Mistletoe

Bare winter fingers Unveil the treasure hidden By summer's mantle

This picture was taken in early spring last year, just as the world began to warm itself in the pale sunlight. The place was Pilton, a little village near Glastonbury with a legendary history as big as a heart. It is here, the stories tell us, that Joseph of Arimathea landed on a trading visit to the Isles of Tin, bringing with him a boy… his nephew, say some… whose name was Jesus.

None know the truth of that story, though historically it is possible. There is ample evidence for the trade and it is not the only such legend in Albion. It gives credence to the other legend of Joseph that says that after the crucifixion, he brought the story of the resurrection to these Isles, landing, once again, in the shadow of the Tor… bringing word and a Vessel to Avalon.

I hover between a natural scepticism and a desire to accept. So many of the most ancient tales were bent to serve Christianity in its early days, turning the sacred knowledge of the old gods into the hagiographies of fictitious saints or tying their miracles to the hills of the Fae and the healing wells of the goddess, robbing them of their true lineage. I am not a Christian in the orthodox sense; I belong to no church but serve what I conceive of being perhaps better termed the Cosmic Christ. Yet I am also a child of these Isles and rooted in the land, and there is a warmth and simplicity in these old tales of the Child whose feet walked these blessed shores that makes me choose to believe that there is something in them; something that speaks to the heart rather than to the logical mind. As such, perhaps subjective truth is a matter of choice or faith.

Looking down the valley in the photograph towards the Tor, you can trace the ancient waterway, now no more than a stream, that once brought ships to safe harbour at Pilton. The channel remains, deep and wide and the eye of the mind can trace the outlines of moorings and see the bustle of a small trading port. Seeing the land open itself in this way somehow permits belief.

The trees were bare of everything but the balls of mistletoe that would soon be hidden by exuberant spring. The brilliant young green would cover them, hiding from view the ancient orbs, sacred to those who walked the earth long before Christianity reached our shores. The mistletoe lives upon the branches, its seeds rooting and drawing sustenance and life from roots other than its own so that it may flower, fruit and set future seeds, colonising the trees. Not unlike the story that was brought to these shores so long ago.

The mistletoe is hidden for most of the year, covered by the leaves of its host. You only get occasional glimpses of its presence… and only if you are looking. Yet, when the world is bleak and cold and the branches raise skeletal fingers to the sun, it is there… a plant that has been sacred since time immemorial, and which has come to be a symbol of peace.

Here too I find an echo of a faith that is seldom broadcast, perhaps, but which is there in the darkest of times. It does not belong to any particular denomination or religion…it may not even have a name… it is the faith of the heart that turns towards something greater when the shadows fall. In those moments seeds are planted in the soul that may find a place to grow. It does not need logic, facts or explanations. It does not need dogma or teachings… those are for the exoteric world. The heart knows no logic and faith is not rooted in religion… it is an unruly and invasive tendril that winds through the soul. And when it is free to grow wild, then it is beautiful.

SEE: September Zoom Cyber-Room…

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Silent Eye-Explorations

“The Soul: a work in progress or divine and finished – and just awaiting our death?”

The world ‘soul’ means different things to different people.

Is it possible to be more rigorous with a definition – one that would help us in our individual spiritual paths?

After all, if we are following a map on a long walk through mountains, we measure our progress to the destination by first evaluating where we are, now… Or where we think we are.

In previous talks, we’ve discussed the ‘self’, particularly the egoic self.

What relationship does the soul have to this? Can we set them both in an overall spiritual container; one that shows the journey ahead?

Or, perhaps, we have never lost the soul?

Perhaps that small egoic self, with all its faults and limitations, is the key to the destination and is, itself the journey?

Modern philosophers like Gurdjieff claimed that the soul doesn’t exist until we build it. Is there any truth in this?

Belief and experience can be very different things…

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https://stevetanham.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/cb164-img_0622.jpg

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…What was it that broke under such circumstances?

I had asked the question of myself the week before. When you ‘stopped the world’ what was it that broke? Perhaps breaking was too strong a word – it could also be described as a passage from one state of attention to another . . . I sipped the hot coffee, noisily – it was the only way to drink it, fresh from the flask.

“Penny for them?” asked George Dixter, sitting on the park bench next to me. We had bumped into each other the day before, and he had offered croissants and coffee in the park; the place where I had first met him. The weather had turned damp and cold, so he didn’t look out of place in his old Burberry mac, which seemed to accompany him everywhere and in all seasons. On this occasion, and, no doubt in deference to the late autumn, he was also wearing an olive green fedora.

In the late fifties or even sixties, he would have cut quite a contemporary dash. But now, he looked like a character out of a period spy movie. I smiled at the thought, but was wary – little that these people did appeared to be accidental.

