Where Was I Last Night?

I’m fairly sure, now, I know where I was.  Things had been building up to it, if you know what I mean.

When I say ‘last night’, I’m talking in temporal terms, obviously.  The experience I had took place sometime between around 2am and 7:30am this morning.  Since my mind was dreaming, though, the timescale for the events didn’t belong in that time at all.  It was, like all dreams, non-local.

What I recall most clearly is the excitement, the enthusiasm, the anticipation my fellow protagonist and I were experiencing.  We were family, although he had no obvious counterpart in my current life.  I’d describe him as a sort of brother, maybe even a twin.  All of our attention was focused on the task before us.  Each of us was choosing a new adventure.

I can only describe what we were examining in terms of geometry.  There were tubes – dark flexible cylinders or wormholes perhaps – overlaid with uneven grids and lines of bright, greenish light which intersected in interesting ways.  Each was a different ‘adventure’.  The tubes were the destinations, while the patterns showed different timeframes.   We poured over every detail with intense concentration and excitement.  The more complex the slashes of lines and the patterns they created, the more enthusiastic we became.

“Oh, this one looks interesting!” he would exclaim, pointing to a place where a diagonal crossed a group of parallel lines then veered away in a dynamic tick shape.

“Yeah,” I would laugh, “You might need a bit of help with that one!  I could probably lend a hand there.”

Ever had your palm read, or an astrology reading?  They are the nearest analogies I can think of.  Every line and every crossing had huge significance.  They represented the challenges, the exciting parts, the fun of this unique adventure.

Each of us was searching for a location and a timeframe within it that would give us a thrilling rollercoaster of an experience.  There was no fear or trepidation, no hunting for the easy bits.  We both wanted a full-on white-knuckle ride with plenty of problems to solve and puzzles to overcome.

Despite our emotional closeness, we were aiming for quite different adventures.  There was no regret that we would be separated, but there seemed to be an underlying acceptance that we could, at any point, call on one another – and on a rather nebulous ‘back-up team’ who seemed to be lurking nearby – if we needed support at any point.

I was beginning to wake up – to return to the physical world.  I didn’t want to!  This was fun.  There was another pattern on another tube I was desperate to explore.  My companion, too, was still busily engaged in the activity.  I managed to climb back into the dream state and spend a little more time there, but the physical body was becoming restless and finally shook itself free of that other existence, bringing my mind back to its daytime residence.

Now it was time to consider what I’d seen from a human perspective.  Surely that happy, excited, fearless aspect of me had been wherever-it-is we go between lives.  My companion and I had been selecting our next incarnation.  Everything pointed to that conclusion.

As I said, things had been building up to it.  Recent conversations, news items, personal experiences, channeled messages from others I follow on social media… even a friend who just yesterday re-read and commented on a post I had written several years ago.  The message had been the same:  We chose this location and this time in which to live this life.  We chose it – warts and all – in order to give it our best shot and see what we could change, what we could figure out, what we could take on and deal with.  Moaning, protesting, trolling or grumbling just won’t do any more.  We judge and complain about our fellow humans but write them glowing eulogies and obituaries when they pass.  We beg and insist that gods, spirit, world leaders, politicians and anyone other than us must change our lives for the better.  No wonder so many channeled beings are metaphorically throwing their hands in the air and reminding us that we chose it, and we intended it to be fun.

So yes, I woke up to an overcast drizzly day in October and a world beset with challenges and problems galore.  I’m off now to try to reconnect with the cheery, excited and optimistic aspect of myself I experienced last night and to bring as much of her hope and enthusiasm as I can into this amazing timeline and space I opted for this time around.

The Truth is (not) Out There

Back in 2012 I wrote a book (Life: A Player’s Guide – still lurking in the musty vaults of Amazon somewhere, I think).  Near the beginning of it, I wrote these words:

My truth works very well for me, and it may well work for you, but please notice that I am not proclaiming it as THE truth.  I am perfectly comfortable with people holding different beliefs to me.  Once I start proclaiming that what I believe is ‘The Truth’, I move into the realms of fanaticism and religion; discrimination and wars.  It makes me right and other people wrong, and that is not a space I want to be in.

So I say instead, “I have found A truth.”

You are free to follow it, or search for one that works better for you.

I stand by that.  I think those were amongst the wisest words I ever wrote.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says ""A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, 'You are mad; you are not like us."" -St. Anthony the Great"The world today seems more factionalised and divided than it was back when I wrote those words, as we are confronted by issues no one can ignore.  This image and quote appeared on a social media post I saw this morning.  Perhaps you can guess the context or viewpoint of the person who posted it.

So OK, let’s take the Covid issue as a case in point – although we could just as easily select global warming or a host of other current issues.

Side A takes a particular stance.  Side B takes a very different stance.  Both sides seek out and pay an impressive array of experts, statisticians and graphic artists to emphasise their point.  There follows a stand-off with both sides spewing out endless media to support their ‘Truth’.

The problems come when the establishment espouses one of the two viewpoints, because once governments have decided which one they believe, they have (or borrow) vast amounts of money to hammer home their Truth as the only one.  This instantly galvanises a counter-establishment which becomes increasingly vocal in proclaiming its alternative Truth.

