Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Chalice - Part 2 of 2


Let me begin by picking up on the essential features of the first part of this essay. It was near the beginning of a meditation on the possible purpose of my life, not a subject that filled me with great enthusiasm, that the image of a Temple appeared in my mind. Old familiars appeared in a new setting; a link was drawn between Sophia and the Lady of the Lake; I learned of a mistaken conclusion I had drawn about Truth and Wisdom; I was invited to enter far more deeply into my inner world, and drank deeply from that Chalice. Finally I saw in the far distance a group of Divine Sparks being shepherded by Sirius the Dog Star.

On Teaching and Further Symbolism:

Put as briefly as possible, Gnostic teaching says that within in each one of us (and I would not exclude any other member of Nature's kingdoms) is a tiny piece of the Divine, our souls perhaps. These pieces, or Divine Sparks, after existing in the Pleroma, the Light, the Fullness, or the Hebrew Ain-Soph-Aur, incarnate from that unmanifest state into our physical bodies. At the end of the life of the physical body, the Sparks return to the great unmanifest.

In mythology the Dog Star, Sirius, is said to be one of the watchmen of the heavens, keeping guard over the abyss into incarnation. This star exemplifies the initiate who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. Astrologically, Sirius is part of the region of the sky which has been known as the gateway to the ocean of higher consciousness. To say that Sirius, appearing in the Tarot as "The Star", is important in mystery religions would be a massive understatement.

As I have already said, it does not seem to matter whether or not I believe in these teachings and mythological accounts. What matters is that my unconscious mind has chosen these avenues to reveal what it will, even perhaps as a series of 'as ifs'. It so happens that I am prepared to take these teachings as working hypotheses until they have proved their value, or lack of same. There is further point that must be emphasised, namely that every part of this pathworking is a part of me. The image of the Divine Sparks, and of Sirius, are as much me as are the Wolf, Cheetah, Eagle-Hawk, Sword and Chalice. They come as close as I can get to defining what and who I am. 

Approaching the Dog Star:

As I watched the Star from afar I became aware of myself, still seated on my throne with the Sword of Wisdom across my knees, as a ghostly projection on the surrounding cosmos. When I gently dismissed that projection, I found that I was travelling effortlessly and at high speed towards Sirius. A certain point was reached when I was captured by the Star's magnetic field. In a deep sense I had returned to my Self. Nearby, was the collection of Divine Sparks, in a state of extreme weariness. My difficulty was in trying to determine where these Sparks were on their seemingly aeonian journey. Were they about to experience the emanative period of physical life, or had that period of their existence been accomplished? (Their obvious fatigue was no guide. In a pathworking of my physical birth, carried out many years ago, I felt the same fatigue, and also had what was probably a near death experience.) The distant light towards which the Sparks were being escorted, was it a vaginal opening into the physical world, or an entrance into some higher form of existence? 

It was this point that I had reached when, at the beginning of 'Part 1' of this script, I said that no final resolution to these questions could be offered. There were too many options available; but each one relied to a greater or lesser extent on the belief, wholly or partially, in handed down wisdom and teaching. What I wanted was to confirm or reject those teachings from my own inner experience. That option did not seem to be available. .

I do not believe that at a fundamental level the universe, if left to itself, is interested in complication. Rather it deals in complexity. It is the ego that likes to complicate matters. Sir Roger Penrose once said something along the lines that the universe can only be described in terms of complex numbers*. One of the features of complex numbers is that by means of mathematical transformations, seemingly complicated systems can be changed to simple systems which are relatively easy to manipulate and solve. It occurs to me that this may be what is required in this pathworking. The difficulty is discovering the appropriate 'transform'.

What is the Purpose of My Life?

If the confirmation of handed down wisdom and teaching is not a current option, another option has emerged which is consistent with spiritual teaching the world over. And that option takes me all the way back to the meditation on which this pathworking was originally based. In an odd sort of way, the problems we are currently undergoing with our dear Mol, has acted like a mathematical transform. Her presence, and the tough decisions which we may yet have to make on her behalf, has reduced a complicated equation to its simplest terms.

