On Spiritual Organizations

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High lochan on Eigg, western isles:  2000

In this post I want to clarify what I learned with spiritual organizations:  but first, to get into my stride …

Journal:  I posted my final Coastal Path instalment after two days work, and was very spent.   I felt my writing in it is a bit pompous, and trimmed it.  But  I did my first new sketches of Ramana. This felt wonderful.  I need to learn him again … approach the mountain’s grandeur and beauty with my caricature.

The Coastal Path was a BOOK of catalyst, now published here in full. Today, my daughter’s photo of the strata change – (downward tilt to the sea, with Pembroke coast in the background) – shows the view (see previous post.)   On the “organ pipes” (above to the left, and out of frame) is where the revelation happened in my dream afterwards.  It is told in With Ramana & Krishnamurti (3) on the Coastal Path. The devil whispered a “conspiracy of doubt-versus-certainty” over the good firm rock, everywhere.

In Ramana’s vichara, the living shape coming up from the deep – as I tinkered with charcoal towards it –  is a private bhakti to lean back into:  his eyes, humour, industry, stillness and dry Capricorn flavour  …  Capricorn-Cancer, along his midheaven axis of eclipse: the elder as the child of humanity.

It is rich, ochre-brown and wonderful, like southern sandalwood with honeyed milk poured over it.  Western symbolism adds the wealth and paradox of the 15th Tarot Key, which is ruled by Capricorn.  The lesson in this Key discriminates the Effigy and the Real … “separate the subtle from the gross, Earth from the fire, acting with prudence, humility and good judgement” (Emerald Table).

The devil said (traditionally) “Give me a sage, and I will organize him for you.”

Artists have this productive trouble.

However, as dear AJ told me when I first met him, we know the rock is sound, on this step up.  Ultimately,  the depth where Ramana links and is our consciousness, is a safeguard from delusion.   In private, he is  “Bhagavan”.  In public however, the bhagavan becomes a facile  label, an imposition on ignorance.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing –  it degenerates into advertisement.   Bhagavan – used accurately –  is a name of God, of light, of care, moving spontaneously.  How can I say “God” unless I glimpse the limitless cosmic connectivity?   To say “God” the tiny seed of life must split open and die.

Theoretically my whole life renews Ramana like a mountain spring, and feels easier for it;  but the bhakti Kabbalist current behaves in its own way, regardless.   In the morning I “part the waves and kiss the lips”;  later on, the bhakti subsides, as the fog comes down the hill.

Moses went up to the light and came down with the stone.  It is the high, holy day of Atonement.  At one.

What is bhakti (the way of devotion) truly?  It is attentiveness.   It is like the small burns or hill-brooks on Eigg – up near their source I part the heather and bracken to see the dark water gleam.


Ramana’s Indian silence is the sea inside the wave.  Let it fill veins and vessels like salt:  the  buoyancy.  The scent of sandal paste:  the hard, dark wood or stone of sivalinga over which they pour the offering:  the ananda at the root of the breath.  The young Ganapati Muni climbs up the hill and finds his sage.

Early sketch of the Muni meeting Ramana.  However, there were also my wishes and requirements – to “magick a Ramana Centre” (house for us) – the same old story, using the props.  The house didn’t happen, we couldn’t raise the money, and I went on living where I am now, and so did AJ in general.   The spiritual home is centred within:  it is uncluttered by props, walls, admin or mortgage.  The truth ensures just enough material support:  no surplus.


The young Ramana and Ganapati

At this point, I searched for some correspondence relating to my inflated Inner Twit – the years of my high profile in the Ramana Foundation.  In about 1996, a  friend mirrored back to me his distress, how I was acting out, all over the place.  I can’t find his letter now – a pity, because it was salutary, it hurt and I was furious; but it stopped me.  In brief – wherever he looked, there was jane standing in front of Ramana, her gush, her ideas, her pictures.  Seeing this through his eyes, was a shock.  I was very cross with him, but I began to dismantle my “satsang personality” and withdaw.  She couldn’t survive being “exposed”.  She wants to be everywhere, manage everything and count everybody.

Fund raising – Spiritual snowman

Yet she knows, and knew from the beginning, that Ramana’s Self-enquiry dissolves adherents back into itself.   Circles of Satsang form, and form more circles;  but from the flower, the petals isolate, grow brittle and die off, as the Self keeps flowering.

I was spiritually arrogant.  It is only a step from this, psychologically, to Sheela on the ranch planning to eliminate persons who don’t toe the line;  in the guru-organizing mindset, however mild and apparently “british”, this tendency roosts, and full blown, becomes a monster.   I wrote screeds about the teaching, and I was dishonest.

Spiritual vasanas are powerful, as we observe in contemporary religious excess.  The personal ego when juiced up by spirituality or a magnetic sage, is an accelerated BULLDOZER, subconsciously driven, entrenched in righteous belief, and working out its issues full time.

Paradoxically, the sage who is clarity gets projected onto fog around his followers.  Annamalai’s book Living by the Words of Bhagavan (1994) recorded with painful honesty, the ashram buzz around the well – the troubles and jealousies of all those sadhaks, thrown into high relief by Ramana’s presence among them.  The light casts our strong shadows, the ones desiring Consciousness.    Ramana used to say – he had no alternative – “It must come up and out.”   He was an agent provocateur, as all great teachers are.

I am left with a deep distaste for spiritual organizations and “inner circles”.  The glamour tendencies in myself are nowadays short lived, they run aground, the energy dies.  They are mastered by a deeper Conscience than my surface.  This life-time’s Karmic lesson applied equally to my love-life.   The understanding when it burnt my fingers, is total!   My flow with the Kabbalahsociety is unbroken … 24 years now … because of its transparency.  The management of Kabbalahsociety – Companions of the Light –  is minimal, light on the ground, and therefore efficient.

Our ideal for the Ramana Foundation UK was transparency and no baggage.  That is how it turned out to be, and is today.  It runs itself, by companions.

Spirituality and identity with spiritual organizations is an easy cover-up, for wishes which are selfish.  Genuine esoteric teaching advises us to become thoroughly acquainted and insightful with our own desire nature – “what I want” – the elementary principle to bring to light and master.   To master the racehorse, we must ride it … by the sea.

newspaper cutting

Thinking of my daughter also – her depression in her teens, having to contend with Mum in full zeal.  I was blind.  It made her vulnerable.  She lived with the goings-on in our house, and was neglected.  Given the smallest encouragement, I praised and preened her own achievements and I am proud of her, and meant it, but it came out hollow and grey and did her no good.  No wonder I still feel guilty and disabled, when we discuss spiritual tools.

Probably my spiritual obsessions deepened her shadow.  She understood what I was going on about, but didn’t need the rattle.  By her compassion and strength of character, she found her own way through, and continues to.

There – that is what I wished to say.  I am a solitary type, on the fringes of Ramana community, and others.   I learned much, from “managing” RMF UK etc upfront, until a friend’s criticism and disgust reached me.  Those learning curves hurt, but were valuable.


Unhappy Hermit ’87

Nobody is enlightened.  Enlightenment spreading around the Earth, comes and finds where our soil is fertile, and plants its seed.  Wind blows, rain comes, sun shines, darkness enters, light goes forth.

Homeless hermit, jealous of Enlightened People ’87

I don’t write much about the Shadow.  I do try to describe my insights through it.  The Shadow is easy to access and dramatise, and is more than adequately seen to;  I have my own job to do.  It came through my very real valley of the Shadow.   It put me through the wringer … shudder!   There is no regret, because it was a thorough Shield and Buckler.   I understand spiritual, emotional and physical addiction.

jiva, jlva – an attempt to cut ties and heal a relationship calvary

Today when the meditative current up-wells, it is of the source, and I call it BENEVOL:  the will-to-good.   In the Yoga Vasishta, the demons of havoc concentrated so hard on themselves, that Brahma’s aeons in due course transmuted them to cosmic bhakti, their true nature.  They all in time dissolved into ramanas:  Siva the dance of light – they couldn’t help it.  The name Ramana – (given by Ganapati Muni, master of mantras) – is: “who sports in the Self”.

Brahma and Vishnu are an interwoven cosmic maintenance:  Siva the disposition.

Rudra Immerses (2000)

The Yoga Vasishta demons were hard little mischievous pins in fantastic yogic contortion on their mountain tops.  Their intense egotistic tapas generated an awful fracas through the worlds. There is One way ultimately, for all thoughts, all processes, pollution, politics, geologies and fantastic things:  to realise the Self.  Nothing can escape or contravene that Law… the awe of consciousness.  It makes us work on ourselves.  We only believe the effort is ours because we are still nine-tenths asleep.

Just the littlest bit – homeopathically –  is awake, enough to “keep calm and carry on.”  It is from our evolution as a whole, the whole “eye”, and at present incomplete.

