A Gnostic Chapter?…

Ancient of Days, William Blake

Left Hand Paths?

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… The concluding sections of Chapter Twelve are by far its weakest.

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In them much of the previous story is restated in far greater detail.

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The woman is given eagle wings with which to evade the ‘serpent’

and bring her to a place beyond it’s sight where she may safely feed?

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There is though some ambiguity here which rests on an

interpretation of the phrase ‘…from the serpent’s face’.

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Serpents ‘see’ via the vibrations carried on air waves,

and can hypnotise prey, with their gaze, before striking…

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The biblical flood is then unleashed by the ‘serpent’

but the Earth comes to the woman’s rescue

by swallowing the flood waters.

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If earlier sections have blurred the distinction between St Michael and Christ,

then this episode surely does the same for God and the Devil?

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The rest of time is to be played out with the ‘serpent’ persecuting

the remnants of the woman’s seed that have survived the flood…

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None of which accords particularly well with previous scripture,

although Moses is given ‘eagle’s pinions’ at one stage

in order to get him to where he needs to be!

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The chapter, taken as a whole, has a distinctly Gnostic aspect to it

with the Earth populated merely by

heaven’s discarded remnants,

and overseen by a wrathful demiurge railing against time.

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The time-phrase riddle for the ‘New Dispenation’,

resolves itself into a designation of the mystery woman

as Venus, the Pagan Goddess of Love,

which in the light of much that has transpired

in the last millenium makes a lot more sense than most other solutions –

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Of the ‘half-time’ planetary beings only the Moon and Venus

are conceived as Feminine and as the woman symbolically

‘stands-on-the-moon’ she cannot be the moon.

There are also some very persuasive

astronomical reasons for this designation…

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– The only way out of the nightmare is by death or, as St Michael proclaims,

by ‘the blood of the Lamb,’ and by the ‘word of testimony’,

which is, perhaps, not the clearest of ‘road maps’ for people to follow…

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Heaven by design, Earth by default,

has ever been the cry of those irrevocably lost at heart.

 

Codes, Codices and Codas…

ss‘Ego and Essence’

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To synthesise and to decipher symbolism requires contemplation.

Contemplation involves the mind in a simultaneous three-fold operation;
Review, Analysis and Enquiry…
When performed with honest intent the essence inevitably reveals itself.

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The Codices of the New Testament offer great scope for contemplation.

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A psychological approach to storytelling opens to us Esoteric Christianity.

Exoteric Christianity insists upon the historical authenticity of the Gospels…
…And posits the notion of a vicarious salvation via belief.
Esoteric Christianity insists upon neither of these two tenets.

Below is a comprehensive analysis of the story of the Marriage of Cana.

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Marriage at Cana

1. The Third Day…was a marriage at Cana of Galilee and the Mother of Jesus was there and also Jesus was called…
2. And wine having failed the Mother of Jesus said to him, ‘Wine they have not.’
3. Jesus said to her, “What… to me and to thee Woman? Not yet is mine hour come.”
4. His Mother said to the Ministrants, “Whatever he may say to you… do.”
5. There were six water jugs of stone placed according to the purification of the Jews holding each three measures.
6. Jesus said to them, “Fill the stone jugs with water.” And they filled them… up to the brim.
7. And then he said to them, “Draw out now and bear to the Director of the Apartment.” And they did so.
8. And the Director of the Apartment tasted the water becoming wine and knew not whence it is, yet the Disciples knew from whence they had drawn it, the Director of the Feast did then call the Bridegroom and said to him, “everyman at first the good wine set forth and when they have drunk freely only then the inferior but you have kept the good wine for Now.”
9. This, the first Sign of Jesus in his manifest glory at Cana in Galilee.

– John 2…

Relationships

Mother – Son = Stone = ‘Letter of Law’
Bridegroom – (Bride) = Water = ‘Spirit of Law’
(Husband) – (Wife) = Wine = ‘Divine Law’

Psychology

Director of the Apartment = Ego
Director of the Feast = Essence
Ministrants = Unredeemed aspects of personality
Disciples= Redeemed aspects of personality
Woman = Active Receptivity.

