Hieros Gamos- A Returning of The Temple Mysteries
There it sits at the heart of so many of our mystery temples - a couple making love. Is it an actual physical and sexual act - an ancient goddess ritual from Sumeria or the great Rite of Wiccan paganism - that connects us to the life force and the renewal of earth at spring?
Or are we to understand it philosophically and psychologically - the sacred marriage of jungian psychology, the unio mystica of alchemy, the binary code of mathematics?
Or is it the symbol of a spiritual reality - the divine fire in the ark of the covenant between the two cherubs, the union of wisdom and compassion in tantric buddhism, Shiva and Shakti in the hindu cosmology?
Perhaps the answer is yes, yes, and yes! The power of the archetype is that it lies at the centre of all these levels of relationship and therefore is capable of unifying and synthesising them. In fact all these levels are necessary - the temple is multidimensional and the tree of life links them like pearls on a golden thread.
Yes, the outer act by itself without all the deeper levels can be mundane. But it carries profound possibilities - amongst them the possibility of the creation of life itself and that is never a trivial thing. And yes, the deep self realisation of the godhead by the soul can be profound. But unless that realisation is embodied and enacted in the world it leaves the body and the physical earth untouched and unredeemed.
So it is not a question of whether the image should be enacted, understood symbolically, or realised at the core of awareness - the image itself provides the answer - it is the coming together of all polarities and the recognition of their already ever present unity that is pointed to. It is both sexual and psychological and spiritual. It has inner and outer significance. It is earthy and transcendent. It is masculine and feminine. It is individual and it is universal. It is life revealing itself and generating itself at the core of all manifestation.
It IS whether we understand it or not, however what has changed significantly in the last hundred years on the planet is just this capacity to understand - the development and integration of consciousness - so that we can add a new dimension of awareness and conscious participation in this deepest of all rites and mysteries.
In the temples of ancient times men and women came together as part of a distinct gender duality. The man represented the masculine and the woman, the feminine face of the divine. The act of lovemaking representing a harmonisation, a balance that reflected a deeper order of things in cosmos. Identity was deeply linked to gender. And gender was political. Either the great goddess ruled or the great god but seldom both together.
What has changed since then is the gradual shifting of identity from the gender of the body to the life force itself which contains within it both masculine and feminine as well as all other dualities. The psychological component of this shift expressed itself in the great work of alchemy and the paths of initiation in different spiritual and philosophical traditions. In western psychology it expressed in Jung's work with the anima and animus and in mass psychology, as the whole movement since the sixties that includes civil rights, women's liberation, environmental awareness and so on. The anima of the earth has been rising to be integrated with a psychology that had primarily identified itself with the masculine, or rather the immature expression of the masculine ( see Return of The Phallus https://www.facebook.com/notes/bruce-lyon/the-return-of-the-phallus/10151523541435272 )
Men have been encouraged to get in touch with their feminine side and women with their masculine and that journey has led to a chaotic upheaval in the realms of relationship, marriage and gender. The gay and transgender movements can also be partly understood as a rejection of identity being defined by gender. The movement towards outer gender equality in the world will never fully take place however, until that equality occurs in the heart and soul of each individual. This is a gradual process that is picking up speed in the world one heart at a time. Women are gradually accepted into the traditionally masculine domains of politics and business but they largely have to enter via their masculine side and often at the expense of their femininity. Men are gradually being accepted into the traditionally feminine domains of relationship, home and child care but they largely have to enter via their feminine side and often must sacrifice their masculinity to do so. This outer process reflects the incompleteness of the inner marriage process. As long as men are understood to have an 'inner feminine' and women an 'inner masculine' then these inner parts will experience diminishment - the inner and outer require at-one-ment as much as the masculine and feminine.
When the sacred union of these two principles takes place in a human being then real equality begins and the birth of the authentic self takes place, and this self will express totally uniquely in each individual. The identity shifts into the life force itself - the Self realisation that the nondual traditions speak of . Then the minimum conceptual framework to talk about gender and identity is the understanding that each person is a whole being, - part of the life force itself, which has both masculine and feminine energies & qualities - who is expressing through a male, female or sometimes, a hermaphroditic body. This does not deny the very real differences that arise ( and can affect the psyche ) from being embodied in different genders but it transcends and includes them.
In the modern expression of the Temple rite, men and women will come together, not as Shivas looking to engage a Shakti or vice versa but as whole beings, as Shiva/Shaktis meeting and celebrating their 'already present unity'. They will not so much be coming together as a couple, but as a foursome around a singularity. As a foursome they will also be integrating and at-oning the vertical as well as the horizontal dimension of relationship.
In the past the feminine was not only associated more frequently with the left in the horizontal duality but also with below or the earth and body in the vertical duality. This meant that the 'sexual mysteries' were primarily the domain of the goddess while the 'spiritual mysteries' were primarily the domain of the god. This bias is still present in many current expressions of the reemerging temple mysteries. We need both our gods and our goddesses deeply grounded and present in our bodies as well as able to soar into the most transcendent and subtle spheres.
There are many ways that the eternal sacred Temple rite of Hieros Gamos is reemerging and recreating itself in the modern world. Here is one image: A circle of men and women in a forest glade around a fire. For eyes that can see the circle is really a sphere that includes the lives and kingdoms within the earth as well as those who have gathered in the subtle worlds to celebrate the rite. The sphere dances with life force - from time to time calling one or more individuals from the perimeter towards the central fire where they dance, sit, sing, orate, meditate, make love, alone, in pairs or in groups. Men with women, men with men, women with women, couples, threesomes, foursomes. Whole beings encountering whole beings, the same life force pulsating and reverberating at the core of each. Polarities appear, engage each other and reverse in easy flow. Sometimes the atmosphere is filled with eros and bodies passionately engage. Other times the pure presence becomes palpable and draws everyone into stillness and contemplation. The best times are when the deep stillness and wild abandon are present in the same moment, where the spirit, soul and body dance together seamlessly and the whole of creation is soaked in the bliss of being.
Equinoxs, solstices, full moons, new moons, weekends, month long retreats, residential communities; the Temple doors open and close, the vortex descends and ascends, we rhythmically grow our capacity to stay in the core and listen together to what is streaming through the centre of all worlds. Then the doors disappear, the whole earth is revealed as the garden of eden it always was, rocking and rolling through space, a bold and beautiful experiment in the ever present and evolving life we ARE.
"When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]. I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one." Gospel of St Thomas
The Return of The Phallus – Bruce Lyon
We all know the archetypal story : A power that once existed in the world has been lost, a light has dimmed and now all things exist in a state of half-wayness, half --heartedness, half- aliveness. There is not enough of the power left so that we have the courage to break out of our daze but it is not gone so completely that we have forgotten it. Therefore we feel uncomfortable in our semi - sleep knowing that there was something we were supposed to be, something more than...this. A part of us is waiting for the return of this power but we do not know the time or the place ...only that it is not now and it can't be us. Until it is.......
Many people these days are talking about the return of the feminine and the coming age of the feminine, equating the time we have been living through with the patriarchy and the dominance of the masculine principle in our global society. And there is definitely truth here when we are seeing things in a duality. In the duality of masculine and feminine the masculine has been emphasised or preferenced. What is often missed is that the the masculine referred to is not the deep or true masculine energy. Behind duality, the archetypal couple, the dual principles of the universe are ever in love, ever entwined eternally whole. The true masculine energy would never dominate or control the feminine, only celebrate her. So we have been living with the immature masculine, separated from wholeness and his counterpart in the shadows has been the immature feminine. The true masculine and feminine energy always show up together. We need the return of the masculine as much as we need the return of the feminine. What is really lost is the power which lies behind and emerges through their union.
So where did this dominance of the immature masculine principle come from? When we journey back into the story we find it at he heart of core civilisation cosmologies. In the greek creation myth the original father is Ouranus, the husband of Gaia. One of his sons, Chronos or Saturn castrates his father - the testicles fall in to the sea and give birth to Venus, goddess of love and sexuality. The original masculine principle loses his potency ( balls ) and gives way to the immature masculine ( his son ) who is the lord of civilisation and cycles and death. Modern civilisation has always been an uneasy balance between structure or Logos and life force or Eros.
In the Judeo/Christian tradition we have the bible. In the beginning was the word...Logos..but the word now is no longer the living word ( Logos and Eros combined ) the electric current that lives between the two cherubim in the arc of the covenant. The word becomes the idea, the concept, the written law which must be obeyed. We are no longer gods in connection with the tree of life but we are fallen and must be 'straightened' - we must obey the word of god, the law as something external to ourselves, for we have lost connection to the living word being birthed moment to moment in the core of our being. We have lost our balls.
