Jan 132014
 

4402The part of them worthy of the name immortal, which is called divine and is the guiding principle of those who are willing to follow justice and you-of that divine part I will myself sow the seed, and having made a beginning, I will hand the work over to you. And do ye then interweave the mortal with the immortal, and make and beget living creatures, and give them food, and make them to grow, and receive them again in death.”

Thus he spake, and once more into the cup in which he had previously mingled the soul of the universe he poured the remains of the elements, and mingled them in much the same manner; they were not, however, pure as before, but diluted to the second and third degree. And having made it he divided the whole mixture into souls equal in number to the stars, and assigned each soul to a star; and having there placed them as in a chariot, he showed them the nature of the universe, and declared to them the laws of destiny.

Plato, Timaeus

Apr 252012
 

I begin to sing of Demeter, the holy goddess with the beautiful hair.

And her daughter [Persephone] too. The one with the delicate ankles, whom Hadês seized.

She was given away by Zeus, the loud-thunderer, the one who sees far and wide.

Demeter did not take part in this, she of the golden double-axe, she who glories in the harvest.

She [Persephone] was having a good time, along with the daughters of Okeanos, who wear their girdles slung low.

She was picking flowers: roses, crocus, and beautiful violets.

Up and down the soft meadow. Iris blossoms too she picked, and hyacinth.

And the narcissus, which was grown as a lure for the flower-faced girl by Gaia [Earth]. All according to the plans of Zeus. She [Gaia] was doing a favour for the one who receives many guests [Hadês].

It [the narcissus] was a wondrous thing in its splendor. To look at it gives a sense of holy awe to the immortal gods as well as mortal humans.

It has a hundred heads growing from the root up.

Its sweet fragrance spread over the wide skies up above.

And the earth below smiled back in all its radiance. So too the churning mass of the salty sea.

She [Persephone] was filled with a sense of wonder, and she reached out with both hands to take hold of the pretty plaything. And the earth, full of roads leading every which way, opened up under her.

It happened on the Plain of Nysa. There it was that the Lord who receives many guests made his lunge.

He was riding on a chariot drawn by immortal horses. The son of Kronos. The one known by many names.

He seized her against her will, put her on his golden chariot, And drove away as she wept.

She cried with a piercing voice, calling upon her father [Zeus], the son of Kronos, the highest and the best.

But not one of the immortal ones, or of human mortals, heard her voice.

Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Nov 202011
 

Standing on the outskirt of the forest, Hermes whispered a message to his light‐headed, wine‐brining friend: “Zeus’s twice‐born son, your time shall surely come. You bear the living vine; on you the sun shall shine”.

The wolf by Apollo’s side pricked up its ears and whined. “And what of me, Father, bringer of the cosmic light, voice of all reason and destroyer of dark night?”

Zeus raised an eyebrow. “How soon, I wonder, my great golden child, ’til you think yourself greater, even, than I?”

It was then that his deer‐daughter put a restraining hand on her brother’s shoulder and entreated him in an urgent voice. “Bait him not, beloved brother; the chariot of the sun shall be struck down by lightening and the silver moon shall die of grief! Then you would see that our licentious youth shall sober in a second and sit upon thy gilded chariot!”

“Ay, sister of the moon, with his hairy hand upon my priceless goblet, while his sluts strum tuneless ditties upon my incomparable turtleshell lyre!”

Dionysus raised his cup to them in a toast: “You have my blessing brother, I think not to steer the chariot of the sun, nor to take your hallowed place in heaven…I’d rather have a bit of fun! You’ll have to watch the lyre, though, methinks the sound of music shall do much to make our mystery.”

Jan 052011
 

Shimmering-throned immortal Aphrodite,
Daughter of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee,
Spare me, O queen, this agony and anguish,
Crush not my spirit

Whenever before thou has hearkened to me–
To my voice calling to thee in the distance,
And heeding, thou hast come, leaving thy father’s
Golden dominions,

With chariot yoked to thy fleet-winged coursers,
Fluttering swift pinions over earth’s darkness,
And bringing thee through the infinite, gliding
Downwards from heaven,

Then, soon they arrived and thou, blessed goddess,
With divine contenance smiling, didst ask me
What new woe had befallen me now and why,
Thus I had called the.

