Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Sanctuary at Chalice Orchard


Looking through the notes I compiled when I was writing  Dion Fortune and the Inner Light  back in 1999 I realise that the chalet at Chalice Orchard I recently referred to as the Shrine was in fact called the Sanctuary.  But no doubt, as the saying goes, a rose by any other name will smell as sweet!  And such a place played an important part in her work.

 Dion Fortune and Thomas Loveday acquired Chalice Orchard in 1924.  Up to then they had no headquarters of their own at Glastonbury, and most of the work performed so far had been either at Alice Buckton’s guest house at Chalice Well or in an old farm house in Chalkwell Street. (It was here that Dion Fortune experienced her celebrated vision of a salamander after a fiery accident with an oil lamp!)

The Fraternity of the Inner Light was formally founded in 1927, along with the Inner Light Magazine, although the first mention of Chalice Orchard by Dion Fortune is in the May 1927 issue of The Transactions of the Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society (of which she happened to be president for a brief period) . She wrote:

“We are betraying no secret of the Mysteries if we remind our readers that ‘the holiest earth in England’ is Glastonbury. The veil is very thin there, and no sensitive soul that makes the Glastonbury pilgrimage returns as it went. It is for this reason that a pilgrimage centre has been founded there, and those who seek the hidden side of things may go thither and meet others like-minded to themselves.

“When the power-tides are flowing it is very necessary that all should be ‘of one mind in one place’ if the power is to be brought through in its strength. The critic and scoffer close the doors of the soul and the angel of the threshold turns back as he is about to enter the guest chamber. Only where knowledge and dedication have control of the conditions can the mental atmosphere be made that is necessary for the manifesting of the power-tides upon the physical plane.

“In the Chalice Orchard Club we have made a centre where these conditions can be maintained, and we cordially invite all those who seek the door into the Unseen to come to us there and share with us the wonderful atmosphere of the Isle of Avalon untainted by scepticism and heedlessness. In the old apple orchard high upon the shoulder of the Tor stands a little wooden building dedicated to the service of the Masters and the opening of the soul. All who seek that opening are welcome.

“Here will be found a realisation that the two aspects of force, spiritual and elemental, are necessary to the completion of life. Some parts of Glastonbury, such as the Abbey, are purely spiritual; other aspects, such as the Tor, are purely pagan. Under the apple trees in Chalice Orchard, we seek the realisation and harmonisation of both; the spiritual aspects bringing inspiration and devotion; the pagan aspects bringing joy, power and beauty.

“I may not tell the seasons of  pagan power, but the Christian Path has no secrets, and we invite all who seek the Graal to come to join us at Chalice Orchard for the great Christian festivals, and especially for the one that now draws near, the glorious feast of Pentecost. High up above the green water-meadows on the shoulder of the Tor, looking out across the Severn estuary to the hills of Wales, a low wooden house hides among the apple trees. Its doors stand open to all who seek the Way across the Threshold by the Western Gate.”

The chalet called ‘the Sanctuary’ was erected in 1932, following an appeal for funds.

“We want to establish at Chalice Orchard a sanctuary for meditation and practical occult work, and we ask all those who are interested in our Centre there if they will contribute to the fund we have opened for that purpose.

“Glastonbury is essentially a place of pilgrimage. No one who visits it can fail to realise its strong spiritual atmosphere. We feel that it would be of very great value to have there a quiet place set apart for prayer and meditation, where those who desire to do so may enter into the silence.

“We are therefore asking all those who realise the significance of Glastonbury and who have felt the inspiration  of its influence, and especially those who know and love the little hostel in its sheltered garden, to contribute to this fund in order that we may make a sanctuary and keep a perpetual light upon its altar.”

The importance that Dion Fortune laid upon a Sanctuary is revealed in comments from one of her inner contacts about the one they established at their London headquarters.

“You must maintain very carefully the sanctity and isolation of this home. It is for that reason that you are isolating your Sanctuary, and great power will concentrate there. Keep the lights dim there, and allow nothing to disturb it.

 “It is well for you to accustom yourselves to this means of communication. It is perfectly normal. I am just as much alive as you are. You must learn to accustom yourselves to the idea that man is consciousness, not a vehicle, and then there will be nothing strange to you in the idea of contacting consciousness. It is one of the chief bases of occult work that the imagination takes the initial step. Faith is the basis of all things. If you have faith, determination, and courage, you can achieve anything. It depends on no one but you.

