9-11 September 2022
This is Part One of a pair of posts – linked to Part Two, “The Queen, King and Commonwealth – an Epiphany.”
When I saw the photo of the Queen taken on 6 September at Balmoral moments before she welcomed the new PM, I was moved by the radiance in her face … with her departure just 2 days away.
Here is my tribute:
The hearth-fire symbolises the nation’s heart – often hidden behind the coals. We might see faces in the fire? A friend spotted an “Indian master in a turban” – profiled among the flames and so did others – an “accidental”. Britain’s link with India from the Raj until Gandhi and independence was both good and bad; the relationship struck deep. Vivekananda visited these shores in Victoria’s time; Theosophy and Krishnamurti followed. The earliest Westerners to settle with Ramana Maharshi at Arunachala were English. My friend said, “Could this be the Queen’s Magid (companion of the Light) waiting to escort her?”
… and herself perhaps a few months ago … that tired but firm little hand held and greeted hundreds, tens, hundreds of thousands and more?
12 September TRIBUTE
And here is my first one of the new King. On the Tree of Life the monarch represents “Tifareth” – the country’s heart centre; as Prince of Wales at Highgrove he sowed good organic seed through “interesting times”. I feel I grew up in nature near him like my brother – we are the same age, we share an early fascination for the sheep on Scottish hills AND the tensions of the spiritual quest. This is significant in our post-war generation and the huge changes and unrest afoot.
During his hardworking Princely years I admired his spiritual courage and his stubborn unorthodox dedication to ethical values in environment, architecture, and the business networks; his wide ranging experience of the world, his mature understanding of people, his own flaws, his sensitivity, and wicked sense of fun; his loved one at his side. This King was a visionary pioneer all his life – and it was a hard learning curve for him to balance that with his royal duties.
Something reached out to me in the photo. Those hats are difficult to draw, let alone to bring out the human being under them!
KABBALAH – TOLEDANO TRADITION
My teacher the late Zev ben Shimon Halevi (Warren Kenton) and our new King Charles met several times over the years. They respected one another though Charles was not his student.
My reflection on the Queen’s funeral and succession is tethered on the Kabbalist principle of expansion and contraction. Britain expanded as an empire and contracted as an island. Some of us sit on the monarchical fence and some of us on the republican fence. My vocation is to find and honour the Middle Way inclusively; the quality of life which Queen Elizabeth II lived, and remained loyal to, whatever her opinions may have been. Look at what her dedicated example inspired in people’s hearts around the world. This in essence is likely to endure. With international and government issues she remained resolutely neutral, yet her friendly shrewd words, her touch and gesture travelled many times further than she did. She was a Servant in the highest sense.
The Tree of Life is my navigational instrument. It helps me to perceive the elegant Design in the laws of Creation, life and government – action upon reaction – whose electricity is played out over three pillars – Jakin/Active, Bohaz/Receptive, and the central Consciousness. Those pillars form a trinity: the poles of male, female and neutral (androgyne).
I try to view events and the inner life through the Tree’s Four Worlds – those of Divine Emanation, Creation, Formation (the psyche) and the Material world. What manifests through our senses and through collective mind, are the lowest rungs of Jacob’s Ladder: the temporary end product of a process which constantly downloads through those Four Worlds. We are a project yet incomplete. Should we mistake the scaffolding for the completed building?
The word “Kabbalah” means “Receive”. The Tree’s heart centre is Tifareth, Beauty.
“Let us form a Vessel.”
As the monarchy and politics play out their roles on the Tree’s right and left pillars, I trace an inner story through the Centre.
Here is my personal reflection.
13-15 September SOVEREIGN ROLE
Was the royal desk in truth ever as tidy as that?
As Prince of Wales, our King possessed many more interests and arms than an octopus and a dedicated court of toiling delegates to carry out his abundant schemes. He has been a walking Renaissance, integrating his enquiring spirituality with pioneering initiatives in government, music, organic farming, architecture, the armed services, the business world, the Duchy of Cornwall, ecology and climate change, politics, watercolour painting, and intimate friendships. He designed and built a new town in Dorchester on holistic community principles. He was instrumental in resurrecting an almost lost art of sacred geometry in the Middle East; he was a close friend of the late Keith Critchlow.
Look up their role in the restoration of the Minbar of Saladin in Jerusalem. A Minbar is “a Ladder to Heaven” and from it the Imam addressed the faithful.
This fascinating sequence of 5 threaded videos details the 12th century history of the Minbar, its destruction on August 21,1969 by a fundamentalist Christian tourist (Michael Rohan) and its reconstruction 20 years later by the Bedouin architect Minwer Al-M’Heid with the support of the Prince of Wales and Keith Critchlow who together had created a School for sacred craftsmanship.
History came full circle to turn an opening creative spiral – from destruction and war to knowledge and Light.
This is just one example of the King’s (then Prince of Wales) projects and sponsorship which brought nations, communities and cultures together in the spirit of tolerance and peace. Those who question how much he cost might consider the long-term value for their money?
In his words: “What I was so proud about – if I’m allowed to have a tiny bit of pride – is that it was the School … who had rediscovered the underlying geometric patterns that had enabled this great Minbar to be built in the first place, with equally as much love and devotion and skill and dedication and care on the part of all the wonderful craftsmen who put so much of their hearts and souls into this Work.“
Let Minwer Al-M’Heid the architect and engineer of the restored Minbar of Saladin, sponsored by the then Prince of Wales, conclude:
“When you see it happening, when you see all these pieces you have worked with, all these 16,000 pieces that are put together with no glue, no nails, all of a sudden appearing as one Unit – that’s the Unity. That’s what we feel as something which gives us also great humbleness.
“We see what our ancestors have done and that art has a meaning, not ‘art for art’s sake’. Although this is a piece of Islamic art it is in fact based on Universal principles – a joy for everyone who sees it.”
The ancient sacred craft – and the network of its Guilds – was resurrected in the nick of time. Without the providential convergence of the Prince of Wales, Keith Critchlow, the King of Jordan and the architect Minwer Al-M’Heid, it would have been lost for ever. Quiet creative hands awaken a chrism of healing patterns through the chaos of war and walls – a School of the Soul at work.
All this creative activity is distilled into one surrendered vow to receive and serve the realm. The King is human, oh so human and all too human. Let us watch him with interest!
While I drew his portrait here, I watched his and Camilla’s state visit to Northern Ireland pouring oil among troubled Sinn Fein at Hillsborough castle and meeting the Irish President – a diplomatic gathering of wounds for chrism and the soft way the sovereign glides, encounters, embraces and speaks – imagine that mellifluous twinkle coming at you – and his dear Queen Consort works the room with equal skill – like a bird. Everyone in black. I witnessed a collective therapy … may those fragile fibres begin to cohere and to sustain life – what a privilege to see the King at work!
For long intervals the Sky-News commentators were silent for you to hear that gathered genial sound in the room, the conversations, the whispered greetings of many rivers, many fading wars.
During the service in Belfast Cathedral which they attended, Alastair Bruce of “Sky” noted:
“… different elements of the Catholic faith here in Northern Ireland; and no Sovereign could be under any doubt of the history and importance of these different views on faith, than the King … acknowledging faith, find their own understanding for the way the world works and a Deity in that process … the monarchy wove a tapestry of time through this country (Ireland) …”
A stillness descends and darkens London in the rain as the cortege approaches Buckingham Palace … Repeatedly through the event is this stillness, to hear the birds sing.
In Belfast Cathedral the priests came forward praying one by one to the departed Queen and to her son:
“Deep peace to you
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the Son/Sun of peace
and the blessing of the Trinity be upon you, Amen.”
Her Majesty’s passing at 96 allowed her son to ripen on the tree in his vigour as Prince of Wales with all his passionate projects. His working life now changes, but he was long in training. He as Sovereign is an inspiration to me; bow to my Liege. When on duty His Majesty is groomed and genial but at home his comfy light suits rumple. Imagine having to wear one on a hot summer day.
In my own way, I join the reverent queue to pass and see the coffin and hear the bell and the muted drum: with my 7B pencil as witness and worshipper I pray for Her Majesty’s safe passage through the astral realms to God; I watch from home her son’s work yesterday in Northern Ireland, he builds on the pioneering grace of her visits there, and her historic handshake. The Sovereign role stepped through the barricades.
AS ABOVE SO BELOW
The funeral procession! The people pray and gather along the trails and in the cities to weep and cheer. Accompanied by her daughter Anne the Princess Royal, close as they were in life, the Queen is borne slowly from Scotland through Britain’s roads and airways to her resting place – to earth the astral design. After she landed at Northolt in dripping rain at nightfall, the helicopter camera peered down through West London’s dark wet leaves to follow her illumined hearse – a bright fish swimming its private way home.
Kabbalistically the pattern on the ground follows precisely in time (as the days go by) her “holy place of meeting” with Companions of the Light. With those Beings on the inner plane I glimpse swords and knights and royal orders – the nourishment in England’s heart. Protocol is an ancient sacred dance. The King’s job and character may “tango” it a little here and there. A delight to see, is the walkabouts when he and his Queen Consort get out of the car. Straight away they meet the crowd, the King opens his arms forward to receive and embrace the empathy and warm condolence; they answer and chatter and smile, firmly they both grasp the forests of out-thrust joyous hands – touching each and every one – and are beamed by a bristle of small phone screens to capture their image for home.
Paradoxically in a new age of screens and tense security the Sovereign is no longer in a glass case. Touch him! A security woman stoutly pushed away an iPad – it was a little too large. What a curious interface we have.
Simultaneously the King is in mourning for his Mama – he dreaded the deaths of both his parents. The aftermath of a death is busy at every level. A deeply seasoned sensitive man is in the land’s highest office.
17 September A TURNING PAGE
When the heart of a nation is touched and quietened, the turbulent streams may knit together again over it, but the Resonance remains. May the family pull together for “our brother Charles”.
Heard in central London today during walkabout (police addressing the phones) – “no selfies please – you can shake hands with His Majesty and wish him well; enjoy the moment, please!”
I also heard the King while addressing the Welsh speak of “the duty to protect the diversity of this country with all my heart as Defender of Faith.” As head of the Anglican church his duty is to defend “the” faith while his ecumenical heart stands for openness in all faiths: for faith itself.
After the children’s vigil last night, the commentator Alastair Bruce spoke of the monarchy:
“to consistently reinvent itself, to be relevant, capable and new … A page is turning in the national story. It is that turned page that provides the opportunity for all these people who are passing through, who wish to make their respects to Elizabeth II, to just get on with their lives, do what they do, have the opinions they enjoy, be furious, be happy, be energetically desiring change, or wanting to achieve different things in their lives. That is what the Monarchy should provide – as the pivot around which people can be themselves and the nation can thrive.”
19 September PROCESSION
… Glued for days to Sky news about the Queen’s pre-funeral progress through the population and the 5 mile queue through a night and day to salute quietly her bier in Westminster Hall; the children’s and grandchildren’s vigils; the King and his son on walkabouts to the astonished queuers. A little boy broke down in tears after the King shook his hand and wailed “my heart is bursting” – he can hardly bear it. The commentators say it is unprecedented and unexpected. Naturally the Queen and her hand-over pierces the nation to the core.
Sweet breakthrough – butterfly is camouflaged to the wood grain, the leaf, the flower, the pattern of the Divine – all my life with fishing line as the fish in the pond tossed and played.
I got out my bike and rode to Westminster to immerse in what is going on. I hoped it wouldn’t be barricaded off and that I might be able to get quite close to the Great Room to offer my respects. Moving slowly with the friendly flow – like a vast holiday, packing the pavements – I was trickled and nudged across Parliament square and along a street between the Abbey and the Houses of Parliament … and discovered I was just across the road from the entrance to the Hall itself (I had forgotten where it was) and there behind a small-mesh screen was the queue of pilgrims with their backpacks and families. They had shuffled all night along the Thames from way East of Tower Bridge, igniting international friendships on the way … now reaching their journey’s end … and that profoundly silent and climactic moment.
This pavement opposite them was not congested. I stood there for half an hour by the Abbey’s tail (East chapel) as if I were in the Hall itself by the bier, I watched and absorbed, I chanted and prayed with Mischa Rutenberg’s Meher Baba songs in my earbuds.
Reflecting on the architecture (I haven’t been around there for many a year) … how interesting that the Parliamentary ranks and rows of ambitious talk and bitter conflict are intersected by the ancient sacred space of Westminster Hall which holds the Sovereign like a flower. Peace and stillness descends on each weary pilgrim, a butterfly baptism, the soft kiss of a new order. Just as the Prime Minister began her new post, the Royal axe chopped through the nation’s busy hurting mind straight to the heart and silenced everything.
The connection generated a holistic shockwave. The media express ideas I never believed to hear from their mouths. The atmosphere among the crowds was not grief but celebration of what draws the nation together in a way no one had fathomed, it gives us all a break. It was holiday-like, patient, flexible, slow moving, a beautiful clear sunny day with big galleon clouds in the crisp blue sky. It was multi-culturally British with hundreds of police in tall Dixon of Dock Green helmets. Dozens of cheery Afro Asian crowd-movers did their job with a smile on their faces and helpful advice. They and the police handed out badges and stickers to children, and guarded the realm. They must have been so tired! They, the guardians honoured this unique day. Tents, chairs, and picnics crammed the street corners.
I stood there singing to her. When a big equipment convoy jammed the road, I moved on, nudging my bike’s front wheel gently along the pavement. I wanted to see the opposite doorway of the great Room near the river where the pilgrims emerge, and to catch sight of their zig zag approach through the Parliament gardens. I ended up crossing the river to push my bike up its south bank contra the pilgrim flow, and onto Westminster Bridge back to Big Ben. I tried to figure out the geography of the great Hall which in due course fell into place. The bright flocks thronged the evening sunshine on the big bold river. Brilliance … and sharp, deep shadows. Light and darkness – a unifying moment within conflict; an upheaved oasis amidst uncertainty. It felt like an earthquake.
Back in Parliament Square again I was stuck for a long time – everyone was – awaiting more convoys of “dignitaries”. When it cleared the crowd streamed in good order with the lightest official touch. Where it was really thick the crowd managers linked jovially hand in hand to part the rivers. Yes it was their day.
I wanted to see the front of Westminster Abbey and to watch the funeral today with a proper sense of scale and having been there. The crowd gently thinned out with the flow. I followed a small labyrinth of streets to the other side – via a good old fashioned pub. It spilled out onto the pavement where I enjoyed my pint of Tribute and crisps. I looked for a while at the Abbey’s exquisite silvery west face, L’Art gothique in the reign of Henry III; then turned to ride home – twilight – via Hyde Park corner and the Edgware road … through a peaceful maze of traffic barriers. Victoria Street was open for walkers and bikes.
When a person dies an energy is released; in my observation it is – (as well as the physical body liberating the subtle unlimited one) – that which bonded the friends of her soul. That entity stands forth stronger than the embodiment. What within the soul’s lifetime composition drew friends, lovers, conflicts, and fields of effort together? I watched this again and again at funerals where I saw grief but simultaneously an uplift, a feasting, a meeting of companions in the Light, a birth.
The Queen united a common wealth. Unity’s hand is upon the land as it encounters a rough sea of steep challenges, one after the other. She built and carved her succession in the family like a cathedral – to stand as sanctuary and to last.
Within each of us who witnessed, it awakes unique and private ways – precisely positioned within “Interesting Times”.
Ash keys – Druidic symbol of rebirth, transformation, and initiation – roots deep in the ground (Photo by Marisa)
20 September ROLLED LIKE A MARBLE TO REST
Her arrival, committal and sinking through the floor at Windsor was especially moving: the removal of her ball and sceptre and Crown jewels to the neutral altar; the Lord Chamberlain breaking the wand of office, the deep solemnity of archetypes with a lot of devoted and very tired people – her entire household and staff.
All over the land there is an awakening, a reminder that there is more to us than the daily bad news!
It distracted the nation from the grim economy spike which makes millions fear the winter – battered with Brexit, corona virus and now the financial crisis tripped off with the war in Europe. The new King is beleaguered and lost his temper in public over a leaky fountain pen. Throughout the funeral the raw grief for his mother was exposed in his sensitive weathered face. I drew a picture (below) of him and Camilla relaxing in Maori or Inuit animal hides; I saw what he loves, her eyes are his home; and I drew the Queen shaking hands with an elephant (Prince Philip looking on, with a quip); and then I drew her looking girlish and radiant – that one developed easily without mistakes.
The nadir point in the King’s life may have been his first marriage: discovering the sweet suitable girl he was hitched to would never be the Queen he needed to help him with his sovereign duty; that nothing he did or tried to help her with could heal or prevent her despair. He with his inborn responsibility to the Realm was trapped, alienated and desperately unhappy. In those days the family was an unrelenting fortress and the media a pack of hyenas. It took the divorces and scandals of three of the four children for the fortress to soften into a wounded Windsor castle and for the Queen to emerge as a “public saint” with a strong succession – Charles and after him his son William. That family suffered everything the century inflicted upon the people, larger than life in the public eye. The heart of the land beats with their Mystery Play.
For the first time I heard Camilla’s voice, her duchess-y warmth, her maturity, her style with the King as his Queen consort. When I draw her I see Charles’s harbour in her eyes. Very carefully Queen Elizabeth fixed everything in place before she crossed over. By attrition she over-rode the Church convention deep in herself and in constitutional law. Perhaps she remembered how Philip was her mainstay … the progressive relaxation in attitude may have been Philip’s no-nonsense suggestion. She had him by her side, a firm and beloved mate. Her son Charles has his own – a woman who also loves horses; with whom his mother could laugh and poke fun. Imagine the pair of women together in headscarves and gumboots, hamming up the “royal”.
The funeral was a huge performance for the populace: the problems continue. It awakened a ray of grace and a double rainbow; we need to resolve our own issues from home, not tug the Royal hand to do it for us. Their example in the Mystery Play is yet a reminder, an inspiration … to try to manage ourselves better; particularly as we enter a period of relative austerity. This austerity I believe, may peel off some of the consumerist luxuries we have become dependent on. What are they compared to the post war austerity? Can the mass-market “more-and-more” which mushroomed since the 1980s be sustained? Isn’t it the basis for a collapsing economy? Any presiding government-elect must be its scapegoat.
There is always the balancing out. So carry the great change. It may return us towards a lost gold standard – a water table – an authentic economy, built on value. There is a longing for this.
The Queen’s heritage is her eldest son our King as a visible leader of the land. His nature (despite loyalty to protocol) is to come out and say what he thinks. People remark, “It will never be the same again”. May it continue to grow and evolve in this flexible way? The family itself, downsizing, pruned, and coming out into the open inspires respect and compassion.
The public eye is a fickle sheep. Not so long ago the Queen was still “a buttoned up Ma’am” – since then by careful spin she blossomed into “a radiant Granny” who united the world. My fidelity to her and her family and their job is steadfast since the age of six. Fidelity is unspectacular and unwavering. It watches the public wave-machine scoop and push back and forth.
I am tugged into my core, leaving behind the dross which pretended to matter. The core effulges and delivers like a white rose … feeling myself suddenly within the veins of a man’s Mystery. We see in life’s shrines a Mystery Play like the dramatised poems of the early Christians. In the street close to the nation’s heart I was gently rolled like a marble to rest, to watch the queue enter the oldest and longest room, after a longest night shuffling along the riverbank. Each soul brought to the Queen an open secret – his or her private Treasure. A little girl danced and jumped and flung her arms up because they were nearly there! They could touch the building’s stone.
If the Queen’s body in her bier was the nation’s heart, the queue to enter was a vein of blue blood seeking oxygen and the people flowing out from a pulse of peace were a life-filled artery. Here I am, with rainbow flowers in my heart … like those flung over the hearse on its journey to Windsor; it arrived in the Queen’s home scattered with flowers on roof and bonnet like Botticelli’s “Flora”. As a seed, a plant, a sacred tree, it was lowered through sacred space into the Vault; into the ground.
Winter – after Botticelli
I was reminded often yesterday of the Rosicrucean Vault (in my alchemy studies), a sacred Tomb (in the divine proportion 5:8) where lies the body of “RC” (the founder of Rose Cross) since medieval times: a sprout. I see it now within earth; and the Key to open it in the heart. It is an old fashioned copper key: it is traditionally a White Rose. The Queen was lowered into it, without the Crown jewels … which gleam in their lustre on the altar, waiting to anoint her son.
For every family this funeral awakes a memory of a departed loved one. When my father died in 2016 I happened to be recreating and constructing the Rosicrucean Vault within my inner life; it was provided by timely grace, for into it we lowered him in that bird-singing Devon yard: a grave without lining, a basket coffin, a soul without clothes – and we had the bagpipes for him as well! followed by a sandwich feast in the village hall – I hear his merry laughter. His release was a joyous winter gale in the sky and in the ground the snowdrops of early spring.
My mother wishes he’d been there to enjoy the party and the precision how we cared and planted him in the ground; but he was, in every detail.
Finally – a royal handshake from the elephant.
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