Once the establishment begins to legislate, the anti-establishment groups begin to unite in acts of protest and defiance.  The protestors and their attitudes vary from nation to nation, depending on their government’s policy.  So in Brazil, for example, they protest in their thousands against President Jair Bolsonaro’s refusal to acknowledge the dangers of what he termed ‘little flu’.  In much of Europe the protests are against vaccination and perceived infringements of liberties.  In the UK, we recently had an interesting situation in which freedom activists went ahead with Saturday marches to protest about being forced to wear masks in indoor public spaces, despite this directive having been repealed a couple of days before!  A shame to bin those carefully made placards, perhaps.

So yes, governments love legislating – it’s what they do.  And protestors love protesting – it’s what they do.

Nurse, Man, Male, Spray, MedicationNow, though, there is the vaccination issue.  Here the truths on every side become ever more woolly and difficult to prove.  Vaccination was a bone of contention long before Coronavirus reared its spiky little head.

The French government has decided to take a hard line – there the ‘health passport’ (proof of vaccination or negative covid test) is already in use in cinemas, tourist sites and nightclubs.  From the beginning of August this will be extended to bars, restaurants, cafés, some shopping malls as well as long distance train or bus services.   Other governments are watching with interest…

Meanwhile, on the other side, I was told yesterday of an elderly man who approached a friend of mine in great distress.  He is on one side of the vaccination debate and his wife is on the other.  He is double-jabbed.  She is not.  She has now told him he must stay away from her and her friends because of the danger he poses to them.  Her argument is that since he has been vaccinated, his DNA has been changed and he has been polluted to the point that he presents a hazard to herself and other ‘unpolluted’ citizens.

It’s a pity St Anthony the Great (apparently there are quite a few St Anthonys.  This one was a third century Egyptian.) did not choose to define either madness or indeed ‘men’.  To either side, if a truth is held to be absolute, those who disagree must be mad.

That’s why I prefer to hold my own truth and not to attempt to foist it on to others.

Dipping my TOE into Science

For around 20 years now I’ve been scuttling about down various rabbit holes.  My rather exciting secret life (the one most of my family and some of my friends roll their eyes at and politely ignore) has incorporated telepathy, channeling, remote viewing, a smidgeon of spiritual mediumship, dowsing… and the list goes on.

With help along the way from some very special guides – human and otherwise – I’ve reached, at the Biblical age of three score years and ten, what feels to be a fairly robust theory of how-it-all-works.

Oh, you want to know what it is?

Right.  Erm, OK, I’ll have a go.

In the beginning was Consciousness (note the big C), loads of it.  It’s still there.  It always will be.  It can’t not be. 

Static Consciousness would be pointless.  There wouldn’t be anything to be conscious of except itself, which it already knows.  It therefore needs to be dynamic.  Holographic bits of it separate out from the whole thing and become individual Selves (another intentional capital).  Each of these Selves plans out a way to gain experience, think up new ideas, try out experimental paths in a place where they have free will.  Every Self has a kind of blueprint – a rough guide to what they’d like to experience.  They make agreements and plans with other Selves, because it’s going to be tough and they’ll need all the help (and hindrance) they can get to complete the task.

When they’re ready, they coordinate their entry point to the 3D world and become little s selves with little c consciousness.  That is, they are born, to parents of their choice (yes always!).  These human selves will have arrived wearing filters.  The filters are very important.  It would be impossible to take this crazy and chaotic human life seriously and actually gain anything from it if they were still fully aware of big C Consciousness.  It would be as pointless as sitting an exam with the answer paper right next to you.  

The filters vary.  We don’t all select the same model.  Some people choose thick filters that block out almost all conscious knowledge of the big C, while others throughout history and particularly within the last 30 or 40 years elect to enter physical life with more and bigger holes in their filters.  They are far more aware of What Lies Beyond.

I’m guessing the unknown creator of the Flammarion Engraving was one of them.

These visionaries/ wise ones/ way-showers/ shining ones/ dangerous lunatics, depending on your viewpoint, have often sought to teach the rest of us about our innate connection to Consciousness.  They help us to poke more holes into our filters, if we let them.  I strongly suspect this is the next evolutionary leap.  

Regardless of our individual levels of awareness of the great field of Consciousness from which we emerged and will – upon ‘death’ – return, we are constantly feeding back information to it and gaining just the slightest of hunches, gut feelings and inklings that show us it never really went away.  In that way, we remain connected and Consciousness – fed the experiences we are passing to it – remains dynamic and ever-expanding.  Win win.

So where does the science come in?

Well I’d just like all the dots to be joined up.  I’d like to see an end to the absurdity of the materialist paradigm that has held sway in science for far too long.  I’ve known for a quite a while that some scientists are continuing to find funding somehow, publish papers somehow and survive the scientific establishment’s jibes and slurs whilst managing to experiment and theorise in ways that acknowledge the prime role of Consciousness.  The now extensive collection of meticulously collated reports on NDEs (near death experiences) and out of body experiences as well as convincing research into psi phenomena helps their cause.

To quote Dr Dirk K F Meijer (2019), “The hard problem in consciousness theories … turns out to be tightly linked to the western way of thinking that adheres to the idea of a matter-dominated universe.”

He goes on to comment that this mindset is “extremely obstructive” to both consciousness research and “a deeper understanding of the physical world.”

So spurred on by such encouraging words, I’m attempting to paddle in the shallow waters of science and read what these people are saying.  An O-level pass (just) in human biology being my sole scientific credential, I find myself ill-equipped to venture very far, but each paragraph I manage to comprehend fills me with delight.  There is a new vocabulary to master, but I attempted to learn Welsh during last year’s lockdown.  Surely this can’t be any harder?

