A Trail of Breadcrumbs

Learn, Child, View, Thumb, High, LikeIt was over twenty years ago, and I’ve taught a lot of lessons since then.  None, though, quite as extraordinary as that one.

They were 5 to 7 year olds, only ten of them, all with speech and language difficulties and several with autistic spectrum perception.  We were doing a mental addition and subtraction activity and I was recording their answers on the board.

There was a wide ability range and a couple of the kids were exceptionally bright.  I was doing my best to stretch them, while keeping the less able group involved.

I had a hidden agenda, though.  There was one boy – a six-year-old – whom I was watching particularly carefully.  He was one of the highly intelligent ones.  He always focused on the task at hand, worked hard and was unfailingly polite and charming.  We’d been watching him for a few weeks, my teaching assistant and myself, ever since I’d confided to her that I felt I was losing my grip on this class.  To be honest – and I’m not a person given to paranoid delusions – I was beginning to suspect that this little child was intentionally sabotaging my lessons.

The activity started quite normally, but before long he started.

‘27 +13?’ I asked.

‘40,’ someone said.

I wrote 40 on the board.

‘No, it’s 41,’ he said.

I talked through the calculation, using my best patient teacher voice.

‘But you said 28.  28 and 13 is 41, isn’t it?’

Hmm.  This sort of thing happened all the time in my class these days.  Normally I’d have accepted that I’d made a mistake and wondered, yet again, why I was becoming so absent-minded.  Today, though, I was ready for him.  I pretended to be flustered.  There was no flicker of a triumphant smile from him.  Maybe he’d made a genuine mistake…

We carried on.  He did it several more times, selecting his moments with infinite care.  If I stood my ground, he backed down instantly with a polite, ‘Oh, sorry.’  If I hesitated or acted confused, though, he’d capitalise on it, wasting vast amounts of time in the process.

By the end of the session I was in no further doubt.  All the times a vital piece of equipment I was sure I’d laid out for a lesson had gone missing and was then found in the most ridiculous place – by him, naturally; all the lessons where he was endlessly under my feet and I was practically falling over him, yet he’d always have a perfectly valid explanation for being there; all the times when half the class ended up repeating some stupid little phrase over and over, while he sat, bent over his work and looking up in mild surprise at their behaviour;  all this and more was being orchestrated by a child of six with a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum and severe speech difficulties.  It beggared belief.

Later that day I took him aside and asked him, point blank, why he was playing these mind games.

‘What’s mind games?’ he asked innocently, but the mask was slipping.  I could see a gleeful twinkle in those wide green eyes.

‘The little wind-ups you use in my lessons, like in maths this morning,’ I replied.

He gave a yelp of delight.  ‘So it’s YOU!’ he said.  ‘I thought it was you.’  And he smiled his concrete-melting smile.

He went on to explain that he’d been trying his ‘tricks’ on a number of key adults in his life for some time, waiting to find the one who figured out what he was doing.  I had, it seemed, passed the test.

So as his teacher I had two choices.  I could get angry, label him as a disruptive and manipulative pupil and apply sanctions.  Alternatively, I could be delighted that I’d come across such an audacious, brilliant and imaginative mind, give him the deepest respect and remember never to underestimate him.  I chose the latter.  Of course I did.  This was a once in a lifetime meeting.

From that day onward we became the best of friends.  Twenty years on, we still are.

That’s not to say he’s let me off the hook.  Far from it.

If he wants me to discover something, to move closer towards his level of comprehension, he will never simply tell me.  He uses the Socratic Method.  It’s the most effective form of education ever developed.  The student is given scenarios and placed in situations which require high-level problem-solving skills.

Hiking, Nature, Walking Trails, JeansI’m given a trail of breadcrumbs to follow, often a heady mix of physical and psychic, since he operates in both modes.  He ruthlessly ignores my questions or pleas for hints.   If some of the breadcrumbs have disappeared or been blown off course, I’m simply expected to work harder and faster to find the rest.  It’s exhausting and exhilarating – the kind of buzz people get from climbing mountains or running marathons, I suppose.  If I fail, he ups the stakes.  If I succeed he’s utterly delighted and we are able to communicate on a higher level than I’d ever have achieved alone.

