the centre of the universe, and concentrate it at the white pearl just below the naval. These pearls are in the centre of the belly, nestled next to each other, the red on your right, the white on your left. They are the dragon eggs of the Merlinic story.

When the pearls are full of concentrated energy, allow a white and red current to emerge, climbing up each side of the interior of the body, to meet at the solar plexus chakra. Allow the currents to energise and fertilise the chakra. Sit with it, working a cycle of breathing…as you breathe in, see and feel the white dragon current descending from the infinite source of all and energizing the white pearl, while at the same time the red dragon current rises up from the centre of the earth energising the red pearl. As you breathe out, follow the movement of the emerging energies to the solar plexus chakra.

When the solar plexus chakra is sufficiently enlivened, allow the two energy streams to continue, crossing at the solar plexus chakra, and continuing up opposite sides of the interior of the body, to meet again at the heart centre. Continue the practice with in breath charging the dragon eggs, and out breath following the energy streams from eggs to the heart.

When the heart chakra is sufficiently enlivened, continue in the same way to enliven the throat chakra.

From the throat chakra, the energy streams may be directed down each arm, the white dragon current down the right arm, and the red dragon current down the left arm, the reverse if you are left handed. (In that case the eggs also change sides). In each Palm, the energy current feeds a glowing red or white ball.

The practice may be concluded here, or carried on in a number of different ways. You will find that the practice has a life of its own, and with diligent practice in the right spirit, it will reveal to you how to work further with the twin dragon currents in the way that’s best for you.