“There is more power in meditating in silence, but you should invoke aloud. By invoking aloud you give rise to certain vibrations, which have an important effect because they have their correlation with the subtler planes. You invoke aloud in order to bring through from the subtler planes to the physical, but when you meditate you aim to go to the subtler planes.

“It is so much easier to go on to the subtler planes than you realise. First you imagine yourself to be there, and then you will yourself to be there. People usually reverse the process. It is necessary to make the form before you pour in the force. You do it now to a greater extent than you realise – you are functioning on two planes, you have more vision than you bring through to conscious consciousness.” (cf. Dion Fortune & the Inner Light  pp. 96-97 – Thoth Publications, 2000).

As regards further details of such form building see also my own Magical Images and the Magical Imagination (now also available as an e-book)  or indeed Dion Fortune’s Magical Battle of Britain, the editing of which in 1993 brought through some very live contacts to me, that resulted in The Abbey Papers, a very comprehensive demonstration of form building for a variety of purposes as seen from the other side. (All Skylight Press).

 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dion Fortune and Glastonbury Tor


 My thanks go to David Walker who with his wife Corinne  runs the Enchantment book and esoteric merchandise shop at the foot of Glastonbury Tor for his clarification of just what is on sale for auction of the Dion Fortune associated bit of real estate. It is NOT the original Chalice Orchard but a slice taken out of it on which a very nice modern house was built round about the late 50’s. So if anyone is delving in their back pocket for something to spend at the auction, read the small print and make sure exactly what you are bidding for.

However, it is possible that DF spent some time on the space involved, depending on whether one of the original chalets, known as ‘the Shrine’ was located on that particular spot. I recall visiting the place back in 1954, as I described in I Called it Magic, and if my recollection is right the Shrine chalet was down towards if not in that area. I was shown it by Mary Gilchrist, who lived at Chalice Orchard at the time. It was in a rather sorry state, used to house what looked like old furniture, although it still had a certain amount of inner whizz bang about it, and would have last been used by Dion Fortune in 1945 following  its dedication and esoteric use by the group in the nineteen thirties.

However, the past is past, and we needs must embrace change when it is due. The Tor is still there and available to all – in recognition of which I append a little piece that I wrote a few years back, largely based on Dion Fortune’s Avalon of the Heart . It can form the basis of a pleasant little meditation whether you are physically there or not.

Dion Fortune’s vision of the Tor

If Joseph of Arimathea set his sights on Glastonbury Tor to identify the final goal of his long journey, for Dion Fortune it was above all a focus of elemental power and inspiration. Upon its shoulder she built her home, a guest house, and a sanctuary.

As she saw it, it was a Hill of Vision for anyone whose eyes have the least inclination to open upon another world. And she describes, in Avalon of the Heart, how, on many occasions, the tower is reported to have been seen rimmed in light. And she tells how a warm glow, as of a furnace, may beat up from the ground on wild winter knights; or the sound of chanting be heard from the depths of the hill; or towering forms of shadow and light seen to be moving among the ancient thorn-trees that clothe the lower slopes.

            But wonderful though the view from the Tor might be by day for the many pilgrims and tourists who climb it, far more wonderful, she says, is the sight by night for those who dare to climb it in the dark. Or most wonderful of all, perhaps, to climb the Tor at sunset and watch the sun go down over the far Atlantic, when from the Tor one may see two sunsets – the sun himself in his glory in the west, and his reflection upon the clouds in the eastern sky.

Whilst to see the moon rising through the rose-pink glow of low clouds over the darkening marshes is a thing she found never to be forgotten. As the lights come on in the town at the foot of the hill, at any rate in her day, they were seen to form a five-pointed star, for there are five roads out of Avalon – to Wells, Meare, Street, Butleigh, and Shepton Mallet – and the houses, following along these roads form a perfect star of light about the Tor with its tower.

            But there is one time above all others when it is well to ascend the Tor at nightfall, and that is at the full moon of the autumnal equinox, round about the Mass of St Michael. The nights are coming cold then, but the days are still warm with the afterglow of summer, and the cold of the darkness, chilling the warm breath of the meadows, causes a thick but shallow mist to form over the levels.

Through this the cattle wade knee-deep as in water, and trees cast shadows in the moonlight, black upon silver. As the night closes in, the mist deepens. Like a rising tide in an estuary it fills the hollows. Trees and barns slowly drown. Only the few scattered knolls like St Bride`s Beckary remain as islands in the white gloom. Gradually they too fade as the mist thickens, and Avalon is an island again.

