Petals of the Rose

Petals of the Rose

Guided Journeys

Sue Vincent

A collection of guided meditations, designed to open aspects of the personality in as gentle and natural way as the petals of the rose open at the touch of the sun. Each inner journey will carry you to a haven within your own psyche from which to explore layers of your own being, learning their meaning and purpose.

From mystical and silent castles, to the song of the unicorn… each journey takes you deeper into your inner being and carries you out beyond the stars.

Stories stir the imagination, casting images upon the screen of mind that allow us to explore, in safety, aspects of our lives and being that we might otherwise avoid or overlook. There is a rich vein of experience in memory that can be mined for its treasures. One of the simplest and best ways of exploring the labyrinths of the mind is to do so through a guided journey.

Meditation and visualisation are not arcane practices in which a few indulge… we all use these tools every day, to navigate our way around the world and our lives. We ask ourselves ‘what if?’, creating imaginary scenarios before we act. We visualise the route we walk to work, or what the basket full of ingredients will look like, once assembled and cooked, on a dinner plate.

There is no mystery in meditation… but when you give time and attention to the practice, it can open the door to many mysteries… including those of our own being…

Available via Amazon.com, Amazon UK and worldwide in Paperback and for Kindle

St Just…

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Not only did our last hotel

fail to provide any windows, to speak of, in our room,

  it also failed to provide us with a breakfast…

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Which is just as well, really,

for we were up, and off, and away

long before breakfast would ordinarily

ever have been dreamed of…

*

However, by nine bells one might be forgiven

for expecting the local sea-front eateries to be offering

something in the way of refreshment?

*

Not so!

So, we headed for St Just…

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How to disguise your sacred monument…

 

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Firstly, cover it with the Dragon’s Breath…

Secondly, consign it to a relatively late historical period…

Thirdly, invent for it a plausible name…

*

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“What is a miracle play, anyway?”

“It’s a medieval drama based on episodes from the life of a saint.”

“What, like St Just?”

“Yes, just like St Just, Hermit and Martyr.” …

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“And what did St Just do?”

*

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“Well, apart from displaying his true colours,

and confirming the link between the stonework

of ancient and less ancient sacred sites,

he also reminded us why we’re here.”

*

*

“That’s the church of St Just, what did the real St Just do?”

“Oh, pretty much the same sort of thing, I expect.” …

***

A Sacred and Profane Memoir

 by Alfred John Prufrock

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Note on Celtic Saints:

These ancient savants seem of an entirely different cast to their Roman Catholic successors.

Like the Bards of old they travel the land far and wide, taking their entourage with them, seeming reluctant to ever settle…

St Samson, though born in Wales of ‘royal stock’, enjoys legendary status on Caldey, in Ireland, Cornwall and Brittany!

These places are all centres of stone.

The official hagiographies of the saints often seek to conceal much more than they reveal.

One charming account has both Samson and Arthur, as children, playing together in their eponymous Dolmen.

The notion of St Samson as Itinerant Pendragon is greatly appealing.

 

Excerpt from Kith ‘n’ Kin by Stuart France and Sue Vincent…

***

 

Lands of Exile:

KITH ‘N’ KIN

Stuart France & Sue Vincent

The Beeley Stone, ‘liberated’ from the churchyard at Bakewell, stands proudly in the centre of its village green once more. While the locals enjoy the fruits of its restoration, Ben, who had led the daring raid against authority, still languishes in jail.

Don and Wen, arrested and released without explanation in Ireland, now plot an erratic course through the wild places of Wales, while Jaw-Dark and Kraas, seeking the legendary stone of Fergus Mac Roy, have been separated in the most uncanny of circumstances…

As the darkness closes around them, the Black Shade haunts the moors above Beeley and, in the shadowy rooms of the old tower, an ancient and even stranger story begins to unfold…

Available via Amazon UK, Amazon.com and worldwide, for Kindle and in full colour illustrated paperback

***

‘The Book of Assassinations’

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We were determined not to get wet, so we went to Chesterfield, on the general principle that there would be both indoor parking and a cathedral big enough to keep us both dry and occupied for some time. We got those points right… but we failed miserably in the staying dry department as the heavens open and the chill, northern rain pelted down. As my companion made a judicious dive for the porch, I found a convenient tree under which to shelter the camera and get some shots of the famous crooked spire.

