what dreams may come

It is one of those hot, balmy, end of summer nights. You are dressed in white linen. The sun is low on the horizon and in the process of beginning to set. The sky is starting to pink just a little. There are a few wispy clouds. You are in a vast field of ripened wheat, the heads of the wheat are curled over and near ready for harvest. You are carefree, no-one is watching. You allow your left hand to fall to your side to touch the wheat, strolling through the field allowing your fingers to touch what one day, will become bread. The feeling of lightness and joy is upon you. All the stress has gone from you, you feel young again as you stroll through the wheat field. You come upon a tall dry stone wall and start to explore. You run your fingers over the stone, it is much taller than you. You notice that the sun is now setting and you must go home. Because you have loved the field so much you resolve to come here again at dawn.

It is now just after dawn, and you are back in the field. The air is as crisp as apples and there is a faint dew on the wheat, again you allow your left hand to caress the wheat as you meander through the field. Your eyes are bright and alive. As you approach the wall you wonder what lies beyond it. You follow the wall round to your left touching the sometimes mossy stones with your finger tips. Soon you come upon an archway in the wall. It is taller than you and there is an old wooden door there. There is a metal ring painted in black enamel which you know will open the door. Slowly you reach down and raise the lever. The door opens before you. In front of you, you can see an exquisitely manicured rose garden. The scent wafts over you enticingly. You step forward into the Southern Precinct of the Toltec Temple. There are bed after bed of the most exquisite roses, the scent is overwhelming. In the near distance you can hear the soft gurgle of a fountain. Here in a sunken part of the garden the fountain is surrounded by stone benches, roughly hewn. You sit and open up your ears to the fountain.

When the utter serenity of the place has begun to deeply imbue you, you decide to explore further. A little in the distance you can see a man working in the rose bed. Today he is tending the yellow roses, turning over the earth and whispering to the roses. As you approach he winks at you. He is the venerable gardener, master of the Southern Precinct. He has a gift for you. He hands to you a single yellow rose of considerable beauty. He has cut it just now. The cut on the stem is diagonal and perfect. The leaves are dark, dark green and lustrous. The rose itself is of such vibrancy, never have you seen yellow such as this. The flower head is only partially open and the swirl of the petals overlaps in a radial display. The scent is heady.

Taking this single rose you walk along the gravel path to a building which lies ahead. You know this to be an annexe of the great Toltec Temple. As you approach you can see an arched doorway carved in stone. The doors are open and beckon you in. As you pass within you are almost overcome by the sensation of utter silence. You walk upon the black and white marble floor sensing the aeons of its construct. Ahead of you in the Eastern corner is a white marble slab. It is lit by the light of dawn issuing sunbeams onto the altar. You approach the altar and genuflect, cradling the rose in your hands. You lean forward to place it within the sunbeams on the marble slab. As you do so a single drop of dew rolls out of the rose onto the marble slab. A single tear trickles out of your left eye at the same time. You feel it wind down your cheek. It drops onto the altar and merges with the dew. You know that soon you will be home.

Rising now you nod your head and retrace your steps out of the annexe, along the gravel path. The venerable gardener has disappeared. You walk past the fountain and out of the archway. Slowly you close the door.  You are now again in the field of wheat, you trail both hands through it, feeling such a sensation of utter poignancy as you have never had before; somehow though you KNOW this feeling only too well.

…quelques jours plus tard….

All through the journey South he noted the air. “Why did he always do that?”, he wondered. It changed, from the damp and the verdant, to the drier and more arid. Slowly the deep greens faded to yellows and the signs of spring became more advanced than back at the settlement. He could smell the port long before he saw it. There was the sea and that smell of people, of towns, blown inland on the breeze. There were more carts on the road, more noise generally. And his thighs and buttocks ached. He had been out of the saddle too long. What he wanted most now was a wash and a bed.

In through the gates and to the commanderie, they rode. In the courtyard they dismounted. The priest went with his man at arms to see the chief, there was much to discuss, plans to be laid. They had some time, a few days at most before the sailing. They were ushered in, to that grand room, bedecked as it was with patterned cloth hanging from the ceiling. The chief welcomed them and had a servant show them to quarters. He gave the priest the latest maps to peruse. They were to report back for dinner in a few hours and after that, the meetings would begin.

In his cubicle, things had started to arrive, some war clothes, the documents he had asked for and they were moving in a small table for him to work at. He washed briefly and dressed only in his cassock he went down to the sea-front. He kept his boot dagger, just in case. The port, full of bustle, was alive and an assault to his senses. Several large ships were there being filled with supplies for the journey. They looked a little ramshackle but would serve. The smell of seaweed and of fish was strong. All those people, busy. “Here we go again”, he thought to himself and sighed.