And when it comes time to birth the new sun god, the Christ, we have a virgin birth. Mary, the feminine principle is overshadowed by the dove of the holy ghost and impregnated by God the father. The son, Jesus is portrayed as sexless, celibate and concerned with 'higher' things - in short, cock-less like his Father. In essence what is holy or spiritual has now been divorced from and defined by being 'not sexual'. The fact that is not sexual is what 'makes' it spiritual. Perhaps this was part of a greater dynamic to balance the overemphasis on the body and carnality but we certainly are all living with the consequences of this divorce. So where did this Christian story come from in the great river of our collective consciousness? How did we end up with a cock-less god?
Egypt. Osiris, Isis, Horus. These are the original trinity. Osiris was tricked by Set, the opposing force to enter a coffin built just for him ( the father enters the tomb of matter, the living word becomes a concept ). Though found by his wife Isis, Set steals his body and cuts it into 14 ( sometimes 42 ) pieces and scatters it throughout the land. Isis, mourning scours the land collecting his body together again - re-membering it. But there is a part missing ( in the version of the story that came to us through Plutarch ). His phallus!. Isis creates an artificial phallus out of gold and hovering over it in her hawk-form she impregnates herself with their son, Horus. ( note the connection to the dove impregnatiing Mary ). There are many other places to go with this story but let's just stay with the lost phallus. The true masculine principle that can seed life is replaced with a substitute. The living word is replaced with a thing, a marker or place holder that fulfills the function of the former but is not it.
So now let's follow that story in to Freemasonry and the concept of the 'lost word'. A Master is killed and with him dies the knowledge of the true 'word' which can raise the dead - ie make us come alive. This word is replaced with a substitute - the A.U.M that the initiate must use to eventually 'raise the Master' and receive the true word.
There are many other places we could follow this golden thread but this should be enough for the purpose of resurrecting the life principle. The 'word' which rules civilisation on earth is the word of Law - the substitute word - the concept. Whether formulated into a bill or rights, a united nations charter, a constitution, a personal mission statement, a thesis on the masculine and feminine principles, the bible or the Koran ...this word is what we use for guidance in the absence of connection to the living word - the life principle which is never formulated, the godhead which can never be named but IS who we essentially ARE. We are god looking for god by chasing our concept of what god is. We are like the creator of a carttoon who has entered into one of his characters. Zombies following a will we have forgotten is our own.
This life principle is the lost phallus of Osiris, the lost word of the masons, the lost godhead that lives hidden inside each of us waiting to be resurrected, the risen Christ at-oned with the father, Shiva's lingam, the balls of Ouranos.
And this phallic principle is not separated in any way from the feminine. The phallus is not the penis. It is what makes the penis rise. It is what makes the vagina moist and the clitoris erect. It is the erotic charge that brings the penis and vagina together. It is what is behind the outer manifest duality - the electric arc of the covenant between the two cherubim.
In this sense the penis and the vagina, man and woman are BOTH form and when we identify with the form we replace the living word with the formulated word..we enter the coffin and lose our phallic power. Isis mourns for the loss of Osiris. The feminine mourns the loss of her partner. For the feminine to return the masculine must return. And they must return together in us. We all know the stereotype of men following their dick around as if the cock was a problem and phallic power the source of rape, war and other distortions of the masculine principle. But immature men are following the substitute cock. It is not phallic power that leads them but the longing for phallic power and its loss. And immature women are trying to fill their loss with the substitute cock, putting the penis in the vagina again and again trying to become pregnant with the child that will save their world. What they both miss is that the sexual longing is itself the indication of the presence of the phallus - the lost life principle - lost to us when we separated sexuality from spirituality. The phallic power enters us and we suddenly become aware that we are missing something and go to seek it in a partner. We do not know who it is arriving so suddenly opening us and we think the arrival has to do with the other who we then try to possess and fuse with - resulting in the withdrawal of the phallic power.
As long as we come together longing to be fulfilled or completed by the other pole we are in the world of the lost word, the lost phallus - zombies and vampires trying to suck a little eros out of each other, thinking this is love and wondering why we keep feeling alone and betrayed. When we understand what we have lost and we also understand that this life force is trying to reach us, fill us, fulfill us, in every moment. We long for it and yet we are barely able to contain it for a a few minutes in sex or prayer before sneezing it out of us in orgasm or dulling it with alcohol or the drug of busyness following the substitute word. If our spirituality has become dominated by the immature masculine - controlling, judgemental and pedantic - then our sexuality has become dominated by the immature feminine - demanding, possessive, and full of sentiment rather than love.
So our god has no cock and balls and our goddess is fallen. Jesus is nailed to the cross and Magdelene is reframed as a prostitute. Our sexuality and our spirituality both become places of longing for what has been lost rather than celebration of our wholeness. We seek enlightenment. What a joke. Like the tibetan proverb or a man riding his horse from town to town shouting 'Has anyone seen my horse?'. We seek fulfillment in sex. We long for 'the one' when we ARE THE ONE! The end of the search is the realisation that we are already that which we seek. The separation of sexuality and spirituality has created a longing in them both. The phallus is lost and we accept but are never truly fulfilled by its substitute. Our spirituality becomes impotent, words mumbled in church on Sunday while neglect, corruption, greed and hypocrisy tear the heart out of our planet. Our sexuality loses its divinity becoming an urgent wanting, a compensatory thrusting trying to squeeze a moment's ecstacy in the wasteland of our half dead lives.
When a man's penis stands up with the sunrise it doesn't want anything. When a women's vulva throbs and swells with life or her nipples overflow with milk they are not wanting anything. The wanting comes after. We have become afraid to let our bodies fill with the phallus, the living word of god because we are afraid of the wanting that can follow - in ourselves or others. Men are not too phallic but not phallic enough. Women must be veiled either physically or energetically lest their remaining phallic power arouses too much longing in the men or makes them feel their impotence and loss.
In the Egyptian story, the phallus of Osiris has been swallowed by a fish - just like the ring in the Lord of the Rings. The fish is the symbol of the Piscean age - a period of two thousand years dominated in the western world by the image of the immature masculine face of God nailed to a cross in the attempt to get back in touch with the Father principle. In the aquarian age the symbol is the water bearer and the water is the water of life, the living word, the electric current of divine fire. This water is the lost phallus and it is the return of the phallic power that quenches our thirst, the longing that is present in both our sexuality and our spirituality. God the father is no longer a distant sky god who the world has fallen away from and needs atonement with. The Father principle is right here living inside of us waiting for our recognition, waiting for us to give up our chase and fall back into his arms. And the Mother principle, the goddess that we are is right there with him. We do not need to move away from the masculine and embrace the feminine. It looks like we have too much masculine but we do not have enough. We have lost our spiritual cock and balls and then asked the fleshy ones to compensate. We do not need to move away from the masculine and embrace the feminine. We need to let go of duality and the immature expressions of both masculine and feminine that results from loss of connection to our true source which emerges as a life giving stream behind and between them.
When the phallus was lost it was replaced with the obelisk and egytpian obelisks have found there way into places of temporal power all over the planet from Washington to Rome. The obelisks are also lightning rods and it was interesting that just before the pope resigned St Peter's was struck by lightning. Lightning is the living word and when our bodies and souls are struck they resign their dominion and open to the living word. The obelisk of the soul is the ego - a substitute phallus standing up to receive the lightning. A false 'I' which must become an 'eye' through which the life giving waters can flow.
So reclaiming our phallic power is not something that only men must do or are capable of. It is a power that has withdrawn from our grasp until we realize that the true masculine and feminine principles are already united in us whatever our gender or sexual orientation; that spirituality and sexuality are not separate, and that we are already in heaven, on earth, as expressions of divine life and love.
A New Era. A New Cosmology. A New Alignment.
Essence: A simple meditative alignment twice a year for a post -2012 consciousness shift.
Our world did not end in 2012. But with a little help our worldview might have..
And about time too. Because time is what we are out of according to earth scientists and the Mayan calendar as well.
The time and space our civilization lives in is determined by the sun. We measure our days and years by it. Our religions are solar – Jesus Christ is the last in a long line of sun gods. Our politics are solar – the sun king ( or president ) and attendant council. Our education is solar – the teacher dispensing light and love to his or her students. Our economic systems are solar with their central banks and monetary theories. We are in our ‘solar systems’ like fish in water but all this is changing before our eyes.