The role of the Dog Star is to guide, shepherd and care for its 'pack' of Divine Sparks. There have been many 'others' in my life for whom I have cared greatly. Not all of them have been entrusted wholly to my keeping. In those cases I have been happy to play a supporting role. When I let go of my reasoning and absorb the sensings around this pathworking, one thing stands out very clearly, and it is in the form of a total conviction. My life has a purpose, and that purpose is to love. On the surface that may sound obvious and simple, but at its root it is a complex state of being. It is not my purpose here to write a treatise on love, but what is clear to me in a way I have not seen before, is that the love to which I refer is not about thought, feeling, romance or ego-sentimentality. It is not even about the caring about, and the caring of, that appeals to the higher instincts. It is about the practice of love that does not carry any opt-out clause. It is about how I love my neighbour, even if I loathe him/her. Again I say it is about how I practise, not how I feel. 

But who is my pack, my family, even my neighbour? I would suggest that it is everyone with whom I am in contact. To practise the art of love is a life-long apprenticeship, and that is what I now realise I have been called to do. From practice, sometimes tentative and inept, has come conviction and affirmation. And there is no worthier activity than open-eyed love, offered in wisdom, in which to engage because it is inclusive and not divisive. All other worthwhile pursuits stem from this one activity. because in the end it is not so much that, as scripture teaches, "God is Love," it is rather that, "Love is God." 
* Complex numbers are of the general form x + iy, and are a combination of two terms. The Real part is the variable x term; the Imaginary term iy (said to exist on the z plane which is not Real) is the product of the variable y and the square root of -1, which has no solution in Real terms. (Best to order your mathematical textbooks now, before stocks run out!) It seems to me that in some ways that reflects, or is an analogy for, the way we can live our lives to the full. There is the 'real' part that we associate with our everyday consciousness, but there is also the unconscious, 'imaginary' aspect of our make-up. And it is the latter part, all too often ignored, that holds the key to the understanding of our Selves.  


  1. Oh, my.

    If you're having trouble with the chalice,
    Please don't react with malice.
    There's a much better way . . .
    Just go ask Alice.

    I'm sorry. When I saw that word "chalice" it threw me into rhyming mode.

    Please go on with what you were saying.

  2. Bruce; I do not feel that I am knowledgeable about poetry, but in this instance I feel I can look beyond the words to something else. Thus it is that my thanks for this ode are genuine.

    It has long been a concern of mine that the descriptions of inner imagery both fail to describe adequately that inner experience, and also fail to capture that something in my readers that can initiate a response. This is unsurprising. Indeed I experience similar difficulties when dealing, for example, with Lewis Carroll and some of C.G.Jung's imagery. It is to be noted that the contents of the latter's "Red Book" remained unpublished until after his death. And he really did have something to say.

    So what I was saying was that I will not react with malice, but rethink my approach to blogging. It may even be possible to tell the pathworking as a story. We shall see what we shall see.

    Once again, thank you Bruce.

  3. "... My life has a purpose, and that purpose is to love. On the surface that may sound obvious and simple, but at its root it is a complex state of being. It is not my purpose here to write a treatise on love, but what is clear to me in a way I have not seen before, is that the love to which I refer is not about thought, feeling, romance or ego-sentimentality. It is not even about the caring about, and the caring of, that appeals to the higher instincts. It is about the practice of love that does not carry any opt-out clause. It is about how I love my neighbour, even if I loathe him/her. Again I say it is about how I practise, not how I feel. "

    Tom, I had to copy this whole section because it is, in this post, what resonates completely and relevantly with me. I can underline every word. But the pathworking that you describe which led you there is in a language of symbols and myths that are not "my" language. I don't mean that it's not a valid language or path, but only that it's not mine. We all have particular 'languages' (I don't mean literal languages or literary styles) that we respond to and express ourselves inwardly with and inevitably they'll have some influences from our background, culture etc. So there are parts of this post which I read but don't really absorb whereas when reaching your conclusion, as quoted above, the light goes on and makes sparks for me.

  4. Natalie; I must express my gratitude for your comment, the same kind of gratitude I feel towards Bruce. It has been, up until now, my intent to try to describe the data from which my conclusions have been drawn, because I have become so tired of having wisdom delivered as from 'on high'.

