Petals of the Rose

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Close your eyes, relax and prepare for an inner journey, breathing deeply and easily.

You stand on a green mound by a sunlit sea. Far below you is a pristine shore of white sand. You hear the echoes as the waves wash gently, rhythmically, against the base of the cliff. The soft, rushing sound of water in the shingle whispers in the clear air of morning.

The sky is a pure blue, the colour of the Lady’s robe. Forget-me-not blue, and at its heart, as in the flower, the golden circle of the sun. The cry of a distant gull touches your heart with an unfathomable yearning, yet you are here, now, in this time and in this place. There is no other thought in your mind, only here, only this moment.

You close your eyes and with sight absent, other senses seem to come to the fore. The salt tang of the air touches your lips and tongue, warm rays caress your face, the soft thrumming of the waves seems to reach through the very earth beneath your feet, finding its way within and dancing with your breath.

The air smells fresh and clean, like the first morning of the world. You stand, simply drinking in the moment, the world around you, feeling yourself at its heart, feeling it within your body.

In the distance you can hear music playing, the delicate tones of a harp, beautiful in its simplicity, as if played by a gifted child, a wise child, one who sees clearly beyond the veils of Light.

The purity of the simple song draws you.

You listen, silent, barely daring to move.

You are afraid to move and break the spell, yet almost against your will you are drawn to the music.

Like a sleepwalker, you move towards the edge of the cliff.

There is a path, narrow and steep, tufts of sea thrift grow beside it, nodding their bright pink heads in the breeze.

You begin to descend.

The way is steep. Small stones roll at your feet, bouncing down the cliff face as you walk. Tiny fragments of rock are dislodged with every step. Your shoes, black and shiny, are covered in the white dust of chalk. You stop and sit on the flower-covered bank. The perfume of crushed thyme fills the air and you notice the tiny, lilac flowers all around you.     Removing your shoes, leaving them there, you stretch your bare feet, wiggle your toes… you feel like a child. You do not need them. You recline against the fragrant green and rest for a while, perfectly happy, as the sun warms your skin.

Still, the music haunts you. It is very soft, so soft you had almost forgotten it was there, calling you onwards. You rise and continue down the steep path. Looking up you can see the towering white cliffs, sparkling in the clear light. You think of the shores of Albion and wonder if that is where you are… or only where you think you might be? It doesn’t matter. You are here. It is all you need to know.

Beside a turn in the path, a stream bubbles crystal clear from the rock face, gathering in a small pool. In the bottom of the pool you can see many offerings, small gifts, coins, tablets etched with words. Beside the stream is an ancient cup. You fill it from the stream and drink from it. The water is cold and sweet, you can feel on your tongue, in your throat, rich and fragrant, a nourishing draught, quite unlike any water you have tasted before.

It is a draught of liquid Light. You feel it flowing through you, feel lit up from the inside as if you shine softly like a star.

You replace the cup. You feel you should leave a gift and feel in your pockets, not knowing what is there.

It must be something that holds meaning to you, something of value, not in payment, but in gratitude for what you have received.

Your fingers find an object, feeling its lines and edges. You draw it from your pocket and look at it as it rests in your hands. You had forgotten it was there… yet it has always been there. You always carry it. You smile, knowing what it represents; knowing what it means to you… then cast it in the pool. The ripples spread out across the surface, obscuring the bottom. Small streams of light wash over the edges of the pool, spilling onto the grassy bank and where they touch flowers spring up.

You continue down the path, following it to the beach following the song that seems to hold an echo of the music of the spring.

The dry sand is white and soft underfoot, sun-warmed and pleasant. A little way ahead the cliff reaches out towards the sea and you see the dark mouth of a small cave. You walk towards it, leaving footprints in the sand, following the song.

Outside the cave there seem to be large boulders, yet as you draw closer you see that they are piles of clothes. Whole suits and dresses, smocks and ball gowns, judges robes, uniforms… every imaginable type of clothing that bears the mark of position or office… like heaped skins divested by their owners.