These thoughts contain Kabbalist references to Hesed (benevol) and the path of awe, as well.  Where the yogas of east and west meet, the east is bhakti, the west is analytical; both are applied psychology, and complement each other.  The eastern psychology in the Tantras, Puranas, Ayurveda and Jyotish (the science of light) is profound and accurately mapped.  There is no flab or fatalism in the sages of the dawn or in the Tao.  Perhaps it takes a western mindset  – where the sun’s lotus sets, turning rose – to fully appreciate.

We need to be a little culturally detached, in order to see.

Thus the hands touch and join;  thus the Bridge.

Annapurna, from the Pass of 27 April, 1950, photo by Marcel Ichac


This post is not as planned.  I had not planned to write one at all.

Following my mother on Eigg, with “belvies”



“The Law of Adonai is other than the laws of men, for into the laws of men has entered confusion.  This must be, since mankind remains a work unfinished.  Yet be on guard, you who seek to be numbered among the sons and daughters of the true Israel, lest you mistake the half-formed concepts of an earlier stage of growth, for final truths. 

“The Great Work directs itself always towards the building of the Temple of Adonai, and in its early stages there are needs that do not continue throughout the building process.  Yet men mistake the scaffolding for the building itself, and thus pay idolatrous reverence to old rules which have no longer any useful purpose.  Watch therefore, O ye who would rule as the Lord rules, lest you usurp the rights of Adonai!”

Master R:  ageless wisdom



My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Watching Krishnamurti (4) & Ramana : photos of coastal path and Arunachala

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K arrives for a  last talk at Saanen, carrying the questions


Pwllderi caves

This post is the concluding part of my Coastal Path memoir in 1991 –  Krishnamurti and Ramana’s teachings, where land meets the sea.  (See my mid-August posts:  With Ramana and Krishnamurti on the Coastal PathOn the Coastal Path – Travellers’ Treasure;  and Parc y Meirw – the Field of the Dead.)

Pwllderi beach

For this post’s illustrations, I raided my daughter’s photo album!  She was 17.  She took her tent to Pwllderi and Strumble in 1994, and later on, she went to  Ramana Ashram on her own.  These are pre-digital snaps on her instamatic in mucky rucksack; yet her views say what I feel and see, and didn’t write.

Older photos are like paintings:  we use our imagination a bit more.

The conversation with Ramana and Krishnamurti by the sea and afterwards, was a catalyst.  From it unfolded later on, my involvement with Ramana Foundation UK, and editing the journal Self Enquiry.   Who could have known!    Different time frames converge here – 1991 on the coast at Pyllderi, ’93 /’94, journeys to India, and then today:  hindsight and some new drawings.

Pwllderi stones and low tide


 26 August 1991

The soviet iron curtain fell.   A global tremor!

Ideology’s dead fruit fall at last from the great tree of Mother Russia.  Whatever next?  The soviet empire reached the classic three-score years and ten.  That child of the October Revolution, an ultra-material religion, held those continents of the world in irons, for the span of man – one lifetime.   It was made of human, of collective mind.  It came forth and was acquiesced to;  it created liberation here and suffering there, moved its economic ballast around, and fed on the fear of death.  Like the birth and death of all people, it will prolong the memory of those it grasped, and be irrelevant to those it did not.

An idea rises and falls with extraordinary power.  In the end, it is dust – It seems never to have been.  There flows forth from under its grip, a river;  and they call this river “the people”.   It reached a tide, a crest of maturity into which it must deliver itself …  into the world as a whole.


Pwllderi sea-weathers:  looking towards St  Davids head

Politics, moments of history, local convulsions, even those which inflict unspeakable pain upon whole populations, are tides of the sea … the pendulum.

J.Krishnamurti said “Get out of this field!”

The field of the world is the tide carrying back and forth our baggage – time, greed and political polarities.  Stirring up the excitement, makes the bath water in my tub surge up and down!   The feeling is turgid and complex.  It dims my ability to see.

But it is another thing, like seeing a phrase of music, or the way the wind lifts a branch, to watch in myself the field of the world, without comment or belief.

To suspend belief in any part of it, is to remain an open place.

From Pwyllderi dinosaur headland

If I wrap “the field” of any phenomenon or belief around me, it is like going into a house and shutting the door.  But if I in that moment look and listen, a deeper arena opens.  Then I have sight of the house, and other houses on the wind, like the ripples in a golden field of wheat.

Journalism has no place here, nor has any opinion.

But there might be love.  Love – the response to life – opens red poppies in the field, and sky-blue harebells.  Can I observe it impartially?  Can a scientist see beyond measuring his own condition?  How to see objectively, the world? – for it is me!   Upon the dual fulcrum of “I” and “It” strives division and diversion for a pastime.

The pastime is false to the deeper question.

The field is space for evolution … the journey ever into “I” dissolves the “…I”.


pwllderi heather: Strumble “lions’ paws”

As I am, in this way, humanity, what do “I” contribute?  A particle, a drop of water, contains the universe.  I have no sight or function that I know of.  I cannot see what I am.  There is no answer to the question that I am asking.  Deep into the silvery ocean depth, the essence of joy and sorrow, I dive towards the golden note of “let it … being”.  It unfolds space within space for ever.

The question mark is the curve of a dotted I turned upside down.   There is no departure, no isolation from what I call “the world”.   It is the same for hermit or politician.  There is a mysterious transcendence at the heart of it all.  To “get out of the field” is to dive deep into it, dissolving the outlines of my bondage.   I see the global landscape only from the point where I was born.  The energy bound into making a fuss, is conditional to my own security and to patch a fabric.  The balance of power, the stabilizing of hostilities among countries, the environmental crisis, the pain of famine, suicide and tyrants that people suffer on so great a scale – so rapidly communicated – the spillage of fuel and the parturition of conscience … all engender hopes and fears, which boil down honestly to my very local interest.   I want an answer to suit ME.

Such “answers” are formulations of belief.  They solidify collectively, and nourish the merry go round.  Or … bored with itself and dying, the answer drops away like dead skin cells.

The other side of the coin, I surrender to a strange reality:  the creation of an un-thought inward –  Who? – generates, but never entraps the adventure of living.  I drop away not into dead cells, but into being.

Again I seek ground!  Belief!  What is truth?  Who are you?

Vishnu-Siva, dance of Creation.  Krishnamurti sees Creation as divine destruction.

Pwllderi – volcanic rock near Strumble

Mrs B came to visit.  She saw on a wild life programme, a baby zebra who lost his parents and tribe. He stands by the water in his stripy coat with his big, dark baby eyes, about to die.  Then he lies down on his side quietly by the water, and he dies.  He is given to the land.  The vultures come, gathering in the sky, to swoop and feed and clean. My friend rejoiced suddenly in the co-existent beauty of creation/destruction, Vishnu-Siva …  we’d been talking of Krishnamurti, the way thought self-destructs to awaken.  I see in the baby zebra’s dark eyes, the vultures, the translation of innocence.   That is it.  Every new instant is innocent.

The vulture is the baby zebra.

Pwllderi looking south, strata change


Krishnamurti sees, is, walks among the divine beauty of destruction, without intermediary or describing.  Vedanta calls it the cosmic dance.  K knows this without symbol or spiritual shelter.  It seems his hands are untied.

K at Saanen in 1985

But is the symbol a mere “Ah! Shelter at last!”?  Do those who intuit and understand the symbols really regard them as permanent?

The symbol is a musical key.  It is alive.  It is there not to ritualize, but to open perception into the Self.   My embodiment walking around, is a symbol.

K regards symbols and hieroglyphs – occult or divine – as crutches.  I think he doesn’t know, they are not truly used that way.  The wise use them – the way language comes to hand – as tools towards the timeless flower:  the Inner Revolution.   Eventually they are no longer needed to open the heart.  As they inspire and enkindle love – and love is gratitude for Life – K encountered that same benediction when he walked among mountains, trees and wild animals at dawn.  He wrote in his notebook.  It bathed his inner “process” in radiance.  He preferred to call it by no name;  for so many divine names had spawned him.  But he said it is sacred beyond thought or form.  Where he walked, he loved.

In K’s own private mystery, it is not by naming that he truly sees the world/himself.

K in 1953 with Rosalind Rajagopal’s granddaughter Tinka

This makes him seem to close the door just when the seeker sees it begin to open.   The door opens inward to his or her “meaning”.  K seems to speak from the other side of a river which the seeker is suddenly required to have crossed and “destroyed” already.

Yet, this courage of K to go it alone, to lodge his person in no sacred hill, but expose it to the worldly frets, frustrations and ignorance – the fluctuating mood and encounter of secular life – is an extraordinary spiritual sacrifice.

It is said that K had no ego.  Maybe so.  The interest the mind has in maintaining its province, did not in him exist.  He described it as “empty”, vacant, without memory, without the sense of things past.  As there was no past tense in his consciousness, there were no “answers”.   Yet he was passionate to reform education.

So what is an answer?   A kind of verb.  A doingness, a beingness, being still or in movement.   Many are the ideas which obscure the inexhaustible inner fact.