To find a similar shift in worldview we must go back to Copernicus and the ‘enlightenment’. When the sun was placed in the centre of our cosmology the whole of western civilization underwent a revolution that reverberates to this day.
In the twentieth century we discovered the solar system was part of the Milky Way which itself was only one of billions of galaxies in the universe. In 2000 it was confirmed that the centre of our galaxy, and indeed all galaxies was a massive black hole.
So now we have a new orientating symbol and a new cosmology. Not a centre of light and order ( the sun ) but a centre of darkness and mystery ( the black hole ) from which not even light escapes. In this cosmology human beings are not planets orbiting a sun but each of us is a star in their own right circling together a great mystery.
In the old paradigm we trusted the mind, the world of rational science and we followed our leaders and exemplars, our maps and our models. In the new paradigm we also need the heart to sense that which the mind cannot comprehend.
Truth is not something we can know but something we vibrate to with our whole being.
Wisdom is not something we can possess but something we lean in to.
We may not be able to see where we are going but we are moving anyway towards a destiny we sense in our souls. We favour intuition and synchronicity over intellect and planning. We are drawn forward by a spiritual instinct that is inherently good for the whole rather than being driven by our fears and the instinct for self preservation.
We walk with deep joy, appreciate beauty and keep it simple in a world where there is immense suffering, negativity and complexity.
We are inclined differently.
We know we cannot change the world ( ‘cos we tried ) but we can change our perception, our orientation and our actions. Instead of attempting to create heaven on earth we see with new eyes the heaven that has always been here and appreciate the sacredness of each moment on the journey.
Every cosmology has it rituals and rites that help us orient ourselves and for millennia humans have looked to cosmos for a sense of participation and in contemplation of divinity. Full moons, equinoxs and solstices have been times to pause and reflect on the relationship between the local players in our cosmic drama. Now there is a new player in our collective awareness – the galactic centre. Twice in the 26000 year precessional cycle the plane of our solar system aligns with the galactic centre so that at the winter or summer solstice the sun coincides with the galactic centre. Dec 21 2012 is the date many are focusing on to mark this alignment however the alignment is in effect for several years either side of this date. There are two times during each year when the sun, earth and galactic centre are in direct alignment. One is June 20/21 and the other Dec 20/21. In June the earth is between the galactic centre and the sun and in December the sun is between the galactic centre and earth. Together they form an annual galactic equivalent to the monthly new and full moon.
Here is a simple alignment that can be done by anyone anywhere on the planet to mark these two periods of orientation to the galactic centre.
The idea is to consciously align the axis of the body with this axis in the heavens at some time during the twenty four hour period leading up to the solstice. By bringing our bodies
' in to line' we are linking our energy centres up with the cosmic ones.
In June the sun and the galactic centre are opposite ( this is the same for both hemispheres which is unifying ) with the earth in between - so at sunrise or sunset wherever you are on the planet - if ( the soles of) your feet are pointing towards the sun then your head will be pointing towards the galactic centre. If you are in a culture where it is rude to point your feet then point your butt ( and ‘let the sun shine in’ ‘where the sun don’t shine’ ) Or if you go out at midnight and stand with your head towards the galactic centre then your feet will be towards the sun. Look for the constellation Scorpio – his tail as well as the arrow of Sagittarius points towards the dark rift of the galactic centre – the grand central sun.
In December the sun and galactic centre are together so we simply point our heads towards the sun. Simple.
Use whatever form of meditation or prayer arises for you – the important thing is to relax in to the alignment and try to sense the waves of cosmic kundalini flowing between these three centres in the galactic body. The collective image is of people all over the planet lining up like iron filings on this great earth heart magnet as we respond to the inflow of cosmic electricity.
We are and always have been galactic and universal beings as well as solar and earthly ones. Our solar system has made more than 20 journeys around the galactic core each one taking 250 million earth years. We are players in a cosmic game in cosmic space-time and humanity is awakening to a new level of consciousness.
We are leaning into the mystery, dancing with divine darkness, called and cradled by some unknowable power that draws us ever more deeply and lovingly towards our true nature.
And on that journey,… we are one.
Re-enchanting The Earth
In the ancient world the land was seen as alive and enchanted in the deep sense of that word. To chant into and with the land was part of the practise of prayer, worship and reverence for this living being we form part of. In NZ the Maori carried greenstone over the land and retold the ancient stories. In Australia the aborigines sang as they walked along the song lines. In Ireland the nature spirits were part of everyday reality. In Greece every glade, every stream and every hill was enchanted and home to one or other god or goddess. Gradually as the development of the mind and ideas, particularly monotheism, became dominant, we stopped listening to the chants of the land itself and started imposing on it instead as if it was a blank canvas for our ideologies.
As different civilisations and religions rose and fell they built temples on top of each other competing for the supremacy of their god, their culture, their worldview and their dominion. Today the modern western world has come to the point where land is often just treated as an asset, something that can be owned, traded, 'developed' and defended. This is quite funny when we really stop to examine it. It is as if one of the millions of mites that lived on my skin erected a little mite flag on my elbow or nipple and proclaimed ownership in perpetuity. A creature that lives for less than a hundred years claims ownership of something that has been alive for 5 billion. Modern society is based on 'property rights' and competition. No doubt this is all part of some larger evolution but the consequences for our own bodies has been dire. The mentality that treats land as a thing to be owned also gets applied to our own sacred land, the temple of our body. It becomes 'our' body to do what we want with. The ego holds dominion.
The result as we all know is reflected in the state of our health, our oceans, our forests, and our feelings. Over the last few decades a gradual wave has been building to re-turn to a listening to the chants of the land and our bodies. Our consciousness has become aware of the impoverishment, depression and suffering that results from the egoic stance. Gradually one by one we come to our knees before the body again to ask forgiveness, seek atonement and start to listen instead of imposing our will. We come to the land and our bodies as a lover. We let go of possession and allow ourselves to be supported. Life returns, the radiance of the goddess is wooed back into the streams and forests ; back into the landscapes of the body, the armpits start to sing, the hands shed tiny droplets of light as they dance on the computer keys or stroke a lover's face. The wild powers of nature that have been driven back into the last remaining patches of wilderness begin to reemerge.
In the body this wildness has had to retreat into the genitals, the last temples that have kept the sacred fire alive albeit in an often distorted and barely recognisable way. The life force of our sexuality has refused to be owned by the ego and keeps itself alive in a hundred secret ways. When we turn with humility towards these powers they too begin to reemerge and eros starts to flow out of these mysterious sanctuaries and bring vitality , pleasure and beauty back to the whole embodied being. We come to ground. We are enchanted. The mystery of surrender to the earth is that it is this very act which restores the sacred relationship. The ego tries to move away from the earth to transcend its own mortality, but deep acceptance of our physical reality brings our awareness and attention back to earth. That attention when it has been awakened and enlightened, IS love. When we shine that love upon our own bodies and the body of the planet then one by one the secret portals open, the ancient dragons of the earth appear and the magic returns. The goddess awakens ( in our awareness that is ) and our world becomes re-enchanted. The heaven we went looking for is revealed as being here all the time, the veils fall from our eyes and we experience the original innocence and delight of this earthly paradise.
What Will Open Me?
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Gospel of St Thomas
So that which is within me is more powerful than 'me'. This small self is merely a doorway, a passage between worlds and yet that self is endowed with free will. I can block that passage or allow it. This is our personal freedom and this freedom has consequences. If we can say 'Yes' or 'No' should we be weighed by our choices or that which moves through us? if one determines the other, then perhaps both.
Impulses are always arising from the ground of being, knocking at the portals of our awareness in our bodies, our feelings, our hearts, our spirits.. The collective unconscious clamours to be heard, acknowledged, born witness to. Old wounds, erotic desires, children waiting to be born, ancestors, aliens, buddhas and demons. Should we, like Rumi says, entertain them all in the guesthouse of our being? Or do we turn some away from the inn and reserve our best linen for favoured guests ?
If I am a threshold, an event horizon, a border post at the thinning edge between worlds - what will my immigration policy be? And what of the swarthy strangers who try to swim the rivers of my dreams at night, or try crossing the plains of my palm with ego silver? What answers do I need to hear on my visa arrival questionnaire? If my self is a valve, a sphincter or a mouth, what will open me?
What is the reason for your visit? Love. How long will you be staying? As long as love wants. Where will you reside? Where love lives. Anything to declare. Love. Love. Love. This is the only cross that will tick all the boxes. Love is the key. Love opens me.
Welcome to my wild and beautiful country, straight on through, just one small request before you depart.....it's that piece of baggage my dear, I'd like it to clear - the x-ray machine of my heart.
