The Mount of Regeneration

And when I did humbly entreat thee, at the going up the Mountain after thou hadst discoursed unto me, having a great desire, to learn this Argument of Regeneration ; because among all the rest, I am ignorant only of this thou toldst me thou wouldst impart it unto me, when I would estrange myself from the World: whereupon I made myself ready, and have vindicated the understanding that is in me, from the deceit of the World. Now then fulfill my defects, and as thou saidst instruct me of Regeneration, either by word of mouth or secretly…

Corpus Hermetica


Apollo, lord of the wide quiver fair

And far-sped arrows, found her on a day

Wrestling unarmed against a lion bold,

And cried to Chiron: “Son of Philyra,

Come from thy sacred cavern and behold

What woman’s soul can dare!

This calm-browed girl essays a wondrous fight,

Her heart no toil can weaken, and her mind

No fear subdue. Born of what mortal kind

Is she, and stolen from what tribe of might,

Who haunts these glades of shadowy mountains wild?

Illimitable strength her actions prove….

Pindar, Ninth Pythian Ode, Apollo sets eyes on Cyrene

The Fairy Ship Sails Upstream

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

Wind Horse

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.

Meeting of Saints and Angels

We quickly passed through the entrance and hallway of the mountain, which seemed to be well enough lit but we were moving so fast that I had no time to look out for any kind of décor or other details. However, it was clear even from fleeting glimpses that the interior of this place was awesome in the true sense of this word, appearing to be of huge proportions for one thing.

Although it was ‘natural’ – ie, of the mountain – it looked as if it had been hewn out by hand and was clearly magnificent. There were various colours on the walls, presumably from paintings.

The further into the mountain we went, the darker it became and, though we still moved very swiftly indeed, I was increasingly struck by the totally unique surroundings I’d found myself in. This helped to assuage the mounting unease I felt, because it was evident that an occasion of some import was taking place therein.

I noticed that the further we went inside, the more people there seemed to be, until we stopped at an immense cavern that was so large it did not even appear to be deep underground. There was a sombre and powerfully sanctified air.

I must have been asking questions because I was told numerous times by my guide that an assembly meeting of the saints with the angels was taking place. One can scarcely imagine this spectacle.

Filling the cavern/hall, forming a winding line hundreds strong that moved up the passage/path running around and through it, were people dressed identically who I assumed to be the Saints. Each was dressed in classic ‘hermit’ garb in dark sackcloth-type, belted, hooded robes and holding up a lantern in one hand. All had their backs to me and I saw none of their faces.

Although I was specifically told the angels were present (maybe further up towards the front of the line?) I do not recall seeing any, being totally absorbed in the sight of all these saints/hermits. The sight of the hermits’ lamps lighting the way prevented any further fear from entering my mind.

It was an awesome sight. I am not sure what the subject of the meeting was but I ascertained that those standing in line were waitig to meet some hugely powerful figure who was located out of sight at the apex of the stairs.

Doorway in the Mountain

At a certain point in time – quite a long while later, it seemed – the size and volatile nature of the fire subsided until it was about the same height as me. It turned into a crown-shaped, three-tongued flame that I saw as Shin. I sat inside it, relaxing a little.

It was an interesting exercise and I spent a long time practicingsitting within the circling flames and watching the fiery heads of the tongues flickering. The tongues kept making a circle and I tried to ‘straighten them out’ into the usual Shin shape.

Eventually the fire/snow and then fire operation came to an end and I saw that dawn was breaking. It had come upon me unawares. The tribesmen indicated for me to follow them and began moving away from the fire.

There seemed to be quite a lot of men around by then and I noted that I’d been right in my assessment of their clothing: leather trousers and boots, woven woolen jerkins and hats, belts, practical but colourful clothes. The mood was still rather serious.

I was told to fall in line as we approached a triangular mountain, at the base of which I saw there was an entrance. More than just an opening or crevice, this resembled a large door. It was quite astonishing to see and I faltered for a moment. Did I really want to go in (I’d decided against going into mountains or caves prior to this experience) and would I get out again if I did?

I was told by my guide – a serious man of few words – to not be afraid.

Golden Feathers

As their consciousness grew thinner,
So the eagle scanned the mountains,
‘Til it spied a pair of antlers,
Saw the stag to bear the spirit.

Folded wings became an arrow
Tipped with plumes of golden feathers.
Startled though the stag was, doubtless
Is the soul that leapt unto it.

By the silver moon of Mani
Did the stag with spirit wander
Cross the deep green emerald forest,
There to find the Shaman’s body.

By the campfire, dying embers
Glowed just like the sun does setting,
Wakened by a moth, the Shaman
Tapped his drum to reach the sages.

Piled he high upon the fire
Dried up leaves and tinder-branches,
Blew upon the peaceful faces
Of the sages smoke, while dancing.

Lifeless seemed the ones before him –
‘Saw the Shaman, none were breathing,
But were bathed in light of silver –
All around them stars were gleaming.