This post, based on seasonal insights with Hades, covers a lot of ground. About ten days ago it came to mind: last year’s images of Hades and of Hallowe’en from my book about Tarot Arcanum Five, including Ida Craddock’s teaching on sexuality. Today I added more pictures, and the section on the Hierophant. It is in three parts, linking Hadean symbolism with the inner Teacher, sexual alchemy, the witchy feminine, and more past-life reflection. A certain “blue tint” is spreading … a lapis lazuli aroma into the air.
Tarot Arcanum Five: the Hierophant (JA 1991)
4 October 2011 – (1) HADES, Soul maker, Artist
Some time ago, I chose a book from Elisabeth Tomalin’s library: James Hillman’s The Dream and the Underworld. It is reminding me of the real meaning of death, which is “completeness”.
Hades, archetype of the Underworld, underlies each psychic and mundane event of life, where the face beneath the mask touches it; all roads return here. There is the invitation again, to go deep; without which, everything tends to turn brittle. Be tuned towards the depth. Our dreams at night, no matter how apparently prosaic, are alien to life’s oracle. They arise from the ontology of Hades, outside our enclosures of time. “Hades’ realm is contiguous with life, touching it at all points, just below it, its shadow brother giving to life its depth and its psyche.”
This has a strange and consoling thrill. It reminds me of my childhood odyssey, in touch with the Greeks … and this drawing of Hades – his Grecian beauty – abducting Persephone. His other name Pluto, is not a Romanisation. It is from Attica, like Plato, and it means WEALTH.
There are other words: TELOS, like the Telesma. “When we let it go to Hades, when it dies out of life, (‘what has this to do with my death?’) then essence stands out.” Hades is the Soul Maker. From fields of asphodel, the more I turn my flower to Hades, the more it opens to discover. “The call to Hades … the one absolutely certain event of the human condition, Hades is the unseen one and yet absolutely present.”
I’m aware of this, through one of Francis Lucille’s talks in Shropshire long ago, and also through reading Ann Widdecombe’s delectable novel, about people’s tragic resistance to death and dying, which chains them to tight rooms. The resistance is instinctive and biological, but it is more than that isn’t it – it is conditioned? Didn’t wisdom begin with embracing death? Doesn’t our consciousness stretch across the loom and through the narrow threads of grief and suffering? Death has no end, death moves, transforms; it begins here. I am, you are, eternally alive as essence; for the cosmos is the thought, the bright glow of an oriental carpet … and everything I see and smell on a sun-filled Quantock walk along the sky-hills and into the combe-creases, is stuff of thought … and most things in the human world are fantasy.
Some old men came along in their boots and looked at the view, a fragrant chequer of fields in the Brendon valley. The secret steam train to Minehead crosses it, with intermittent puffs and a long childhood whistle. But the old men were very sad. Like the Three Grey Sisters in the story of Perseus, who are blind, they passed the eye around: “It’ll all be wiped off the map and destroyed, just you see. Europeans and gypsies, building rubbish everywhere. The government. Nobody cares.”
They heard this on TV, at home: so they come, they look, to see what they are told; plaintive testosterone passes the ball. And now, on the bus going home, another pair of comrades in the seat behind me, jog up and down the pitch with the gloomy glory of the teams, and whom they lost to. The skin is thin, stretched on the bones of Reality, it dis-eases and they fall. It is a pendulum; a pit for an existential while.
In the creases of the Quantock hills, brown brooks trickle down to Holford Combe, dappled with the sharp gold sun through curly oaks on shining stones. Elder brother, are You with me where my Hades opens and my shades dissolve? Is that so? The place of meeting is where life begins. In the Lovership of Eros and Thanatos, the seed of death is the babe. Each instant, each freckle of the sky is in the potency so. The star pierces our screen through the black hole of eternity.
My screen saver came on and I watched it for a while – pictures from my Green Book of Alchemy form conduits of connection one to another, they flow randomly over a series; the interior Master elicits a subconscious connectivity in the images and their oracular promptings.
