And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.
Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.
Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.
The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry, to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.
The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines of the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.
Here I Love You, Pablo Neruda
You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing but free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin the climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
The owl of Zeus’s daughter Athena sat blinking inscrutably in the branches of a large white tree. Artemis, his deer, second‐born child beneath, blinked her virginal eyes and then ran like the wind towards the edge of the emerald forest.
She sped through the trees until she reached the pebble‐dashed shore of the finite see, where Poseidon threw waters from the churning, ink-black ocean out to land. A vast breaking wave upheld the glistening form of her darling, new‐born brother, Phoebus Apollo.
The top of his fin cut the air like a knife, carving out a circle of pure white light. Seven sacred colours framed his perfect, golden mind, as Artemis declared to him: “We two are one, combined!”
Her love for him supplanted all other desire. “Give me now my silver arrows”, she called out, “for I shall strike down dead any one who dares come between us!”
“Swim, enchanting sister, while my light is still cool, deep, into the salt-filled waters. A weapon such as this,” he held above him a golden bow, “may only be brought from the abyss”. His answering voice was like an echo of her dream before she dreamt it.
She cast off her linen robe and dipped one foot into the ocean, shielding her eyes from the blue‐lit morning star as it rose on the Eastern horizon. Every other face turned toward it as she made her way to the bottomless abyss, heedless of the dragon chained within.
The much-lamented loss of Pros Theon had abruptly ended a few short minutes after its owner entered the bathroom, where it was discovered at the bottom of a towering stack of bathroom-reading material and joyfully rescued by its ecstatic owner.
Tremendously relieved, twelve years of life added back on, the Master placed Pros Theon on the desk in the study with a great sense of ceremony, lit an ancient lamp and turned to the penultimate section:
Transformatio Dies (The Days of Transformation)
Translating and interpreting the elaborate text was a mission that took every effort of will and imagination; the fruits of this fabled tome being rare and exotic indeed.
After 23 meticulously strung-together minutes, the Master – who had a surprisingly short attention span for one inclined to meditation – looked up from the text and out of the window for inspiration, directly onto the swaying treetops. Perchance, there was sitting a bird of extraordinary magnitude and power and in that same instant a piercing set of eyes imparted the truth – a reminder – with almost unfathomable simplicity:
‘Forwards backwards; time is taking
Certain steps through every section.
Herein find the secret waiting:
Future from the past; reflection.
Soaring Eagle spread his massive wings and flew towards the window, sight locked like magnetic iron onto the fixated Master, who felt a heavenly upsurge of pure, unadulterated joy and ran in the eagle’s direction, having reverted back to childhood in a twinkling of the eye. In complete innocence the Master was able to grasp one of the bird’s great tail feathers and later attach it to the sun-tinted dream catcher. More memories of Halcyon Days would be captured by this than by all of the other feathers combined.
Twilight fell like whispers of an echo bade by Eros. Venus – like the bloom –transpired, with stars like smelted teardrops.
The Master sighed, deep in thought, and approached an overloaded bookcase standing against the Eastern wall of Mysteries’ upper room, near to the point where horoscopes were cast.
Dazzling sunlight rendered a large cross-section of the case invisible with its blinding rays, while the lower parts were swathed in darkness, forming a vivid chiaroscuro on the rich mahogany canvas.
The lovingly burnished bookcase was home to a myriad esoteric masterworks and timeless classics. Ancient volumes interspersed with lavishly illustrated fairy tales and poetry written in the green language were stacked two-deep in places, upside-down in others.
It would not be a simple matter to extract from all of this the book that the Master had in Mind. Indeed, at that moment in time it would be impossible.
Scanning the shelves intently, following the words on each well-worn spine with a neatly-nailed forefinger, all but that which the Master sought was readily apparent, the longed-for item merely absent.
The shadow of a home-spun dream catcher – hypnotically swaying above the open window – crept inexorably along the ceiling like a spider’s web as minutes passed by into an hour of fruitless seeking. Church bells began ringing in the middle distance, herald of both an end and a beginning with their call to evensong.