I’ve been delighted to discover that Meijer’s 4D zero-point energy field,  David Bohm’s implicate order, Ervin Lásló’s Akashic field and Jung’s collective consciousness all seem to equate to my big C Consciousness.  Through ‘holographic resonance’ of this field with ‘specific coherent oscillation domains in the body’, there is a way to filter information moving between Consciousness and the brains of our small selves.  I even found mention of a ‘mental field-receptive resonance workspace’ which equates to the big S Self (soul??).

I’m not finding it easy, but am nonetheless prone to little gasps of delight as I discover some phrase or diagram that fits what I have ‘known’ at a deeper level for so long.  So huge and grateful thanks to Dr Meijer and the other Consciousness pioneers.

One day, perhaps, we will all be popping our heads through the Flammarion Engraving’s ‘event horizon’ to gain a glimpse or two of the big C.

As Nikola Tesla (another of my heroes) said:

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

Another Look at Reality

In my last post I floated the idea that even if we were able to somehow travel back in time and communicate freely with people from a bygone age, there would only – at best – be certain aspects of shared experience.  This, I argued, is because ‘truth’ or what we term ‘reality’ is a subjective interplay between a person’s mind, brain and the objects and events that form to produce each person’s perceived world.

‘Aha,’ you may say, “If that were the case, how would you and I share a common view of a scene before us?  Even a short discussion would prove that our vision of what lay around us was identical.  We could even take photographs to demonstrate it!’

Well certainly we citizens of the 21st century share a common perception of the objects and events around us.  Perceptive reality has strong links to social cohesion and the ‘training’ we were given in infancy. 

Fantasy, Fairy Tale Forest, Girl, ForestOur culture has a slightly strange take on sharing our World View with new arrivals.  A rich mythic tradition is passed on to our children – Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, giants, goblins, elves and trolls appear in huge numbers of their storybooks and the bedtime tales we share with them.  Talking animals and fabulous beasts abound.  Then, as the children mature, these wonders are, one by one, consigned to a scrapheap of untruths.  Those stories, they are told, were ‘just pretend’.  Now they are expected to cast away such childish delights and focus on a world that can be seen, prodded and proved to be ‘real’. 

“So are dinosaurs real?” asks the confused child. “What about dragons?  What about Father Christmas…?  Why did you lie to me?”

Parents and carers struggle to justify their actions.  They are doing as their parents did.  They are rearing their young in the way our society dictates.  Once they reach the age of 7 or 8, even the child who knows she once saw fairies in the garden or glimpsed a fiery dragon from her window has put such things aside and conformed to the accepted and shared idea of how reality looks and feels.  Mostly.

Stonehenge, England, Uk, MonumentOf course there are still different perceptions within our common perceptual framework.  If we imagine a hypothetical twenty people standing and regarding Stonehenge in the 2020s, all would probably be in agreement as to the size and bulk of the stones, the green of the grass, the colour of the sky, strength of the wind and sound of the passing traffic on the A303.

One observer, though, might be hugely excited at the sight of a military aircraft flying over the scene – an aspect of the experience missed totally by others.

Another of the people might be high on a hallucinogenic drug or have what is currently called a ‘mental illness’.  That person might be seeing quite different colours strobing and wheeling around the stones and hearing sounds or voices the rest of the observers would not be aware of.

A third might be a synesthete.  He or she might be tasting or smelling the colours and textures in a manner quite alien to the rest.

Perhaps two or three members of the group might have psychic sensitivities which allowed them to see spots of bright light or hazy halos surrounding certain stones or perhaps glowing crystals buried deep beneath the ground.  They might even perceive shadowy figures from other times.

Winter, Snow, Landscape, Trees, SnowfallAs is the custom in our age, more or less all these visitors would take out their phones and photograph the scene before them.  If they then compared the results, all the images would show the grass, the stones, the path and so forth, yet some would include mysterious orbs or thin coloured arcs of light.  Depending on their personal World Views, these would be variously interpreted as aliens, angelic beings, reflections of light from mundane sources or pieces of dust on the camera lens.  Each, of course, would be entirely correct, according to their World View.

I would further suggest that if the group of 20 people were standing around Stonehenge in c2500BC, their perception of what lay before them would be markedly different to that of the 21st century visitors.  Their common take on ‘reality’ would link to their shared prior experience and social conditioning and their society almost certainly perceived the world around them in markedly different ways, with senses responding to stimuli in a manner that we could not grasp.

Clearly, I have no way of demonstrating this.  Those ancient people standing on a wind-blasted plain in southern England left us no written record or clues as to what was going through their minds and how their world looked to them.  They simply, for their own reasons, created a massive structure that survived into our age.

Fortunately for the curious among us, not all World Views are as poorly recorded.  Next time I’d like to take you to a culture that has been meticulously documented by its people, in a language we can read and understand.  In certain ways it is markedly similar to our own, but in others quite, quite incomprehensible.

Perceptive Reality – A Time-Traveller’s Guide

The restrictions of the past year have made it an ideal time for the armchair traveller – or time-traveller, often, in my own case – to indulge in flights of imagination and contemplation.

Stonehenge, Stone Circle, EnglandI will happily spend many hours watching documentaries or reading about archaeological discoveries and documents from other times and places and wishing I could see the temples and sacred places as they appeared in their zenith.  That alone, though, would be no more than mere sightseeing, which to my mind is a fairly empty and pointless activity.  How often I’ve stood and gazed on some great and ancient construction – Stonehenge, the temples of Malta, the Orcadian landscape around the Ness of Brodgar – and yearned for an understanding of the circumstances, the significance, the reason for their construction.