Too seldom am I given over to this. Meetings with my mother sometimes prompt it, not surprisingly, because she encouraged me to draw and to walk long distances, and talked to me about the stars when I was tiny. She told me, “it has no end, but did it ever begin?” I am helping her with a small flat laptop, brand new, to store and look at her photographs. She calls him Thomas. He will be her picture-box; but learning him is a frustrating confinement – like words and spelling when we were very young.
Mary on the Quantock hills
It was a clear night, and she set up her telescope, and I saw Jupiter and three of his moons. No, four! like Galileo. Two were very close together. The furthest are a very long way out from the golden disk; his gravity.
There is a subconscious flow of pictures. They are points of Hades through the skin of life stretched over it to tan and dry. Wherever there is a point, an echo or connection, the soul quivers. So also are the oaks and fields going past the motorway. I am in the elder Attica, which discovery blossomed upon me again when I was seven, as soon as I could read fluently enough, and write. For at the same time, my mother explained to me the constellations. Ancient Greece is then my early education since time (relatively) immemorial; a stepping stone from Neolithic lifetimes. Watch the wood on water, then make something which floats; and travel upon it. It is a privilege and an unending adventure, to be human. When we grew up from childhood and learned to spell, we lost the timeless; but an artist recaptures and is the timeless.
A person who is dying, who wishes to die, must lose all interest in drinking from the cup; must inward dive to the essence. This time comes sooner or later, willy nilly. It is not to do with the surface will. Its time cannot be fought, brought forward, nor delayed. It is the deepest place of meeting, and the most neglected, the most unprepared, in the blind general rule. All spiritual work encounters death first, to befriend. It isn’t true to say “There is no death” (as some new-agers and advaitins do); for death is everywhere! But it depends how we see it, and if there is a freedom of movement, or if there is tension. The emotional tension traps muscles, blood and psychology – a window box fantasy. Emotional tension creates pain. Mostly we get locked in painful situations of every kind, because the sensation is familiar and in general agreement: to complain.
Quantock galactic waters
October 2011 – (2) HIEROPHANT: Interior Perception
Firstly: the four leading to five. My vision of Brahma is Siva’s aspect, with four out-facing faces and one in his lotus crown, looking up.
Siva ace of Lotuses, Sacred India Tarot copyright Yogi Impressions books 2011
This means there’s one at the throat hidden, looking down into the interior earth too. My head Sivaically, is a Cube of Space, a window for the world to happen in: a window without a frame.
Brahma as Emperor, Sacred India Tarot copyright Yogi Impressions books 2011
The Power of the Master – the mental plane – gets things to happen. It is beyond my decisions and resistances, but they are its working tapestry. It is a privilege to feel the LAW OF ATTRACTION in its actual gravitational operation, the green veins of Venus. The green Colorado river flows through the red Grand Canyon: Empress through the Emperor, who sits and stands still, erect, all seeing.
Travelling today through my pictures, I close my eyes to immerse. On the Tarot Cube of Space, the Emperor’s currency as Arcanum Four, flows downthe north east corner edge, as interior sight opens and adjusts.
I seek my inner guide or affirmation, who rises to meet me, as by reflection. The Emperor (who sets in order) descends to “Hades”, the interior waveband. The Hierophant’s currency as Arcanum Five, flows up the Cube’s south east corner edge, from the subconscious lower face – The Priestess. The movement is like the Lovers in the Sri Chakra Yantra: the male, questing intuition, dives, descends and becomes feminine. The female moving into expression, rises through a masculine channel – the High Priest or Hierophant.
The male and female triangles – the siva and shakti – arise and fall through each other. In western metaphysics, this is the Seal of Solomon, or Star of David.
The picture sequence is intuitive, bringing me … this contact, face to face – by answering activity or response.
Sacred India Tarot Hierophant – Laws of Manu
It is authentic – an unexpected gift from the subconscious. The Tantric scholar-poet, Ganapati Muni, was Ramana Maharshi’s spiritual brother. The Muni’s lineage meets me by the waters of Siva’s mountain, Arunachala. I write: he is writing. Like artists, we sketch each other. You can see by his open face inside the mountain, that he is an artist, a seer, a prophet. We come to meet, where waters meet; wherein “the sound is seamless”. Namaste!
