The Illusion of Power

Very apt……

France & Vincent

Image: Pixabay CC0

There were those who walked the earth who looked not into the eyes of Nut, but whose ears were caught by the whispering hiss of Apep on the threshold of dream. There were some who, looking into his eyes, were hypnotised by his gaze and saw only him, bowing down and worshipping before him, seeking their own reflection in the mirrored glance.

Caught by the illusion of power, blinded to its destructive darkness, they sought dominion over others, seeking to be as the gods. Do you not know, O Man, that the rule of the gods is not dominion but service?

We are not to be bought or cajoled with gifts to the Temple, we cannot be bribed or cursed or corrupted. We are the Living Law, perfect even in our seeming imperfections and thus we serve the Purpose that moves through all Creation.

Yet it has always been thus…

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The Pulpit

The area of the Czech Republic around Velehrad is not only beautiful but packed with things to explore. The hills there are called the Chřiby and are sandstone, grits and conglomerate hills. The area is known for wells – always of interest – and stones. I had my mind set on looking for one called The Pulpit.

So just after 9am, I set off with my buddy Jan in search of said Pulpit. Well, stones are sometimes difficult to find…….

We parked in a little village called Stupava and asked a couple of locals for directions before heading down the road towards the reservoir before climbing up one of the hills. Along the way, we found a couple of wells and stopped to visit with them, sample the water and, for me, to say a few words in my mind to the guardians of the wells.

The weather had improved and we were a little lucky. Rather than mist, fog and drizzle, it was overcast with occasional sunny periods and snow. The forest trails were thick mud essentially but I didn’t care…. I was enjoying being in the forest.

Eventually, we came upon one of those maps with the trails in different colors. We figured the way and set off again on the red trail. Every now and then, we asked others walking towards us if The Pulpit lay in that direction usually being given an affirmative. So you can imagine our surprise when after 8-9 km, we asked two me who looked at us in a puzzled fashion and said Nope – it was back the way we had come! So off we went, 1.5km back along the red trail to the map and then onwards on the red trail in the other direction. A couple more km and they accompanied us off trail to where finally, we found the Pulpit. Honestly, would never have found it alone…. never.

It was already 2pm and it gets dark at 4pm so we had little time to navigate the ice covered steps of the Pulpit, take some pics, have a hasty sandwich and coffee before setting off again.

The Pulpit was carved out of a natural rock formation in the middle ages it is believed. St. Methodius is said to have preached there converting the local Slavs to christianity – I suspect that is a myth but it adds relevant color. The cross was added in 1972. I did a quick dowse and it seemed to me that there was an energy line following the same direction as the Pulpit there as well.

As it began to get gloomy, we could see the village were we had parked the car but we were not heading in that direction. So, lost again, we decided to try a recent logging path down the hill in what appeared to be the right direction. Both of us gained 20 kg going down the hill there as it was thick, thick mud that stuck to our boots like glue. But finally, we say that we were indeed heading for the village were we washed boots in a small stream before getting in the car for the trip back to Brno. We had by my watch, walked 17.5km. My feet suggested that was a far estimate.

But it was a great day in the forest. The wells and some of the stones we saw as well as The Pulpit certainly had an energy about them and the sighting of a full restored Ford Mark 1 Cortina – the exact same as the one I had learned to drive it – sort of was a sign for me that we were in the magic.

Chasing the Goddess

Having sort of stumbled onto a method of connecting with Slavic God forms after reading Alan Richardson’s ‘Dark Magery’, I am convinced that this is a powerful magical method of work. I chose the duality Perun and Veles and by taking on the form of each god in turn, I discovered more magic and synchronicity that I had eve done before. I wrote this up in a short book called Chasing Dragons in Moravia which is available in Kindle format and shortly, in paperback. In it, you will get a sense for how what appeared to be random visits and events were actually synchronicities that opened up a whole world of understanding.

I wasn’t able to communicate everything. Some of it is for me alone and some things are too big an experience to even begin to describe with any spiritual depth. I’d need a Vulcan mind meld to do that!

Anyway, based on that, I decided to Chase the Goddess next. I have developed a very strong feeling for the Goddess in her many guises and so I am going to explore two or possible three Slavic goddesses. What I find will be the next and probably last book in the series that began with Chasing the Shaman.