K is himself, being visible, a symbol.


pwllderi goats

Ramana is a symbol.

Invocation from his Forty Verses:

(1) Can there be a feeling "I" without that which exists always?  
    Free from thought it exists, the Inner being, the Heart.
    How then to know what is beyond the mind?    
    To know it is to abide firmly in the Heart.

(2) They lose at once their "I" who, from fear of death 
    seek refuge in the Lord, conqueror of death.   
    Then by nature they are immortal.    
    What is to them, the thought of death?



pwllderi rough sea

Looking outward, I see the surrounding furniture, and seek identity.   Let this collapse inward to centre, inward to this kind of “Am”.  From the core, a pulse – the attention –  emanates subtly outward.  First there was a fence around existence, and existence was that fence.  Then the attention is removed from the fence, to “here” within.   There is no fence.  There is a root – the ‘I-thought, creating the appearance of the world.

If you hold that feeling by the stem as it dissolves, you are led to the Source behind the beginning and beyond the appearance of time.

In Ramana’s experience, the Heart or seat of Self reflects the physical heart:  to the right of sternum can be found the spiritual pulse or sphurana.   To search and feel and focus into this tentative centre, is a kind of tickle, peculiarly restful.  It may be leaned back into.  It feels like a depth or centre of gravity into which I take a brief tumble.  The “In-tense” here is a query with no castle wall.

pwllderi rough sea 2

There is no wall around Ramana either.  There’s a contour suggesting a hill that all may enter and ascend.  There are in the hill, those caves of brilliance, his eyes, to delight in.  That is what “I am” in sky and earth, in shy fox and flowering heather.

Arunachala ’93

And there is a living veneration, which does not generate attachment or cultus.  Why?  because he said when dying:  “I” am with you always.   Where can “I” go?   His figure opens the way like a landscape by the sea.  The light plays around it … as over pre-historic rocks.

Ramana ashram ’94, by the Mother temple

These are beginning sort of things.

Till now I’ve found it difficult to “be still” regularly.  There are so many things to concentrate on.  There is  work in watering my garden in every direction, to keep refreshed.  There are so many places – like the one between the eyebrows? –words, tones and colours to resonate.  I need to nourish the vast symbolic wealth with my creativity.  All of them are doors opening, and all are potentially exhausting.  Anxiety stalks an over-prolific garden.

But concentration is not upon the fence, not upon things.


near Arunachala, to the west:  portal

Concentration is the flow, the breath of itself.

The best way then, is simple.  Ask only into the essence of being;  with no room nor need nor expectation.  The rest will follow or flow from that.  The Great Rose, or whatever else.

Doorstep mandala at dawn, Tiruvannamalai ’93

Dare I hope?  What solidarity of the ‘open’ way into the Self, how encouraging to have met, or be about to meet “the others”, some others who are doing it too!

Last week – I don’t remember my dreams very much, for the work with them is done – I dreamed I was in central India traveling.  There was something very real about that, and the people I met.


Pondicherry ‘94

There isn’t anything truly real about things in life, which continue to agonize, upset or pull me into spirals of imbalance.  From within their coils even, I see how illusory, how “maya” is the waning momentum of manufactured complaint, how absurd it all is.  This is indeed strange, for to lose my centre feels at present worse and more painful than ever, like an irrevocable back-sliding.   Yet, the trouble, acute at the time, is quickly forgotten, like the labour when giving birth and feeling stuck.   It is all in the mind, the carrier of the evanescent.   The mind is that valuable passenger to Alchemy.  Thus I live in the world, not on retreat.

“You can keep your head cool in solitude while your hands are busy in the workplace,” Ramana said.  From the Centre which is transparent flows (through mental prism) the rainbow Universe of colour and form.


Cows near Arunachala

I want nothing.

What a vast variety of curves, of hues of “I”, fragmented or whole, knowing or unknowing, refracted or reflected, sore or joyful:   individuals.

Pond near Arunachala


Tonight I went to visit Princess Helen.  She wore a white gown.  The walls of her palace are white, and the furniture is thoughtful.  She kindles her oasis in the paintings she buys, in the extension she is building out into her garden, the Transcendental Meditation she does, the fine young Italian who services her, the deep impressions and sudden visions she relishes or is infuriated with … the uncompromising creation and destruction of her inner world week by week, and the spaces – palaces – she builds and furnishes for her clients to live in.  Just now she is developing a residence in Park Lane.

I found her pouting sultrily over a tall glass of dry Chablis.  She had been down to Soho and bought a dozen huge glass jars.  She filled them with Indian spices of unusual autumnal colour, like leaves in fall, for the Park Lane palace …  no not to eat! (a kilo jar of chilli powder?) but to feed the eye – look how beautiful they are, ochre and siena, and to lift up the lid and sniff?  Her clients are rather overwhelmed by these personal touches.  They do not understand the paintings Princess Helen chooses for their palaces, but they feel cared for.  We began to sniff the spices ourselves.  We took rather a long snort at the red chilli and both began to sneeze.


Ochre spice, sienna and white, near Arunachala

We had supper in a boat on her “river”, drank more Chablis and talked of this and that.

She began to wonder about the wide arena within which human pollution struggles with itself.  What movement in cosmos does this happen relative to, what kind of consciousness is being formed?  Do microcosmic terrestrial developments reflect such things?  She got quite carried away, and her eyes began to glow with the miraculous scent of Providence.  She got out some tasteful utensils from M&S – “there IS conscience in the business world!   Look how this is designed – and even this packaging for washing powder, it’s so neat and pretty, you could put it on a shelf – AND it’s recyclable, yes, it’s all changing so much, isn’t it?  And do you know,” she told me, “they said the other day, about the ozone hole you know?  they’re finding evidence that dust from volcanic eruptions is being “utilized” to heal and close it!   Think of that!   Isn’t it EXQUISITE?  – marrying volcanic lava from the earth-core to ion replacement in its aerial outer wrapping.   How exquisite, how IMMENSE it all is – the poetry of the checks and balances, we have no idea.  Don’t you think it’s beautiful? – alive it is, great organic creature maintaining itself, our human stuff and suffering on earth, just a scratch.”


ramana ashram monk

Be that as it may.  When the Buddha and his colleagues walked the earth, was there a hole in its skin, letting through rays of strange nature?  – the ageless wisdom warms up beds of strata deep, deep within, and people on top are scared.   What things seem to be, is never what they entirely are.

How immense it is.

As the body heals and renews itself every day, beautifully … the organic rhythms throughout a body like the Solar System  – or even a galaxy – are too vast for the scratchy inhabitants of the skin of one of its planets to comprehend.

Ramana ashram arunachala ‘94

But … a Buddha can see it.  A Buddha can see the interplay of cosmic livingness … including consciousness on other planets, whose forms our sensory spectrum cannot detect.  A Ramana can see it.  How?   Because they themselves are that.

And therefore so am I and you.


Paddy fields

Without doing more than hold up a daisy, or a smile of silence, the being testifies to Grace in which all “I” am healed and whole;  to a Grace beyond the bounds and toil of my knowledge of time.




Another try, this time in charcoal`;  I want my drawings to loosen up, and to have authentic expressive distortions.  Ramana really is a mountain, or a late-Beethoven quartet:  the human grandeur and beauty beckons anew, as I approach.    Next, I shall try turning the photo round, and drawing him upside down.  That usually gives a truthful draughtsmanship.


And now, a few more Ashram impressions from 1994:


Friends: Bharati and Anna Kim

A torn tree of the soul:  Arunachala inner path

Pradakshina:  He wears His shawl

 and home.

By the way, she loved India and Siva – and “the guy who pours the ghee” (Sri Sundaram) – but is not a devotee.



My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Beyond the Box

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Sarada Devi, the wife of Ramakrishna

“Put to good use, the powers of the astral plane, to reign with heaven.”

Reflect on “conscious participation”.  This is what an artist does, who generates “new” images and astral temples and landscapes.  (Nothing is new – just freshly reconstituted!) All the astral plane’s brilliant beauty and terror and muck is made up of what the human psyche has installed there and impressed to believe.   It is the realm of the embedded Imagination.

On a visit in a dream, when the landscape has that tell tale illumination, colour and clarity, it was travelled in by a soul, perhaps recently, perhaps repeatedly, perhaps in very ancient history.  It is something their life, their delight and their problem made, and it is there for ever.

Similarly I visit nightmare, panic, depression and loss when I am vulnerable or in transition.  And I learn by trial and error solve and coagula – what I truly wish to sponsor, and to withdraw from what I would not add to.   This last is difficult, because anxiety and violence – co-dependency at any level – are truly attractive and compelling.

The Age of indelible inputs which we have now (by cyberspace network) only copies and makes a little more manifest what is there already and has been for unknown millenia – an infinitely expanding backlog.   Governments get all excited and think they can exploit and control it to keep tabs on everyone, and people are furious;  but it makes a small difference only to those who magnify the idea.  A government is no different from myself or any individual.   Any detail dwelled upon, becomes all-encompassing and engulfing – a universe, a MAYA.   That is why sages and Masters touch on life lightly.    “The situation is desperate, but it isn’t serious.”