I was originally commissioned to draw the sage Manu, the ancient codifier of Indian laws and spirituality. He still is. The Muni’s features flowed as one with Manu; they have no difference. The discarnate Masters are radiant through one another; their faces seem individual to us, but their essence is universal. They pierce the moving cloth of clouds, as rays from the one Sun.
Manu in the olden days, was a scribe; a Guardian of the Mysteries. The Muni, in the twentieth century, was a Sanskrit poet and alchemist; he unlocked the mantras of the Rig Veda. He breathed them into his disciples’ hairy ears and they went on ringing. He wrote epic love poems to the Mother of the worlds. The Hierophant is an intermediary, heaven to earth. The Muni wears a cloak of peacock hues, resonant also with Siva’s son Skanda, and with the fire god Agni. The peacock’s cry is an Ashramic sound; the vessels hold the sacred fire. The feathers are eyes. There is a story, that when the Vedic gods and goddesses rashly, using Mount Meru as a stick, stirred up the poison of the world, Siva swallowed it. It stayed and was transmuted in his throat, turning it brilliant peacock blue.
The Vedic scribe transmits revelation: the Law. He keeps the Creator Brahma (see Arcanum 4) under control through strict Sanskrit meter. The tiger skin is marked rather like a wheel or vortex. He is like a lily bowed, or a snowdrop. The five black goats behind him are Sanskrit letters: the river of wisdom. Down that peaceful valley flows a brook, and the thin little goats come to drink. Their horns and hooves connect Pan with Earth: Pan is “Everything”. This Hierophant is a poet. He loves the Goddess, and guards her mysterious Trees. He is a kundalini adept; a seed of the Sun.
The river stones at his feet are jewels – indigo, russet, olive and citrine – the colours of earth, the colours in Kabbalah of Malkuth on the Tree. The uncut precious stones have ruby tinctures. The ruby is the Stone of the Wise. The blue periwinkle with five petals, is the Priestess. The scrolls are Her akashic records, into which he writes and rhymes anew. Lord … thou art God. The Hierophant is a maker of weddings and weldings, man and woman: nature, sea and cloud. Through him they join: from him the teachings flow like children.
Siva as Rudra dives, to fertilize the deep of the aeons
31 October 2011 – (3) HALLOWE’EN
Now what! The clock change is hibernatory. In the night, sharp jags jolt my mind with pictures that invade and fracture my solace. They are samskaras, touches from past lives; or they are a rats-tail someone else is thinking, they fly in through the window. They sting and flush. The nation shifts into winter mode. The early birds twitter and trains run along their rails.
Sketch of Ida
I read on into Ida Craddock. She was a Victorian revolutionary, and the book Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic, edited by Vere Chappell, collects together her story and her writings.
Many witches consorting with the devil had in fact heavenly bridegrooms, but, befogged in superstition, projected onto them their bitter old age and persecutions. The heavenly bridegrooms patiently attended the deeply buried young soul – the maiden in the tower – whatever devilish mud was thrown at them. Astral contacts are notoriously difficult to assess, through the medium’s obscurity and the shadows – pointed hat, broomstick: she grasps at straws. The witch situation in womanity has deep scars which were slashed and burned for centuries. (Perhaps Mr P’s women are sitting with their elder sisters and lighting candles.)
In Ida’s thesis, there are no evil astral entities, even among the incubi and succubi. Perversions are in the distorted human imagination and its priests. There are no evil astral entities, because they do their job, like the angels, along the laws of nature. This is largely a matter of what one asks to “be thou my good.” The subconscious is amenable to suggestion, and will develop any field the way she is planted.
In Ida’s thesis, for the bridegroom touch of God to manifest in all its glory, a strict social and sexual rectitude is sine qua non. There are three grades: “alpha”, “Diana” and the third, which is the intercourse being three way with God. The first two, comprising procreation-only and ojas retention – i.e. self control – clear the way for the third. Her point is that penile and vaginal fluids touch and invigorate each other in the Spirit, and flow around body and soul when consciously child making or love making: and that orgasm sustained peacefully in Binah (sicTree of Life) backs up into the physique and is ecstatic: the mode of life. She will flower like the queen in the hive, and receive the whales. Adapt this subtle private knowledge to the circumstance; put the seed in the garden, grow the rose. It is the oil of the alchemist for all the working parts!
soul fertilizing 1987
Victorian husbands raped subservient petticoats and despoiled their sensitivity. They bred generations of blundering libertines and hard pussy; this has not changed much today, but certain attitudes about it are questioned. Go on questioning! When the fire is lit there is a sweet severity and constancy, the passing through the path which has no end.