sheffield chesterfield hare 004The church dates to the 13th Century and the tower was added in around 1362. The tower is twisted by 45 degrees and leans 9’ 6” from true centre. Several local legends tell how it became so contorted, many have to do with the Devil and the purported virginity of brides. Wikipedia says : “One well established legend goes that a virgin once married in the church, and the church was so surprised that the spire turned around to look at the bride, and continues that if another virgin marries in the church, the spire will return to true again; with only 3 weddings in 2010 in the church it seems that this legend understandably discourages marriages at the church. Another legend is that a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shoed the Devil, who leaped over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape.” There are others, and it is well worth looking some of them up.

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I didn’t linger too long under my tree. It was raining quite heavily and my feet were already squelching in the little slippers I habitually wear for some strange and unfathomable reason. You would think I would have learned by now… Even the pigeons had given up and had taken shelter where they could, so I too followed their example.

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For all the church has been embellished over the centuries, being the foremost building in the area, it still retains its atmosphere of calm peace, and every nook and cranny inside hides symbols and artistic treasures, bits of history and the evidence of the faith of hundreds of years.

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The Lady Chapel, as so often for me, had the most attraction, and a curious Revelations window in the north chapel too had us thinking. There is an eclectic mixture of styles here, from a dreadful neon cross to lovely sculpture with an African feel, from medieval marble tombs to a modern St Francis window full of gentleness.

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The place was full of visitors, though, and that always ends up with me documenting as much as I can with the camera while my companion wanders in search of his own inspiration… we then adjourn, usually to a local pub, and compare notes; knowing we have enough to go on in order to make a decision about coming back on a quieter day. It is these subsequent visits where you begin to really get to know a place, both by its details and by its feel.

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Today was no exception, but, unfortunately for us there was a bookshop and we became a tad sidetracked as we delved through the shelves, exiting with what rapidly became known as the Book of Assassinations as we trawled its pages under an awning while the rain still fell.

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It is odd, of course, we think we are going to places for our own purposes, but so often, if you are open and ready to go where you are led, you end up finding far more than you had envisioned. We had gone to see a cathedral, but came away with a couple of years of speculative thought confirmed by the well-thumbed pages of a dog-eared book. Not a bad way to spend a rainy Saturday in Chesterfield.

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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.

*

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

The watchers

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We were being watched. It was palpable. In fact, as I raised the camera to watch the watchers, others could see it too… we weren’t imagining it. They had been following us all day, dark, hooded figures flitting in and out of vision, all across the Derbyshire landscape. Sitting on fences, following our footsteps, watching our every move at every site we visited. We even had evidence in bag and pocket… and the camera had quietly documented their stealthy observation…

Sitting in the little courtyard of the pub in Castleton, by some miracle on the part of my companion, the staid half of shandy I had reluctantly asked for had been transformed into a nicely chilled Stowford’s … I love Derbyshire!… and we were surrounded.

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There were jackdaws on the low rooftops, on the chimneys… whole families of them, including the young one that misjudged and went flying in a way that failed to involve wings.

I snapped away happily while the pint of Guinness and half of Stowford’s slowly disappeared, then passed the camera across to my companion so he could see the day’s photographic haul. As always I wait, judging his reaction by the tilt of his head and the set of his lips.

“We’ve got our Dark Sage.”

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Yes… it looked a bit that way. We had been waiting to be ‘given’ a picture for the cover of the next book… Doomsday: The Ætheling Thing is in the final stages of editing and the second book in the series is about to begin. Honestly, with all the stuff we have at present we barely dare go out in case we find some more! Not that we have to… from north and south of the land the pages of books rustle, the keyboard taps research terms and texts and emails fly between… some of them so weird that they sound like coded messages. The latest research has seen me rifling the tool box in search of a saw and soldering iron…nothing like some practical experience! Mind, the scalpel should be interesting…

But we had a meeting to attend, so it was time to go, reluctantly and promising ourselves a return trip in the not-too-far-distant future.

We had a lovely evening; the meeting went well and in spite of absent friends everyone seemed to bring something beautiful and individual to the mix and we took the long road home much later feeling relaxed and awake… which may explain the late night talking in our accustomed positions… my companion on two legs of the chair, I on the ‘hobbit cushion’ on the kitchen step.