Yes, I can read the guide books, digest the various expert theories, wonder at the brilliance of the technologies that created them, but I lack the World View of those who built and used these structures.  So, of course, do the experts.  They can make educated guesses but might I be so bold as to suggest that in a time when religion is fragmented, science, business and technology are the closest many have to gods and upheaval is everywhere we look, 21st century people are not best placed to frame any possible mindset that could explain the concepts and ideologies behind the enduring wonders of the past as we gaze upon them?

The Roman Empire is an exception.  We have no problem understanding that.  It is so close in morality and intent to our own recent past that we can comprehend their purposes, intentions and ideals with very little difficulty.  Their buildings, military and societal organisations make perfect sense to us.  I will often flick through film and TV drama choices and note that the majority of people in our culture apparently find pleasure and entertainment in watching the murder, death and the anguish of others as much as Romans did in their amphitheatres.

Just as, according to the infinite monkey theorem, a monkey spending long enough at a typewriter keyboard could theoretically type the text of Hamlet, so an infinite number of World Views are bound to throw up some close matches.  That’s not to say we have any sort of continuum that leads logically and developmentally from Rome to here.  This has nothing to do with evolution.  World Views come and go, for reasons I hope to consider in subsequent posts.

(Let me just suggest in passing that any society which believes itself to be at the pinnacle of human development has enough pride to be heading inexorably towards a fall.)

I believe a World View is something more than Zeitgeist, too, although there are more parallels with this idea than with the evolutionary one.  I’m not denying the spirit of a particular generation as being easy to recognise in retrospect.  The 20th century alone threw up several of these.  For me a World View is something deeper, more pervasive and far longer-lasting than a decade or so’s trend.  Perhaps it is the spirit of a Great Age…

Peru, Sacsayhuaman, Sacred, Scenic, SiteThe societies who constructed the Great Pyramid, the Stonehenge and Avebury landscape, the polygonal-walled buildings of Peru or the structures of Göbeklitepe, for example, would have technologies, ideas and concepts of the world so radically different to our own that endless scrabbling in the dust to unearth pottery fragments or the contents of spoil heaps will give us little or no idea of their beliefs and intentions.

Each generation of antiquarians and archaeologists has a view on the purpose of the structures, that view arguably having more to do with contemporary interests and fixations than that which provoked the original constructions.  Thus an ancient site may have been variously viewed by later visitors as a geoglyph,  a landing site for spacecraft, a centre for human or animal sacrifice, a temple for religious worship, an astronomical calendar, a tomb (big favourite, regardless of whether or not there are human remains), a place of pilgrimage or for rites of passage.

So could I, as a time-traveller with many months or years at my disposal and a Babel Fish stuffed firmly in my ear, ever learn to understand the World View of the culture who created one of these enduring monuments?

Probably not.

I suspect that the only point at which our understanding would meet would be in the physical as I perceive it and that, of course, is not where their World View resides.  I might learn vast amounts about their technologies, their methods of construction and the way in which their societies are organised, but the all-consuming beliefs and reasons for constructing such structures would not, I fear, be apparent to me.  Our views of reality would differ so fundamentally that there would be little common ground.  It is very possible that the structures themselves would not reveal to my senses the experiences those who created them would have.  There could be sounds, sights, emotional and spiritual experiences freely available to them which to me would remain hidden.  I recall being quite convinced of this when standing in the chambers of the Hypogeum of Ħal Saflieni.  I could see the walls, the carvings and the colours but there was so much almost palpable unavailable experience there just beyond my ken.

Seth, through channel Jane Roberts, explains the reason for this, with his customary clarity and eloquence:

Your many civilisations, historically speaking, each with its own fields of activity, its own sciences, religions, politics and art – these all represent various ways that man has used imagination and reason to form a framework through which a more or less cohesive reality is experienced. 

And that is the nub of it.  Reality is perceptive, not as our scientists fondly believe, objective.  My own Guides put it rather more bluntly:

Reality is barely existent.  There is only thought.  

In future posts I hope to explore aspects of different World Views and their varying perception of ‘reality’, as it is a subject I find fascinating.

Vaccination Vacillations

Vaccination, Impfspritze, MedicalIt was a difficult choice – to be jabbed or not to be jabbed.  Once I finally made my choice, there was the next obstacle; should I make my decision public?

I decided yes – to both.  Many reading this will be mystified as to why it was such a difficult decision.  After all, for the vast majority of people on BOTH sides of the argument, it’s a ‘no brainer’.  Either they believe implicitly in the science and can’t wait to be vaccinated or they are convinced that all sorts of nasties are being injected into the arms of unwitting victims, which will have dire consequences.

I have friends on both sides of the fence.  Not since the English Civil War, I would imagine, has opinion been so divided and intractable.  Politely begging to differ is no longer an option.  Walking down the pavement in my town, and many others, I’d imagine, 30% of the population are masked and hooded, glaring furiously at anyone passing them and veering into the path of buses to avoid close contact with a human biohazard.  Another 30% jeer nastily if you step aside to let them pass and make a concerted effort to come as close as they can, ostentatiously hugging and kissing anyone they vaguely recognise.  That only leaves just over a third of the population who will nod or smile in a friendly manner and go about their essential business as best they can.