            Local folk call this shallow mist that lies upon the levels the Lake of Wonder. And then perhaps to the eyes of vision may be seen coming slowly, a black barge, rowed by a dumb man, bearing the three weeping queens who bring Arthur, wounded unto death at Lyonesse, that he may heal him of his grievous wound in the green coombs among the apple trees.

            Into this Lake of Wonder Sir Bedivere flung the magic sword Excalibur, graven with strange runes in an unknown tongue. And the white arm of a Lady of the Lake, rising from the rushes, seized it to draw it under. And we may recall that Excalibur, was a gift to the human Arthur from the world of Faery, and to the world of Faery it was in due time returned.

But what of the other hallows of the Graal, the spear, the cup, the stone, or the cruets of white and red? Great mystery surrounds their origin as well as their fate. If we read the earliest Graal stories, we find there is much to suggest that the Graal itself had a faery origin. Was the rich Fisher King in his boat upon the waters, who directed Percival to the mysterious castle that was at first invisible to the eye, one of the Faery kind?

            In later legend the Graal winners took a strange boat, called the Ship of Solomon, in which they took the Graal to Sarras, which seems an inner aspect of the Holy Land just as Logres is an inner level of Albion. What was the mission of Joseph of Arimathea in all of this? Is the belief that he was bringing back the Graal to Avalon, a realisation that the Hallows were about to be returned to their faery origins?

            All these speculations, and many more, may come to us when, in Dion Fortune`s words, the Lake of Wonder rises from its faery springs under the Hunter`s Moon.

But, there are also visions of a different kind that can be seen from the height of the Tor by day; one of which Dion Fortune had witnessed twice and says is a sight never to be forgotten.

In the ordinary heat of day, she recalls, there are times when there falls upon the Glastonbury levels what is known locally as the Blight. A strange heaviness that will not turn to thunder is in the summer air. The sun glows dully like a copper disk through the low lying clouds, and in the oppressive dimness and heat, nerves are on edge with restlessness and uneasiness.

            On one such occasion, driven desperate by the oppressiveness of the levels, she and her companions set out to climb the Tor. Up and up through densest mist they climbed, moving in a sphere some ten feet in diameter, shut in by a white wall impenetrable as stone – until they reached the very summit. And there, from a white blindness, they came out of the mist as suddenly as a train runs out of a tunnel. For the crest of the Tor was above the cloud line.

The sky was of that deep indigo blue often seen at Avalon – a blue that should be seen through the boughs of an apple tree in blossom. From marge to marge no cloud flecked its depths, but below their feet there stretched to the very horizon a rolling, billowing sea of purest white, with purple in the hollows. While above their heads was the tower, its shadow flung far out over the cloudy floor. It was as if the world had sunk in the sea and they were the last of mankind. No sound rose through the mist, no bird circled above. There was nothing but blue sky, grey tower, billowing mist and blazing sun.

Physical though this vision might have been, and possibly because of this, I think this simple image is as important as any of the visions of the legendary tales. It is an image of the elemental powers as they exist at their most direct and most obvious way. Earth, Water, Air and Fire. The Air of the inverted bowl of the blue sky above. The Earth of the stone of the tower below, its foundations in the earth. The Water heaving and billowing within the mist all about. And the Fire of the great Day Star shining on all from above.

It provides the foundation for a fundamentally important symbolic structure to link between the Powers of the Above and with the Powers of the Below. The Power within the Heavens and the Power within the Land. The Heavenly Light with the Earth Light. The Overworld with the Underworld.

If you are familiar with the structure of the Tree of Life,  you may like to experiment with it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

DION FORTUNE AT GLASTONBURY


Anyone who seeks an instructive and enjoyable day out on Saturday 26th September might like to think about a trip to Glastonbury where an all day seminar on Dion Fortune is taking place in the Town Hall from 9.30.am. I attended the first couple of these and was delighted to see that at least one or two folks had found it worthwhile to make the trip all the way from California (Hi there Filomena!)  Sorry I can’t be there myself this time but the years weigh a bit too heavy on the old carcase. However, whoever comes might possibly catch a glimpse of me on the higher spiritual levels, or even the upper astral – although don’t  push your luck!

Full details can be found on the Company of Avalon web site www.companyofavalon.co.uk and there is also a link, I am told, via http://www.companyofavalon.co.uk/The%20Dion%20Fortune%20%20Seminar.html. I hope I have got that right, but am currently lacking the presence of my grandchildren who are my essential guides when it comes to wrestling with all this new fangled technology.