Unused to all the commotion he knew that he would have to endure the dinner, he was after all some kind of talisman and it would raise the morale of the men. He returned and dressed for dinner. Sat at top table next to the chief he did his part and soon they were in the war room. News had come in from Valletta by courier, they were ready, and his old friends would be waiting for him. There were things to do and things to see, for his eyes alone. Slowly the puzzle was coming together, they had tracked them down, up in the hills further away. And they would only speak with him. Exhausted after the journey and more than half full of wine, he made his excuses and retired.

Two days later they were at sea, and the breeze was fair. It took them swift from land and into sea. In the distance the port faded. And his thoughts turned to that piece of rock in an azure sea, nor far from Africa and his brothers waiting there for him….   

Left Side Awareness and High Adventure

If you read Dr Castaneda’s books you will notice that they are more than a little trippy. There are bits that are coherent and bits that aren’t. He speaks of a whole bunch of stuff that is far out man. Now this kind of stuff can be very exciting to certain types of people and they may seek to replicate it. If you have an intention for the weird and the wonderful you are actively intending it to happen. If you are after magical powers, you are looking for some kind of short cut maybe seeking to compensate for a lack of “power” you perceive. I have some shamanic experience and the states accessed in shamanic workings can be pretty strange. From my research into this kind of stuff, they pertain to what may be called the astral or emotional plane. Weird shit can happen and by and large it is a distraction and not really of a great deal of use. It might be fun or downright scary, whatever lights your candle. Once you start to “soften” the common dream, you lose its integrated interpretation of “the world”. Behind that are many other possible “worlds”. When one world goes, you no longer have a basis for coherently interpreting what may be transpiring. This can make you shit bricks. The thing is indulging in astral plane stuff, is basically wasting time, no matter what high adventures you may have along the way. It has glamour and illusion. It might sound all cool and something that you can impress the chicks with around the campfire, astral stuff it remains. There are things of use, but they are few and far between. If you are going to explore, you need to be anchored, you must have ball of string to lead you out of the maze, otherwise there you can remain.

If you start to play with the “medicine” points of the physical body as used in acupuncture, Ayurveda, or these kind of systems, it can effect. These effects are twofold one in mind other in “bodies”. Again, this can be distracting. Some are healers, others not. People like phenomena because this can be exciting. But indulging in phenomena is indulging in phenomena, it is not liberation. Astral stuff is old, and it should be left to fade away, naturally. Farting about with it gives it an unwarranted longevity. If you need to deal with astral stuff, it will make its presence known, you do not need to go looking for it. The Path of High Adventure probably needs to go, to fade.

The best way to approach left side awareness is to start close to “normal” awareness. This happens in the zone of an elite sportsman, the combat awareness of the soldier and in the sometime meditative atmosphere of a good dojo. There adjunct to the normal is the heightened. And until you have trained this, you don’t know. In all these cases there is a ball of string back to the day to day. The trouble is if you spend too long in heightened awareness as a soldier might, you can miss it. I certainly would not wish to be hunted by a highly skilled soldier in a forest at night. What I am suggesting is going out of the comfort zone but not completely out of depth. If you are bricking it, you cannot learn because you are so busy bricking it, that is all you see.

To my experience dreaming, is a form of meditation, hence we have dreaming practice. One can loosen the common dream and in the crack between “worlds”, learn. I am not talking about the energy body, the dreaming body or anything of that ilk. I am talking about a heightening awareness which goes past the mundane. Be aware indulging is indulging, period. The most important tool is a good ball of string, the length of which can increase with time.

Left Side Awareness

This is nothing to do with brain hemispheres. It is to do with a state of awareness which is somehow other to that which you might use to do the accounts, drive a real-life automobile or take a dump. It is not the ordinary pseudo-rational awareness in which we spend most of our time. It is to do with the dreaming awareness and it can be touched upon by use of metaphor.

     —
The English metaphor derived from the 16th-century Old French word métaphore, which comes from the Latin metaphora, “carrying over”, in turn from the Greek μεταφορά (metaphorá), “transfer”, from μεταφέρω (metapherō), “to carry over”, “to transfer” and that from μετά (meta), “after, with, across” + φέρω (pherō), “to bear”, “to carry”.

Understanding of metaphors is hit or miss, in that what works for some fails for others. The experience in left side is rarely of a linear nature and therein are many things connected. And how left side transfers into brain consciousness also differs.

