Welcome into the vortex........

anarcho-shamanism, mountain spirits; sacred wilderness, sacred sites, sacred everything; psychonautics, entheogens, pushing the envelope of consciousness; dominator culture and undermining its activities; Jung, Hillman, archetypes; Buddhism, multidimensional realities, and the ever-present satori at the centre of the brain; a few cosmic laughs; and much much more....

all delivered from the beautiful Highlands of Scotland!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Egalitarian

It was the thing with Johnson, really: he was a great egalitarian. To Johnson, all people were the same, more or less, give or take the odd detail or two. His goodly nature, his overall bonhomie, would not allow for the possibility that some of his fellow humans might actually be a bit distinct from the others. That some might be fairly nice, while others might be quite nasty.

His egalitarianism led him to speak in sweeping generalities. 'People do this'; 'We humans are like this': his conversations were frequently peppered with such sentiments.

Sometimes Johnson's egalitarianism rendered him prone to depression and despair. 'We humans are a terrible bunch. We do some terrible things,' he could be heard to fret of an evening. Such observations, saturated with feeling, would fall from his mouth, as he surveyed the history of the human race, which he saw as characterised by viciousness, cruelty, betrayal, and general needless suffering.

On other occasions, however, Johnson's sense that we are all made of the same stuff would give rise to a certain optimism and faith in the human spirit. Put to him the proposition that some politicians really are a nasty bit of business, and he will reassure you that theirs is indeed a difficult job. They are not really bad, but are trying to do their best, just like everybody else. Changing things for the better is not an easy task.

Johnson had a good friend. His name was Larwood. They would spend afternoons walking together by the river or through the forests, half the time in silent communication with nature, half the time in animated discussion.

Johnson and Larwood had much in common. There was one thing, however, about which they could not agree. You see, Larwood was not an egalitarian. He desperately wanted to be one, to be like his dear friend. But, based upon the evidence all around, his heart and his instincts refused to allow it. Larwood could not help but see difference and distinction all around him. Not just difference, but real difference: difference that made a difference. He sensed some people to be seriously different to others. He felt uneasy with the feeling, and struggled hard to throw it off, but all to no avail.

Larwood was still young when he first felt the difference. On returning home from his primary school, he would peer out the front living room window at the world going by. He would watch with unbounded fascination the 9-to-5ers making their way home. Men with briefcases, a few ladies in high heels, after a day earning their keep, paying off the mortgage, now going home to family, food, and television. One day as Larwood was observing the parade, a strange realisation flashed into his young little mind. He wasn't going to be doing this stuff. This all bore no relation whatsoever to his own course through the jungle of life. Where this flash came from he had no idea. But it came with a certainty that was rare. Its impact was almost enough to make him fall onto the floor in shock.

As Larwood grew older, he was relieved to find others who were similar to him; people he met in person or through their writing. People who were not 9-to-5ers; who could not be 9-to-5ers. People whose destiny was distinct, already decided. Normally such people sensed a deep lack, a profound emptiness, in a life devoted to the everyday, to 'normality'.

He had read the stories. About Thule, the Hyperboreans, Atlantis. About how, once upon a time, there prevailed a Golden Age, inhabited by giants, whose wisdom was as great as their height. And about how some sort of catastrophe occurred, decimating these glorious populations, but how a few escaped, their traces and their wisdom still dimly felt here and there, a small minority of distinct humans wandering the face of the globe.

He knew Nietzche and the Superman. He knew, also, about the Gnostics, with their threefold classification of human beings according to their spiritual status. There were the pneumatics, whose nature was essentially spirit; the psychics, who could exercise freewill to go up or down; and the hylics, those on a downward trajectory, and who, some said, possessed no soul whatsoever. There were even those nice guys from Buddhism, the tulkus and Bodhisattvas. In truth, these were Ubermenschen if ever there was one. They were not 'normal people' with a nice kind and friendly bit stuck onto them. They were substantially recalibrated beings, of a different order to the majority of humanity.

Larwood felt no compulsion to believe any of these theories and notions. At the same time, he recognised something in them all, an attempt to understand, explain, or at least describe, the differences which seemed to present themselves.

Larwood hated to feel this way. It filled him with discomfort, distaste. The implications of all this, whatever they might turn out to be, were surely abhorrent.

He resisted and resisted, until ……. One afternoon he was on the bus going home. Two ladies across the aisle from him were engaged in animated discussion about the price of pork sausages in a variety of different leading supermarkets. It was their world, more or less, he realised, the price of pork sausages. He could go and talk to them about his world - the Tree of Life, multidimensional existence, the luminous Void, all felt, experienced realities to him - but it would be to no avail. They, like probably everybody else on the bus, would be incredulous. Not out of personal preference, but because they could not, were not able to, enter into his world. It was beyond them. They somehow lacked the capacity. Larwood's belief system, held together for long years by musty sticky tape, began to crumble. Slowly at first, before disintegrating comprehensively just as he got off the bus at his usual stop.