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Saturday morning brought rain. For once we decided to avoid getting wet and drove to the pub… only for coffee and toasted teacakes, I might add, and access to the internet… and there we played with pictures and created the cover for Dark Sage. It is odd, but it isn’t until we have a cover that we feel we have a book, and starting with the cover always seems to be the point of departure for the next phase of the adventure.

Then, as the heavens continued to douse the world in water and with continued determination not to get wet again, we very sensibly turned the car towards Chesterfield and the ancient cathedral with the twisted spire….

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Dans Maen…

Cornwall Recce, 2018…

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This kind of weather

adds to the atmosphere of these places,

and makes the sun big…

*

The Merry Maidens stone circle

is another of those with an attendant legend…

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  Which posits the stones as people

petrified for dancing, or making merry, on the Sabbath,

and which, ‘sort of makes one want to dance here’…

*

*

It is, perhaps, natural to speculate

on the original inhabitant of our next site…

*

*

Given its proximity to Dans Maen,

a short walk away,

and to the road, which would have been a track,

but a few feet…

*

*

It is tempting to ascribe it a hermit’s tomb…

Our notions of that venerable occupation,

today, differ somewhat from the undoubted

reality of the situation…

It is difficult for us to imagine him or her dancing.

 

 

Sidetracked to breakfast

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The Haystack seems a misnomer for the huge rock that sits beside the path that leads towards Backstone Beck and looks down to the Cow and Calf. It is a very special rock. Between archaeology, myth and the stories woven by my grandfather, it has a very unique life for me. It is an altar, a place of ancient sanctity as sacred as any other.

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It stands at the edge of the Green Crag cairn-fields… a place of the dead from a time when the dead were honoured; their presence sought, their wisdom valued, and their place in the Otherworld perhaps not so far removed from the hearths of the living. This huge, altar shaped boulder, covered in carvings stands at the entrance to the necropolis which extends across Green Crag and beyond.

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My grandfather showed me how to pace out the two circles of small, almost buried boulders that surround the stone and told me that this was a place of sacrifice where the groove in the rock carried the blood out to the edge of the moor. In spring you can faintly see a strip of lighter green… Of course, the lurid tale delighted the child I was, sending those delicious shivers down my spine, yet I never saw a problem with sacrifice in essence, only in the bloody practice. It always seemed to me as if they had the right idea, but had misinterpreted the deeper meaning and the death need not be physical. Then, you see, I was an odd child, I suppose, with an even odder upbringing.

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These days, I still delight in sharing that tale, although the circles may now be officially classed as prehistoric walling dividing, perhaps, the realms of life and death. I feel that this may have been an altar upon which the dead rested on their journey to the cairns to be brought to birth in the Otherworld. Perhaps the carvings map the heavens or the journey through the veil to that Land of the Dead… perhaps they map the moor itself… We do not know. My grandfather told me the figure carved there was the sun god… perhaps he was right. Or perhaps it is simply a man… or a woman, a goddess, about to give birth… Or maybe it is something we cannot know. It doesn’t matter. It matters only that it shapes our thoughts and fires the imagination as it points across to the Pancake Rock.

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This stone too is covered with faded carvings. It juts out from the edge of the moor with the necropolis behind it. From one angle it looks like a hawk poised for flight, but most of the time it is the profile of a face, the flat rocking stone on the top his hair, or his hat. It is said that only an honest man can move the rocking stone. It is also said, with a certain amount of local pride, that no Yorkshireman ever has… Some say it is the face of a druid, some that of a god; I was told it is Giant Rombald who sleeps there… he for whom the moor is named… guarding the sleep of the dead. These are the legends and stories of my childhood, and these are the tales I wove into the adventure in Swords of Destiny. So much more could have been written… maybe one day I will, before the old tales are lost.

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We walked down to the beck, drinking first, then washing the peat stains from feet and my shoes… which, made of soft fabric, we already soaked and could dry on my feet. The menfolk were hungry and ready for breakfast by this time. We had been out for around five hours and it was only about nine in the morning. I, however, wanted to show them a hidden place, Rocky Valley, where the great stones cling to the crags like monumental totems. “We’ll never get her down…” I heard the mutter of despair, but set off up the track. They waited a while as I climbed the ridge that separates the valley from the little wood where another godlike creature is carved in a stone, and where memory lay in ashes for me. They joined me in silent companionship and we looked across the beauty of the moor.