“Take your well disciplined strengths And stretch them between opposing poles Because inside human beings Is where God learns”
Rainer Maria Rilke
It had been six years without a winter. All the energy was in my branches, travelling, teaching and living the solar life. I needed a pruning back, a dropping down and in; a falling to earth, the long slow roll of the ocean under the moon’s silver and an unfocused gaze into the dancing flames of a beach fire. Fortunately I have such a place – an island where the earth has been building and storing its love, waiting for human beings to rest deeply enough into themselves to receive it. I was going to ground and roots. I had imagined I would spend the time contemplating and writing but my body had other ideas. As I dropped in I became aware of the exhaustion and pain I had been too busy to feel. I needed rest and I needed to let go the reins of mind, drop the weight of the world from my aching shoulders and let the horse of my body find its own way home.
The winter came slowly on, the people left and precious solitude wrapped its gentle cloak around my soul. I felt melancholy and depressed. I fought. I surrendered. “Yes, I have time for you”. I lay in bed sometimes all day. I left the dishes in the sink. I walked the beach and sobbed. I felt sorry for myself and I indulged my narcissism and my nihilism. Nothing mattered. Every little thing mattered. Inspirations floated in, I let them go by. Impulses arose, I slumped around them. I had found my Eeyore wisdom and it was a powerful kryptonite to my super powers.
Gradually I worked my way down from the gardens to the soil to stone. I became friendly with the hard, grey boulders that had been doing nothing but hanging out for a few million years on the beach below my house, occasionally taking a little trip of a few yards or so when a big storm rolled out of the pacific. They mirrored the places in my body I was trying to get down and spend time with. I was tired of the lightning racing through my chakras, I needed the darkness of flesh and the density of bones. I remembered those stones when they had glowed red in the middle of sweat lodge, releasing their essence so fully that afterwards they were light and brittle, their life force spent as an offering for purification. I needed to work with the dragon fire that lives in the pressurised core of substance.
In my inner life I was turning my attention to that familiar tension that lies like a spring driving the watch of daily life. The ebb and flow of polarities; the conflicting demands and drives; the wild dance of duality. Contribution to the world vs personal enjoyment, inner life vs outer, parents vs children, solitude vs relationship, masculine vs feminine, spirituality vs sexuality, surrender to the flow vs fight for change, the pillars of the tree of life. I have been used to working with duality in the same way I walk, - left leg, right leg. Or transcending it through non dual practice that lets my awareness rest beyond the tension while the dance goes on. What I haven’t focused much attention on is balance and a point of rest and harmony between the polarities. Libra.
Somewhere in the heart of winter my inner contemplation around balance and my outer drawing toward stone, came together in a simultaneous inspiration and arising that even my depressive Eeyore could consent to. I would build a stone arch bridge across the stream behind my house. A dynamic meditation. A poem in stone. A gift to the feet of countless known and unknown beloveds who would walk across it long after this body has glowed and crumbled in the sweat lodge of my life. A labour and a recreation. A healing. A bridge.
So this is how winter taught me to go slow, to stretch myself elegantly across the flowing waters, unfolding the spine of my life - vertebrae by vertebrae - stone by stone across the span of becoming. Here are some of the crumbs from that learning but along with these words you really need to run your hands over the hard muscles on my arms and thighs, feel the blisters on my fingers and gaze into eyes that have lived with stone for a season. And you really need to come and walk across my bridge, little billy goat.
One thing I learned is why trolls live under bridges. Whenever a part of us lifts above the earth - arches over it - another balancing part goes down into it. The rainbow that lifts us to heaven has a shadow that we slide down into hell. Lovers hang out on bridges and so do suicides, often jumping from the highest point into the abyss. My depression was my troll, lurking beneath, but he was also my guide and my companion . It is as much his bridge as it is mine. He helped me find the cornerstone. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Before the bridge could be built I needed good foundations on both sides of the bank. There is a clue right there. Both sides. And no one will ever see those foundations unless and until they fail. Days of strenuous labour hidden under the earth. How much of what I stand on is hidden from me, the struggles of nameless ancestors, the carbon life of trees buried millions of years ago, the air in my lungs, the enzymes in my blood. So before the foundations even, comes prayer and gratitude for the mystery of existence. That there should be this universe of spirit and matter, substance and animating breath, a divine dance of Shiva and Shakti that we humans stretch ourselves between. That there should be this place and this body and this time to bring them together in the practical prayer of bridge building….
And after the foundations I learned the value of selection. Each stone had to be carried, sometimes hundreds of metres from the beach below. Building an arch I discovered is the height of the stonemason’s art and I could not shape the stones so I needed to find those that the elements had shaped for me. I found myself talking to the stones, telling them what I was doing, what I needed and asking for volunteers. Some said no. I wanted willing ones. One was so large I couldn’t carry it but it kept crying out to be part of the project and in that longing some alchemy made it lighter and me stronger. The stones became my teachers and my body bore the cost of my mistakes with bruised fingers and muscles. But this was the kind of pain my body understood better than the slow accumulated pain of neglect and energetic assault from strangers.
The stones came together one by one, this side, that side. Each one an intimate relationship , each one a unique being with its strengths and weaknesses. If the bridge ever fails I know precisely which stone will have moved first and I will remember the flicker of hesitation in placing it. Another week of hard honest labour and contemplation. The eyes and heart are as important as the back for stones are heavy and trying out a new arrangement is harder than entertaining a new philosophy. Harder and easier. All in good time, the stones arch towards a place of meeting – the key stone in the arch. Often the idea of keystone and cornerstone and foundation stone are confused. Is it the first stone or the last? Or both? In freemasonry the mark master is the fourth degree and part of Royal Arch masonry. The stone that forms the keystone is heavy and must be shaped so that it exerts weight on both sides of the arch. It belongs to neither pole and is the last stone placed. In temple and biblical tradition this stone is cast aside on the rubbish pile as being of no use during the building process. It is only when the arch is almost complete that it is seen as needed and a search must be made through the rubble. That is where I found mine, under the rubble on the floor of a cave which has become one of my nature temples, shaped by Neptune himself out of the cliffs beneath my house.
And the troll of my depression guided me to it. It was buried under my ‘seat’ – the throne I sit on each year and plan my migration into the world. Where is that stone in me that never seems to fit in any of the games I play in the world. That is neither masculine or feminine, light or dark, parent or child, spiritual or material, left or right? Where is that part that never seemed to belong, always an outsider, never chosen to play? Where is that heavy, oddly shaped dense piece of me that I wore like a millstone or an albatross in my youth and then buried deep in my body, under the rubble of rejection? When the last becomes first, earth becomes heart and there is a place waiting for you at the summit of my bridge, a place that only you can ever fill.
Then I understood my labour had been building towards this, arriving at the place where the lowest in me can be lifted to the top of the arch. Where my selfishness, stubbornness and sullenness – that in me which has resisted being shaped by circumstance or driven by aspiration - is not something shameful to be hidden away but glorified; raised as a culmination, a resurrection, an essential part of the true self. The assumption of the virgin of prima materia, the redemption of what was thrown away and had dropped beneath. The dragon that was slain - arisen and alive.
As soon as the arch was completed and the bridge built, a storm rolled in from the ocean – the worst storm in more than a decade. The dry creek bed became a stream, then a river, then a raging torrent that spilled around the bridge, under it, over it and then plummeting in a three tiered waterfall thirty metres to the rocks below.. For a week there was only wind and rain, the crash of the ocean and the rumble of the waterfall. I waited to see if my month long meditation in stone would be like a Milarepa tower or a Jungian one. It was neither.
That week my granddaughter came to stay. I thought we might make a troll together to go under the bridge but then I realised the troll was in the bridge and out of our relationship. We played together instead and I got a glimpse of what will one day be a keystone in an arch far taller and stronger than mine.
The bridge held. The foundations were solid and as the stones dried out in the sun ,the sun rose in me again along with incredible energy in my body to lift and clean and dig and clear away the storm debris. The bridge held. My work was tested by the most powerful of all teachers, and passed. It was time to make my mark. In the masonic tradition, a mark master places their unique mark on the stones they craft so their workmanship can be traced and if acceptable they can be paid for their work in the temple.
I have lived a full life and made many ‘marks’ in and on the world through my writing, teaching and travelling but somehow the mark I made in stone when I completed the bridge this winter feels the truest expression of my being. Not grandiose. Imperfect, unpolished, still faintly smelling of troll, but true. A diamond in a sphere. Matter glorified under pressure in the core and lifted to receive, ground and transmit the lightning. A living stone in the temple that is this earth eden. A bridge of the heart.