The music takes on an insistent note and you feel you understand.

Stripping off your clothes you add them to the pile, feeling as if you have erased a deeper layer of your identity, you stand naked in the sunlight.

Once more you hear the cry of the gulls and look up.

From above a crown of petals, purest white is falling towards you, shed by the wings of the birds.

It settles about your brow, crowning you with beauty.

You walk forward towards the cave. A sheet of water veils the entrance, so clear it is almost invisible except for the captured fire of the sunlight. You stand in the shallow stream that cuts a channel like a pathway, your feet sinking slightly in the wet sand, as if you are part of the earth, the earth takes you into itself.

The music calls you onward and you walk, crowned and naked through the sparkling veil. As you do so, the water clothes you in a robe of the finest rainbow silk, the shifting hues almost impossible to follow with the eye.

The floor of the cave is strewn with polished stones, cool and smooth.

You feel light and free in the robes, unconstricted.

You move easily, noticing for the first time that with your clothing you seem to have left behind the stresses and strains of daily life, with your shoes you left the aches and pains, when you left the cliff top you left the cares and worries behind… you realise that with every step the descent into this cavern has been one of giving up the things you are so used to that you didn’t even know they were there.

You follow the music still, deeper into the darkness of the cavern, sure-footed even in the shadows.

You are at home here, in the heart of the earth.

Gradually a light fills the space, a shaft of Light that reaches through the whole height of the cliff… a straight path to the sky.

It is from this that the music emanates. Above the shaft the golden orb of the sun sits high in the heavens, a single ray directed and held within the narrow shaft, focused so bright you can barely see.

Drawn still by the whispering song, you step into the Light. All fear seems to dissolve, all pain dissipates… the weight of worlds seems to lift from you and you are as a babe again, bathed in the purity of golden Light.

Stay… stay as long as you wish… feel the shadows gilded, and the hurts healed…

And know that this Light fills you always.

Selah.

***

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

Leaf and Flame – Trust and honour

From Leaf and Flame – 2016…

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The Saturday night ritual drama saw Gawain taken to meet his fate. The Green Knight waited in the Green Chapel to return the blow traded so long ago… and Gawain’s own actions left the outcome in doubt. How can he survive a beheading? Only by bringing all his being to a single point and acting through the higher heart…

It is in this melding of body, mind and heart in perfect balance that freedom is found. It is in the relinquishing of the unquiet ego that knots the mind, shuns the perfection of the body and sears the heart with sentimentality, that the true and higher Self can take its rightful place in beauty.

To Gawain, blind by torment and guilt, the true nature of his Hunters remained hidden. The calls and whispers of the animals were a threat… the perception of ego is often clouded by fear. He could not see that they came in love and in compassion, bringing their encouragement and the gift of their presence.

He could not see that the tortuous paths upon which we are led fulfil not desire but need. Nor could he know that, in laying his head upon the block… in surrendering self to Self… he could pass beyond the veil of death and return with the Grail… Sometimes, there is only Trust….

Continue reading

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Photos by Morgana West and Chris Hutchison

One name…

Tarot Card – The Lovers: ‘open up and get out of the way.’

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‘Leaf and flame hath but one name’

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Yva followed on Abadam’s heels, “O Abadam,”

she cried, “you have walked in the garden in the

east, where every precious stone was your covering.

             *

You were a sealer of the sum, whose works and trappings were

prepared, and set all about you, on the day you were created.

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You were a guardian of the Holy-Mountain,

anointed in the shadow of the Sacred-Tree.

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You were perfect in wisdom and filled with beauty,

and you walked with the Spirit amidst the stones-of-fire.

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Yet, for me, you have relinquished all of this.

