Kali in the Spring – a Contemplation

In this free improvisation on a pair of Kali Yantras, Western and Eastern Mandala traditions alike share the sacred geometric form and its Tantric alchemy. My next post will feature my original illustrations of the Yoga Wisdom Goddesses or Mahavidyas – including Kali – for Kavitha Chinnaiyan’s thoughtful book and teaching: “Shakti Rising”. The book was published in 2017,

Here is a sketch of Mother Kali’s ecstatic great lover, the Bengali saint Ramakrishna:

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Early writings from Journal – 3 October 2010

Outside there is a gale. The house is a ship.  Today I contemplate the two Kali Yantras my friend in Australia sent.

Mother Kali’s four gated field is red. Eight rose/lotus petals with indigo stems encircle a big black sphere. Inside the black sphere is a Tetrahedron: five white womb triangles with a white bindu or apex, point towards you all her dark, cosmic power: AMA the dark womb is herself so powerful she is almost Yang.

(February 2019 – I drew for today this freehand copy:)


Marriage of Tetrahedrons

In the East and in Platonic wisdom the Tetrahedron is nature’s most stable form. Whether the apex points downwards (female/Shakti triad) or upwards from baseline (male/Siva triad), the Triad is produced to rest on any of its four sides.  No wonder that in the Western Mystery tradition J H V H is named Tetragrammaton, with the hidden fourth-dimension factor which seeds it.

In the Tetragrammaton cycles of YOD HEH VAV HEH, the second-HEH grows from centre of the triangle YOD HEH VAV, giving birth to new YOD, new cycle. So the second HEH in the cycle is pregnancy! The letter HEH in Tetragrammaton has the female function, but in Tarot Alphabet, HEH’s character is male, assigned to Aries and the Emperor. The Yin is so filled with fertility, she comes forth as the Son, the Yang.

 

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The strange potency conjoins man and woman, of whom the most uncompromisingly transformative is woman.

I begin to get a feel of Kali, her luminously dark velvet field, her awesome sexual shout, her red tongue, her necklace of skulls …  In today’s first Yantra (Yangtra!), the womb triangle/tetrahedron accommodates Siva’s fiery light through her body, without disturbing the total blackness of her sphere.

Mother Kali in India needs strong devotees, for she upsets their lives and floods their villages. Ramakrishna of Bengal embodied her devoted Tantric playfellow . And he was a crazy wisdom, often off his head.

Ramakrishna in samadhi, 1879

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Perhaps Kali arouses a man’s chaotic feminine oracle, but in a woman she becomes peace, a peace with gleaming eyes, white, black, red, softening to indigo rose violet in her valleys.

Kali is the wild weather that flows from the Himalayas.

One of the tributaries of Ganges is Kali Gandaki, which flows from the Tibetan watershed between those regal 8,000 metre consorts Dhaulagiri and Annapurna – the man and the woman, each is a mountain range. Dhaulagiri is priapic and dramatically visible. Annapurna is mostly concealed behind a vast shadowing cirque of Nilgiri or cloud mountains.

 

Ganges is a royal water serpent through the plains.
Supposedly, my natal Neptune in Libra (square Jupiter in Capricorn) epitomises my life-long offerings to Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.

Kali is a Seer.
VALE

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Siva Kali detail – Sacred India Tarot 2011

Kali 13, sacred india tarot publ.Yogi Impressions 2011

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A word on Yantra …
Yantras are geometrical constructs of Tantra – an art of touch and fluid union. One of Tantra’s translated meanings is “the web” or connectivity.  In these sketches I romp through a few Western forms and symbols of Yantra:

 

 

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PART TWO – October 2010

AVE

Six is the lily, with a six starred sun inside. The man blossoms into feminine. The Lovers are soul triads which marry. Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, nor do they spin. Solomon in all his glory is not as these.

Within the Flower of Solomon’s Seal or Shield, Solomon in all his glory is the Temple and the intuition. The Star of David – Solomon’s son? or father? – is ABEN, the Stone: the fluidity of the Philosopher’s stone or elixir: the Seal becoming the son.

Lilies grow with the roses in the Magician’s garden. The rose is grown from the heart of the Cross formed of six squares: the rose is wrapped  within the Cube of Space.

