Thursday, 20 March 2014

stonehenge vernal equinox

As we drove to Stonehenge through the magical Somerset countryside,Venus peeped out briefly but brightly and ominously between the clouds.   In terms of celestial astrology (celestics), recently Venus has been in the lotus of the heart of the Goatfish (the constellation of Capricorn), "the secret of the future of humanity" (John Lash).
Being barefoot by the stones is more magical than you realise until afterwards, what a magically charged way to enter this new time frame.

Monday, 17 March 2014

sacred love sacred light

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Rediscovering the truth of what love really is to us as humans, something that truly fulfils us and enlivens us rather than burdening us with a concept of suffering and sacrifice, seems so critical to understanding what we are about and where we are going.  We cannot be commanded to love, it simply does not happen that way, it is something we feel when we feel the energetic connection between ourselves and others and know directly that how we feel is directly affected by their state and vice versa.  Then we truly care for their happiness.This is not an intellectual realisation -  it comes about when we restore our energetic sense of feeling including the biochemistry of our neural systems.  Another individual human's energy can  have this impact on us. Today I felt to share this beautiful piece of writing by John Lamb Lash, Sacred Love, Sacred Light, How the Girl and the Grail Came Together.

"Both in its historical origins and its literary dimensions, Arthurian legend is a reflection of the survival of knowledge and practice from the Mysteries, though not of the Mysteries themselves. The Mysteries were institutions of initiation and education derived from a long tradition of shamanic practices in Europa and the Near East. In structure and function, they may be compared to a modern university system. Imagine that all the classrooms, libraries, educational and training facilities, laboratories, lecture halls, faculty offices, etc. of such a system were destroyed. The collegial network for higher education in the classical world was totally eradicated with the rise of Christianity. With it went the ancient network of Mystery cells, and the method of shamanic initiation practiced in those cells.

Some people who carried the sacred knowledge that informed and guided the Mysteries did survive, however. At the very moment when the Roman Empire was crumbling, a Druid in Wales advised a local chieftain to set up a militia to protect the diaspora of initiates from those ancient institutions. The refugees had been arriving for some time. They first fled the ruined sanctuaries in the 3rd century, and the diaspora continued for 200 years. With the murder of Hypatia in 415 AD, the plight of the refugees intensified. 415 is a threshold date, denoting a precise moment of abrupt and profound change, a momentous shift.
The nodal dates 281 and 453 are also important in the parallel history concerning the diaspora of the Mystery initiates. By contrast to athreshold date like 415 AD, which marks a vast and abrupt shift, a watershed, a nodal date is a vortex moment around which contrapuntal developments occur. In the tumultuous swirl of the nodal moment, certain events and conditions dissolve, sucked away into the depths of time, and other events and conditions unfold, forming new patterns of experience. We will occasionally apply the concept of nodal dates and nodal timing as these lessons proceed.
Feudal Shutdown
Chivalry illustrates in a vivid manner the dissolving and upbuilding currents of a nodal moment in history. Chivalry was the product of a new cultural order, feudalism, that emerged in Europe with the breakdown of the Roman Empire and the reversion of social organization to local levels. With the invasions of the 5th century, law and order could no longer be maintained by totalitarian measures proceeding from a central controlling authority. The defenses of the Empire were breaking down, Huns and Goths poured across Europe, and people in each region had to fend for themselves. Landholders took up arms or hired men to protect their property. Roman slavery broke down and underwent a conversion into serfdom. With the new military organization came the idea of fealty to a feudal lord. The knight who swore fealty vowed to protect the material and familial interests of his lord and master.
At the nodal moment of 453, the old imperial structures of command and control were dissolving, and a new social order taking shape—such is the contrapuntal dynamic of nodal timing. Simultaneous breakdown and build-up of social and cultural patterns was evident all across the former Empire. In this turbulent swirl of events the Dark Ages began.
Feudalism is not a particularly interesting subject, but it may soon become more relevant if certain parts of the "global community" plunge into chaos comparable to the last years of the Roman Empire. (It is fascinating to consider that the "New World Order" which seems intended to create a global totalitarian system is in fact driving the world more and more into feudal-like fragmentation. It shatters rather than unites the global community. But might that be precisely what it is intended to do?) The organization of patriot groups in the US is a feudalistic trend. Gangs in urban ghettos are feudalistic units. The tendency—indeed, the necessity—of the rich to confine themselves in walled compounds protected by surveillance cameras and battalions of security guards is feudalistic. So is the reduction of regional populations (in India, for instance) to serfdom in the IT industry. And, of course, the greater part of the Islamic world is still innately, rigidly feudal.
The aspect of feudalism that interests us most in parallel history is the sexual morality that arose within it. Because the Dark Ages in Europe were the dawn of Christian civilization in the West, feudal society was deeply molded by narratives of sin and guilt. A hateful and condemning view of sex and nature marks the Christian tradition in Europe. It is a truism that people in the Middle Ages were told to believe that woman, represented mythologically by Eve, was the instrument of the Devil, and that nature was evil. The proposition sounds so ridiculous that we tend to dismiss it, but to do so is a serious mistake. It would be no exaggeration to say that Christian mores poisoned human relations in the feudal age, and condemned every spontaneous instinct that connects humanity to the natural world.
The condemnation of nature as demonic was especially nefarious.(Read the entry on the Dark Ages in The Woman´s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara Walker to get some idea of this mindset.) In the Pagan sense of life, nature was sacred and animated. In Chapter 3 of Not in His Image, I wrote:
In its reverence for nature the Pagan religious outlook honored and encouraged empathic bonding of person to place, not divinely ordained possession of the land. Mountains, hills, grottos, wells, rivers, all were sacred, not because any doctrine declared them to be, but because the experience of the peoples native to a particular locale was grounded in a direct and sensuous revelation of divinity. Theirs was a mystical participation in the Other, free of intellectual or doctrinal filters. Ancient bioregionalism, in Europa as well as in the Americas, was not superstitious folly, but a genuine, livedanimism. Theirs was a world in which, as the initiate Plutarch wrote in his essay, The Sign of Socrates, “every life has its share of mind and there is none that is wholly irrational or mindless.”
Pagans participated in the "complementarity of mind and nature," and the "pattern that connects," to borrow a couple of terms from Gregory Bateson. Empathic connections between the indigenous Europans and their environment were not instantly shattered by the imposition of Christian values, of course. In fact, there was enormous resistance among Pagans to the imposition of a nature-hating mindset. Policies of repression introduced in Hypatia´s time (375 - 415) led to the Inquisition and the Witch Hunts a thousand years later. Christian values ran so violently against human inclinations that they had to be continually and brutally reinforced. The ages-long Christian war against nature finally triumphed in the Enlightenment when science totally desacralized the natural world. Roszak has pointed out that the scientism of the 17th Century is totally consistent with the religious dogmas that preceded it. All the pioneering men of the Enlightenment, such as Descartes and Newton, were devout Christians.
Ecofeminism asserts that the view of nature and the social treatment of women are always intertwined. In the Middle Ages, women were regarded on the one hand as property, and on the other as dangerous animals to be feared, confined, and controlled. The image of women in feudal times is a cliche, but not an entirely inaccurate one. Chastity-belts were more than symbolic icons of the day. We are told that women were locked into these devices when their husbands went off to the Crusades. This happened of course rather late in the Middle Ages. The Crusades were mounted around a nodal moment, 1202. In preceding centuries, the confinement of women had not been so extreme, but it became more and more brutal and rigorous as the power of Christianity advanced.