Theatre Arunachala Vichara

The shape and consistency of “me” is extraordinarily powerful, to counteract and disregard the universal borrowing that goes on.   Each individual is a Clapham junction.   Trains – individualities, traumas and long life histories, themselves shiploading souls containing eggs and sperm – zoom in and out in shades, occupying an hour or a day or a passing breeze.   Learning to identify the moods as persons or flourishes of the Goddess, may help to release from “identification”;  and to begin travelling consciously within the dream…  like Castaneda.

Paradoxically, identification happens when we do not have good, clear boundaries.

The dreamer in the dream!   Which is which?   Visually, we are cocoons, dreamily interacting with other self absorbed cocoons – a mutual fog.  At a party in a garden, coastlines chat to coastlines of the dark continent and cheerfully restrict each other.    “Here be dragons.”

Coastlines meeting socially

The raised eyebrow of Ramana and the sound of water pouring through Skanda-ashram, reminds me to dislodge the cocoon and ask who … ?    Unanswerable!   My “touch-base” with Ramana has no ashram enclosure.  Ramana “who sports in the Self” … helps me to navigate the quicksand and return to space and base.

In bird watching mode

Ramana Maharshi’s life and atmosphere is embedded in my hard drive, with the Tree of Life.   I hardly notice it!   Why did these useful friends get embedded so?   Not by sitting meditation, but by years of hands-on apprenticeship to a craft.   In my case … drawing, writing, and then learning to use a mac to archive things.  

The computer copies the neural mind.  It demonstrates psychological menus and the way the memory base works.    So the screen is fascinating.  It is a self portrait.   It reflects faithfully, our obsessions.   It displays our private subconscious in full view…  to the extremities of twitter fallout.

wood bird yantra

Then it is up to us to select … what to bind, and what to loose.

The universal snapshot is oblong, like a house, a car, a phone.  As three-dimensioned beings, the oblong and – (with a stretch of imagination) – the Cube … is how we view life and ourselves, habitually.   Conscious participation lifts the lid a little.   Conscious participation accepts Life above and below the screen, and to each limitless side; and fore and aft.   Conscious participation invites a larger spectrum.

The Cube of Space.  See Builders of the Adytum for the course work


Habitually the planetary orbits around the Sun are viewed as an ellipse –  a thin slice across a hard boiled egg.

Conscious participation intuits –  “above” and “below” that plane – the Solar system as the egg-in-shell of nesting spheres … feel it, taste it, be it.  An electron wave-pulse enspheres the atom so, and gives it number, weight and significance.   The planets in the physical plane, are points: positions in the Heisenberg position-or-motion principle.   The observer’s consciousness “collapses” the observed into one or the other, and records the observation locally.

 The energy-field of each planet – whose physical globe we perceive – does not encircle but enspheres the Sun.   This concept releases an entirely different information:  such as the elder science of astrology:  the interconnectivity of the solar system with galactic wheels, eggs and atoms.

The concept uplifts the interior life to walk tall.   A Yantra is a cross-sectional projection of the tree of life’s organic and actual growth.   The tree – our body – grows up through the Yantra, root, stem, sap, crown and birdsong, through the seasons.

tree yantra

Truth is largely hidden from the daily grind.  It is unavailable to the general news media and entertainment, because it is perpendicular to our limited sensory horizon.  I do not go along with the idea of “conspiracy theories” keeping the human race asleep.  I know too well the pattern of my own inertia momenta to keep me asleep (by habit), to pass the buck!   It is natural, given the habitual pathways, tensions and comfort zone, for this to happen.   The half-conscious state is indeed susceptible to crossroads of bacteria, cancers, ancient kundabuffer (see Gurdjieff), space invaders and what-have-you.   But to imagine a conspiracy is part of the fantasy.  It has no real substance.   It finds no grip.

Are we not, each of us, responsible to …?   Doesn’t each plant wrestle with resistant earth to reach the sun? – (often over many cycles, many lifetimes.) And are we not buds on the same tree, all destined to open, but not at the same time?   What am I to do, right now?  To pass the buck to anyone else, any country, society or government, is day-dreaming and depletive.   Right here, and no where else, is where the quantum leap begins.

Quantum physics knows the morphic resonance of atomic particles.   Where one bows, or hops to a higher orbit, others distant beyond the reach of light and space, behave simultaneously.   We are never alone.  I am never alone.

Sri chakra yantra

I do accept I am hypnotized by what I am conditioned to believe.  Where do I put my concentration … that is the training –  which in due time, manifests?  Esoteric and occult schools drum in the alternative way, by REPETITION.   By repetition is how we view ourselves from infancy, by repetition a musician rehearses, and by repetition we learn.   By repetition the seasons turn.  That makes the scriptures and schoolbooks of Ageless Wisdom seem very boring!

The dimensions:  point (dimensionless) to line, plane, solid, spatial (after Ouspensky).   The Point, its infinite potential in any direction, inward as outward, is the geometry of the sphere, and is perhaps the fourth dimension.

In all the teachings, the Fourth dimension – the grasp of the Whole – is perpendicular to our time and space, inward as outward.   The box falls open!

A tapestry or Sufi blanket is woven into patterns horizontally – lifetimes:  but the thread entering it vertically, at any point, is Consciousness.    At the heart of the thread is pure lambs’ wool, undyed.

The Tailor of the Dark Field

Needles' eye!   
My heart's thread sews   
heaven into fields   
of day and night.   

The point!   
In fragrant flowering night   
are drawn in paths of light   
those patterns of the bright   
sapphire sky.    

Creating the One!   
Passing through point's eye   
into unbound and brilliant hour,   
I AM the sacred thread    
of dim, dark lifetimes gathered   
O Lord of Caves   
and of the meeting rivers!   

Listen to the sound   
where waters meet;   

my point opens   
the way a diamond   

from Siva Poems, circa 1994



Tetrahedral Tree of Life (1993)

Mouni Sadhu – (in Meditation, chapter 33 The Possibility of Miracles) gave a useful exercise to train the mind to step out of the box:

“(1) Take a small box, a match-box will do.  Look intently INSIDE it and study it, so that every detail will be firmly impressed on your mind, and you can then recreate it in your imagination in full when you are not actually looking in the box.  It is not easy, I know, but no important undertaking which is rich in results has ever been easy! 

“(2) When you have finished with the ‘inside’ of your box and can build an exact picture of it in your mind, pass to a study of its OUTER surface, exactly as you did with the INSIDE.  Check the results carefully, so the new picture is just like the first (1), clear cut and definite. 

“(3) Now comes the actual test:  try to get a SIMULTANEOUS picture in your mind of the inside and outside of your match-box.  If you succeed, you have enriched yourself with a certain enlargement of consciousness, which leads to a realisation of the possibility of higher dimensions. 

“This exercise may take a lot of time (weeks or months) if it is to be performed as intended.  And it is quite possible that you will feel yourself completely unable to perform it.  Then leave it alone, nobody can exceed his actual powers, and it is not essential. 

“Most probably, you would like to hear how a unit of say, the FOURTH dimension may look in relation to its predecessor, the cube.  Well, it must be built by the creation of a body, which will be simultaneously perpendicular to all the surfaces of our cube, as our former deliberations about the three known dimensions and their formation have shown us.  Only a mathematically skilled mind may see such a possibility clearly. 

“The problem is up to you to decide and try it for yourself. 

“Incidentally, this ‘fantastic’ four-dimensional unit, derived from a cube, is often called ‘THE TESSARACT’.”

Mouni Sadhu


Orbits meet




My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

“Aquariel” – the Goddess and Tao Trees of Life

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Savitri the Sun: world Shakti (ja 1990)

Inside any religious war is the old, old elephant story.

Extract from “The Alternative Elephant Tale” as told by John Tissandier:  “One day, a group of blind men on a journey came across something in their path.  The first man felt its tail and said, “I think we must be outside the gates of a palace.  I can feel the bell pull …”  “and here’s a fan!” said another, pulling an ear; “or is it a boatyard?” piped up one of the more independently minded, who had walked under and felt the belly.  And so they all worked themselves up with speculations.

Just then, mocking laughter was heard.  Another man arrived.  “You silly old coots!  There is no palace there.  You are standing by an elephant!” 

“What nonsense,” cried the blind men.  “We all investigated the matter and are in full agreement that this is a palace.”  “And anyway,” added one, “why should you know any better?”  “Because my eyes work, that’s why,” said the newcomer.  “I can see clearly.”  “It’s easy for you to say that,” said one of the blind men, “but why should we believe you?  You may be a liar … “

They were coming to blows, when a jnani arrived … and said politely, “What is going on?  I see no elephant, no palace.”