I’m busily following one such trail at the moment.  Here, as an example, is just one of the crumbs he’s thrown me:

Phone, Communication, ConnectionAutistic people are capable of communicating and socialising. They have a naturally different method of accomplishing this. What exactly that method is I don’t believe is fully understood at present by either autistics or non-autistics. I don’t believe the correct words have been attributed to autistic matters to describe or explain them properly. I suspect at some point this will be achieved and hopefully will allow autism to be harnessed to its full potential and remedy the blindness of so many.

Wish me luck  🙂

 

A Flock of Clockwork Birds

Nothing deep this week – just a simple story, which happens to be true…

‘Flock of singing bird mechanisms, job lot’ said the advert.  And it had me – a bird in the hand…

I called the vendor, who – it transpired – lived less than a mile from my cottage.

“Yes,” he said. “Brass and steel.  Clockwork.  They have tiny bellows and a little brass whistle.  When you wind the key, the bird warbles and twists around.  My father had them, long ago.  Mother found them when she was turning out – asked me to find a home for them.  The sort of thing popular with Victorians, in little gilt cages, you know?  Could you use them?”

“Yes,” I said, not daring to pause for breath.

“How?” I wondered.

I could afford the price.  It seemed most reasonable for such treasures.  Real clockwork mechanisms – they are disappearing from our world like smoke.  No batteries.  No USB connectors.  Just brass and steel, cog and cam, key and spring.  I have loved clockwork, automatons and all such things ever since, as a toddler, I ripped my cardboard musical box apart to find where the sounds came from, and sat entranced as I watched the shining beauty of its mechanical perfection.

With no plan in mind, I simply knew I had to have the flock.  Perhaps the birds would sing to me and tell me how to bring them back to life.

At three o’clock I was led to the vendor’s garage.  A faded, mouse-gnawed, cardboard box was pulled out for my inspection.  Twelve little packages, each wrapped in yellowing tissue paper lay there.  He unwrapped one and placed the dainty mechanism in the palm of my hand.  Springs and cams glinted slightly in the dim light.

“Needs a key,” he said.  A second box was brought out, filled with hundreds of tiny folded waxed paper envelopes.  Why did he have that many?  He pulled one open.  I glimpsed fragments of wire and brass and plastic inside, and a shining brass key.

“Turns this way,” he said. “Counter-clockwise.  Left-handed.”

Like me.

He screwed the key into the mechanism and turned.  Nothing.  He twisted the device around, searching his memory, muttering to himself, “Must need oiling.  Not been touched in years.  How do they start?”

Then his hand knocked the fly wheel.  It began to turn.  A few slow revolutions, then it spun as smoothly as it ever had.  The bellows moved up and down like some tiny creature’s beating heart, and the warbling began.   On and on it trilled and I watched and listened, thanking the inexplicable impulse that had nudged me into answering his advert.

Next a box of birds (“All hand painted, you know.”) was passed to me for inspection.  Two hundred?  Maybe three?  Some in shades of blue, some gold.  I must have gasped at the quantity.

“Oh, you’ll be amazed when you see how many you’ve got here,” he told me.

Sure enough, as he lifted box after box, I saw an endless mass of the clockwork devices.  Enough for every key and every bird.

“No idea why my father had them,” he said.  “Obviously he was planning to do something with them and they got forgotten.  Just been stuck in an attic ever since.  You sure you can find a use for them?”

“Definitely,” I said, wondering how and when and what.

I’d happily have paid his price for the original twelve, but here I am with dirty, dusty box after dirty, dusty box of the tiny wonders, now stashed in my coal-store and waiting, waiting not so much longer now, maybe, to be released – to sing and twirl and entertain as they always intended to.

Orcadian Education – a better way?

What follows is little more than scattered traveller’s tales, gleaned from a very few days spent exploring the Orkney Islands.  I apologise to any Orcadians who should happen upon this post for the lack of detail and insight it contains, but would just like to throw in a few thoughts on a system which seems to me – from a very cursory glance – to be worthy of further consideration.

