I am sanctified . . . . . . . . .

February 20, 2009

 

My heart is being stretched. I am sanctified after being petrified. I’ve lost everyone’s tomorrows and have found my own. The sky above is my sky. Never before have I owned the earth, never before has the sun burnt  through my shadow to enlighten the crevices of my brain. I await no one and no one awaits me. I dip my finger into the Aegean Sea and taste its salt. This same salt is in my blood, and yours, yet my life had lost its savour, until now. Hidden eyes in my skull open like blossoming flowers to see my nakedness.

Kiss my eyes, kiss my mouth, kiss my hands, kiss my feet, kiss my heart, for I am now sanctified. I’ve leapt into the abyss and it’s nothing, like tomorrow is nothing, like yesterday is nothing. The abyss is none other than this moment, the Today of my life. I’ve let go my fears, my hopes, my wishes, I only breathe and feel the pulse of here and now. This here and now is not limited by a circumference of a clock and hands that tick and cut like a knife each moment. No, this now is the Present of my whole life. In this Now, I am being conceived, I am being buried in my grave, I love, I hate, I cry, I laugh, every moment of existence is here and now.

I no longer need to believe, I’ve crossed the threshold of belief.

To what?

The great Unknown.

stavros


A Wish to Pray – Donald Petacchi

February 15, 2009

Below is a copy of a hand written poem by Donald Petacchi taken from his book,  “Work for Being in the Machine Age”.

 

A Wish to Pray, by Donald Petacchi

A Wish to Pray, by Donald Petacchi


Time Travelling with My Ears

February 9, 2009

 

Rimbaud: “I dreamed of crusades, senseless voyages of discovery, republics without a history, moral revolution, displacement of races and continents: I believed in all the magics.”

 

A few months ago I was stuck like a shipwreck on my bed in my living room. I was stuck there, 24/7 for two months. I was there because of an accidental fall at work. I broke my leg and tore a cartilage in my hand. This means that I wasn’t able to use crutches to get around and when I visited the doctor and the physiotherapist I used a wheel chair. So, my “senseless voyages of discovery” had become mundane wheelies on a chair. I was not down and in fact time seemed to buzz by quicker than ever. Yes, alone on a bed, stuck in one place for two months and all seemed well. Of course, being shipwrecked with a beautiful, caring wife helps a lot. I couldn’t ask for more in a woman who shares my life. Jane is totally giving, loving, warm and has a natural joyousness which lightens my life – even while I was stuck there.

 

So much for my body. Yep, it was immobile but my mind wasn’t. I began doing some amazing time travelling while I was in this space. Time travelling? Let me explain. I was surfing the net and buying music from eBay. I found a seller who offloads very cheaply, CD’s without covers and art work. More often than not they are CD’s of LP’s I already own but because vinyl is so 20th Century and I couldn’t be bothered trying to find a new needle so that I can play them on my turntable, getting “Exile on Main Street ” by the Rolling Stones on CD for 50 cents is fantastic. I bought some music I

haven’t heard for decades which I could listen to.

 

Each time I listened to these songs, reminiscences flowed unchecked – memories, dreams, faces, body entanglements, old acid trips and dope hazed twilights, smiles and tears, hellos and goodbyes…all streamed by as the music played. Each favourite song became a lane, a street, sometimes a highway to the past. I listened and watched the thoughts that arose and watching the thoughts, sometimes I felt. Felt what? It didn’t really matter, a feeling arose, then a smile bent its way across my face or a tear traced its way down my cheek. Old friends appeared and then I wondered, “Where are they now? Are they still alive? Are they happy?” Old lovers appeared and I remembered our embraces and promises we made to each other. My heart broke and then healed with another song. I loved all. I love all.

 

Time travelling with my ears.

 

Below are lyrics of a song I wrote about remembering a long lost lover:

  

Do You Remember?

 

Do you remember the time,
our paths first crossed the line?
Composing phone numbers
on the palms of our hands.
Do you remember the hour,
when we first made the vow?
During reason’s truancy, without sorcery.
The gypsy keeper’s hand of fate
undid the knot of empty space.

 

 A circle and a sphere can’t trace
the shape of a falling tear.
The comfort and the fear can’t chase
the cape of another year.
Do you remember?

 

Do you remember the moment
rumour’s arrow pierced your intent?
Through the line between your eyes
a flame kindles your alibis.
It burns through precious flesh and bone,
the memories you wish to disown, by and by.
We sacked the empires of illusion
to save the key to eternal union.

 

 A circle and a sphere can’t trace
the shape of a falling tear.
The comfort and the fear can’t chase
the cape of another year.

 

Do you remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . me?

 

stavros


René Daumal (1908 – 1944)

January 31, 2009

“I am the great inside – out man…”

René Daumal was one of the most gifted literary figures in France in the early part of the twentieth century, René Daumal was a genuine seeker of truth. He was a philosopher and poet. In the later part of his life, he had the good fortune to meet and work with G I Gurdjieff.