Over the last week, I began my preparations and I identified a duality to begin work with – Morana, goddess of winter and death – and Vesna, goddess of spring and fertility. It was then that I realised that we are coming up on winter and spring so I can align everything over the next half year with the Moon and Equinox, Solstice. Just like the Slavs would have done. I also signed up to do some remote study and learning with a real and practicing Slavic Grandmother and dreamer shaman. I shall perform her Moon exercises and also the ancient Slavic rites of killing Morana by building her effigy and then burning and drowning her in the spring. Yes – sounds fun doesn’t it!

Today I started my meditations and workings to start trying to take on the form of the goddess in my imagination. I must say that the initial result was one hell of an experience and ranks up there with some of the most amazing spiritual experiences of my life. Tears? I cried my eyes out. Couldn’t help it. Here is what happened.

Morana is a tad scary. So a cautious approach seems appropriate. I begin with a qabalistic cross and then settle in to find that state of mind that I need to reach. I can’t help calling out her name in my mind and immediately I hear the reply “Come to my bosom!” The words echo in my mind and I am in a winter scene. It’s an iced lake in between snowy forests and mountains. Cold and windy. The wind is as sharp and as cold as ice. In the center of the ice lake stands a tall white woman. Above her circle large dark crows in ominous fashion. Her hair is the grayish white of a once lush mane of darkness now turned to pure white except at the root where I can see gray. Her face is pale and tight skinned. She is beautiful and would have been as a young woman. There are hints of wrinkles at her eyes, but the taunt white skin doesn’t allow for many wrinkles. Suddenly, I am there looking into her eyes of ice. I instinctively hug her like I would my grandmother. She is, after all, THE Grandmother. As I rest my head on her bosom, no longer the fullness it once may have been, I start to get a whole series of impressions.

I see rocks covered with a thick lush moss of the darkest green. Water rushes between the rocks and there is no plant life save for that lush green moss. It is a cold, cold, place and the sandstone rock feels like ice. She is ancient. Older than age. She has existed throughout time as we know it. She has experienced everything there is to experience and is wise beyond wisdom. I gain a sense that she is the doors of death, of transition, every living thing gives up its experience as it passes through to be preserved in her nature. She isn’t so much death as the doorway to rebirth. A gate through which we must pass endlessly, through which all life must pass each time it reaches its cycle end. And in passing through, we leave our experiences behind with her to emerge on the other side innocent and refreshed ready to rise anew. She is the gate of the endless circuit of life – all life. She is the World Tarot and a point on the endless circle of life and death. I’m not afraid. I thought I would be but I’m not. I’m awed and tears run down my face.   

Again, I sense that there is no sentimentality with her. Sentimentality has no place here. None. This is a natural process. The law. The way it is and has to be. I begin to see her in various guises and forms – mostly hideous representations like Baba Yagga and even the Mare or nightmare – rotting witch that sits on your chest in sleep paralysis. Fear of death and fear of unbeing seem at play here and in a sense, she is the agent of life’s unbeing, so it seems rather apt. She strips away your being in transition. She is liminal and at a boundary. She is the boundary! A trickster and shape  shifter like Veles. She looks over the transition of all life whether human, plant or animal. She is everything that has been. Ancient, coldly beautiful lacking any emotion or sentimentality.

Suddenly, it’s gone again. She is gone and yet I think I knocked on her door. I got a glimpse of something that cannot be communicated for I know not how to do that. The goddess I saw was the snow Queen, yet I didn’t feel she was evil or for that matter good. She just is, has been and will be.

Chasing Dragons in Moravia

I have just completed a follow up to Chasing the Shaman that I have called Chasing Dragons in Moravia. It’s already out on Kindle and shortly, the paperback will also be available – it includes photographs. It’s not overlong but I hope it is an interesting account of the last 6 months or so in which I took on the forms of Slavic gods Perun and Veles….. and yes, weird things did happen.

The funny thing is that as I pulled this together from blog posts, notes and so on, it all fell into place like a jigsaw. It was an easy write because I suddenly understood all of the connections. And what could the connections be between Moravian stone circles and Churches, Castles guarding the gates of hell and these dual gods of the Slavic pantheon. Well…. quite a lot and most of it is in the book.