I think Ida’s conditioning as a Victorian miss is powerful here. On the one hand she writes about sex with such bold courage and erudition, that they locked her in the loony bin. On the other hand, her explicit occult principle requires demure conduct. Conscious orgasm – the self control which is heaven – drives the elixir through breath and pranic blood stream, in child making and love making. The demure conduct in her day was the ruling feminine–subconscious principle in society. It was shockingly abused, but it prevailed. It bustled the Empire’s power. The demureness was, when sexually opened, ecstatic. When misunderstood, it became hysteric in both men and women.
Today’s women are not demure. It is in our genes, but the opposite of demureness moves today’s dispensation, and has perhaps desensitized us. I talk of the depth social currents. When my cher ami saw the book cover Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic, out popped the male platitude about burning bras and feminism. I said Ida was not a feminist, but her unlacing of the corset is behind the feminist movement and the getting of the vote and the breaking out of jail.
Ida is an occult flower, of the kind that breaks the hard ground. Her petals are lotus soft. Churchmen were sickened by her impudence. They crushed with all their might and main. When she was still a young woman she eluded them, she lit the gas oven – and slipped back home through the astral gate. She left her essays and her scent in circulation.
Goodness! Today is Hallowe’en, and I am talking of witches: what we were, and why we are deep down still swirling our black cloaks and howling to the moon. Why our daughters and ourselves went through the labyrinth; why some of us are so bereft, why our lovers would not meet us; why we crossed the valley unfucked, unlit. Why we are asphodel, seeking the Sun. Why we must embrace Time and our own witch’s room, to cross the abyss and meet the groom.
Cauldron & black cat
My old r&b friend recorded his new song of Little Bo Peep. It is about a woman chained to the kitchen sink – (chained to gas ovens in Ida’s day; their only way out, to put their head in and through) – and so he liberates her, he sends her into her sky, like a butterfly.
This morning’s thought raises Sarah and her guardian, Aunt Zofira – my last life, Cancer 1848 – Capricorn 1895. An antipodean seer “read it” for me. The dates and the ongoing theme are verified with a “mathematic” precision, in my present Capricorn-Cancer birth map. For the moment, rest with these two women, the young one and the elder; give them my silence.
Zofira was a witch. She had been an Elizabethan witch and she practiced “sexual magick.” I – Sarah – returned to England from the Caribbean in disgrace. I became her ward in Chiswick, and then her apprentice. She taught me drawing and music; she was an accomplished pianist. The story goes that a young lad called Didier arrived half dead from Paris where all his family had been slaughtered. Zofira thrust us together into the cooking pot, knowing I was not destined to live long, and that my and Didier’s passion would burn up many Karmas, plus generating a few. In some of my dreams there is an old fire of glowing embers, behind a house; in others, I am shaping a phallic flame-like entity from an underground cauldron.
The tale was tantalizingly left there, back in 2010, when the antipodean seer abruptly and without explanation ended our correspondence.
Be still as Sarah; let her flower. It may happen with Mother Demeter in the spring, that my memory awakes and joins fully with hers, joyfully.
These vivid lifetimes are brief seasons, blown like rainbow bubbles from clay pipe, when I was a woman seer in very ancient Egypt, living between the stars and grains of sand. I was then the essence and saw all that was and is to come; at moments I have this whole feeling again, and I call it the Delta, as I befriend human history. I reconnect that glowing night among the dunes, which are waves whispered by the African wind. I am the hallows.
This pre-Egyptian perception helped to heal at Hallowe’en, some years ago, a past-life theme in the Peruvian forest border. My “travel agent” Paul took me around the globe on an inner tour, and I alighted on the emotional force of this South American impression: a Mayan or Aztec High Priest, who cut out living hearts for the blood of the Tree of Life. I was pulled into it. I was this religious monster cutting the trees – like they do now for cocaine and rubber – and I was also one of his victims, a young girl captured from my forest family; a child was torn from my womb. He is my dark force.