I will come with you, wherever you may go.”…

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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

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SEE: January Zoom Cyber Room…

No photo description available.
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Having considered the physical, psychological and spiritual structures of the human being,
we now examine how these interact with our ability to ACT…
Not something that should be taken for granted!
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The teaching:
Open up…
Get out of the way…
Follow the magic…
***
The meeting was divided into two parts:
Part 1: Action of the level of the Personality
Part 2: Action at the level of Self
Steve began by introducing Part 1 and comparing the life of a tree with that of a human. We discussed the lifecycle of a tree from seed to full-grown, mature tree, reflecting the cycle of life for all beings on Earth, touching on the idea of the necessity for immense quantities of seeds to overcome the degree of chance that affects a tree’s ability to mature. Elements that affect this growth include environment and individual differences. All trees need light, soil, and water and their growth is in two directions – roots into the ground and trunk/canopy into the sky towards the Sun. Once the ‘baby stage’ has passed, saplings need to be flexible and adaptable to the environment and other trees in order to survive. The collective consciousness of trees uses environmental factors to ‘travel’ farther afield. Once matured, the ‘adult’ tree is still connected to the ground and its origins which began in the seed. These are natural laws that flow through the beingness of the tree – does this include consciousness of any kind?
Trees have a different timetable than humans – they are pre-programmed into action but do not seem to have free will or self-awareness, but appear more reactive than proactive. Is this true? In comparison, humans can conceived of a higher awareness and sense of self.
Stuart continued with Part 2 asking what we can do with the Self. He suggested that the process included ‘opening up and then getting out of the way’ which dissolves the ego to the Higher and creates a channel for energies to express themselves through the individual. When we respond in kind to the ‘magic presented, we are acting from the Higher Will of the Planetary Being; High Magic, therefore, is the Will of the Planetary Being or Magician.
This evolved into a discussion about Magic as a conscious transformation of Will, an inner oblation to connect with the Divine, and a ‘connection’ with something ‘else’. Each of these involve a change in consciousness and/or a change in reality – are these the same?
From here, ensued a discussion of Higher states, how to reach them and how to describe, including being fully immersed in the moment of Now and remaining, at the same time, 100% oneself.
Describing this state can be challenging and demands that all the senses being tuned in, adapting itself well to be described through poetry and, perhaps, song. This is the state from which we would like to act.
Robert’s words closed the meeting: ‘The Divine is just waiting for us to open and then the Divine acts through us. It starts small and grows with experience. This shift begins with opening up’.
Recorder, Caroline Ormerod
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A spiritual ostrich

Isis oil effect sm
The ‘selfie’ that… really isn’t

There was an idea that has had me playing around with a digital painting programme. It also got me thinking. So, last night I toyed with an image from the last annual workshop that shows me in the ritual role of Isis. I ran it through on an ‘oil painting’ setting, then added a soft filtered bronze lighting effect over it.

Of course, the resulting image isn’t ‘me’. Not by any stretch of the imagination!

I don’t, more’s the pity, get to wander around in gorgeous robes and high headdresses every day… I’m more a leggings and comfort woman. Nor do I wear heavy Egyptian make-up as a rule. The clothes and draperies change the shape of the face, the state of mind changes the expression and the make-up brush can do strange and wondrous things. Add to that the painting effect that smooths things out a bit, including…apparently…the nose, a soft focus through which the world seldom sees me and a bit of dramatic coloured lighting … And the results?

Well… if that’s me then I’m an ostrich!

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Yet, although the image is no more than an illusion, it began as a captured reality… it began with a photo of me; a quick picture taken long before dawn one Sunday morning last April, when the day was almost unborn and hours had been spent in solitary meditation preparing for the day. Even the original snap didn’t look like ‘me’ and yet the woman in the image wore my features, looked out through my eyes… eyes my own hands had gilded and painted with kohl just moments before.

It seems rather strange that in an odd sort of way I have come full circle with this image.