I’m now off on another journey – I’m going to explore some Slavic Goddesses. I have no idea what will happen but sometimes, I just dream about meeting an aspect of the goddess in a forest here and being enticed off to another world. So if I simply disappear. You can rest easy. I am with Her.

Living in a Foreign Land

Twice I have now lived in another country. (Three times, if you include Scotland!.)

Everyone should do it. I think because it broadens the mind and will increase your sympathy for immigrants in your own country at the same time.

USA

Moving to Texas was not at all easy. You would think the US was an easy place for a Brit to go and live but let me tell you something. It is an alien world. It took an entire calendar year to even gain a sense of the rhythym of life there. Texas has its own culture and that involves everything from general expectations to mindset. Customer service though wonderful can be annoyingly over the top. People are superficially cheerful and this can grate on your nerves too. I realized very quickly how negative we sound just in our choice of words…

“How are you?”

“Wonderful thank you. What a glorious day. How are you?”

“Not bad.”

Not bad. Sounds OK in the UK but in the US it sounds….. negative.

There is a superficial side to life in the USA I found. Everyone is superficially happy and providing wonderful service and attention. Yet, deep, intimate and lasting friendships seem rarer to me there than in the UK.

Of course, these are generalizations. Yet, the US culture is very different. Impermanent, fleeting even. There is little history and nothing really seems built to last. It is quite material and the spirituality on display is often very fundamental christian, reminding one of its roots. I had never thought of the word ‘damn’ as a swear word but for some, it is a deeply offensive swear word at that. There even is a falseness about even that spirituality at a certain level as well in that the flamboyant TV evangelists are plainly and obviously hypocrites in the main. Yet despite that, there is also often a genuinely simple spirituality at work in their flocks.

Distance is another thing. Everything is big and things are far away. Convenience is an aspect of life that perhaps helps to balance this out. It’s a long way to the bank but when you get there, you needn’t get out of your car. There are many other areas of difference – sports, vacation time, dining and more. It took several years to blend in. But, I almost always enjoyed it.

What did I learn? I think in the end I learned that material possessions do not make you happy. In fact, they sort of put you on a treadmill to hell as you work faster and harder to keep your status of things… I also learned to try to speak more clearly and to value friendships more as something rather special. I think I also learned something about poverty and wealth in the sense that in the USA some have everything and many have nothing at all – and I’m not talking about possessions but health, education and even hope….

Czechia

The Czech Republic on the surface would seem an easier place except for the language barrier. People have more of a European attitude. But after a while, you notice that many Czechs are well…. dour. Unsmiling and not very friendly. Customer service is rare and it is mostly a fight to get any attention whatsoever in a store. The workers seem interested only in getting to go home having dealt with as few other humans as possible.

Over time, you also get a sense for the game playing, jealousy and spite that some exhibit. With some Czech’s it seems near impossible to have a normal and straightforward relationship. Everything is a battle or a game in which they are determined not to let you benefit or get ahead and if you do, they will work behind your back to undermine you. Smiles are rare until alcohol is involved. Insults are perceived in your tone, word choice and actions that simply didn’t exist and they want vengeance for those perceived insults.

But the longer I live here, the more I get a sense of something deeper. Some flaw in the nation’s psyche. Many seem to not want to be happy and they do not believe you should be either. The games go deeper and become more subtle. Cheating on your partner isn’t just normal but expected. Their comedy movies clearly show this just as the Carry On films exposed British attitude’s towards sex.

Again, it’s a generalization. The more people have travelled and the more interaction they have had, the less this culture seems to be in evidence. The younger generation are not afflicted the same way as the older although this behavior begins in school and is exhibited even by the teachers – I have observed.

Again, I like living here. Its a nice place to be and it lacks a lot of the woke, PC nonsense that so infects the west and makes life miserable. Again, it is hard to describe without sounding negative.

What did I learn? Here I have learned to be happy and that happiness comes from inside of yourself. It is not given by things nor by wanting things. It comes from a sense of well being and self love (in a positive way) that glows within you. Yes, there I times I forget but the dourness of the Czechs at times reminds me – I am who I am and it is fine and you know, I am happy. I have also learned that holding a grudge, being jealous of someone else’s success of possession is something that drags you down and darkens the soul. It is better to be happy for others success and to boost their confidence.