He felt no arrogance, no ill-will, no sense of superiority, at the now crystal-clear feeling of differences. He felt nothing at all, really. Except for an occasional tender-heartedness towards all and sundry, each and every one of us stumbling along, blindfolded to how things more truly are.

Time passed. It was the evening before the end of the world. Johnson and Larwood sat on a bench overlooking the river. Behind them, the pub was noisy with shouting and laughter as the big match was relayed on the big screen. Johnson put down his thick volume on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, commenting on how awful it all was, and how people act just as viciously today, all of which says a lot about human nature. Larwood gazed into nowhere in particular, quietly bracing himself for the Exit. The Void beckoned irresistibly. He wondered whether he and Johnson would meet again; and, if so, if they would recognise one another.


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The Fool Darkens

The Fool, some say, is the most important card in the Tarot deck. The major arcana, some say further, from the Magician through to the World, can be seen as mapping out the entire journey of the spiritual pilgrim. That pilgrim is the Fool, who follows the winding pathway from start to end, while simultaneously being outside time altogether. Unlike the other cards of Tarot, the Fool boasts no number - the Fool is 0, zero, infinite; living in eternity.

Traditional depictions of the Fool show him - it is invariably male - as indeed a fool. There are early depictions which look like a beggar, a wild man, or someone who has lost his marbles a bit. The most familiar portrayals of the Fool, such as that of the Waite-Smith Tarot, show a figure resembling a jongleur, a jester. Decked out in colourful splendour, he sets out happily on a journey under the blessings of the morning sun. Sometimes he is juggling balls in the air, his head in the clouds. At other times he carries his worldly possessions in a bundle on a stick over his shoulder; travelling light, psychologically and materially. Sometimes he is shown about to stride over the top of a precipice. Sometimes he is accompanied by an animal, normally a cat or a dog.

Optimism, a carefree sense of freedom; life as a journey jam-packed with possibilities: this is the kind of attitude communicated by our traditional Fool. He cocks a snook at  the limited, oppressive nature of a life too determined by, and identified with, rationality.

His 'down side' is naivety - hence the imminent topple over the cliff -, recklessness, irresponsibility. The animal at his side may be issuing a warning, attempting to bring our Fool down to earth. It may be the animal nature which the Fool deigns to forget or disown.

The Fool follows the pilgrim on the journey. At least it's best if he does. He brings constant freshness to matters; he is the Zen beginner's mind, if you like. Recall the Fool if in danger of feeling stuck, stale, or depressed. In an ideal world, he is the constant companion.

With age, and with experience, the Fool is challenged. In Blake's 'Innocence and Experience', this Fool sings the songs of innocence, and this song only. Maybe he needs to fall down that scary precipice in order to learn a thing or two. And so the vision of existence darkens. And the focus shifts into Dark Tarot......

There are a number of fascinating Fools scattered around in the darker corners of the Tarot world. My favourite is that of the Royo Dark Tarot.

It is not a figure designed specifically for the Tarot: she first appears in Luis Royo's book 'Dark Labyrinth'. She is, nevertheless, perfect for the occasion.

It is not essential to be a Tarot specialist to realise that the Fool has undergone a considerable transformation. 'He' has become 'she'. Along with this change comes the disappearance of the bright light of the morning sun. The Fool now emerges out of and into darkness; she is a being of the night. Sun gives way to moon, the bright light of day and understanding succeeded by the night and the infinite mystery. Bye bye Apollo; hello Dionysos and the Queen of the Night.

The Fool with his head in the clouds is dead and gone. In his place we have a being fully cognisant of the deeper realities of existence. In Shakespearian mode, she contemplates a human skull, and is constantly aware of her own mortality. She keeps herself behind a mask, not giving too much about herself away to all and sundry, another sign of her movement from innocence to experience. Her loss of innocence imparts only greater beauty to her being, however. It is the particular loveliness which arises only when one possesses the courage to embrace darkness, the unknown, the great mystery. She is the real Fool, the darkened Fool, the Wise Fool.

Images. Some favourite Fools:
Cachet Tarot (top)
Way of the Fool Tarot (middle)
Royo Dark Tarot (bottom)      

Monday, 18 June 2018

Passion and the Big Heart in the Annals of Rock......