The opposition of sexuality to spirituality is an anomaly of Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion not found in many other cultures and spiritual orientations. 
In fact, the Dark Ages were all about shutting down. Feudal shutdown was evident in all aspects of the life of those times, but especially in sexual mores. The amorous, hedonistic lifestyle of Pagan Europa was literally "foreclosed," as happens when property is reclaimed. Christianity seized upon womanhood as material property, but made women the least valued property of the mundane order ruled by the Church. This takeover of the feminine followed from the repression of the Sophianic vision of the Mysteries, and the wholesale destruction of Pagan civilization.
Feminine sexuality was the primary target of feudal shutdown. But it was also the issue on which the Pagan spirit rallied valiantly and tapped deep inner resources to resist the repression of salvationist religion.
Unrequited Love
Chivalry arose during the breakdown of the command and control systems of the Roman Empire, as noted. The inceptive nodal moment was 453 AD (second half of the 5th Century, Arthur the warrior chieftain, formation of the "Round Table"), and the concluding nodal moment was 1456 (Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur)—almost exactly a full millennium. During these ten centuries Europe saw the development of the code of knighthood, and in the later centuries, the technology of warfare emerged. With the invention of firearms in the 15th century, the reign of chivalry ended. The first cast-iron gun was introduced in 1430, and Malory wrote his classic around 1470. (The key developments associated with a nodal moment may occur precisely at that moment, but more often they arise around it, the way ripples spread around a stone thrown in a pool.)
What is truly remarkable about chivalry is how it provided a vehicle for a revolution of sexual mores at the same time that it served militaristic ends. But not exclusively militaristic ends, of course. We know from Lesson 6 that the Round Table had in addition to its military function a spiritualmission: to protect the survivors of the Mysteries, the guardians of the Sacred Light. The Arthurian matter reveals the continuation of the Mysteries, and, at the same time, it reflects the culture of amour courtois, courtly love.
So, in Lesson 7 of this course we come to a great and compelling triangulation: Grail - Warrior - Woman. This correlation implies the mystical identification of the Grail and the Girl. In the cult of amor, the warrior-lover moved between the lure of the Wisdom light emanating from the Grail and the alluring radiance of Woman. In parallel history, the preservation of the Sacred Light was intimately linked to the experience of Sacred Love, consecrated passion that unites man and woman in a death-transcending bond.
Amour courtois has been praised as a revolutionary and revelatory shift in social mores unparalleled in history, but such praise is usually tinged with damnation. The single most comprehensive book on the subject, Love in the Western World by Denis de Rougemont, constantly emphasizes the negative character of "unrequited love." De Rougemont goes all out to prove that the devotion of the knight to his lady, or of troubadour(wandering minstrel) to chatelaine (the lady of the castle), was unconsummated, and could not be consummated in this world, because it represented a transcendent relation only to be achieved in death, i.e., in disembodiment. 
But de Rougemont got it badly wrong, as I now wish to show.