The first thing you notice, looking out from the hostel on one of the smaller and more northerly islands, is the idyllic view of land and sea, layered in horizontal swathes of colour, from emerald to deepest turquoise to heathery brown and finally ocean indigo, all set off by a clear, azure sky.  The second thing is a small herd of alpacas grazing a nearby field.

“Oh, they belong to the school children,” we were told.  “They learn to look after them and run the herd as a business.”

The school in question was the primary school.  It currently has seven pupils, but they are hoping to reach double figures in September.  Older children take the ferry to a secondary school each day – whatever the weather – on a larger island nearby.
“They do arrive a bit green some days and it’s a while before they can focus on the first lesson, but they never complain,” a parent told me.
Post sixteen, they weekly board on the island known as Mainland.
“They all have to sign an agreement,” she said, “Saying they’ll take full responsibility for their behaviour and attitude towards learning – and they stick to it.”

‘Taking responsibility’ seems to be the core ethic on the islands.  No one – young or old or in between – is mollycoddled and provided for.  Everyone does what they can to add to the quality of life.  We saw no litter, no graffiti or vandalism.  The ‘oldest home in Northern Europe’ – a magnificently preserved pair of buildings which predate the Egyptian pyramids – is protected only by a gated fence to keep the cattle out.  Not a DO NOT sign or so much as a crisp packet in sight.

I recently read a quote to the effect that you need a village to educate a child.  In this case, they have an island to do the job.  So yes, there are schools, and all the normal core curriculum subjects, but that’s just the start of it.   They learn not just about ‘The Vikings’, but their Vikings – the ones who farmed and fished their islands.  The history and culture of their home is shared with pride, so that every islander feels a deep and abiding connection with the land.  A local poultry farmer gives the children a few eggs to incubate and rear each year.  At lambing time each child is apprenticed to a farm worker and allowed to watch and sometimes help to deliver the babies.

The idea of informal apprenticeship pervades the place.  As soon as a child or young person is judged or declares themself ready to learn a new skill, an older islander will take it upon themselves to teach and supervise them.  Older ladies teach the skills of knitting and sewing to a new generation.  A lad is expected to pick up a skill set that will enable him to be a useful member of the community, whether it’s how to demolish a wall or how to service IT equipment.  Once these skills are mastered and the instructor judges the youngster to be capable, they are encouraged to do such tasks alone.  Each teenager develops his or her own abilities and is happy to give back to the community who gave them the skills in the first place.  The result:  young people are a valued part of the community, appreciated by everyone; the elderly are cared for by those who learned from them in the past and children look forward to becoming as skilled and useful as their older siblings.  No adolescent angst; no inter-generational tensions.

“Every new initiative on the island will only be given a grant if we can prove that it benefits every age group,” I was told by the development officer.  “So we have a youth council as well as an adult one, and they get to say how their share should be spent.  They were offered a youth worker, but they didn’t want that.  They said they’d prefer a dart board in the pub, so they could play while their parents were drinking!  Oh they all come to the pub.  Everyone knows their age, and when they’re old enough to drink, the adults are around to keep a watchful eye.”

The transition from kid to adult seems truly seamless there.

“Our son, at 17, wanted to start up a fishing business,” a mother explained.  “He told us he hadn’t a clue how to deal with all the paperwork, so I made an appointment for him with an accountant on Mainland.  He took himself off there and sat down with them and learned all they told him, then he came back and got on with it.  He’s never asked us for any help.  That’s how it should be.”

And it is, isn’t it?

 

 

Always will.

Glass, Shattered, Window, DestructionTen years ago, I was just finishing the most terrifying, exhilarating, exhausting and arguably the most successful year of my life as an educator.

I’ve spoken about it before, but not for a while, and a few things have happened this week (like the message from D) to make me want to look back at it.

Briefly:  I worked in a primary school at a time when everything was controlled by THEM – the curriculum, the standards, the targets, the methods.  As educators we were under stupid amounts of pressure to conform and jump through all THEIR hoops.  The alternative was Special Measures.