“What nonsense is this?” cried the blind men in dismay.   One of them said, “You see no elephant, no palace, no guards’ swords, bell pull, fan or boatyard.  Let’s find out what you see at the end of my boot.”  And with that, he took a swing in the direction of the jnani.


elephant tale

Resting … there is a solar mantra always – “Lord, thou art God”.   (I don’t mind if God is a lord or a lady.  It is immaterial;  the holy One is both, and all, and none, and more.)

Madonna & two brats, copy from Botticelli

David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) wrote a book called Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom goddesses – my favourite for dipping into.  He discusses imaginatively, each aspect of the Goddess:  her seer, her psychology, her energy field, her mantric vibration and her Yantra … and the interior images to worship her with.   Each goddess is an out-rush or in-dwelling of our nature.   So to illumine and celebrate each strand, is individuation – the discovery that each unique appearance in full flower is sustained in the One.

The Tantric wisdom goddesses flow in delta streams from the Goddess Tara

One of them is called Bagalamukha, the silence of speech.  The one after her, is Matangi, the beauty of speech.

1957, talking

fairy queen, 1957

Those Goddesses are … not enthroned deities, but speech, movement, expression and awareness.  They are the winds across the sky, which speak in the trees and through my soul by day and night.   The tide moves in and out.  Their “worship” – burning sweet savours – is to remember attention.  They are as real as my hands and feet.   Their silver currents play in the golden sun … of the sand-rippled river of Saraswathi.

Sacred India Tarot Saraswathi

Each day, when I remember, let me sketch the goddess in her wise and saucy ways;  her mood music here and now.

Anxiety ’87

How immediate and actual the Goddess is.   She isn’t some remote figure with a crown and attributes.  She is life.  She is right here – every vein and essence of her.

It must be wonderfully satisfying for a Yogi-man to know this, and to love her with each breath.  Such was Ganapati Muni.   He breathed her in, and out came his thousands of verses.

Ganapati Muni, giver of Mantras

Some persons have a special planetary quality.  They glide among us, enhancing life.  Their private troubles convert to rays of sunshine.

In a sit-still between sentences, I bask in the Mother-goddess’s arms, the wide and tender ways.

Mothers bathing brats, 1954

The warmth of the mother goddess’s arms includes my spiky vulnerabilities, my disturbed flesh and femininity, the way I climb and creep and feel naked without a cosmetic armoury… and make silly mistakes and say stupid things, and am marvellous.

Then it is marvellous for a male to be open enough and honest with himself, to know us, and be curious.

winter, after botticelli, 1956


Here comes Durga in The Sacred India Tarot.  You can just see her sixth hand gentling the Great pussycat.  Durga is the top-of-the-pops feminine deity in India.  She protects with ferocity – her arrow swings to the super-glitz asura, who raises his blank palm in the foreground. Together with the terrific tension of her weapon and focus, is the almost un-noticed pair of arms that rest calmly down her side and stroke the lion’s head.


Rohit Arya refers to her as “the gathered, manifest essence of the powers of all the gods … roaming the wilds of desert and forest at will, and being given a wide berth … the Maha Shakti restrains the lion with love, rather than flay him alive; yet she is remote, and accelerates spiritual evolution rather than play nice.” (my précis)

He interprets her as the ability to carry others along with the original and creative amalgam.  But problems arising have to be confronted immediately, and with the necessary force and displeasure.

DURGA is “Hail goddess, amalgam of all the elements, whose form is strength.   Her we worship.”  This implies also, how anger bursts out from the women of history who were locked away … like the pouncing lion, the breaking wave.  Standing still yet emanates the force.

aphrodite prince swords 1957


There is a skill, a secret in handling tiredness.  Try to tao within her symptomic parameter.  Then there is always room.  Force has no need to be applied with force.   Of course tired-heavy feels disagreeable and up against it, disabled and dispirited.  Don’t make her an enemy.  Adjust and live in her tide at present, going slow, don’t hurry.   This too shall pass.   I am depleted, to re-fill.  I am aging.  The Golden Dust flows on, whatever.  Upturn my face, white sunflower.

Galatea 1956

There is a meeting with fresh old strata in an upward way – a spiritual or energetic climb from a somerset level.   A mendip hill …

on Somerset levels ’95

I feel inspired by companions and deep seekers in the “aquariel” community.   I am not behind closed doors, and neither are they.

Now AQUARIEL is rather a good word!   It holds inner trigrams of aquarius – water, air and enquiry. “The High Priestess reigns with all heaven, and is served by all Hades.”  (Eliphas Levi).  Hades is the underworld, the store of images, akasha and old scores together.  It is our collective-subconscious memory.  Yesod, as the astral plane, stores our Hades … through whose fourth dimension (Daat in the Tree) the Priestess moves, to YCh’DH, Kether.

bound heroine 1957

centaur goddess1957

priestess 1957

There is an art in allowing with clarity, the mood music to be heard and seen:  the formations in the waters of mind and heart.  To see them is their savour.  When I speak before savouring, it is all over the place, muddied, ignorant and “not what I meant.”   Replace the art of noise with the art of poise.



Finally, here are three Tree of Life paintings –  the Tree embodying daily life and tides:


a Tao Tree of Life


Tree of Life Adam Qadmon


Tree of Life fountain breath




My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Roads to Enlightenment – Butter Cooking … (2)

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When their sunny sister arrived in London England – all the way from the southern States, via the Ganges and Arunachala – Mrs Bhattapanjali and Mrs Bhattacharya (see below) jingled their bangles and begged her to join them for a Kettle for ever.   “How do you call yourself?” they asked.  “Why my dears – I’m just Mrs Buttercookie!” said she, a little shy.

Here is a reminder of the Mrs Bs’ Great Work with the men in their lives.   (see earlier post, Buttercookies).  You can see the men in the background.  Snake and Bull – referred to as The Livestock – are troubled by other ladies of fixed address in their lives,  known as the Bottle and the Jigsaw.    Mrs Bhattacharya and Mrs Bhattapanjali’s daily spiritual practice with this problem, is to polish it patiently.

As the jigsaw pieces come together, Arunachala merges with the Tyrolean Alps.

The kettle (as carried around by a certain old gentleman in India with a walking stick) steams merrily with this, and with the difficulty of Self enquiry when trying to be suave …

A magickal opportunity to bridge the mystic east and west was bungled, when poor Mrs Bhattapanjali’s stop-the-clock with her own Dad – that buried emotional Krishnamurti Stuff –  morphed into the two distinguished esoteric Traditions … desiring them both to think well of her and of each other.


To comfort themselves, and to keep their Livestock safe among marauding  jigsaw puzzles and slave-driving bottles, the Mrs Bs would tell this bedtime story:




Both gentlemens’ horoscopes had difficulties with Cheiron the Wounded Healer in the Dragons’ Head.  They needed tlc as well as tea.


Our real teachers are our children.  Mrs Bhattacharya has a son – a fine young man.  In those far off days of 1994, only the very young were clued to the Greater Mystery of networking and mobile phones.

Nickmack taught Mrs Bhattapanjali abc on the old mac Classic in his laidback way.  She made slow but steady progress with her Self Enquiry Journal UK, and never looked back.

Mrs B has a daughter, known as ‘Er Upstairs’ – there she is, up on the roof with headphones – a splendid young person, whose Road to Enlightenment, aloof from Mum’s “I … I …”  carnival …

… has an elevated way with cats.



Several years later, there arrived into the London scene, fresh from the Sedona method  …

… on the Enlightenment road in India …



… all the way to London stopover on a rainy day …


for the album …


and on the Path …


shedding Light and grace and charm wherever she goes …


…  Self Realising …

… from Strength to Strength!


Lord Siva on his tao

Alas, Mrs Buttercookie returned to Sedona. So life in England was never the same again, but went on as before:

Holy men in Tamil Nadu – Ramana with fellow students of Self, including Kunjuswami, Chinnaswami, Cow Lakshmi, Annamalaiswami and Muruganar.

To be Continued://




Sacred India Tarot Archive: Creation of World Shakti & Nataraja

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The Sacred India Tarot Archive, by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams


ardhanariswara at elephanta, mumbai


Rohit’s Notes:  Autumn 2003

“The World – Nataraja but as Ardhanirishwara.

“This is an easy card in the sense that we need only the classic Nataraja dancing figure as shown in the illustration.  The dwarf under the feet of the dancing god should NOT be left out, it is a vital part of the process.  The choice of Nataraja as Ardhanarishvara is to indicate the completion of the Fool’s journey to a transcendence beyond the roles and attitudes of gender. 