The trouble with me is that I make very little effort to ‘fit in’.  I ponder my decisions carefully, but doing what others do because that’s the line of least resistance has always seemed weak and rather a cop-out.

‘Aha,’ you may say. if you reside on that side of the fence, ‘So you are one of the subversives!  You’re a conspiracy theorist.’  Well no, actually.

‘Aha,’ you may say, if you are from the other side, ‘So you are one of us!  Not one of the sheeple.  You have seen the hidden agenda!’  Also no.

I was once accused by a friend in bright felted garments and dreds of being ‘not alternative enough to fit in’.  I ventured the suggestion that being ‘alternative’ seemed to me to imply not fitting in.  She shook her head sadly and told me I should at least wear some beads….

Still, back to the vaccine.  You see, I am not generally a huge fan of allopathic medicine.  This does not stem from any deep mistrust of the medical profession.  I take from them what works for me and go elsewhere if others can help more.

Globuli, Homeopathy, NaturopathyWhen my daughter was 8 or 9, she had severe stomach aches.  I took her to the doctor who asked many questions, prodded her a great deal and pronounced her quite healthy.  The pains continued.  In desperation  I then took her to a homeopath who asked many questions then gave her some tissue salts which cleared up the pains within days.  It was my first encounter with homeopathy, but certainly not my last.

When I had sciatica, which was excruciating, I again went to a doctor.  I gratefully accepted the physiotherapy appointment he offered but declined the painkillers and the second prescription which (he had the grace to blush) he admitted was to neutralise the side-effects from the painkillers.  I used the sheet of physio exercises and found an excellent acupuncturist.  Together they healed me.

For broken or dislocated bones, it’s doctors every time.  For most other ailments I usually elect for some kind of complementary treatment.  I’m a great believer  in energy healing and it has proved very effective for all manner of problems throughout my life.  It does have limitations though.  I noted that whilst radionics, for example, has been amazing at sorting out everything from allergies to breathlessness to digestive problems, it was not effective with a respiratory virus that laid me low the Christmas before last.  A relative had a similar issue with a viral disease.  It’s as if viruses somehow get through the net of energy healing.  I have only this experience as evidence, but – as I said – I make my own choices based on what works for me.

Three of my good friends have seen fit to spam me relentlessly with anti-vax propaganda.  Maybe they see me as ‘one of them’, or perhaps their evangelical zeal (Oh dear, how I HATE evangelism!) induces them to send it to everyone they know.  Perhaps they think they are ‘saving’ me.

I’ve read and watched some of it.  Most of the posters claim to be ‘spiritual’, although the tirades of sarcasm, scepticism and arrogance which invariably follow give me some cause to doubt that assertion.  I’ve never understood why spirituality seems so closely aligned with conspiracy theories.  Goes back to not being alternative enough, I suppose.

Then there’s the pro-vax propaganda; burbling Prime Minister, a train of look-alike Secretaries of State and the scientists who are now media personalities in their own right – JVT with his endearing long-winded metaphors that usually get lost in the middle, Sir Patrick with his headmasterly severity, Jenny Harries with her gentle, well-modulated points and Chris Whitty with his earnest, passionate appeals.

Pendulum, Quartz, Chain, AlternativeBoth sides have statistics galore.  You can argue anything with statistics.  So which way to jump?  I finally decided to use a method of choice that would horrify the scientists and probably bemuse many of the conspiracists.  I took my trusty pendulum, tuned into the part of myself the scientists would deny existed and asked it questions.  Like I say, I believe in energy.  I believe that my body knows at a deep, spiritual level what is right for it and although my conflicting thoughts can get in the way of decision-making, this simple method is sensitive enough to pick up my body’s truth.

‘If I have the vaccination, will it be beneficial to my body?’  Pendulum swings sideways – NO.

‘If I have the vaccination, will it be harmful to my body?’  NO.

‘If I have the vaccination, will it lessen my chances of catching Covid-19?’  Pendulum swings front to back – YES.

So the decision was made.  Not beneficial per se, but effective in preventing me from catching a disease that my age, fitness levels and weight suggest could be serious.

I have lived completely alone throughout the pandemic.  Not so much as a goldfish to talk to.  Days on end with no human contact.  I have not left this divided little town for many months.  I have not seen grandchildren, children or my much-loved elderly aunt for over a year.  I have missed train rides, coffee or lunch with friends, bus trips around the beautiful Somerset countryside, trips to shows and museums…  I opted for the jab.

So thank you to all who have tried to help me towards my decision.  Thank you to the delightful, thoughtful and efficient nurses and stewards at the vaccination centre.  They gawped in amazement when I said I was not on any medication at all.  “What – NOTHING?” cried the nurse, re-checking my DOB.  Nope.  With the medical profession, I take from them what works for me and go elsewhere if others can help more.

But Where Was Me?

Grandmothers should be wise.  It’s one of those archetypal attributes of the crone, isn’t it?  So when I fall short in the wisdom department, it bothers me.  

A little over a year ago, my grandson and I were chatting about the first house he lived in – a place he dimly remembered, having moved away when he was a toddler.  His younger sister was confused.  She insisted they had never lived in a house with two huge trees in the garden.  When her brother pointed out that this was before she was born, she became almost hysterical.

Baby, Child, Girl, Pouting“But where was ME?” she demanded, her eyes filling with tears and panic.