And when some great great grandchild I will never hold with this body, traces that mark with her finger before skipping across the arch of the bridge on the way to the beach, I know the stones, the water, the trees and the wind will thrum with the same fiery life that is singing and surging in me this day.
Darkness, Shadow & Evil
These three terms are often used in conflated ways, especially by those in the realm of spiritual development. One of the reasons people feel some resistance to doing their shadow work is because of this confusion. This paper is an attempt to tease these distinctions apart and differentiate them in the interest of more loving integration in our individual and collective lives.
The polarity of light and dark has been most frequently associated with a vertical scale. The ‘light’ energies are defined as more spiritual and subtle, therefore ‘higher’ while the ‘dark’ energies are gross, material and lower. Hence dark is associated with the underworld, the dark side of the moon, and all places where the light does not shine.
As light has been associated since the renaissance with the development of consciousness then darkness has been associated with the unconscious, instinct and ignorance. Further, the dark has been demonized by adding the dimension of willful resistance to the light. In New Age spiritual circles we have ‘lightworkers’ battling against the ‘dark brothers’. The distinction is clear – light = good, dark = bad. However whenever we favour one polarity at the expense of the other there is a price and a shadow. Dark is the colour of the earth and of the soil. There is a deeply nourishing and grounding dark, as necessary to feed the roots of the human tree as the light is to grow its leaves. We need soil and soul.
Soul was associated with the sun, Sol and all that is light. The sun has its own sun however – a centre which it circles and this ‘higher’ centre is dark – the black hole at the core of the galaxy. In spirituality this represents the void or emptiness which is the ultimate goal of traditions like zen and tantric Buddhism. In Christianity the Son ( Sun )must go to the Father ( pure spirit). This void is not the absence of light but its source. Spirit is as dark as matter and the soul, or light, burns brightly between - and because of - them both.
The dark is also a source of great power. Our modern solar civilization has made an asset of knowing, of reason, science, law and order. We fear and are fascinated by the erotic upwellings of the dark as well as the descent of the void, the mystery, because both of them are chaotic and threaten the sense of self, the ego. While we are still developing a sense of self then we keep the dark at bay. However when the self has been developed and is ready to transform then it is the dark in its higher and lower expressions that we need. From the dark comes the dragon fire which will burn away the old self and fuse a new one in the crucible of our lives. And the powers of the dark are largely in our collective shadow which means we are possessed by them unconsciously, creating a very materialistic world inspite of our attempts to transcend it.
Shadow is caused by a source of light shining on an object. Without the object there would be no shadow. Psychologically speaking, the object is an ‘I’, an identity, and where there is an identity - a self-concept - there is a shadow. This capacity for pure awareness to become identified with a particular body/mind ( and an internalized concept about that ) is what generates a ‘self’ – a separate identity. If I identify as a ‘man’ because I am in a male body then my inherent feminine qualities may enter my shadow. If I am identified as being a spiritual person, then my materiality and my selfishness will be gradually confined to my shadow. Alternatively if I think of myself as a pragmatic scientist then my imagination and intuition may be repressed. A career criminal will likely put their compassion and conscience in the shadow and so forth.
As soon as we form a self-concept we are limiting the potential of our boundless awareness, creating an object and inevitably a shadow. For most people by midlife the personal self has been well developed and so the shadow is also well defined.The identity has become crystallised and often feels limiting so that the work of ‘integrating the shadow’ brings more energy and a more balanced life. It also brings humility and compassion as we realize that we are also the ‘other’ we have denied or projected out. This phenomena of ‘projecting’ is important to understand when doing shadow work. When we repress aspects of our own nature, they are energies and these energies won't just stay quiet. They eventually cause upwellings from our unconscious or they are projected onto others in order to get our attention. If I have repressed my rage for example I may find myself very judgemental of people who express anger and may even call forth angry displays from those around me in order to reinforce my ‘belief’ that anger needs to be repressed.
While it follows that the dark and the shadow are related as both are often defined in relation to light, they are not the same thing. The shadow needs light to exist. Darkness doesn’t . The dark may be in the shadow but the shadow does not exist in the dark. It is also important to remember that aspects of our light are mixed in to our shadow. We don’t only repress our negative qualities but also our positive ones. The term ‘golden shadow’ applies to those parts of ourselves that we haven’t yet been able to acknowledge and that we project on others. For example idolizing a rock star or a spiritual teacher. Romantic love is also often associated with this projection of our unintegrated ‘other half’. Families, countries and civilisations also have shadow ( including golden shadow ) depending upon where their chosen values lie. This is collective shadow.
Good and Evil are polarites that have to do with assessment and the health of the whole. First there is the mental realm of judgement. At its best this is the field of morals and ethics. At worst it is fundamentalism, projection of shadow and prejudice. There is a subjective component ( evil is in the eye ofthe beholder ) and a relatively objective component ( what has been proven to serve the greater good over time ). The mental realm primarily concerns itself with assessment and discernment. In the biblical garden of eden there were two trees – The tree of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. When we eat from the first tree we use our minds to decide. The Tree of Life however utilizes the heart. The heart also needs to be developed through love as a centre of assessment but when the development is done, the heart serves as our guide in moving towards that which is life affirming and away from that which is life denying or inhibiting. This polarity is not good vs bad but more Life vs less life. 'Evil' is 'Live' backwards and evil in this sense is like a reversed current in the flow of the life force that ultimately serves to strengthen it. Life has a directional unfoldment through time and space, whether we call that God/Godess, evolution or creation. Life unfolds itself bringing Being into Becoming. Death is not the opposite of this Life but an inherent part of the cyclic process of the unfolding, so death is not evil. What is evil is entirely situational which is why the heart must be used as the guide and not just the mind. The mind likes to classify behaviours, ideas and worldviews. The heart instinctively knows what is life affirming in any circumstance. For example, resisting or prolonging the process of dying may sometimes be life affirming and other times life denying. Repressing anger in some circumstances may be healthy but making a pattern of it so that it internalizes and causes disease is unhealthy. Going to war may be a very ineffective way of supporting evolution but it may also be the life affirming act in a given set of circumstances. Giving up one’s own life for the sake of the collective may serve the good of the whole or it may be a wasted martyrdom to a belief. Only the heart can tell because the heart connects us to the centre of our own being and therefore the centre of all beings where life continues to unfold its mystery. The heart connects us to the wisdom of both the light and the dark.
Darkness, Shadow and Evil have coalesced in the minds of many because of the way civilization has progressed in the last couple of thousand years. In general what has been put into the collective shadow is the dark, the feminine and death. Emphasising one half of a duality can be life enhancing if it is developing needed qualities and capacities but can become ‘evil’ if it becomes entrenched as an absolute. So labeling the ‘left’ as ‘sinister’ in latin gives it an absolute quality. It is not just the unpreferenced hand but now the evil one. When we value masculine qualities like goal oriented achievement,competition and reasoned consciousness at the expense of the feminine qualities of compassion, cooperation and intuition they fall into the shadow. When we make menstrual blood biblically unclean we cut ourselves off from its life giving power and generations of women off from their dignity. When we value life as the opposite of death we avoid/ deny death and project/ export it in the arms trade so that is happening ‘over there’ and we need more security to protect against it.
Christianity also made our pagan roots ‘wrong’ and emphasized the move away from our embodiment, our sexuality and our earthiness – so that we could seek greater enlightenment and consciousness. But when the depths, the dark is labeled ‘evil’ people get gripped in a kind of superstitious aversion to the very thing that they need for balance. When God is in heaven and the Devil is in the core of the earth we keep trying to rise up. The result is most of live in sterile concrete and steel environments disconnected from our wild nature, inside and out, afraid of death and unable to truly Live. The very place we need to go for nourishment, grounding and restoration has been forbidden us by collective edict. Going down has become evil. We can climb to the top of the mountain but we can't get back down unless we break the fundamental rule. This literal association of evil with a direction, belief, gender, race, religion worldview or any ‘thing’ is the basis of fundamentalism.
Even in the Christian story, after Jesus was crucified on the cross he went to hell for three days – to take back his power from the devil. This is classic shadow reclamation. At a certain point in our development our disowned power lies in that which we have cast away and demonised, our own individual or collective Devil. To reclaim it we need to go looking in our shadow - everything we have defined ourselves as ‘not being. In this way the “I’, our central identity, is humbled and contextualized, bringing it more actual power because it is not inflated with artificial aggrandisement.