To clarify this issue, I would offer an initial correction concerning "unrequited love." I propose that it may be understood, not as love that is not returned and so remains tragically unreciprocated (de Rougemont's pitch), but as love that does not ask to be returned. Love that does notneed to be returned. What kind of love neither asks nor needs to be returned? Might this not be called self-fulfilling love? It is the kind of love that transforms the one who loves, regardless of how it effects the beloved. If transformation of the lover was the true dynamic of "unrequited love," rather than the non-reciprocation so often proposed, then it must have been a transcendent force of immense power in society and spiritual life. A purely secular power, intimate and transcendent, personal and transpersonal at once. All the evidence of the revolution of sexual mores the Middle Ages indicates this to be so.
In parallel history it is this transformative force, Sacred Love, that humanized the European world in the Middle Ages, not the repressive salvationist morality that Christianity forced on that world. Repression cannot elevate; it perverts what it would improve. Sublimation cannot transform; it merely substitutes a less genuine experience for a more genuine one. From the time of Saint Paul, Christian religion demanded the separation of sexuality and spirituality for the salvation of the soul, but amour courtois defied and reversed this taboo. In unrequited love—not excluding the face-to-face sexual embrace, as we shall see—humanity in the West acquired soul. amour courtois was the alchemy of soul-making. Both the passionate gaze (or even the glance) and the carnal embrace fostered intimacy and nurtured the authentic sources of humanitas. I maintain that almost everything that has been attributed to Christian religious tradition by way of elevating and refining the human spirit was actually achieved by the experiment of Sacred Love in the Middle Ages. The cult of amor was the hidden tap root of Renaissance humanism. The inspirational model for Sacred Love developed in the same social genre as the Grail Legend: the Arthurian world of knights in shining armor and damsels in distress, and the closely associated world of troubadours, jongleurs, and conteurs.
Sacred Love eventually produced the humanist spirit in Europe, but the phenomenon itself did not originate in the medieval European setting. The cult of amor that flowered in the world of the troubadours and the Round Table originated in far-distant Asia. Its roots were Oriental, and ultimately Tantric. The immense and subtle cultural-spiritual transmigration required for the Asian love sacrament to pass from East to West is one of the most exciting chapters in parallel history.
The Sufi Connection
No scholar so far has traced this far-reaching feat of transmigration. Despite its frustrating negative tone, De Rougemont's book did present some tentative clues. He suggested that the cult of amor in Europe was inspired or inseminated by "Arabian mysticism." This is a puzzling notion, however. The gist of it seems to be that early in the Middle Ages Moorish culture in Spain produced the first troubadours as a secular offshoot of contemplative mysticism centered on "the Beloved," i.e., the Divine Feminine. This obscure development stems in some manner from the Sufi movement, a heretical or underground aspect of Islam. It is more than likely that Sufi is an Arabic version of the Greek Sophia. Sufism, then, would be (or would have been, originally) a devotional or bhakti path centered on the figure of the Divine Sophia.
This is intriguing, of course, because the goddess Sophia is the central figure in the Western Mysteries. Was there then, in some manner, a fortuitous collision of Eastern-Arabian devotionalism centered on Sophia with the telestic tradition of Sophianic Mysteries that had taken refuge in the Western Isles? Whatever the case, the setting for this linkage was Moorish Spain, particularly Andalucia. The time was the 7th Century. This much is known, but it remains to be seen how this wonderful convergence took shape.
Needless to say, it is rather difficult to imagine a resurgence of the Divine Feminine coming out of Islam. If this is actually what happened, no scholar can say exactly how it happened. It seems that an Arabian practice of blissful contemplation of "the Beloved" (read: Divine Feminine, Divine Wisdom, Sophia) morphed into a cult of woman-worship in Southern France. De Rougemont established the notion that Sufi theophany stands behind the cult of amor in which troubadours lavished extravagant praise upon a woman they could not touch, and many have followed his lead.
But there are several kinks in this theory. 

In the first place, Arabian sexual mysticism was largely, if not entirely, homosexual. In theory, the mystic may have contemplated a virginal young woman who represented the Divine Sophia, but in practice it was beardless boys who caught the eye of the adepts. In Sacred Drift, Peter Lamborn Wilson explains the arcane spiritual practice called the "Witness Game," which used "imaginal yoga to transmute erotic desire intospiritual consciousness" (p. 61, his emphasis). The point being, that physical desire is not denied or overcome, but transmuted, as lead into gold. The practice included "poetical and musical improvisation, dance, and 'gazing' chastely at beautiful boys (whence the practice was also known as "Contemplation of the Beardless")."