At the end of the day, I’m sure every country has it cultural negatives and positives. In experiencing these and contrasting and comparing, I think and hope it makes us better people. More accepting and more tolerant. Dealing with living in a foreign country simply broadens the mind.

In both countries, I have found a vibrant culture that has profoundly impacted the way I look at life. In a sense, it has adjusted the lenses I was given to see through by my upbringing and now I see things a little differently. In the US, I found the value in self responsibility and hard work. In Czechia, I have found an aspect of spirituality outside and inside of myself that I was unaware of previously.

Talking to Yourself

I wish I could open up and let you in

Let you feel my feelings

Think my thoughts

Experience my memories

You would see me differently

Know what made me tick

Feel my hurts, share my joys

And understand our inter actions

The walls would come crashing down

You could not hate

Cruelty would ebb away

And everything you say

Would be said as if talking to yourself

For we are One

Divided by common purpose

And watered daily with fear

Fear of each other

Tended with suspicion

In a garden of lies

Painting differences in pallets of hate

A recipe for conflict

To divide this Ocean

Of consciousness

A fractured God

Deity divided

Sanity derided

A crowd of one.

Revisiting the King’s Table

This weekend, I needed to get into nature – into the bosom of the Goddess so to speak. For me, the connection to the land and to the Goddess is something that fades if I let it dragged away kicking and screaming by the mundane everyday. Then suddenly, I wake up again to her call and realize….. it’s been too long.

A few months ago, I got a message out of the blue from a guy in the USA. Over the past few months I hear from him periodically. I don’t know how he found me. He doesn’t want anything except to tell me a few things it seems on a spiritual level – to share a few of his moments with the Goddess and connect. Last Sunday, out of the blue, he sent me a message… “Hey, shaman! You need to get into nature.” He was right.

So yesterday, off I went. I took a friend along as well and we had a really nice day. We stopped off initially at Velehrad and explored the Earth energies either side of the alter. He could feel it too – he even picked it up at the same point I did, which was reassuring. Renowned for its healing energies, my purpose in visiting was to send some the way of a friend who needs it.

However, a couple of new thoughts about the place emerged as well. First, Velehrad could be thought of as ‘Big Castle’ or similar except there is no Castle and it isn’t a big place. Though it could also be a pointer to it’s possible history as the capital of the ancient Moravian Kingdom as ‘Great Castle’ or similar. Now, I suspect the church is built on an ancient pagan center – a spring. It struck me, that perhaps it is actually named or the Slavic deity – Veles? Veles’ Castle. That resonates with me.

Second, an exploration of the area around showed a stream passing close by and, as my friend remarked, the water was extremely ‘clean’ looking. I suspect it is spring water and hasn’t traveled far. I suspect the site was a pagan site of worship and marked by a spring. Can’t prove it but….

From there we went to Kraluv Stul. The so called King’s Table and I dowsed along with my friend who was amazed to find he could do it and that he picked up the same features as I. Firstly, the vortex off center in the circle and not by the big stone at all and secondly, what seemed to be three energy lines passing through the vortex and…. marked by small stones in five of the six instances.

I again did a little meditation aided with a candle, some small polished stones and some water from a well in Yorkshire. I again aimed healing energies where they were needed and made a few silent requests of my own. I had hope the activity would change the energy of the place – wake it up so to speak – but I can’t say I felt any difference. Who knows? Certainly, several other people visited that day and one or two of them demonstrated a reverence that suggested to me, the site was actively used already.

After a 10km hike through the misty, damp forest – through the bosom of the Goddess – we returned to the car for the trip home in the twilight. I felt a sense of renewal and connection again. And I made a vow, to try to stay more focused from now on.

Slavic Tales

A new book of poems out on Kindle and I may add the paperback later…. These are my most recent musings and seem to deal primarily with aspects of Slavic spirituality and the inner self. This last year I was investigating the Slavic Pantheon and connecting with the landscapes and Slavic culture and sometimes it truly touched my soul. It also appeared to re-awaken within me the search for the divine feminine and Her expression within me and outside of me in terms of finding a soul mate. I hope this collection finds a small audience somewhere and that it resonates. All of the poems were previously published on my blogs.

The cover is one of my photos taken with my trusty iPhone and it is of the Brno skyline here in Moravia. I am also somewhat obsessed with lamps and lighting as you can see in my work.