The ego of humanity, developed particularly over the last two thousand years of monotheistic religion and shored up in its solar glory through repression of the dark is now desperately in need of shadow work. We see this process happening everywhere and if we are to avoid revolution then we need integration. The marginalised, disowned, dispossessed parts of humanity and the planet in general will no longer lay quiet and buy the belief that they will eventually participate in the great western consumer dream. It is obvious to everyone that the ego of humanity is rampant and is no longer a healthy part of the ecosystem we call earth. Transformation is not only desired but mandatory. Ironically it is the embrace of the dark in both its higher and lower aspects that we need and the refusal to embrace it is what is generating resistance to the healthy flow of the life current. The higher dark of the void or emptiness is the tantric goal of the transcendent traditions. This breaks down egocentricity, the narcissism of the ‘I’. It humbles us by showing us our place in the cosmic scheme of things. The lower dark is the nourishing depths, a healthy connection to our bodies, our sexuality and the environment. This ‘earth’s the electricity of our awakening and grounds us in the day to day reality of living as adaptable and yet vulnerable biological beings in a fragile and beautifully balanced bio system. By decoupling the dark, and the shadow from ‘evil’ we open ourselves to transformation.
The superstitious fear of evil is like those signs on ancient maps that defined the edge of the known world - “ Here be Dragons “. That fear is enough to stop most people from going crossing over the boundaries of so called civilisation but the signs were an encouragement to the pioneers, the adventurers and the courageous. It is just that courageous and adventuring spirit that humanity as a whole needs right now.
Darkness is not evil. Yet our fear of the dark may prove to be. Shadow is not evil. Facing and integrating our collective shadow when our very life on this exquisite planet demands and depends upon it. Well, that’s an initiation into a new world.
Balls. To Have and to Hold
What does it mean for a man or a woman to have balls?
The word for testicles has the same origin as the words testify and testament. The original word meant 'witness' or perhaps to bear witness. Some say men used to testify by holding on to their testicles as a way of declaring their word.
We might sum this up as being 'true to one's seed'. To be true to one's seed in a spiritual sense is to be true to the unique destiny that is being carried curled up at the core of each human soul. This is the living word and healthy masculine energy is true to its seed. That seed is the living word and not the formalised one. Someone true to the living word wields power - that word can raise the dead to life. When we fall away from the living word into the spoken and written one then we come to the world of law, judgement and civilisation. The tree of Good and Evil. This is symbolised in greek myth by Chronos, lord of time and civilisation castrating his Father Ouranus the wielder of the lightning power. Now, in this fallen world, to keep one's word means letting go of moment by moment direct response to the Tree of Life and obeying the law, religious, social and civic. Being true now means honouring 'promises' to others or 'vow's to one's country or religious order or spouse etc. Well actually it really means 'trying to be true' and probably failing judging by the clogged legal system.
True masculine energy does not need to promise or vow because it is already true to the living lightning. To promise means to expect that one will be at war with oneself( usually meaning the energy of the lower chakras and genitals ). Healthy masculine is not at war. All energies are honoured and in alignment with the living sword of presence. And this masculine does not have to serve the feminine or pledge to her, or earn her trust, for he is already at one with her. When a man or a woman has balls then they are true to their essential nature and part of that essential nature is unconditional love. The other part is freedom - unconditional freedom. Perhaps that's why there are two balls.
Kundalini, Kriyas and Resistance in the Wire
As individuals, group and the earth itself respond increasingly to the monadic energy and to the galactic centre there are two major directional effects that we can relate to Shamballa and Agartha. The Shamballa force descends and as it moves down through the soul and chakra system then the resistance in the 'wire' of the energetic spine has the following effects.
The heat and light ( resistance to the flow ) generates first at the brow and throat chakras much abstract thought and speech about the mysteries. We are over - 'stimulated' by the inflowing energy which we want to understand and talk about. Once some of this resistance burns away then the emphasis drops to the heart and solar plexus generating the heat and light of relationship transformation. Finally to the sacral and base centres where the relationship of consciousness to our sexuality and bodies undergoes transformation.
The Agartha or kundalini force moves up the chakras from the base to the crown. If the descending current brings the consciousness, imbued with the will into the depths then we could say that the rising force brings whatever is unsolarised in the depths up into consciousness. The effects of this in the body are what is known in the east as 'kriyas' - the spontaneous movements of energy in the body. The planetary equivalent to these are the earthquakes and volcanic activity as the body of the earth adjusts to increasing activity of planetary kundalini. Initially the effects are physical and sexual as the base and sacral centres are cleared, then the 'kriyas' move through the solar plexus and heart and finally they rise through the throat, ajna and crown centre.
These two currents of energy work together like cosmic defibrillators clearing out the central channel so that human beings and the planet itself become increasingly able to transmit the 'dark light'.
If we understand that the process is to eventually 'go dark' and thus hold more current then we can hold a conscious approach that facillitates this - resulting in the 'fast path'.
Essentially if we understand that Excitement = Resistance, then we can notice when excitement is occurring, pause, breathe, relax and assist the energy to flow through rather than flow out. In the descending direction this means allowing the current to 'inform' us rather than following the impulse to 'inform' others. Letting it drop into and through the body into the earth. And when we feel the uprisings - the urges to cathartically expel whatever is blocking us, we relax and let it shift something inside of us rather than try to change our surroundings, our relationships or our world. It is not that these flows into the world and our environment are wrong or do not serve evolution in their own way but, in working with the Will we are after something else - something deeper and subtler than action or consciousness. We are building our capacity to hold and transmit power.
Eventually the current clears the biggest block of all - our separate self identity - and this is where the conquering of death comes in. We need a self to go on this journey consciously but the journey results in the release of that self - the self is the boat which we cross the river in. The self is the major resistance in the flow and the 'enlightenment' and 'excitement' of the self is also its release - like a log throwing itself onto the fire. Once we get this we realise that most of our activity and consciousness is the result of avoiding the death of the separate self - it's tendency is to keep marketing its indispensability by finding more to do and think and say. Which all works but for those who 'choose to die' the process speeds up. They realise that sacrifice is a willingness to let go of all doing and thinking and just let the dark light remove the self that would do and think and say. This relaxation is a death and rebirth - a surrender and a resting back into the current itself which is the greater Self. Then once this dying, this giving up occurs, then consciousness and action still flow but they are effortless - a natural expression of the Self rather than a reinforcement of the self.
"He who cannot howl will never find his pack " Charles Simic
I confess that I have never been entirely trustworthy because I have not been totally truthful about who I am.
I have ducked, fudged, pretended and defended. I have been afraid and ashamed. I have projected and rejected, sought outside for that which I am.
I confess I have betrayed myself in the name of belonging and then betrayed every group, relationship, belief system or identity that I belonged to if it prevented me from loving and belonging to all others.
Chameleon-like I have blended into every environment , hiding, waiting, gathering strength.
I confess that I am love and have always been inspite of the veils I so eagerly wrapped myself in.
I confess that confessing is both a total relief and a vulnerable surrender.
I feel like I have been coming out since the sixties but only now emerging naked into a world that both desperately wants love and is also desperate to prove it does not exist and cannot be trusted.
This is the freeing of love and the loving of freedom.
My heart tells me that all over the world others are emerging, blinking from their caves because some horn has been sounded somewhere in cosmos, calling us.
I know I do not have the strength to stand and walk alone although I need no assistance It does not matter. It is time.
And so this is my heart howl to my pack, my tribe who has no tribe. What unites them is the confession, the truth telling, each inside his or her own heart that they no longer have any choice but to emerge like cicadas coming up from the earth or turtles hatching on the moon and beginning the run to the sea.
Some deep tide of awakening has come upon us and another generation that has been dreaming and nurturing the truth that it is love, is ripe and bursting.
It is not an organisation or a creed but an irresistable movement, a stirring of the cosmic soul - synergistically and sychronistically convergent.
Some things I know deep in the rhythms and pulsings of my heart blood.
I am not an activist or a pacifist, a conservationist or a hedonist.
I am love and I have no idea what I am going to do next.
I am not straight, gay, bisexual or transgender . I am neither monogamous, polyamourous, promiscuous or celibate.
I am love and I have no idea who or how I am going to love next.
I am not conservative or liberal, green, blue or teal. I am not muslim, buddhist, christian or jew.
I am love and I have no idea what I am going to think or adore next.
There is nothing inner or outer, above or below, left or right that I adhere to.
My fidelity is to the moment by moment arising in the core of the heart which lets me know what is truth for me, here, now.
I am radical, dangerous to all that seeks to exclude or contain me, wild, free and beautiful.