Cost of the day is £14 which is a bargain in anyone’s money. If anyone however should have from £150,000 to £200,000 to invest in a bit of cultural real estate  Dion Fortune’s old home and headquarters at Glastonbury is said to be up for auction on 22nd September. Details available from Cooper & Tanner, 41 High Street, Glastonbury, BA6 9DS (Telephone 01458 760029)

Anyhow, for any unable to attend either function I append a little travelogue of my own about Glastonbury, that  I once wrote for Michael Howard’s excellent magazine The Cauldron a while ago.


The Different Faces of Glastonbury

The first time I saw Glastonbury, as I have recorded in my esoteric autobiography I Called It Magic, was as a romantic young RAF corporal astride my motorbike looking down at the Tor from the Shepton Mallet road, in 1953, imagining myself to be some kind of knight errant. A view, as I said “once seen, never forgotten”.

I came to know it better, as indeed I came to know myself better, over the years – but in both cases no easy answers are forthcoming. We are all of us, more complicated creatures than we easily realise, and so is a sacred site and west country town like Glastonbury.

Indeed, at times I have been led to think, that if this is “the holiest earth in England” I would hate to see the tackiest! Although I suppose it depends upon how deep one wants to delve.

On the surface show, the last time I was in Glastonbury attending a spiritual event, as we debouched from our high minded gathering I heard a local resident referring to our like as “the scum” that besmirched his fair town. And I suppose he had a point. I am old enough to recall the time when it had more the ambience of a charming west country backwater without the pervading atmosphere of joss sticks and spliffs. Although even in the 1960’s it was not uncommon to see signs up at public house doors – “No Hippies!”  The hippies have I suppose now come and gone but have nonetheless left, I suppose, a kind of cultural imprint of sorts.

Not of course that the place was not always considered a little bit “odd”. For the upside of that, one can do hardly do better than consult Peter Benham’s excellent book The Avalonians. And this goes back to the 1920’s and even further – although in those days they were perhaps a little more genteel about it.  

As far as Avalonians go, I have to say my own particular esoteric mentor, Dion Fortune, was something of a late comer. She fell in love with the place, put down roots at the foot of the Tor, and wrote a virtual love letter about the place, somewhat inaccurate in parts as love letters tend to be, but nonetheless moving, published in 1934 as Avalon of the Heart. She certainly mixed a heady cocktail out of the place with evocations of Merlin, the Holy Grail, the Celtic saints, Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Thorn, the Abbey, the Tor, Chalice Well, King Arthur, Morgan le Fay, even the lost continent of Atlantis.

And she demonstrated an early exercise of her psychic faculties in company with Bligh Bond at the Autumnal Equinox of 1921 with a paper that became the core of inner work with her Fraternity for many years. That there was an unbroken line of descent of spiritual power connecting directly with the elemental powers of the soil, in which are the roots of the soul of the nation, that is to say, of those who inhabit the land. And that which was noble in the pagan was carried on into Christian times. Head in London, heart in Glastonbury was how she tended to express this in her practical work, with headquarters in Bayswater and hightailing it down the Great West Road, possibly in the side car of Thomas Loveday’s motorbike, to her chalet at the foot of the Tor, where she wrote amongst other things, her magnum opus The Mystical Qabalah and supporting novels.

 In her capacious mind there was no great divide between the pagan and the Christian, which she felt confirmed at Whitsun in 1926 when a spiral power had them all spontaneously dancing on the Tor along with an unequivocal call from the Elemental kingdoms “Come from the depths of your Elemental Being and lighten our darkness – Come in the name of the White Christ and the Hosts of the Elements.”  Just what was meant by the “White Christ” – who apparently entered the Underworld to preach to the Elemental Kingdoms during the first Easter – has recently been further explored by Wendy Berg in Red Tree, White Tree (Skylight Press 2011) along with the current revival of interest in the faery tradition. Married up to the symbolic objects allegedly brought to Glastonbury by  Joseph of Arimathea. Red and white cruets that have some connection with the Grail tradition and other weapons of Arthurian tradition which, like Excalibur, originally came from faery sources – otherwise called the Lake. (Odd that Glastonbury was pre-historically a lake village!) Powers that originally came from the faery world being duly returned to it.

There are obviously deep matters here that tend to go rather deeper into magical and mystical territory than is commonly supposed. What we might regard as bubbling away at the bottom of the cauldron. Although the superficial view may only see the scum that floats on the surface.

