The following extract is taken from a pathworking diary which I wrote over four years ago. At that time I was researching the possible origins of my individuality. I am not a believer in reincarnation if for no other reason than that I have no robust evidence for it. But it also occurs to me that, as with every branch of science, knowledge is being gained continually. This usually results in new hypotheses and theories being developed, and occasionally a new paradigm emerging. Nothing, even in the world of esotericism, is carved in stone. I will not say that reincarnation does not happen, only that my scepticism runs very deep. It seems to me to be much more likely that it is certain aspects of humankind's psychological history that is carried from generation to generation. Neither do I think that past life regression is anything but a rather dubious process of proving reincarnation. But enough of this talk; let us approach this diary entry in whatever manner best suits our inclination.
..........I was walking through an open, dappled wood which grew in a long, narrow valley. The trees were close enough to form a loose canopy above me, but not so dense that I could not see that beyond the wood the hill tops were bare of trees, and grass covered. As I walked in the dappled sunlight, quite alone except for the companionship, or guardianship, of an atlas-globe-sized point of light that bobbed along beside me, I heard the sounds of chirruping and a murmur of chittering. Occasionally a hunting bird would fly past, single-mindedly intent on its business. In general there was a benign feeling, a joyousness in the valley, yet with a slight edginess associated with the chittering of the insects.
When, at last, I reached the end of the valley, I discovered that night had fallen. Everything around me was suddenly in darkness even though the moon was full. From a place immediately ahead of me I sensed a miasma, a powerful feeling of active rotting-ness. I hurriedly turned away and retraced my steps. Everything had changed from bright, open joyousness to a dark foreboding. I could not escape the awareness of fear because I appeared to be its source. Animals hurried from my presence to hide shivering in the darkness. The chirruping of the birds had diminished to an uneasy, occasional chirp whilst the insect chittering had increased markedly. I felt emotionally cool, even cold perhaps, as compared with my earlier warm emotions.
There was an overall sense of conflict, perhaps a battle for survival, in the valley. Perhaps it was about Dark versus Light, Death versus Life. There was a vague and uneasy sense of cruelty present. What distressed me was that I, as the man of power and authority in the valley, might have been the emotionless arbiter of the fate of all that lived within my domain..........
[Extract from my private diaries]
This experience, of which there is more recorded in my diaries, may simply be reflecting my struggle to come to terms with my inner, destructive forces, the unresolved and unresolvable contradictions inherent in survival. For one life-form to survive, others must die, and that is a fact that I have found increasingly difficult to accept with equanimity. It is not a question of reason or rationality, it is about the seemingly inevitability that the weak must be consumed by the strong, that the defenceless must be sacrificed to the powerful, regardless of any concept of intrinsic worth. Of course, simply because I do not like unpalatable facts of life does not detract from their reality. And I am not exempt from that reality for I, too, play my part in this jungle, and about that I must not try to escape into denial. Unless I accept, at least in part, the Dark side of nature, I will never be able to attain the necessary balance that enables me to experience the Light. But can I accept the Darkness without becoming, even to a small degree, a part of it?
I would now like to turn to another source from which I will quote, because it was the recent discovery of this latter source that set bells ringing in my mind, that triggered a sense of - if not synchronicity - something approaching compatibility. The source is, "The Case for God" by Karen Armstrong. At one point she says,
..........We know that shamanism developed in Africa and Europe during the Paleolithic period and that it spread to Siberia and thence to America and Australia, where the shaman is still the chief religious practitioner among indigenous hunting peoples..........Shamans have bird and animal guardians and can converse with the beasts that are revered as messengers of higher powers. The shaman's vision gives meaning to the hunting and killing of animals on which these societies depend.
The hunters feel profoundly uneasy about slaughtering the beasts who are their friends and patrons, and to assuage this anxiety they surround the hunt with taboos and prohibitions. They believe that long ago the animals made a covenant with humankind, and now a god known as the Animal Master regularly sends flocks from the lower world to be killed on the hunting plains, because the hunters promised to perform the rites that will give them posthumous life..........
It is not my task to analyse, and certainly not to pass judgement on, the beliefs of these people, but it does seem to me that for all our talk about, and belief in, the primitiveness of our ancestors, it may well be that they were far more in tune both with the world around them and also within them than many 'civilised' people of today. Since those far off times, humans have changed at an ever-increasing rate, and I have become more and more convinced that somewhere during just the last five centuries or so, humankind has gone seriously off course. An essential sense of Beingness along with respect, a quality that must be part of the spectrum of love, seems in too many cases to have been jettisoned in favour of an uncritical acceptance of rationality and enlightenment, and a corresponding rise in fundamentalism.
As I said above, I offer this post in a thoughtful spirit of curiosity, intrigue, perhaps wonder, and maybe amusement if that is how it strikes you. It seems to me now, that I must also offer it in a thoughtful spirit of reflection, and perhaps regret.