Tension mounted in the upstairs of Mysteries with disturbing alacrity, causing a very mild sweat to break out on the Master’s furrowing brow. Thoughts from what was by any standards a wide-open brow chakra permeated the charged atmosphere with a note of concern.
Where on Earth IS the magic book?
No immediate answer to this question was forthcoming but the brain-racked Master ploughed on undeterred.
Didn’t I see it just after Halle Bop showed up in ’96 and the moon was side by side with Jupiter?
Or perhaps it had been Venus….
Again there was no answer, but the Master now felt sure this was when the rare and ancient copy of ‘Pros Theon’, which translated into English as ‘By the Gods’, had last been consulted.
Twelve years…. an entire Jupiter-return ago! But where is it now, for heaven’s sake?
Who could say?
Endless though it was her endless waiting,
Faith eternal, hope and love defeated
Time. And now her knight reveals a true king,
Witness of the virtue oft entreated.
As the faerie queen revised all history,
Every female spirit was encompassed,
Eve from Adam, then the rest, her sisters
Fell as one into Earth’s fiery suntrap.
Mary – stellar priestess, light of heaven –
Body, mind and soul, the one uplifted,
Holds within her hand a starry seven,
All who see her light above are gifted.
Just as Jacob found his soul in Rachel,
So the dove with she at last is rising,
As Sophia stands beside Saint Michael,
Angels all surrounding, deep are sighing.
So the miracle that’s even greater –
More than even Moses made in Egypt –
Over and above the Red Sea parted,
More than manna dew-lit in the desert.
More than all the plagues that conquered Pharaoh,
More than Aaron’s staff that blossomed newly,
Just as Isaac came from out of Sarah,
So the soul-mates knew themselves and truly.
The second main occasion for conscious exploration beyond the body happened during the daytime, one Saturday or Sunday afternoon, while I was sober but (if truth be told) recovering from excessive drink the night before. My fragile physical state induced me to lie very, very still, very, very quietly, on my own, on the bed. It was actually quite pleasant.
As my body slipped down as if towards sleep I absentmindedly listened to the distant and disparate sounds of a lazy afternoon, which drifted both in through the open window and down from the living room, where John was watching television. At a certain point I recognised that I had fallen into a meditative state of almost total relaxation, but had managed to retain mental consciousness.
Avid adolescent reading of Carlos Castaneda, tales of the Happy Hunting Grounds, physical transformations, the hand of God, etc, had inspired me towards achieving the zen-like state of being and awareness for many years, precisely so that I could attempt an out of body experience without dying. For this reason I already had an idea of which barriers needed to be overcome. I had come close to my aim on other occasions and recognised certain signs as being my prelude to ‘astral projection’.
One of the signs I’d come to recognise over time as a herald of impending separation from my body, was a peculiar scenario regarding my right arm. In order to let the body sleep whilst the mind remains awake I find it essential to have a focus requiring no mental effort but which stimulates sufficient interest to distract me from other physical functions, such as: Blinking, twitching, scratching, snuggling, or any other dozy activities.
In this regard, ambient sound is often more conducive than silence, which tends to bring about complete relaxation to the point of sleep. An audible focus, on the other hand, allows the mind to drift, although the noise should not be so stimulating that it actually becomes arousing.
On several occasions prior to this one I had found that this drifting of the mind was often followed by a strangely vigorous movement, a ‘waving of my arm’, which seemed to behave quite independently of my body as a whole. Even stranger was the fact that I could never quite ascertain whether my arm was physically and actually moving, or it was my dream arm flapping anxiously for no good reason that I could fathom.
At such times I tended to wonder whether people would be worried if they could see me, as I realized that if I was physically moving I might have appeared to be having a fit. Maybe I was having a fit, but whatever the case might have been, it usually ended up with me just falling asleep anyway.
This time, however, I seized the moment with a bit more determination and instead of wondering what it was all about, I concentrated on the surreal action until I was able to control it. This took quite some effort: The rest of my body was still dormant but the arm seemed to have a life of its own, as if it were strong but struggling to grasp something. After around quarter of an hour I began to see that I might be able to use it as a kind of lever in order to climb out of my physical shell.