This at times can have its amusing and disconcerting side. I recall a visit to Glastonbury to show some Greek friends over the Tor, which happened to coincide with an official religious ceremony of sorts. This was accompanied by holy music blaring from loud speakers, along with the unusual sight of nuns scurrying up and down the Tor, rather as if an ant hill had been disturbed. And one was reminded that the orthodox religious like to make a claim on the place that is every bit as important as the neo-pagan or the esoteric.

The whole situation was amusingly encapsulated for me by the sight of a somewhat prim and proper religious procession proceeding toward the Tor which was spontaneously joined by a young lady, bare foot and festooned with wild flowers, stoned out of her head by God knows what, attracted out of Chalice Well gardens to dance alongside and within and the more staid procession. That, in a sense, was a caricature, to my mind, of Glastonbury all over!

However, there is of course more to it than that. And it seems to me that Dion Fortune had it about right in crediting the place with being a harmonious meeting point between many strands of the spiritual powers of the land. (Well perhaps not too harmonious!) There is a certain great mystical peace manifest among the abbey ruins just as there are about the town points of stimulus to the ancient powers of the land, and there need be no conflict between them. Although I suppose, a certain amount of effervescence might be expected in the confluence of the red and the white. Dragons fighting, but not in anger. Even if we humans do like to take sides like supporters at some cosmic football match.

Something of this effervescence comes out in unexpected ways. One such being the attack on the Glastonbury thorn on Wearyall Hill. Who knows what is at the back of all that? And I do not suppose that even those who perpetrate it know. Even if they think they do.

Glastonbury has a way of coming back at you, even when you least expect it, even if you want to pretend it isn’t there. It has a certain powerful magnetism. I have found it in my own affairs. Helios Book Service, which I launched with my old partners John and Mary Hall back in the early sixties, up near Cheltenham, ended its days in Glastonbury. Sold up when John and Mary retired, it showed a brave face at a corner site at the bottom of the High Street for a couple of years before going to the wall. And on a more positive note, when invited to give a talk in the Assembly Rooms at a Dion Fortune memorial conference in 2007, a young lady came up and started a conversation that ended up with my being persuaded to write my autobiography. Something I swore I would never do as I always preferred looking forward to looking backwards.

However, looking backward does have its points. The subject of my talk that day was on the Faery Tradition in Arthurian Legend, which somehow seemed to strike an octave with Dion Fortune’s introduction to faery in 1920 at the performance in this same hall of Rutland Boughton and Fiona Macleod’s The Immortal Hour. What goes around, comes around. And particularly in what Dion Fortune described as a “three ring circus” such as Glastonbury.  From faery rings, to the ring of the Glastonbury zodiac first noted by Dr John Dee, to the continuing ring on the inner of the Abbey bells, there is something for everyone there. Even Tesco’s supermarket.

As Sir Gawain, and other heroes like him found, when confronted with the prospect of embracing a loathly damsel, you only have to take her on her own terms for her transformation to take place. But it is all in your own mind!

[from The Cauldron magazine, May 2012 www.the-cauldron.org.uk]

 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

TOURISM AND PILGRIMAGE ON INNER AND OUTER PLANES


We will commence by building and entering the Sacred Abbey. This is a magical image that, besides having its prototype expressed upon the physical plane in numerous examples throughout the world, is also fashioned  in the world of the imagination. It is a design or pattern that was first conceived in the heavens, but is increased and contributed to by all who have worshipped, worked or walked with reverence within it.

We take as our model the pattern of the great constructions for which the High Middle Ages had a particular facility. It was indeed part of the historical mission or destiny within the Divine Plan of this period. The Divine Plan is the restitution of the fallen world back toward the original perfection, and these buildings served as bridges between Heaven and Earth. A Heaven that might be conceived as a true and real terra firma, and an Earth that is and was like a floating island, that had slipped from its attachment to the main land and which was being secured by having the links remade, by these bridges or means of access to the heavenly main land.

Each abbey or cathedral has its own unique individuality. (We shall henceforth use the term ‘abbey’ because although cathedral fits the usage as well, an abbey has the tradition of a connection with a contemplative order – which adds far greater power and depth.) It is an application of what we spoke of in the beginning, about the flow of the waters of consciousness. An abbey is like a deep pool in a garden. A pool containing life of another order of existence, that, standing in the common light of day, we may gaze upon in wonder as we look into the depths at the hints and shadows of another mode of life.

Thus the vision serves its purpose, for unlike any garden pool, here are links to a greater world, the heavens themselves. But insofar that any garden pool has its own characteristics, is an expression of its immediate milieu, so is every abbey unique in that it is a separate pool of consciousness. One in which the pilgrim soul can be immersed, cleansed, refreshed, baptised, made new.