“What I would like in the arch of flame that surrounds the Nataraja, is to turn it around into Ourobouros The Serpent of Time, eating its own tail.  It is also called the Worm of Time, or the Dragon of Time.  Ideally I would like a dragon-like snake around the Ardhanariswara, but it should clearly be made of flames.  The picture we send you should be of some help in creating this flame circle round the dancing god.


nataraja serpent dragon ref

“The background can be the consistent cosmic background we have used in all the other cards.  This card should be kept simple, as the archetypal imagery is so powerful, we need nothing else.”


nataraja ref

Jane’s Notes:  September 2012

This card dictated its own evolution.   We ended up eventually, with TWO World cards – Siva Natarajan and World Shakti.


first Natarajan Ardhanariswara

Jane’s Notes:  2010

The deck’s first version of the World had Nataraja Ardhanariswara (Lord whose half is Woman) inside the dragon Ourobouros, and dancing on a demon.  The illustration was somewhat cramped.  It lacked space, and none of us were very pleased with it.  Later on, an Ardhanariswara occurred spontaneously in the Minor Arcana, in the Lotuses suit (Cups).

In 2005, when completing the Suit of Lotuses, I painted the Queen of Lotuses, Rati the wife of Kama, as we planned.  But Rohit and Gautam decided to upgrade this exciting Kundalini goddess to the World Shakti Herself, and to commission a new Rati for the suit of Lotuses.

As a result, we have a male AND a female “World” – Siva and his Shakti.

Shakti is the Sri Chakra Yantra herself, centred on the linga sarira around which is coiled the World Serpent.  The design was inspired by an 18th century tantric ritual painting.

ritual painting 18th century ref

In the palms of her hands are yonis which look like seeds.  The serpents emerging from behind her breasts are the Sun and Moon – ida and pingala.  The kundalini force, wrapped three and a half times around the Siva Lingam, is just awakening;  the lotuses are a fountain of life, and so are the daisies.

World Shakti

What is expressed here, is the male vertical penetrating the female horizontal plane, timelessly;  the living combination of chakra (wheel or mandala) with the uprising sap of the tree of life.  Egg and sperm … the one crosses the other;  they are unity.

Here also is the mystery of prakriti – the substratum of all manifestation:  the ‘lattice’ of our world, in Solomon’s Song.

In the Western deck, the World card is traditionally and mysteriously hermaphrodite, being a return to the Bride dancing within the atom – the rotations of our world.

JA’s hermetic Tarot 21, The World (1991)

Correspondence:  Rohit to Gautam – 6 April 2005

“Gautam – I think the queen is the best card ever done till today, but it is probably a waste for Rati.  We could easily put this up as a World card.  Rati is not so powerful, but we can rename this the Tripura Sundari – the essence of feminine supremacy, the female World card.  The male World card could be the Nataraja, not the Ardhanariswara, so we will have two World cards which is okay.  Hinduism is conflicted as to whether the ultimate form of god is male or female … … (correspondence continues regarding the Knight and Queen of Lotuses) …

“… it is the ultimate female Shakti depicted there, so we use it as one World, the Nataraja becomes the male World card, completing the journey of the Fool Rudra Siva – now Nataraja. 

“It will be a slight drag for Jane, but really this card is too powerful, there is also a lingam which completes the Siva imagery which began the Fool card.  I think Jane has reached an inspired vein in these last two cards, the Kama is actually the ithyphallic hunter Siva who has dalliances with the wives of Rishis in the forest of reeds near Chidambaram.

   (Minor Arcana -Kama, the god of desire)

“I think Jane has to be troubled to draw the Queen once more, but it is her own fault for being so brilliant.

“This feminine Shakti is the best card till now, perhaps the new Nataraja will match it.  Let her draw a Nataraja as she deems fit;  I am certain something amazing will emerge, and that will be our second World card.  Perhaps she could incorporate a Mahamritunjaya yantra in it, but beyond that I do not want to make any suggestions while she is in such an inspired state.   Rohit.”

ardhanariswara ref: sculptures

As the Sacred India Tarot has a male and female death, similarly we continue to break new ground with a male and female World.

Shakti’s consort is Nataraja.  So our new Nataraja – Lord of the Dance – was done a considerable time later than the other Major Arcana – almost the final painting in the whole project.  His face is indrawn to bliss of the newborn, like a sustained orgasm.  Like Rudra, the divine prototype through The Fool card in Sacred India Tarot, he holds aloft the drum and the flame, which infinitely open and close our kalpa – (aeon) – with a cymbal crash.


His other pair of arms bestow blessing and protection.  In his lower right palm are the red and white triangles of the Sri Chakra Yantra.  His left hand points inward, balancing his stance.  His body is smooth and ageless, empowered by the emanations from planetary Kundalini and the cosmic yab-yum yantra created by his lower body.

This Yantra is – I think – of Bagalamukhi: the hypnotic power of the Goddess.  It is a six-point star of Siva and Sakti triangles, with an added Shakti-feminine triangle.

David Frawley writes of Bagalamukhi:  “A very beautiful woman walking by can make a man stop and lose his breath.  The cosmic feminine power has a capacity to stun, stop or paralyse.  These are aspects of the Goddess Bagalamukhi … Bagala means literally a rope or bridle – Mukhi means ‘face’.   Bagala is a Goddess of speech, and as such is related to Tara and regarded as a form of her.  When sound becomes manifest as light, Tara becomes Bagala.  When the brilliant light of speech comes forth, then Tara gains the effulgence of Bagala and causes all things to become still.  Bagala is thus the stunning radiance that comes forth from the Divine Word and puts the human or egoistic word to rest. … … What is our Self nature?  What is the I Am in itself once divested of all transient identifications with which we confuse it?  Such enquiry will bring the mind to rest.”

From Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses

In the deck itself, you may notice the serpent foreground is replaced by the traditional demon which was in the earlier design:  Siva makes the personal ego his dance floor.   In the new Natarajan however, the serpent power IS Siva’s laid back rotational ecstasy.  They turn perhaps in opposite directions like the figure of eight:  an electron’s double rotation through manifest and virtual states.

Note:  the World Serpent was introduced to the deck through Vishnu, the Magician.


Correspondence:  Rohit to Gautam – 16 April 2005

“The World is now a stunning card … What is there to say?  It is as good as the female World, the kundalini snakes add an inspired touch to this composition.  I think this card is a genuine achievement.  I am deliriously happy.  Rohit.”




The Sacred India Tarot Archive, cards 0 – 14 can be found at http://aryayogi.wordpress.com    SITA cards 15 – 21 are on janeadamsart.wordpress.com also.   TO BE CONTINUED/


Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga



My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Isis and the Lion – L’shanah Tova

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“Strength”, hermetic Tarot ’91

“Fohat” –  Helena Blavatsky’s term for electro-magnetism or Light

The red lion’s roar converts to speech from the woman’s hips and womb, to sing the Holy Names and archangels of the compass.

The red lion is the raw passionate nature.  The woman gently stretches his mouth open.  The gesture is the whole expression of the Great Work.  It does not prohibit.  It guides and it delivers, according to nature.

Key 8: Strength – Builders of the Adytum

The two little trees in the landscape indicate a brook – running water.  There is no blue colour in this Key, because the content suggests the surfaced subconscious so totally.  Through the manifest and the latent, flows  the inherent polarity of all life and consciousness, a movement through the tao of substance and the virtual sea.   So the content of this Key is saturated with the Priestess (Isis) – like closing your eyes to the colour red and seeing green.

Consider then – (a fresh thought) – Strength and The Priestess together, as complementary, and how they express and are the Fountain.

Keys 2 and 8, by Builders of the Adytum

The Lion’s front feet/her feet root the Kundalini (which also waves in the lion’s tail) right up through her combined head/his body beauty & the beast to the gentle curve of her attention, and the flowers that grow briskly from her hair into a lemniscate.  Her left hand pulls his upper mouth back, her right hand presses down his lower jaw, for him to give tongue.   Now I feel their physical and psychic unity in and of the landscape, like an asana.

Hear within, the roar of the hermetic lion.  The roses and leaves around his neck, yoke him by figure of eight wreath to the woman.  The colours are Mars and Venus: the desire nature.

The Priestess simply sits, with her rolled up Tora scroll – the akashic record of all time – unravelling a tiny bit:  the pomegranates glow behind her.  The Tree of Life is a fountain.  Those pomegranates are the red lion’s roar around and through her – like the upraised cobra behind some Indian deities.  She is shekhinah, the veil of the sanctuary; and from her lap the river flows.

Solomon’s white and black pillars indicate the chequered pavement, the trestleboard.  The trestleboard is the ground-bass, the masons’ grid from which the Pattern rises – like the gothic arch from vesica pisces.

The Pattern is the way of life – the signature of nature, as in the fibernacci series – the pattern of dance, of Karmic activity or sacred speech.  Paul Foster Case wrote in The Tarot – a Key to the Wisdom of the Ages:  “Our mental patterns are determined by self conscious interpretation of experience.  Let observation and attention (the Magician) be faulty, superficial, negative or fearful, and the resulting sequence of subconscious reactions is bound to be destructive.  Then the spoken word and unuttered speech of thought (the Chariot) will be vehicles for a destructive pattern, and we shall set wild beasts at our own vitals.

“Change the pattern and you change the result.  Make it accurate, profound, courageous, positive.  Then you tame the lion and he becomes your servant.”