That was when I fell short in the wise grandmother stakes.  I knew my answer to the question, but I would have struggled – when put on the spot – to find the words to explain it to a tiny child.  Even if I had managed to leap that hurdle, I was anxious about straying into the sphere of beliefs.  I’ve spent a lifetime as a teacher carefully and meticulously respecting a wealth of different creeds and cultures.  I knew my grandchildren were being brought up with a nominally Christian belief system.  Christianity has plenty to say about an afterlife, but is curiously silent on before life.  It talks vaguely about dust and ashes, which, I felt, wouldn’t help much.  Did I have the right to impose my own beliefs on those they were being brought up with? 

So I failed.  I gave the child lots of comforting cuddles, chatted to her about how excited we’d all been when she was born, and generally distracted her without ever answering her very important question.  And it has bothered me ever since.

When I came to write my children’s novel this year, I decided it would give me the opportunity to revisit the events of that day and to provide Ruby Rose, my fictional toddler heroine, with a fearless crone figure who is more than happy to address her question head on and provide a suitable response.

It was one of those parts of the book that quite happily wrote itself, while I obediently pressed the keys.  Interestingly, Misty often took control of me, as well as the situations in the story, when she appeared in the pages!

Misty waited for the girl to settle down and for the pounding of her heart to slow.  “Now,”  she began, finally.  “That was a very sensible question you asked, my dear.  I’m going to answer it for you, but you will need to listen very hard.  Can you do that?”

Ruby nodded miserably and Stellan sat on the grass at Misty’s feet, because it had never occurred to him that there could be an answer to that question.

“Before you were your mama’s little girl and Stellan’s little sister, Ruby, you were living in the Dreaming Place.”

“What’s the Dreaming Place?” Ruby asked, sitting up.

“It’s a place you know very well.  Why, you go there every night, while your body is in bed, having a rest,” Misty replied.

“You mean when we have dreams?” asked Stellan.

“Exactly.  Haven’t you ever thought how odd it is that your body stays in bed, fast asleep, while you are off doing all sorts of other things?” …

“That is strange,” agreed Stellan, who had never really considered it before.

“So,”  continued Misty, in the same calm, gentle voice, “while we have bodies like these,” she tickled Ruby Rose gently on her arm and the child giggled, “we live in them for most of the time and just put them down to rest at bedtime.  Before we are born, though, and after we have died, we spend all our time in the Dreaming Place.  That’s where you were when Stellan was a little boy and Bella the cat lived with him.”

Both children were silent for a moment, while they considered that.

“Weren’t I lonely without my ma and my pa and my brother?” Ruby wanted to know.

“Not at all,”  Misty replied.  “You were having too much fun!  You see in the Dreaming Place, you can be whatever you want and go anywhere you like.  You might have tried being a fairy or a brave explorer or even a dog or a cat.  What do you think you would have been?”

“A fairy who could fly in the air and do wishes!” Ruby announced.

“Well that would be quite splendid, wouldn’t it?”  Misty smiled.  “But after loads and loads of dreaming, you decided that what would be even more fun would be to become a little girl with a body.  You see, in the Dreaming Place there are things we can’t do.  We can’t feel happiness or pain or full up with delicious food or the softness of an animal’s fur when we stroke it.  You decided to find yourself the most perfect family for your new body to live with.”

“How did she find us?” asked Stellan. 

He couldn’t decide whether this was some kind of made-up tale to calm his sister and cheer her up or whether Misty believed all she was saying.

She smiled at him.  It was a serious smile, not the sort of winking smile grown-ups give when you and they both know they are pretending.

“As I said, in the Dreaming Place, you can go anywhere you want just by thinking about it.  Once Ruby Rose had decided she wanted to slip into a body and find a family in this – Waking Place, she travelled all around the world, deciding which would be the very best family for her to live with.  Eventually, she chose the family she wanted and when your new little sister was born, here she was!”

“I was very clever to choose my nice family, weren’t I, Misty?” Ruby smiled.

My grandson is reading The Glassmaker’s Children at the moment and maybe, when she’s a few years older, his sister will do the same and find a belated answer to her question.  

 

The Art of Magic (and the magic of art)

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso

Oekaki, Drawing, Children, GraffitiThat from the artist who also claimed that it took him four years to learn to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to learn to paint like a child.  It’s a perspective that interests me.

About thirty years ago I recall a family picnic on the banks of the River Stour on the Essex-Suffolk border.  My 18 month old son (now a professional graphic artist and illustrator) seized his father’s sketchbook and pencil, stared intently at the reeds and bull rushes growing at the water’s edge, then proceeded to draw a series of vertical and near-vertical lines on the paper.  It took him seconds.  His first representational landscape drawing!  The child moved on to other ways of exploring the environment immediately.  It was as if the drawing was some kind of instinctive yet fleeting need to capture the 3D world in just two dimensions.  He didn’t, as his older siblings might have done, compare it to his father’s sketches or seek anyone’s approval or praise.  In fact he was confused by our excitement and delight.

A tiny child will not seek out the ‘right’ colours or consider shapes and ratios.  What they do, though, when you think about it, is pure magic.  They use their crayons to create the significant people and objects around them at that moment in time.  Their art freezes an aspect of the swirl of life and movement and emotion they find themselves in and places it on a flat sheet of paper.   How very different that is from our own self-conscious attempts to draw a representational image.  We are hung up on how realistic it looks, whether our lines are straight or whether the perspective is right.  Most of all, we are worried about how others will judge it.  That, I suspect, is the ‘problem’ Picasso was referring to.