My Sarah-life is in the laboratory of Dr Lebecq, a well travelled pseudonym of the Light. He knew and corresponded with Leibniz mathematicus, so he looks rather like him. The discussion about all this, just begins. The equations in my inner life, are images.
The tantra principle is embedded in my life style. On the physical plane, I crossed the abyss and in due time found the cher ami, who is emotionally very like myself. (Was he young Didier? … ) But the writing is my love life, with God joining in. The code is spelled out just sufficiently. I am not a disciplined meditator. It is the agreeable muddle which real life is: it works. It works because of resting with God – by which I mean, the cosmic laws and their delight.
My Elder Bro – by your wit, LB, and by your leave with frilly sleeve – Greensleeves – I had a question for you about romance, so as to hear your dry voice; but life as usual inundated my question (writ in sand) with the answer. It is the tide. J Krishnamurti once said there is no conflict with the tide going in and out over the wet sands: the opposites. There is no conflict in the flowing nature of the tide: the living breath.
And now to draw the Hadean threads together:
Early last week, before the Buddha’s blue flower surfaced into my blog (previous post), my father rang up, from his care home cottage, on a Devon hilltop. In January he will be 90. “When I opened the door into my garden just now, there was a sparkle in the air. It is so clear and blue, I’m on holiday by the sea. I don’t have to go anywhere else but here!”
A day or two later, Mr P rang up: he dreamed he dived into the sea to a turquoise room. As soon as I started to blog the Buddha piece, the colour of blue periwinkle – the Pure Land – floated in and rested me. It seems to travel in the air just now; I feel less tired. I wonder how universal it is? The play of the currencies and tones changes week to week. Who else caught sight of and bathes in this colour … or something like it?
It re-invoked the light, recalling the following story – to draw the Hadean threads together:
The Sunflowers – A dream from the Watershed, in June 1976
I went into a house in this valley, belonging to an old woman. Here in her house I have taken off all my clothes, and am lying on a bed. She and I talk together, she is a maternal sort of person. In the room we look at two huge white sunflowers on long stems. Their enormous white blooms, dipping and swaying, devour the heads of dead sunflowers, brown and dry around them, petal by petal – with their own petals.
I am fascinated, spellbound by this miracle, the purposefulness with which the two white flowers eat the dead ones. The beldame seems to live in a place where tourists drop in, perhaps to drink a cup of tea and inspect the marvel of her sunflowers. She doesn’t run a café or anything like that, but she doesn’t refuse travellers and wayfarers. She lives in the crease or fold, of this valley.
The sunflowers almost fill the whole room. I admire them so much that she asks me “would you like to take them home with you?” They are like an animal in the house. Perhaps they are a burden to her.
“No,” I said “thank you, but I don’t want to take them from you. I couldn’t keep them properly fed, it is too great a responsibility for me, it’s very difficult to find suitable food in London for them. They are so beautiful! Don’t they need lots of light? And you know, my place in London faces north. I don’t think it would be good for them.”
“Ah yes, they do take to the light,” she remarked. A flickering blue light is flowing into the room all the time, quite intense; it plays around the great white sunflowers, and they seem to thrive. But I think I am rather afraid of them … shirking ownership, I’d rather be a spectator.
Something was happening in that other-worldly blue light that does not lend itself to talk or to explanation. That colour itself has a radiance through which all can be seen, and which is yet impenetrable. I see the living which bends to take sustenance from the dead. And there are always the dying. I can tell only of a magic sunflower, white not yellow, which behaves like an animal, is beautiful, and scares me.
Back in my parents’ car the radio is playing Faure’s Requiem. Never can I forget such beauty, a multiple acoustic flower, the purity of the boy singing, the hooded waters of the chorus. The dead in the ground support with a strange tenderness the living generations. Or is it the other way round? for they bend, they give each unto the other … The stereo, being in some way connected to the car’s engine, is making some very strange noises.
My parents think I imagined the sunflowers, or made it all up, because I so longed to see sunflowers like these: like when I told them I saw swallowtail butterflies down the meadowsweet lane in Cornwall.
Hades and Persephone and Nymphs 1957
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.