Prana is not the breath, but the electro magnetic vitality the breath draws in and out:  the particle where breath is consciousness.  Consciousness is the universal cosmic pattern, in human, animal, plant and mineral, as in the intergalactic space.

So this Key is called the Secret of the Works.  It is the little place behind the garden, where the gardener keeps the tools, trowels and cuttings that are coming along.

The Priestess in her blues is concealed in the little valley by the trees (just below the violet mountain in the Key);  where water flows.  Pure Consciousness (white) turns blue (subconsciousness) and also green (fertile) and red-orange (the Sun) – what a flower.  The pillars are lotus buds.   She is in bud.   Mother Isis is furled in bud.  This Key’s ruler is the Moon.

When the egg is fertilized, the sperm dissolves to the embryonic feminine matrix (mater, material, la mer) from which after conception, the gender will differentiate to male or female.  The man inseminates, but the woman broods, creationally.

(a cutting)

Genesis says HASHEM breathed onto the waters to differentiate them – above, below.  It suggests the waters – the Woman – were there before God’s outbreath.  HASHEM (means Lord, or God’s Name) breathes Yod (father) as Heh (mother) into Vav – ADAMAH (clay or earth – the child).  The second Heh gestates a new Yod or family.  And thus, the tetragrammaton cycles of life – the prana, in and out.

As Eve was fashioned from Adam’s rib, she originally lay closer to him than breathing, until he came to recognise her.  HASHEM “fashioned” and showed him.  And so the molecule forms.  The universal atom of HASHEM is feminine-receptive.

There is a sleepy rumour in my family tree, that our German great-grandmother is descended from the artist Lucas Cranach.  Cranach painted character portraits, beautiful studies from nature, and old men lusting luscious young women.  Another branch from his seed twigged out eventually to Goethe, and who knows where else?   Be that as it may.  Rhyzomes and root systems are threaded through the ground of being:  turn over any spadeful of the ground, and see … we are all connected, eye to you.

In this painting, after the famous one by Cranach, Adam is a puzzled scientist with Eve’s offering.



These ideas arose from the monthly meeting of BOTA London group;  we studied Key 8 yesterday. Many Tarot decks (The Sacred India Tarot, for example) have Strength at 11 and Justice at 8, the other way round.  For meditation and divination, this does not really matter;  there are cultural subtleties.  The two Keys uphold equilibrium, and there is much to be said for both versions.   For a Kabbalah based deck, the Lion at 8 fits the symbolism (Leo) of the Hebrew letter TETh.   The TETh’s hieroglyph or sign is a half coiled snake, the visual echo in the lion’s tail.

In the Sacred India Tarot, card 8 is Varuna as Justice, god of the winds:  the mythology there, has much in common with Egyptian NUT the sky goddess.  Strength and Justice readily transpose.  See posts on The Creation of the Sacred India Tarot archive, http://aryayogi.wordpress.com

Finally, here is the Tree of Life, with the 22 Tarot Keys – the Hebrew alphabet – positioned on the 22 paths down the lightning flash.

For more information of the Builders of the Adytum‘s work and correspondence courses, visit http://www.bota.org

And L’Shanah-Tova! – Happy New Year




My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

On Power and Sofia

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This is Zofira.  She lived in west London during the 19th century – a tantric kabbalist and pianist.  I am told she looked a little like Anandamayi Ma;  so here is my impression of her.

Happiness on the path is when I follow a teacher’s direction.  Then I feel useful and well used. The teacher as provided, may be embodied, or an inner guide.   This is fundamental to every level of human psychology.  Life refines the relationship, the glamour and the power to discriminate … like a sculptor polishing the mountain ridge with rain.


rock swirl, cornwall


I went to Dingwalls to celebrate a friend’s 70th birthday bash.  He is a rocker, an old r&b man.  He brought in his minstrels and his gear, and sang his love songs to the Key of F.  After half an hour, the decibels were doubled.  His hundred or so guests flocked to the free bar, and turned their backs to shout at the tops of their voices.   There was nowt but noise in amplified competition back to back.  There he is rocking his heart out, ear splitting, and who hears a word?   Like Haydn’s symphonies for the court gossip, he is just the background.

It looks so sad:  a mislaid respect and friendship.   Who respects creative people nowadays?  Celebrity … fame of whatever kind, is a disappearance of attention.


A little further thought, on Osho Mr Rohan Chandra (yesterday’s post):  his “hollow bamboo” being not yet an open and unobstructed channel for the flow of ruach.

Yet the hollow bamboo is a flute – the music they made:  the pipes of Pan to blow across.  His disciples surrendered to an enamoured sexual-spirituality, hard labour, disillusion and fallen tower, and somehow remained wide open to it all.  Many of them took the fallout on the chin, broke down, grew and remain splendid.  Their initiation was through the matter, a fleet of transparent dancing orange flames’ conversion into boiler suits.  Those supple flames were pounded down like yeast by a force of destiny transcending their teacher.

I knew one:  a compulsive labourer with donkey engines and old boats on the Clyde, which he planned to convert single handedly into Encounter-therapy dream barges – what a character.

Do nothing too much, and nothing too little, being perfectly poised.”

Prana governs the universal gravity;  and the Tree of Life holds in its branches the Presences, the wind through a thousand strings, the song.   What a lot (it seems to me) souls who have a guru standing in front, miss!   Yet they would say the same to me:  for bhakti is Reality, either way. In the west, bhakti is not well understood.  Gurus are put there to address and eventually dispel the figurehead habit.  They sacrifice their no thingness to the worship and the show.  They give it away.

When one puts away the party cloth of in-love, there remains an indescribable fibre, true to the situation and the soul. 

Resignation after falling, 1987

The power of Recollection is gravitation’s glory of golden particles, each weightless.  Gravity is a flock of starlings over Rome, wheeling, bouncing, turning, sketching DNA in spirallings of snake, ribbon and dolphin.   Gravitation is of particles of no-thing drawing together – the little flittering birds.  The indistinguishable small is the gravity of huge orbits, galaxies, gilgalem:  the tiniest oscillation holds together all the oscillants.

Re-reading Dion Fortune’s novel The Sea Priestess:  the high priestess has the recollection of the Whole:  SOFIA.

This is a whirling primal energy enscrolled – the way the flower within the seed contains all future flowers and their seeds – by Mother Isis, the Moon.

Closing my eyes, I see the horizontal simple bands of earth, slumber and sky:  the ancient plant, animal and conscious life in mineral shell.


Tattvas & ancient world 1969

Nothing alters the wisdom, the moon which fingers of any one hand point to – wherever they may point to, next.

The Moon in deepest sense, governs our tides, our cycles of breath and embodiment. Her pattern with the Sun is Isis with Osiris.

Goddess or fairy queen, 1957

Here is something interesting:  in The Sacred India Tarot, card 17 The Moon is Chandra, scallywag of Indian mythology.  He is two faced.  He is brilliant, and he is deceitful.  In Kabbalah, the `moon is yoked to Yesod, the Tree of Life’s Foundation:  the personal ego and seat of all projections, where we work on ourselves.

In alchemy, the Moon is yoni to the Solar linga:  the integrating power of our breath, the prana of the marine tides.

Krishnamurti said somewhere, “there is no conflict in the going out and coming in of the tide.  It is one movement. The essence of conflict is peace.”


marbling wave

In the high transparent seas of Dion Fortune’s vision, she makes Brean Down (in the Severn estuary) point out into the Atlantic, so as to receive the cleansing storms.  To call on Mother Isis;  in her galactic gown, she rises over the horizon as in Apuleius’ vision in The Golden Ass.  We will rock you, rock you!

Sink into the deep blue ocean note:  la mer, el mare.

The All which is recollected, is silence:  thus the Sage.

Tree of Life/Alchemy/Queen scale colours

The High Priestess in the Tree’s pith or core is the blue stem rising from the centre Sun and through the dark of Daat the Unknown Cognition – that dark sphere in the Tree’s upper face. Within all the Sefiroth, Daat is their transformational point:  no thing.

The Priestess and two versions of The Fool:  JA  hermetic tarot 1991

The fullness has no addition. It is the F 0+0 L-ness.


Zero: Priestess of black Isis:  ja 2003




My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

On Power: the Dragon’s Tale

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An illustration from Catherine Harding’s book “Explorers of the Real World”



Nearly finished Hugh Milne’s book The God which Failed.  It is horrifying that this can happen with any creative or seed process with inflation – including mine – the risk of conversion to fear, cruelty, massed wealth, megalomania and maggoty land destruction.  The story of the ranch and all that led up to it, is a warning signal.  Cult of the ego.  Isolation.  Reign of terror.  A bewildered phoniness.  Any human inflation or infatuation can lead to that.   Falling in love with a leader is our vulnerability to takeover or coup;  it is everywhere in politics.   The 1980s Oregon theme park is – was – a chilling hotbed (greenhouse) for tendencies, STDs and addictions which proliferate in our society;  it enhanced them.  When a gifted and charismatic teacher charms thousands of souls to him, and turns rotten (addicted), he or she is RESPONSIBLE to those elements in a generation’s destiny, and meets judgment.