“Well, two things . . .” I sipped some more of his generously provided coffee and gratefully accepted the fresh croissant which had been procured from the bakery across the road from the park.

“Firstly,” my grin widened as his snakey eyes locked onto mine. Conspiratorially, I lowered my voice. “why the George Smiley outfit?”

He leaned closer, playing the perfect spy, and whispered, “. . . And secondly?”

I couldn’t help it, I chuckled. “Well, secondly, what is it that breaks when we ‘stop the world’.

“Aha . . .” he said, sitting back and mirroring my noisy sipping of the ultra-hot coffee, as though he had just learned some secret from me.

“Well now,” he began, putting down his steaming coffee and flexing his fingers outwards from linked palms. “the first one is easier to answer – play!”

“Play?” I asked, unsure if it were noun or command.

“Yes, play,” he replied. “as in we don’t play enough!

“We?”

“We, as in people,” he replied good-naturedly. “We forget how to play and play is really important!”

I thought about this for a while, while he sipped his coffee. I was about to ask another question when he answered it. “My outfit, as you say, is quirky . . . It makes me feel good because, in it, I’m playing; and I love the reaction of those around me, and it would help stop their worlds if they used it properly – which brings us, nicely, to your second question . . .”

I considered the import of what he had said. They were all playing . . . and yet.

“What breaks,” he continued, leaning closer, again and emphasising the serious side of this play. “is something that hides behind the habitual, which we call the slayer of the now.”

They had mentioned the word slayer, before. I knew it meant something in Buddhism, but I was not sure if they used it in the same way.

“So, stopping the world is an example of an action that defeats the slayer?”

“Yes, as, to a certain extent, does the whole idea of play.” He sipped the last of his coffee and looked at his watch. “Play and stopping the world makes us present to the moment, the now. The real lives only in the now, the rest is a system of mental devices which support the slayer . . .”

He looked at his watch. “I must go.” He said, holding out his hand for my coffee cup which was part of a set belonging to the large flask. It was still half full, but I handed it back to him, expecting that he would empty it onto the nearby grass. He didn’t – instead he reached into his canvas shoulder bag and pulled out a styrofoam cup. Emptying the remainder into this, he passed it back to me.

“You’ll be delighted to learn that Maria Angelo has offered to take the next bit with you!”

Events were happening too fast. I blurted out, “When?”

“It’s on the bottom of the cup,” he replied, striding off around the path.

Carefully, I raised the foam cup and examined its underside. There was nothing. I moved to protest at the departing back of the raincoat, but he beat me to it.

“Oh yes it is . . . ” he shouted over his shoulder.

I stared at the cup more carefully. On its rim, three marks had been added with a blue Biro.

They formed a perfect triangle within the circle…

The Beast in the Cafe – Stephen Tanham

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The Beast in the Café: Coffee with Don Pedro

Available from Amazon Books

Wayland: The White Horse…

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But according to some, Wayland has far more onerous

responsibilities than shoeing the horses of passing way farers…

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A group of local lads were enjoying a drink

one evening at the White Horse Inn, Woolstone,

when an unknown man wearing old fashioned garb

entered and ordered a pint of the local beverage.

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He wore a leather apron, a tall hat,

and he took his drink and sat

to one side of the ale-house by himself…

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After awhile the sound of a horn rang out

and could be heard

echoing eerily through the vale…

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Startled from his reverie by the horn,

the stranger leapt to his feet and hobbled

out into the night, his pint unfinished.

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As the uncanny sound faded over the downs

the locals looked out and up to the hillside

to find that the White Horse was gone!

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When dawn broke the following day

more than a few of the previous night’s imbibers

looked out of their windows

and up at the hill with some trepidation…

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Only to see the White Horse

back where it should be on the green hillside

but with feet-tips

that seemed to shine in the morning sun light.

 

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Wayland: The Blessed Isles…

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The tone of the tale once Britain is reached,

becomes very different…

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Alighting on Berkshire’s High Downs,

Wayland came upon an ancient chambered tomb,

and made it his home.

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Tradition now has it,

that if ever you are riding the Ridgeway,

and your horse loses a shoe,

you need only tether it nearby,

 leave a silver-sixpence on the uppermost stone of the tomb,

and on your return your horse will be shod and your money gone…

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Wayland, it seems, never works while being observed.

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Wayland: Silver-Smith of Souls…

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There are a number of intriguing aspects to the legend of Wayland Smithy…

The earliest written sources appear late and are decidedly piecemeal.

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Wayland is the son of a God, Giant, or King of the Otherworld.

He is schooled in metallurgy by Dwarves, whom, in skill, he quickly surpasses.