The rose has multiples of five petals – her cultivation and extravagance.

Five is the female rose, pentagonal star of humankind representing the five limbs or senses.  Red is the colour-tone of Mars and of desire. “Five” suggests 1+4, 14 the gematria (number) of DVD (in Hebrew, dovid) the Beloved; and also of Gold – the work of the Sun.

 

The latin Cross (it folds up into a cube) is the field. The Star is higher consciousness. The inner Pentagram is humankind, and the root, flower and seed of human desire.

Kali the goddess is black and fierce. In Kabbalah she might be seen as Binah’s AMA, the dark womb.

The Chamundra Kali Yantra has five pink-red petalled concentric waves: the centre one is a Seal of Solomon (double Tetrahedron) coloured red – inside a white octagon of two squares. Like the great Sri Chakra Yantra, she draws inward and flows outward simultaneously: very quiet and at peace. She opens from inside a black field of Four Gates.

So she also expresses the Akasha Tejas tattva, or (in the western School) the whole Tree of Life inside an egg (field) of AIN SOF, the Endless. With six in the middle, she emanates as five rings, and is enclosed in a field of four.

 

(February 2019 – Like the other Kali Yantra in this post, I draw it for myself.  To embody Her birth-giving energy, I copied the computer-generated  version  I was sent.  The physical contact allows Nature’s irregularities to occur – as blown by wind and wave.)

Yantras are fertile seeds and signs. They need to be seen four-dimensionally – that is, as a tree or fountain.  They rise through the orbital system or cross-sectional rings of time.  They suggest the growth of the tree from root and shoot, encompassing all its seasons, seeds and bird-life.  This Yantra has Priapus in the centre, 8-pointed, white and red, surrounded by four pulses (orgasmic time-rings) of the Rose, and then again by the Cube of Space which is black. Priapus contains the feminine of the male flower, and at the heart is a white bindu. So, the Chamundra Yantra is Mother Kali’s kundalini shakti or kus. How sweetly these things translate.

And … in this light, this Yantra, a drawing to come some day, and how to see it? – how Siva couples with this full-blown dark-rose kus of Kali. Siva is nearly always painted white, though sometimes he has a peacock-blue throat. His is a Yogic phallus. He sits in Yoga (union) and it points up within him, and inside him there is Mother Kali absorbing it all, and creating a wild, rumbustious universe.

Any such focus is good, for holding the mind quiet. The Yantra is held loosely, lightly in my being. Note how between the dark-rose outward petalling, the Akashic space lightens from black through indigo to sky. BINAH – the cosmic sphere of Understanding: stand-under the waterfall.

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The above is some writing I discovered from nearly ten years ago.

Below is the sketch and my original portrait of Kali in 2016 for Kavitha’s book “Shakti Rising“.  See my next post for originals of the other nine yogic Mahavidyas.

Sketch for Kali in “Shakti Rising” by Kavitha Chinnaiyam

Mahavidya Kali: in “Shakti Rising by Kavitha Chinnaiyam

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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. See also Aquariel

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2019. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

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.

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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

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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 the Coastal Path – Kabbalah & Travellers’ Treasure

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My journey in 1991 was a major turning point or “seeing”, from which I later on wrote The Field of the Dead, on eclipse and standing stones – to be published here shortly.   Meanwhile, my coastal Sadhana from Strumble Head to Pwllderi youth hostel continues –  a rediscovery of views and friendship …

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Sunset, Cap Frehel from Alet in Brittany, 1987

August 1991:  Sunset

Earlier this summer, in France with my sister and her children, I went walking and devised a way to contemplate the Star of Solomon alchemically:

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Sunset Star and Sulphur Symbol

Quicksilver is the descending triangle.  It is the silver sea, reflecting light … and it is the receptive Mercury or mind whose power expands up the stem, with the thermal fire of concentration.

Gold (or sulphur/fire) is the ascending triangle, the inner or Divine Signature of all things.  It pre-exists the silver sea, but only appears when the silver sea is in a prime state – receptive concentration.   Drawn to a point, receptive concentration becomes “fire” (spark) or flame.

Now see the points – the apex – of both triangles, the one above, and the one below.  The silver point reflects when focused, the point of the gold.  When alchemical mercury (the mind) is one-pointed inward, it transmutes.   It reveals … gold.

