Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Lee’
Appropriating the phrase that Bruce Lee made famous I am seeking within the small confines of this post to express an idea that is a little reflexive. That is – I want to write about the limitation to the power of the creative media to express the full impact and experience of magickal processes.
I was made aware, when writing recently about the futility of convincing sceptics - that one of the main reasons why I no longer try to speak to sceptics about magick is that I have rarely got enough time to be able to tell the fullness of the experience in a language that comes close to expressing the content, especially the emotional content of the moment.
I am aware that great literature of capable of creating within us a powerful and even life-changing set of emotions. i am aware that given enough time and space in any work a truly great artist can begin to shape the medium to produce something that may rouse and engender within the audience (at least some of them) a similar response to the original experience. Yet, a blog is a poor medium for such stories as ours. Even poetry is a mere snapshot of words who symbolism is of limited depth, despite the resonances of language and its complex structures.
So what is missing from these tales of magickal adventure? The emotional content, the synchronistic ripples in time whose echo sweeps you off your feet when it hits, that turn your world view upside down to its rightful position. What may be missing is the heavenly glory of the light and shade of the meanings within the moment, and the full impact of the realisations. Remember your first birthday gift of real significance? Remember the impact that had upon you at the time? The joy, the potential!
Now bring that forward into adulthood, into a time where all of the magick is systematically removed from life through processes of levelling, uniformity, reason and ridicule…. and what remains is scant reward for life on a daily basis. Imagine now, that the magickal is re-inserted into your life’s adventure. Imagine that the joy and potential are rediscovered, but now they are no longer simply superficial joy and potential, now they chime within you - the symbols, the links with other cultures around the world, the harmony, the knowing at a deep level of being which overtaken reason’s faltering jigsaw and shows the full picture in one shot.
When I fail to recount the emotional content in the blog, when I fail to deliver the magickal feeling that comes with all of my work on a weekly basis… know that this post is one of my poor attempts at a reminder about the power of this druidical work. Let the magick of the year begin again!
As druids how do we understand concepts such as ritual, offerings and gifts? What IS the nature of our interaction with Nature? To what purpose do we strive to live ethically and energetically? In this short post I hope to propose the concept of a Triad of Life - three powers that work together in harmony - that will go towards answering these questions.
To do this I employ some of the ideas and discoveries of the psychedelic guru Terence McKenna. McKenna was an explorer of the psychic space beyond the three-dimensional structures. To aid his exploration he employed entheogens – plants that naturally facilitate journeying much as shamans in most cultures employ such techniques. In order to better understand the following concepts that I am about to discuss I would recommend that you are at least familiar with some of McKenna’s work and ideas. Please go here for an excellent archive of much of McKenna’s audio/visual talks.
Firstly, let’s talk about Flow. In my opinion Druidry is an attempt to align oneself with and add one’s energies to The Flow of the Universe – the natural course of all intention from the grandest to the smallest possible level. This is the same notion as the Observer Effect – or the idea that all of our actions, no matter how small, have a consequence and an influence. However, what is important to followers of the druid path is that those actions be in harmony with the Great Motion of the progression of the Universe, or of God, towards its eventual fulfilment or culmination point – what McKenna would call the Omega Point of Transcendence.
The concept of flow encapsulated in Bruce Lee‘s memorable phrase “Be like water” contains within it the idea that this natural path is one of least resistance – a path through the landscape where the least perturbation to the natural cycles is found. I see in this concept the kernel of the ecological and ethical moments that are fundamental to the druidic ethos. That is not to say that influences cannot be profound – they certainly can – but the starting point is always to be in harmony with the force that is currently in “flow”. In other words, if the change required is great and natural, then the influence intended by the druid in his work should be one that equals or harmonises with this momentum. That is how one stays in accordance with The Flow – by becoming the ripple or the tidal wave depending upon the environmental conditions generated by Nature herself.
What is it that is “flowing”? Yes, it is all of the physical elements that go to make up the Universe, but when we consider that these physical elements are really just low-density vibrations, then what is the rest of it that is carried along or upon which we are carried along? Is it not some subtle energy form that we can perceive but cannot pin down? Is it not the energy that we can feel but cannot substantiate? And is that not the Awen of ancient mythology and modern re-interpretation? [see here for an alternative explanation of Awen, and here for the traditional explanation]. It is Animus and Anima at play together, the male and female forces whose spiral dance motivates the interchange of subtle and gross energies between all things. It is the elusive subtle energy or life force that is sought after by the druids as the key to creativity and life itself. It is the Ankh of Egyptian lore.