The aim of the ritual workshops that we run is to create an illusion and make it reality, not the other way round like the picture, yet in both cases the results can hold a beauty that was not present before.

The rituals we craft for those who attend our workshops take a spiritual idea and weave it into a story. This tale is then played out within the reality of a sacred space. In many respects it is a bit of ‘sympathetic magic’. In just the same way that the shamans of old painted animals upon the walls of deep caverns to ensure the presence of game on the plains, so we ritualise the human experience and play it out from a spiritual perspective in terms the psyche can understand. The aim is to reach for the emotional and spiritual connection to this deep level of understanding… to seed awareness into consciousness… allowing the surface barriers of logic to be breached.

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It isn’t mere playacting because the intent is focused on the spiritual journey shared by the companions. The resulting learning experience can be very powerful and such ritual weekends evoke deeply emotional responses from those who attend… and it is here that the real magic happens. Within each of us; for the ritualised experience shared in the temple space must be taken out into the world and applied to life; it must be lived.

It is not enough to merely attend any spiritual event and think that by our presence we have done enough, any more than it is enough to take up the attitude of prayer before an altar while mentally going over the shopping list. The opening of the self within the temple, where the experience is emotive and touches the roots of being is only part of the story. It is little more than a seed planted in the life of earth.

No matter how deeply we feel those moments, no matter how vivid the experience, it serves no purpose if it is discarded with the robes or left in the dark closet of memory with the script. It is never enough to pay lip service to a spiritual ideal, nor, by simply playing them out in ritual form can they ever change our lives. What is born in the sacred spaces has to be taken out into the world. The inner reality of what we learn there has to be allowed to put out shoots into our own lives, growing up through our own characters and flowering as a personal understanding that changes the way we can be in the world. And that is where the beauty lies.

Otherwise here too we risk being ostriches… or peacocks whose glorious feathers hide little more than a chicken beneath them.

So in some ways perhaps it is fitting that the photo holds more beauty than I will ever see in the mirror of my days; a reminder that when  the seeds sown by Working with the School take root, they may, if tended, flower into a beauty unseen by the eye, but known by the heart.

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SEE: December Zoom Cyber Room…

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A Dickens of a Christmas!

Tonight our talk mixes the mystical darkness of the solstice plus a little humour…

‘Timeless Darkness’ – Three days of liminality…

And what to do with them?

“What happens at the winter solstice?”

The sun, which has apparently been moving further and further north, and away from the earth since the summer solstice, reaches the nadir of this movement on or around the 21st December…

We shall use the three days of stillness between this time, and the rebirth of the ‘summer sun’, on the 24th of December, to align ourselves with this cosmic drama, and ask, ‘what births for us at this time?’

On the 22nd December, before the sun rises, contemplate the psychological meaning of the birth in the Stable… What aspect of our psyche do the Mother/Father/Child/Ass/Ox represent?

On the 23rd December, before the sun rises, contemplate the psychological meaning of the birth in the Stable… What aspect of our psyche do the Shepherds and Sheep represent?

On the 24th December, before the sun rises, contemplate the psychological meaning of the birth in the Stable… What aspect of our psyche do the Star, Magi, and their Gifts represent?

By focusing on these aspects of the ‘Christmas Story’, and our psychological relationship to them, we allow our subconscious mind to bring forth what needs to be birthed for us this coming cycle…

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In all humility we remember some of our ‘failures’ at this time…

The Ghost of Christmas, “Said I would.”

The Ghost of Christmas, “Did, did not.”

The Ghost of Christmas, “Might do.”

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Available via Amazon UK, Amazon.com and worldwide.

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‘Montgomery’s Men’‘The law of unintended consequences’

The two phrases now ran in Sergeant Patrick’s mind like an insane tape loop…

As they ran, quicker and quicker, going nowhere, getting nowhere, a dark form grew in the corner of Patrick’s room.