Ours was a smallish school and – as sometimes happens – in that particular year, we were struggling with an above average number of, um, challenging pupils.  The reasons for the challenges weren’t hard to fathom – parents in prison, parents who had died or were seriously ill, parents with substance abuse issues, violent and abusive siblings and step-parents, family break-ups, history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.  Those are just the bits I can remember.  There was also peer influence and imitation; children would pick up on the behaviour of others and copy it.

Run Riot, Anarchy, City, Urban, GraffitiEvery class in the 7-11 age group had a few hard-core rebels and several who copied their behaviour.  Teachers felt their standards slipping as they struggled to deal with daily disruption.  Some were refusing to teach certain children or to have X and Y in the same class.  Exclusion of these youngsters wasn’t an option.  It was frowned upon by THEM, and anyway, we wanted to help these kids.

As a senior management team, we pondered long and hard on how we could organise classes for the next academic year.  No combinations worked.

Until I had my crazy/wonderful idea.

I opted to teach a mixed-age class of just 16 pupils, containing every one of the challenging children and a few others who had their own issues and difficulties, despite not being disruptive.  My conditions were that the National Curriculum would not be followed, testing would be optional – and then only at the very end of the year, targets would be replaced by frequent ‘look how far you’ve come’ reviews, the education would be holistic, with a different programme of study for each individual based on their personal circumstances and emotional needs as well as the educational ones.

Luckily, I had a brave, supportive head teacher and some brilliant, visionary and courageous support staff.  I was also able to buy in help from a very talented play therapist/counsellor.  Annoyingly, the local authority insisted on adding in its Behaviour Support Team, who tried to get me to run the class along the lines of Pavlov’s dogs or Skinner’s rats.  Not helpful.

My curriculum was, very broadly:  Term 1 – learn to tolerate and begin to like yourself.   Term 2 – like and take some responsibility for yourself and begin to tolerate one or two others, so you can manage to work in a very small group.  Term 3 – take responsibility for your own behaviour and actions and begin to tolerate and work with larger groups and the whole class.

Girl, Boys, Children, DevelopmentEach of the 16 who stayed at the school (such families travel around a fair bit, so some moved away) went on to rejoin a normal mainstream class the next year.  All of them opted to take part in the end of year tests and did as well or better than expected.  In the final term they did a whole class project and cooperated as well as any group I’ve ever taught.

Obviously the hardest bit – so hard I still have to fight back tears as I remember – was to get these lovely young people to tolerate and, later, like themselves.  Once that was achieved, the rest flowed relatively easily.

As I mentioned earlier, several synchronicities have turned up recently, drawing me back to 2007.  Some will have to wait for another post, but I will mention D.

He was one of the oldest in that class – an intelligent, painfully sensitive, deeply troubled young lad who somehow transformed during the year from having always been the class weirdo to becoming an excellent and much admired role model for the younger boys in our group.

Last night – as he does from time to time – he messaged me.  Said he hoped I was doing OK.  We chatted briefly.  I told him what was happening in my life; he told me a little about his.  Then we signed off.

“Thanks for remembering me,” I said.

“Always will,” came the reply.

I’ll always remember him, too, and the rest of the class who taught me that once you can like yourself, there are no limits to what you can do.

 

 

 

 

Some advice on Managing Sensory overload. — The Snacking Sage

 

We’re back in business guys! Anyway, where were we? Ahem: It may be hard to believe, but I’m actually rather shy. I know that makes little sense considering I’ve put myself out there on the web. I’ve been doing some talking with some people, and I feel that this is something that would be of […]

via Some advice on Managing Sensory overload. — The Snacking Sage

I’ve been following this blogger for some time.  There are some wise words here that may well be of interest to many of you, so do take a look…   Jan.

Psychic SatNav

 

I want to share information I’ve been receiving about the Etheric Body which, as my title suggests, is remarkably close to the kind of GPS you probably use in your car or on your smartphone.