    I must confess to feeling thoroughly beaten in this intent. I accept fully what you say, and I will listen to what has been offered as comment. I will no longer post my pathworkings, but perhaps it was worth the try. And maybe, after all, if such experiences may be said to be a conversations between the pathworker and the Divine, they should be kept private.

    Oh Natalie! But thank you.

  5. This is quite the amazing spiritual journey you've described, Tom. I found the imagery was very clearly and beautifully portrayed. Your knowledge of esoterica is profound. Although all of the references were familiar to me I found it unimaginable that I'd remember all of the meanings in that state.

    When you mentioned the female arm holding the sword my first thought was of the Lady in the Lake; that yours was Sophia was a delightful surprise.

    I actually hope you will keep on describing details of your pathworking meditations as it's both new and very fascinating to me as a spiritual exercise.

    There are many ways to arrive at love as the answer.

  6. Susan; Your supportive comment has now thrown me into a state of indecision, and has also reminded me of my original purpose in 'flying' Gwynt. I must confess to feeling very uncomfortable at present, and maybe that is no bad thing!

    Somewhere on the dusty shelves of my mind there are memories I need to retrieve, dust off and reconsider. This may take a few days, I hope not weeks, but such matters will not be hurried. I hope that anyone who has gained anything from this site will bear with me.

  7. Oh how clumsy and slow this form of communication is, yet without it how could we have ever met?
    First, Natalie has saved my poor finger so much swiping! Your analysis of love sums up so much.

    As to the pathworking, you have reminded me of earliest memories, perhaps felt rather than thought. There was a glow and certainty that there was purpose in my existence and that going into this adventure had meaning.
    Because there were no experiences of the world, no swords or eagles or chalices, the images, nightmarish in their way were the sounds and colours, pressure and such confusion. The only solace; the promise of love that had somehow conveyed that there would be meaning and purpose eventually.
    There have been occasions through my life when these primal feelings have returned, and it might just be that thanks to your blog and your choice to tell your stories, a connection has finally happened.
    This has been way too long already for a comment. Let me just add that for me, Gwynt has become a safe place. There is love here Tom.

  8. Halle; Thank you for that affirmation; I feel humbled, and borne by an odd sort of peace.

  9. how easy it is to forget that "love thy neighbour" does not refer to the warm fuzzy feeling, but to the practice. thank you for reminding me.

  10. To Everyone: Having mulled over your comments at some length, I have decided to continue with my practice of publishing my pathworking imagery, where it is appropriate. To do otherwise would be to defeat one of the objects of Gwynt, namely to present the data on which I base my writing.

    It is to be regretted that the imagery is not always understood, but I have to say that there are times when I do not understand the imagery. Yet if I were to ignore it, choose to keep it locked away, it would remove something essential, the life, from what I write.

    Of late I have referred to the two sides of experience, the Real and the Imaginary, the material and the spiritual, and so on. Something similar appears to operate in my posts. Only by allowing the non-imagery to go hand-in-glove with the pathworking imagery am I able to feel free enough to write as I do. I don't know the psycho-mechanics of how this works, I just know that it does.

  11. I woke up this morning from a dream in which I had hurt my friend's feelings profoundly by assuming he was kidding when, in fact, he wasn't. I was insensitive to the possibility of his growth, and I was bent on being funny. (I immediately found an application for my dream: I just deleted a Tweet I had posted yesterday that I now realize could have offended some, maybe many. The apprenticeship of love.)

    And this post articulates, puts some theory on, my morning's experience. A striking post that sticks to my ribs like a good sermon, though personal and wholly without the sermonizing. So many good lines, too.

    The divine spark you speak of seems to be the core of my emerging political theory that I've been digging at for several years now. So neat, even exciting, to hear it expressed here in another context.

  12. Peter; How can I best respond to your comment? Both the intent, as well as your response to your dream, were positive, and that counts for a very great deal. Of this I am certain.

    I share your sense of excitement that the concept of the Divine Spark can be seen as being fundamental to ways of thinking which are other than those to which we are accustomed.

    Thank you for this commentm and also to the reference made to Gwynt on Slow Reads.