Teaching

All aspects of the personality are redeemed by active receptivity to Divine Dispensation.

 

‘Heaven’s loud voice?’ …

Blake’s Angel neatly encapsulates aspects of the Books of Daniel and Revelation.

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… “Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God,

and the power of Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down,

which accused them day and night…

Therefore rejoice you heavens and you that dwell in them.

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea!

For the devil is come down to you, having greath wrath

because he knows that he has but a short time.”

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Are we to conclude that this is the voice of St Michael?

I think we are meant to.

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We may wonder after the inhabitants

of the earth and sea on the third day of creation?

And Christ’s participation at this early stage?

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The argument, presumably, would be that as the heavenly realms

are beyond time, they include all time, and the passages

we have considered so far are certainly consistent with this theme.

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Strength in relation to St Michael we already know about.

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Salvation is a lifting of veils, or scales, from the eyes:

an awakening into that living realisation which alone grants freedom.

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If some of the traditional attributes of Christ seem to fit Michael,

like casting out devils, then some of the traditional

attributes of Michael can also be seen to fit the Christ.

 

Perspectives on Perception…

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ENNEAGRAM

The Circle is Time.

Six of the Nine: one-two-four-five-seven-and-eight,
Process through time.

Three of the Nine: three-six-and-nine,
Are outside time…

And Divine.

Yet still impact,
And impinge in time,
By impelling this processional motion.

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Six of the Nine can be represented by the six faces of a cube:
Enfolded and encased outlooks on the world.

Three of the Nine can be represented by the three dimensions of a cube
for dimension is always an adequate symbol for Divinity.

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Movement from one dimension to the next is a shock!

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What is the antithesis of one?
None, two or many…?

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For many years I laboured under the misapprehension that to glean the gist of a thing was to
have the mere rudiments of it which is almost the exact opposite of the word’s actual
meaning.

This can happen because of the context in which words are used and context
which has at least two viewpoints if not many more is really just another word for perspective.

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The World is predicated on number.
Mineral, Plant and Animal growth are all governed by number.
Music is number in time.
Geometry is number in space.

Neither the World, Music nor Geometry initially ‘looks’ very much like number but that is what they are.

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The qualities of number are the key to understanding this, which really means their properties and their relationships, each one conceived as distinct from all the others yet linked by natural sequence and logical progression.

Strictly speaking there are only seven numbers.
Zero is not a number because it is the negation of number
and is therefore both the ‘tomb’ and ‘womb’ of number…
One is not a number because it is everything, without which there would be no thing:
Not One Thing…
Nine is not a number because it is a completion and possesses all the qualities of Zero:
And although numbers go on for ever they always repeat from Nine…

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But Geometry can help here too because the way we see things affects the way we think about things and vice-versa. Whenever we come across a reversible we have reflection and the world, it has been claimed, is merely a domain of perceived reflections.

Plato’s Cave is the classic simile for this idea.
In order to affect the shadow play of the world screen one has to access the light source.

The outer can only be affected by changing the inner.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Aeons…

Blake’s take on the Seven-Headed Dragon of Revelation is suitably anthropomorphic!

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We are continuing our ‘trawl’ through chapter twelve of Revelation, which commenced here.

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… ‘And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered,

for to devour her child as soon as it was born…’

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Time ‘devours’ everything that is born into the world, but wait, ‘…And

she brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron:

and her child was caught up into God, and to his throne…’

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I think the ‘man-child’ here represents an Aeon…

Such a designation would cover both ‘Horus’, and ‘Christ’,

at any rate he his saved from his earthly sojourn and

caught up into a heavenly throne, just like the star Spica,

which nestles in the ‘Throne of Virgo’!