All these elements occur in troubadour and chivalric romance, but strictly free of homosexual connotations. The troubadours were masters of poetic and musical improvisation, and even borrowed Arabian musical forms (much later preserved in Flamenco riffs). The motif of the gaze (which Loomis shows to derive from Celtic lore) occurs prominently in Parzival when the hero sees three drops of blood in the snow and falls into a trance, contemplating the color of his beloved's complexion. In some cases, the gaze is merely a glance, the most famous instance being Petrarch´s encounter with Laura. For Dante, the gaze of Beatrice becomes like a guiding beam that leads him to spiritual heights. In the poetry of John Donne, the gaze on which the lovers are "threaded" assumes all the potency of carnal intercourse. Donne´s poem, "The Ecstasy," is the consummation of a long tradition of amorous gazing that runs back through Parzival to archaic Celtic origins.
If we rely on the Sufi connection, it would appear that the troubadour gaze derives from the Witness Game. But Wilson pointedly notes that "the 'Feminist Principle' is notoriously hard to locate in Islam" (p. 71)—I would add, even in the esoteric or underground Islam of Sufism. "From the essentially masculinist view that permeates the Koran...women are seen as themselves with individual souls, but as virtual property in relation to men." Moreover, "although all sorts of hints and echoes of the Anima are found," for example, in "the cult of Buraq, the cult of the Beloved in Persian poetry," Wilson concludes that "women are simply repressed" in Islam, now as then (p. 71).
In amour courtois, women were not only not repressed, they were the inspiration for the spiritual liberation of the "armored" men who adored them. Nothing comparable exists in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, except perhaps the Song of Solomon. This is a psalm of sacred love perhaps inspired by the Queen of Sheba, who figures as a representation of the Divine Feminine in Arabian mysticism. (The Queen of Sheba from Bellifortis, by Conrad Meyer, Bohemia, c. 1405.) There may be some great love stories in Arabian folk lore, but, on the whole, Islam does not permit the concept of romantic love with a religious dimension, such that it could become a religion in its own right.
Evidently, there is something murky in the Sufi connection that makes it deeply incompatible with the model of heterosexual chivalric love.
Mystical-Erotic Ambiguities
Homosexuality is a capital crime in Islam, but this fact only adds to its heretical appeal, Wilson observes. How to account for the homoerotic element in Arabian mystical tradition? It is well known that the Arabs preserved Greek science during the Dark Ages. It may well be that they also inherited the Greek tradition of pedagogical homosexuality, the cult of beautiful, smart young boys. To my knowledge, no scholar has so far proposed this connection, but R. K. Dover´s incomparable study, Greek Homosexuality, supports it. Dover showed that the erastes, the beautiful boy beloved of the older man, represented not only a lure of sexual purity but a pristine intellectual ideal. (The lure was attainable, but not always claimed, Dover explained. Even when it was claimed, custom required that intercourse was "intercrural," between the thighs.) The atmosphere, esthetics, and ethics of classical Greek homosexuality fit the Witness Game rather neatly, I would say.
Moreover, let´s bear in mind the lesson more recently illustrated by the life of T. E. Lawrence, namely, that Islam is a male warrior feudal society. And always has been. The date of the Hejira, the founding moment of Islam, is 622 AD. This is a nodal moment, but not merely for the rise of militant religion. It is also the time of the first chivalric romance, Antar, written in Andalucia in the first half of the 7th century, according to Reni Nelli, the leading scholar of Occitanian literature. The feminist idealism of chivalry arose simultaneously with Islam, but I do not advise that we regard these phenomena in any sense as twins.
Wilson says that the Witness Game "was perfected in the centuries after Ibn 'Arabi´s death" (p. 61), which puts it into the 13th century. The nodal date of 1136 AD, cited by de Rougemont and others, marks the initial flowering of troubadour poetry with Guillaume IX of Poitiers, grandfather of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Ibn 'Arabi was born a generation later and thrived at the time Wolfram von Eschenbach was writing Parzival, and Gottfried of Strasbourg was writing Tristan. Of all the Iranian, Arabian, Persian and Sufi mystics, Ibn 'Arabi came closest to the theology of romantic love celebrated in the West. His mystical devotion to woman began at the Kaaba in Mecca where patriarchal and masculine values dominated, needless to say. But for the love-hungry Persian all that mattered was the glance he got of a young girl who was circumambulating the shrine. When he published The Interpreter of Desires, a book of poems celebrating his unrequited love for this unknown damsel, the mullahs cried blasphemy. The poet immediately fled to Syria (ever a stronghold of Gnostic and Sophianic diehards, by the way), where he "defended his mystical-erotic ambiguities with dazzling scholasticism" (Wilson). All this happened in the near East while chivalric literature was blossoming in France. The heretical cult of amor was peaking.
Ibn 'Arabi´s troubles with heresy went on for decades. Authorities in Egypt banned his writings. Scholars and mystics of orthodox Sufism blamed him for ruining their tradition. He was a heretic even to the heretics! Wilson summarizes Ibn 'Arabi´s blasphemous message:
Love is declared the equivalent or perhaps even superior to religion; the human beloved becomes a Witness (shahed), a theophany of the Real. Again, the poets received from Ibn 'Arabi a language of discourse with which to expand their comprehension of a complex already central to their very being: eros, desire, and the borderland between erotic and mystical consciousness.
The same elements were expressed in troubadour poetry and the chivalric code, and lived out dramatically in the sexual and social mores of the real-life exemplars of Arthurian legend. Gottfried of Strassbourg barely escaped the Catholic enforcers for comparing the passion of Tristan and Isolde to the sacrament of Holy Mass. (He went into hiding and left the completion of his story to another poet, Thomas of Britain.) The idea that personal and carnal love is a religious force superior to any religion is the ultimate heresy on this planet, not to mention the ultimate challenge to the Paternal Lie. If we can realize through personal love all those assurances that religious faith alone can give us (so its proponents claim), what use would we have for religion and all that comes with it? If the religion of love carries a transcendent power superior to what is found in religious doctrines and institutions, why would anyone bother to uphold those doctrines and institutions? With human love for a divine sacrament, who needs a massive hierarchy to perform Holy Mass?

For human love to assume a religious dimension, the transactions of power between the sexes had to be totally renegotiated. In the code of the Arthurian knights, the warrior went to tournament or to battle after requesting that his beloved witness his act, and by doing so, legitimate, and even consecrate, his use of violent force to demonstrate his moral worth. His actions were only real if seen by the Witness. This is why the knight often looked toward the spectator gallery to be assured of the gaze of his lady when he went into the joust. (Lady handing a lance to a knight. Manasseh Codex, colored illustration on parchment, Zurich, c.1310. University Library, Heidelberg.)