“Before time began, I am.”   “No mind, I am the Self.”  “Before Abraham was, I am.”

It rises like the flame symbol:  the primordial radiation.  This is prana, the breath of the sea.  The gold seems to be born in the silver…  but only because the silver reflecting it, gives up into it herself.  This is Self surrender.  Silver is the lunar organ of response to the Sun’s light.

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Now, in Pembrokeshire last week, at Pwllderi youth-hostel on the cliffs near Strumble Head Lighthouse, I watched the sun set:

Silver sea or tide, quiescent and still.

The sun, the Great Sage, cannot be seen.  He descends behind a horizontal bank of cloud which ends a little above the horizon.  But the quiescent silver reflects with a slowly growing intensity, his light behind the cloudy veil.   On the distant water, a golden egg is laid.  A tiny line of dazzling fire gradually fattens to an ellipse – a vesica or lens of fire – upon the silver element.  It becomes too bright to look at.   Then an elliptic shadow of gold begins to form beneath the fire.  It draws light into itself as it embodies slowly a sphere and then a pathway to the seer here.

As the reflected fire disappears into the expanding path, I see at last the Sun’s golden echo on the water.

Now the echo lengthens rapidly, as shadows do.   Subtly, a misty gold pathway awaits the Lord from horizon to the seer.    Then the Star Himself emerges, unbearably fiery, molten radiant gold – shield the eyes!   Everywhere lights up;  the sea is ablaze.   Phoenix!

An unseen bank of mist lingers along the horizon.  Very soon the star of gold disappears into it, the path fades and the sea turns grey.

The use of symbols is rooted in Nature’s object-lessons.  Sunset is not just a photo;  it berths and births right now.   What is seen?

On another evening, the Sun did not appear.  A part of the sea blushed softly gold for a time, in a bridal mist of expectancy, as if embracing something which could not possibly be seen.

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Hey.  With reference to the point, or needles’ eye in meditation’s silver sea, I just came across this, in The Mountain Path (summer 1991) – from Sri Ramana’s letter to Ganapati Muni:

“When the mind having pure sattva (calm and purity) as its characteristic, begins attending to the ‘I … I’ which is the sign of the forthcoming direct experience of the Self, the downward facing Heart becomes upward facing, and remains in the form of That (Self).”

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Ramana Puja

And this, from a conversation with S.S.Cohen:

“Bhagavan,” says Cohen, “you said yesterday that there exists in the human body a hole as small as a pin-point, from which consciousness always bubbles out to the body.  Is it open or shut?”

Ramana replies, “It is always shut, being the knot of ignorance which ties the body to consciousness.  When the mind drops away in the temporary Kevala Nirvikalpa (limited bliss/peace), it opens but shuts again.  In Sahaja (unlimited bliss/peace) it remains always open.”

“How is it during the experience of ‘I … I’ consciousness?”

“This consciousness is the key which opens it permanently.”

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The Self is not a fixture.  The I … i which Ramana speaks includes the fluid dialogue, small-I into the I – the brook and the Sea.  Self is stability, which appears to be fixed, but encompasses everything.  Small i darts in and out of I, like tadpoles.

And David Godman’s comment:  “If the Heart becoming upward facing, is the equivalent of this small consciousness-emitting hole opening, then this is another instance of Bhagavan saying that abidance in the ‘I … I’ – (pulsation of pure being) – “is the way to make the Heart open permanently.  When the Heart is permanently open, the world which was previously assumed to be external, is experienced not as separate names and forms, but as one’s own Self, as the immanent Brahman.”

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Stormy sunset: St Malo 1987

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Lighthouse Scrible:  Kabbalah

One evening, I walked to Strumble Head Lighthouse.   It is about five miles.   I went “up the mountain” first, behind the Youth Hostel.  This landmark can be seen from miles around, and from it you see the whole of the Welsh “Lands End” as if from an island.  Around it flow, like ocean currents, the fields great and small, of vivid agricultures.

Below the summit’s rocky tumuli I found a road towards the lighthouse, over the undulating fields.  When I got there, night had fallen.  The light is a revolving sequence of One, Two, Three, Four dazzling flashes clockwise, over the farmland. During the dark interval, One, Two, Three arms of light sweep the sea beyond.   The fourth seaward beam re-emerges in blinding light, as the first of the four landward flashes.  The fourth of these is the first over the sea;  and so on, in perfect sequence.