“That’s a lovely picture.  Would you like to tell me about it?” we were taught to say when I was training to be a teacher.  It avoided the problems of, “What a beautiful picture of Mummy!  Oh, I see – it’s a green tractor with lots of mud, is it?  Right.”

Gradually we ‘help’ the child to fit their depictions to the conventions of art in our world.  In medieval times, drawing the mother or self far larger than other people would have been quite acceptable.  The convention was ‘important people are shown larger than less significant people’.  In our modern world the convention is photographic, so a person shown large is closer in physical space to the artist’s viewpoint than those standing further away.

 

Light, Effect, Light Effect, Magic LightAnd what of magic?  I would argue that this, too, is something a small child experiences and responds to in a very natural, comfortable way and trying to regain that instinctive connection to the magic inherent in their lives takes many years, once the child has been trained to put it aside.

We allow – even encourage – small children to fill their lives with magic.  We tell them of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and read them stories or show them videos of unicorns and dragons, magicians and heroes with fantastic powers.

At some point, though – perhaps around the same time we start insisting that humans should be drawn with bodies, not just a circular head with legs and arms – we begin to teach them what is ‘real’ and what is ‘pretend’.  What many of us don’t recognise is that this is just as arbitrary and incomplete a world view as the one we are asking them to leave behind.

Magic has a strong similarity to art.  When painting and drawing we encapsulate three dimensions in two.  With magic, we bring multiple dimensions into the three that form what current convention sees as our world.  (Again, I suspect our ancestors would have viewed it quite differently.)

In the children’s story book I’ve just published, I made sure enough magic was embedded within it to at least allow my 8-12 year old audience to keep wondering.  My metaphysician (yes, of course there had to be one!) observes three members of a family who find themselves confronted with a magical ‘coincidence’ as follows:

The lady in the blue dress looked from one to the other of them – the mother, who was slowly shaking her head and muttering, “Extraordinary…”, the boy who was now clutching his cheeks and laughing with amazement and pure delight, and the small child beside her who was still young enough to understand how real magic was and therefore not surprised at all.

I’d love to think that a few children reading The Glassmaker’s Children will recognise the magic my young hero Stellan rediscovers and notice how, by using attention and intention, both he and they can find way of surviving and thriving, despite the setbacks and challenges they encounter.

 

Small note:  I originally set up this blog (back in 2012) to publicise my first book.  Since then it’s be come more of a vehicle for my metaphysical ramblings, and I’d like it to stay that way.  For that reason, I’m placing most of my posts about The Glassmaker’s Children on my Open the Box blog.  This one, for example, explains the particular challenges my two young characters face as they battle to cope with a narcissistic parent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stitching a new garment

Iphone, Smartphone, Apps, Apple IncA week ago, my phone pinged.  One of those Facebook PM things.  I’ve been getting a lot lately – little gifs of cute cats, uplifting pictures of sunsets or seascapes, prayers in pretty fonts garlanded with flowers or rainbows, even the annoying ones that instruct you to send the flickering candle or whatever back to the sender and on to all the women/true friends/grandmothers etc. you know…  Kind thoughts, sent with love – people doing what they can to connect.  I send a smile icon back or a heart or whatever I feel will best please the sender so that I can then move on with my day.

Life at LIME Cottage right now is not Netflix, gin and scrolling through social media.  It starts at 8.30 with lesson preparation (daily multi-age primary school phonics and English resources posted online for harassed parents – opentheboxweb.wordpress.com).  God I hate phonics!  A ridiculous system, but that is what the kids have been learning, so that’s what needs to be done.  At 11am it’s a video call with the grandchildren.  Their mum gets an hour to work from home unhindered while I chat, read stories, deliver the wretched phonics and writing, cram in a bit of maths and help the little ones to make some sense of the way the world is now.  A quick lunch, a daily walk or burst of gardening then on to the afternoon job – sewing scrubs and gowns for a local care home.  It’s all very organised in our town.  The coordinator sends out packs of fabric and patterns via masked and gloved volunteer couriers and our team of makers gets to work, each in their own home, just as the spinsters and weavers of yore may have done in this very house before industrialisation came.  My ‘working day’ ends at 4.30.  I check on the salads and tomato seedlings growing around the house on sunny windowsills then put some dinner together.

So it was surprising, really, that I heard the ping.  It was from a lady I’ve been in touch with for many years.  One of those social media friends I’ve never met, and never will, but somehow feel I know.  We exchange messages from time to time and, I confess, as I opened the file I was half expecting another cat picture.  She likes cats.  What I saw instead stopped me dead. Image may contain: text  It was this:

My words reflected back to me!  She had sent me a screenshot of a passage I wrote all those years ago – back in 2012 – in my book LIFE: A Player’s Guide.  No explanation came with them.  Perhaps she had stumbled across the image and found it helpful, or perhaps she guessed that, at a time of such utter disempowerment, they were words I needed to be reminded of.

Either way, they worked.  I was transported back to the time I wrote it, returned to a state of optimism and reminded that what I’m doing now is valid.

 

Let me go a bit deeper here.

You see I’ve known a world-changing disaster was coming for a long time (see last post for details).  Stashed away somewhere in a cupboard upstairs is a rather expensive multi-use survival tool, some packs of waterproof matches and a self-sufficiency handbook.  Their time may or may not come.  I wasn’t expecting it to be this way, but I knew some cataclysm was heading inexorably towards us.  My source was impeccable.