Sergeant Patrick did not at first notice it for his lips were now following the lead of his mind, incessantly tripping over the two impossible phrases which merged with a third…

‘We let ‘em go!’… ‘Montgomery’s Men’‘The law of unintended consequences’

Perhaps it was a form of prayer?

‘Montgomery’s Men’‘The law of unintended consequences’‘We let ‘em go!’

Or an invocation?

Eventually, inevitably, Patrick’s mind finally snapped as would the tape of an overused recording and the hum of sound now issuing from his lips became a blurted question, “How come Montgomery has Men?”

Two eyes of flame flickered open in the dark corner of Sergeant Patrick’s room.

“I thought you would never ask,” drooled the dark form from the corner.

Had Sergeant Patrick known anything about High Magic he would have been immediately alerted to the festering presence of the form that now inhabited his room.

He would not have asked it a direct question and he would not have been expectantly awaiting an answer to his question.

For thus, are lambs led to slaughter.

“Allow me to instruct you,” whispered the dark form from the corner.

Its voice sounded a little like laughter.

But Sergeant Patrick still had a choice.

A simple shake of the head would have sufficed and sent the dark form fleeing.

Instead, a mesmerized Patrick nodded his head, and was lost…

Excerpt from ‘Kith ‘n’ Kin…

La Chapelle Verte…

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All stands hidden

Out-of-sight

At the heart of the cavernous world.

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All lies sequestered

Black but comely

In the cavernous heart of man.

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The unseen green within grey rock

Wielder of Psyche’s Axe

Looser of her emotional block.

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Our animal soul crowns the summit

Inanimate intimacies call

‘Drink deep – Drink deep’…

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Don’t merely dip a doltish finger-tip

Like felt for freely-gifted gold

or spawn of devil’s bloodied-blot.

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Not sentiment nor sediment

Can satisfy

Such cavernous yawning.

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Drink deep of night

And wake

To day’s dawning.

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All lies hidden

Out-of-sight

At the heart of a cavernous world.

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Green man cover finalfront

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The Red, the White, the Green…

Some things have to be believed

Before they can be seen…

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in Paperback and for Kindle.

Nice weather for ducks

Hellebore

It has been raining yet again. So much for getting anything done outside today. Walking the dog will be enough. The camera is getting used to it by now. Though not designed as waterproof, it has been out in all weathers, tucked under coats and shawls. It is seldom that I move without it. A road trip, where I know that all I will get to do is drive, still sees it tucked up on the back seat of the car, looking at me as hopefully as Ani when it is time for her walk. You just never know what you will find, or where you may be able to pull over.

magpie strutting

One recent, rainy day saw me drenched and with squelching feet, wandering around a west London park. My son was there on business, and I was there on taxi duty. While he was dealing with the sharp end, I wandered off for a while and was glad I did, in spite of the fact that the little lace slippers were rather less than appropriate. That too, seems to be something of a feature.

mallard

“Nice weather… for ducks!” grunted an elderly gentleman sheltering under a big old tree. The ducks may well have been appreciative. Other birds were less so, though the rain did not appear to have dampened the amorous ardour of at least one determined suitor. It is, after all, spring, and, in spite of the drenching they were getting, or perhaps because of it, the trees and flowers were making the most of the season.

pigeons

I think it is the contrast between freshly washed petals and rain-darkened bark and earth that does it. While sunshine shows the playful gaiety of spring, rain seems to highlight the details on every leaf and petal, throwing textures into relief and marking a sharp contrast in the colours. The sparkling drops add an extra dimension that links earth and sky in a very intimate manner.

blossom

Thinking about it, I realised that our instinct is still to think of the sky as being ‘up’… like the blue strip a child paints across the top of a picture. Yet the sky and the earth embrace, their meeting as close as it can be as every contour of the earth and sea, every grain of sand, every leaf and blade is touched by the sky, without any possible separation. As are we.

wet thrush

Yet we imagine a separateness; simply accepting that the sky is above us. The poets tell us so with their starry heavens… yet those heavens are here on earth too, all around us. How could I have missed that, all these years? What logic knows lacks a soul until understanding illuminates it. We are not children of earth, but creatures of earth and sky.

