Glancing back … In 2011, I studied Tarot, Alchemy, reclamation and relationship. Physically, I sanded down, varnished and restored the floors of a small concert venue in Highgate, and at the same time removed (by hand) a ten year rubbish dump from a string of neglected gardens in Alum Way near Golders Green – the task took almost 9 months. In my journal I reached ground zero and celebrated my daughter’s birthday:
21 May 2011 – ON BIRTH, HEALING AND THE GARDEN
Summer gives me a greatly extended day: getting up with full daylight, is at 5.45, earlier than ever. I finish writing between 8 and 9.30 usually; then all being well, I am active until eight or nine in the evening – how do I manage in winter? The body clock contracts accordingly, so everything adjusts. In winter I watch more TV and (obviously) sleep more, because I hit the hay about the same time.
Each morning before I write, I open the Tree of Life. I say Warren Kenton’s Invocation (“let us gather together, draw together, let us form a vessel to catch the dew of heaven. Let us rise up and go to that holy place of meeting, and gather there with the Companions of the Light; and let the veil of Heaven be drawn back. Hear this: Malkuth, Yesod, Hod …”).
With the Invocation, I do Dion Fortune’s hand mudras – The Good Shepherd, Those who Sailed West to East, The Builders – and repeat Actaeon’s vision to – “part the waves, kiss the lips, turn the wheel, fingers touch numbers of the clock, enter the cave, find the jewel, and climb the mountain, through the rainbow.”
I let it dance as a physical instrument, to earth it, feet on rosewood floor. At the end of writing, I blow out the candle and “come down the Tree.” I used to neglect this, but was taught that closure is proper. In ritual I am lazy – it is pared down to the essentials – but dedicated. This sounds right. It is a hand-clap to summon and thank the guardian angel. It diminishes my weevils and opens the sky. Ritual is a statement of embodied intention: ascent.
The drawing above, is of Dion Fortune’s mudra – three gestures with the hands were transmitted to her in trance. I drew them embedded in the slanting wave-contours of Glastonbury Tor. The peak is a mental-plane arena – ring of stones, winged angel and chalice, in a subtle vesica-pisces geometry. The vertical circles intersect the horizontal one – like my painting of the Grail Table with the Tree.
The Tor angel is a cut out silhouette window of light within the tower. Recall the silhouettes we see each other as; my day’s changing modes are silhouettes. A rare opportunity permits my intimacy with another silhouette; to deepen objectively and be aware. The invitation to enter another’s room, and vice versa, rubbing shoulders, should not spell out each others’ codes, but empathise. Our vesica pisces: the circles, as on the Tor peak, enter each other just a little. Creative imagination is the Empress dressed in green. Out she comes! lush, like an apple.
Venus is lush like an apple. Yellow, green and red, with black and blue are colours of alchemical antimony, a kind of transformational corrosive, or quickening. She is pregnant, about to parturate, seated on a stone bench – cool stone to her distended fanny. Swollen seed splits. Golden stars of the zodiac dance nonchalantly around her head; her gaze eye to eye, is direct: relationship.
At 9.15am, thirty four years ago, I saw my daughter rotate out from my thighs, slippery, greyish dark pink, flecked with blood, vibrantly athletic and alive, her father’s face, her well formed female sex, her strong trumpet cry – the lady’s a survivor! In this light, the Angel descended through me a moment later, with an overwhelming maternal bonding instinct: love.
How perfectly it all fits together ! When a royal child lies in her cradle in the fairy tales, the godmothers who gather round, are zodiacal powers of love and of compromise – the gifts for life. They are titanic feelings. Every mother who has looked at her new child and been struck by lightning, knows them. Nature!
Nature is the goddess – and when I next see Ris (she says she wants a quiet birthday on her own, but might change her mind later and let me take her out for a nosh), ask her a bit more about the Goddess or feminine energy she’s reading about, and the totem stick. She told me the other day, about seven daughters of Eve, and mitochondrial DNA.
7 daughters of Eve, by Ulla Plougmand Turner
Ancient women of Gaia at first trusted the masculine deity as he rose – made trade with him – and then, as he abused them, they became atheists.
When a deep perception is on the way, it is like the child coming through the canal, and my thought in-draws silently, and waits. Labour in its fullness, is the natural coming and going of the breath. My labour hurt a lot, but after I was allowed to push with it, the massive commitment with nature replaced the pain. The essence of labour is not violent, though the sensations in transition are extremely so – the waves knock against each other. The essence of labour, as during the pregnancy, guides the little voyager through the portals; she rides her vessel through oceanic storms of emotion – which there were. Whatever the mother’s argument, tension, grief or release, that little presence deep inside, is kept safe in harbour as she grows.
The ancient women of Gaia trusted the man in the field, planting grain, and he betrayed, abused and confined them.
This fable works its way organically through the soul, like a baby through the birth canal, until it is delivered to the air. When the fable is embodied, she is conscious, and may choose to forgive. For as long as there is no “for give”, it must be born again. Eventually the forgiveness – the wholeness – is accomplished, and then there is movement.
Whatever the lifetimes in my daughter’s private inner soul, unknown to me – an outline emerges; the depth of her Karmic compassion as a certain trouble took form. Her soul was emboldened to reconcile it. Her father lost his creative path in life, and abused us with his rage and disappointment. She does not wish him ill. She may have interacted with him in previous lives, as I did, or he may have been called upon by destiny to play the bully. He knew not what he did. At a certain depth, and taking time, the action of individual souls upon each other is archetypal and transformative.
For me, Karmic issues seek a conscious breath and transmutation. If an ancient woman is abused or blamed, if men exploited her, lifetimes may fill with revenge, directed outwardly or inwardly, sometimes inflicting and sometimes receiving, sometimes as the man and sometimes as the woman. Long shadows are thrown across history, for ourselves to embody with life, growth and awareness. In time a maternal environment is found, which is alchemical, and accelerates things: we meet our full nature … and let it go.
The fertile green plants all down her stair and filling her balcony, are symbolic. On my way to Warren’s meeting on Thursday evening, I saw her sitting in her doorway among them – she has an open view up to Hampstead from her roof-terrace village – and so I sent a text, and she waved back.
Karmic issues are subtle, powerful wave-trains. It is too simplistic to make them tit for tat, because they criss-cross also (as in the Nasca lines of birth chart aspect patterns); Karma is an echo chamber. When I walk in the sea with Mercury, my soul is raised enough to glimpse the divine dimension which seems to us (who live within its walls, waves and thumb-print whorls) such a labyrinth. I see the simple noble outlines, and at the same time, their complexity; a vast world. It is a great honour to behold thus: to walk in the sea with Mercury.
Illustration from Alchemy & Mysticism by A Roob
Speaking of which, Mercury through Gemini rules The Lovers, Tarot key 6.
My daughter’s Tarot template is:
Individuality: Sun on Gemini cusp – The Lovers, key 6
Personality: Ascendant (and Moon) in Cancer – The Chariot, key 7
Problem: add 6 to 7 = Death, key 13, “Scorpio force” (the movement)
Solution: subtract 6 from 7 = key 1, the Magician, Mercury (the focus)
by what Means?: subtract 1 from 13 = 12, the Hanged Man: the Waters
Integration – sum of the previous five = 12, the Hanged Man: or 3, the Empress.
Ris tarot template, Sun Gemini (Lovers) Ascendant Cancer (Chariot)
jane tarot template, Sun Capricorn, Ascendant Virgo – only four keys, because problem & solution are both 6. The sum of the four keys reduces also to 3, the Empress.
I knew Key 12 was strong in her template: which means “reversal”, the capacity to invert a wrong and to change things round. The womans’ staff she told me about some weeks ago, is the caduceus or ankh. She has electricity and healing in her hands, still awakening, being born in the Year of the Snake.
The Tarot Keys are godmothers, the bringers of the forces.
In 1969 when I first knew him, a mantra arose, concerning her father Mr V: Give way to the Force. For-give. I intuited in those early months, a transgression which would be my life’s work and instruction, to forgive. I saw the tender child in him, not fully formed; and the soldiers around him. I projected furies with and through him, as well as an obsessive romance and fear. I enacted the woman bruised and scorned. In those days – he was 34 then – he was attractive, intense and tentative, feeling his way. I was fascinated by his warmth, and by the cold steel in his nature. He was vulnerable to my drama, as his ego was not secure, and his path was at a forking of the ways. I was just 20. I wanted a child with him.