Part One: Lament to Passion

'Mister Postman, look and see, if there's a letter in your bag for me. I've been waiting such a long time, since I heard from that girl of mine.'

There are different versions of this song. But the one that I grew up with was played by the Beatles. It featured on the 1963 album 'With the Beatles', which I think was the first L.P. that I ever possessed. Its purchase was an occasion of tremendous excitement, and the record was soon ground into crackly oblivion by the cheap sapphire stylus on my cheap dansette record player. Until it was no longer playable, however, I loved every moment.

Appearances notwithstanding - the Beatles of that period performed all their songs wearing the same cheery asinine smiles beneath their cheeky mop-tops - it is a song of great passion. Older readers will probably have been there; I certainly have. What a mixture of emotions churn in the heart and the stomach as the daily wait for the postman is endured. Love, longing, despair; hope, fear, anxiety. It is with an uncomfortable mix of anticipation and dread that the footsteps of the bringer of tidings are met. And at the time when John Lennon intoned the words, the torture could continue for days on end.

It is an experience which is, I suspect, foreign to younger generations. Today, everything is instant. Even email is far too slow and cumbersome for many folk in the year 2018. A  text is all that's needed. 'Do you love me?' 'No. Go jump in the lake.' End of story. And in the life of instant, a whole lot is being missed out on.

Not always, but frequently, feeling requires time in order to gain depth. Thus the modern culture of 'easy and instant' is fated to promote solely trivia, the superficial. A life of photos of 'me having lunch' on Facebook and WhatsApp will inevitably lack emotional depth: the conditions are not there for the kind-of training which depth normally requires.

A life of information overload, of instant-ness, suits 'those who would control us' just fine. It creates the group, the herd, the sheeple, as the phenomenon is sometimes unkindly called, where there is no time to think for yourself, to reflect, to allow the possibility of being properly individual. It creates a universe of superficiality, in which the deeper aspects of life have no chance to muscle in.

Precious little is found in the mainstream on the mind-compromising effects of the culture-of-instant. That's hardly unexpected, since it is a system whose survival depends on a level of collective blindness. The so-called alternative media, though, also says little or nothing. I find this 'notable', since the culture of instant and incessant information is part and parcel of what creates modern culture and its malaise. Every bit as much as what the alternative loves to rail non-stop against: deep politics and the rest.

The passion of Mister Postman is a threat to the system, to the status quo. It is real feeling, real people feeling real stuff. It provides the opportunity for authenticity, for proper individuality. It is a danger, and has to be quietly dealt with, to be removed, in order to create a compliant populace.

Part Two: The 1960s March On

Watching some of those old music clips from the early and mid 1960s can be a bizarre experience, one that bleeds incongruence. To the modern eye, the body language is minimal, understated, or non-existent. But real feelings, real passions, are communicated through many-a song of the period, in a way that more recent music is normally incapable of doing. Take a peek at the Zombies performing 'She's Not There' in 1965. Compared with the gyrating which is the norm nowadays, the band is statuesque. But the lack of physical movements is compensated by the emotional gyrations emanating from the magnificent voice of Colin Blunstone. It's a great song, methinks, with longing, unfulfilled passions, overflowing. Typical modern mainstream 'emoting' is formulaic, manufactured, nothing in comparison.


As the 1960s neared their end, emotion in music became darker, more complex. A remarkable transformation in musical expression and consciousness took place over a few short years: it was a period when change seemed to speed up, as it appears to do from time to time in human cultural history. Here is Julie Driscoll, a mere four years after the Zombies. Julie manifested as a unique phenomenon in the history of human consciousness. She was embodiment of divine Shakti for the time, sent to challenge the customary cool of Lord Shiva. He failed totally, crumpling into a heap at her feet.


There is a stereotypical reading of alternative youth culture of the 1960s, rolled out ad nauseam in any number of popular mainstream documentaries and the like. It goes a bit like this:

It all started off a bit naughty, but essentially quite nice: Carnaby Street, trendy, those cheery Liverpudlian mop-tops. Then came hippies, San Francisco, Haight Ashbury, dope, acid, more acid. Free love, flower power, love and peace, man. Within a year, though, it all turned nasty. Haight full of junkies, Altamont, Vietnam, student riots in Paris, rock stars dropping dead all over the place, Charles Manson. It all went wrong, it all dropped dead like the rock stars. By New Year's Day 1970 it was history.

I do not buy this interpretation of events. It certainly bears little resemblance to what I lived through as an impressionable teenager of the time. The story is a good one for television, simple and easy to understand. Many people like seeing something 'good' going down. To me, though, the reality was both more prosaic and more psychologically archetypal.