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Retracing our steps we crossed the beck a final time. I showed them the little waterfalls and the pools where I had played as a child, where my sons had dammed the stream and where my memories were all of laughter. Then we passed once more through the heather and headed down for breakfast.

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El Drac? …

*

Geography!

Never our strongest suit.

There are some places though, where we seem to already know the lay-out.

Edinburgh for one, and Durham.

Tavistock proved to be another of those.

And coming so soon after our Elizabethan workshop, one has to wonder…

*

*

Not to be outdone, our ‘Old Friend’, Kempe, decided to get in on the act.

Insisting we ponder again the expedience of canonising angels.

“Isn’t it obvious,” says Wen, with a twinkle.

“Only when you already know.”

“It’s about opening lines…”

“Of communication?”

*

*

Anyway, our ‘heavenly overseers’, had clearly, not quite done with us, yet.

Fittingly fortified, we finally headed off for a reunion, and the start of our adventure…

*

 

 

The Nightingales’: June Zoom cyber-room…

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The Egoic Nature

In this hour of self-severity and  unbridled selfishness, we will, through a series of questions, explore this seemingly all-powerful ‘image of ourselves’ and the part it does, could, and should, play in our lives. 

  • A monster that takes over your carefully-cultivated persona? (Frankenstein) 
  • A lustful beast engineering it’s own desires? (Dr Jekyll and Hyde) 
  • A dutiful, caring angel that ministers, selflessly, to the needy? (Jane Eyre?)

What about Dorian Gray?

What is the key to that story?

Is the masculine ego the same as the feminine?

Jung’s soul and spirit.

Stages and key questions for us to discuss and explore:

An egoic nature… We all have one, but what is it?

Where did it come from and how did it develop?

Is the ego necessary and Why?

Why do we appear to struggle with our egos?

Is there an ultimate destiny for the ego?

*

… And as the sky darkens, so the enormity of the day begins to sink in.

“There is one thing bothering me…”

“Which is, my dear?”

“The spirit stones at Wayland’s would be covered with earth.”

“I know.”

“So no one could see them.”

“I know, but it isn’t so very different from decorating the inside of a tomb with intricate and resplendent illuminations and hieroglyphs.”

“Like the Egyptians.”

“Like the Egyptians… and others. Some of the best art their cultures ever produced would be seen by none.”

“And what about the Hill Figure?”

“What about the Hill Figure, dear?”

“It’s only properly visible in its entirety from the air.”

“I know.”

“So, no one could see that, either.”

Wen sighs. “We have to entertain the very real possibility that these people were not, oh how should I put it? They were not… as body-bound as we are.”

“And the stones in the earth…”

“… Is exactly the same thing.”

“Jeez… That’s a seriously crazy thought… which is possibly why I like it so much.”

“Quite.”

“The transition then, from what we call life to what we call death, would not… for them… have been quite such a wrench. It would have been much more like… a change of perspective, perhaps.”

“It would have been like waking from a  dream.”

“… Like waking from a dream of the body?” …

Excerpt from The Initiate.

*****

THE INITIATE

Book One of the Triad of Albion

Stuart France & Sue Vincent

The Initiate is the story of a journey beyond the realms of our accustomed normality.

It is a true story told in a fictional manner. In just such a way did the Bards of old hide in the legends and deeds of folk heroes, those deeper truths for those ‘with eyes to see and ears to hear’.

Don and Wen, two founding members of a new Esoteric School, meet to explore an ancient sacred site, as a prelude to the School’s opening event. The new School is to be based upon a nine-fold system and operate under the aegis of the Horus Hawk.

The trip does not unfold as planned.

Instead, Don and Wen, guided by the birds, find themselves embarking upon a journey that will lead them through a maze of spiritual symbolism, to magical mysteries and the shadowy figure of the Ninth Knight.

As the veils thin and waver, time shifts and the present is peopled with shadowy figures of the past, weaving their tales through a quest for understanding and opening wide the doors of perception…

Now available via Amazon worldwide.

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