So, we have Awen - the force that stimulates life, and we have Flow – the direction in which the Awen is motivated to move, or at least to direct our attention. With these co-ordinates can we now define some purpose for these forces at play in the world? I believe we can. In my opinion, the expression of Awen via the Flow of the Universe results in what I term Abundance. Abundance is not just the creation principle, it has contained within it the idea of fruition and enervation of potential. It is abundance that propels the creation cycle – it is the invisible hand on the wheel that spins the dynamo of creation.
I remember Terence McKenna talking about his DMT experiences, and how several times when he broke through into another frequency of existence he was surrounded by curious sentient entities. These ‘imps’ (for want of a better word) encouraged Terence to manifest energy forms from his imagination, and then would take great delight in seeing him do this. When I hear accounts from the edge of hyperspace such as this it makes me think that within all levels and frequencies that are available within our Universe there is positive feedback and encouragement for the act of manifesting life and the act of creation. Terence went on to consider that the universe sought increasing complexity, but I consider that the Universe is instead seeking an increase in abundance – it is seeking to evolve through the fruition of potential into realisation.
If we consider that everything in stasis (i.e not being actively considered or acted upon) has potential. When touched by the motivational force of Awen in Flow then a bio-feedback relationship is established – in other words – giving our energy to something stimulates it and promotes the potential for it to return some transformed energy to us in a reciprocal manner. That stimulating effect is how I think of aabundance, and for me it answers the whole question of “why?”. Why is the Universe or God seeking to encourage abundance? Because it is evolving towards the realisation of all potential, and so the cycle of the bio-energetic feedback loop gives humans the opportunity to gain new energies from those which they discharge or offer to Nature. The recipient of the intention of Awen, whatever that might be, is motivated to grow, increase, come to fruition, blossom, increase and improve. The giver then becomes a receiver too, and the encouragement results in more potential for a repeated experience, thus fulfilling the evolutionary drive – the Flow of the Universe towards Ultimate Fulfilment – the final endpoint of the unfolding of the Universe – McKenna’s Eschaton.
Think of how many situations we see this triad of Flow, Awen and Abundance in action every day! Think how often we see potential realised through motivation into fruition! The planted seed is stimulated to grow by the action of the sun warming the earth. The child is encouraged to grow by the appreciating smile of the mother. The musician is inspired to create a song by a natural event like an eclipse or tidal wave. See how this natural cycle is neutral (neither good nor bad) and how it engenders an increase in life and the quality of life on this planet?
Realisation in druid life
How do druids make this triad of Awen, Flow and Abundance real? Their rituals, their timing, their energy feedback, their creativity – the Bard stimulates the Awen; the Ovate learns to align himself with the Flow of the Universe; the Druid promotes the feedback loop to create Abundance. So, every day I consider that druids are seeking to use educate themselves in the ways of this triad of life, and that they are inventing or re-discovering the ways that increase the natural life of whatever they interact with. This is how I see the benefit that druidry provides in the form of the Triad of Life.
As I was travelling home from work last week I felt a strong connection with a star that wouldn’t leave my attention. It was Friday 13th, and although unlucky for some, it felt like a lucky occurence for me. I had that “Lucky Star” feeling – that this was a significant energy that I was feeling and that the star had a personal connection to me.
I decided that I shouldn’t ignore such a powerful emotion, and so I drove past my home exit and instead drove towards my nearest hill in order to get an unobstructed and unpolluted look at the star from height. Being January and cold there was no-one else around as I sat in my power centre gazing at the captivating star. Using my phone’s StarWalk application I was able to identify the celestial object as Venus in conjunction with Neptune.
|Date||Time UTC||Planet||Angle distance||Planet||Elongation to sun|
|January 13, 2012||07:07:30||Venus||1°10′ south of||Neptune||36.4° East|
As I went into a light dazed state of mind, directing my unfocused attention to the twinkling pair of objects above, I felt an energetic connection on two parts of my body. I first felt a tug on my heart chakra, which I opened. A flood of gentle, clear and pure loving energy seemed to fill my being. Then there was a tug on my head, but I couldn’t identify which chakra point that was connected with exactly so I opened them all to its influence.