I recognise that many others do not have such a touchstone that they trust and so for them this attitude appears simply as an excuse for license.
I recognise for many that a set of rules or mental guidelines is appropriate and right.
I recognise that I must be vigilant in keeping my heart clear and open in order to hear and bear the divinity that is expressing there.
I choose this way, this flow of eros, this pathless path unfolding in each creative moment for it is my way, the way that the love I am wants to unfold and flow into my world.
I do not know your way but I am curious to see how the love that you are is calling you, dancing you in your own journey to the ocean.
This is my full moon heart howl and I sound it clear and strong on the winds of spirit blowing through the torn veils in the temple that is this beautiful earth.
Sexual & Spiritual Paths To Wholeness
Polyamory, Monogamy, Celibacy - where do you stand or who do you lie down with - out in that field that Rumi talks about beyond ideas of right and wrong?
Have you ever noticed the strong similarity between the sexual and spiritual paths people walk in their lives and the same kind of discussions going on about them? I love the way the life force expresses in this most fascinating duality of spirituality and sexuality or what we might call vertical and horizontal relating.
Following a path by definition involves following along and we follow for good reason. If we are trying to get somewhere efficiently it makes sense to follow trails that other have already cut. And like rivers accumulate water between their banks so pathways accumulate collective wisdom that we can flow along with. There is always a tendency for new paths and rivers to arise and these are often proclaimed as a new paradigm - some of them are and others are fads that don't survive the test of time or the next downpour.
Our motives for walking any path are also important. Going to church on sunday because thats what everyone in our community does and we don't want to stand out is not very different from being monogamous or polyamorous because thats what our friends are all doing. We can walk paths out of fear, conformity and habit as well as out of love, desire for wholeness and full expression of our potential.
Some people are walking paths of monogamy and some of polyamory in their many different forms and expressions. Some are following a particular spiritual path and others are drawing from and sampling many. Trying out different paths is useful developmentally in a couple of different phases. The first is before committing to a particular path or partner - much of the experimentation in our youth is about this. A second is after the spiritual path has been walked to its source and we want to relate to all the other pathways and integrate them - we might call this trans-tradition exploration. Distinguishing between pre and trans is always important. For those who seem naturally predisposed to either polyamory or monogamy without questioning it might be useful to look at the shadow and see whether there is any fear involved. In the case of polyamory it can be fear of commitment, intimacy and the depth of emotional process required in partnership. In the case of monogamy it can be fear of loss or fear of growth and change. Those on a polyamorous spiritual path can be dilettantes, lacking the commitment to drill one oil well to the requisite depth or they can be bridge builders to a universal spirituality that draws on all the earth's traditions. Those on a monogamous spiritual path can be fundamentalist in their approach and intolerant of other ways or they can have drilled down to the core of their tradition and opened like a rose shedding the universal fragrance of love.
There is also the path of celibacy and once again this path can be walked out of different motivations. I would also make a distinction between celibates who are sexually active and those who are not. The sexually active type is choosing to circulate their sexual energy with themselves and perhaps with others energetically but not physically. The asexual type is either seeking to repress their sexual energy altogether or else transmute or sublimate it into other fields of expression. In spiritual terms the celibate is one who is focusing on the god within and attending to the emergence of their unique expression of that godhead. They tend to be wary of any outer form of relational pathway to an external god. This can take the form of atheism and self reliance in some cases, or a strong artistic or creative streak in others. The celibate too can be avoiding encountering the consequences of relating or they can be deeply engaged in the one relationship which we all form an expression of.
So arguments about which pathway is right or wrong are the same as the arguments between religions. Those arguing are looking for an external validation of their choices and not yet walking whichever path they choose from a place of self love and freedom.
For many of us these different paths are all walked at some time or another in the course of our lives or even in the course of our day.
Most spiritual and sexual paths end with the realisation that we ourselves are that which we have been seeking on our journey - the perfect lover and the divine fire is within and is itself motivating the journey.
Evolution is a beautiful erotic force. However there is another motivation that drives many people on both the sexual and spiritual path and that is a sense of inadequacy and separation from love. Here many of our religions' concepts of original sin are at cause and need updating. We are seen as fallen, broken, separated from God and needing to make at-one-ment. When that at-one-ment is made through the spiritual path we realise that we are and always were originally innocent and that separation from God is merely a powerful illusion in consciousness but not in the heart..
Similarly our collective culture's inability to ( yet ) integrate our sexual life force has left us with 'original shame' - we are abandoned at that very moment of awakening to the pure spring of our sexual energy and forced as Rilke says to 'creep around about it and get into it (our own beautiful sex) in the end, like burglars and thieves.' Whether it is through the sexual revolution, through the emancipation of women and men, the gay and trans gender movements, the exploration of different pathways and orientations, all of us in some ways are on a journey to come out of the closet of shame and re-own our sexual innocence by listening deeply to and not abandoning the life force that is expressing dynamically at the core of our sexuality.
Both the sexual and spiritual paths seem to lead to a place of integration where the following is over and the full expression of our unique and authentic life energy takes over. We write our own holy book moment to moment with the pages of our lives and dance our living erotic courtship of all creation in the different ways we find to touch and hold one another as .....beloved.
Sex & Spirit
Sometimes I feel like two beautiful global movements are coming together passionately in the fourposter bed of my heart - living and dying to find a new deeper opening to what it means to be alive, as love in a human body at this critical point in our evolution.
The first is the sacred sexuality movement – the recognition that our sexuality is inherently divine and that the potent energies in the life force of our bodies can be lifted through our energy body – our chakra system and open our consciousness up to deeper dimensions of awareness. We might call this a descending movement that results in an ascending current. We go down to our connection with our bodies and the earth in order to awaken kundalini and let it flow up awakening us as it flows.
The second might be called the erotic spirituality movement – the recognition that our consciousness is inherently divine and one with the universal life of the cosmos and that this awakening or self- realisation can be bought into ordinary consciousness and daily activity with transfiguring effect. We might call this an ascending movement that results in a descending current. We go up or out to connect with the life of cosmos and then we allow it to flow back through our consciousness awakening the earth and our bodies as it flows.
These two currents need and complement each other even as they are often in conflict in the various ideologies that embody them because of their opposite polarities. Sacred sexuality without a genuine connection to the non dual traditions of self realisation ends in indulgence and addiction. Erotic spirituality without a genuine connection to the earth and the demonstration of love in action embodied on the physical plane becomes impotent and heaven retreats into an afterlife or a higher plane.
For the realisation of heaven on earth – the unique function that human beings seemed designed to perform - we need both the serpent and the lightning in a tantric embrace.
The greek myth of Uranus and Gaia gives the clue to the split (and the healing ) of the western mind when it comes to sex and spirit. Saturn or Chronos ( lord of time, cycles and symbol of the patriarchy ) is the child of the Sky, Uranus and Earth, Gaia . After a parental squabble he sides with Gaia and cuts off the testicles of his Father with his scythe. These fall into the sea and become the goddess of sexual love, Venus.
To heal this rift we can lift the erotic face of the Goddess from exile in the sea of sexuality and at the same time re-ball the neutered God so he has the power to penetrate down here on earth.
The temple where this reconciliation takes place, where the divine couple sit in yab-yum in the holy of holies – is the heart. Logos, the sound of the universe is clothed in Eros, the dance of sacred matter. The Living Word is Made Flesh in us and as us.
Then the last shall be first - Eart-H becomes a H-eart and the first shall be last – Heart becomes a Hearth . In that Hearth, as one humanity, male and female, spirit and matter, animal and angel, we light and tend the sacred flame of our divinity as cosmic fire.
A Turning of The Tide
The keynote of the last couple of thousand years has been 'the search' - for knowledge, for God, for love, for life, for freedom. Everyone who has woken up enough to lift their head from the trough of appetite and survival sets out on a journey to discover who they really are and what this miraculous life on earth is all about. This search has been a consuming passion and has bought its share of treasures and tragedies to humanity As Confucious might have said.. " Best not begin. But if begun, best finish". That search is finishing now as the spiritual tide on the planet turns.
A keynote of the search has been development through different levels and layers of identity, knowledge and experience in order to touch the central mystery or in spiritual terms - the godhead. Most of the mystery schools on the planet had concentric rings or grades of achievement that the seeker passed through progressively. In many cases only the high priests were allowed access to the central fire and only at certain times. We have also approached our relationships in a similar way in the search for love and intimacy. Progressively we open ourselves, guarding our core treasures until we find someone worthy - perhaps never fully opening because of the various wounds and betrayals we experience on the journey.