This doll - at the core of the set - represents the physical body

Each of us has a physical body; we are incarnate – ‘in flesh’ or ‘in a meat suit’ as I’ve seen it translated.   The fact that we are IN this physical casing, though, tells us that there is more to ourselves than just that body.  We have consciousness and a soul and we are linked in to a great, overarching All That Is.  Just about anyone who is reading this (unless they stumbled here by mistake, hunting for my other blog  – http://www.steampunk-shrunk.com, people!) already knows that.  this represents the etheric body encasing the physical one

You are almost certainly also familiar with the idea of the subtle bodies – the sort of Russian Dolls idea of a range of higher aspects of ourselves that surrounds us.

Yes, I know – one minute I’m saying we are ‘in’ a physical body, the next I’m saying the subtle aspects of ourselves ‘surround’ it.  The paradox arises because these other aspects are in a higher dimension – that is, a dimension beyond 3D SPACE.  Consequently in those terms it’s perfectly possible for our souls to be in and around us at the same time.  It just makes drawing diagrams harder!

Gps, Navigation, Garmin, DeviceThink about how SatNav works:  It links in to a satellite system high above our planet and grabs a higher perspective of where we are in relation to what is around us.  When we decide on a particular destination, it can find a route and feed that back to us.  Of course because it is viewing our route from a higher perspective, it won’t distinguish between an easy, straightforward road and one filled with potholes or a removal van.  Negotiating problems on the ground is our problem.

Similarly (quite strikingly so), each of us has an etheric body which works in exactly this way.  It has access to the soul/higher self and is able to guide the physical ‘us’ where we have decided to go – as in give us clues, insights, gut feelings and synchronicities that will lead us towards an outcome we have chosen.  (This body, incidentally, is made of aether/ether, so it is not non-physical.  That’s why some people are able to see it, under certain circumstances.)  Like the GPS, it takes no responsibility for the conditions, or even the directness, of the route it sends you on: “You said you wanted to go to X, so that’s where I’m sending you.”

Something I personally find fascinating – as this was a route I chose to explore – is discovering what happens when someone decides to turn off the SatNav.  Things do get a tad more metaphysical from this point on…

Black, Dark, Darkness, ContrastAt soul level – when a soul decides to incarnate and enter the 3D world for a spell – it chooses how closely this human it is being will connect to the etheric body.  It will decide whether to be the sort of person who follows it absolutely, all the time, regardless of where it leads, or whether to just check into it from time to time, when it’s feeling particularly lost.  A third option is to abandon the body without any conscious connection to the soul and let it find its own way.

For the soul, this is simply an interesting experiment.  When our consciousness is lodged in the physical, though, the results are very far-reaching.  For that reason – Koimul explained to me – the soul does a series of major reviews of how things are working out for the human at the level of etheric connection it has chosen.  The first happens in the second year of life – at around 18 months old, when the infant is moving from telepathic and intuitive communication to the use of verbal language.  The next is at around 13, the age when abstract thought is kicking in.  The third happens as the individual is moving into adulthood, around 17.  The final review – the one that will decide how the rest of the human life is conducted – occurs around age 30.
Koimul was at pains to tell me that we also have an override: “PEOPLE ARE CAPABLE OF CHANGING THEIR MINDSET AT ANY POINT, BUT THOSE AGES ARE FOR SOULAR REVIEWS.”

So what does it look and feel like to turn off the etheric body connection?

Dead End, Sign, Cul-De-Sac, HopelessAt its most extreme, it is being lost, in full fight-or-flight panic mode.  It is the equivalent of hurtling through life screaming, “Got to turn left or I’ll hit that building!  Quick, right or I’ll go over that cliff top!” It is being in pure survival mode with no chance to relax or think or plan.

Why would any soul choose to inflict that on its human self?  I’ve watched people living that way at close quarters, and it isn’t pretty.