Rene Daumal

René Daumal

 

I first came across his work while I was reading William Blake for my honours thesis. I was struck by the similarity of their outlook even though they lived a century apart. They both shared a vision rooted in a sense of the real that was not dependent on the consensus reality they were embedded in. They were both spiritual in their own idiosyncratic way without recourse to traditional religious structures of church or temple. René Daumal speaks to me in a clearer way, maybe because he lived closer to my own present moment. 

 

 Daumal’s unfinished novel, “Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidian and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures” is a story about a group of people who are on a journey to visit a mountain that connects heaven with earth. They sail on a ship called “Impossible”  encountering their “soft pillow of doubt” and the “relatively real.” He uses the universality of the Mountain symbol to convey the sense of ascending towards Truth in a non religious way. One of the themes is that advance can only happen in a one step up, two steps down way. It is a spiritual approach that is connected to a secular and a modern sense of the sacred. In Erik Davis’  words, “In his [Daumal] life and mind, we can trace the prophetic outlines of a genuine ‘mystical modernism’, a mode of spiritual practice that is experiential, anti-religious, and counter-cultural — even to the point of being counter-modern.”

 

I believe the challenge for us in the 21st Century is to somehow feel a sense of the sacred in a community that no longer has belief in an anthropomorphic God. The battle is against ALL fundamentalist belief structures – whether they’re informed by religion, science, economics or apparent rationalism. Mount Analogue points towards an approach that is both universalist and uniquely individual. 

A diagram from Mount Analogue

A diagram from Mount Analogue

The book is an allegory of creative practice, the skills required to bring something into existence from nothing, the process of work.

The end of the book was completed mid sentence when he passed away. His wife, Vera Milanova, included the following poem in the Post Script of Mount Analogue.

 

This poem has fed me ever since I first came across it:

Mount Analogue book cover.

Mount Analogue book cover.

 

 

 I am dead because I lack desire,
I lack desire because I think I possess.
I think I possess because I do not try to give.
In trying to give, you see that you have nothing;
Seeing that you have nothing, you try to give of yourself;
Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing:
Seeing that you are nothing, you desire to become;
In desiring to become, you begin to live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Poem

 

 One cannot stay on the summit forever –
One has to come down again.
So why bother in the first place? Just this.
What is above knows what is below –
But what is below does not know what is above

One climb, one sees-
One descends and sees no longer
But one has seen!

There is an art of conducting one’s self in
The lower regions by the memory of
What one saw higher up.

When one can no longer see,
One does at least still know.

 

Another Poem : Skin of Light

 

The skin of light enveloping this world lacks depth and I can actually see the black night of all these
similar bodies beneath the trembling veil and light of myself it is this night that even the mask of the
sun cannot hide from me I am the seer of night the auditor of silence for silence too is dressed in
sonorous skin and each sense has its own night even as I do I am my own night I am the conceiver
of non-being and of all its splendor I am the father of death she is its mother she whom I evoke
from the perfect mirror of night I am the great inside-out man my words are a tunnel punched
through silence I understand all disillusionment I destroy what I become I kill what I love.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Some René Daumal quotes :

 

“Each time dawn appears, the mystery is there in its entirety. “

from “Poetry Black, Poetry White,” no. 19-20, Fontaine (Paris, March/April 1942)

The Lie of the Truth

“Art has a double face, of expression and illusion, just like science has a double face: the reality of error and the phantom of truth. ”

from Vol. 2, Essais et Notes

“Man is head, chest and stomach. Each of these animals operates, more often than not, individually. I eat, I feel, I even, although rarely, think…. This jungle crawls and teems, is hungry, roars, gets angry, devours itself, and its cacophonic concert does not even stop when you are asleep. ”

from Vol. 2, Essais et Notes

“Truth is one, but error proliferates. Man tracks it down and cuts it up into little pieces hoping to turn it into grains of truth. But the ultimate atom will always essentially be an error, a miscalculation. ”

from Vol. 2, Essais et Notes

La grande beuverie (A Night of Serious Drinking)

“Words are made for a certain exactness of thought, as tears are for a certain degree of pain. What is least distinct cannot be named; what is clearest is unutterable. ”

“It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content … it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble and from babble to confusion.”

“Common experience is the gold reserve which confers an exchange value on the currency which words are; without this reserve of shared experiences, all our pronouncements are cheques drawn on insufficient funds.”

 

daumal-youve-always-been-wrong

 From the Publisher of  “You’ve Always Been Wrong”.

A fitful interloper among the Surrealists, Daumal rejected all forms of dogmatic thought, whether religious, philosophical, aesthetic, or political. Much like the Surrealists (and French theorists of more recent decades), Daumal saw in the strict forms and certainties of traditional metaphysics a type of thought that enslaves people even as it pretends to liberate them. These “cadavers of thought”, Daumal wrote with youthful bravado, “must be met with storms of doubt, blasphemes, and kerosene for the temples”. Daumal tied Surrealism with mystical traditions. A devoted student of Eastern religions, philosophy, and literature, he combined his skepticism about Western metaphysics with a mystic’s effort to maintain intense wakefulness to the present moment and to the irreducible particularity of all objects and experience. Such wakefulness, according to Daumal, leads inevitably to an overwhelming (and redemptive) “vision of the absurd”. Daumal’s important place in French culture of the late 1920s and 1930s has been assured by both his writings and his role as cofounder of the avant-garde journal Le Grand Jeu. Written between 1928 and 1930, You’ve Always Been Wrong reveals Daumal’s thought as it was coalescing around the rejection of Western metaphysics and the countervailing allure of Eastern mysticism.

