Thirteen Years

Thirteen years
time spent and life lived
through dreams formed and lost,
but dreams still remain.

A day of bittersweetness,
the complicated day-taste,
mixing the sweetness of joys
with the sadness of disappointments,
whilst meaning vanishes slowly
in pungent autumnal mists,
homecoming
heartlosing
soulfinding
rooted – these gods holding
grounded – these ancestors claiming
held – these landspirits embracing,
harking thenward
to the mythic
bidding yetward
to the neomythic,
the age of new mything
endeavouring to capture
ways to comprehend
nature’s forces
in postindustrialmodernity
the gods ancestors spirits
enlivening this land,
rewriting their histories
retracing their storylines
rendering their meanings
and ultimately our own,
through the lay lines of the land
echoing calling reaching
through the meridians of the body
energy tracks and traceries
mirroring shadowing flowing
just beneath the soils
no less than our skins.

Thirteen years
time spent and life lived
through promises made and broken,
but promise still remains.

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Autumnal Equinox

Yesterday’s air different,
today’s breath visible
in the early morning air
with hands stinging
for the first time since
last winter.

Hardly cold
suddenly cooler,
the air having
a faint metallic tang
the one of autumn
full here.

A heavy dew fall
or a light frost unfrozen,
too hard to discern,
though unwellied feet
shoe shod soon soaked.

Blackberries enbrambled
turn to mold and mush
as the thorns still
grab passers by
intent or oblivious
impossible to tell.

Conkers and sweet chestnuts
tumble to the ground,
both encasing treasure
in spiked or prickly shelters
hiding unexpected in downy soft,
velvet smooth nurseries
until time propitious
sets them free,
now.

Beechnuts exposed
in their four sided
hideaways crunch
underfoot
most empty with
little fruit
revealed for all
the tree’s hard work
and hope-filled efforts.

Hazelnuts falling green empty
or emptied quickly
by the tail whipping
harvester or thief,
nearly every oak ravaged
by the tiny wasp
knopper galled trees surrounding,
only hawthorns
abundant and hanging
heavy with haws red and plump
unequivocally inviting feasters.

Equinox upon the horizon
balance between
day and night
then all the energies
tip from creeping
to swifter darkness
leaving only memories
of light as life
and the living
prepare through the
rest of autumn
for the harshest season
once again.

A Day History is Being Made

My alarm went off at 0700 this morning, as the polling stations in Scotland were opening. It is a day history is being made.

I live in the southwest of England. I have lived in Orkney, on one of the outer islands. I have travelled though Scotland many times and spent time there. I have my own opinions about the referendum, but that is not what I have been reflecting on, nor what I woke up this morning keenly aware of looking out at the low clouds through my bedroom window.

This morning I feel the weight of history. Trained as an historian I have read a lot of the patterns of change and the alternations in the fates and trajectory of nations. What I am most aware of is the burden of change facing all of us who call at this moment the United Kingdom home. No matter what happens by this time tomorrow, or soon after, we will all know in what way the difference in all our futures will be shaping.

All of us are living through what our grandchildren and our future descendants will be reading about in their history books. I know this is true of many things happening in the world right now, the actions of Russia and its agents in the Ukraine, the Ebola epidemic in the west of Africa, the ongoing and terrifying deeds of IS in Iraq and Syria . . . all these are making tears and ripping huge gaps in the tapestry of stability as we have come to perceive, or misperceive it in the geopolitical, cultural and social maps of our world as we have tried to come to terms with it in recent times.

But the Scottish referendum is here. It is now. It is happening in our own country. What it will mean, let us be honest, neither side really knows. There are projections and modelling from both sides of the issue. What is undeniable is that it means uncertainty and dis-ease for many months and years to come. Perhaps because this vote and the journey to it have happened in such a public way, in such a disciplined and carefully argued and negotiated way that it seems unlike the chaotic and disorder way such events have occurred in the past. But there is the anxiety of chaos and disorder underneath it, there are the currents of passion and footfalls of fear sounding not far below the surface.

History is being made today. Yes or No, it is history shaping into the future very close to home. We may have been aware of it vaguely or acutely with other actions or votes or treaties before, that our movement onward would be altered, but somehow this feels different.  Perhaps it is just me and the way I perceive and sense and feel the shiftings of energies. But there is a weight today pushing down all around and even so far away from where the choice is being made it feels like there is a collective holding of breath. A sense of worry. A presence of deep unease. The palpable feeling of hope and the testing of trust.

Whatever way the vote goes, some of this feeling will be around for a very long time.

Right now I am going to get dressed and go for a walk. I am going to visit Rev’d Mother, an old oak tree of my acquaintance who has lived through much history, who is wise and insightful. I seek her out today for a sense of deep continuity to balance the disrupted energy all around me. I seek her out and the gods and ancestors for their wisdom and perspective that is far deep and broader than mine.

The world is not ending because of the referendum in Scotland. But something may do. And with such an ending at stake it is important that I seek and spend time with a being who has endured as we all shall do. We shall endure and carry on because it is what we have done. Even in the face of change, to whatever degree, it is how we have survived. It is how we have lived through the ravages of history and it is how we shall live into the future being shaped today. Each and every day we wake up to and with the potential to make what happens in all our tomorrow different. It is something that is so easy to forget, but that is one thing that the Scottish referendum has given all of us, a reminder that we have choices to make and courses to set for ourselves, doors we can open and those we may close as we write our own personal histories minute by minute, day by day.

Ah, the mist is lifting and the sun is beginning to shine.

Commodification of The Self

I spent a good part of today doing three job applications. Two were fairly straightforward, tweak my CV and write and punchy cover letters. The third one required four statements. They addressed the job specifications; particular skills applicable to the job;, why did I want to work there; and what from my leisure, volunteer or membership based activities would be valuable experience related to the job. These took all afternoon, fiddling with words, which normally I enjoy, to a strict limit.

Needless to say I was exhausted when I finished and immediately finished my cup of tea and fled the house for an hour to take a walk to clear my head and refocus my eyes and mind.

During my break for lunch as I was dowsing my scrambled eggs in lime pickle and chopping the cabbage and tomatoes for my salad I thought about the whole process of applying for jobs. I have been doing it now for over 18 months. It occurred to me the implications of selling yourself in your application, CV and cover letter, during your interview. I’ve had five of the latter and  umpteen of the former.

All of a sudden it felt quite odious, the entire notion of making myself into a commodity. I grew up with a father who was a brilliant artist who could have made a mint in the art scene in New York City, where the taught and studied at the League. Instead, after his dramatic conversion to Christianity, he decided he could not ‘prostitute’ his art to make money. Rather when I was four he packed us up and moved us back to Indiana near where he was brought up and his mother and most of his siblings still lived. We did not have an easy time, but but he stayed true to his principles and we managed. In an instant today, I really understood some of what he was getting at by refusing to play the game and selling out.

I do not think that getting a job is selling out my beliefs or principles, but the process of selling myself I am struggling with. It’s not that I don’t interview well, because in most cases I do. But it’s the notion that I’m not only the product, but the ad agency that is difficult. It somehow feels dehumanising to objectify the self, alright myself, in such a way. It puts me on the same level and the tin of cat food on the counter or the washing up liquid on the corner of the kitchen sink. Of course I seldom by brands that are advertised, but I am subjected to the ad campaigns on the television, in magazines and by mail shots. Sending out applications, CVs and cover letters I saw as an ad campaign for product me. All of a sudden I am a direct participant in a process I find basically manipulative and false.

It’s hard enough dealing with trying to find a job that provides the finance to live on and allows you to live. This other bit is an overlay that whilst taken for granted and put out as a good and necessary thing in all the job seeking advice, might not be so good after all. At least not for the soulself. My CVs, cover letters and application statements highlight what I do, but not who I am. I am more than what those documents reduce me to and reinforce what society values. And for the most part a lot of what modern society, or maybe more appropriately what contemporary culture, values is not what I value: excessive consumption; greed; build in obsolescence; a blatant disregard for the future in an effort to make the most profit for the least number of people.

All part of the game right now though. A game I’m forced to grit my teeth and play, as almost all of us are. It’s also why it’s so important for me to go outside, to walk in the fields and on the footpaths around the village. Doing these things provides an opportunity to be real. To listen to the gods, ancestors and feel the Spirits of the Land, to seek connection and communion with them. To be reminded I am not what I do. I am what I feel, perceive, see and sense through my physical and spiritual beingness. I am  how I love and respect those around me, human and other than human. I am not a commodity. I am the intention I live into reality and manifestation. I am a presence in the world manifested at a particular time with a destiny to discern and fulfill.

With a bit of luck I will find a job that allows me to do just that. At least that is what I hope. That is what others and I pray for me.

A Day too Still

Walking on a day too still,
the world all silent waiting,
wondering what portends,
querying the hush,
quiet enough to hear
Poplar’s leaves
drifting
groundward,
though in the distance
combines rake the fields bare.

Going farther
at the stone bridge can be seen
through Stream’s running waters
long tendrilled trailing grasses,
bright Stream Nymphs’ hair.
and the gathering of bubbles
over mini rapids congregating
air’s infusion linking
elements and Elementals.

On down the path
where Stream babbles singing water’s song
to mudded banks eroded
in days well gone and long forgotten,
hear Heron call when taking flight,
strain to see Woodpecker least spotted
rhythmically tapping muffled on a living tree,
see Old Yaffle airborne low,
and Moorhen crossing in front ignoring danger
eager to enter Stream’s bidding,
‘come join my swirling dance’.

Turning round where the path ends
at a mown and empty field,
no gleaning birds to see
the harvest truly past there,
back now observing elderberries
hanging heavy where once
flowers held heads high,
spider woven portcullises
drawn down before the blackberries
with stinging nettle sentinels
only the brave or foolish,
insect or walker,
reach for the fruit.

Then came out the sun
clearing clouds overcasting,
creating a less white sky,
the temperature rising muggy,
but the silence remained
etched into the space
marking fast the day.

Ride the Drum Beat

Ride the drum beat.
Ride the purr.
Ride the ticking of the clock.

Mount the Wild Wind,
the Untamed Horse,
the Owl, the Eagle, or the Wren.

Make the passage,
cross the threshold,
navigate the boundaries
between
The Worlds,
leave behind the Homeland,
head for the Barely-Known-Land,
meet the Wise Ones
greet the Old Ones
and the Yet-to-Be Ones,
learn the lessons
hear the tales
sing the Soul Songs.

Ride the drum beat.
Ride the purr.
Ride the ticking of the clock.

Mount the Wild Wind,
the Untamed Horse,
the Owl, the Eagle, or the Wren.

Return at there’s daybreak,
the soul’s bright dawning
write the lessons
rehearse the tales
hum the musics,
unforgetting any mystery
quickly fading
shadows vanishing into light,
hold the mapways,
pathways, soulways
for the next time
always now a next time,
each a new time,
ever into old time.

Ride the drum beat.
Ride the purr.
Ride the ticking of the clock.

Mount the Wild Wind,
the Untamed Horse,
the Owl, the Eagle, or the Wren.

Animāginē

On my birthday the end of April when I was walking on a south coast of England beach I collected 13 heart shaped stones or shells and other bits of scallop and oyster shell, as one does. And here are a few examples:

Black heart   Oyster heart   Three hearts

Usually I find one or two, but since I’d not been to the beach in many months, perhaps I was being caught up, as it were. When I got home, I put them all in one wooden salad bowl, which I use to place such things. The two big ones have bigger bits from different collecting forays or walks, and the individual sized ones have bit from specific collecting adventures or small pieces. They are all over the house, but mostly in the kitchen and my office/library/altar space room.

The other day I was looking at the birthday collection and found this, though the photos don’t quite capture what the physical eye sees, but you might get the idea:

Drummer 1     Drummer 2

 

Drummer 4       Drummer 3

I had not seen the image before, and maybe it’s not all that clear to anyone else, but it is very apparent to me. I now understand it to be a spirit image or animāginē, from the two Latin words of the same meaning where in this case the lines indicate long sounded vowels. Only now it seems she wanted to be make herself known to me. Sometimes she seems to be playing a drum and at others she is scrying or writing. I write. I use my drums. And whilst I don’t scry I do see things in showings/visions, which is a bit hard to represent otherwise. She is presented on a bit of oyster shell. As an animāginē she is very powerful. I am not sure what our journey together is, but in my experience such energies, presences, guides do not come on a whim. They do not just show up for a cup of tea and a bit of chitchat, they come for a reason. They bear a message, warning, gift, invitation or . . . At this point I’m not sure which in this instance.

Just now I turned the shell over and there is another female looking animāginē:

   Guardian 4   Guardian 2

Oh my, a twofer! I’d not seen the second one until just now. She seems to represent an older energy or presence. She is more shrouded, more enigmatic, more mysterious. I have no idea what to make of her, and to be honest I’m not all that sure what to make of her sister on the inside face of the shell. And as I type this maybe that is part of understanding the meaning. The animāginē on the outside face of the shell would be more hidden, less obvious, a protectoress of she who works on the inside. Again seen with the physical eyes she appears to be one thing, but the camera’s seems to show a dragonish face, so maybe this is a shapeshifter.

I am simply putting forth ideas here since I have not begun to work with either of them. I shall certainly have to spend time questing with, journeying with, pondering upon the nature and meaning of these two. I know what to call how they are presented to me; I am not at all sure what to call what they are in themselves, what manner of being nor the name behind who and what is represented. I have no idea what I shall find. I have no idea if they are related tightly to the sea or whether the sea, the great representation of the unconscious, is part of what the meaning holds. Could she be some aspect of me trying to push forth, who is well protected by the outside energy? Could she be a teacher? I have no idea at the present.

So many questions and so much intrigue. So much is revealed, or presents itself with the intention of or desire to be revealed or known if we only pay attention with our eyes, our ears, our minds, our hearts and our intuition. I am sure I will share more about her/them as I work with these animāginē.