Jul 042016
 

harpI was in many a guise,
before I was disenchanted.
/ am a grey-cowled minstrel
I believe in illusion.
I was for a time in the sky
I was observing the stars.
I was a message in writing
I was a book to my priest.
I was the light of the altar-horns,
for a year and a half
I was a bridge, which is stationed
over three score water-meets.
I went traveling
I was an eagle
I was a coracle on the seas.
I was the attraction in good.
swordsI was a drop in a shower.
I was a sword in the hand-grip
I was a shield in battle.
I was a string in the harp of
enchantment for nine years.
In water I was the spume.
I was a sponge in the fire.
I was scrub in the covert.
I am not one who does not sing
I sang, though I was little,
at the battle of the Scrub-shoots,
against Britain’s Ruler
and the Irish ships, is
a rich-laden fleet.

Taliesin, The Battle of the Scrub

Nov 302012
 

When Dawn broke my sleep with a light, golden spear,

Out peeled the bell o’er my hypnotised head.

My eyes opened wide as I sat up in silence,

Raising the silver shield up from my bed.

 

The bright, ruby ring I had plucked from the deep stream –

Blood of a rosebud that sparkled in my eyes –

Finely it glimmered, a star pink as sunrise.

 

By the night river of clear running water,

I had watched servants weave garlands of wonder,

Maidens make ready for dancing and feasting,

Faerie-folk tending the flowers of summer.

 

Somewhere were singing the undines…. A page-boy

Whispered of treasure to those who could listen,

Spoke of a ring that endowed one with wisdom

 

All who would go there were seeking this treasure –

Moonlight enraptured the realm of enchantment –

Nowhere directions for those without vision –

Lost beyond time in a place of deep dreaming.

 

Fed by the fountain of memories, like snow-flakes,

They watched without seeing in shadows of knowing,

Drank without thinking a draught of forgetting.

Dec 102011
 

Merlin appears in the shape of a young squire; Nimue in the form of a little maid ‘but twelve years old’. This number is, in this context, more mystical than chronological in intent.

Together they perform an enchantment that is an evocation of the ideal society of humankind and a reconstruction of the Earthly Paradise or Garden of Eden.

For behold! Out of the forest comes a carole of ladies and knights and maidens and squires, “each holding other by the hands and dancing and singing: and made the greatest joy that ever was seen in any land”…And presently, in the midst of the wild wood, appears an orchard, wherein was all manner of fruits and all manner of flowers, that gave so great a sweetness of flavour that marvel it was to tell. (Vida Scudder, Le Morte d’Arthur of Sir Thomas Malory).

This is no mere infatuation of a magician for a fairy maid. It is a great and pre-ordained work of redemptive magic. Similarly Merlins’ disappearance from the Earth into the world behind outer nature is no falling under a false enchantment but a deliberate sacrificial sacramental act. As Vida Scudder puts it, although she does not appear consciously to realise the deeper implications:

….when she spoke to him of her longing to know how to create the magic tower of air, he bowed down to the earth and began to sigh. None the less he did her will, and on a fateful day they went out through the forest of Broceliande hand in hand, devising and disporting; and found a bush that was fair and high and of white hawthorn full of flowers, and there they sat in the shadow.

And Merlin laid his head on the damsel’s lap, and she began to caress gently till he fell on sleep, and when she felt that he was in sleep she arose softly, and made a circle of her wimple all about the bush, and all about Merlin. And when he waked he looked about him, ‘and him seemed he was in the fairest tower on the world and the most strong; and he said to the damsel; “Lady thou hast me deceived, but if ye will, abide with me, for none but ye may undo these enchantment” And in truth she stayed by him for the most part, “Ye have been my thought and my desire” says she, “for without you have I neither joy nor wealth. In you have I set all my hope, and I abide, none other joy but of you”.

Her impulse is thus love and not self-will. And, whether ‘deceived’ or not, Merlin was well aware, before and after the fact, of the implications of this profound magical union.