I felt like there was a direct connection with me and the planets – the shining star’s radiance was filling me with a distant but powerful light. The Venus connection almost made me cry with its strong emotional content.
The Neptune connection had a less identifiable influence. However I felt an incredible emotion of a pure love. I sort of expected this in as much as I knew this was Venus’ influence. It was nice to have this echoed back to me later when I read an astrologer’s interpretation of this conjunction:
“Venus conjunct Neptune invokes the principle of ‘higher love’ — the kind that’s not beset by jealousy or possessiveness but which has an egalitarian, humanitarian spirit” (source: PlanetWaves.net)
That was exactly how it felt. A pure love not connected with sexuality or a single relationship, but a wider feeling of love and kinship with all things. Very unlike my usual traits!
Here’s something else that struck me. I have been getting all sentimental in the last few weeks – buying old movies of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. I love their dancing in particular, but I must confess that my wife and I have been enjoying their old-fashioned romantic plot lines too. This is VERY MUCH not like me. So not like me that my wife has commented on how I must be going soft in my “old age” and even saying “What’s happened to you?“.
Here’s another astrologer’s interpretation of the Venus-Neptune alliance:-
“Sentimental and compassionate, natives with Venus conjunct Neptune are easily touched by others’ kindness, music, poetry, dance, and most any art that evokes emotion.” (source: CafeAstrology.com)
Research since then has led me to conclude the following:-
a) I am being strongly affected by the movement and position of the planet Venus this year. More so than any year previously.
b) Whilst I am developing a certain ‘vulnerability’ and sensitivity to Venus’ influence, I am also being shown that this is a means of tapping into an “emotional content” that will become a part of my energy-working and hedge druidry later in the year.
I have a feeling that emotional content is going to be an energy signature that pervades my work this year.
I’m always banging on about using incense. If you’ve read my previous posts recently then at almost any opportunity I’m lighting up and zooming off into trance. Now, as a Hedge Druid, why would I need these props? Surely, if I’m true to my cause I shouldn’t need anything except the sweet scent of Nature’s own aromas to send me thoughts skyward? Well, our friend Gwydion over at Sparrowhawk’s Haven would agree with you too – keep props to a minimum. In fact, don’t use any props at all!
I used to agree with this position. I started out from that position and for years I withstood the urge to use props of any kind. Yet, in recent years I have relented slightly. Am I going soft? Probably. There’s a bit more to it than that though. I have learned that incense and crystals do help me to do meditation. Incense offers me protection and brings me to trance faster, and crystals can do almost anything I need – protection, focus, re-direction – they’re very useful tools.
Tools such as incense and crystals free my mind to concentrate on the matter at hand, and they mean that I don’t have to expend my energy on setting up protection or connection, and I can focus quickly on the task I need to do. Also, I feel that incense invites spirit forms to come closer. It’s like a smoke signal to them that something interesting is about to occur, and they seem to gather and be around when incense is lit outdoors.
So there are a couple of reason why I use these tools. True, you don’t NEED anything. True, again, you shouldn’t come to rely upon having these tools available. I agree. Yet, if they are available, and you like working with them, then why get snooty about it? So, in my travels I have worked out a handy guide to how many incense sticks you can use for what purpose. It’s my own list, but if it proves useful for you too, then that’s all good too, right?
- One for a quick connection – preparing the ground
- Two for meditation – one either side – you in the middle (between the worlds)
- Three for protection – in a triangle around you
- Four for marking the quarters – calling in the elemental forces
- Five for a combination of three and two – a deep protected meditation
- Six for a change – six sticks will usually need to be placed into a formation of some sort – a sigil – to connect to a source of change
- Seven or more – for a total clearance of all blockages or existing energy patterns
As Bruce Lee said of learning martial arts – take what is useful for you and discard the rest. My dowsing shows me that this table of information is useful if you wish to adopt it as your own, but worthless otherwise, because you can create your own associations if you want to. Seems to be the way of many magical practises!