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Although, ‘ruling all nations with a rod of iron’ may well be something

of an ‘elephant in the room’?

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The phrase ‘are you ready to be delivered’ can be used to commence

the ritual of exorcising demons.

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Thrones are always regarded as feminine,

especially when a masculine divinity happens to be sitting upon them.

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‘…And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place

prepared of God, that they should feed her there

a-thousand-two-hundred-and-sixty-days…’

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‘God’ appears to be plural here in which case ‘they’ would be the ‘Elohim’.

These are the seven planetary beings, but presumably, from the heavenly

perspective rather than the earthly which in this mythology appears to be demonic.

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The woman in her escape to the wilderness is reminiscent of both Lilith,

Adam’s first wife who consorts with demons in the desert,

and Sophia, the Gnostic Principle-of-Wisdom, forever

harried by demons throughout her sojourn in an ignorant world.

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The earthly realm is populated with ‘devils’, it seems,

long before ‘that old serpent’ gets there!

First Matter?

The origins of the Grail Legend?

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‘The alchemists disagreed on just about every aspect of the Great Work, except one: that it is impossible to succeed without the secret.’
– Patrick Harpur.

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I am reminded of ‘The Riddle of the Elements.’
The Ancient Greek Philosophers would each in turn trumpet the virtues of a particular Element claiming that it alone was primary and the source of the others, all the time, knowing full well that the solution to the riddle lay in sourcing the Four from a Fifth Element of an entirely different and more spiritual realm known as the Quintessence.

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The Alchemists appear to be engaged in a similar process, describing the First Matter in terms of three ‘Spirituous Essences’, though the solution this time may be of a different order –
One in Three rather than Four from One.
They also seem to be describing the various products of a process at each stage of its operation simultaneously, thus for e.g. they might have described the process of evaporating sea-water as… Water… and… Salt… as well as its catalyst…Heat or… Fire…

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Why would they do this?
To widen the scope of a mind mired in linear time?
Possibly, certainly, when one realises that the Fruit is in the Seed and not vice versa, or that the Body is in the Mind… a perspective is instilled, which opens up wide vistas to the Imagination.
Indeed, this technique only seems strange to a mind which habitually regards its own reality as an actuality.

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As magicians for e.g. we might ask, in Tarot,
How is the ‘High Priestess’ ‘The Empress’?
Or, how is ‘The Fool’ ‘The Magus’?
Or indeed, in the case of ‘The Fool’, how does this key equate with any of the other major keys?
But here the equivalencies seem at the very least, much easier to accept, if not actually natural, simply because we work with these energies in an ‘Imaginal Realm’.

What the Alchemists are really doing is describing the lower in terms of the higher and in some cases what we are reading is, as it were, a Fourth Dimensional description of a Three Dimensional event.

The event itself appears to be an internal unification or better; a re-unification of polarised energies or ‘opposites’, or even, as the Alchemists would have it, a marriage, or wedding but what is the product of that wedding?

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THE STONE OF MERCURIOUS

Moon’s Flux
Sun’s Seed
Earth’s Crux
Fire in the Sea
Blood from a Tree

 

Sowing seeds

The spiritual journey is simple, beautiful and full of Love,” read the meme. Perfectly true, but taken out of context it doesn’t actually tell you all that much, does it? Not really. Like so many of the quotes out there on the internet, usually displayed against the background of a sunset, dove or some other visual symbol of serenity, it simply drops a seed into the mind and allows it to grow… or not, as the case may be.

I remember studying the parable of the Sower and the Seed in Religious Education in school, long ago. It tells of how when the Sower sows the seed, it may fall upon stony, barren or fertile ground and where it falls will determine how the seed grows. It is a well-known story, easily understood in symbolic terms, though there are many deeper elements involved in the imagery than may at first appear. Re-reading the passage I fell to thinking about how ideas are seeded and more specifically about those beautifully presented inspirational quotes that abound across all the platforms of social media.