Gareth Knight, The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend

Aug 192011
 

Dear Unknown Friend

The preceding Arcanum – ‘The Moon’ – confronted us with the task of human intelligence to liberate itself from the magical enchantment which separates it from spontaneous wisdom, and to unite itself with the latter, ie, to arrive at intuition. The nineteenth Arcanum – “The Sun” – is that of the accomplished union of intelligence and spontaneous wisdom: the Arcanum of intuition.

*

“The children who are fraternising under the sun correspond all the better to Gemini because this zodiacal constellation berings in the longest days to us” says Oswald Wirth (Le Tarot des imagiers du moyen age), thus locating the nineteenth Arcanum in the zodiacal circle of twelve cosmic mysteries or, speaking in the language of C J Jung, in the circle of twelve archetypal force-images of the collective unconscious which work in the depths of every human soul.

For the zodiac is that which the human soul knows unconsciously; it is the book which the soul “ate” and which is present and active only in his “bowels” – in the depths of his being – from whence it renders him strong or weak, fertile or arid, fervent or tepid, according to whether he is in harmony or not with its teaching-impulse.

Now, the teaching impulse called “Gemini” can be expressed by paraphrasing a little the first statement of the Emerald Table of Hermes:

May that which is below be as that which is above, and may that which is above be as that which is below to accomplish the miracles of one thing.

This is the principle of analogy put into practice, taking its point of departure from the principle of cooperation.

*

One of the highest aspects of the principle of Gemini, the principle of cooperation, is that which is present in intuition: that of the cooperation between spontaneous wisdom and intelligence. Here it is a matter of a state of consciousnes where  intelligence advances from formal knowledge to material knowledge, ie, from knowledge of the relationships of the things to knowledge of the things themselves.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun

 

 

Jul 052011
 

Put now your ear to the seashell of memory,
Walk through the glistening rainbow of promise,
Sun on the ocean makes ripples of magic,
Star of the sea and pure bride of Adonis.

Then will the sea-priestess, white in the starlight,
Raise up her arms at the moon gliding by,
Sing the enchantment that harnessed the ocean,
Dance in the circles that meted out night.

Sea nymphs are whispering ‘Shayla remember…
Mesmerised mermaids and undines glide
Deep in the moonlight of hypnotised sailors;
Drawn by the current that governs all tides.

Whispering ‘Shayla, return to your kingdom,
Sister and daughter, rejoice with your kind…’
Shimmering crystal, the doors of the palace
lay on the seabed, beguiling still waters.

She who sells sea shells upon the sea shore,
Walked through the turquoise and paused at the entrance
Looked through the shimmering aqua at kinsmen,
Heard that the voices were soft but relentless.

Soft as the breeze on the salt of the ocean,
Gentle as rustles the wind through the trees,
Whispering over and over her secret,
Meaning; she hailed from the palace of dreams

Stopped at the threshold the fairytale maiden,
Thought of a promise once made in the spring,
Called to remembrance the angel who loved her,
Said: I relinquish the realm of the sea.

Go, little mermaid, they turned away weeping,
As she, the self, was set free and made mortal.
As you lie dreaming of rainbows in summer,
Seeking the memory, then think of this portal.

Sister, oh sister, how sorry we are now
So went the whispers, the shadows of light.
From the unconsciousness reason found mercy;
Words without doubt put magicians to flight.

Three that give birth from the fiery water
Seven the spheres and reflective of heaven,
Twelve that encircle and bring to completion,
Doubles in number of holy eleven.

Queen of the silver beam, king of all, golden,
Red the blood flowing through milky-white rivers
Bring generation to life in your nature,
Die by the heat but in hope be uprisen.

Light came aurora and pinker than sapphire,
Orange as anything orange is yellow,
Redder than berries of green in the meadow,
Bluer than dawn is, an indigo fire.

Promises, promises, rainbows and birdsong,
Speak of the vow that just cannot be broken
Time has no meaning and space is illusion,
Born is Creation, by God’s word is spoken.