This is what is meant by biting the Apple of Knowledge.  Mr Mohan Chandra had a deep treasury of wisdom for sure.  It got hi-jacked by a power in his subconscious.


Here is a sketch of Dion Fortune.

Thinking for instance, of the work Dion Fortune did quietly in the collective subconscious between the wars, on sexual awareness:  the fruits it bore here and there, in an understanding between man, woman and child.  Esoteric teachers are hidden homeopathically, and they sow the ground deeply.  The result grows up after them.

sketch of Dion Fortune 2

(She was a powerful woman – of the astral police – and her organization had a few difficulties after she died.  Gareth Knight wrote a biography of her, and of the School she founded – illuminatingly honest  about the “hit or miss” contacts/conversation with the Inner School; a fascinating psychological study of the occult pipelines – mediators, the medium and the ground.)


Today, with Hugh Milne’s The God which Failed, I revise and review (shock-and-awe) again and again the lessons in what a teacher is not, to embed them consciously – to not get carried away – the renaissance gift is just a tool to learn to handle, in the same way.   It is all in the mind.   In all our mind.

Even Krishnamurti (who had no great reverence for mythology) pronounced that Mr Mohan Chandra re-named his devotees out of disrespect for the Indian gods and archetypes.  They had done nothing to deserve those flattering names.  You see, those names are deeds, aeons and cosmic mantras.  Those sounds are actions and movement.  A new age  utopia of adherents was formed.  Then Harilal Poonja went on doing it, perhaps because the westerners wanted him to?  which is not good enough.   Ramesh used to ask his visitors “but what is the name you were born with?  I see.  Yes.  Yes.  Well then Nicholas, tell me why you came here.  What do you see going on here?”

Mr Mohan Chandra rubbished his culture and became trapped.  His disciples got legal-cunning, and no one could stop the crimes which developed, until the movement imploded.  I have strong feelings about the spiritual crime and tragedy.   However, Krishnamurti said it is not his job to criticize Oh-show in his talks …  similarly, it is not my job to condemn, but to appraise the movement objectively, its survivors and suffering, its Achilles heel and its strengths in eventually living through such a lesson.   That is life.

The judgement is visited by the cosmic wheels that grind.  It is not now our business.  The business was to be awake, and continues to be;  and the disciples were not, for they were hypnotized by the same force which overcame their teacher.

Concerning my activity as an artist, and how I feel about it, and laying it alongside the Oh-Show:  this is what I mean.  There is a pulse inside, which continually urges to show, to reveal, to display and exhibit, beauty and what have you.  It preens and peacocks, like the bird behind Skanda.  To this can easily attach the personal ego, and by sneaky stages she swells up into a missionary and even a messiah, and gains followers who want one.   I don’t go there, but I detect the pressures which potentially manifest it.   The phenomenon operates at every level of society, and through the media and government.  In my case I have an inexhaustible and irrepressible store of “Right Images”.

To this is linked the control of temptation:  the temptation to attribute Vedic stature to my thoughts and synchronies, and to name them so.  The temptation to convert everything in life into its meaning around myself, and to make myself indispensible.

This is a mercurial wood I found my way through, and as I am older now, and endured many thrashes of that dragons tail, the temptation is relatively weak.   I see it in its context.   I think the temptation is Power.  What is Power?  to be the driver of the Serpent.  It is the primordial seduction – we all have it.  If I truly love the power that knows the way, I have no need to be powerful.  This is the case.   Power is also requested if we love someone and want to make them well.  Again:  the power that knows the way, is true!   for it has the account of all their lives.  Any temporary usurpation creates a self-correcting backlash.

How copiously the secret of Self-surrender is misunderstood, perverted into adulation, and abused.

Reading this over, I am standing small at the end of the dragon’s tail, within the dragon’s active coil:  I see also Moses holding the staff which turns into a snake and back into a staff:  “I am that I am.”  Power management is when it doesn’t manage you.

When we engage with power and think it is ours for a while, we are energized and never tired.  Hence the seduction!

“No superficial, careless, lazy observer is ever gifted with true insight.  One must look attentively AT appearances in order to develop ability to see INTO them.”

(Paul Foster Case)

This ability is a life training.  Sometimes we have to live and be ploughed in and through an emotional furrow or upturned clod for years, decades … for the grain to release and sprout.  It is thorough.  Everything in nature is thorough.  Gradually, the faculty takes in the appearance and sees it, at a glance.




My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Drawing the Sri Chakra Yantra: some early Notes

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The most visited post in this blog is the one which “began” it – “How to Draw the Sri Chakra Yantra” in early June.   This exercise was foundational to my creative projects down the years.  The wedding of Siva and Sakti through the cosmic lattice – whether subtle or physical – is the groundwork.  It underwrites and ensures a healthy lotus.

I discovered the other day, the following sequence of drawings and diagrams, which may be of some interest.

In 1993, I kept (with my beloved of that time) a log-book.  We were laying foundations for a spiritual dwelling.  So to begin with, the two pages which follow are thoughts of the Sun, from Maitri Upanishad chapter 6:

“(1) – the Self bears himself in two ways, as he who is breath and he who is the Sun.  Therefore, two, as true, are these paths inward outward.  They both turn back in a day and night.  Yonder sun is the outer self;  the inner self is breath.  Hence, the course of the inner self is measured by the course of the outer self. 

“For thus it has been said: 

“Whoever is a Knower, who has freed from evil the overseer of his senses, is pure minded and firmly established in that which is locked away from outward objects, is even so, the Self.  Likewise, the course of the Outer Self is measured by the course of the Inner Self.  Now that golden person who is within the Sun, who looks on this earth from his golden place, is even he who has entered into the lotus of the heart and eats food. 

“(2) – Now, he who has entered the lotus of the heart and eats food …


The action of the Sun in all directions, inward as outward


Following this, the Upanishad says:  “There are two ways of contemplation of Brahman:  in sound and in silence.  By sound we go to silence.  The sound of Brahman is OM.  With OM we go to the End: the silence of Brahman.  The End is immortality, union and peace. 

“Even as a spider reaches the liberty of space by means of its own thread, the man of contemplation by means of OM reaches freedom.”


A cutting for the logbook, with a quote from the Yoga Vasishta


Here are the early Sri Chakra diagrams from 1993.  The method is from Saundarya-Lahari – The Ocean of Beauty by Sri Shankara-Bhagavatpada, a translation by the Theosophical Publishing House in Madras, 1937.    The method opens the hymn as a whole.  I tried it out, and simplified it just a little, to understand it.




Note:  alchemical sulphur (fire) is represented also by a triangle atop a cross – see next drawing.   In the “trinity”, sulphur is rajas-guna, salt is tamas-guna, and mercury their balance is sattva-guna.  The alchemical qualities corresponding to eastern gunas are an interplay of elemental humours – dry, damp, ardent, and so forth.   Water mixed with earth is damp:  earth mixed with air is dry.  Each element inclines to fire or to water.  It all embodies prana, breath.   Upon these very basic qualities the universe is woven.

Flame is an upward triangle:  water a downward droplet.  Flame is phallus and water is womb.



A reference to the same interpenetrative law, in the Tao philosophy:  I Ching Hexagram 11 with Earth over Heaven: Peace.  When Heaven-creative trigram (three Yang lines) stands above  Earth-receptive trigram (three Yin lines), they draw apart – the static “Standstill” hexagram.  But when they are infolded the other way round, the Heavenly power ascends through gravitational Earth – the male through the female – fertility – which is “peace”.



This archive is by way of an embellishment.  For the method to draw it yourself, see How to Draw the Sri Chakra Yantra 12 June.


This was used as the logo for the Ramana Foundation UK journal, SELF ENQUIRY.


More recently, in 2008 I drew this version, as part of an Ananga-Ranga series …

The Sri Chakra Yantra, fountain of eastern wisdom, combines here with the Tree of Kabbalah.  The lovers are seated at Tifareth: Consciousness.   Crucial to spiritual development, world peace and all good intentions, is health and loving-kindness in our sexual nature (whether active or sublimated) and relationships.   We are on and in this earth for the Great Work.  The flasks, retorts and pelicans in alchemical engravings, contain the lovers at every stage of the “cooking”.  Their prana breathes the Divine One in and out.




Inner and outer Tetrahedrons. A Tetrahedron is a triangle with four sides. The fourth point is a fulcrum – the dimension of volume or understanding, in any relationship.

The points of the interior, inverted Tetrahedron, touch the sides of the exterior Tetrahedron. Extending through the sides to equal size, they form with it, the Platonic Seal of Solomon.

Star of David/Seal of Solomon/Cube of space – 3dimensional tetrahedron structure



Finally, another newspaper cutting …

… from the logbook in 1993.   “Kate Adie” (celebrated war correspondent) was my bossy persona …  anxious to keep myself updated on the militant-esoterickal scene.



My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.