This is sensed by the crowds who still flock to these places, despite the secular assumptions of contemporary society. These are a temporary shallows, we have to say, that will lead in time to new depths. For humankind is like a river, which will in time lead, by whatever devious meanders, to the universal encompassing sea. The modern consciousness in its present historical diversion senses its own shallowness and seeks for pilgrimage in the guise of what is now called tourism. A shallow substitute in its way, for the ancient pilgrims faced a harder journey than is found or expected today, but what it lacks in quality is made up for in quantity. And the pursuit of being ‘taken out of themselves’ is rendered faster, more varied, than ever it could have been in olden days. The same human needs and instincts remain in search of expression. It is only the mode and means that vary, according to the climate of specific historical times.

The same applies, although in slightly different ways, to those who travel to ancient sacred sites, or to historical buildings where important events of state took place. Each of these in their way are centres of power, within the body of the human consciousness. Pools or basins hollowed out by great events, or persistent custom, or dedicated ceremony, which can still contribute to the sacred cultural heritage.

And a spring of such kind is increased by its use. This may be by the intelligent and devoted application of a few individuals, as in the upkeep of some obscure ancient site or shrine, or the wider flow of masses, uncomprehending in the main, to major public sites. Even though the conscious contact may be shallow, little realised at the time of the visit, much may be gained by the individual soul. Some resonance will remain that may in future time and in another place, (perhaps not even of this world), cause the recognition of a heavenly pattern within the soul and of its true origin.

The Abbey Papers pp.41-42

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Magical World of the Inklings

There are some who call the Inklings the Oxford Christians and see their work as a form of orthodox evangelism inspired by the Holy Spirit. Christians they no doubt were, each in their way, but their orthodoxy is debatable. And although we would not go out of our way to quarrel with those who hold this view, it seems an oversimplification. As I hope I have shown, when we read, so to speak, the small print of their unwritten manifesto, it is no simple orthodoxy that informs their work. It is rather a demonstration of the growth of the human spirit in a multidimensional universe that is rendered visible to us by powers of perception within the human imagination. Barfield was the great theoretician of all that this implies, but all the creative work of Lewis, Tolkien and Williams is steeped in it. This is the power behind their work, and the message that is there for us to learn.

In the work of the Inklings we have, in short, the vision and power of the ancient wisdom, the secret doctrine, call it what we will, but without the withdrawn cultishness. Such sectarian withdrawal has been a temporary aberration, imposed for historical and cultural reasons over the past three or four hundred years. But the time has come for the abandonment of enclosed fraternities, secret rites and the camp-following psychic fringe.

In the work of the Inklings it is all laid open to the world, much of it in the guise of children’s or popular literature. It is expressed and demonstrated in terms that speak directly to the imagination. We simply have to be prepared to open ourselves to it, and so play our part in the practical expression of what enclosed adepts used to call  LIGHT – IN – EXTENSION.
[Concluding pages of THE MAGICAL WORLD OF THE INKLINGS by Gareth Knight. Skylight Press]

“Because of the combination of information, understanding and insight on which it is founded ‘The Magical World of the Inklings’ is more than outstanding. It is not in the same league with anything I have come across.” OWEN BARFIELD


“It is only recently that the full play of Lewis’s neo-Platonism is reaching a wider public. Nobody has more revealingly shown the occultic and mythical character of this world-view, and its influence on Lewis’s fiction, than did Gareth Knight in his superb book ‘The Magical World of the Inklings.’ DR ANDREW WALKER – Director of the Centre  for Theology and Culture, King’s College, London; founder and former director of the C.S.Lewis Centre.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hello Pluto!

 Hello Pluto! You were discovered in the year I was born. Were you named after my imaginary childhood friend, Mickey Mouse’s dog – or was it the other way about? I really would like to know!

Funny thing, the human imagination. I see already that one of the dark areas of Pluto’s moon has been designated ‘Mordor’ by our scientist friends. Are we planting human hang-ups into other parts of the solar system? The same way that we assume any interstellar interaction to be a copy of the way we behave on planet Earth?

As Anthony Duncan remarks in his recent book “To Think Without Fear” :

‘We project our own problems upon others and we project our own hostilities and insecurities upon everything strange or alien. Our mental images of inter-planetary travel are demonised by our obsession with “Star Wars”. Being children of Adam and Eve, we take it for granted that Cain will always kill Abel. Our first instinct (faithfully manifested in our fictional literature) is to call in the military!’

‘I refer, of course, to that phenomenon generally known as the Unidentified Flying Object, or more popularly, as The Flying Saucer.