The transition from flower power to blood on the tracks was not a case of failure, of something naïve being replaced by something more 'realistic'. It possessed a continuum; it was the same process in a state of transition. Specifically, it was a darkening, a nigredo as the alchemists would have it, or incorporation of shadow elements to use Jungian language. This process is tricky and painful, but necessary if anything is going to survive. The counterculture in Britain as I knew it in the early 1970s was far smaller than the hippie stuff of five years previous. Yet it embodied a depth, substance, a solemn knowing, all of which were pretty absent from the alternative collective of 1967.

Part Three: Feed Your Head

Come the early 1970s, a certain thread in the world of rock was undergoing remarkable transformations. Jazz-rock, experimental rock, prog rock, post-psychedelic rock: we like to give things names, it makes us feel more secure. Whatever. Music of great complexity, sophistication, and psychic/emotional expression was emerging, pushing the boundaries further every week. Can, Yes, the Mahavishnu Orchestra were my main inspirations, but there were others doing similar stuff. I know enough about music to see that what was going on was remarkable from a musical point of view. I don't think people could create such pieces nowadays if they tried: it is outside modern mentalities.


While not exactly mainstream, some of the bands boasted an enormous following. The Mahavishnus and Yes played sell-out concerts in massive venues in the USA in particular. A considerable proportion of western youth was engaged and identified with the music and what it manifested. Then, one day, it stopped. Just like that. John McLaughlin disbanded the Mahavishnus and disappeared to India. Yes and their ilk became objects of ridicule. From 1975 -76 the map of pop, rock and roll was dramatically redrawn.

One common complaint about Yes, in particular, was that their music was self-indulgent and pretentious. Though less familiar with their later work, I know their music pre-1976 fairly well. It is a criticism which applies to a small minority of their output, in my view. The vast majority is far from pretentious. This is a criticism provided by people who don't get it, or choose not to get it. Whose emotional and spiritual range of sensibilities comes from flatland. Much of the band's repertoire invokes a variety of rich emotion, in my heart and soul at least. There is real passion there, but of a different order to what most 'pop' dishes up.

In place of Yes and the Mahavishnus, the youth of the day were suddenly served up punk and disco. Punk is far more readily accessible to the mainstream media; it works in the world that they are comfortable with, that they understand. Social unrest, anger, outwardly expressed frustration, class war: this is the fractious world which keeps the whole rotten system going. It is notable how the BBC and their like come up with sympathetic, understanding 'documentaries' on punks and skin heads, but the same is not forthcoming for prog rock, hard psychedelic rock, etc. The effects of these are potentially far more subversive. A youth culture based upon the Hindu-flecked jazz-rock of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, dealing as it does more with the one thing that scares the 'Control System' shitless, inner transformations, would be far more threatening than those which have appeared instead. It had to go. Simple as that.

That's punk. As for disco, well,...……. it's disco, innit...….

I have always smelt the whiff of social engineering about the transformation in 'music for youth' which I have outlined in skeleton above. To my knowledge, nothing has been written about it, and large chunks of modern alternative culture are not specially sympathetic to the consciousness-focussed phenomena that came and went so spectacularly. While I don't think that everything in social and cultural trends is engineered - there is room for the spontaneous, the unexpected, which will burst through regardless of any attempt at suppression - nevertheless things don't just happen by chance. Culture seems to be an ongoing game of cat-and-mouse between forces of spontaneous creativity and those of directed control. It is my thesis that, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the former were unusually prominent; a good deal of popular cultural change ever since has intended to bury that threat to its supremacy good and proper. It has been a comprehensive programme of dumbing down.                      


Saturday, 2 June 2018

Highlands to Cologne.... and back

"Ladies and gentleman, welcome on board KLM flight 0925 to Amsterdam." I sit back and fasten my safety belt, the way you're supposed to.

"Life jackets are stowed under your seats. In the unlikely event of evacuation......" Beginning to relax, I close my eyes. She is there. No, not now, please. I find travelling difficult enough these days. I feel stressed as it is.

Soon we are airborne. Her thighs feel like they are mine. The dragon tattoo. She digs her sharp heels deep into the flesh just behind my buttocks. A steady pulsing starts up, and energy begins moving up my back. These days it's hard and straight, like a sword extending up the spine. Even at 20,000 feet.

"Would you like a snack, sir?" A friendly young KLM man offers me a sandwich. It's tasty wholesome wholemeal, enclosing tasty smooth cheese. It's at this point that I know I'm not travelling with a British airline.

