..........I knocked on the garden gate, then entered my inner, secret garden, drawing the bolt behind me. From a gazebo to my right emerged a lion who led me along a path towards a pale grey, Gothic-style archway or portal beyond which I could see nothing. We appeared to have risen a little above the garden, with everywhere around us immersed in a fog, or pale grey mist. Passing through the stone archway I saw that the mist had disappeared and that the archway gave access to a long, straight corridor sloping gently upwards and which seemed to consist of a whole set of Gothic archways generating a ribbed, almost organic, look to the corridor. We walked steadily upwards until it seemed that we were cut off from any other place. Finally we halted at the end of the corridor. There was nothing ahead except the reappearance of the foggy void. Momentarily, I felt a large paw in the small of my back as I was pushed unceremoniously into the fog.
I had expected to fall, yet found myself buoyed up by some unknown force, which gave the semblance of solidity beneath my feet. I then saw that immediately in front of me waited an old man, cloaked in black, who was holding aloft his lantern to light my way. We walked on for some while until I saw that we had entered a medieval town barely visible in the darkened, evening fog. The walls of the buildings seemed to approach and then recede with our passing as, finally, the cobbled road entered a more open area with lights shining dimly but warmly onto the road. To our left appeared a cheery inn with some shop-front windows and a large entrance space, but apparently without any doors. A little to the right of the inn front was a built-over arch leading to a courtyard, big enough for wagons-and-horses.
I approached the inn, but seeing that the hermit had not followed, turned back towards him. He indicated with a wave of his hand that I must enter the inn, and that he would not be accompanying me any further. Inside, the inn was as foggy, almost spectral, as the road outside. The innkeeper offered me a tumbler of greenish liquid, which I drank, before motioning me towards a nearby flight of stairs, leading upwards to a bedroom. There he unlocked the door and ushered me inside.
The room was small, but clean and comfortable with a well-sprung double bed. The nearside wall of the room consisted of planks of wood with large gaps between them, offering no privacy and little protection. The open window on the far side of the room looked out onto an inner courtyard lit by the light of a full moon. Nowhere was there any trace of mist or fog. There was also a rather puzzling image of a moon-like disc on the bedroom ceiling. Finding that I was already dressed in night-clothes, I crawled into bed, and lay watching the moon. At some stage I drifted into sleep..........
It had been clear to me that the path I trod in this psycho-spiritual exercise, led me to a place (or rather, a non-place) somewhere in the 'upper' reaches of my being. There I found myself as "the Sleeper." For some while I was content with that as a simple explanation, hoping that in the sleeping state some form of transfiguration might be taking place at a level beyond my consciousness. Yet as I meditated on the other aspects of this journey, I began to feel a certain unease.
I will not go into the many twists and turns that my thinking took me; it would seem to serve no useful purpose. It did appear to take an inordinately long time for me to understand how I needed to approach the way I have to deal with the very obvious Tarot images that arose, (and continue to do so) as well as the images relating to the Hebrew alphabet, both of which were present in my past studies of the mystical Qabalah. A total change in my approach is necessary, because I discovered, quite surreptitiously, that in truth the conscious 'I' has been lulled into a state of sleepiness from which it must be roused.
It would be difficult to overestimate the the dangers and pitfalls, the possibilities for making mistakes, that lie ahead of me; difficult to overestimate the strength of the apparently natural desire to allow consciousness to sleep and dream. Somehow, I must simultaneously both reject and embrace the many 'systems' with which I have made contact, in the hope of discovering the way to the country that lies beyond.