At the same time that woman acted as the empowering agency for the warrior—this motif first occurs in Antar, according to Reni Nelli in L´Erotique des Troubadours—she was also the object of his mystical-erotic longing, and, on some occasions, the source of its carnal satisfaction. Arthurian knights such as Gawain traditionally went into contest with some article of clothing of the Lady attached to his armor. A scarf or her "shift," the medieval text usually informs us. I reckon it was more likely to have been a rather more intimate accessory of the Lady´s wardrobe.
Sexual morality in the Middle Ages played out in the battle-ridden zone between the wasteland of the chastity belt and the wonderland of wet panties.
Dawn Song
"Ordinary morality" may be felt as simply a mask for sexual hysteria—a burden which no human deserves to bear. "Sexual freedom" within an ethics of love would then be seen as a gift bestowed on all true lovers of the true beloved.
- Peter Lamborn Wilson, Sacred Drift
Introducing the theme of "unrequited love," I proposed a new spin on the widely held view that it represented male sexual-mystical obsession with an unattainable woman. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and troubadour poetry attests to my interpretation far better than it does to the conventional view. 

Love that seeks no return fulfills itself. It transforms the one who loves, no matter what it does for the Beloved. Such is the power of the Beloved, who is both the recipient and the reflecting lens of love´s own transformative power. This transaction has to be deeply personal so that it can take its participants beyond personality. It has been argued that in the Sufi theophany of the Beloved the individual woman was merely a lens for Divinity. But this was certainly not the case in amour courtois. In his lecture of 1967, "The Mythology of Love," Joseph Campbell indicated the difference:
In the various contexts of Oriental erotic mysticism, whether of the Near East or India, the woman is mystically interpreted as the occasion for the lover to experience depths beyond depths of transcendental illumination—much in the way of Dante's appreciation of Beatrice. Not so among the troubadours. The beloved to them was a woman, not the manifestation of some divine principle: and specifically, that woman. The love was forher.

If, in any instance, devotion to that particular woman was unconsummated sexually, the transformative dynamic of unrequited love still applied. The lover did not ask his love to be returned by intimate favors. But when the lover´s passion was consummated, the dynamic applied in yet another way. Unrequited love did not demand carnal intercourse, but it did not deny and exclude it, either. This is what "sexual freedom" meant to some people in the Middle Ages.
Now it might be protested that I am making amour courtois out to be what I want it to be, regardless of the evidence. The fact is, many troubadour poems insist that the poet does not have the intimate favor of his lady. She belongs to another. He can't even touch her with a ten-foot pole. The troubadours both lament and celebrate the unattainability of their supreme object of desire, it seems. Time and time again, the poets tells us that the Lady they celebrate and adore is unattainable. L'amour de loitain, love at a distance, is the recognized mark of troubadour poetry. 

Scholars have taken the poets on their word, but I propose that scholars have been duped, just as the people of the courts where the troubadours sang were duped. The point of singing praises to the unattainable lady was to make her husband and his courtiers believe that she had not given the poet exactly what he lamented not getting from her. It was the obvious way to protect the illicit, extramarital passion celebrated in amour courtois. There was nothing ethereal and unconsummated in troubadour romance, but the sexual encounter had to be disguised. In short, the bards were faking it. 

Yet this tactic was not initially required. The first surviving troubadour lyrics, attributed to Guillaume IX of Poitiers, around 1136, convey the ethos of the locker room. The sexual drive is raw and undisguised, and the poet gets exactly what he goes for. Then he goes elsewhere for some more. Guillaume´s notorious exposition of the lois de con—I won´t translate, this essay is probably already too dicey for some tastes—reflected the sexual appetites of medieval machismo infatuated with variety and conquest. Only with later poets does refinement occur, and genuine religious sentiment toward sex comes into play. 

Yet amour courtois never lost its erotic edge. The alba, or dawn poem, is one of the most beautiful forms of troubadour lyric. It celebrates the moment when the poet must part from his lady in secrecy, so that their all-night liaison is not suspected. Surely, this precaution would make no sense if they had not been sexually intimate. Some poems openly celebrate the beauty of woman's body naked in the dawn light. The soft luminosity of the adored form exudes mystical radiance, as if embedded in a supernatural glow. Ezra Pound, who translated many troubadour poems, noted that "the 'Lady' in Tuscan poetry has assumed all the properties of the Alchemist's Stone" (The Spirit of Romance, p. 90). In the cult of amor the lady´s body was regarded with the same wonder as the Grail. In some way, and not just metaphorically, the carnal form of woman was an epiphany of the Sacred Light. 
In some moments, in some moods, the Girl and the Grail were one. 
* * * * *
For troubadours and Arthurian knights alike, a particular woman was always the catalyst to the experience of the Divine Feminine, but in being so, that woman was not merely the lens for a theophany. She was not merely a means to an end. Love for her was an end in itself. It was, if not the equivalent, then surely the perfect complement to spiritual love for Sophia, whose name is Wisdom, whose body is the Earth. 