Such phrases, thoughts and quotes may come from the heart and be personal glimpses of understanding offered in all simplicity and with no other motive than to bring hope or share beauty. Many come from the writings of established spiritual teachers, from ancient texts or those to whom the world has attributed the mantle of wisdom. They carry with them the aura of authority; these people, we are assured, knew something, had attained something to which, perhaps, we aspire.

Sometimes they worry me.

Not so much on their own, but as a symptom of a disconnected spirituality that seems to be scattering fragments of light like glitter. And yet…

The proliferation of such illustrated quotes shows how deeply ingrained is our need for understanding, but as most offer little in the way of practical instruction, they carry the risk of misinterpretation. They may make the whole spiritual journey seem like sweetness and light; something so otherworldly and ethereal, in fact, that it seems impossible that it should be integrated within the harshness of ‘real’ life. For me ‘real life’ is a spiritual journey, and like any voyage, it can be hard, painful, exhausting and confusing. It takes effort, will, and commitment to get from one end of it to the other.

But what about the journey itself? Even a straight race, where the winner is determined at the finish line, can only be won by what happens between the starting block and the tape. It makes little sense to me to think that the only goal is at the end… To ‘real-ise’ the divine within, however we may define It, and to live it daily seems, to me, a better option.

These inspirational quotes may also, silently and quite unintentionally, imply that those of us who have not yet attained such mystical mastery have way too far to go to be able to reach spiritual enlightenment. Perhaps we have, but believing in ourselves can be hard enough in the mundane world; I am not sure that questioning our worthiness to progress is helpful. I wonder if these wonderful phrases sometimes make the goal seem just too distant and unattainable. A goal which, I believe, is not far away at the end of some lofty quest, but already within us, waiting quietly to be known.

This seeding of ideas and phrases without context is a traditional technique that can have enormous value as a meditation. Usually, however, when such a technique is used, it is within the framework of a predetermined belief system. This is where schools such as the Silent Eye and other spiritual systems have their place in what is always and ultimately a personal journey, by providing structure, background and points of reference … a jumping-off place from which to begin and a whole set of symbolic signposts by which the seeker can navigate.

We each have our own beliefs. None of us are without some kind of framework, whether it is pan-, poly- or monotheistic, atheist or agnostic or any shade in between… we have our own personal context which is the ground into which such random seeds fall. We interpret them against that backdrop, dismissing them or shaping our understanding of them in a way that fits with the other pieces of our personal puzzle. There is, however, always the possibility of misinterpretation or missing the true depth of such phrases, simply because we lack context. It may only take a single phrase, rightly understood, to change our view of the world and our concept of our place within it. Yet we have to see it clearly in order for it to be able to have an effect.

And yet, we all use quotes, even inspirational ones. And there is value to them. Why struggle to explain what someone has already phrased perfectly in a few words? They may be perfect illustrations of a point we have to share. But more importantly, when they speak to us, they may become the very first burgeoning fragment of light that awakens the seeds of awareness.

Shadow of the Earth…

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… The Book of Revelation is a notoriously difficult text to understand

because of its symbolism and iconography,

however, chapter twelve, which concerns us here,

is relatively straightforward.

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It commences with a vision: ‘And there appeared

a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed in the sun,

and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars…’

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This is an astrological description of Virgo, but wait,

‘…And she being with child cried, travailing in birth,

and pained to be delivered.’

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If the Virgin is to give birth then it must be the Great Goddess Isis or the

Virgin Mary, or at any rate the Star of the Sea, Stella Maris…

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Already we start to see the problem.

 The iconography may be precise,

but its interpretation can still be ambiguous,

or could the ‘images-of-heaven’ encompass all of these exemplars?

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‘…And there appeared another wonder in heaven,

a great red dragon, having seven heads

and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads…’

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Lying alongside the constellation of Virgo in the night sky,

coiling around her, is Hydra, and in Greek mythology,

Hydra appears as a many headed snake, but wait,

‘…And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven

and did cast them to earth.’

