Jun 062012
 

Those who have troubled to measure in time and space such things as emotions insist that we can assess another person in a millisecond. Was this instant character-assessment the reason why we felt uneasy, in spite of all the other emotions which welled up from within? It was early in the second week in September, 1980, and we were sitting outside a cafe in the cathedral square in Chartres, talking to a girl we had just met.

In the cathedral, we had seen her walking down the south aisle towards the great floor-maze. The bright hues from the stained-glass windows had flooded upon her, like coloured celestial music. She had walked directly across the spiralling arcs of the maize-like dancing ground. When she reached the centre, she stood quite still. She did not appear to notice us.

We were in the shadows, leaning against a column, contemplating the maze. She looked down at her feet, as though to ensure that they were correctly placed, and raising her arms above her head, strained upwards on tiptoes. When she saw us, beyond the edge of the circle, she showed no embarrassment, but merely smiled. Perhaps she did not realise that when she had lifted her arms, we had seen the full sweep of her breast through the armholes of her loose blouse.

We had been contemplating the medieval dancing ground, and remained a short distance from the floor pattern while we studied its orientations to the details of the interior architecture. Strangely, although the cathedral had been crowded only minutes before, we two were now the only ones near the floor maze.

‘I am at the centre’, she said, with the soft accent of a Bostonian. She had lowered her arms and heels, but was still smiling towards us. Her voice was almost lost in the vastness of the cathedral space.

We laughed, but it was not in mockery. ‘There is no centre to a maze’. We had said this only to continue the conversation.

‘This is not a maze’. She sounded slightly upset as she corrected us. The tone of her voice insinuated that we had failed to understand. She was right, and we felt foolish. Of course it was not a maze: we had assumed that she had no knowledge of such things.

‘It is a six-petalled centre’, we offered, to prove that we were not really foolish.

‘Six petals. Yes, and a stalk because it is a flower.’ Then, as though to show she forgave us, she once again stretched her arms above her head, and balanced on her toes. ‘You see – I am Virgo standing on the Flower of the Virgin’.

We wondered if she could see the sexual implications in her words. We could not guess her personal horoscope, but she was right about the centre of the dancing ground being the flos Virginis. We were already fascinated by this girl who was, whether she knew it or not, dancing the secret Way.

She crossed the maze towards us, offering her hand.

Mark Hedsel, The Zelator

Apr 202012
 

‘When I touch that flower’, he said rapturously, ‘I am touching infinity. It existed long before there were human beings on this Earth and will continue to exist for millions of years to come.

‘Through that flower I talk to the infinite, which is only a silent force. This is not a physical contact. It is not in the earthquake, wind or fire. It is in the invisible world. It is that small, still voice that calls up the fairies.’

George Washington Carver, Wizard of Tuskegee

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

Oct 232011
 

Rich in blossoms many tinted, grateful to the ravished eye,
 Gay and green and glorious Kanka was like garden of the sky,

Rich in fruit and laden creeper and in beauteous bush and trep.
 Flower-bespangled golden Lanka was like gem-bespangled sea!

Rose a palace in the woodlands girt by pillars strong and high.
 Snowy-white like fair Kailasa cleaving through the azure sky,

And its steps were ocean coral and its pavement yellow gold .
White and gay and heaven-aspiring rose the structure high and bold!

By the rich and royal mansion Hanuman his eyes did rest,
 On a woman sad and sorrowing in her sylvan garments drest,

Like the moon obscured and clouded, dim with shadows deep and dark,
 Like the smoke-enshrouded red fire, dying with a feeble spark,

Like the tempest-pelted lotus by the wind and torrent shaken,
 Like the beauteous star Rohini by a graha overtaken!

Fasts and vigils paled her beauty, tears bedimmed her tender grace,
 Anguish dwelt within her bosom, sorrow darkened on her face,

And she lived by Rakshas guarded, as a faint and timid deer,
 Severed from her herd and kindred when the prowling wolves are near,

And her raven locks ungathered hung behind in single braid,
 And her gentle eye was lightless, and her brow was hid in shade!

“This is she! the peerless princess, Rama’s consort loved and lost,
 This is she! the saintly Sita, by a cruel fortune crost,”

Hanuman thus thought and pondered: “On her graceful form I spy,
 Gems and gold by sorrowing Rama oft depicted with it sigh,

On her ears the golden pendants and the tiger’s sharpened tooth,
 On her arms the jewelled bracelets, tokens of unchanging truth,

On her pallid brow and bosom still the radiant jewels shine,
 Rama with a sweet affection did in early days entwine!

Hermit’s garments clothe her person, braided is her raven hair,
 Matted bark of trees of forest drape her neck and bosom fair,

And a dower of dazzling beauty still bedecks her peerless face.
 Though the shadowing tinge of sorrow darkens all her earlier grace!

This is she! the soft-eyed Sita, wept with unavailing tear,
 This is she! the faithful consort, unto Rama ever dear,

Unforgetting and unchanging, truthful still in deed and word,
 Sita, in her silent suffering sorrows for her absent lord,

Still for Rama lost but cherished, Sita heaves the choking sigh,
 Sita lives for righteous Rama, for her Rama she would die!”

Apr 232011
 

From her garden filled with flowers
Aphrodite screams in terror.
Then, the Goddess, caught off balance,
Falls into the field of Ares!

‘Thus, the God of War is fuming.
Anger grows inside him. booming,
So much so that grave Athena
Has to watch him blow up Thera!

‘As the scenes of devastation
Reach the eye of Lord Osiris
Thinks he: ‘I shall end a nation,
Then uphold another’s rising.

‘‘Cultured isle, the great Minoa –
Massive once but soon a shadow –
Shall become as mist to Egypt,
Nothing more than dust by morrow.’

‘All Olympus stands in silence,
Knowing that the day is over,
Watching as the face of darkness
Brings a wave from Cretan waters.

Apr 232011
 

 

 

‘‘Forwards backwards, time is taking

Cosmic steps through every section.

Herein find the secret waiting:

Future from the past; reflection.’

 

‘Then Osiris, fully risen,

Calls to life, renews gestation,

Metes out Time with fate’s precision,

Orders: ‘Scribe, divine creation.’’

 

So is seen the mythic cycle,

Turning ever on its axis.

Each was placed upon its system,

Fixed was each by one, another.

 

One drew out another’s mystery,

So they grew to greater wisdom.

Set were they on points of psyche’s

Evolution, flowering moments.

 

When to heart and soul one listened,

Heard and wrought it for one’s vision,

Out of that which never dies;

Springs, eternal, the story of the sky.

 

Charlotte Cowell, The Myth