A Man Who Looks on Glass

All those decades ago, when I was in primary school and singing along to rather dreary hymns in assembly, the words of one verse hit me as fascinating.  I think it went more or less like this:

A man who looks on glass
On it may stay his eye,
Or if he pleaseth through it pass,
The Heavens to espy.

Quite why ‘the Heavens’ should be lurking behind each pane of glass this man looked on, I wasn’t sure, but that property of glass – the way we are able to focus on its surface or to peer right through it to what lies beyond – stayed lodged in my mind as one of those Interesting Things about the world.

One of my favourite stories as a child was Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.  I could easily imagine her drawing-room mirror misting over, becoming treacle-like in consistency and Alice clambering excitedly into the looking-glass house beyond.  The fascination stayed with me, and when I settled recently to write a story, I decided to make one of the principal and most complex characters a glass maker.

Glass Float Handmade Blowing Craft MoltenObviously a bit of research was in order.  I’d been to visit a glass works and watched in awe as glowing globs of molten glass were removed from the furnace on long pipes and blown into huge, wobbling bubbles, ready to be shaped into all manner of marvels.  I knew it was made from sand and soda and various other substances, but I wanted some detail on the alchemy involved.

This is what I discovered.  Maybe you already knew it.  Maybe you had the kind of science teacher who moved beyond the dogma of solids, liquids and gases and explained such wonders to you.  To me, though, it was a revelation…

Sand is heated up and becomes liquid.  It transforms into glass.  This is an irreversible chemical change.  When the molten glass is removed from the heat source, it begins to solidify, but it never quite does so.

Glass, Structure, Abstract, Modern, ArtThat was the part that amazed me.  Glass is not a true solid!  It’s what is known as an amorphous solid, which means it is in the process of solidifying, but still has the properties of a very viscous liquid.  Scientists conjecture, it seems, about whether the cooled (and apparently solid-feeling) glass will ever complete that transformation – whether its molecules will every crystallise into a true solid.  The best guess seems to be that the process would take a very long time – longer than centuries.  Meanwhile, small groups of molecules within the glass are acting like parts of a solid, while others are still behaving as parts of a liquid.  They seem to slither and slide in and out of the two states without (if I can, for a moment, embue them with higher levels of sentience than we normally do) really making up their minds.

Now all that, I think, is rather astonishing.

For me, though, the most amazing part of my discovery is the way these characteristics mirror, if you’ll excuse the pun, the personality of my not-entirely-fictional glass maker.  The man I wanted to portray is a complex individual.  In many ways, he comes across as a normal, functional, middle-aged father.  There are facets of his behaviour, though, that entirely lack the solidity and dependability of such a person.  He is, in some respects, locked in the kind of volatility, fluctuating moods and emotional instability we would more normally associate with the most troubling aspects of adolescence.  If you can imagine the contents of a chrysalis, after the caterpillar’s molecules have liquified but before they have fully re-formed into the adult butterfly (a process I often used as an analogy for my poor, confused young pupils as they reached puberty and tried to fathom what was happening to themselves) that is the state of this character’s psyche.

Flower Honey Nutrition Eat Liquid Yellow EWithout knowing that such a state existed, I was writing about a man of amorphous solidity.  My character slithers, in a more or less involuntary manner, between thoughtful, rational behaviour and a devastating capriciousness and lack of clarity or consideration.  He brings down havoc and disaster upon himself and those around him and – even when all is lost – he is unable, for more than a few moments at a time, to take responsibility for all that has transpired.  Like those glass molecules, his thoughts waver and vaccilate constantly between states and refuse to settle.

How intriguing that my ever-present muse should lead me on this alchemical journey, in order to assist me in comprehending the complexities of the Glass Maker’s personality.

 

 

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Metacogknitting

…Almost the active verb derived from ‘metacognition’, but with a few extra ideas thrown in…

Metacognition, as just about anyone reading this post will already know, is a wider knowing – those inklings, impressions, fleeting ideas and gut feelings that supplement and complement ordinary common-or-garden cognition.

Needle, Knit, Hand Labor, Hobby, WoolAs for knitting, though…  I’ve always loved any kind of textile work and there is something almost alchemical in transforming a single strand of yarn into a complex and beautiful garment, using just two simple sticks and one’s own hands.

For me it can be almost a meditative practice – busying the body while freeing the mind, and creating a unique physical item as I do so.  I like to weave in different textures and colours as I go.  I like to think about how every stitch is a vital part of the whole, while appearing so tiny and insignificant; rather like ourselves, really.  Drop a stitch and the whole thing can unravel.

And how (and why?) am I combining the two into a newly coined word?  you may ask.

Well, for me, the last six months has been a grounding experience.  I’ve been heavily caught up in physical, practical day-to-day matters.  They have taken up almost all the time I might otherwise have spent pondering, writing, dreaming and wondering.  There’s barely been time or opportunity for reading, blogging, chanelling or long, rambling, metaphysical discussions with cherished friends.  There’s barely been time to miss such activities, even.  Instead I’ve been stuck firmly in this mundane human skin-suit, supporting, surviving, problem-solving and grafting away.  (The only reason I’m not digging bramble and stinging nettle roots out of my daughter’s massively overgrown garden right now is the heavy rainfall outside as the English summer fragments into autumn.)

What I have come to realise, though, is that throughout the whole process of rescuing my little family from disaster, helping them back onto their own feet, rebuilding their confidence, dealing with the practicalities of re-homing them and helping to make that home habitable, the metacognition skills I’ve been noticing and developing over many decades have become knitted into the very fabric of everyday life.

Metacogknitting is living human life and grounding ourselves entirely in the physical dramas, effort and heartache that entails, while always allowing those extra strands of ‘Knowing’ to permeate every planned action and thought.

It’s only now, as I reach the final weeks of my stay far from home and see things here settling down and being almost sorted out, that I can recognise how the pattern or blueprint of what I wished for them has come to pass.  It felt absurdly optimistic that I would be able to help to turn a desperate situation around in just six months.  The idea that these frightened, traumatised and hurt people would have a new home, close to relatives, and settle into their new environment seemed next to impossible, but I’ve learned enough, over the years, to know that holding firm to that idea and believing in it was crucial.  With deeply valued help from the wonderful Cheryl and Higgins, I learned to put that Big Dream out there, to trust that it would arrive in time and to focus on the tiny steps we needed to take, to make it a reality.

One stitch at a time, the garment grows.  Every stitch is vital.

Without all those years of practice, I could easily, in all the mayhem and stress, have forgotten to take note of the faint and fleeting metacognitions.  There was so much else to focus on.  At such testing times, though, they become more vital than ever.  I would wake at 3am, Knowing what new fears were surfacing in my little grandson’s mind, and how best to help him with them.  Later in the day, he’d pull me aside and share those fears and I’d have my response all ready and waiting.  A ‘chance’ unexpected meeting with someone would set me on alert, wondering Why now? Why this person?  What purpose do they have in this drama of ours?  There always was one.

Helping the family to integrate in their new community, I went with them on Monday to a village fete.  I managed to resist the urge to brush aside the young man asking me to buy raffle tickets for his stall.  He’d singled me out.  The metacogknitting reminded me that there’s a potential purpose behind every apparently random situation.  Sure enough, he called me that evening.  I’d won the prize.  When I went to collect it, we ended up chatting over a coffee at his kitchen table about his business and my daughter’s.  So many similarities and synchronicities.  They could help each other.  I’ve put them in touch.  Whether they act on it or not is their pattern, their blueprint, of course.  My step or stitch there was just to form a link between the two.

And that, of course, is what metacogknitting is all about.

 

 

Warning: Incorrigible Optimist At Work

You saw it coming, didn’t you?  Some of you even commented on it…

What do you get when you stick an incorrigible optimist in the bleakest and most desperate situation anyone could imagine?

Fantasy, Clock, Statue, Light, SpiralMagic – that’s what.

Only we know, don’t we, that it isn’t magic at all – it’s natural.  It’s the way life really can be.  It’s far, far more natural than cause and effect, far more natural than coincidence or random chance, far more natural – I’ve recently discovered – than synchronicity, even.

So, taking a deep breath, I’m going to say it:

There is no such thing as objective reality.

Certainly there IS such a thing as default reality.  That’s where almost everyone lives for the majority of their human life.  It’s the way Life goes when people believe they can do nothing about what happens, because it happens TO them.  It seems so self-evident and relentless that many people never dream that they can escape the tyrany of Fate, Luck, Chance or whatever deity they hold responsible for the events that go on around them.  Grimly and doggedly they struggle on through Life at default setting, feeling cheered when things go well and depressed or angry when they go wrong, but never thinking for a moment that they could take responsiblity for these events – far less that they could choose and affect the outcome.

There are others, though, whose lives turn out very differently.  There are those (and I’ve had many amongst my family and acquaintances) who expect things to go wrong, expect to be cheated, disappointed, short-changed and beset by inconveniences.  Sure enough, Life delivers.  They are not surprised.  They expected nothing more.

At the other extreme there are the optimists – those who expect that, regardless of setbacks, Life will turn out well and they will find something great and precious emerging from every situation.  They expect nothing less.

I’m one of the latter group.  Not every day and in every moment of course.  There are times when I can rail against my fate with the best of them, but it only takes a little nudge from a caring friend or a tiny synchronicity for me to remember, “Hey, yes, I’ve got this covered; I can choose how it works out.  I can learn something valuable from it.  Let me just think for a sec about why it turned up in my Life at this point.”

That’s what I’ve been doing this last week or two.

Certainly, some of the issues I’ve been dealing with have been serious and life-changing, but the example I’m going to give is of a much lighter kind – just to give any doubters amongst my readership confidence to start by choosing outcomes for the small stuff before building up to bigger and better things.

Sunglasses Glasses Fashion Style Summer HoA week ago I lost my sunglasses.  They were prescription lenses, as I’m quite short-sighted, and designer frames, so replacing them would have been costly.  I was irritated, naturally.  I searched everywhere I’d been and wondered where they could have gone missing.  What I didn’t do was to give them up for lost.  I maintained a conviction that they and I would be reunited.

Yesterday afternoon, I had a phone call from a staff member at some beautiful gardens I’d visited on the day the glasses disappeared.  I’d first noticed they were missing as I’d got out of the car when we arrived, so hadn’t been wearing them on my visit.  The other relevant fact is that I’d loved the gardens so much that I’d bought a season ticket, filling in a form with all my contact details.

“Is that Jan?” asked a cheery voice.  “I think I’ve found your sunglasses!”
I was stunned for a moment. “Well I have lost them,” I said.
“I KNEW it!” she squealed triumphantly. “I just KNEW they belonged to you. Describe them for me.”
I did so and – naturally – they were mine.
“But how did you know they belonged to me,” I asked. “The only name on them is Ted Baker’s!”
There was a slight pause before she responded, “I don’t know. I just looked at them and a sudden inspiration came to me that they must belong to you. I remembered you buying the season ticket and I knew they had to be yours.”

 

I’m happy to say that the important issues are changing too.  Since I arrived in my new temporary abode to support my family, one thing after another has slotted neatly into place.  My daughter is now also a believer in manifesting a great future and together we are planning and choosing each next positive step along the road to recovery and towards building a new, happy life for her and her children.  Still a long way to go, but all will be well … because that is what we have chosen.

In case anyone who reads this would like some specific help in manifesting change in their lives, I’d like to add a link to the wonderful words that helped us climb out of the abyss in our darkest hour and allowed us to move forward: Cheryl’s Prayer of Choices.

There is also a children’s version which I worked on with Cheryl here.

 

Vitruvian Lines – Part 8: A Couple of Awkward Questions

You’ve all been so patient with me as I’ve stumbled through my attempt to unravel autistic and non-autistic thinking.  Throughout this whole series of articles, I’ve been characterising the circle-fillers or neuro-typical population as straight-jacketed by a socialisation/maturation process which defines and confines their access to the unlimited levels of consciousness that were their birth right, while suggesting that society contains others – square-fillers, autists, outliers, so-called dysfunctional or disordered individuals or whatever we wish to call the neuro-A-typical people – who, to varying degrees, manage to retain close links to wider areas of the holistic consciousness field.   There is truth in there somewhere, I believe, but it remains a vast over-simplification.

In the interests of authenticity, I must pose a couple of awkward  and contentious questions that threaten to blow my whole theory apart before continuing.

Train, Transport, Railway Line, TravelAwkward Question 1: Why, given the avenues of Knowing available to them, do so many high-functioning autists end up as train spotters, bus timetable fanatics or computer gamers, huddled in their bedrooms pursuing apparently pointless hobbies, limited by crippling ritual behaviour patterns and presenting a somewhat pompous yet highly defensive face to the rest of humanity?   Surely that can’t all be down to problems with social skills?  Why are there so many of them who are not finding some valuable and world-changing outlet for these untapped creative and cognitive abilities?  Why, in short, do we not have more Leonardos, more Teslas, more Einsteins?

 

Awkward Question 2: Why are there  many members of the NT population who demonstrate behaviour and awareness that appears, to some degree, to mirror those of A-thinking?

Penguin Coordination Synchronization JackaLet me take synchronicity as an example.  Synchronicity, according to the standard conventional Western world view, shouldn’t be able to happen.  It is non-logical.  It implies a connection between past, future and present events, individuals and experiences which could only work for those who are open enough to the wider Consciousness Field to be able to process this information.  Certainly there are people who do not accept it and who dismiss synchronistic events as coincidence.  There are others, though – myself included – who not only believe implicitly in synchronicity, but who find that the more open they are to its existence, the more frequently and powerfully it occurs in their lives.

Not so long ago, my Aspie friend Will sent me the following message:

“I am very interested to hear about any examples of or information you have on what’s known as synchronicity. I don’t mean to imply anything negative towards you but I suspect my awareness of it is greater than yours. I also wonder quite how powerful a force synchronicity actually is.”

That gave me another light bulb moment.  He was absolutely right.  For people with autistic perception, synchronicity must be an entirely natural and hugely powerful force.  They are, after all, able to draw on the Akashic Field/ Holographic Consciousness/ All That Is.  The rest of us are not.  So how are some neuro-typical people managing to do so, albeit to a more limited degree?

That set me thinking.  What if there were some method by which ‘circle-fillers’ could go some way towards accessing greater areas of Consciousness?  It could be similar to what some autists do when they learn social communication skills as a ‘second language’.  The neuro-typicals would always be at a disadvantage.  We would be struggling to figure out the meaning of information and frustrated that no matter how hard we worked, we would never reach the levels of subtlety, awareness and power that come naturally to those with autistic perception.  Nevertheless, by working very diligently and listening closely to what those with wider links to Knowing have told us, some of us seem to be what might be termed ‘high functioning neuro-typicals’; we try to reach into the square-fillers’ world, just as some of them try to reach into ours.

I was recently told by Higgins, in a personal message, that although I would never be able to completely grasp or explain the non-physical, “you are well able to understand enough of the information you are receiving to get the basics, in the way that you may not be fluent in a language but understand enough to get the gist of the conversation.”

All I needed, then, was to find some process by which these two questions could be resolved:

1) What is it that limits many of those with autistic perception from reaching their apparently limitless potential?

2) How is it that many of those who have developed as neuro-typical are able to access certain areas of non-logical thought?

My intuition was that the two were connected.  I ‘put out’ for the answer, knowing – Knowing, indeed – that it was out there somewhere.  I then waited for synchronicity to drop it into my path.

In my next post I’ll share my discoveries with you, but meanwhile, feel free to offer any insights you may have.

 

The Vitruvian Lines – Introduction

Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour.jpg

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci

Here it is, finally.  Thank you, friends, for your patience.

This is my best attempt to answer the questions implied in an article my friend and confidant Will
wrote a while ago.  Some parts of what follows have already appeared in various blog posts I have written, however there is also much new information and it ideally needs to be read as a whole.

Because of its length, I’ll be serialising these ‘lines’ in my blog for many weeks to come. I personally find blog posts over 800 or so words hard to read, as I like to ‘dip into’ them and I’ve noticed I get more ‘hits’ on my shorter articles, so I assume others are like me in that respect.

Why Vitruvian?

Because the main thrust of these lines concerns the relationship between two different populations currently inhabiting our planet – those commonly described as ‘neurotypical’ (or, more chauvinistically, ‘normal’) and those who are often labelled as highly sensitive, disordered or possessing some form of dysfunction which renders them atypical – I wanted to find a neutral way of describing the two groups.  I adhere to my principle of refusing to refer to people on the autistic spectrum as ‘disordered’.  I refer to them as ‘people with autistic perception’ or ‘autists’, sometimes separating out those at the highest cognitive levels as Asperger’s (a term no longer current in medical and psychological circles, but still in common use) or ‘high-functioning autists’.   However Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man provides an interesting way to differentiate between the populations.

As you can see from the drawing, the physical human body will fit either into the square or the circle, but not both.  Of course, those divisions only exist in a geometrical sense, as does, for example, the equator.  For me, though, they will provide a useful analogy for the groups I want to discuss.  I will therefore describe the ‘neurotypical’ population as Circle Fillers and the ‘neuro-atypical’ group as Square Fillers.   Why that way round?  There is a reason, hidden in the geometry, which I’ll come to in a future section, but for now, perhaps the metaphor of square pegs having difficulty fitting into round holes will suffice to allow you to differentiate between them.

The Inspiration

“Autistic 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.”

William Bales 2016

There is nothing I enjoy more than a good puzzle – especially one that could benefit everyone if it were solved.  The comments Will made there ticked all those boxes and more for me and I have been working away at uncovering the answer ever since he wrote them.  Some of that work has been conscious, some has been more-or-less subliminal; I’ve simply set my ‘self’ the task and waited to see what it comes up with and what synchronicities appear as a result.

Obviously, because I set the framework for solving the puzzle up in that way, the various pieces of information and insight have appeared in non-linear fashion, so are quite challenging to collate as continuous text.  I’ve set out the different strands under sub-headings, then attempted to draw them together at the end.

In my next post, I will begin to explain The Vitruvian Lines in terms of the structure of society.

Making Peace with the Enemy

Poppy, Flower, Red Poppy, Blossom, BloomNot sure what prompted this – maybe all the poppies and remembrance day events, standing in an entire city brought to silence on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour…

Anyway, this story is about another war – one that raged inside my father until almost the end of his life.

Tony was a young man in his twenties when the Second World War broke out.  He joined the RAF.  He serviced planes and was posted to some little island in the Far East – some little island that the Japanese army overran.  He became a prisoner of war.

I don’t know much about the details of his detainment.  He wouldn’t speak of the worst things to any of us.  I know he saw all his close friends die.  I know the camp staff would open sacks of mail, read out the names of the recipients, wave the envelopes before them, then toss them on the fire.  I know he grubbed in the ground for peanuts to add to the meagre rations of rice they had.  I know when he came home he looked more skeleton than man.  That was where his war began.

It raged throughout my whole childhood.  He was a sweet, kind, generous man as a rule, but if that button was pressed, heaven help anyone nearby.  The fury was astonishing.  Nothing made in Japan was allowed in our house.  Any passing reference to the country on TV or radio was instantly turned off, amidst angry mutterings.  When a neighbour mistakenly referred to my best friend (Chinese) as ‘that little Japanese girl she plays with’ they were shocked by the fury unleashed in Dad.

In my teens (oh, the foolhardiness of youth) I took him on one day.  I tried, calmly and reasonably, to point out that one couldn’t hold an entire nation responsible for the behaviour of a single group of sadistic prison guards.  I pointed out that a whole generation of Japanese had not even been alive during the war.  My mother and younger brother cowered in the corner as he lashed me verbally – and very nearly physically.  I came close to being disowned by him that day.  It took weeks to reestablish a relationship with him and I didn’t try to raise the subject again.

Many years passed.  Dad’s war continued unabated.  He reached retirement, moved to a new area – Glastonbury – and developed the closest friendship he’d had since I’d known him, with a man of similar age.  This man was sweet, wise and gentle.  He invited Dad to visit his home regularly and taught him all about his new area,  He told him legends.  He showed him the wonders of ley lines on maps and walked them with him.  He taught him about Bligh Bond and Wesley Tudor Pole and the heritage of Avalon.  Every time I visited, Dad couldn’t wait to share his new discoveries with me.  It was beautiful to see – like a flower, so long in the bud, finally unfurling.  He was happier and more peaceful than I’d ever known him.

This friend, though, had one further gift for Dad – the greatest of all.

“Tony,” he said one day, “There’s going to be a change in this house.  We’re going to be taking a young lodger.”

He went on to explain, very gently and patiently, that he and his wife had some dear friends abroad – people they’d known for many years.  This couple had a daughter who was very keen to visit England and work here.  Her English was good, but the culture would be very different to what she was used to.  Her parents were worried and had asked if their English friends would take her into their home.  Willingly, they had agreed.

“Well of course,” Dad said.  “I’d have done the same.  Good for you.”

“Yes,” his friend smiled, rather sadly, “But I don’t want this change to drive a wedge between our friendship, Tony.  I value your companionship very deeply and I very much want you to continue to visit our house and spend time with me as usual.”

“Well of course-” Dad spluttered, but his friend interrupted him.

“The young lady is Japanese, Tony.”

 

Girl, Asia, People, Happy, Young, SummerIt took more bravery than he had ever showed for Tony to make that choice.  He, too, valued this friendship and determined, despite all, to continue visiting his dear friend.

I wasn’t there to see how the visits went.  Perhaps he was cold and reserved towards the girl at first.  Perhaps he ignored her.  He was battling an entire lifetime of bitterness and hurt.  All I know it that on my next visit, he described the young lady to me in the most glowing terms.  He praised her gentle, sweet nature, her grace and charm, her kindness towards him, and he shook his head wonderingly.

I hugged him and felt such overwhelming gratitude towards the Universe – and his wise friend – for providing him with this wonderful opportunity to lay down his arms and finally experience peace.

 

Talisman

I have a friend, here in Glastonbury, who we’ll call Mark.  He’s a talented wood carver and one of the most generous people I know.  Every time we meet, he has some lovely trinket or other which he wants to give me.  Apparently he does it for all his friends.  He comes into the story later, but I had to put him there before I started.

Now for the story.

Glastonbury, England, MonumentThere’s a lovely lady I met several years ago at a conference.  She’s a spiritual seeker, a lover of trees and nature and a very caring, sensitive person.  She adores Glastonbury, and despite living in a city in Switzerland, she comes here for short visits whenever she can.  We always meet up when she’s here, usually in town for a meal, but this time I felt a strong urge to invite her to my home.  I never question such feelings any more – just act on them.

She only had two days to spend here this time and she’d spent the first hunting for a special object that would remind her of Glastonbury and embody the spirit of the place for her when she was far off in her own country.
“It could be anything,” she said. “Maybe I’ll find it in a charity shop. Maybe it will be just a stick or something simple.”

She showed me an egg-shaped stone she had bought, carved from local crystal.  I could tell that, much as she liked it, she wasn’t convinced that this was the special object she had come to find.  Now she had a dilemma.  Should she spend the next day – her last – hunting for The Object or should she relax and enjoy the delights of Glastonbury while she could?

Pendulum, Commute, Energy, Vibration“Would you…  I feel bad for asking, but could you ask your Guide?” she asked.

Then I knew why I’d needed to invite her here.  She’s had advice from, Koimul, my spirit guide before.  I opened the computer and asked Koimul if it would be possible to seek advice for her.  Koimul said it would.

I typed:

“Did she find the object that will allow her to remember Glastonbury when she is at home, or should she search for it tomorrow?”

Sometimes the responses I receive come ‘out of the blue’.  Sometimes I can feel them – or snatches of them – just before the pendulum spells out the replies.  I certainly knew what the first part of Koimul’s reply would be before it came.  I also knew that it wouldn’t satisfy my friend.

MUCH OF GLASTONBURY LIVES IN HER HEART

It was true.  We all carry the essence of the places we love within ourselves and can draw on feelings and memories whenever we wish to.  In my mind – because I knew my friend wanted more – I asked for advice on an object.  Koimul was ahead of me, though.  Without pausing, the message continued and I became aware of the word ‘talisman’.  It was a perfect way to describe what she sought.

Slowly, as the crystal wheeled around the keyboard, I realised what was coming.  I started to laugh with utter delight.  My wise guide had the perfect solution!  The words that were spelled out said:

BUT IF SHE WANTS A TALISMAN IT WILL BE GOOD TO GIVE HER THE RUNE

This is where ‘Mark’ re-enters the story.  Once, he and I had been discussing Dion Fortune – a writer and occultist who had lived in Glastonbury early in the last century.  He told me he had recently been asked to cut down an overhanging branch from a yew tree which had been in Dion’s former garden, just along the road from my cottage.  He had, he said, used every scrap of this very special wood to make a wonderful set of runes and other items, because he felt that something of her presence remained in it.  He had given me a tiny pendant, carved from a fragment of the branch and hung from a leather thong. It bore the symbol for the letter I in Ogham, as well as the word for ‘yew tree’.

The strange thing is that although it had been given to me and was a lovely object, I had never felt it was mine.  I’d worn it once or twice, but always I felt uncomfortable – as if I had no right to this, and it was meant for someone else.

Koimul’s message made perfect sense to me.  This little pendant (she’d said it might be a stick!) encompassed all that my friend loved about Glastonbury.  I rushed upstairs to find it, hurriedly told her its background and joyfully handed it to its rightful owner.

When she had stopped crying, she slipped it over her head and it looked perfect.  It belonged with her.  There was just enough light left in the evening sky for me to take her down the road and show her the tree it had come from.

Another reminder of how magical life can be when we let go and allow it to gently unfold.

 

 

Syncing without Trace, but Czeching

I wish I could trace them – the tracks of my synchronicities.

Sometimes they feel like cross-hairs gradually coming together, to home in on the target, but it’s far more complex than that.  There are many strands and they cross and recross, ricocheting off one another in an apparently random mess, until gradually and subtly they begin building up a pattern.  Finally, with no clear idea how I got here, I find myself standing at the centre of an amazing piece of sacred geometry and the whole thing is laid out clearly for me to see, like those transit patterns the planets make with each other.

(Is that how astrology fits in?  Is it sacred geometry working out at a macro level??  Maybe Pluto or Uranus are not ‘influencing’ us – they’re just making the patterns of the synchronicity working through our lives visible.  Sorry: digression.)

So once I’ve had the ‘Aha!’ moment, I can try to work back to how I got there.  What was it that pushed me to open this file or buy that book?  I think – if I were the kind of person who could create such things – a diagram or flow chart would work better.  Alas, all I have at my disposal are strings of words, so they must suffice.  The process is not linear, but this attempt to unravel it will be, since that’s the way writing works.

  • Phone, Communication, ConnectionI publish a post on here which includes this image.
  • Someone comments on it and directs me to an interview with Stan Grof.
  • I become intrigued and read a book referred to in the interview.  At this point the lines of synchronicity are shooting off in multiple directions; one even points at synchronicity!
  • Grof intrigues me and, like my grandfather, he is a Czech emigrant.
  • The book tells of psychiatric regressions, with patients picking up ancestral stories from their bloodline, which were later authenticated.
  • In a quite different part of my life, I am buying a piece of Moldavite for a friend’s birthday.  I don’t know why.  I simply have a very strong feeling that this person needs Moldavite, now.
  • Intrigued again (being intrigued is a very strong indicator for synchronicities at work, I’ve found) I begin researching Moldavite.  I discover it comes from the site of a meteor impact, many centuries ago, and is only found at this one place on Earth –  in The Czech Republic.  ‘There it is again,’ I think. (Repetition/dêja vu is another indicator of synchronicity.)
  • While I’m musing on that, I start exploring that country, trying one more time to locate the village my grandfather came from.  I’ve tried on many occasions.  I knew its name from the postmarks in his stamp collection, which I inherited, but the German language forms of many border towns’ names were eradicated after WWII and I didn’t know the Czech equivalent.
  • This time, though, I find it.  I’m delighted and make a mental note to explore some more when I have time.
  • After an exhausting and rather frustrating day, I decide to have a quiet evening watching TV.  I select a film called The Secret Life of Bees, a rather sugary tale of life, death and the civil rights struggles in the American deep south in the sixties.
  • Incomprehensibly, I find myself weeping uncontrollably throughout the entire movie.  I’m identifying so strongly with every aspect of the story line and characters.  It feels personal.  It feels as if I’ve been there and experienced that and the pain is still unbearably raw.  Yet I haven’t.
  • By the end of the film, I’m a red-eyed, snivelling wreck, with a mountain of soggy tissues beside me.  ‘It’s just been a hard day,’  I tell myself.  I need to go and do something enjoyable.
  • I head for the computer and go back to researching the Czech connection.
  • I find the village my grandfather came from on Google Map.  I wander through its streets and peer across the mountains he grew up in.  I even find the post office where my ancestral relatives sent the letters whose stamps now lie, old and yellowing, in his album.
  • I read other sites, with histories of the area.  They tell how this once prosperous mining town, with rich seams of silver and agate crystals was ravaged by the Thirty Years War, fell into decline, was subsumed by the Austro-Hungarian empire and the native Bohemians persecuted and viciously suppressed.  This continued for decades.  The young men faced compulsory 10 year military service in their oppressors’ army.
  • So that was why my grandfather fled to England!  He died when I was a young child.  My father was embarrassed to talk about his origins while I was growing up.  Bohemia had become part of Czechoslovakia by then and was part of the feared Eastern Bloc during those Cold War days, so Dad pretended he came from Austria.
  • Finally, I feel I understand my heritage.  I know why the Bees film affected me so deeply.  I accept that ancestral memory still travels through my consciousness.  I see why dissolving prejudice has been such a huge part of my life.
  • I turn away from the computer – and stare straight into the eyes of my grandfather, whose pastel portrait hangs on the living room wall.  I pass it a hundred times a day, but at this point I really see it.
  • And he is smiling slightly.

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.

Stone on Stone

Image result for John Aubrey

John Aubrey, courtesy of Wiki

I have ‘Rosie’ (author of the brilliant La Tour Abolie site) to thank for introducing me to Ruth Scurr’s wonderful biography of John Aubrey.  It is, as Philip Pullman says on the cover, ‘Irresistible’.  I’m quite certain that if we hadn’t inconveniently lived 350 years apart, Mr Aubrey and myself would have found many common interests to converse about.

We share – across time – a keen interest in antiquities.  His discovery of the Aubrey holes at Stonehenge, his insistence that this structure was NOT a council chamber built by the Danes but dated back much further and his devotion to preserving what was left of Avebury before local residents could demolish any more of it to build their homes and walls are well known.  His jottings, meticulously collected and compiled by Scurr, though, tell so much more of this indefatigable gentleman.

He was not a meticulous diarist like Pepys.  He charted the English civil war, the rule of Cromwell, the Great Fire of London and other major events almost in passing.  There is a brief account of the Restoration of King Charles II, for example, but at that time, Aubrey had something more pressing on his mind.

In March 1660, you see, he acquired a ring containing ‘a curious Turkey, or turquoise stone’.  This stone fascinates him for years.  When the ring breaks, he decides not to have the stone remounted, in case the heat should cause damage to the crystal.  Why the fascination?  Well this is where the story – and time itself – become rather fuzzy…

As synchronicity would have it, I too acquired a curious crystal – in March of this year.  It’s the one I found mysteriously sitting on a path in my garden.  Three hundred and fifty-seven years apart, both Mr Aubrey and myself found ourselves pondering our respective stones with much interest and surprise.  We both noticed that areas of the stones which had been cloudy became inexplicably clear, while other areas clouded.  Our ponderings continued independently of each other until I reached the point in the book where he had made this discovery: a day or two after mine appeared.

Strange, I thought.

In the July, Aubrey records:

My turquoise ring has changed again.  Now the cloudy spot in the north of the ring has vanished entirely and the one in the south has lessened.

By October:

(It) has become cloudy again in the north and a little speck has appeared in the middle.

The following February he finds a halo has formed around the northern cloudy spot and determines to take it to Mr Robert Boyle, no less, who has an interest in ‘movement within stones’.  Sadly, there does not seem to be an account of this meeting, if it ever took place.  I’d love to have known Mr Boyle’s opinion.

So now, not only did I have my own curious stone to watch and contemplate, but Mr Aubrey’s turquoise to consider as well.  How could these solid objects go through such obvious changes?  Were we imagining it?  Was it simply dependent upon the light in which we viewed our respective stones?  And if it WAS happening… why?

Bubbles!

Then, last Friday morning, I woke to find the most amazing transformation in my stone.  There is a face, roughly the shape of a parallelogram, which had been a diffuse, swirling, misty purple.  Overnight, though, it had transformed to contain countless tiny, and very clear, bubbles.  Almost all of them contained a central tiny circle or dot, several of these being a deep red colour.  Some seemed near the surface while other appeared as if deep under water.  It resembled a clump of frogspawn, and gave me the distinct but illogical sense of new life forming.

It continues to change.  The ‘bubbles’ are still visible, but are gradually fading into the mists again.  I wonder what its next trick will be.

At the weekend I asked my friend Will to try a remote viewing of the crystal, asking him to search within it and hunt for impressions beyond the physical.  As he focused on it, he didn’t see the stone at all, but gained some clear impressions of shapes, colours and a landscape – a vast desert with hills or mountains in the far distance.  He also commented that time, and especially the future, felt relevant.

So what do you make of all that, dear reader?  Comments would be most welcome.

I’ve long felt that the distinction between living and non-living is wrong.  I subscribe to Seth’s view that all matter contains consciousness.  When I consider the enormous discoveries made by the late Masaru Emoto about memory in water, I wonder if we are on the brink of discovering similar properties in crystal.

How I wish I could chat this through with Mr Aubrey.  But then, who is to say I’m not doing so already, at some level of consciousness?  After all, I’m unable to account for how this pristine crystal appeared in the middle of my garden.  Maybe it was sent to me, or left by a passing etheric gentleman on horseback…