The last three posts speak of some kind of rite of passage, some initiation, some inner momentous change. There is little visible sign exterior as to what is occurring on the inside. This is not the rite of passage of drinking a gallon of beer, losing a virginity or doing a marathon. These are outer rites and not inner ones. Many societies have initiatory rites, in these there is a physical element and an inner element. Often it is the latter which is the toughest, there can be something akin to a dark night of the soul. One might be battling some demon or other. In these inner battles one is often so very far “away” from the world of spreadsheets and supermarkets. One might be having the experience whilst in Tesco. Nobody would necessarily notice. Though this kind of thing is best not done there.

If someone is unaccustomed to left side awareness and they are jolted into it, they can shit bricks. Through dreaming one can learn to pass across the crack between worlds with ease. Many interesting things can be learned there, and it is very unknown for most. Some never return from left side.

Having cued this up I’ll say that left side awareness pertains to the dreaming. I’ll return to it and expand a little later.

Tenebris

The ancient cloak descends through the mists of time upon the earth, primordial in its essence, unforgiving in its relentlessness, cloying and suffocating all in her path. Beauty is extinguished as the damp greyness envelops and enfolds. It recovers the nascent growth, the seeds that part the earth in search of the sun falter sans lumière. 

On the hillside sheltering from the storm against a low brick wall stands a man, his coat shaggy and stained by the peat water of the marsh. He turns up his collar against the wind. He looks at his hands cold and sore from the wind and the rain. He feels the salt path as the tear of his life rolls across his cheek, leaving a track in the mud and the dirt. There is a break in the rain and he stands and looks into the mist. There on the horizon he can see the tendrils of smoke from his cottage. Wearily he picks up his bag and sighs. Bracing himself once more against the elements he sets off. Each step is slow and forced as the memories of every step seem echoed in the fibres of his body. Slowly he gathers his strength to stand once again in the darkness. He searches in himself for the life-giving spark. It is there. He fans it with his inner breath, the essence of his life force. He blows gently and soon the spark of his self belief is beginning to glow. Soft and orange, smoky and pungent with the pine sap of his blood. He gathers his will and harnesses it, he corals and directs it towards the flame with the strength of his will he ignites the fire. There he stands a glimmer a life alive. 

He reaches in, to his heart, to open wide the portcullis slammed shut at the frustration of it all. As he walks his body shakes as he once again renders his heart to open. To take it so wide and to prise open the overrun vines of neglect that have clamped it tight. He looks again to his flame and brings it to the castle gate. He holds it aloft and towards the ice. He peers at the reflection of the flame as the white surface snows melt and the image of his outer being is reflected within. He looks within at the eyes. In those eyes he can see the ashes of his lives, the very footprints in the sands of his times, the canvas of his lives written and painted with the palette of his moods. Windswept and dark, light and warm every shade of season, every nuance of feeling each stored as a pastiche of his story. He holds the flame of his self belief to the glass chalice of water, the one whose contents sear his being-ness and burn and pose the question why. 

The pine smoke of his flame darkens the glass and he watches as the water begins to dance with the flame. Yes, there it is that first bubble of hope, it floats and it rises and bursts forth into the now heavy air. With its release a spark returns. He feels its exuberance and its irrepressibility as child in his eyes. He turns again to the manger of his heart, that external womb here he seeks to nurture. He pulls back the covers and looks to the soft downy blankets fresh with the smell of the newborn. For into that heart he puts the child, the symbol of his vulnerability, the symbol of his damaged trust.

He pauses and searches again for the dove of his being-ness. He reaches within his cloak and cradles it in his hands. He coos into its ear and raises it aloft. He sets it free onto the four winds, to fly and to soar, taking with it the autumn leaves of his self-doubt to scatter them to the corners of the world. In the inner world the now wrinkled leaves change into the first seeds of acceptance. He kneels as he abandons. In that release the chains of his own petty wants and desires are rent. Link after link is stretched the metal bending white as the force of his will rips at the steel of his chains. The echo of release runs down his spine as that which was wrought is now asunder. 

He feels himself dissolve and expand into the cup of his karma. The flame of his being-ness bursts into pure light and sound as it expands across the landscape of his world. The vision of all places and all times, the omniscience that is not him yet he is of it. His consciousness flows across the patchwork fields of the low countries. It becomes the royal eagle soaring against the sea cliffs where earth plunges into ocean. The ocean spray washes his wings and freshens his face, as he plays with gulls and rides amongst the nests on the cliff faces.