The little fish who swam towards our first encounter and knocked at the door for life, was born seven years later in Gemini. She persisted and prevailed.
To forgive, does not erase from the slate – no one can do that except the bearer, with God. It goes to a hidden place and it opens wide. To forgive means to give away my enmity; to move apart; to respect that soul’s providence and freedom as a whole. To be able to forgive and move on, is a personal boon; I am not jailed, I am out on parole. To forgive is the holistic LAW OF THE UNIVERSE; and the Law is movement: and movement through the fields and seasons of life is Key 13, the “scorpio force”.
My friend Lyn is writing an autobiography of the scorpio force through herself. She told me she has trouble with the amount of “I” in it. I told her Actaeon left the I out of his first draft, and it was contrived and read badly. Perhaps the answer is, to ask from time to time what this “I” is – Self-enquiry. Then it becomes objective, and the dimension of cosmic mystery restores the Life. So why not study … the human who is closer to me than my heartbeat? All else is speculative.
Meanwhile, at Alum Way, there is the man, my friend David. We’ve been together for five years; we are reclaiming the string of overgrown gardens next to the woods and the brook. My building of rough timber fences is now approved of by the man; with the addition of some long apple branches, the fabric starts to flow, and is strong. Yesterday I almost finished the digging. In the corner of the garden where the recent rubbish is stacked, the earth was packed with broken pots and old barbecue coals and litter, and has died to dust, it is filled with tough thatches of dead corpuscular root fibre. Nothing will want to grow there except – possibly – nasturtiums which are said to like infertile ground. It might be a good place to put the man’s fishpond. The man wants the rubbish pile remnants to be moved into the woodpile garden, away from his sight, until it can be dealt with. But the woodpile garden is my little subconscious sanctuary – as well as being the first place last year, that I entered and cleared. Why not put it further back, in the nettle garden which no one is bothering with at the moment, and cut it up into bags for the municipal dump?
looking into the tip
… and After
For me these gardening details are psychology. After digging along the border, I raked, levelled and trod a room-size area where the high rubbish tip used to be; to lay the first turf. It is incredibly exciting and creative. Around the green “mandala”, we can seed grass and wildflower, to watch it grow. I found the man in good voice with these plans in general. The place which is trod and prepared for grass, is a magical dancing floor at dusk; darker than the lumpier ground around it.
The “I” in narrative is fine, so long as the dimension is alive through it, of a story working through a local i, like a sonata through a cello.
I’ve been reading in Self Enquiry April 2003, Jim Pym’s article on spiritual healing. It is very interesting. It is for him the attentive practice of “I do not know, nor do I try to fix it”, which clears the space for God.
The man had a bad day yesterday, with his back. He can live with a lot of physical pain, but not the fear and tension that rises to his head from it as it accumulates. His GP referred him to a pain management clinic, where they can try out drug changes. I heard (when I had toothache) that to alternate pain killers is more effective than to use just one, which habituates. He draws the line at morphine. Clive up the road wears morphine patches and he says he’s not going there. Alum Way is tenanted by brave souls in pain, crying a little in their beds at night. The Welsh lady downstairs has almost wasted away, but is as wiry as a root, thanks to the bottle. The man pulled strings through his social worker (a large black lady called Lolita whom he manipulates with great skill), and the council came along at once, and mended the steps and re-concreted the front path – he is delighted with his will with A Way. He made prints in the wet cement with stencils of a rose and a boat, and a magendovid. I told him the magendovid looks more like a paw print. He said he will make his dog walk in it. Through the ages, the cave dweller marks his dab.
Spiritual and sexual healing does not remove his pain – yet – but it does open up his resources and inner soul strength. It is a long-haul circuit. As a “soul gardener”, he manifests a physical garden and an Eve. His Aries will is powerful. My lovership with him, and in the garden, is for the whole. Does this rare opportunity stand equal with writing great screeds and getting published and influencing people?
Quantock hill waters
Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.
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