Well, there are advantages – the same sort of advantages to switching off the GPS in your car.  You forge direct links with the wider environment.  You can perceive and notice more than those with one eye and both ears on the SatNav.  In a car, that might mean noticing an amazing view, a distant landmark or a hawk hovering overhead.  In a human life, it can be forging direct links with aspects of the soul.  You might develop psychic abilities, perceive beyond time and space, develop knowing or ‘Caw’ (see my previous blog post for an explanation of Caw – the shorthand concept word Koimul uses).

It’s an interesting – if extremely challenging – way of being human.  Hence the Soular Reviews.

Parents will speak of how infants who were developing ‘normally’ suddenly stop and develop ‘autism’ around age 18 months.  That’s why vaccinations can get the blame.

Even the most relaxed kid can become introverted, prone to panics and meltdowns and to struggle with communication as they enter their teens.  Just hormones…?

Many ‘snap out of it’ as they exit puberty, while others move into what is diagnosed as bi-polar or clinical depression.  By about 30, there can be similar deep changes of attitude and ways of being.

For me, Koimul’s information explains a great deal.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

The Book of Caw

Book, Story, Fairy TaleI was woken this morning – as I am almost every day – by Caw.  And I knew, suddenly, that the Book of Caw needs to be written.  Maybe by me, maybe by someone else.  Who can say?  All I know is that the image of The Book of Caw is lodged in my mind now and the only thing that will move it on is for me to start writing.

So what is Caw? I imagine you asking.  (And why are sentences – proper ones – so elusive this morning? I ask myself.  Probably because the words are coming from somewhere where punctuation doesn’t hold sway.  I’ve visited that somewhere quite a bit recently, which would explain a lot.)

OK.  An easy way out of the definition conundrum would be to say something like, ‘Caw is Oneness, or All That Is’.   That, though, is so all-encompassing as to be almost devoid of meaning for us – a bit like asking someone to imagine an infinite universe…  Fortunately, Caw can be explored in many ways, and each of them helps us to discover more of the truths behind the truism, and to apply them to what we know of our own existence.

Say the word aloud, and you will immediately have one of it’s aspects – Caw is core.  It lies at the very heart of every facet of existence.  It’s the point we come back to, after our little forays into the game of materiality.  We have Caw strength at the centre of our existence.  It’s unmoving, solid, steadfast and entirely dependable, yet it will flow with us, wherever we go.  (Yes, there’s a paradox there – the first of many.  Always think ‘and’ rather than ‘or’ with Caw.)

If it were an acronym, CAW could be formed from, perhaps, Consciousness Applying Will.  In that sense, it is placing intention into consciousness – or vice versa – in order to manifest or create.  That, after all, is how our miniverse here is fabricated.

Animal, Beak, Bird, Black, Claw, CrowLet’s stop metafizzing, briefly, and bring Caw into our familiar material world.  As I said at the start, Caw wakes me each morning.  It is the sound of the corvids – the rooks and jackdaws and magpies that restlessly circle  my cottage, squawking to one another, playing some complex aerial game of tag and scattering black feathers in my garden.  I won’t even begin to delve into the folklore that surrounds this family of birds, but it’s found all around the world.  They are mysterious, intelligent, cunning and wise.  Certainly not light and fluffy.  They have a gravitas that commands attention and respect, verging on fear at times.  Caw is all that.

Chess, Rook, Castle, Piece, GameCaw is the rook on the chessboard, too.  Sometimes hiding in the corner, biding its time; sometimes castling – not afraid to reveal itself in order to protect what is of the most value.  Then, when the time is right, striking suddenly – covering vast distances in a dead straight line to get to the core of the action.  Caw is that too.

Caw is gnosis, knowing, deep knowledge that comes from a point of insight and certainty.  It is not born of opinion or consideration.  It is not gradually acquired through study.  It is our direct link to the Akasha and it comes in instant flashes.  Once recognised, we know – absolutely and with utter certainty – that this is right.  It cannot be any other way.

That is in no way an exhaustive account of Caw.  Other aspects will occur to you, and they will all be valid, but I will let that serve as an introduction.

 

To work with Caw, we need to dispense with a few sacred cows.  We need to try to rid ourselves of:

  • cause and effect
  • common sense
  • rationality

There is, of course, nothing wrong with any of them, except that they only work in 3D.  They only apply to the mechanistic model of the universe we built for ourselves with our cosmic construction set.

To work with Caw, we need to put aside that much-loved toy and move into reality.  It is Caw that will lead us there.

 

The Hills are Alive

2014-10-13 14.51.20.jpgThe huge pyramid shape of The Reek, more properly known as Croagh Patrick, reared ahead of us as we turned out of the airport.
“Wow!” I exclaimed.
This was my first view of Ireland – and what a view. Atmosphere and distance had smoothed out the bumps and crags, showing us a smooth, straight-sided, magical mountain.  I knew nothing – at that stage in my journey – of the history, mythology and symbolism connected to the island’s holiest mountain. I didn’t need to. It’s majesty simply took my breath away.

I see the same phenomenon with my local sacred mound – Glastonbury Tor – which is a few yards down the road from where I’m writing this.

Glastonbury, Tor, Somerset, EnglandSeen up close, it’s an uneven, sprawling hill. Sometimes steep, sometimes less so.  It has grazing sheep, pedlars selling scraps of jewellery, small screeching boys with wooden swords, pagans with dreds and drums, panting tourists in Adidas tee shirts, dog walkers, portly goddesses in pink and purple frocks with floral wreaths in their hair and parties of French schoolchildren with designer backpacks.
There are neat concrete steps inserted by the National Trust, a green bin for dog waste and a couple of benches.  At the top is an empty tower – all that remains of St Michael’s Church.  Inside, it’s usually littered with a coke can or two, sweet wrappers and some withered flowers.  At what would once have been, presumably, the other end of the church is a concrete table with one of those round view-finder compass things.  Strange undulations, variously defined as medieval terracing, a ritual maze or soil erosion adorn the sides of the hill.

2011-08-22 08.42.06.jpgDon’t get me wrong; even close up, it can be a magical place if you time your visit right, or can block out the distractions.  For me, though, the Tor’s true magic is glimpsed from afar.

Travel along almost any road in the area and, sooner or later, you’ll catch a glimpse of what appears to be a perfect conical shape, topped with its tower, rising out of the flat, featureless Somerset Levels.  (My personal favourite is the view you see as you round a bend coming down Bristol Hill into Wells.)

There are hills, mountains, pyramids – sacred high places all across the globe that have this effect. It matters little whether they were created by human hand, naturally occurring or a combination of the two. What matters is the ‘WOW!’ effect.  It’s a moment of sheer awe and wonder.  It can’t be captured in words, or even photographs.  There is a deep, stirring connection between the self and the structure.  It calls to you, reaches out to you, pulls you up short and fills you with a recognition and knowing that has affected your ancestors, back through the ages in exactly the same way.  Not every high place stirs us this way; it isn’t simply the height or the shape which affects us.  In these special sites, though, there’s a palpable dialogue between you and the structure.
“Remember?” it says into your mind.
And for that brief moment, you do.

 

 

The Master Builders

Galaxy, Fog, Kosmus, Universe, Milky WayI’ve been talking again – to Koimul.  Koimul is something – someone.  I couldn’t tell you, with absolute certainty, whether Koimul is a higher version of myself, a spirit guide or some sort of mixture of the two.  In a sense, it doesn’t matter, since at some level we are all One.  All I know is that when I enter into a dialogue with Koimul, I am reaching into the Akasha and picking up understanding that I didn’t have before.

Maybe you’d like to listen in.

I was asking why ancient structures, built by so-called ‘Stone Age’ people are so wonderfully made and have such perfect geometry and later the conversation strayed into ‘living resurrection’ rituals.

Koimul’s responses are in large case.

THERE WAS POPULAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SOUL’S RELATIONSHIP TO THE BODY AND TO THE EARTH.  THE EARLY BUILDERS EXPERIENCED THAT CONNECTION THROUGH HARMONY AND SYMMETRY.  THEIR EVERY ACT WAS DESIGNED TO LOCALISE THE UNDERLYING SYMMETRY IN THE PHYSICAL. 

That is beautifully explained.  Thank you so much.  So like an early monk or nun, in our historical terms, for them every action was an act of worship: in a sense – an act of re-creation, by grounding spirit into the physical.  Is that roughly right?

EXACTLY. 

I’m getting the feeling that those people, who were so intimately connected with their souls and the greater akasha, had no need to undergo rituals and rites, because they were already fully aware and connected to spirit.  Yes?

YES.

So what happened to change things?  I know that, as the timeline developed, the connection with the physical became so deep and absorbing that the conscious connection to spirit was weakened.  Is that the point at which the rituals were introduced?  A connected priestly caste attempting to reconnect those who had strayed too far from their origins?

Ritual, Ceremony, Religious

THIS WAS THE CASE IN SOME CULTURES.  

What society would now call ‘developed’ cultures?

YES. 

Ok, I see this is becoming a very far-reaching discussion with many implications.  The general theory seems to be that those who were still connected to spirit – call them priests or shamans – devised rituals that involved stripping back the physical experience to almost nothing, to enable those who had become mired in physicality to once again connect with spirit and re-member their connection.  Is that how it worked?

YES. 

A highly ritualised way of saying ‘go within’?

YES.

So what was the need for all the elaborate ritual and mumbo-jumbo that was involved in the process.  

THE PROCESS WAS ELABORATE BECAUSE PEOPLE VIEWED IT AS A MYSTERY.   WHEN A NEW LEADER COMES TO SAY IT IS SIMPLE, THE PEOPLE DON’T BELIEVE THEM.    

Long, long ago…

Fantasy, Castle, Cloud, Sky, TowerI’ve had this theory, for quite a long time now, that my life is based around a fairy tale… and just maybe everyone’s is.

Let me try to explain.

Imagine that, at the very start of becoming human and beginning this great adventure of playing at being physical creatures in a three dimensional world, our greater, non-physical, soul selves created a sort of master plan for human life to play out in.  Let’s imagine they (we) came up with a set of archetypal storylines, each involving a journey – an adventure of some sort with heroes and villains, difficult choices and wise ones who just happen to appear at the right moment.

Now imagine that, no matter what else we forgot about our origins and our true purpose, however muddled and confused we became by religions and sciences and politics and cultures, our greater selves would find a way to ensure that these vital blueprints for living out physical life could not be forgotten.  They would be hardwired into us.  Every generation would feel an innate urge to share them and pass them on to the next.  We would not be able to lose them.  Is that possible?

Heroesjourney.svg

Diagram from Wikipedia

Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell and many others have written about the mono-myth, the hero’s journey or whatever they chose to call it.

Here it is at it’s most basic.

I suspect, though, that there are several variations – a collection of mythic journeys – and that, maybe in our pre-birth planning stage, we selected one to work with, in just the way you might select a video to watch, a book to read or a game to play.

Here in the West, the remnants of these blueprints are gathered in the collections of Hans Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and (in the USA) Mother Goose.  The same storylines, though, exist all over the planet.  They are in folk tales, soaps, Hollywood movies and Shakespearean dramas.  There’s always a twist in the tale, an unexpected choice, a reversal we weren’t expecting, to keep us interested, but the themes remain, because we need them to.

I won’t tell you which story is mine.  It’s a bit too personal.  You see, you know the story too well, and if I were to reveal its name, you’d know my life.  My character is on a long journey, seeking for something.  Various other characters and situations appear and distract me, lull me into a false sense of security.  Then, all of a sudden something happens to remind me of my quest, and I feel angry at the wasted time and set off again to continue my search.  There’s nothing trite or trivial about this journey.  It’s not even just a matter of life and death; it’s more than that.  It’s my soul/sole purpose and I need to get on and complete it.

I wrote about this theory at greater length, although probably not particularly well, in Life: A Player’s Guide, because I knew then – back in 2012 – how important it was.

Since then I’d forgotten.

But something happened this week to bring me back to it, so on I’ll go, hoping that now I finally have all the gifts, all the helpers and mentors and all the luck to complete my quest and reach a happy ending.