Strangely, my wife has been allotted a seat a half-plane length from mine. Instead, I am seated next to the grumpiest man in Europe. He made bizarre gesticulations with his arms and hands when I asked him to move so that I could get to my seat. And he makes similar dismissive movements at the friendly young KLM man when he offers him a drink. Now he has noticed a woman resting with her seat in reclining position, and he is trying to adjust his seat into the same position. Not knowing how, he is flapping about and isn't having any luck. I decide not to help him.

Amsterdam. The first time I've visited the city. Bicycles, canals, sex shops, cannabis smoking places ('coffee shops'). I am generally allergic to larger-then-Aberdeen cities nowadays, but strolling around Amsterdam makes for a highly enjoyable evening. Sex shops, bicycles, and dope make for a far more human, far less threatening, environment than the normal alcohol-and-smartphone-saturated recipe for human non-civilisation. It's so obvious, not even up for discussion.

The wedding. We're here for the wedding. In Cologne. I have never set foot on German soil, and am interested in doing so. Getting to Cologne necessitates a three-hour trip by train. Long enough to get angry...

Holland is a small, densely-populated country. The impression I get, at least of the bit of Holland around Amsterdam and to the south, is of a nation managed by fairly intelligent, balanced human beings. Despite the pressure on the land, things are generally neat, organised, and with a reasonable aesthetic sensibility. I sense a little love and care.

Scotland is a small, frequently-sparsely populated country. Its landscapes and wild areas are not managed by intelligent balanced human beings. The people whose decisions impact upon Scotland are either completely inadequate individuals, or have interests well outside those of the well-being of the land of the nation. They have overseen decade upon decade of trashing, a process which has proceeded at an unprecedented pace over recent times, with the invasion of the windfarms, and now the omnipresence of ugly, largely useless, run-of-river (ruin-of-river) hydro schemes in all sort of wild place. It is a global disgrace; my brief experience in Holland confirmed to me that my feelings are not just subjective funk, but have a firm basis in reality. The management of Scotland is an ecological perversion and scandal.

And so to Cologne. Not quite the vibe of Amsterdam, but a city with a laid-back feeling all the same. A warm evening, and street life. It could almost be the Mediterranean.

The few Germans I have known in my life have all been friendly, courteous people, and this is the overall feeling I have of the goodly folk of Cologne. Germans have experienced a raw deal from the medium-term effects of official history. Any sign of them getting out of order, and you say 'Hitler' or 'Holocaust' to them. Immediately they return to being meek, timid, guilty, and compliant to the whims of those who would control them. It's a great formula, never fails.

The thing is, the Second World War is actually quite a long time ago now. Also, if you shout 'Pearl Harbour' or 'Hiroshima' or 'Vietnam' at the American establishment, it fails to have the same effect. Funny, that...

And back to Amsterdam. On the train. A big bunch of tall, drinking German males get on in Cologne, continuing to be tall, drinking Germans as we begin our way towards the Dutch border. Their behaviour would most likely get them kicked off the train in Britain, but on we go.

Alcohol culture. It's a weird thing, isn't it? As globalisation has proceeded apace, it has become the planet's drug. Noise, hysteria, aggression: not for everybody, but in general these are the three qualities that I would associate with drinking, especially social drinking. It is the approved drug, and these are by consequence the approved ways of behaving. I have enjoyed a glass or two of red wine with a meal myself for many years - at least until kundalini kicked in, and removed any attraction that an alcohol-affected brain might have had. But it is both bizarre and speaks volumes that alcohol is so tolerated, so culturally-ingrained, while almost any other drug is viewed with suspicion, fear, if not demonised, in the mainstream. Official Britain is near the bottom of the global scale of common sense when it comes to mind-alterers. I hate to have to write it, but Britain is nowadays near the bottom of the scale on quite a few things.

So back to Amsterdam and the pervasive sweet smell of dope. Then home......

Images: Cologne

Saturday, 19 May 2018

It Takes Two, Baby...

It was the final gasp of the One, the All, the Undifferentiated, the Undefined and Indefinable. Part infinite bliss, part utter despair, in extremis It climaxed, splitting in Its ecstasy and pain into two. From one to two, then back to one again, It oscillated numerous times each nanosecond, expanding and contracting, creating dark and light, masculine and feminine, sun and moon, and all else besides. Thus, too, were born reflection, discrimination, judgement, opinion, understanding, and a myriad other manifestations of the dual. Ever since, plants, animals, and humans have engaged in coitus in an unconscious and desperate attempt to replicate that initial original climax. To this day Two becomes One and then Two again more quickly than we can catch, as the universe continues to pulse in its eternal orgasmic dance.