I’d been told that me being a teacher would be important at this time – hence the time-consuming daily lessons.  I’ve been trying my best to follow the scant guidance I’d been given.

I was told more, though.  I was told that although technology would remain in tact and be beneficial, ‘finance’ – the economy – would undergo seismic changes and this in turn would have a huge effect on people.  It would, in fact multiply the changes occurring in society, leading to an attitude of altruism and general goodness prevailing over the cut-throat world of inequality, exploitation and global destruction.

It is that prediction which had been bothering me.  I’d had 15 years to prepare for this.  Now it was here, I fervently wanted to see that change.  I read eloquent passages and watched inspiring videos from people around the world stressing that we must not return to the old ‘normal’, that we need to change and that Covid 19, for all it’s cruelty, was giving us all a chance to stop and wonder and see the disparity, foolishness and waste of our old world.

Sew, Protective Mask, Sewing MachineAnd what was I doing about it?  Making a few bits of PPE for the local nursing home.  Growing a bit of veg.  Liking and sharing the positive ideas on social media.  Tiny drops in the ocean – pathetic!

Reading that message from my friend (and myself), however, helped me to rediscover the bigger picture.

Yes, in terms of the physical self, there are limits.  Once I begin to think of ‘me’ as thought and energy, though, everything changes.  There are no limits to thought or energy.  They are not confined within single individuals.  Thought is a million times more contagious than any virus.  It spreads through the aether, gathering energy and impetus from everyone who acknowledges and shares it.  Once the intention that we choose these beneficial changes in our world has been held, it grows exponentially.  It becomes our creation.

There is nothing – no multinational corporation, no bunch of self-serving policiticans, no reactionary lobbyist who can stand against the groundswell of opinion that is forming as we sit in our separate homes but combine our intent.

As I sit over my sewing machine this week, I will be pondering the deep and abiding changes that are happening in my thoughts, my energy and those of the world community around me.

Sonya Renee Taylor’s words express it perfectly:

‘We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.’

The Curing

I feel safest with stories.  They soothe me.  And the old stories are the best of all.

Today I want to share an old story with you – one that came to me and was most anxious to be shared.  Even the synchronicities that drew this story to me tell a tale in themselves.

I live in England, where currently entire households in which anyone has a fever or a cough must self-isolate for 14 days.  When my grandchild developed both these symptoms, her mother was faced with trying to work from home and care for both children.  I live far away, but decided to have a daily one hour video talk session with the children, giving my daughter a chance to get some uninterrupted work time.  I’m an ex-teacher, so we play maths games, draw, read, write and learn together.  It’s a delightful time for all of us.

I went to my still fairly extensive children’s book collection (who can throw books away?) looking for stories that would interest a 5 year old and her 8 year old brother.  Almost at once my eyes fell upon Hugh Lipton and Niamh Sharkey’s beautiful ‘Tales of Wisdom & Wonder’.  It’s a glorious collection of folk tales from around the world.

On day 1, we read the first story, a delightfully silly tale of a monkey who demonstrates that we should be very careful what we ask for.

Last night I sat down to read the second story – a Cree tale called The Curing Fox – in order to re-familiarise myself with it.

The first sentence told of a little girl who became desperately ill with a high fever, dreadful cough and breathing difficulties.

Ah.  My initial instinct was to put this one aside.  Who knows what fears and nightmares the children are having as Covid-19 spreads through the world?  Then I thought deeper.  Why, of all the stories in my bookcase, had I been led to this one, at this time?  That almost imperceptible tingling that tells me synchronicity is drawing me in had appeared.  I read the story.

Mr Lipton tells it wonderfully, but here is the briefest summary:

The child’s anxious parents summon an ancient wise woman, who listens very carefully to the rattling in the girl’s chest.  She tells the couple that she hears from it that a small, sickly female fox is undertaking an arduous journey through the snow outside.  When the child coughs, the wise woman hears the sound of the fox’s paws breaking through the crust of the frozen snow.  The father offers to track and bring back the fox.  As he journeys, the wise woman is able to track his progress, and that of the starving fox, by observing the little girl’s illness; when she senses that the hunter has stopped for the night and lit a fire, the girl has a high fever.  Finally he catches the fox, cradles her in his arms and takes her back to the village.  The mother is told to feed the fox.  It then curls up and sleeps.  The child, too, falls into a deep sleep.  Eventually, both fox and girl awake at the same moment.  The parents are asked to feed the fox again and then release it.  The little girl watches from the doorway as the fox runs off.  As it disappears, so does her illness.  The wise woman asks them whether the fox cured the girl or she cured the fox.  The mother replies that the woman cured them both.  The old lady just smiles.

I sat and pondered the wisdom of that story.  Half awake and half asleep, I thought my way back into that First Nation culture and bank of knowledge that showed such subtle yet deep and abiding connectedness.  I wondered at the idea that the symptoms of an illness could, with the right level of focus, lead the wise to find and alleviate suffering elsewhere.  I marvelled that, in taking steps to alleviate that suffering, the illness itself would vanish.  Further and further I meditated my way into the meaning this story held for me.  I thought of the symptoms – the fever, the choking cough, the inability to breathe.  Clearly the girl stands for us in our present crisis.

And the fox?  What does she represent?

The words that floated into my heart were, “Think of the World’s cough.”

 

It was from the Cree that this prophecy came: