Thursday, May 13, 2010

Orpheus and The Lyre

Poor Orpheus. I feel for this man, this musician, this poet, the greatest there ever was of Greek Myth. He played the most beautiful music, a kind no one could resist, not a human, animal, or even a thing. Now, imagine that. That he was able to entice, attract and lure everyone and everything.

And since all greek myths are tragic, Orpheus' story is no exception. When his wife Eurydice dies from the bite of a poisonous snake, Orpheus is determined to save her from the Underworld and bring her back with him. He plays so beautifully, so convincingly that even Hades, the god of the world below could not but fulfill his one wish, his one true desire. But Hades has one condition Orpheus must meet, just one tiny insignificant request--that when Hades performs the act of bringing Eurydice to the world above, Orpheus is not to look back.

So, what does Orpheus do just when he and Eurydice are so close to reaching the surface? Just when he's so close to tasting the fruition of wish? Of presence? He looks back. And what was that thing that made him look back? Or was it a lack of some thing?

He had a moment of doubt, a doubt so strong, even Hades had to forewarn him. But, it was of no use to Orpheus. When he glances back, Eurydice is pulled down into the Underworld again, lost to the upper world...forever. Now, Orpheus is lost, truly lost. Any feelings associated with the first loss of his wife cannot come close to the bitterness and grief associated with his second loss. And why? Because he could taste freedom, he could sense union, he could see the promise of Mercy's mercy but he failed due to weakness, due to a lack of faith.

He refuses consolation from anyone. One day, while sitting under a tree singing, a group of jealous Dionysian devotees--Ciconian Maenads--who are close by, decide to attack him by throwing rocks, stones, branches, among other things, at him. But because the rocks and branches are mesmerized and moved by the music too, they, the objects refuse to strike him. Beautiful.

But how does envy move now? How does the low react? These Ciconian Maenads take matters into their own hands by tearing Orpheus to pieces. And there Orpheus' head goes down the river...still singing. His music--both a blessing and a curse.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Three Men

These three men have been on my mind recently and something must be said of them. I must say something of them.

I'll start with Aleister Crowley, Mr.Aleister Crowley. When I first became interested in the Tarot, I stayed far away as I could from the Thoth deck. When it made its way into my home, I felt ambivalence towards it. I sensed it was too dark for me, maybe a little wicked, awakening those hidden parts within myself, you know those parts you want no one to see, and you yourself don't want to see or even admit a sort of base, swamp like, cold and muddy tendency could exist. And this is what a deck like Crowley's does, it brings me down--not emotionally, not mentally--way down into a physical place within my body I don't reside often or am not aware I even can reside but is absolutely necessary to acknowledge and even respect. With Crowley, the card Strength becomes Lust, Temperance becomes Art, Justice becomes Adjustment, Judgment becomes Aeon. When I began to understand the meaning of these cards, I started to see Crowley in a different light. I started to gravitate towards him. I could see how Strength, Temperance, Justice, and Judgment are rooted in an old testament God and how Lust, Art, Adjustment and Aeon are rooted in redemption, resurrection, forgiveness. He tells me I must accept all aspects of myself whether fragmented or whole, dark or light--they must all be studied. By denying one, you imply the other is good. By accepting one, you imply the other is bad. He says, Integrate. He was no wicked man, as some would lead you to believe. He found his way, his path and he traveled on this path without any apologies. We're only afraid of what we don't understand and how could a mere mortal understand a man like Crowley, a man as elevated as he? How could anyone possibly have understood a man who could see the world as it actually is? People would have always fallen short because Crowley operated on a higher vibrational level and people wouldn't have been able to relate to someone like this, someone who worked hard to be what he was. They didn't have the eyes to see or the ears to hear, literally. So why not tear down something we fear? He was beautiful and ugly. He was majestic and small. He was whole and broken. Crowley was a true man.

Now on to the middle man, Mr.Gurdjieff. Where does one begin when speaking of this master? Sometimes I imagine myself standing in front of the man and wonder what this could be like. When he looks at me, I know he sees me, everything, misses absolutely nothing. And I swallow hard because suddenly, I can see myself too--the fragility, the weaknesses, the hurt and anger, the naivety, the drama and stupidity. It all comes to the surface and I'm left feeling small and insignificant, meaningless and pointless. This is what Gurdjieff does to me. And you ask, Why put yourself through this? And I say, Because he sees me and I want to be seen more than anything else. I want to discover myself so that I may truly come to know myself in this world and what I'm meant to bring to it. You have to let go of the baggage, strip away the layers to find the jewel. There's no escaping this so I keep my head held high and go for the ride. I can hear Gurdjieff say, You must do the Work otherwise, you are nothing and you will remain nothing, forever. This isn't an easy thing to face but because I can hear it and I know this to be true, I understand what must be done. So in a great sense, I am blessed. Gurdjieff was a whole man.

And then there's Jesus--my sweetest friend, my beauty, my love, my everything in so so many ways. With the first two men, I feel judged, exposed, transparent. What does this say about me? It says I believe there's an ideal and that I'm not living up to it. It tells me these two men have the answers and the only way I'll find myself is to learn from them. With Jesus, there isn't the slightest inclination towards such feelings, towards self judgment. Now does this say more about me or something about Jesus? Jesus can stare at me and I may get weak in the knees but I don't feel the slightest discomfort. He accepts me, all of me. I know. He pushes but it's gentle and he doesn't have to utter one word to me. All communication is done through the heart, the mind, the body. And I hear him clearly. None of that self talk even has a chance to dominate my frame, my scene, my relationship with him. Jesus whispers, You have what it takes. He says, I'm here no matter what. He insists, You have everything you need. He tells me, Beauty comes from within. He tells me to trust my gut, to listen closely to my heart, to tame the mind. With Jesus, I sense I can love unconditionally. Jesus was a perfected man, a perfected being, a master of every plane of existence. Why wouldn't I tremble in his presence? Any trembling would come from a desire to blend with him, to melt with him, to be one with him not out of fear of what he sees.

And so with all of this, I'll continue to take what I can from each of them. Crowley and Gurdjieff are my teachers towards enlightenment, Jesus my anchor, my salvation.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Boreas, the god of wind. Just look at this Waterhouse painting--the movement of the scarf, the clothing, how the wind travels through with force and without mercy. Look at how it displays itself, turning everything upside down or downside up, without any regrets. This may be subjective art offering nothing in the way of real knowledge but I am nonetheless left moved and touched and for this I am grateful. If my heart can open even an inch more, I welcome and embrace each emotion, each impression, each sensation with more presence, more being.

I know what a day like this tastes like, smells like. I know how each shade of colour cools or warms, how it carries me to my depths or awakens me to my heights. I see the pictures a day like this creates in the mind, how they speak to the heart, how they move the spirit. Why are we afraid of what these feelings reveal? Why do we hide when we need to see? Why do we not want more than what is, to be able to sense the realness of life?

In my lows, I find my highs and I accept them all with love, with gratitude. The woman in the painting looks quite sad, doesn't she? What can we make of this? A coin has two sides, one that is revealed to us and the other that is hidden. The feel of the painting is a reflection of her internal state. She's being tested. She's being questioned. She's alone but this too is deceiving. She's one with her environment. Her heart moves like clouds but she's still like the trunk of a tree. She's trying to find balance, trying to adjust herself so she isn't swept away by circumstance, by these occurrences that take place in our lives.

And even though this image conjures up a certain kind of sadness, I'm still able to appreciate the flowers by her side. The duality of existence--how beautiful. We must embrace it and allow it to serve us instead of the other way around. Waterhouse was obviously a romantic, using each brush stroke to relay emotion, poetry or longing. And a longing for what? For something that only exists in dream? I don't know. I can't say. I realize I may be going off on a tangent but I'm not.

I know what a painting like this stirs in me. I know what Waterhouse had in mind and he succeeded in conveying his intention. I feel the desire, the passion, how they prick the feet from the earth and make their way throughout the body. I understand what a longing like this can do, how it keeps one searching, seeking, how it opens the heart, how it wounds with just enough molasses to allow for more opening, for something tangible. And you say, Where do you see this? The message is imbued in the strokes, in the choice of colour, in the movement of the piece, in her facial gesture, her eyes, her bodily expression, the shape her body has taken to accommodate this something. And you say, But it's all imagination. And I say, Yes and no.

Put yourself in her shoes, see what she sees and you'll know what I mean.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Beloved

I search for the Beloved in all faces but I’m left disillusioned.
I’m told I can find him but all I catch are glimpses, flashes of a man who does not exist here on this plane.
How can a light as fierce and blinding as the Beloved's be sustained by man when man is weak and fragile, nothing more than a twig off of a stunted tree?
And I’m considered the fool for dreaming?
For longing?
For seeking?
I’m considered weak for being sensitive, for being feminine.
For feeling.
I make no concessions for being receptive and intuitive like the Queen of Cups. And if I should be deemed a fool it is only because I’m being measured against false truths.

When I sit by this meadow, by these trees, with sun above, and earth below, my heart calls out to a place that remains unnoticed, untouched by others.
We all lack knowing.
But my eyes do speak and my mind does see.
I shall remain blameless because I love.
And let this heart swell far beyond this moment. Let it envelop all things, seen and unseen for I am true.

How cruel and wondrous it is to be standing between two pillars.
To be able to reach out to one while still embrace the other
without the cloak of guilt or doubt clinging tenaciously from my neck.
Be gone with you both, thieves of spirit and glory,
You are nothing but illusions which keep me chained to convention.
You are not real.
I shall stomp you all beneath my feet should you even peak out of your graves.

Make no mistake.

Let me be awake in dream
for I am now the magician who breathes life into it.
May dream continue to represent the real, the lifting of the veil, the clearing of fog and sleep
May my intuition continue to guide me.
May I be unaffected by duality but committed to doing what is True and Right.

With the power of the elements,
It is done.