Modern culture has a schizophrenic attitude towards sex and sexuality. On the one hand, sex is everywhere. Advertising on television, in magazines, on the underground, dishes up a constant barrage of sexual stimulation. Hollywood, where sex generally seems to come quick and easy, with minimal fuss. A few clicks of the internet button, and all manner of people can be easily seen doing all manner of things. Drunken Friday nights ending up in the bed of a stranger, and good for a laugh at work on Monday morning, remain de rigueur.

On the other hand, we live in an extremely puritanical age. Behavioural constraints are ever more tyrannical, ones sexuality demanding constant caution unless it expresses itself in inappropriate channels. You dare not comment on a woman's appearance, for fear of losing your job. You hold back from expressing sympathy with a touch of a hand on a shoulder, in case you end up hauled up before an employment tribunal. Whatever you do, do not smile at a young girl: you may well end up on a sex offenders register. We are all potential abusers and paedophiles today in this frightening and frightened brave new world of emotional repression.

There is also the topic of 'loss of depth, loss of passion' which has unfolded during the course of my lifetime; I shall leave that for another day.

In modern culture, sex has three functions: producing babies; finding a partner in life; entertainment/recreation. All these, I contend, are valid in their own right, if they are things that turn you on. But society's oscillation between indulgence and repression of sex works as a false dichotomy. Allied with this insistence on sexuality as having these three functions, and these only, this serves to deflect from, indeed to deny, the other aspect to sexuality and the erotic, the really dangerous one. The sacred, higher dimensional aspect to sex.

In the beginning God created man and woman. The two poles of existence, just one tiny step from the One, the Undifferentiated, the Absolute. It's so bloody obvious that it shouldn't need saying, yet is avoided by any means possible. It is a mystery known to some alchemists both past and present, to some Gnostics, some Tantriks and Tantrikas through the ages (yab - yum), those with active kundalini, and a scattering of others who are mystically-inclined. It is notably a mystery which all major world religions have ignored, suppressed, or chosen to try and deny, whether through belief systems or through attitudes towards physicality and the body: false mind-body, body-spirit dualisms and the rest. Whatever happens, religions must keep this reality at bay, since it is a reality which will destroy their power in a flash.  

Alchemical sexuality, kundalini conjunction, yab - yum of the inner, all bear little resemblance to 'normal' sexuality. It's the Universe's dirty little secret, that God is a sexy beast. When he sits down for supper, he does so at the table with Dionysus, Aphrodite, Pan, the Goddess of the dark moon, and an entourage of raving maenads.

And then there's porn. Yes, I know. Some people get addicted. Some people use it instead of, and to escape, interaction with real human beings. Just like Facebook and Twitter. Some people get the wrong idea of their own body image. Like High Street fashion ads. And I know of the 'conspiracy theories' linking the porn industry with Jewish nefariousness - as most things have been linked with Jewish nefariousness by somebody or another. But on balance I think pornography is a good thing. It's one corner of human affairs where Dionysos can still reign supreme, or Pan can at least show his shaggy head. It's a corner where political correctness hasn't yet wrung the entire life and soul out of the party. It's a kick in the balls for sick northern puritanism.

Anyhow, the term 'pornography' covers a vast range of people and activities. The word is a bit like 'sport'.  Snooker and rugby are apparently both sports, but their similarities are few and far between. So it is with porn. One person's porn is another's not-porn. Like sport, it's a catch-all for people nasty, nice, and somewhere between. For sure, there are some free-spirited characters involved bringing a deal more pleasure into people's lives than do most lawyers and other folk sat behind desks.

And there's 'renunciation'. As pragmatic declaration of attitude - of giving up the nonsense and non-essential, and living simply and humbly - it is great. However, pragmatic renunciation easily tips over into something else, something more ideological, which involves a backing away from ones basic energies. People become monkish in mind, holy in the brain. It's an attitude that's reinforced by monotheistic religions that see 'body' as bad, or systems of oriental origin, which take 'desire as the root of all suffering' as their basis. Passion, desire, love with a carnal element, all come to be viewed with suspicion, distaste, horror even. They are hindrances rather than revelations. The weakness of human flesh. With such a mindset, the mystical nature of duality in general, and the masculine/feminine pairing specifically, will never be realised.

And then again there's 'tantra'. What tantra essentially is has got buried under the plethora of so-called tantric stuff around nowadays. Tantric sex workshops: not necessarily un-tantric, but the meaning of the word has got rather narrowed down, to say the least. If it's about anything, tantra seems to be concerned with using basic energies, especially desire, rather than renouncing them. Embracing the absolutely miraculous and sacred nature of desire, experiencing it as a gateway to liberation, unbounded joy. The Two becoming One, then becoming the Divine Syzygy once more.