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I remembered my younger son, drinking the water dripping from a rock face half way up Ben Nevis one day. He had asked where the water came from, so high up… “So, I am drinking clouds, then?” he had said. The child’s logic too was poetry to me and I realised that by extension of the same thought, I was myself poised between heaven and earth, breathing in the sky. I wondered about that; an analogy could be made there… how many other things do we live and breathe and know without Knowing?

magpie

Thinking about that as the rain fell changed the feeling of the day from simply soggy to glorious. The all-pervading damp was no longer a chill imposition but the kiss of the sky upon my brow. The little plumes of steam that rose from both me and the sheltering creatures more than just a drying out… it was a reaching up, an answering embrace, like a child stretching their arms to a father.

water bird with big feet

A little clumsily, still learning to find our feet in the world, unsure of quite who or what we are, we walk through life in unconscious wonder. We may focus our gaze upon the earth and its rewards, or we may look up to a distant sky and reach for diamond stars. Yet perhaps we do not need to strive so hard to reach the apparently unattainable; perhaps the beauty we seek was right here with us all along.

magnolia

Weland Mind-Weld…

14th September 2021…

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‘On such a day as this two fools who laughed at death

embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime…’

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…Today, the adventure is all but over

with just a sealing of fire

and water, inevitably, and air, and earth still to accomplish…

‘Stones for the earth,’ he said.

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Comparisons with our first trip here together are unavoidable.

Dragon Hill looms equally unexpectedly,

and is also just as gracefully, ‘unoccupied’.

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Had we known then what we now know

would things have been different?

‘About the hilt of Albion’s sword…’

Probably.

Small wonder then that it is difficult not to

lose balance when approaching this point.

Think what could have been done.

And still can…

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The ash shadows the grooves of the manger.

A Dragon-Wing,

mirrored in staccato billowing…

‘Deep Breaths of the Fire-Drake.’

Obeisance turns brackish.

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*

A raking cough greets us from the ‘forge’.

Manifest irony or iron-age humour?

Our grinning Jester emerges from the copse

with dancing dog in tow.

If more magic were required…

What once held no faces now holds hosts.

‘I’ve made a circle with the stones.’

A web-of-light where once the heat-haze rose…

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The manure mounds become

a million hubs of cobbled-corn.

No birds to speak of,

only flying rabbits…

hopping bad, and a rare hare.

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No fare at an Inn which had previously provided the finest…

The Greyhound, though, ‘salved’ the day.

‘It’s got lights on and everything!’

With an over abundance of those things most needful,

and, incredibly, Red-Kite Ale…

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But what a tale!

Of shooting stars,

and ‘Old Skool’ bars.

Of skirt tails and hair trails,

to tell in the slow, slow, dawns of mourning…

Sue would have been sixty-three years old today,

‘Now, she is everywhere.’

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Sue, and beloved Ani, at one of her favourite haunts – Photograph courtesy Alethea Kehas

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The adventure, continues…

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Weland-the-Smith with Swan-Maiden

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In the Land of the Living Heart

Brig and Weland Mind-Weld are playing fidchell…

Brig: Wen to Blakey-Topping.

Weland: She’ll never get there.

Brig: But I have a poem for her.

Weland: Which she will never receive.

A mist on Blakey-Topping.

A mist of mists on the Old-Wives-Way…

*

… BRIG’S LAY

Lay me down beneath an Iron Sky

In the centred stillness of a Dragon-Eye

And let sweet-odorous heather be my pall

On a speaking hill where angel-feathers fall

With earth beneath my skin and sky above

I shall await, in silence, the descent of love…

Heart of Albion

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Heart of Albion – Stuart France & Sue Vincent