In some subtle way discovered in the Middle Ages, which we are still in the process of exploring, love for the physical beauty of the Earth commingles with the love that may be felt in carnal intimacy. Tantrics in Asia assert that the Godhead of Nature, Shakti, manifests spontaneously in the sexual embrace. The cult of amor seems to have been an inheritance and deepening of the Asian Tantric experience, rather than a modification of Sufi theophany. Yet it may have passed via the Sufi connection from East to West. By an amazing transposition, the Tantric mystique of Asia inseminated the religion of romantic love in the West. In an even more amazing twist of history, this heretical religion was nurtured in the cult of the warrior, the Arthurian knight.
In Sacred Love, Sacred Light found its reflecting ground. In some manner, the Organic Light of the Mysteries played around the figure of the Lady, and rayed out from her physical aura. This aura of carnal luminosity is truly mysterious, and may not be fully explained in written form because it belongs to an unspeakable and inviolable dimension of the Sophianic revelation."
jll: May-June 2006, Flanders-Andalucia

Saturday, 15 March 2014

healing psoriasis and magnesium baths

Look at the these photos showing changes in psoriasis in a family member over a period of two days with simply magnesium baths! The procedure is 30 minutes soaking time in a bath with 500g magnesium salts, daily.  There are different kinds of psoriasis and probably many different helpful things that can be done.  The point is really that we don't cure the body and we are under no such pressure to do this.  Healing comes naturally from far more powerful sources than us and when we correct deficiencies and remove toxic susbtances then we make way for healing to occur.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

the quest for the holy grail

Galahad receiving the Grail from the Grail maidens
So what would it take to see beyond the fallacy of current (rapidly becoming bygone) so-called norms and firmly commit to a path of sanity and happiness?
Tony Wright who has examined in depth our biological predicament ('the biological origins of the fall from from grace') observes our tendency to see the madness in others and wonders when we will see it in ourselves and realise it is ubiquitous and that there is actually something wrong with our brains.  We can then set out on a path of restoration of brain and body through a biologically appropriate diet, through use of plant medicines re-establish healthy endocrine system and brain chemistry, shift out of cerebral dominance of  the left hemisphere of the brain and function to a point where we can move into our full potential and live in 'a  perpetual state of wonder and awe'.  This he sees as the Holy Grail.
John  Lash. comparative mythologist and revealer of the Sophianic vision story of the Gnostics, has recently postulated (in his talk The Look of the Anthropos) that it might take for us to see the hideousness of the child abuse that is perpetrated across the planet and through shared empathy unite against the perpetrator
Through correction in three areas: 1. moving back into energetic connection with the planet we live n and engaging in a natural lifestyle, 2. deprogramming from cultural fear conditioning and 3. healing the rift between male and female, we can get back on track of our peak evolutionary potential, living lives of beauty and even cognitive ecstasy. Genial plant species help us on our way. Our peak experience is to behold the organic light, non-material animating light that permeates and emanates from all matter on Earth, the Holy Grail.

These are two parallel ways of describing at the same situation, that of the story of humanity, where we are at this time and what we might do to experience life on this planet as we would really like to.

What strikes me is that the longer we put something off the bigger the more difficult a task it seems, until we actually get round to tackling it and then there is often less to it than we thought.  Kind of  opposite to the situation when an idea pops in our head and we think it'll be done in a couple of hours but maybe takes weeks.  I think the steps to getting back on track are now quite clearly defined, we know what we need to do at least to get started.  As we proceed further steps will become clear.  We need to clear our perception through actually doing what it takes at physical level in order for this to happen.  Then the journey can unfold.

There are two grail questions:
1. What is wrong with humanity?
2. How can I serve the Grail?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

bruce lipton on epigenetics and love


"people who experience their power and take back control of their own lives know no limitation"

In this talk Bruce Lipton describes the  'central dogma' of medicine that DNA rules our lives.  A dogma is a belief based on religious persuasion, and this particular dogma is actually an unproven hypotheses. Information flows from DNA to RNA and to proteins - the assumption is that there is no flow in the other direction. Actually it turns out there is and the fate of cells is influenced by the environment.  We are talking about epigenetics, a new science where part of signal transduction affects hereditary.  'Epi' means above and epigenetics is above genetics, it is the control if genes from from the environment.  The skin of cell the membrane is the brain of the cell, it translates signals.  Interestingly the ectoderm of an embryo turns to skin and neural system.

The DNA actually doesn't do anything, it's just a blueprint.  The environmental signals alter the reading of the DNA.  Which genes are copied or activated depends on a biochemical process called methylation.  How they are read depends on the proteins around the cell, which in turn are affected by our mental state.  Love creates dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin and growth hormone, and the cells grow exuberantly.  Fear creates cortisol, cytokines, histamine and norepinephrine.

Experiments with folic acid, B12 and choline in animals showed that nutrients could prevent mutation  being physically exhibited even though they are in the DNA.

There are even receptors on your cell for personal identity self receptors.  It seems that there is an environmental signal about your identity that is is there even when the cells go, in other words, spirit.

Bruce Lipton's new book The Honeymoon Effect is a 'journey of self-discovery through the power of love that can be generated through the power of our own thoughts'.  In a recent talk in new Zealand he said that our brains are only really happy when we are making love because we are paying attention.   It would be wonderful if we could bring this love into all our daily activities and experience them in the same way.  He also pointed out that most of our minds are unconscious and 70% of the unconscious programming is negative and self-sabotaging  due to our culture.  This is an issue worth addressing!