In numerical spiral, the four pulses are dovetailed into the Dance of Three:  the primal circuitry.

An electron dances a dual revolution of matter with the dark sea of anti-matter.  Each side – like a seed, or the ventricles of the heart – reflects and gives rise to the other.

TETRAGRAMMATON is the unspoken Name (J,H,V,H) of God.

In the Hermetic art, TETRAGRAMMATON applies to the four fold fertile rhythm throughout Nature and Creation.  Without it, no heart would beat, no substance form.

Father is YOD, Mother is HEH, their Child is VAV, and their Family is YOD, inseminating the next generation and the next.  It is like the blood through veins, the river’s fall through valleys, and gravity’s gentle curve of the infinite.

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Tetragrammaton cycle

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Strumble Light is a squat building, white and very clean.  It sits on a green tufted panther of volcanic rock.  A light metal bridge over a narrow surge of sea connects it to the mainland.

That night, I sat and watched its cyclic light.  The glowing geometries of the multiple lens rotate, strangely hermetic, within its lattice window.  Rhythmic arms of the beam sweep the night.   A scribbled “Scripture” of light flashes along the pitch dark craggy cliffs – the Bible of an instant.

My walk back to Pwllderi youth-hostel and my tent, along this precipitous coastal path in the dark, is an adventure!   It takes about an hour;  it is rugged, and some stretches of it are unknown ground.

The path opens an instinct of itself ahead.  Sometimes it is lit by the flicker of JHVH.  For the rest, my feet must find it.   Attune them to the terrain:  hurry not!   Lean back, and let my feet carry me home … for they seem to know, like wild ponies do.

The script is again, as on my bicycle earlier – “Lean back into Now.”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12547928@N07/7430530274/lightbox/

and I just discovered a photo of Strumble Light at night in http://judeness.wordpress.com/2009/01 – (star, light and houses) … a visual feast of a blog!

How often along these paths and cliffs, I thought of St Christopher carrying his sacred burden over the river.  It grew heavier and heavier upon him.  It clung to him like an angry old woman, like the tired body of the Spirit going uphill.  The higher you leap the heavier it gets, O Gravity, you Grave One.  Finally he reached the other bank, and set down none other but the Christ Child.  The act of kindness realized him.

Franz Liszt set this to music:  piano and baritone.

When I get really tired after a long scramble, it helps to become a child being carried home, ride pick-a-back on this body.  “Take me home!”   The trick is to let my hips and lower spine be shock absorbers:  roll ball-socket, loose and yielding:  let Yoga in motion be the auto pilot.   It is about degrees of unstressed awareness.  It takes practice.  It is hard when fatigued in life – difficult not to strain ahead and wish this steep slope were over.

Very subtle is the way my feet, in relation to an alert quietude of mind, seek and find rocks and pebbles for support or stumble … hold gently, firmly the ground, like hands.

… don’t get in the way of the goat, pony or alchemical saint –  Fulcanelli in La Mystere des Cathedrales makes much of St Christopher!  – who trundles homeward over uncharted and untrod terrain.  The starry constellations are received in moments when I rest, downward into the earthy, stony track, like a root.

Small stones glow.

Who am I?  the mobile root of the sky at night, en route.

Revelation flashes a Bible over the cliffs:  a lifetime touches, climbs and finds them.

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Pwllderi is just visible in the background.

Friendship

On the sloping patch of ground behind the Youth-hostel, I made friends with a large, orange and yellow tent surrounded by a chaos of self sufficiency.   Her name is Oni.  She works with British Airways.  When she isn’t flying around in stratospheric cabins and being well groomed, she takes off with her portable cave, well away from the flight paths, turns into a shaggy troubadour and cooks lengthy feasts out of doors at midnight.  Hiking around burial grounds and standing stones with sketchpad and watercolours, Oni converses with unexpected outlines of Providence.   You could hear her cheerful voice from the other side of the field.

 

When she arrived, she pitched next door to me.  Oh no, one of those Talkers!   Will she go on all night?  But then we got acquainted.  “Come and have a bite,” she invited. “I like sharing things.”  And a gale of anecdotes and escapades flowed forth from this scamp:  a kindred spirit.   We quickly found our mutual affinities – to hang out!  Make no plans!  Travel alone and meet everyone!  Follow the weather, that trail of the unexpected which delivers up a musical mosaic so much Larger than Life!

As wind and imminent rain built up for the night, we sat beneath a drunkenly swaying GAZ lamp by the awning – I thought she was an entire family, she has so much stuff everywhere, but no, it’s just herself – and discussed life.  We dined on trout, baked potatoes and bullet peas mixed up with mushrooms which she cooked in foil over some kind of coal in the grass, in the dark.  The coal took forty minutes to become incandescent.   As the wind gusted and buffeted, Oni badgered back and forth;  we sipped airline Drambuies to keep warm.  She found also a half bottle of airline Medoc, and finally dished up supper in tin plates with the aplomb of a grubby eleven year old.

Presently we became aware that we had new neighbours.  Two young Belgian boys, struggling to peg their tent in pitch dark in the gale, appeared in the cluttered entrance to Oni’s cave.   Their hairy white shanks in very short shorts trembled knock-knee in the night like daddy-long-legses. “’Ow can it be,” they gesticulated “that you two sit out here like this, like midi on the Riviera taking ze sun, ‘ow can you be so strong and tough, look, we don’ know ‘ow to make this tent and the wind, cold, dark, and the legs zey won’t stop doing zis …”

Later, after I crawled back under my patched and archaic sway-backed canvas to sleep, I heard Oni calling me.   Jane, there’s a curtain of vertical columns of light!  Over there in the northern sky – I’m sorry but I had to tell you, you’ve got to look.  Isn’t it bizarre? … like aurora borealis without colour, but it must be, you know it IS THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!

I laboriously untied my tent-flaps yet again from the pole, looked out and saw it too.  What else could it be?  The stars were all out with it, very bright. Earlier today, the sea was glassy calm, and the Warden said the sea-birds were upset, the weather’s about to change, there must be something very unusual in the atmosphere …?   – and I went back in and to sleep feeling strangely happy and replete, my body into the hard ground.   It was the only night I slept well – the previous two nights I didn’t sleep AT ALL.   I decided to take a leaf from Oni:  invest in some up to date gear.

My cave is regarded with derision by herself and by a middle aged couple nearby, who are trying out a workmanlike eight-man edifice.  That’s not a tent!  You can’t go camping in that, it won’t last five minutes.  It’s a toy, you do it at school, you put it up in the garden … Ha ha ha!

My greyish-white old canvas and draughty sway-backed faded flysheet, is too genuinely an archetypal tent to be convincing:  and at least 30 years old.  It’s a snail wondering if it is an aeroplane.   However, when it blew really hard, it was Oni and the eight-man couple who got no sleep for the buffeting of synthetic fibre and the struggle to keep their nice modern caves attached to the ground.  They toiled off to Fishguard in the morning for a fresh supply of pegs, while I set out for another long walk along the coastal path to see the big waves.   So they ate their words!  My cave hugged the ground imperturbably as Gibralter with the wind blowing through it.

But on my walk, I began to feel bothered.  Shouldn’t I have stayed to help them?  I wanted to talk with Oni some more.  I felt shy and uncollected.  On my way back from Strumble, along a stretch of path straight as an arrow – a NOW through banks of golden gorse and flowering heather, who should be approaching but herself, rosy face, multi-coloured jersey and rucksack with sketching things, blond hair a-tangle.  We laughed, and wondered what we both look like when we are back home.  Oni was off for another long hike, then back to work in her metal tubes.  We didn’t quite know how to throw a line over into the passing ship, so we left it like that.  I had an idea.  When I got back I wrote my address on some paper and rolled it around her windscreen wiper.   I found her car with no trouble – it was unmistakable.  She had poured her cave straight into it.

A letter arrived this week:

“Dear Jane, I was very amused on returning from my hike to find the ‘Post’ had called! … I really enjoyed my few days camping and hiking in Wales.  Like you, I so enjoy hiking around and meeting similar unusual people, all roughing it for a bit.  I wonder how the rest of your walk went.  The weather has sure turned beautifully hot again – we’ve been frying in our metal tubes – the aircraft!   Yesterday we flew to Madrid – 110 degrees F!!   Glad we were only there for an hour.

“My last day’s walk was weird – total contrast.  A sea mist swirled round the Tors, and you could believe you were wandering around Snowdon.  But even in the mist I came across another of those wonderful brilliant hued rock gardens round the Tor summit.  Strange shapes of hikers flapped through the rocks, like lost souls haunting the wilds! By the time the rain set in, I was on my way home, in the evening, but I was so tired from the previous night’s disturbed sleep and re-pegging – I actually camped again, beyond Bath.  I was falling asleep at the wheel.  All good wishes, Oni.”

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Coastal path 1991 – place of meeting!

After meeting her like that, the day unrolled many treasures.  Wild cloud-bank of mist drove in from the West and over the tor.  I raced to the top to see, greet and be enveloped in the cloud.  Next I journeyed to the end of the great Dinosaur headland, where the sky cleared again, and I began my exploration to the cove of purple sandstone.  (See On the Coastal Path with Krishnamurti and Ramana)

For it was Oni who directed me to those paths, south of the Dinosaur.  On one of her own big treks, she found and investigated a wool mill and a track leading down to a dramatic beach further down.  “You know I love those folded rock formations!  Weird shapes, colours, terrific …” – and she found a rope tied to a metal bolt, which dangled some thirty feet or so to the base of the cliff.   Down the rope she went.  “What a GREAT way to go for a swim.  You know, the swim I had in that beach is one of the best swims I EVER had.”

After I discovered the cove of violet stones, the spiral snake and titanic Hartland families, I too found that place, further down the coast, and swung down the rope to swim in bouncy peaked rollers coming in over the sand.  There was rather a lot of seaweed, and after my swim I found a large jellyfish stranded and collapsed upon the beach.  But the water in the slanting sunlight was a joy;  a smile for Oni’s naughty tousled shape, in that green place above the beach where the path descends;  her friendly grin like a carousing minstrel.   Surprised and slightly alarmed at a depth of affection like a sign-post.

We are connected, a long way back.  Somewhere, we were a pair of mates, mess-mates maybe;  and now the paths swing back together, luring us to Strumble in wild Wales.   I am at peace with whatever comes next, and the feeling fades, being just a signal.   Much there is to share and learn with this funny person.  Much of value.

Here is a drawing she sent me:

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Leo Taurus by Oni

 

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The Warden

Everybody, in the tide of walkers and conversations passing through Pwllderi, was seeing more seals than I.  They arrived back from the cliffs with their tales of spotting whole familes with babies sunning themselves on the rocks.

I LOVE seals.  To see one gives me great kudos, encouragement and hope, during a walk.  But try as I might, I saw only three.  And they were a long way off.  I was so jealous of those gifted walkers.   I was consoled by a few stewards of Neptune who also abound in these parts:  dolphins and porpoises with tall black dorsal fins rose suddenly in a swell of off-shore current, to snort and blow.  One pair was greyish white.

Mostly I saw only jelly-fish, hundreds and hundreds of them.  They quivered like phallic toadstools in the deep water along the “lions’ paw” headlands, and put the damper on carefree swimming.

Neither was I very successful in locating Ancient Monuments indicated on my map.  I got very exhausted floundering around in gorse, and trying to cross the country from one pile of stones to another while avoiding farms and barking dogs.   I am not a gifted tourist of Neolithic wisdom and energy fields.   I seem to dowse it only on the cliffs themselves.  I was extremely annoyed that Oni discovered so many more monuments than I did.   Holidaying on the coastal path, to rough it in the open, gets lonely and tiring.  I’m dragging my feet up some muddy lane.  Then suddenly, along comes a familiar face or pair of people I spoke to earlier;  their legs are scratched, they are trying to find a route through a string of cow-patted farmyards, they offer a drink and some chocolate, we start floundering around in the gorse together, seeking unsuccessfully yet another Gothic Site of Burial on the O.S.map.   The air lifts;  I rejoin my human tribe;  the tiredness is gone.   I am not a hundred-per-cent hermit.

Pwllderi Youth-hostel is perched over the bay between the Dinosaur and the slumbering lions of Strumble.  The Warden comes out into the sunset each evening.  He raises his binoculars to inspect the cliff-path in each direction:  the coming night’s clientele.  “Where are they?  There’s no one coming along yet.  As soon as I sit down to have me supper, blow me there’ll be seven of ‘em here won’t there, wanting to check in all at once.”

Mine host is a dedicated character.  He genially receives the motley tide of travelers through his shelter – a thin old billygoat with bushy old-mans-beard and two merry teeth, like the guinea-pigs he keeps on grass near the tents behind his house.   The terrain of his visitors is unpredictable, like the West Wales climate.   Sometimes a straggle of lone eccentrics … a group of vociferous Germans … efficient girls traveling together with maps and lists … families … hikers and bikers … a party of twittering school kids.   Some nights have a mushrooming of tents under his wing, and other nights none at all.  He collects ancient bottles, skulls, sheep bones and cacti.  These profusely decorate his panoramic verandah, where weary walkers sit, smoke and admire the sunset.  One of the cacti opened during my visit into a huge pink flower of love.  Mine host danced attendance, hospitably.

The Warden of Pwllderi is on excellent terms with the farming community of Strumble Head.  He looks out for their cattle.  They look out for his groceries.  When the weather is rough, the mutual assistance over the battered landscape is close-knit.  The plumber arrived for a long, lilting conversation.  He never gets any work done when he visits Pwllderi, so there are still no showers.   I sat on the drystone wall, bone-tired after a long day, and watched with vague absorbtion, two efficient young men unpack and pitch.   The plumber thought I was feeling sad, and began to scold the Warden.   “Look you, boy-bach, pwy ydy’r merch ifanc’ ma?  why don’t you cheer her up a bit? – you haven’t got that canoe of yours out for a while now, have you.   Take her fishing in it round Penbwchy Head and show her some seals!   Go on.  Don’t be so selfish.”

The Warden runs a little shop inside the Youth-hostel, as there aren’t any others for miles.  In his cubby hole by the TV he keeps a mirror artfully angled over his head, so he can see instantly when SHOP is required;  or the arrival of a new “cave” upon the back of its knock-knee’d snail.  As soon as you stop by the hatch, he appears tetchily and carefully balances his cigarette on a nicotine-rimmed shelf.  If he’s run out of eggs he jumps in his jeep and drives off to fetch some from the nearest farm.

There is a very beautiful and comely young woman in the house, who is referred to as “My Assistant”.  In the evening she puts on a white overall, and puts the suppers (pies from the local bakery plus tinned veg) in the oven – for those who are not self-catering.  He gossips.  She sweeps the floor around him.  Perhaps she is studying to be a Warden.  In the morning there is an invariable strident bellow:  “BREAKFAST!”

Self catering – like Self-enqiury – saves money and is flexible with time.  The kitchen gets crowded along a bank of baby bellings with polite travelers struggling to assemble toast, bacon, cornflakes and tea.  “So where have YOU been then?” snapped the Warden when I tottered in very late at night after cycling from St David’s, and asked sleepily for a tin of Irish stew.  It is oddly relaxing to prepare a meal.  The effort of my ride through many miles of dark lanes, still rings in my ears.  The wind again begins to blow hard.   Will my Rock of Gibralter stand another night of this?  Out again into the dark, with a torch, the busy work to re-peg.

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My mother near Pwllderi, 2002

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Those volcanic cliffs to Strumble – splayed paws of the Great Cat – you know what they also are, so rounded?   Seals.  The seals know their own.  Between each toe of the Great Cat are deep, Gothic caverns and archways.  Put my foot with that landscape, to wander.  Let sole and toes hold flexibly the ground along the trail, like a hand.   When the sole of my foot is sensitive and mobile, the rest of my body flows.   This sense also in my palm and along my fingers, reaches to touch … who knows what it wants, or grasps?

Discover then, my fellow monkey, that forgotten knowledge in your OTHER pair of hands which hold so lightly, yet so close the ground.   Have you a head?   Look, and see!

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Satsang AGM, Ramana Foundation UK, 1994

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DRAWINGS BY ONI:

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 Lift, by Oni

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Crossing the tracks;  by Oni 

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Stream lining – cycles to rebirth:   by Oni

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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.