With this in mind and with a great effort of will, I made a powerful swinging motion from my shoulder in an attempt to get out, and was able to direct the movement quite successfully. I was surprised, though, at the amount of resistance I felt, in that my dream or ‘astral’ body seemed to be attached to my physical self by a really thick and springy cord, rather like a bungee rope.
‘Getting out’ was actually more difficult than one would imagine. I had always assumed that it would be like serenely floating away, although I also had an idea that one could be ‘sucked’ out of the body forcibly by an external force.
This ‘cord’, or other form of attachment, was coiled so tightly that I had to build up a lot of momentum by swinging my arm until, eventually, I discerned that my dream self was rocking forwards and away from its usual place. By this time I was feeling a genuine sense of achievement and without further ado my astral body dragged itself out and clung to the end of the bed.
I paused to gather my thoughts, well aware that I could be sprung back into place by that massive cord at any second and that any kind of registered shock or doubt, however mild, would have had the same effect. I was pleased to be still in control, surprised in fact, as my powers of concentration were not usually so effective. Or so I thought.
I took a few moments to accustom myself to the new situation and the pull of the cord loosened as I relaxed. I obeyed my first impulse without question, and this was to go and tell John what was happening. (To have a thought or impulse when in that state leads to its automatic enactment, as there are not the usual barriers to action that we find on the material plane. The ideas of the pure will are transformed into action without restraint and I remember very vividly the way things seemed).
The location of my visual perspective during this daytrip was at the usual level for me height-wise but my actual sight was ‘tunnelled’, by which I mean that it was as if I had one eye rather than two, while my peripheral vision was restricted. It was a bit like looking through a telescope, but in reverse, as things seemed a bit smaller, or more distant than usual; less substantial perhaps, or reflections of themselves.
I buoyantly moved towards the stairs, from the bottom of which I could see John lying oblivious on the sofa, watching sport in his blue dressing gown. He seemed further away than he would have done if I had been there in body rather than soul.
I felt like I had achieved quite a success and was rather elated. I wanted to convey this to John so he could witness what had happened. I attempted to call his name several times before suddenly realizing that I wasn’t actually making a sound, even though the effect of the name forming in my mind was the same to me as if I were speaking out loud.
At that point it also occurred to me that visiting another person in spirit might not be a wise enterprise, as it might be seen as an invasion of their privacy. Rather than risk an unpleasant surprise for anyone on my first outing, I turned back towards the bedroom. A braver or less cautious person than I would probably have ventured much further, for better or worse. Some people would probably make it into outer space without too much worry but I am rather timid, and I was worried about what might happen to my body if I left it unmonitored for too long.
The door of my room was closed. It did not occur to me to question how I’d walked through it because my attention was drawn to a piece of writing pinned near to the top of it. I had somehow entered another dimension and, as I raised my hands to take hold of the script, I noticed that they looked curiously unlike my physical hands. I examined them briefly, remembering all the time that to see one’s hands whilst in a dream-like state is indicative of consciousness and self-control within that state. I started to read the verse.
Who can say! I should laugh at such a question, for what is time? There are only hours of sun, seasons and days marked by the passage of the moon. Most severely have I been warned by the priests to never fall under the sway of time, because that would bring death to all prophecy.
Daily I am reminded that time is of no consequence, as fate unfolds precisely as the gods command it to and ‘when’ this occurs is immaterial, the potential for all action being present in every moment.
We are concerned here with what is infinite. “For this reason”, Timocrates informed me – quite pompously, in fact – when I questioned him on the matter, “the League has taken it upon itself to regulate all of the calendars throughout the civilised world in order to subjugate for perpetuity the menace of time at the centre of the Earth.”
For the sake of the initial inquiry, however, it was sufficient to say to say that Dionysus comes at first sighting of the Pleiades, accompanied always by Euterpe, whose hypnotic sounds will soar over Parnassus from flutes poised like spears of moonlight on the muse’s lips. What happens then, who can say? It is one of the mysteries we cannot share easily, for like dark and endless dreaming, memories of those days are like mist in the fire of morning.