Monday, 10 March 2014

vitamin d hormone of happiness and health

Vitamin D is a hormone which is essential for our health and happiness in many ways.
I decided to revamp a post I wrote on this subject: ( three years ago on this subject as it's become clearer than ever how crucial this substance is.   Many years ago I noticed how often people on an entirely raw plant diet eventually had difficulty dealing with sweet fruit. I was intrigued by this phenomenon. In fact the same thing happened to me when I was on that path.  Once I started including raw dairy products my ability to deal with sweet fruit gradually came back.  It turns out that vitamin D is essential for the proper function of the insulin system which of course is needed to deal with the sugars in fruit.  And vitamin D in the form we need (D3)  can be very difficult to obtain on an entirely raw plant diet unless you spend much of your life out in the high sunshine or supplement very intelligently.

One of vitamin D's other roles is to activate the immune system: "with vitamin D in the bloodstream, T cells become "armed" and begin seeking out invaders that are then destroyed and carried out of the body" 

Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is also crucial for our sense of well-being and happiness.
We were designed to be happy and we were designed to be exposed to regular sunshine!  In order  for our skin to make vitamin D from sunshine the sun needs to be high enough for UVB radiation to reach us.  In Britain this only happens from about March until September, In other words, there is a 'vitamin D' winter if we live a long way from the equator and the length of this winter depends on the exact latitude.

In terms of getting vitamin D through food and supplements, vitamin D is fat soluble, and needs to be taken with fat in order to be properly absorbed.  Also to be considered is that there are two common types of vitamin D: Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). We need vitamin D3 rather than vitamin D2. We use an olive oil based vitamin D3 supplement which we find very effective and also free from unwanted additives.  We have this in addition to vitamin D rich foods such as raw milk, cheese, kefir and fish oil.  On top of all this I personally take sun showers (a sunshower is a booth where you receive UVB rays all over your skin, unfortunately not available in all towns, I go in Fab, Totnes, Devon) regularly through the winter and get out in the sunshine as much as I can in summer.  It's a good idea to wait for a few hours after sunbathing or sunshowering before bathing or showering as the skin produces a powdery substance after exposure to UVB rays that is then absorbed into the skin and converted to vitamin D by the body. I really do notice a difference from this amount of commitment to vitamin D intake.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

iridescent energy at ebbor gorge

Incredible iridescent energy today, we headed up Ebbor Gorge to enjoy the  sun and warmth where wild garlic leaves are beginning to emerge.

wild garlic

neural regeneration with nutrition

"There are actually a broad range of natural compounds with proven nerve-regenerative effects. A 2010 study published in the journal Rejuvenation Research, for instance, found a combination of blueberry, green tea and carnosine have neuritogenic (i.e. promoting neuronal regeneration) and stem-cell regenerative effects in an animal model of neurodegenerative disease.  Other researched neuritogenic substances include:

Lion's Mane Mushroom
Apigenin (compound in vegetables like celery)
Red Sage
Royal Jelly
Coffee (trigonelline)
There is another class of nerve-healing substances, known as remyelinating compounds, which stimulate the repair of the protective sheath around the axon of the neurons known as myelin, and which is often damaged in neurological injury and/or dysfunction, especially autoimmune and vaccine-induced demyelination disorders.  It should also be noted that even music and falling in love have been studied for possibly stimulating neurogenesis, regeneration and/or repair of neurons, indicating that regenerative medicine does not necessary require the ingestion of anything; rather, a wide range of therapeutic actions may be employed to improve health and well-being, as well."

Saturday, 8 March 2014

fermented foods ~ instant energy for the brain

kefir with yacon, a prebiotic
We have been finding from experience that fermented foods such as kefir and kraut and jun give us a particular instant energy boost that we don't experience from other foods.  This intrigues us and we have been wondering what is the explanation.  With the question about what is the ideal fuel for the brain on my mind I came across the information below.

First thing to mention is that while glucose is an oxidative fuel for our bodies and brains,  it is actually used to make ATP or adenosine triphosphate which is a  usable form of energy for cells - "the energy is "trapped" in a chemical bond that can be released and used to drive other reactions that require energy. (endergonic reactions)."

So how do we go from glucose to ATP? "This is achieved through the process of "oxidation" - and this is carried out through a series of metabolic pathways. Complex chemical transformations in the cell occur in a series of separate reactions to form each pathway, and each reaction is catalyzed by a specific enzyme. Interestingly, metabolic pathways are similar in all organisms, from bacteria to humans. In eukaryotes (plants and animals) many of the metabolic pathways are compartmentalized, with certain reactions occurring in specific organelles. Basically, cells trap free energy released from the breakdown (metabolism) of glucose. This energy gets trapped in the ATP as it converts from ADP to ATP by the addition of phosphate.
There are 3 main pathways for harvesting energy from glucose:
Glycolysis - begins glucose metabolism in all cells to produce 2 molecules of pyruvate. Occurs outside of mitochondria, usually in cytoplasm.
Cellular Respiration - uses oxygen from the environment and converts each pyruvate to three molecules of carbon dioxide while trapping the energy released in this process in ATP. There are 3 sub-pathways of cellular respiration - pyruvate oxidation, the citric acid (Krebs or Tricarboxylic Acid) cycle and the electron transport chain. Occurs in different sub-compartments of mitochondria.
Fermentation - converts pyruvate into lactic acid or ethanol; does not need oxygen. It is not as efficient as cellular respiration; it occurs in the cytoplasm."

We want to look more into this but on first sight  it seems we have an explanation, we are using the help of friendly micro-organisms to convert the sugars on milk or vegetables or honey into ATP, an immediate energy source for the body and brain.