So it's been a great revelation, really. It is a little more than a year ago when 'She' appeared in a meditative waking vision. She was perfection manifested in erotic form, oozing sensuality, the ultimate turn-on but without most of the normal physical and emotional accompaniments to being turned on. She embodied, I realised, all the longings, the yearnings, the unfulfilled desires of my life so far. All were distilled in her form at that very moment. At that moment I too realised that these feelings, which I had learnt to label 'neurotic desire' and 'hindrance' during my years in Buddhism, were no such thing. Each and every pulse of desire was sacred, and Blake was more correct than we could imagine when he declared energy to be eternal delight. At that moment I became a child of Tantra, albeit an old and grizzled one. Each and every pulse of desire was a hymn to Eros, the god of attraction, and the holder of the key to gnosis: attraction, that eternally recurrent event, bringing together the Two, the Two yearning for One, and to become Two in One. Yearning to embody the greatest secret of the universe.

'She', the fiery spark, the catalyst, the initiator. It was five months after her first appearance that Kundalini unmistakeably arose within my physical body. Such is the power of the Two-in-One.  

Images:  Buddha Nature, unbornmind.com
              From 'Donum Dei' series of alchemical illustrations
              Two of Chalices, Royo Dark Tarot

Friday, 11 May 2018

The Girl in the Desert

"You should not go to the desert alone," they all said to her. "It is too dangerous for a girl like you."

But she did.

All day she walked upon the scorching sand and blistering bare rock, beneath the searing heat and might of the great Lord Sun, as he made his way across the vastness of the heavens.

All the animals of the desert hid away from the power of the sun, hiding beneath rocks or sheltering in purpose-built holes and burrows. Only the girl walked the desert, alone and all day long.

The Mighty Sun looked down upon her tiny frame as she wandered across the expanses of burning rock and sand. He saw her infinite loveliness, and was minded to do her no harm. In truth, he fell in love with the girl in the desert. She was, after all, the most beautiful girl in the world.

Night approached. Full of sorrow at parting from the girl, the Lord Sun sank reluctantly below the horizon. Darkness began to extend its sweet and perilous embrace.

The girl was tired, and looked around for a place to rest. She lay her head upon a rock, stretched out her body on the open ground, and with a quiet shudder surrendered herself to the forces of the night.

All manner of desert creature - wolf, coyote, strange bear-like animals - came to stare at this singular sight. None, however, dared to touch her lovely body, awed as they all were in the presence of her beauty. Only one tiny snake, young princess of the desert, came close, coiling herself up to sleep beside her left thigh.

The cool wind of the evening came, captivated by the girl, caressing gently her bare arms and the soft skin of her face. The lovely Silver Queen of the Night Sky looked down, and smiled, offering her protection until daybreak.

To the night the girl gave herself up. Thus she received and drank of its mysterious bliss in thankfulness. At 2am a ripple passed through her body. She sank into deep, blessed sleep.

Once more the Lord of the Sky rose up; once more, the Queen of the Night Sky and her starry entourage fled. The girl awoke, and was glad. She continued on her way.....

Image: Philipp Otto Runge: Morning

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Not Your Friend....

Part One

"Culture is not your friend." Thus goes one of the better-known quotes from the eminently quotable Terence McKenna. These are, I suggest, words filled with wisdom. For myself, I prefer to expand Terence's words somewhat. The Pale Green Vortex equivalent runs like this:

"Mainstream is not your friend."

Politics, entertainment, fashion (of all types, including that in thought, belief, and ideas); economics, history, religion; health and health cures, energy and energy solutions; consciousness, mind. These are just some of the areas in which mainstream (the version of reality with which we are presented as properly real) manifests. All, in my book, require close scrutiny, a questioning attitude. At all times.

Not that everything 'mainstream' is false, bad, total delusion. No. But discernment, ruthless discernment, is necessary, in order to avoid being sucked into somebody else's storyline. 'Mainstream' is not, in the main, chosen by you; it is chosen for you.

Much of what is mainstream serves to maintain a certain version of the world; one which is predominantly humanistic, pseudo-rationalistic, materialistic, scientific in a one-eyed way. Generally speaking, its menu is one that disempowers, creating a small view of the universe which 'ordinary folk' inhabit. It serves as a cover-up of the Great Secret, which is the magnificent, miraculous potential of each and every one of us. It refuses access to our magical resources through feeding pap and encouraging passivity: citizen as consumer.