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Not all the stars of the firmament are visible at any one time,

about a third of them move in and out of view over the rim of

the earth’s horizon during the course of a year.

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Just as the ‘night-time’ at any one location

is caused by the shadow of the earth

passing across the face of the sun,

a third of the night sky

is also obscured by the earth’s horizon.

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Bodies, planetary or otherwise,

moving through space are shadowed.

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But what to make of this psychologically?

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The ‘shadow-side’ of our personality, obscured by a continually

attention seeking conscious mind,

resides in the unconscious, and whilst lurking there,

shrouded in shade, it can be regarded as our own ‘personal devil’.

The heartbeat of eternity

Peering at the faded remains of a dark ‘instant’ photo from the seventies, I felt both close to and distant from the young woman silhouetted against the fence. Her future is my memory. She was still a schoolgirl, yet to launch herself on the world and soon to marry. Far too soon… that would be my take from the perspective of nearly five decades later. How did that happen?

In some ways, it seems an eternity. In some ways it is… a whole lifetime, my lifetime between ‘then’ and ‘now’… and as such, it is the only eternity I really know. It is an odd feeling, that. We know history happened before we were born. Some of it is very real to us, because we know the people who made it; our parents and grandparents tell us of those days, when they too were young. We know that history went on before ‘history’, before prehistory, right back to the first swirlings in the mind-stuff that would become space and time. We know that history will continue to happen long after we are gone, both as individuals and as a species… though for now we call it ‘the future’ and are sad, or glad, that we will not be around to see it. But we only know the scintilla of eternity that exists between our earliest memory and this moment. Anything beyond that is hearsay.

In that respect, at least, we can say with truth that we are eternal. We carry eternity within us, carved into the space between conception and our final breath. Reality exists only in the moments it touches us, with past and future no more than a matter of faith and conjecture. Unseen, unreal, the future has yet to become, while the past is no more. The only moment we have is now… and whole industries have grown up around teaching us that one, rather obvious fact that we overlook when our focus is upon regret, nostalgia, worry and hope.

‘Living in the moment’ does not mean failing to look ahead or to hope, nor does it mean we must release all memories. It is a matter of awareness and focus, of not missing what is by clinging to what was or imagining what might be. We forget that ‘now’ can only exist at all if there is a ‘then’… and the space between that holds them apart so that both can be.

The ‘no-thing’ can exist on its own…  but the ‘some-thing’ needs the ‘no-thing’ in order to exist at all; a degree of separation that enables being.

One of the analogies we use in the Silent Eye is that of the mother and child.  The child in the womb can be said not only to be one with the mother, but to be made from her… though she is not all that the child is, or will become. The child has no life of its own, no possibility of independent action, until it is separated from the mother at birth. In that separation, there is possibility, growth and a dawning awareness. Yet, at the end of physical life, both mother and child will return to the earth that can be regarded as our Mother and with whom we share the physical elements of existence. Those elements will, in turn, give rise to new life in an endless and beautiful cycle that renders us eternal in yet another manner. Perhaps that is one reason why the image of the Mother and Child has been seen as sacred in so many cultures.

Nature is a mirror for wider realities. The matrix for our beliefs, knowledge and life itself is held within the pattern of the natural world, while the fragment of nature that governs our tiny planet is but a child of a greater and universal nature. If that pattern holds true to itself, then the Cosmos is itself but a fragment of a greater Whole, separated to enable it to be, to grow and to realise itself. If that is true, then we are indeed eternal, both ancient beyond imagining and younger than new-born babes.

I look back at the old Polaroid, an instant photograph that captured an instant of a life I think of as mine, but which runs through every living being, past, present and future… if linear time itself even exists. It is no longer just a photograph of a young girl on the brink of womanhood, but a pause in the heartbeat of being, allowing me to look back on ‘then’ from ‘now’ and know that it is the space between that enables me to see beyond the moment, to the horizon of eternity.