 

 

 

 

 


Hello world!

December 19, 2008

Albrecht Durer

Journeys and Star Gazing

What do I mean by journeys? And what do I mean by Star Gazing?

Recently I started to walk again, with a limp, after having broken my leg and being immobile for a long time. The physiotherapist told me that a walk of about 1 kilometre per day would be good exercise for me, especially to get my foot, ankle and leg muscles flexible again. She said to treat my walk as a physiotherapy exercise. Since I walk very slowly now without a crutch, I’m starting to become aware of a whole new world which appears in the slow pace I take. I become aware of my breath and the sensation of each step on the ground. As I do this I become aware of a silence within me which makes space and allows the sounds of birds singing , the sensation of the breeze touching my skin, the smell of recently mowed grass to enter.

Of course my “monkey mind” is still climbing and jumping around in the space within my skull but somehow because of the slow walk and the effort to “be” in the moment of the walk makes the monkey appear like a distant shadow puppet. Yes, my walk is a  Zen like exercise and the fall I had which broke my leg was Life-as- Zen-Master, wacking me into a state of mind that may prioritise what is essential in my life.

My walk to the newsagent in the morning is a journey both on the road and its side gutters and beneathe my skin between breaths and sighs of wonder at what is around me.

A journey, for me is going from point A to point B via the whole alphabet of being. The Alpha and Omega. the beginning and the end of a journey is where the snake bites its own tail, a gentle ouraboros.

ouroboros-pergamino

 It all depends on one’s awareness. So, one can make a journey from one’s lounge room and go across the borders marked by a door into a kitchen. It is no different to travelling in time by simply dipping a biscuit in a cup of tea as Proust did in his “Remembrence of Things Past”. A journey can also be a trip across the planet on a boat or a plane, a train or a bus, on foot or a bicycle. It can also be a journey to the Moon or to Mars in a space ship, or a trip to Saturn and Jupiter or Andromeda in one’s mind.

Star Gazing is not only looking up at the night sky and seeing how small we genuinely are in the midst of all these galaxies and stars, pinpricks of Light escaping through Heaven’s cape. It is also seeing into the meaning of those star gazing moments, those moments that coincide with a particular configuration of planets, Sun, Moon and stars. Yes, Star Gazing for me exists in that space between Astronomy and Astrology. I look up into the night heavens and I see the stars above and I wonder why am I here looking and living. My wife got me a telescope for Christmas this year and I hope to be able to take some photos of what I gaze at.

cosmic-clock1

I look at a horoscope ( I also call it a Sky Map) and I see the symbolic language of these same stars.  When I say Stars I also mean the planets and the Sun and Moon. It is an easy shorthand. Star gazing becomes communing….communicating in star language. Astrology for me is a language, a way of communicating with the deeper parts of my and your nature for I believe that we all are ultimately made of star matter. While I look up at the Stars and gaze at the light that departed from its source billions of years ago, I recognise that I gaze at old, old light. The youngest light, including sunlight is only 8 minutes old when it touches my skin, Alpha Centauri light, the closest star to us, is only about 4 years old. Star light has journeyed a long time to arrive through my eyes into me and you.

earth-sun-and-moon

However, strange as it may sound, when I speak of astrology, I’m not really talking about the balls of rock and gas that orbit our Sun – Sol as planets or about the physical stars and galaxies that surround us. The stars and planets I speak of astrologically have nothing to do with those we know astronomically and through a telescope. The only connection astrology has with the astronomical stars is the coincident time of happening. Carl Jung coined a term to explain events that happen with no apparent physical causal connection – synchronicity. This word is made of two Greek words syn – same and chronos – time...synchronicity…things that happen at the same time.  The important addition that Jung makes with this is that the connection between events is subjectively meaningful for the person. I think of a person and I hear a song with the person’s name in it and then almost simultaneously, the person rings me on the phone. This is very meaningful for me because I haven’t seen or heard from this person in a long time. The song, the thinking of the person and the telephone call are not connected in any physical scientifc way, but they do connect in a very meaningful way in my mind and heart. This is synchronicity. Astrology for me is synchronicity written in Sky Script. The physical stars are connected to the stars within my inner universe, my deeper intuitions and feelings that struggle to find a way to speak. The star language of astrology gives these promptings a voice.

whirlpoolgalaxystarbirth

In Journeys and Star Gazing you may read posts that include both a journey and an astrological reading of the journey. Sometimes, you will come across a life’s moment navigated by the stars or a journey planned by the use of astrology.

It would be great to hear from you.

You can connect with me at Twitter. Here’s my handle @dodona777

stavros


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