The strategies adopted to maintain mainstream are clever and many. 'Education' is a prime weapon, be it in schools ('get them young'), or through pop educators such as Professor Brian Cox (bow down before his image, oh ye of little faith), Dara O'Briain, economics and political commentators etc etc. Distraction is another most effective tactic: television, 'news', sport and so on. And, in a manner that is truly archontic, there is the use of the decoy. If 'alternative thought and living' is becoming a bit too popular and threatening, simply promote a lookalike, someone who appears to be alternative and right-on, but is really (probably unknownst to themselves) effecting the opposite. I don't know why, but Russell Brand comes to mind at this moment in time. There is also a host of group decoys, from 'environmental groups', to those demanding the end of capitalism and giving greater power to the state instead.

This attitude towards mainstream stuff, tirelessly churned out of Pale Green Vortex, is not because it makes for fun. On the contrary. It would be far nicer if it were not so. But decades of thought, living, experience, and research have led to the inescapable conclusion: Mainstream is not your friend.

Part Two

I suppose that things never appeared quite the same after LSD. In terms of quantity, my acid forays were modest: fourteen in all, scattered over a three-year period 1974 - 1976. It was high-dose LSD, however, and each trip brought its own valuable and still-valued insights. In hindsight, it was not so much the precise content of the experiences which had the deepest, most lasting effect; it was the cultural milieu within which it all took place.

One of the remarkable things about those early psychedelic journeys was how close and, in a sense, easy it all was. Dimensions of consciousness which were extremely different to those of 'normal', consensus reality were just the most miniscule of microdots away. It didn't take much at all to trip the switch (bad pun....); since then, the accessible nature of higher states has been borne out further by other entheogenic plants and substances, plus non-substance techniques of consciousness transformation such as shamanic journeying.

Other states of consciousness, which felt more true and real than 'everyday mind ', were innate in human beings, this much was obvious to me. The most remarkable thing was that nobody in the mainstream world ever uttered a word, aside from ill-informed condemnation of that most dangerous of substances, LSD. I had been through the best education that British society could throw at me, culminating in a not-bad degree at Oxford University. But amongst the hundreds of hours of tedious trivia that I endured as 'education', not a second was devoted to the topic of experiencing other states of consciousness.

It was a weird feeling, to finally, and with great trepidation, swallow a little piece of acid-saturated blotting paper and experience what unfolded in the following few hours. Nobody had told me about this: it was what I now refer to as the Great Secret. I did not know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't this.

For decades I tussled with this conundrum. Why wasn't I told? Why did the BBC so steadfastly lie to me, the politicians give misleading, largely untrue statements, producers of psychedelics locked away for many long years? Why the absolute demonization?  I finally worked it out; there was only a single rational conclusion. I wasn't told because I wasn't meant to know.

Part Three

It was early September last year when I would wake at 2am to the shining presence of a silver goddess of the moon, dancing behind my genitals and lighting up the darkness of the night with her scintillating brightness. With the continued unfolding of the energetic presence we may call kundalini since then, I have been compelled to delve into a little of the literature on the subject. This has consisted mainly of the work of modern 'kundi-actives', born and bred into western culture like me. At its best, this has saved my life; more prosaically, it has helped to make sense of an essentially non-sense process, and it has been reassuring to discover others who have undergone the same kind of non-ordinary experiences.

One fascinating aspect of this research has been my discovery that many kundi-actives have found themselves unavoidably of a similar mindset to mine of forty years ago. Experiencing a miracle taking place within their own physical body, they have been forced to ask the questions: 'Why did nobody tell me about this before?' 'Why the silence?' And some, mustering the necessary courage, have arrived at the same unappetising conclusion: they were not meant to know.

A very readable and full-length piece on the topic, with special reference to early Christianity and kundalini, is linked to below. It is well known, but frequently ignored, that the Bible is not an impartial collection of books by the best and only writers of the time. It is a carefully selected and edited product, one which has undergone many changes over the years as bits that are inconvenient and unacceptable to the message which the church authorities want to put over are deleted. In particular, anything which empowers the individual to seek out the spiritual by themselves has had to go.

With regard to kundalini/ twin flame, two major aspects make it dangerous and therefore unacceptable to the orthodoxy. Firstly, it bridges - or more accurately denies - the mind/body dichotomy, which is focal to the religious mainstream. It demonstrates the oneness of spirit with the bodily, the physical, the sexual. Secondly, the insistencies of certain guru-fixated Hindus notwithstanding, kundalini represents spirituality without the need for a pope, a priest, a guru. In modern times kundalini generally appears in an individual unexpectedly and spontaneously. Its progress is largely autonomous, it is its own guide and inspiration. It certainly requires no guru interfering in its inexorable course. Kundalini exemplifies how 'spirit' is inherent to the individual: the priest becomes redundant, the church as authority is rendered dead. This cannot be allowed. At any price.

Mainstream, indeed, is not your friend......