It is central to the search that we are being drawn in towards our goal whether by the experience of love and attraction, by our need for understanding, or by our longing for own divinity. It is as if the central mystery was drawing us in - inbreathing us through all the veils and challenges, tests and trials to the revelation of our own innermost nature. For always the search leads to the revelation that we are what we seek - a revelation that is often avoided by the seeker. But what now if the tide is turning? What if the long inbreath is over and the outbreath has begun? What if the veil of the central shrine has been rent - not by the worthy seeker of the mystery but by the mystery itself as it steps out into the world? What if the lion, the great roar of spirit was walking out of the desert into our towns and cities? What if spirit was coming for us? What if God/Goddess - in the age that is upon us - was not hard to find but difficult to avoid?
On the inward path, those not ready are kept out, held back for their own protection until they mature enough to walk into the fire. They press on the barricades demanding to be let in. But when the fire is breathing out, those unready will be falling over themselves to get away from the heat. There will have to be secret mystery schools for those wanting to stay asleep a little longer.
And what of our relationships? On the inward path the heart is carried like a fragile and sacred rose whose petals will only open to reveal the inmost scent of love to the one chosen bee. What if that love started bursting out like a river after heavy rain and pouring itself into all our interpersonal relating. What if it started gushing into our boardrooms and our bedrooms? What if we fell instantly in love with everyone on the bus and the beach. What if you had to work really hard to keep your heart closed because the love wind kept wanting to blow all the petals open?
What if instead of trying to find love and freedom - we suddenly awoke AS love and freedom?
What if our beautiful earth was a place where gods and goddesses expressed their divinity instead of looked for it ?
Reflections on the Spiritual Teacher/Student Relationship
These thoughts were prompted by a discussion on the book by Geoffrey Falk called Stripping the Gurus.
They are my gleanings from a couple of decades as a student and then a teacher - culminating in heading a residential spiritual school for a few years.
* The role of a spiritual teacher is to assist the seeker to find the spiritual core of their own being which is essentially the same in each of us and in all life ….and then to integrate that experience into and through the unique matrix of their individual human expression.
* Spiritual awakening is no guarantee of psychological health and integrating awakening experiences are as important as having them
* The teacher - student relationship is one between souls or personalities. In spirit there is only being.
* The power exchange is the most difficult part to negotiate. In an ideal exchange a student projects his inner authority on to the teacher and engages it in such a way that he or she reclaims it faster than they would otherwise have done. A good teacher reflects the projection in such a way as to empower the student.
In practise students will often want to keep the projection on the teacher as a way of avoiding the responsibility that comes from accepting their own inner authority.
In practise the teacher will often want to keep the projection from students as a way of supporting unintegrated or unconscious parts of his or her own psychology.
In my case I found aspects of my own spiritual ambition and low self esteem to be shadow factors in my choosing to become a teacher and am grateful for the accelerated opportunity my students and coworkers provided for me to eat them :).
Good teachers and good students will surround themselves with others who help them see and integrate their own unconscious.
* The whole process of teacher-student relationship exists within a rapidly changing social context that includes the way we operate our political process as well as our educational and financial systems.
We are emerging out of a time where we collectively project authority on to a few 'leaders' and are inevitably disappointed. Witness how much hope three hundred million people still invest in a single individual as president of the united states. We are moving into a time of group consciousness where our collective experience is the crucible for awakening. Developmental psychologists are emphasising now the influence of the peer group on children over parents and teachers. 'Stripping the gurus' ( and politicians and… ) is one side of the coin. The other side we might call "flipping the boohoos". Victimhood is so appealing and in some cases a necessary prelude to awakening as we face the cost of our own disempowerment. Authentic spiritual power rests in the deep realisation that we are the One. There is no 'other' doing it to us. Authentic humility rests in our acceptance that we are also fragile and vulnerable beings on a fragile and vulnerable planet.
* There is as much danger in becoming identified with being a spiritual teacher ( or seeker ) as in becoming a career politician. Once identity and in many cases security becomes invested in any role with power ( or without ) then the potential for abuse and codependence is there.
* Really awakened beings help awaken others as a byproduct of their life regardless of the career path they take or even what they think their purpose may be. To the extent that we have been assisted in our own awakening it is polite, loving and respectful to assist others.
* Like climbing a mountain we are roped together and need each other. When we get to the top however it is not our job to sit on the peak but step out into the void and begin the next stage of the unfolding journey.
Awakening to our transpersonal nature and the unique contribution we can make to the world is only the first part of the journey. Letting go into the infinite is the second…. Doing the washing up when the washing up needs doing is the third :)
Heading for the sink,
From The Goddess who has her own balls
From The goddess in me to the masculine in women I have served with my body as well as my soul.
I don't need you to honour me which is fortunate - for you are as likely to truly see and feel me as men are able to honour the emerging goddess in women. I do not need you to honour me for I honour myself. I have not kept myself hidden because you are not worthy of me or because I am repressed by the patriarchy or because 'you do not cast pearls before swine' or because I am weak. I have been busy. Just because I have not been that active in the outer world that doesn't mean I am not about my mother's business . For a start I AM the outer world - and with the deep masculine I have also been busy preparing a place for you in inner mansions. I have not been touched by your fear or your demonising of my 'dark nature' - how could my power be diminished in any way by your fear - what kind of power would that be? I am not angry with you which does not mean I cannot take your head or your balls if I am moved to. I am held and deeply loved. I am whole. I don't need anything from you.
And yes sometimes I have let you fuck me for money. Not because I need that money but because it helps if you feel you are exchanging something for the unconditional meeting I offer you. You don't pay to meet me, you pay because you are not ready to meet me - still awakening to your true power. I accept you as you are including the fullness of your desire. I understand how hard it can be for the masculine to truly be in his full phallic power without having a part of him outside of himself wondering if he is being sensitive enough, honouring enough - trying to fully be present to the divinity of the 'other ' - but even so, full of the desire to fuck, fuck, to penetrate me and the whole universe. I know that this desire in you is a well spring which will flower into a river of life. I know it is muddied by all the bullshit and confusion our world has around sexuality and I know your desire, If I receive it fully and help you free it from shame and distortion, will run diamond clear. Clear as a spiritual sword, clear as the will of God, clear as the living word itself clothed in the radiant glory I am.
So come to me, bring your desire, bring your balls swollen with a seed that you do not yet understand, bring your thrusting urgent teenage cock and I will show you a way…a way to bloom yourself, a shameless way, a wild way that will make the goddess in you wet and breathless with dancing. Come and lie down in this wheat field of stars strewn across the gap between the old world and the new - here the sap of a new civilisation is greening everything and the masculine and feminine in men and women will remember their love, their power and their unbreakable union.
The Transfiguration of Money
When I was a vegetarian I weaned my body self from unconscious meat eating and then there came a day when after about six years when it was time to eat meat again. Now I swim out into the ocean that surrounds me, offer a prayer to the goddess and invite any fish that would like to end its wild life as nourishment for me to let itself be known. I kill and eat it with awareness and gratitude.
When I was a spiritual teacher it was part of my tradition not to charge money. For ten years I travelled around, gradually weaning myself off unconscious consumerism, living for a time in a van, sleeping in parks, receiving acts of kindness and grace until my body knew it was a child of god and was safe and loved. Money became part of the flow of love and as I grew my capacity to receive the trickle became a river. I created new openings for money to reach me and reach through me as love and when I knew in my bones that I did not need to do or be anything inauthentic to survive, it was time to ask for money again.
Now I charge as much as the market will bear while at the same time listening to my heart and charging nothing or even paying others as well as serving them if that is the right flow. I know I am money laundering - every time someone gives money to me for holding space for them - they give it to a deeper and freer part of themselves - they push against their own survival fears and value their soul. Everytime I give money to others I am reinforcing their soul work and because there is ultimately no my soul or your soul then I am contributing to the redemption of values on the planet and the transfiguration of money.
TS Eliot reminds us that the end of the journey is to arrive at the place we started and know it for the first time. I know from my experience that philosophy around money, sex and just about any other form of interaction can only go so far. Sometimes it is right for us to charge, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it is right to engage another sexually Sometimes it isn't. Often what is right for one is not right for another.
The heart knows - if it is clear and true. Sometimes acting on our heart truth will be understood and praised by others. Sometimes we will be stoned -literally or metaphorically. Sometimes no one will ever know. Sometimes the people who appear to be the most material are the most spiritual and vice versa and until we have ears to hear and eyes to see - that we grow from living our own authentic and courageous heart centred life - then we try to figure it out and write about it on Facebook :)