Now the brain uses a  lot of energy, a high percentage of the body's energy requirements.  Glucose is  a very immediate source of oxidative fuel for ATP production (and it seems the brain does need at least some glucose) while the breaking down of fat, protein of glycogen is a bit more long-winded.  However it seems to us that fermented foods can supply instant brain energy without having to take in a lot of fruit sugar which, as many of us know can cause challenges to our bodies in other ways.

Could it be that in order to advance our evolution as a species we do need a more instantly accessible source of large amounts of energy for the brain and that by engaging harmoniously with friendly micro-organisms we have this?

Friday, 7 March 2014

what is the oxidative fuel for our brains?

So..., these days many people are finding that they feel much better on low sugar high fat diets.  I myself eat a diet that is rich in raw dairy and fats and, while I eat fruit, it is not my main calories source.   If the brain uses glucose as its oxidative fuel, which has been my understanding, how can this be?  Well, personally, having experimented with eliminating fruit sugars altogether, I have found I feel best if I include some fruit albeit mainly low glycemic fruit which does not elevate the blood sugar too fast for me. 

Speaking to Tony Wright about this in view of his proposition that we evolved our large brains through eating tropical fruit he explained to me that although our origins are symbiotic i.e. with fruit trees (see and we are not that symbiotic organism any more.  Our system is not frugivorous any more...we are not the same species we were..we are now running on an ancient mammalian system that precedes our frugivorous phase.  So, in short, dues to changes in our brains and digestive systems we can no longer assimilate and run healthily on a predominantly frugivourous diet.

Tony gave me this link where there is a bit of a summary regarding brain glucose and other means of fuel while remarking that "no consideration is given in the article of increasingly specialised fruit eating in non seasonal tropics regarding energy requirement and gut/brain theory given our obviously delicate tropical physiology....  Also of interest is  the structure of neural tissue, which is much less protein rich than muscle i.e .protein cannot have been a limiting factor" as we see here

Interestingly something I have noticed in my own life is that in situations of exalted expanded states of consciousness my metabolism has changed in a marked way and suddenly I have craved lots of tropical fruit and can metabolise it, it as if my brain is just burning it up.  On return to a more mundane or 'normal' state of awareness this effect drifts away.

This is an interesting topic and connects us deeply to the ongoing story of our species.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

the great work

"Alchemy is the making of supernature from the human effect in the natural world"  |~ John Lamb Lash
In this audio John talks about the Holy Grail and how it has come to be confused with the chalice cup of Christianity.  The Holy Grail is a mystical experience which is potentially available to all humans who truly seek it.

the global brain

Peter Russell's documentary postulates that through information technology, wisdom can build up much more swiftly amongst the populace than in ancient times, spearheading a shift in consciousness, the awareness that we are part of something greater and of our individual potential for expanding the frontiers of our minds.

Whether there is actually global brain or not, there is for sure an individual consciousness awareness  of the living planet that humans can potentially communicate with.  And although the industrial revolution removed us from close connection with the land it paved the way for the information revolution through the technology that came out of it.  Although humans have latent telepathic and other extraordinary abilities, we lost full access to these faculties long before then and information technology has been a useful crutch.  However much we despair of wifi and other electromagnetic radiation, there's no doubt that the internet is being used to disseminate deep and new insights into the human condition and make them available to all those who have ears to hear it, and this in itself could help facilitate a profound shift in the human state.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

swan deva

Nairatmya, otherwise known as Swan Deva  'whose body is the sky' , the union of desire and emptiness, correlates to the constellation of the Fishes.  The first appearance of the sunrise crescent of the moon this month was in this part of the sky.

I have been remembering about investing every aspect of our lives in the dream, Her dream of humanity, rather than human behaviour as we see it now.  In feeling 'right' or 'on course' rather than being in a conceptual state of righteousness.  Righteousness, the idea that there is a right way of doing things, that we or others are wrong in the way we feel is anti-human, because feelings are our guidance system.  

How things 'should be' or how others 'should behave' is a made up reality, maybe the first virtual reality, subtly different to a vision of how beautiful things could become. It is so easy see the failings of other humans because we are all so vulnerable and, in the grand scheme of things, far from our true potential.  Easy, but possibly not  the most enjoyable or productive activity we can be filling our time with and possibly not fulfilling our highest desires. Attacking other humans indiscriminatingly  hurts our own feelings and damages our own lives because energetically we are so connected.  There are so many positive things we can do to improve our sense of well-being that we can share with each other too without even having to engage with the concept of 'should'. And we can protect from the negative impact of the forces that are truly against humanity as a whole more effectively from a sober standpoint where we are making allowances for other humans we are involved in because we understand the situation that faces us all. The real enemies, the forces that are getting in the way of humanity and our happiness are unfeeling, anti-feeling, these are the things that need to be moved out of the way so that we can engage with a story, a narrative that is favour of the life force and that feeling.  

barefoot on the tor

 And we did see the sunrise crescent!, unexpectedly on the way home, I love these unexpected views that we get when the sky clears in these cloudy islands. Occurred to me that so much of Celtic divination is plant and tree based because star divination became less of an option as the Celtic peoples who were deeply established in the mysteries moved into these parts of the world. The Celestics course can be found at You probably would probably want to familiarise yourself with much else on John Lash's website if you were pursuing this study as it would enrich the experience. We made this video on 3rd March.