‘This phenomenon carries with it something of a blessing in that it throws all our learned disciplines into an equal measure of disarray. It challenges every respectable world-view and is, needless to say, the subject both of silly official “cover-ups” and of the consequent – and increasingly threadbare – “disinformation” campaigns that accompany such activities.

‘We are bound, sooner or later nevertheless, to ask ourselves at least a minimal number of the questions these phenomena suggest.

‘What is it that appears, and disappears, both from our sight and from our radar screens and appears to defy all known laws of flight and aerodynamics?

‘What is it that defies our present knowledge of astronomy, of physics, of astrophysics and all the rest? Where do these things come from, and how, and why do they come at all?

‘What is this that, by its very nature, must constitute a challenge to the religious insight and theological thought of every kind? What might its relevance be, in the context of such insights as we have? Why is this challenge unheeded and why does the theological mind remain firmly and comfortably buried, ostrich-like, in the sand?

‘What of the ever-growing multitude of reported encounters with human-like, or humanoid, beings connected with U.F.Os? What of the considerable number of reported abductions and return, or men, women and children? What of their examinations by curious and evidently interested – but essentially benevolent – humanoids, clearly anxious not to cause harm?

‘Our world-views are challenged and, as a consequence, the challenge is either ignored or denied. We retreat into compartmental thinking and, at best, give this kind of experience a watertight compartment of its own. Witnesses are usually said to have been the victims of hallucination, suggestion – almost anything as long as they don’t have to be taken threateningly seriously. Seldom does “the scientific” reveal itself as being so subjective and essentially unscientific as – in some at least – of its dealings with those who claim encounter with persons who would appear to be extra-terrestrial.’

Anthony Duncan speaks not without some personal experience: ‘Some two or three years ago we became aware of being “visited” in some way, usually at night, by persons who we came to understand as alien to our own Earth and humanity....’


As a consequence his book ‘To Think Without Fear – the Challenge of the Extra-Terrestrial’ came to be written in an endeavour to answer some of the questions – both scientific and theological – thus raised. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Silver Net


By the contact and internal co-operation with inner plane helpers, you may be led to ways of service that would not be possible by any other means. Connections can be made, small, seemingly inconsequential or coincidental, that nevertheless form an essential part in operations of the brotherhood of light. You may only seldom glimpse their significance or magnitude but these links are fundamental in importance because they are ‘earthing’.

In this work you needs must have much faith, and this we try to establish by these contacts to which you, in your fullness as human beings in the world of matter, can respond. And so faith, over the years, gives way to experience and knowledge.  A knowledge of something of what we are and what we try to do, and the means whereby we try to do it.

If this were ineffective or delusory it is hardly likely that you would continue to cooperate with it. It is no idle solitary occupation that feeds upon illusions or self-satisfaction. Indeed you are tested, often quite severely, on some parts of the way.

You form part of a brotherhood, a sisterhood, that is as yet invisible to you. A gleaming net of starlight that shines like a web in the morning dew, crystal reflecting mirrors of dawning light of the day star.

You yourselves are, did you but realise it, reflecting and recording instruments of this star shine. For as spiritual beings you have the links, the inward antennae, to capture and respond to the resonating message of the stars. This message, this network of communication, of help and succour, is ever about you, like the far more material and gross waves of sound and radio.

You live in a cacophony of earthly generated noise, upon the physical and electro-magnetic levels. The radiating network  of the star waves is equally real, equally accessible did you but fashion the right equipment and accurately tune it. That equipment is within your own mind and soul. Did you but know it you are walking receivers, indeed I might go so far as to say it is the reason for your whole existence. Yet there are so many non-functioning or malfunctioning examples of apparatus that non-functioning often seems to be the norm. Yet if all human spiritual transceivers were properly and truly functioning then the face of the world as you know it would be transfigured.

So be aware of that silver net. It is also a stairway, a star way, an extended version of Jacob’s Ladder. By it you may climb. By merely holding on to it, you may become aware of vibrations within it from afar off, even to the highest, and to remote and spiritual regions you dream not of. Perfect civilisations, expressions in perfect matter of the divine will and grace. Worlds that may seem impossible to your occluded senses.

For this net is also one of harmony. Like a great harp, whose every interval is attuned to cosmic harmony. It is a visual image of the harmony of the spheres, the peons of praise of the worshipping angels – the Seraphim, the Cherubim. It is indeed an angelic network of light, to which human spirits in Earth can become gradually attuned.