He lives, hunts, and works alone in a region associated with wolves and bears.

One day he comes upon a swan-maiden bathing skin-less.

He finds her skin, appropriates it, and she lives with him for nine years.

At the end of which time she discovers her hidden skin and flies away.

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Wayland is then taken captive by the King of Sweden,

maimed to prevent escape and set to work on an island…

Wayland surreptitiously kills the king’s sons, turns their skulls into goblets

and presents them to the king and queen.

Their teeth he turns into a brooch for the king’s daughter.

The king’s daughter has a ring of Wayland’s, stolen from him by her father,

and when it breaks she asks him to mend it.

Wayland inebriates the king’s daughter and fathers a son on her.

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At this point, in the tale, Wayland’s swan-wife returns,

with a swan-skin for him and they fly away,

to the Blessed-Isles of Britain, together…

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‘Claims to ancient reach’?…

Arbor Low and Stanton Moor Imbolc 001 (15)

Throughout the books written with Stuart France there are visions; moments of a past long fled that ‘Wen’ still sees written in the ancient stone of the landscape and within the circles of the Old Ones. They come when they will, flooding her consciousness with something that may be no more than imagination, no more than a waking dream… or perhaps they are shadows that are cast across the face of time…

The stone is warm beneath her back. Above her the clear blue of the sky is powdered with clouds, barely moving. It is sheltered here in the circle, the earthen banks of the henge protecting the centre from the ceaseless assault of the winds in this high place.

She closes her eyes and waits, feet towards the centre, hands crossed on her breast, relaxing each muscle, each limb in turn, breathing deeply of the clear air.

The shift comes. The world falls away. She can see her companion through closed eyes, across the circle, mirroring her. She does not need to look to feel his presence.

On the screen of inner sight a single glowing point of light that seems farther than the farthest star, yet closer than the sun. Between her and the light nothing but the streaks of passage… a stream of movement, as of a million suns caught racing comets in the blackness of space. A wormhole… dragons… serpents aflame with brilliance… a tunnel through which she is rushing faster than the light itself, falling inwards, forwards, upwards… she does not know.

Then a figure blocking the brightness… a dark silhouette against the torchlight and the tang of smoke. A hand extended, smiling eyes unseen but felt. She takes the hand, stiff after the long vigil in the chill of night, accepting assistance to regain her feet.

The grass is cold, frost biting her bare toes. Above, a million stars streak across the heavens. It is done. The old one smiles, raising his hand…

…. Voices call her back. The sunlight casts a pale golden glow … across the circle her companion opens his eyes. There is something she recognises in them…. She knows not what it is.

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Arbor Low and Stanton Moor Imbolc 001 (49)

Atop the mound the grass is chill and damp though the sun shines clear. There is no shelter and the wind ruffles her hair, an ancient grandmother caressing her child.

She closes her eyes, folds her hands on her breast beside him, relaxing into the other sight.

The shift comes. The world falls away. She is glad of his presence as the veins of her eyelids are painted green against the grey light… green and grey he had said of the one he had seen….

On the screen of inner sight a single glowing point of light that seems farther than the farthest star, yet closer than the sun. Between her and the light nothing but the streaks of passage… a stream of movement, as of a million suns caught racing comets in the blackness of space. A wormhole… dragons… serpents aflame with brilliance… a tunnel through which she is rushing faster than the light itself, falling backwards, away from the light. The unexpected sensation is sickening, stomach twisting.

Hands reach up from the earth, dragging, clawing… nightmares and hell… women, children… She refuses their hold and turns. Flesh melts from her bones and she dissolves into earth… She is only the wind…

He moves. She opens her eyes to a world wreathed in fog, ghostly shapes, amorphous and shifting…

It takes a moment before reality returns…

“We need to go to Fin Cop.”

Arbor Low and Stanton Moor Imbolc 001 (21)

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Doomsday:

The Aetheling Thing

Stuart France & Sue Vincent

 ‘Doomsday: The Aetheling Thing’

SEE: August Zoom Cyber-Room…

John the Evangelist (Stained-Glass, Swanbourne Church)

‘John was challenged to drink a cup of poison to demonstrate the power of his faith,

and thanks to God’s grace the poison was rendered harmless.’

Acts of John

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Silent Eye Exploration…
Charisma versus Persona
If the persona, ‘mask’, is the product of our ‘little self’ (‘s’) could charisma be that of our ‘large Self’? (‘S’) What is the latter and how does it differ from the former?
Dictionary definitions of charisma:
1.The special magnetic appeal, charm, or power of an individual (e.g. political leader) that inspires popular loyalty and enthusiasm? (to enthuse someone is to give them ‘God’)
(Gk. ‘favour’ or ‘gift’ (of the Gods?) fr charis ‘grace’)
Examples… Churchill… Mohammed Ali, Ghandi, Hitler… Glamour… Black Magic… Any Women?
More importantly, perhaps, is it possible for us to cultivate charisma, and if so how can we do so?
Two Wolves… Two Worlds… Inner and Outer…
Reaction and the fractured psyche…
Psychologically speaking anything which the ego ‘rails against’, or reacts negatively to, in the outside world is a projection of the shadow.
By engaging in this process the soul energy is depleted at the expense of the shadow and the charisma is decreased.
Integral techniques…
Conversely, by responding positively, or proactively, to the outside world, the shadow is depleted and the charisma increased.
This process acts like a ‘sacrifice’.
By ‘offering up’ the negative energy… a positive boon is ‘received’.
A Holistic response. which questions the universe…
2. An extraordinary power (e.g. healing) divinely given to a Christian?
Matthew 15:11 – Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man but that which cometh out of a man…
Mark 7:15 – There is nothing from without a man that, entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
Luke 10:8 – And into whatsoever city ye enter and the receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick that are therein…
The synoptic gospel accounts all derive from one or two common sources. They appear to have displaced the instruction to the disciples to hide the technique by which they are to heal the populace.
At (Matt. 10-8) seventy new ‘Disciples’ appear to have been summoned to propagate the teachings.
The gospel of John does not contain this material, however, the compiler of the Gospel, John the Evangelist has a legendary tale attached to his story which embodies the same technique! (see epithet above)
In the Gospel of Thomas the instruction and technique are retained in their ‘proper’ place.
Logion 14 GoT – …If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourself… When you go into any region… When people receive you, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them for… what goes into your mouth will not defile you rather that which comes out…
Sin Eating ?
Traditionally… A ‘sin-eater’ is a person who consumes a ritual meal in order to spiritually take on the sins of a deceased person. The food was believed to absorb the sins of a recently dead person, thus absolving the soul of the person. Sin-eaters, as a consequence, carried the sins of all people whose sins they had eaten. Cultural anthropologists and folklorists classify sin-eating as a form of ritual. It is most commonly associated with Wales, English counties bordering Wales and Welsh culture.
In wider Christian practice, Jesus of Nazareth has been interpreted as a universal archetype for sin-eaters, offering his life to atone or purify all of humanity of their sins.
Listening?
To listen one needs to be silent. Silent on both inner and outer planes.
The role of the Psychiatrist… ‘A problem shared…’ ‘Get by with a little help’… etc.
The Confession in Roman Catholic utilises the same technique although with its own particular flavour…
Ultimately ‘Divinity’ may simply be a case of accessing One’s RIGht mINd…
Having built or strengthened Charisma, and drawn your seekers, what then would be the teaching?
Be me?
No, Be You…
How?
Find your Self…
Know your Self…
Be your Self…

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“Show me the place where you are,”

said Judas Thomas, “for I must seek that place.”

Joshua said, “Your teachers have taken the keys of knowledge

and have hidden them. They have not entered the kingdom,

nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.

You examine the face of heaven and earth

without recognising the one who is in your presence,

for you do not know how to examine the moment.

Know what is in front of your face,

and what is hidden from you will be disclosed,

for there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed,

and there is nothing covered that will remain undisclosed.

The one who knows all but lacks the self is utterly lacking.

What you look for has come but you do not know it.”

Excerpt – The Living One

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THE LIVING ONE

Caravan to Cairns

Stuart France

Two young men, a road trip across the Australian Outback, strange encounters in isolated settlements… and a book that will change one of them forever.

From the harsh heat of the dusty road to the cool of the Temple, two stories… one immediate, one timeless… intertwine to illuminate each other.

Many scholars believe that the Gospel of Thomas preserves a glimpse into the oral tradition of the Essenes. The book is a collection of sayings, parables, and dialogues attributed to Jesus. In this unique interpretation author and essayist, Stuart France brings the oral tradition to life, retelling the Gospel in his own words, in the way it may have been told around the hearth-fires of our fore-fathers.

Accompanied by in-depth comments which draw upon the Mystery School Tradition, The Living One provides a new window on an age-old story.

“… fascinating and unique …”  Amazon review

Available in Paperback Amazon UK & Amazon.com

and for Kindle Amazon UK & Amazon.com

The Great Mystery…

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Approach to the mystery

is silent, solitary

and free from all self-seeking.

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It is silent because in comparison

with the mystery all speech

is feeble and imperfect.

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It is solitary because the mystery

draws closer to us in solitude.

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It is free of self-seeking because

the souls of our ancestors

ascended to the mystery

in wordless adoration.

– Ohiyesa