Jun 032011
 

Archdeacon Wilberforce interrupted proceedings from time to time to clarify details, and later on he suggested members of the audience might like to question the young ladies. What follows are the answers of ‘Miss Allen’, and as Janet was the older of the two she is probably the one who answers here:

The Chairman: Miss Allen, you went to Glastonbury at the request of Mr Pole?

Miss Allen: We had previously arranged our pilgrimage and then received his instructions to go to this particular spot.

(a voice from the audience): And you got to this particular spot? Mr Pole had accurately described it?

Miss Allen: we knew the spot as we had been there twice before. It was in the well, full of mud, that we actually brought the cup to light.

The Chairman: Didn’t it seem a rather hopeless task?

Miss Allen: Quite hopeless

The Chairman: But you felt you ought to go on?

Miss Allen: Yes

The Chairman: It is a kind of fen place, is it not, and very few people go by it?

Miss Allen: Yes, quite away from the ordinary route.

The Chairman: You must have got into a terrible mess?

Miss Allen: Yes, a great deal of mud had to be dug up.

(A voice): What depth from the surface?

Miss Allen: About two feet of mud.

(A voice): There was about four feet of water in the well, was there not?

Miss Allen: About three and a half feet.

(A voice): Did your feet touch it or did you find it with your hands? Did you dig with your hands only?

Miss Allen: Hands and feet.

(A voice):  No spades?

Miss Allen: No

The Chairman: And it looked beautiful with the water on it? Now, you did not bring it home?  That seems a rather peculiar thing. Was it something abnormal that made you feel as though you ought not to take it?

Miss Allen: Yes, so we simply replaced it in the well, after having washed it.

(A voice): Could it have been seen by anyone else?

Miss Allen: No, it went to the bottom in the mud.

Dean’s Yard transcipt, 20.7.1907

We might pause here to consider the messy job the maidens were willing to undertake: three and a half feet of water plus two feet of mud. At least they went in September, on the 3rd, when the weather might not have been too sharp, but when Katherine went a month later she had no such luck.

It was a chill, rainy, October day, and she had to wade into deep and peculiarly unpleasant mud. Nonetheless, she found at once the object of her search with her feet, and carried it home with her.

But what was it?

The Two Worlds of Wellesley Tuor Pole, Gerry Fenge

Apr 102011
 

The party lasted into the small hours, and when the Germans finally took their leave Stalin was, according to Hoffmann, “well and truly lit up”! The Soviet leader clearly understood the incongruity – almost the comic nature – of this pact with his former enemy.

“Let’s drink to the new anti-Cominternist,” he said at one point, “Stalin!” But his last words to Ribbentrop were spoken with apparent sincerity: “I assure that the Soviet Union takes this pact very seriously. I guarantee on my word of honour that the Soviet Union will not betray its new partner.”

Back at the Berghof, the atmosphere grew ever more anxious in the hours before news of the signing of the pact came through. Herbert Doring watched that evening as Hitler and his guests stared at the dramatic sky over the high mountain peaks.

“The entire sky was turmoil,” he remembered. “It was blood-red, green, sulphur grey, black as night, a jagged yellow. Everyone was looking horrified – it was intimidating….Everyone was watching. Without good nerves one could easily have become frightened.”

Doring observed one of Hitler’s guests, a Hungarian woman, remark: “My Fuhrer, this augurs nothing good. It means, blood, blood, blood and again blood.” ‘Hitler was totally shocked,’ said Doring. ‘He was almost shaking. He said, “If it has to be, then let it be now.” He was agitated, completely crazed. His hair was wild. His gaze was locked on the distance.’ Then, when the good news that the pact had been signed finally arrived, Hitler ‘said goodbye’, went upstairs and the evening was over.’

Behind Closed Doors, Laurence Rees

Mar 202011
 

I had always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, and in these realms of fancy there is no extra charge for anything, it amused me to think that in a past incarnation I had been an Egyptian.

That left rather a long gap between now and then, during which I slept with the worms, a boring occupation, so I decided that I had also been an alchemist who, needless to say, discovered the Philosopher’s Stone.

*

I also read about Moses being trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and Daniel in the wisdom of the Babylonians. We hear a lot about Daniel in the lion’s den, but we hear nothing at all about Daniel in his official capacity as Belteshazzar, head magician to the king of Babylon and satrap of Chaldea.

Another thing that interested me was that curious business of the battle of the kings in the valley, four against five – Amraphel, king of Shinar; Arioch, king of Ellasar; Chedlorlaomer, king of Elam, and Tidal, king of nations. I knew nothing whatever about them, but their names were magnificent and sang in my head.

Then there was the even odder incident of Melchisedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who went out to meet Abraham, bearing bread and wine after the fight was over and the kings were all sunk in the slime-pits. Who was this priest of a forgotten worship whom Abraham honoured?

I admit candidly that there is a great deal about the Old Testament worthies that I do not find admirable, but I found these fascinating. So I added a Chaldean incarnation in the days of Abraham to my collection.

Then my efforts met with a setback. I saw a lecture on reincarnation advertised at the local lodge of the Theosophical Society, so I went to hear it, and it sounded good to me. But i the question-time at the end a lady got up and said that she was the reincarnation of Hypatia, and the chairman got up and said she couldn’t be, as that was Mrs Besant; then the lady started to argue, and they played a tune on the piano to drown her voice, and I went home with my tail between my legs.

I was a bit shy of reincarnation fantasies for some time after that, and took up my old interest of communing with the Moon..

Dion Fortune, The Sea Priestess

Feb 282011
 

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it

Ecclesiastes 12.1 – 6 (KJV)

Feb 272011
 

The racial soul of Hibernia has very ancient roots that include a slumbering magical knowledge and contacts with primeval forces beyond those that effect the mainland of Britain and the continent of Europe…[a] unique blend of cultural currents from immense antiquity, allied to the Graeco-Celtic stream, is what produced the great power of the Druids in Ireland…The contribution of the earlier Atlantean cultures was of an extremely well focused power of the imagination, which, in short, amounted to a magical power.

This immensely strong, deliberately magically built, group soul of the remote past, mingled with the concrete mind contacts of ancient Greece, and the allied aesthetic ability, has produced an Irish group soul that is stronger than most others in the world apart perhaps from the Jewish – which also derives from immense antiquity in another way. The Celtic druidism of Ireland reached its peak long before that of the rest of Britain and Gaul, and it was originally from Ireland that the British and Gallic druids drew their teaching and wisdom.

The great problems which later beset Ireland over the centuries derive from a combination of these early great strengths. Because of the diversity of the contending currents within a group soul, there has ever been a tendency to internal dissension, exacerbated by the other races and religious authorities that have tried to interfere. This flared to a crisis at the time of the restimulation of the group soul of the British Isles that brought about the reformulation of the Arthurian legends in the twelfth century.

The conflict of contending forces has also operated, and still operates, upon the religious level. Through the missionary genius of St Patrick, the Irish Christian church formed a nucleus of Celtic Christianity that inspired and informed the West independently of Rome through the Dark Ages, just as in former times the Irish Druids had been a centre of religious and cultural influence.

Although a Christianized form of Druidism lingered on, and indeed, like the Hermetic tradition, formed a link between pagan and Christian spirituality, this role of leadership was not without its cost. Had the new wine been introduced more slowly, as occurred in the rest of Europe, much conflict and suffering might have been avoided. Many of the highly magically trained Irish druids migrated to Wales, France and Brittany whence we have a rich vein of ancient tradition, much of it manifesting as the Arthurian legends.

The time may not be long before the racial soul of Ireland enters a new phase, manages to synthesize its deep conflicting roots and to work more freely with other nations of the west. The whole trend of Ireland in the past has been to esoteric teaching and knowledge, and a renewal of this, as pioneered by Yeats and Lady Gregory, may have more importance than political and commercial initiatives. It is a little premature to summarily dismiss this resurgence as a literary fad of ‘the Celtic twilight’.

Gareth Knight, The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend

Feb 192011
 

In these twelve men who came together to perform a special mission, the twelve different streams in the spiritual development of mankind were represented. The fact that all possible religions and all possible philosophies belong to the twelve basic types is in itself a mystery.

Buddhism, Brahmanism, Vedanta philosophy, materialism, or whatever it may be – all of them can be traced to the twelve basic types; it is just a matter of being quite exact. And so all the different streams of man’s spiritual life – the religions, the philosophies and world conceptions that are spread over the earth – were united in that council of the twelve.

After the period of darkness had passed and spiritual achievement was possible again, a thirteenth came in remarkable circumstances to the twelve. I am telling you now of one of those events which takes place secretly in the evolution of mankind once and once only. They cannot occur a second time and are mentioned not as an indication that efforts should be made to repeat them but for quite other reasons.

When the darkness had lifted and it was possible to develop clairvoyant vision again, the coming of the thirteenth was announced in a mysterious way to the twelve wise men. They knew that the time had come when a child with significant and remarkable incarnations behind him was to be born. Above all they knew that one of his incarnations had been at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha.

It was known, therefore, that one who had been a contemporary of the events in Palestine was returning. And the birth of the child in these unusual circumstances during the thirteenth century could not have been said to be that of a person of renown.

Rudolf Steiner, Intimate Workings of Karma

Feb 112011
 

Benediction came my way, through its namesake, clerkish, fey.

When he left, I deemed to stay, my only instinct thus: to pray.

Still, the way of my devotion seemed bizarre and though I wandered

Not enough to halt its progress, in an abstract sense I wondered.

Thus commenced the styled performance; first I seemed to turn the world,

Once, from twice an odd direction. All defied surreal reflection.

While my single was transformed, three dimensions were vitally born.

These are my essential minutes; let the words be undiminished.

The scene inside my room was vivid – spirits came but none were livid,

Just my friends, the literal men. Named I them with joy intense.

All the while a throne, my chair, leant askew with someone there.

This the Lord, I knew him well, prone was struck and to him fell.

There I lay in meditation, ‘fore aroused by violent voices

From beyond my supplication. Much bemused I stood, responsive.

Looking out, I strained to hear: “Jump outside to test!”, they jeered.

In my state of heightened reason, this request bore contemplation.

Would to jump bring death through treason, or new life through dedication?

As my mind, suggested, wandered, one leg in and one leg out,

Luck would bring a voice to sunder faith in me and death to doubt.

“Have no fear of tempting strangers, they are but the baleful rest.

Stay inside!” Advised the angel. Once retrieved, the stars I blessed.

Then I felt a force compelling me to stop and face the throne

In a manner thus: Reclining on one side, the right hand zone.

In the posture – just, enlightened – then began the Revelation.

There before my eyes the Saviour, Holy Spirit, Earth’s Creator.

Picture this, the blazing scene: A crown was formed, a three-pronged beam.

For the whole the three incorporates played a part, defining orders.

As the truth came home decoded, safe was I in living quarters.

Jan 242011
 

Ah, my Beloved, fill the cup that clears

To-day of past regrets and future fears:

To-morrow! – Why, to-morrow I may be

Myself – with yesterday’s sev’n thousand years.

For some we loved, the loveliest and the best

That from his vintage rolling time hath prest,

Have drunk their cup a round or two before,

And one by one crept silently to rest.

And we, that now make merry in the room

They left, and summer dresses in new bloom

Ourselves must we beneath the couch of Earth

Descend – ourselves to make a couch – for whom?

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,

Before we too into the dust descend;

Dust into dust, and under dust to lie

Sans wine, sans song, sans singer, and – sans End!


Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Jan 072011
 

It is not the purpose of this book to trace the subsequent history of Christianity, especially the later history of Christianity; which involves controversies of which I hope to write more fully elsewhere. It is devoted only to the suggestion that Christianity, appearing amid heathen humanity, had all the character of a unique thing and even of a supernatural thing. It was not like any of the other things; and the more we study it the less it looks like any of them

I have said that Asia and the ancient world had an air of being too old to die. Christendom has had the very opposite fate. Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a god who knew the way out of the grave. It is so true that three or four times at least in the history of Christendom the whole soul seemed to have gone out of Christianity; and almost every man in his heart expected its end.

The Church in the West was not in a world where things were too old to die; but in one in which they were always young enough to get killed

At least five times, with the Arian and the Albigensian, with the Humanist sceptic, after Voltaire and after Darwin, the Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases it was the dog that died. How complete was the collapse and how strange the reversal, we cars only see in detail in the case nearest to our own time.

A thousand things have been said about the Oxford Movement and the parallel French Catholic revival; but few have made us feel the simplest fact about it; that it was a surprise. It was a puzzle as well as a surprise; because it seemed to most people like a river turning backwards from the sea and trying to climb back into the mountains.

In short, the whole world being divided about whether the stream was going slower or faster, became conscious of something vague but vast that was going against the stream. Both in fact and figure there is something deeply disturbing about this, and that for an essential reason. A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it. A dead dog can be lifted on the leaping water with all the swiftness of a leaping hound; but only a live dog can swim backwards. A paper boat can ride the rising deluge with all the airy arrogance of a fairy ship; but if the fairy ship sails upstream it is really rowed by the fairies.

G K Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, The Five Deaths of the Faith

Jan 052011
 

Truly, our life is guided – from the other side of it, so to speak – with a far greater wisdom than is ours in guiding it from this side. Often in later life we meet a human being who becomes of extreme importance in our life. When we think back: How did we live until  the moment when we met him?

Then our entire life seems like the very pathway to the meeting. It is as though we had tended every step, that we might find him at the right moment – or that we might find him at all, at a certain moment.

We need only ponder the following: Think, my dear friends, what it signifies for fully conscious human reflection. Think of what it means to find another human being in a given year of life, thenceforth to experience, work or achieve – whatever it may be –  in common with him.

Think what it means, what emerges as the impulse that led up to it, when we reflect on this quite consciously. When we begin to think: How did it happen that we met him? It will probably occur to us that we first had to experience an event with which many other people were connected, for otherwise the opportunity would not have arisen for us to meet him in this life. And, that this event might happen, we had to undergo still another event….and so on.

We find ourselves in the midst of the most complex chain of circumstances, all of which had to occur, into all which we had to enter, so as to reach this or that decisive experience. And now we may perhaps reflect: If the task had been set us – I will not say at the age of one, but let us say at the age of fourteen – to solve the riddle consciously: to bring about in our fiftieth year a decisive meeting with another human being; if we imagine that we had to solve it consciously, like a mathematical puzzle – think what it would involve!

Consciously, we human beings are so appallingly stupid, whereas what happens with us in the world is so infinitely wise, when we take into account such things as these. When we begin to think along these lines, we become aware of the immense intricacy and deep significance in the workings of our destiny or karma. And this all goes on in the domain of the human kingdom. All that thus happens to us is deep in the unconscious life. Until the moment when a decisive event approaches us it lies in the unconscious.

Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships, Esoteric Studies, Vol. 1