The Abbey Papers  pp. 98-100

 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Forget ET and think Mr Spock?


In a learned book published today Professor Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge University argues that aliens who resemble human beings should have evolved on at least some of the many Earth like planets recently discovered by astronomers, although his theory begs the question of Enrico Fermi’s famous paradox – why, if aliens exist, have they not made contact?

But maybe they have. In looking through the late Rev. Antony Duncan’s papers in search of material to publish I came across some records to suggest as much to someone I knew, but who kept quiet about it at the time.  There are limits to what a psychically gifted vicar can admit! “To Think Without Fear” (Skylight Press) contains his record of contact with at least three types, and to members of his family, along with the social and metaphysical implications.

Well, he did not keep entirely quiet about it; he hinted as much to me at the time but I did not take him seriously – although I did quote some of it, somewhat jocularly, in “Christ & Qabalah” (pp. 195-199) the record of our association over forty years.

But some of the implications of what he wrote in some of his poetry are indeed only just coming home to me:

As Universe and Universe converge, the heavens fall into their melting-pots.

Reordering of Inner Space is consequent upon a change of Mind; a train of thought pursued towards a new fulfilment.

Hands are stretched across infinities of inner depths to seek, to find a hand beyond imagining by either questing mind....

Opening lines of “All Things Converge” (‘Christ & Qabalah p.194)

All fascinating and quite challenging stuff! New dynamics for a new age?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Reflecting upon Images


Time is like a linear cut-out of a two-dimensional carnival pageant that can be seen curving round the external grounds of the abbey. This is difficult to describe, and more so to explain, but we do best, I fancy, simply to present you with images, as they appear on the inner planes. Reflecting upon these images (and ‘reflecting’ is an accurate word) strange though they may seem, can cause you to gain another perspective upon what seems to your material consciousness to be an all-encompassing quantum. It is far from being that, you have my word. But as a young child has first to learn to come to terms with modes of perception on the physical plane, so does man have like problems when passing from physical life into the conditions of the inner planes.

And once focused upon the inner planes, it is an additional skill to be able to look from there and see accurately and well into the outer.  It is rather like staring into a dim and murky pool, with qualities that not only refract but distort the light. However these are in accordance with codifiable laws laid down by the builders of form upon the etheric sub-planes. One’s sight is obscured by having to gaze through the etheric, the level of scaffolding and struts, so to speak,  that hold the structures of the outer world together in coherence.

Thus communication between inner and outer worlds is a specialist task, whether one is upon the inner or the outer planes; that is to say, looking out or looking in. And why it is that sometimes one may have confusion or distorted communication from those whose desire for service exceeds their trained or natural abilities. This is a problem which affects all. One can even have disoriented angels, as well as disoriented and confused mediums, adepts and initiates.

Thus is magic, in all its forms, a difficult and noble science. It is an intimate attempt at penetrating the Veil of Isis. It is a way that is not forbidden – only difficult. It is like a man standing at a very thick wall, with a hollow tin or glass placed to his ear, striving to receive communication from the other side. That is the situation with ordinary untrained man. As one progresses so the wall becomes thinner, more translucent and transaudient, until it is of the texture of a fine veil. But one can pass through it in full consciousness (I speak not of temporary states of trance, vision or psychic perception) only at death.

 [The Abbey Papers, p.46]

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Contacting the Western Masters


Over the Summer Solstice there has been some interest in an old tape recording of mine called “Contacting the Western Masters”. We hope to be able to  reissue it some time but converting ancient technology is a time consuming business and we have much else on our plates at Skylight Press. Hopefully, some time within the next twelve months.

In the meantime anyone seriously interested could do a lot worse than take a look at a couple of books of mine. "The Abbey Papers" contains scripts of contacts with these particular masters and, if you were to read these through in a meditative manner, that could work just as well as listening to a tape. Also my little book "Magical Images and the Magical Imagination" gives detailed guidance on making similar contacts.

I make this suggestion along with a cautionary quote from “Letters of Light”, the magical letters of William G Gray to Alan Richardson, a recently published by Skylight  – “By the way, don’t attempt  to ‘hear words’, just ‘get it by contact’. The contact will sort itself out into English via your mind in its own time. In fact it is silly to expect English or any other human language on that level, for no one speaks like that there.”

In other words, what matters is a ‘mind to mind’ contact on an intuitive level – which is how I have learned to work - apart from rare occasions such as the ‘Abbey’ contact that came upon me all unexpected and unsought for while editing the war letters of Dion Fortune. 

More details of these titles can be found on the Skylight Press web site.