He dives like a cormorant into the ocean of his life, driven this way and that by the currents that he does not understand nor comprehend. He emerges onto a desert shore. The dry warmth begins to ease the form. He smells it, the crescent of the desert moon sparkling in the sky. He sniffs and the lungful adds to the spark of his inner flame. He walks with camels in the desert night, lit by the majesty of the stars against the backdrop of the infinite heavens, the veils of space and time showing him the mirror of his own insignificance against the cosmic canvas torn apart and created by a purpose that cannot be named.

He looks within at the sun now dark and sees the orange fire that shows the blackness and he huddles for comfort on that mountain hillside, shaking and afraid. He lifts up his head and howls at the crescent moon, the sound of his voices echoing all the pangs of birth resonant with the sorrow and with the joy of the world, of hope long forgotten. The core of him stretching back through aeons and the string of his voice tendered and marked by every hand that stretched it. He allows his consciousness back to the source, the rose of his own birth where the essence of his own being was forged and thrust into life.  He feels corpuscles of his being-ness clustering into that flame held in the ether of life, the spark of that arrow made by the divine fletcher.

Then he sees it, the first blue in the darkness. A hush falls on the land as slowly the form can bee seen in the shadow and the purple black recedes into shades of blue,  so heart warming. The primordial darkness yields to the sun as the pinprick pink pierces the sky, deepening of colour, certain of its own footing, it pushes and probes the darkness. The lotus flower of its leaves opens in song as it rejoices its own birth. Heady and fragrant it yields its fresh perfume on the day. It calls to its heralds the angels, to sound forth the clarion call of life, a life alive and ready. The sky now alight in the soft radiant dawn has a clarity of diamond and a purpose of pure and ecstatic white, brilliance and clarity. The mists of darkness recede and the divine and cosmic essence shines forth warming the heart of man, healing in hues of emerald-green, warming with soft yellows, energising with blues and comforting in its sound. It causes his whole body to shake with release. As he bathes in the sun the aches and the weary-ness of his existence are soothed.

He turns again to his flame and it is now bright. He moves across the hillside with more eagerness and perhaps he can now smell the tendrils of the wood smoke from his hearth that is waiting for him.

Il y a longtemps..

It was on one of those crisp, perfect, February mornings. He walked along the short path by the gurgling stream. The green sprouts of the springtime bulbs, standing a few inches above the earth. Soon there would be flowers. The sharp morning air made mist out of his breath.

He opened the heavy wooden door to the church, the iron ring thudded as he closed it. In the main part he genuflected and crossed himself. He went to the small chapel in the Eastern wing and knelt on the kneeling stool. The morning light filtered through the window and he could see flecks of dust in the sunbeams. It bathed him. He bowed his head and began to recite and pray. At this time of day, he was alone, and his voice was the only noise above his breathing. After a while he could hear the faint noise of riders approaching the settlement. As they got closer he could discern seven horses, six ridden by men and one not. By the sound the men were heavy, probably armed. As they got closer, he sensed that they were coming for him. Instinctively his left hand reached down to his side to feel the scar tissue under his hessian. It still ached from time to time and the skin was taught and rough. At his touch the noises of before flooded in to his mind.

He heard the men halt and speak to the stable lad, who held the horses as they dismounted. Some went to the stream to drink and refresh. From the sound of the horses they had been riding long and fast. Soon he could hear footsteps approaching the church it was one man, armed and mailed. The door slowly opened and in came the knight. He was not afraid, because he could recognise that gait anywhere and he knew, oh how he knew, why they had come. He finished praying, crossed himself and turned to meet his old friend.

“It’s time”, the knight said.

“I know, I have expected you these last few weeks.”

They hugged like the brothers in arms they were.

“We must ride fast, for the ships are leaving soon. Take just what you need, we will kit you out when you get to port.”

He walked back along the stream, past the water mill and to his dwelling. At the back in the cupboard was his tunic, his belt and his sword. Slowly he unfurled the tunic and blew the dust into the air. He placed it over his cassock, the white stark against the hessian, the red cross still bright. He took his belt and wrapped it round hanging his sword by his side. Further back in the cupboard were his daggers, one for the boot and one for the belt. Into his sack he put two books, a rosary and phial. In a heavy chest there was his library, he locked this and hung the key around his neck.

He turned swiftly and walked out the door. He retraced his steps past the water wheel. The woman and child were there. He waved at them, they knew. They too had been waiting.

When he got to the courtyard the six were already mounted. They swore and cursed at him in welcome. He mounted and then they were off.  There lay ahead many days ride to the southern coast…..