What in my mad heart was my greatest desire,
Who was it now that must feel my allurements,
Who was the fair one that must be persuaded,
Who wronged thee Sappho?

For if now she flees, quickly she shall follow
And if she spurns gifts, soon shall she offer them
Yea, if she knows not love, soon shall she feel it
Even reluctant.

Come then, I pray, grant me surcease from sorrow,
Drive away care, I beseech thee, O goddess
Fulfil for me what I yearn to accomplish,
Be thou my ally.

Sappho

Jan 032011
 

We were plucking the pleasant flowers, the beautiful crocus, the iris, the hyacinth, and the narcissus, which, like the crocus, the wide earth produced.

With joy I was plucking them, when the earth yawned beneath, and out leaped the strong King, the Many-Receiver, and went bearing me, deeply sorrowing, under the earth in his golden chariot, and I cried aloud.

Homeric Hymn to Ceres

Jun 142010
 

The scene changed completely with the realisation that I was outside the mountain in broad daylight, looking down on what appeared to be a white hand basin full of water. The guide was by my left side and I was able to look directly at his face. I felt fear rising and he told me not to be afraid.

It was with even more awe that I realized by a shift of perspective the ‘basin’ was in fact a vast lake surrounded by white mountains. It shifted back and forth I looked to and from the guide, who by turns appeared to be a giant holding out his arms, cradling the lake and mountains; but at the same time he looked just like an ordinary – sized man.

If I looked at him like an ordinary-sized man the valley looked like the white basin, but if I focused on the lake I saw it in perspective, as a huge, sweeping vista.

Not long after this the guide and I were two regular-sized people standing on a flat plain in the weak sunshine penetrating the icy air. It occurred to me that the guide had showed me some the secrets of the elements and that now we were to focus on the wind. This was, after, the way I’d ‘arrived’.

Recalling the appearance of the eagle I noted that it had been exactly like wind/cloud, white and translucent. My guide performed tricks with the wind and I asked – rather hopefully – if I might see the wind horses I’d heard so much about.

Almost ridiculously quickly, a beautifully elaborate white wind horse with wings outspread appeared in the middle distance of the sky and walked around in front of us. I was disturbed, however, to find it was pulling a type of chariot and whilst the horse itself seemed not to mind this hindrance, I ardently prayed for it to be released from the yoke it was under.

After a surprisingly long time – the chariot stubbornly remained – the horse casually walked free and up into the air, where it strolled gently away on the light breeze. I saw several white wind horses on the plain then, most with opened wings.

It occurred to me that perhaps I was meant to board the chariot and I wondered why this logical notion had not occurred to me at the time. My guide looked rather disappointed in me so I assumed I failed that particular test in some way.

The vision faded shortly after all of this and I fell asleep.

Jun 122010
 

History – as, moreover, the life of the individual – is ‘worked’ by day and by night. It has a diurnal aspect and a nocturnal aspect. The former is exoteric, whilst the latter is esoteric. The silence and obscurity of the night is always full of events in preparation – and all that which is unconscious or superconscious in the human being belongs to the domain of ‘night’.

This is the magical side of history, the side of magical deeds and works acting behind the facade of history ‘by day’. Thus, when the Gospel was preached by the light of day in the countries around the Mediterranean, the nocturnal rays of the Gospel effected a profound transformation in Buddhism. There, the ideal of individual liberation by entering the state of nirvana gave way to the ideal of renouncing nirvana for the work of mercy towards suffering humanity. The ideal of mahayana, the great chariot, then had its resplendent ascent to the heaven of Asia’s moral values.

This is the formula of the twofold teaching – by the speech of day and by the knowledge of night; of the twofold tradition – by verbal teaching and by direct inspiration; of twofold magic – by the spoken word and by silent radiation; and lastly, of twofold history – ‘visible’ history by day and ‘invisible’ history by night.

*

…and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night (Genesis i, 4-5)

And the act of separation of the intelligible from the mysterious signifies at the same time the establishing of cosmic respiration, which is the analogy of ‘the Spirit of God moving above the face of the waters’. For the divine breath (ruach ‘elohim) above the profoundness of peace (‘the waters’ –  it is this which is the psychological as well as the cosmic reality of nirvana) is the divine prototype of respiration.

Unknown author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope