Monday 27 February 2017

What motivates? Orwell on Hitler and HG Wells

What has HG Wells to set against Adolf Hitler - who he calls the ‘screaming little defective in Berlin’?

The usual rigmarole about a World State, plus the Sankey Declaration, which is an attempted definition of fundamental human rights, of anti-totalitarian tendency. Except that Wells is now especially concerned with 'federal world control of air power', it is the same gospel as he has been preaching almost without interruption for the past forty years, always with an air of angry surprise at the human beings who can fail to grasp anything so obvious.

What is the use of Wells saying that we need federal world control of the air? The whole question is how we are to get it. What is the use of pointing out that a World State is desirable? What matters is that not one of the five great military powers would think of submitting to such a thing.

All sensible men for decades past have been substantially in agreement with what Mr. Wells says; but the sensible men have no power and, in too many cases, no disposition to sacrifice themselves.

By contrast, Hitler is a criminal lunatic... yet Hitler has an army of millions of men, aeroplanes in thousands, tanks in tens of thousands. For his sake a great nation has been willing to overwork itself for six years and then to fight for two years more, whereas for the common-sense, essentially hedonistic world-view which Mr. Wells puts forward, hardly a human creature is willing to shed a pint of blood.

What has kept England on its feet during the past year? In part, no doubt, some vague idea about a better future, but chiefly the atavistic emotion of patriotism, the ingrained feeling of the English-speaking peoples that they are superior to foreigners.

For the last twenty years the main object of English left-wing intellectuals has been to break this feeling down, but if they had succeeded, we might be watching the S.S. men patrolling the London streets at this moment.

The energy that actually shapes the world springs from emotions — racial pride, leader-worship, religious belief, love of war — which liberal intellectuals mechanically write off as anachronisms, and which they have usually destroyed so completely in themselves as to have lost all power of action.

The people who say that Hitler is Antichrist, or alternatively, the Holy Ghost, are nearer an understanding of the truth than the intellectuals who for ten dreadful years have kept it up that he is merely a figure out of comic opera, not worth taking seriously. All that this idea really reflects is the sheltered conditions of English life.

Edited from Wells, Hitler and the World State by George Orwell, published 1941:

Note: Orwell's emphasis on what motivates people to sacrifice is timeless - but easily forgotten in times of peace, prosperity, comfort and diversion.

The modern Western world - for example. Societies like Britain are built on a basis of exactly the bureaucratic 'hedonistic world view' of HG Wells - and consequently we are at the mercy of any and every group who can muster sufficient passions to enable a degree of self-sacrifice and willing endurance of suffering.

Since 1941 the 'Left wing intellectuals' have long-since broken down the 'atavistic emotion of patriotism'. Of course we do not have 'SS men patrolling the streets', but instead we do have middle managers and officials patrolling and monitoring every nook and cranny of our lives - imposing ever more audits, regulations, quality assurance, risk assessments, police checks...especially at work, but increasingly in the home.

We also have the state creating a totalitarian culture of 'informers' - we labour (more than any other labour) to establish and maintain the systems that keep ourselves and each other in-check and subordinated.

Orwell's polemic is a reminder of the fact that politics is simple - or else it is ineffective. It is far easier to demotivate, break down, destroy and induce despair than it is to energise, work and build -- but any motivated creators that resist passivity and surrender will be the ones who prevail.

And this will happen by default - even if the simple motivating ideas are obviously partial, biased and incoherent.

Britain will have religion - one way or another. And that religion will be of the kind that motivates.

But we can choose which religion.  

Saturday 25 February 2017

The Coming Religious Populism

'Only a god can save us now,' said Martin Heidegger in an interview with Der Spiegel in 1966. I'm not a particular devotee of Heidegger, nor indeed a student of Philosophy, yet these words resonate deeply with me, especially now, in February 2017, as fissures widen throughout the West and the centre starts to crumble in politics, culture and society.

What Heidegger means, I think, is that our ongoing fixation with technological innovation and administrative proficiency will make us something less than human in the end - 'a thing with one face' as Louis MacNeice put it in Prayer Before Birth, 'a cog in a machine' ripe for conquest and exploitation. What is required instead is a drastic shake-up in consciousness - a clearing of the ground - a radical reorientation and opening up to the Divine. Only then can the god make his presence felt - restoring our broken hierarchies, reforging the links between Heaven and Earth, and guiding us towards a genuinely human flourishing, both individual and corporate.

It is interesting that Heidegger uses the word 'god' rather than 'God'. The question following from this, to my mind, is 'which god?' My impression, reflecting on our situation today, is that a revival of the pagan pantheons of pre-Christian Europe - dramatic though that might sound - could well be imminent. The wave of populism sweeping the West will sooner or later, I'm sure, find its religious counterpart in a search for the Sacred which will demand a more potent brew than the watered-down liturgies of the mainstream Churches, the choreographed shoutiness of Charismatic Christianity (see William Wildblood's post Evangelical Religion) and the saccharine banalities of the New Age. The Catholic Church (to speak of my own denomination) senses this paradigm shift, I feel - even if only subconsciously - and is at great pains to thwart and divert any potential upsurge in neo-paganism. This is one reason, I believe, why Pope Francis appears so keen at times to encourage the spread of Islam across Europe. His unspoken goal, I would hazard a guess, is an alliance of global monotheisms against the coming religious populism, which - like its political counterpart - will be highly nativist and tribal in tone and outlook.

That is my reading of some of the deeper forces at play in today's world. I hope, however, that my conclusions are in error and my speculations unfounded. Building mutual understanding and respect is always to be applauded, but any kind of alliance or long-term partnership with another religion - or another civilisation, as is also the case with Islam - is fraught with danger, running the risk of inflaming the very populism it sets out to tame.

The Church would be better advised, first and foremost, to invest in the restorative force of her own spiritual tradition. Far be it from me to tell the Pope what to do, but he could do a lot worse, in my view, than than pin this extract from George Mackay Brown's The Tarn and the Rosary to his bedroom wall:

The celebrant entered. Colm had not seen this particular priest before. He looked like an Indo-Chinese. Once again, for the thousandth time, Colm watched the endless beautiful ceremony, the exchange of gifts between earth and heaven, dust and spirit, man and God. The transfigured Bread some momentaritly in the saffron fingers of the celebrant.

Or Alec Guinness's description (in his memoir Blessings in Disguise) of his visit to Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in 1965:

Arriving at the large, draughty, austere, white chapel I was amazed at the sights and sounds that greeted me. The great doors to the East were wide open and the sun, a fiery red ball, was rising over the distant farmland; at each of the dozen or so side-altars a monk, finely-vested but wearing heavy farmer's boots to which cow dung still adhered, was saying his private Mass. Voices were low, almost whispers, but each Mass was at a different stage of development, so that the Sanctus would tinkle from one altar to be followed half a minute later by other tinkles far away. For perhaps five minutes little bells sounded from all over and the sun grew steadily whiter as it rose. There was an awe-inspiring sense of God expanding, as if to fill every corner of the church and the whole world.

Or J.R.R. Tolkien's reflection in his Letters on the power and mystery of the Eucharist: There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth.

What holds true for Catholicism in these examples holds true for every branch of Christianity - 'Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.' With a spirituality such as this, packed with meaning and intensity, there will be no need for Churches to cut contentious deals or for the religiously disenfranchised to seek out strange gods. Those gods will find their rightful place, in fact, in an all-embracing, Christ-centred pattern and harmony, which embraces paradox and reconciles opposites. The decisive role played by the planetary powers of the Graeco-Roman pantheon in C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength bears outstanding witness to this. 

I find something analogous to all this in John Buchan's 1926 novel The Dancing Floor (so, spoiler alert here for those who haven't read the book). When the remote Greek island of Plakos is struck by a series of droughts and bad harvests, the natives slough off their Cristian faith and resurrect an ancient pagan ritual. Their target is the big house by the sea where their former landlord, the decadent, semi-Satanic aesthete Shelley Arabin lived. Since Arabin's death, the house has been occupied by his daughter Koré, and it is Koré who the islanders plan to burn alive on Holy Saturday night to make recompense to the gods for the dark arts practiced by her father.

The idealistic Englishman Vernon Milburne is smuggled in by the household staff to aid their mistress, but time is running short. The multitude begin to gather on the lawn outside (the 'Dancing Floor'). Torches are lit. Brushwood is piled high against the house. Out of the flames, the natives believe, the gods will appear and set their fortunes to rights. Koré and Vernon opt to take a leap of faith and give the islanders what they want - disguising themselves as best they can as gods, breaking out of the house to face the crowd, hoping against hope that the islanders will believe what they see.

Buchan's narrative doesn't fully map on, perhaps, to the 'all-embracing, Christ-centred pattern and harmony' referred to above. There is a disjoint still between pagan and Christian. His story, nonetheless, poses a number of questions which are highly germane to our spiritual and political situation today.  

What exactly is the sleeping volcano that is starting to stir beneath the technocratic sheen of Western civilisation? 'What rough beast,' as W.B. Yeats asked in The Second Coming, 'slouches off towards Bethlehem to be born?' This is the 'Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time' that Lewis shows us in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - the primal savagery that revels in the slaying of Aslan at the Stone Table. It is in the Gospels too, in the sacrificial blood-lust whipped up amongst the multitude by the Chief Priests on Good Friday morning. But, as readers of the Gospels and The Lion know, there is a 'Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time' - a God behind the gods who breaks the seal of Hades, shatters conventional paradigms, and baptises the hearts of populists and establishment figures alike with that which we all most desire - that high and holy Peace that passes all understanding.

What trials and tribulations - what 'droughts' and 'bad harvests' - will need to come our way before we  are blessed with the imagination to perceive Him and the humility to even admit that we need Him? What changes do we need to effect - spiritually, emotionally, mentally - before the fog of materialism lifts and our God can start to make his healing, restorative presence felt in this fractured, crumbling world?

I have condensed the last chapter of The Dancing Floor into twelve paragraphs to get down to the essence of what the book is about. The tale is recounted (in sizzling prose) by one of Buchan's best-loved narrators, the indefatigable lawyer turned adventurer, Sir Edward Leithen ...

... As I have told you, I had stumbled through the undergrowth with the blazing House making the place an inferno of blood-red aisles and thickets. I was doddering with fatigue, and desperate with
anxiety, and the only notion in my head was to use the dregs of my strength to do something violent. I was utterly in the dark, too. I did not know but that Koré might already be beyond my help, for that crimson grove seemed to reek of death. 

The back part of the House and the outbuildings were by this time one roaring gust of flame, but the front was still untouched, and the fan of fire behind it gave it the concave darkness of a shell - a purple dark which might at any moment burst into light. The glow behind the facade was reflected farther down the avenue, which was as bright as day, but the House end was shadowed, and the two figures which I saw seemed to be emerging from a belt of blackness between two zones of raw gold. I therefore saw them first as two dim white forms, which as they moved, caught tints of flame ...

Put it down to fatigue, if you like, or to natural stupidity, but I did not recognise them. Besides, you see, I knew nothing of Vernon's presence there. My breath stopped, and I felt my heart leap to my throat. What I saw seemed not of the earth - immortals, whether from Heaven or Hell, coming out of the shadows and the fire in white garments, beings that no elements could destroy.

The spell of the waiting people made me turn, as they had turned, to the gap in the wall. Through it, to the point where the glow of the conflagration mingled with the yellow moonlight, came the two figures. I suddenly looked with seeing eyes and I saw Koré. She was dressed in white, the very gown which had roused Vernon's ire at my cousin's dance the summer before. A preposterous garment I had thought it, the vagary of an indecent fashion. But now - ah now! It seemed the fitting robe for youth and innocence - divine youth, heavenly innocence - clothing but scarcely veiling the young Grace who walked like Persephone among the spring meadows. It was not Koré I was looking at but the Koré, the immortal maiden, who brings to the earth its annual redemption.

I was a sane man once more, and filled with another kind of exaltation. I have never felt so sharp a sense of joy. God had not failed us. I knew that Koré was now not only safe but triumphant.

And then I recognised Vernon.

I did not trouble to think by what mad chance he had come there. It seemed wholly right that he should be there. He was dressed like the runner of the day before, but at the moment I did not connect the two. What I was looking at was an incarnation of something that mankind has always worshipped - youth rejoicing to run its race, that youth which is the security of this world's continuance and the earnest of Paradise.

I recognised my friends, and yet I did not recognise them, for they were transfigured. In a flash of insight I understood that it was not the Koré and the Vernon that I had known, but new creations. They were not acting a part, but living it. They, too, were believers; they had found their own epiphany, for they had found themselves and each other. Each other! How I knew it I do not know, but I realised it was two lovers that stood on the brink of the Dancing Floor. And I felt a great glow of peace and happiness.

With that I could face the multitude once more. And then I saw the supreme miracle. Over the crowd passed a tremor like a wind in a field of wheat. Instead of a shout of triumph there was a low murmur as of a thousand sighs. And then there came a surge, men and women stumbling in terror. First the fringes opened and thinned, and in another second, as it seemed to me, the whole mass was in precipitate movement. And then it became panic - naked, veritable panic. The silence was broken by hoarse cries of fear. I saw men running like hares on the slopes of the Dancing Floor. I saw women dragging their children as if fleeing from a pestilence... In a twinkling I was looking down on an empty glade with the Spring of the White Cypress black and solitary in the moonlight.

I did not doubt what had happened. The people of Plakos had gone after strange gods, but it was only for a short season that they could shake themselves free from the bonds of a creed which they had held for a thousand years. The resurgence of ancient faiths had obscured but had not destroyed the religion into which they had been born. Their spells had been too successful. They had raised the Devil and now fled from him in their blindest terror. They had sought the outlands, had felt their biting winds, and had a glimpse of their awful denizens, and they longed with the passion of children for their old homely shelters. 

I saw a glow as from torches to the south where the church stood, and a murmur which presently swelled into an excited clamour. Suddenly a bell began to ring, and it seemed as if the noise became antiphonal, voices speaking and others replying. At that distance I could make out nothing, but I knew what the voices said. It was "Christ is risen - He is risen indeed."

The Royal Touch as a valid proof of divine right

The history of healing being used as proof of a monarch's divine right is well known in England. It looks to me that there is a correlation between the extent and enthusiasm of the practice of the Royal touch used in the healing of 'scrofula' (presumably a variety of skin diseases including tuberculosis)  and the validity of the King or Queen's claim on the throne.

(The same test is found in the Lord of the Rings, where Aragorn's claim to the throne of Gondor is confirmed by his unique ability to cure the fatal disease caused by the Nazgul's 'black breath'.)  

After all, by touching 'the people' the monarch is breaking a powerful class taboo (only those of noble birth were typically allowed to touch the monarch, therefore royal servants were usually upper class; such as the ladies and gentlemen 'in waiting').

And more importantly the King is setting himself up for the possibility of public failure; because if the touch does not produce the beneficial effects which people expect, then the monarch's authority is undermined.

It is significant that the most popular monarchs, and those most sure that their authority was indeed divinely ordained, have put themselves to this public test repeatedly; while conversely, those whose authority was arbitrary - such as the Dutch William of Orange, or the Hanoverian George I, have refused to try and heal the people; on the grounds of the King's Touch being an absurd superstition.

Apparently, the formal practice was introduced in England by the first of the Tudor's, Henry VII - whose reign came at the close of the destructive Wars of the Roses; and it reached its peak under the Restored Charles II, following the Puritan Republic.

After later dying-out (significantly, Charles II's brother the ineffectual and deposed James II disliked the practice); touching was reintroduced by Queen Ann (James II's daughter) - one of the most popular and effective of all British monarchs.

Anne took touching seriously, fasting on the day before. One of those she touched was Samuel Johnson - the greatest intellect and scholar of his day, and a deeply religious Anglican; showing that this was not merely an ignorant superstition.

Indeed, the patterns of its usage and disuse suggest that it is reasonable to assume that the Royal Touch worked, when performed by the legitimate monarch - at least by normal standards of proof.

Consequently, the test and practice may come into its own again in the future - if a new claimant to the throne of Albion were to present himself or herself to the people. 

(Of course - if the prior assumption is made that healing by the true King's touch is impossible - then any success will simply be explained-away. But the evidence is strong for those who have not pre-decided the issue.). 

Added note: It seems likely that the healing touch is inderpinned by love - more than anything else. The love of the monarch for the people, the trusting love of the people for the monarch. That isn't the whole story - but a necessary element. 

Thursday 23 February 2017

Evangelical Religion

I read an article recently which said that Christianity could be revived through the evangelical movement but I think that shows a misunderstanding. Something might be revived but whether you could call it Christianity proper is a different matter. I see evangelical or Pentecostal religion as in many respects more akin to certain forms of pre-Christian paganism, even shamanism, and the fact that Christ is the figurehead of this religious approach doesn't necessarily make it the truth that he taught.

Evangelical Christianity, as I understand it, is based on the authority and literal truth of the Bible and the doctrine of salvation through faith. That's the theoretical side. Simple but effective, you might say. Well, effective up to a point. It's also limiting in that it tends to enclose the mind in a very constrained intellectual box in which deeper insights about the nature of reality are excluded with corresponding spiritual development curtailed. An equal difficulty is that, in practice, evangelism often seems to be marked above all by an emotionalism which makes it the very antithesis of a true and deep spiritual Christianity. It seeks immediate experience and so is subjective, which is not necessarily wrong (though certainly has the potential to be), but the experience it seeks is almost exclusively of the excitable, psychic sort which is a descent into the subconscious, pre-rational state. Elation, loss of control, near-hysteria, these are the polar opposite to the proper Christian approach to God of stillness, reflection and contemplation, and the resulting emotional high may be called love or bliss but it's not deep spiritual love at all which always has the quality of peace. Evangelical experience has nothing of the beauty of holiness but is rather an over-stimulated form of excitement brought about by falling below the rational level of the conscious self not by rising above it and thereby including it in a transformed state of spiritual illumination. It reduces the selves of its participants to an amorphous pool instead of taking them up to the transcendent state of at-one-ment in which the self is raised up to God. The oneness evangelicals experience is that of early humanity which had not yet separated itself out individually. It is not dissimilar to the oneness of the football crowd. There is no wisdom, insight, clarity of vision or real love in this. To quote from the article, "Worship is characterised by rock music, swaying and arm waving, hugging – and, for “charismatic evangelicals”, speaking in tongues or possession by the Holy Spirit". The fact that the inspiration behind all this is more likely to be demonic than spiritual is completely ignored. The comment quoted shows no discernment between the different levels of the inner world, and no understanding of how these reveal themselves. To receive the Holy Spirit requires a high level of inner purity, and true spirituality manifests itself in peace and stillness not frenzy and excitement. See John Fitzgerald's piece here and his comments on a 15th century Russian icon The Descent of the Holy Spirit. The choice of words in this quote is also interesting for the Holy Spirit does not possess. It overshadows or inspires.

I expect it will be said that anything is better than nothing and that this religious approach suits many people so who am I to criticise? Maybe that is true (though I imagine this would not be said if human or even animal sacrifice were involved), but then we have to understand that this is a very limited form of spirituality because it is one in which, to use the language of esotericism, the astral body rather than the soul is involved. This means it is a spirituality of the emotions and depends for its success on constant emotional stimulation. And that is actually the reverse of what should happen in proper spiritual development where the higher feelings, those relating to love, truth, goodness and beauty in their spiritual forms, are invoked rather than those that relate to the ordinary emotional nature and what gives it pleasure or pain when considered as a fundamental centre of consciousness which, for the spiritual person, it is not and should not be.

I am talking about the so called charismatic aspects of evangelical or Pentecostal religion here, but these do seem to be what attracts people to it and what it puts forward as distinguishing itself from other forms of Christianity. They are at its core but it is not enough to call your religion Christian and have it centred on an idea of Jesus if you are not properly responding to the true image of Christ in the heart.

You might dismiss my comments as unreasonable or elitist and tell me that people worship in different ways and if they have Jesus at the centre of their religion that's all that matters. In this case here's what someone else said who presumably knew what he was talking about.

 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

It's not just that you believe our even what you believe.  It's also how or in what way you believe and how you work out that belief. Many evangelical Christians appear to seek an emotional high as their spiritual goal forgetting that true religion lies not in experience but in the development of wisdom, humility and holiness. They are not alone in this. It is a besetting sin of the New Age too whose enthusiasts also forget that peak experiences are a small thing compared to the cultivation of sanctity in the soul. If the over-excitement of charismatic religion leads some to a deeper exploration of spirituality then well and good, but I wonder how often it really does. At any rate I must say that this is not the path to any form of true spiritual awakening for the contemporary person in my view because it is too linked to the religious practices of early and pre-Christian humanity. It is not the way forward for modern man. For that we need something that has a deeper philosophical basis than evangelism can provide and which appeals to the imagination and intellect more than that does. I believe we need something like what Bruce Charlton has called Romantic Christianity, a Christianity in which transcendence and immanence are both given their proper due and men and women are seen as sons and daughters of the living God who can fully participate in His life and being but only when they have conformed their nature to His.

I should say that this article reflects my personal opinion, and although I have brought in my two co-contributors to this blog as witnesses for the prosecution they may not share my view as expressed here.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Plan B: The extremity of the current situation - and its divine purpose

The current situation in Britain is extremely bad - one measure of which is that this statement of fact would be regarded as extreme and unrealistic by most Britons.

Yet it seems that many or most people are self-damned, since they regard their own lives as meaningless and purposeless - and their role in Life as merely to feel good about themselves in the short term until their consciousness is utterly extinguished by inevitable death.

This is because the mass of modern people are fully secular, materialistic and hedonic in outlook. And this world-view is propagated and enforced 24/7 by the official public discourse - in politics, law, officialdom, education, the police and military, science and the arts and - above all - the mass media (to which so many are addictively enslaved).

But how can such a situation be explained if it is accepted that we (each, personally) were deliberately placed in this dire time and desperate spiritual circumstance by God? How does this fit with the intended divine destiny for the people of Britain?

My understanding is that it does make sense - but as a Plan B.

Plan A was that we, the first industrialised people in the history of the world - and starting around 1800 - were supposed-to experience in the most complete way the sense of complete self-consciousness in isolation from the world - we were supposed-to go-fully-into the situation where we doubt God and doubt our-very selves...

And we did. 

But then we were supposed-to touch rock bottom and experience utter alienation - recognise and know from inside its unviability; and then to move-through this state (or bounce-off it); to come out of the other side, and to move to ever higher levels of divine faith, spiritual awareness and conscious engagement with the whole of created reality.

Our experience of modernity was intended to be a transitional phase, analogous to adolescence, after which we would grow-up. That was Plan A.

Instead we - as a culture - made a different choice refused to grow-up, and stayed permanently a the phase of adolescent alienation, angst, self-doubting self-consciousness, solipsism, and perpetual rebellion against God.

Since we refused Plan A, after a suitable period to make sure; Britain moved to Plan B - which was to allow us to take the consequences of the national decision to reject all spiritual realities, including God.

So - Plan B is that we be allowed to experience the fullest extremity of a secular and unspiritual life - a life in which human consciousness is cut-off from meaning, purpose and and real relationship with other people and our environment - for us to live in a world that is (because we choose to regard it so) dead, accidental, arbitrary and utterly pointless.

The people alive today, you and I included, are those for whom such an extremity, such an absurdity, is necessary for us to learn. The consequences of a materialist life without God are there for all to see, impinging in the most aggressive way on every person's life, growing more extreme every decade... and this is a situation in which eventually even such foolish and self-deluded people as myself can eventually be brought to his senses.

Anything less extreme, sustained and absurd would probably not have been enough to snap me out of my false metaphysical assumptions - and I am not the only one. Indeed it is clear that even our present unprecedented level of insanity is not enough for most people yet to recognise.

From a Christian understanding; we can never be compelled to accept God, and God would not wish to compel us even if he could. Therefore, God so arranges things to make 'life' most conducive to our learning from experience, seeing things most clearly, and making the right choices (especially un-making our earlier wrong choices, which now trap us).

You and I are among those spirits whose obtuseness was judged to be most extreme; who required the simplest, starkest and most extreme lessons from life; because we would not learn from gentler and more complex education.

(Of course, some among us are not of the desperately pig-headed and complacently stupid type as myself - the type that this modern world is 'designed' to teach. These are instead meant to be our teachers, guides, and Good examples.)

That - broadly - is what I think is currently going-on.

It is crude and it is not ideal. It was not Plan A; but instead is a second chance, a Plan B for modern Man who refused Plan A.

Life as it is now is our responsibility; but the situation is allowed by God for our own ultimate good - because modern officially-sanctioned and encouraged and implemented British life may sufficiently 'rub our noses' in the consequences of our own collective choices, that eventually at least some of us will stop denying, pretending, and lying  - and instead smell what is really there.

Even someone as stubbornly, self-destructively idiotic as myself.  

Monday 20 February 2017

Building soil... the benefits of waiting to publish

I have stopped blogging daily - my reason?

The answer is given, allegorically, in a poem called Build Soil, by Robert Frost - written in 1932:


...To market 'tis our destiny to go.
But much as in the end we bring for sale there
There is still more we never bring or should bring;
More that should be kept back - the soil for instance
In my opinion, though we both know poets
Who fall all over each other to bring soil
And even subsoil and hardpan to market.

To sell the hay off, let alone the soil,
Is an unpardonable sin in farming.
The moral is, make a late start to market...

Let none assume to till the land but farmers.
I only speak to you as one of them.
You shall go to your run-out mountain farm,
Poor cast-away of commerce, and so live
That none shall ever see you come to market-
Not for a long long time. Plant, breed, produce,
But what you raise or grow, why feed it out,
Eat it or plow it under where it stands
To build the soil.

...For what is more accursed
Than an impoverished soil pale and metallic?
What cries more to our kind for sympathy? ...

Build soil. Turn the farm in upon itself
Until it can contain itself no more,
But sweating-full, drips wine and oil a little.

I will go to my run-out social mind
And be as unsocial with it as I can.
The thought I have, and my first impulse is
To take to market— I will turn it under.
The thought from that thought—I will turn it under
And so on to the limit of my nature.

We are too much out, and if we won't draw in
We shall be driven in...


Typically, for me, writing is thinking - and publishing just a part of the process. But as of now (for how long, who can say.. to the limit of my nature?)...

Well, just now I am building soil; turning my thoughts under to fertilise the next crop.

Thursday 16 February 2017

The future is Freedom - but spiritual, not political, Freedom

The work of Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield has been extremely helpful to me in understanding Western Man's spiritual destiny - and thus the divinely-intended future of Christianity in Albion.

In particular I have been tremendously impressed by Steiner's prophecy of 1918 as published under the distinctly un-promising title of  'The work of the angels in Man's astral body'.

In essence, as I understand it; our destiny is to be truly free - which means to be free in our true thinking, from our true selves.

'True' thinking is thinking which we personally originate - not thinking caused by external factors but thinking which comes from that-which-is-divine within us.

(That which is divine in us is the true self - to be distinguished from the fake personalities we passively absorb or get inculcated by socialisation, sin and error.)

This is - or would be - a grown-up, wholly-individual (unique to each person), fully-responsible Christianity

- and not, therefore, the relatively child-like, passive, rule-following obedience to external pressures and rules of traditional and historical Christianity; and not the social-sexual freedom-from-Christianity of perpetually-adolescent modern left-liberalism.

The religion of the future - the fully-developed and adult Christianity - is not a church-derived religion; it is the directly-experienced religion of an individual spiritually in a loving relationship with the divine and other people.

What lies between us-now, and the attainment of this future spiritual Christianity, is our spiritual ignorance, rejection and incompetence; the solution to which is to discover what we are aiming for and then, by some process of trial and error and repentance the specific details of which will be unique to each individual person - due to their unique constitution and circumstances.

So there is no generally-applicable program of readings, rituals, exercises, prayers, meditations - and no institutional structure - which we can depend-upon for this - each must do it for him- or her-self.

This sound either impossible or a recipe for blundering, wishful thinking, being manipulated and self-deception; however we have each been equipped (by the creator, our loving Father) with an inner guidance system and an inner capacity of evaluation and judgement (i.e. discernment).

Neither the guidance system nor the discernment are perfect - but each is of divine nature - and together they will suffice to do the job, when backed-up by a willingness to acknowledge and repent our errors.

But what 'proof' do I have that this is indeed what we ought to be doing; what is my evidence?

The answer is that it is a matter of personal revelation; which itself depends on a solid personal belief in the validity of inner-guidance and discernment - and that past ideas of the primacy of 'the church' (or any other external, objective source) are no longer applicable at this point in Western human evolution.

So - the present is a perpetual adolescence which is evil and un-viable; but the past is neither possible to re-attained nor is it desirable that we should return to it - the future is something new, imprecise in its details, and uncharted in its consequences.

However, the destined future of Christianity in Albion is clear enough, and our competence is sufficient, that we can get there - if we aim in the right direction and proceed with the proper motivation.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

We Are Not Alone

Astronomers have long wondered whether we are alone in the universe or if there are other life forms or even intelligent civilisations somewhere out there in deep space. They have searched for signs of life over several decades but so far found nothing. No indication that we are not alone in the universe. But are they searching in the right place or the right way? Naturally they are materialists. They are scientists after all and science is wedded to materialism in a contract so binding that nothing it seems can break it. So they can only conceive of one direction in which to look, but this means they ignore other possible avenues of research. For example, what if the world extended in a vertical plane as well as the customary three dimensional horizontal one? There are ample indications that it does from many sources including, most obviously, religion, myth and folklore. These may not be taken seriously nowadays but what if we really are, as these imply, surrounded by life forms who may not be apparent to our sensory based perception yet who can, under certain conditions, make themselves known to us?

Having asked the question I'll answer it. Yes, this is exactly how things are. The physical world we are aware of is something like the outermost crust of a sphere of being which has many levels corresponding, no doubt, to the many mansions that Jesus told us were in his Father's house. There is this difference though. Whereas in, say, the case of an orange the outer skin is the largest part of the whole, the exact opposite is the case with this order of reality. Every inner section or plane is greater than the one external to it, and, not only that, but it includes further dimensions beyond the three we know as well. Language fails here or, at least mine certainly does, but the idea that the inner is greater than the outer should not be so difficult to grasp if we think of the outer as essentially projected from the inner or a more limited version of it.

Inner and outer, though, like up and down, are relative terms and another way to envisage the higher worlds is suggested by this famous image.

Here the circles of higher being surround the physical world which is the innermost, densest and most limited section of being. When, as the man in the picture is shown doing, we go beyond the physical, we enter the next worlds and there are many of these, as the spheres in the picture illustrate, ranging from those not too dissimilar to this world (though non-physical) on up to higher worlds of incomparable beauty, purity and spiritual glory. What this picture doesn't show is that from one perspective all these spheres are in the same place, interpenetrating each other rather like, to use a crude analogy, water does a sponge. The picture, being a two dimensional representation of a many dimensional reality, can only suggest this.

All these spheres of being have inhabitants whose spiritual state corresponds to the nature of their locality. Thus those nearer this physical world have a consciousness not unlike that of man as he is here while those further removed from our world think and relate and are aware in a very different manner to us. Their faculties of feeling and knowing have been considerably expanded and developed to encompass and respond to the spiritual realities of their worlds, once described to me as a sea of azure blue and gold where all is poetry, music and colour. Through spiritual discipline and sacrifice of the self they have attuned their minds to what one is bound to call higher vibrations, and their mode of consciousness has moved from a self-centred form to a God-centred one.

Theoretically the nearer these localities or planes are to this world, the easier it is for their dwellers to communicate with us. This explains why spiritualist mediums (if genuine) generally contact those who have only recently 'passed over'. It is also why people who use psychic or magical means to explore the next world are more likely to encounter demonic beings than spiritually elevated ones. Purity of intention is always a safeguard but even with the best of intentions a psychic explorer can, if not careful, leave himself open to unfriendly spirits and even possession. The best way to contact higher spirits remains prayer and meditation practised in the context of dedication and service to God, submitting oneself to his guidance, care and protection. But in these cases the contact is usually on a spiritual/intuitive level and need not be registered as such by the physical brain.

We are not alone. We do have guides and helpers on the higher planes and there are angelic spirits there too though I have no experience of these. I do, however, have some experience of spiritual guides and that is why I feel I can write about this subject from a more than theoretical position. My knowledge is slight but sufficient to confirm that there is a body of saintly beings who act as the spiritual guides to humanity and who can and sometimes do communicate with people in this world.

Direct communication is rare and probably only used when a subject either has a particular task to accomplish or else is somewhat spiritually obtuse and cannot respond to the preferred approach on an intuitive level or else needs a spiritual kick start as it were, which I rather think was my case. That said, I do believe any spiritually sincere person of pure aspiration can contact his spiritual guides on the higher planes by attempting to raise his consciousness up to that level. Visualise a saint or holy person to whom you feel attracted and concentrate on that, imagining light pouring out from them down to you. Dedicate yourself humbly to God and pray for guidance. Naturally you can pray to God directly but he does use intermediaries and sometimes these are more accessible to the human mind. Success is not guaranteed and it is also probable that any contact that is made is unlikely to be known consciously by the outer mind. It will be registered spiritually and the results conveyed through the intuition in the form of heightened understanding and clearer insight but it is unlikely to be perceived in terms of a direct encounter. But the former way can be of greater spiritual benefit because it makes the resultant understanding one's own rather than something that is second hand and not necessarily absorbed properly.

You might say this is all theory and quite unprovable. So it is but one usually starts from theory and then experiments and waits to see how things go from there. It is quite in order with orthodox tradition that higher beings can direct and guide us and are there to respond to our supplications when these are earnestly and prayerfully made. We do all have a personal connection to God but God also works through his saints and messengers and these are there to help us come closer to our divine source if we call on them with sincere aspiration. I can vouch for that. It is true that the opportunity for deception exists but that simply means that you must cleanse your heart. You will not be deceived if your motive is pure.

Saturday 11 February 2017

This Charged Land: Alan Garner's 'Elidor'

The prophet breathes the air of freedom. He smothers in the hardened world about him, but in his own spiritual world he breathes freely. He always visions a free spiritual world and awaits its penetration into this stifling world.

Nicholas Berdyaev, Freedom and the Spirit.


Every word in Elidor is freighted with gold. Published in 1965, Alan Garner's third novel does for Manchester (and all cities by extension) what The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960) and Moon of Gomrath (1963) did for the valleys, woods and hills of Cheshire. He imbues the cityscape with a numinous depth charge. The stuff of everyday urban life - lamp posts, railway bridges, terraced houses - take on an almost sacramental glow, pointing to a level of understanding beyond the reach of materialist models of reality. One world segues into another. Take this passage, for instance:

Roland ran along the wider streets until his eyes were used to the dark. The moon had risen, and the glow of the city lightened the sky. He twisted down alleyways, running blindly, through crossroads, over bombed sites, and along the streets again. Roland stopped and listened. There was only the noise of the city, a low, constant rumble that was like silence.

He was in the demolition area. Roof skeletons made broken patterns against the sky. Roland searched for a place that would be safe to climb, and found a staircase on the exposed inner wall of a house. He sat on the top in the moonlight. It was freezing hard. Roofs and cobbles sparkled. The cold began to ache into him. He wondered if the others had decided to stay in one place and wait until he came.

This thought bothered him, and he was still trying to make up his mind when the unicorn appeared at the end of the street. His mane flowed like a river in the moon: the point of the horn drew fire from the stars. Roland shivered with the effort of looking. He wanted to fix every detail in his mind for ever, so that no matter what else happened there would always be this. (pp.188-192)

Who can forget writing like this? No-one in my experience. I've never known a book, at least among my circle of friends, which retains its impact for so long in the reader's imagination. People can recall whole scenes. Either that or specific images, such as the fiddler in the slum clearance area, leap into their minds as soon as the book is mentioned. Garner's story, in this respect, has much in common with Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 film Stalker, another quest for meaning through a magical but treacherous landscape. Tarkovsky calls his liminal space the 'Zone', and Elidor has two such 'Zones' - both wastelands - sites of blight and dereliction - the parallel world of Elidor itself and a mid-1960s Manchester which bears absolutely no resemblance to the 'swinging sixties' of popular imagination.

Malebron, Elidor's 'king in exile', disguises himself as a fiddler to lure the Watson children into his world through the portal of a North Manchester church on the brink of demolition. Once there, the children encounter a pre-industrial mirror image of their home city - the bitter legacy of moral and spiritual decline:

"The darkness grew," said Malebron. "It is always there. We did not watch, and the power of night closed on Elidor. We had so much of ease that we did not mark the signs - a crop blighted, a spring failed, a man killed. Then it was too late - war and siege, and betrayal, and the dying of the light." (p.44)

The children are charged with rescuing the four Treasures of Elidor - a spear, a sword, a stone and a bowl - from within the sinister Mound of Vandwy. Their next task is to take the Treasures back to Manchester and guard them until Malebron sends word. The difficulty is that there are clearly other powers at work in Elidor than Malebron, determined to seize the Treasures for their own ends. Their attempts to break into the genteel suburban milieu created by the Watsons' parents form the substance of the second half of the book.

For Roland, the youngest and most sensitive of the children, this is a particularly heavy burden. He is greatly impressed by Elidor and more in sympathy with Malebron than any of his siblings. Malebron's goodness and Elidor's physical reality mean everything to him. When his brothers, Nicholas and David, attempt to rationalise what happened in the church, Roland is uncompromising in his defence of Elidor's veracity:

"But you're pretending it doesn't matter," said Roland. "Didn't it mean anything to you - Malebron and the Treasures, and that golden castle, and - everything."
"Listen," said David, "Nick's not all that dim, although you think he is. A lot of what he says makes sense, even if I don't agree with everything myself."
"What does he say, then? That there's no such place as Elidor, and we dreamed it?"
"In a way," said David.
"He's off his head."
"No, he's gone into it more than any of us," said David. "And he's been reading books. He says it could all have been what he calls 'mass hallucination', perhaps something to do with the shock after the church nearly fell on us. He says it does happen."
"if you can believe that, you can believe in the Treasures," said Roland. (pp.116-17)

Roland is proved right in the end, but his vindication comes at a price and brings him no joy. Roland is a prophet, and he shares in the eternal lot of prophets - sidelined, patronised, and seen as no more, even by his own mother, than a temperamental, overly-wrought schoolboy:

"I did see somebody!" said Roland. "I did!"
"Now come along inside, Roland," said Mrs Watson. "You know you're own worst enemy."
"But Mum, I did see somebody!"
"I don't doubt it," said Mrs Watson. "But you mustn't let you imagination run away with you. You're too highly strung, that's your trouble. You'll make yourself ill if you're not careful." (p.122)

The consensus among my friends is that Roland does indeed make himself ill and that, by the end of the book, he is close to 'cracking up' or 'losing it'. I'm not so sure. Roland's only mistake, as far as I can tell is to confuse Elidor - a parallel world to our own and nothing more - with Heaven itself. It is an error which comes from a good place, however, born out of Roland's great capacity for spiritual insight. It is exactly this ability to see what her older siblings cannot see that guides Lucy Pevensie to Aslan before anyone else in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. It is worth bearing in mind as well that participating in the final two chapters of Elidor would be an intense experience for anyone, let alone one so finely tuned as Roland. Nonetheless, I don't find anything in the text to suggest that he can't recover, go on to fulfil his potential and live a life of value and meaning. I take encouragement from Malebron's commendation after Roland has succeeded where his brothers and sister fail in the Mound of Vanwy: "Remember, I have said the worlds are linked ... and what you have done here will be reflected in some way, at some time, in your world."

Roland is a lantern bearer. He unfurls the banner of the Imagination, in both Elidor and Manchester, at the points where disenchantment and desacralisation seem strongest. I also see in him a herald of the coming spiritual resurgence, the Age of the Holy Spirit prophecied by Joachim de Flore in the twelfth century and Nicholas Berdyaev in the twentieth. Roland stands in the High Places, watching and waiting for the signs of this imaginative renaissance. It is a fine and noble calling, and possibly all that can be achieved at this time. Because who can say with certainty if the 'reflection' promised by Malebron has already been revealed, is currently with us, or still to come? The impact made by Elidor these last fifty-two years serves as sign and symbol enough, perhaps, that the greening of the wasteland - the recharging and resacralisation of our imaginations - might be nearer than we think.

We will know the day when it comes. Like Elidor, it will be freighted with gold:

Roland screwed up his eyes, and after a while he thought he could make out a form that was more substantial than the shifting cloud, away to his left. 
A castle. Black. Dead loss. There's got to be something. 
But the view showed only desolation. Plain, ridge, forest, sea, all were spent. Even colour had been drained from the light, and Roland saw everything, his own flesh and clothes, in shades of grey, as if in a photograph. 
Three castles.
He looked to his right. Here the dark was like thunder, impenetrable. Then - It came, and went, and came again.
It's a light. On a hill. Very faint - like - a candle - dying - towers! Golden towers!
Roland could never remember whether he saw it, or whether it was a picture in his mind, but as he strained to pierce the haze, his vision seemed to narrow and to draw the castle towards him. It shone as if the stones had soaked in light, as if stone could be amber. People were moving on the walls: metal glinted. Then clouds drifted over. 
Roland was back on the hill-top, but that spark in the mist across the plain had driven away the exhaustion, the hopelessness. It was the voice outside the keep; it was a tear of the sun.

* The illustrations for Elidor were drawn by Charles Keeping (1924-1988), who also illustrated many of Rosemary Sutcliffe's children's stories set in late-Roman and early Anglo-Saxon England, such as The Silver Branch, The Lantern Bearers and Dawn Wind. This provides a nice link, I feel, between one era of 'decline' and another.

** The edition of Elidor I have used in this essay was published by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2008, in the essential modern classics imprint.

How to inspire people?

This is the nub of the problem.

I don't personally believe that stinging critiques are going to help evoke a spiritual awakening - yet nearly everybody in modern Britain is heavily pre-immunised against the spiritual perspective; indeed multiply immunised by layers of ignoring, mocking, disinformation and sheer incomprehension: when one defence of materialism fails, another kicks-in.

Then again, most people who are 'spiritual but not religious' seem indistinguishable from the mainstream leftist materialistic masses; probably because the spirituality is not the true bottom-line or bedrock of their conviction- it is too feeble, too vague, too ironic; too much a self-therapy rather than a metaphysical framework.

Probably, one cannot be truly aware of and living-by spiritual (non-material) values unless these are explained and sustained by metaphysics - and that usually implies religion.

The difficulty is apparently that we need religion to sustained a spirituality which is real; and we need spirituality for a religion which addresses the main modern problem of alienation - yet getting them both at the same time is difficult and unlikely, and either alone will seldom suffice.

It can't really be done by argument; but it can sometimes be done by presenting an imaginative vision; when the whole 'picture' is seen simultaneously, in a 'flash'.

That is perhaps what we should strive for - something brief enough to be taken in in one go; and deep enough to have the necessary impact.

Monday 6 February 2017

What are the forces at work in the Zeitgeist?

(Even the word 'force' is a prejudgment!)

It is so much against the spirit of this age, that I find it very difficult really to interpret things by my belief that this is ultimately a world of conscious beings - and not a world of abstract forces.

At the top of everything is the intention of God - but it seems clear that there are a multitude of other conscious beings - some incarnate, others not; with varying degrees of consciousness and agency; and some are allied with God's plans while other are pursuing their own agendas - or have banded together to pursue another agenda.

This seems to be a world in which it is difficult to learn and progress towards divinity; and a world in which conflict is sometimes a necessity (and in which there are no guarantees of success).

I feel that the divine intention is that Albion should awaken from his slumbering nightmare sleepwalk to self-damnation and death; and I am sure that making this kind of thing happen (or making it possible) is way too complicated for me to understand and that the most important factors are imperceptible.

Yet, for all the unknowns and uncertainties, the ultimate situation is one of conscious beings in cooperation and in conflict and in pursuit of agendas and so should not be impossible to discover.

The difficulty is not that such things can't be known; but that they are the kind of thing which modern people such as myself have great difficulty in discovering due to our trained blindness and insensitivity, and large capacity for wishful thinking, self-deception and despair...

Apart from that, it should be easy!

It used to be called the Zeitgeist, and it is a real thing - as real and significant as the morale of an infantry unit in frontline warfare.

I get peeks, hear snatches and feel hunches concerning the spirit of this time; but I really would love to know more about what is going-on unseen, unheard and imperceptibly.

Sunday 5 February 2017

Christianity not a means to the end of saving Albion

Although Christianity is necessary to saving Albion; and Christianity must come first - before any programme of  political, economic, or social changes; that does Not mean that we can or should use Christianity as a means to the end of saving Albion specifically

And what applies to Albion specifically also applies to The West in general.

The situation is that we must have spiritual Christianity first, because otherwise we will not know what to do, nor how properly to do it.

To put is another way, without a spiritual Christian revival, the nation of Albion will not be especially worth saving.

This is harsh but true. All that was good about Albion will be lost - as much of it already has been lost, and indeed inverted, unless we first recover our spirituality.

And for various reasons this spirituality must end-up being Christianity (even if the awakening is not initially Christian, it will need to become so before too long - and indeed would become so, I believe - unless coercively distorted in some other direction).

This is how it must work: the nation has a spiritual awakening, which entails acknowledging the reality and importance of the spiritual (suprasensory) in Life, and orientating Life towards this - this must then become Theistic and Christ-centred spirituality.

Then, and only then, will we be able to understand the situation we are in, what needs to be done (and in what order things need to be done) and how to do they - because the methods must be congruent with the objectives.

From here and now - we simply do not understand or know. Our perspective is based on false premises (a false metaphysics) and anything we try to do will be poisoned at source - and will almost certainly lead to net harm - do more evil than good.

This applies to all current secular (i.e. not primarily religious) politics and ideologies, both Left and Right: all such are necessarily and always blind, warped and wicked.

Saturday 4 February 2017

Wellesley Tudor Pole

Wellesley Tudor Pole was one of the more interesting spiritual characters of the last century. Born in 1884, he was associated with spiritualism, to which he brought a calm, objective eye, and the Baha'i Faith (a more universal kind of Islam, originating in Iran and probably strongly influenced by Sufism), which he helped introduce to England without, as far as I can tell, ever becoming a fully-fledged member himself.

But what is most intriguing about him is that, if he is to be believed, he was able to maintain continuity of consciousness during sleep. This means he could remember his activities in the spiritual worlds at night. It might be tempting to dismiss this as imagination or delusion but his books give the impression of a highly rational and level headed person, only too aware of the flights of fancy to which many psychics are prone. They carry a strong sense of wisdom and balance. He made no grandiose claims about himself and shunned rather than sought the limelight, but seems to have been regarded with universal respect in the spiritual communities of the time. He died in 1968 after a life that effortlessly spanned both the things of this world and those of the next as can be seen from this link to a timeline of his life. On the one hand, he had been a soldier and businessman while, on the other, he explored spiritual and psychic matters with a combination of vision and common sense that was as rare then as it is now. From the perspective of this blog he is additionally interesting as the person who set up the Chalice Well Trust in 1959. This was created to safeguard the holy well of the same name at Glastonbury. The Trust's website has more information about him, and a photograph that shows a fine face, here. All in all I would rate him as one of the foremost English psychics and mystics of the 20th century.

Having introduced WTP, as he was known, I'd like to talk about a couple of his books here. He didn't write much, four or five works at most and some of them are collaborations. That is the case with the first book here which is called A Man Seen Afar. It's hard to know how to describe this. Is it meant to be taken seriously, is it complete fantasy or does it, in some way, touch on the truth? When I tell you what it's about you will see the difficulty. The book is a collaboration with the novelist Rosamond Lehmann and purports to be glimpses 'from afar' into the life of Jesus. That is to say, Tudor Pole claims that by some clairvoyant means, not fully defined (as if they could be), he was able to see episodes from Jesus' life as though he had been personally present. Naturally one's first instinct is to reject this out of hand but if you read with an open mind the impression you get, or at least the one I got, is that there is something going on here which has a grounding in some sort of reality. I can't put it any more substantially than that. I certainly can't say I believe it is a wholly accurate account of Jesus as he was in Palestine 2,000 years ago but nor do I feel able to dismiss it entirely. It seems to me, like many things of a psychic nature, to hover on the borderline between the two and what I wonder is that is perhaps Tudor Pole tuning in through his finely developed spiritual antennae to something that exists on a spiritual level and interpreting that through his own mind? This would account for the mixture of truth and a more personal tone that the account has. So I think of it more as a work of art to be responded to intuitively and through the imagination than solid scientific fact. And as a work of art it certainly has plenty of interest. Some of it might be genuine insight and some might not. It is up to the reader to bring his own powers of perception to bear when reading.

The second book is not a book at all. It's a collection of letters written by Tudor Pole to Rosamond Lehmann in the last years of his life. Entitled My Dear Alexias it goes into a whole range of subjects of a spiritual nature from Jesus and the Grail to free will and the nature of evil, and even the truth behind flying saucers (as they were known at the time) and the validity of organ transplants and the Common Market (he wasn't in favour of either). And a good deal more. Again, I would not advise uncritical acceptance. Tudor Pole was a psychic and, though he was undoubtedly a highly spiritual one, you can never dismiss the element of subjectivity from a psychic's pronouncements. The best way to look at these is as the insights of a wise and humble man (and there's little doubt he was that), gained from a lifetime's experience in this field. But he was certainly not infallible and, in fact, was at great pains to say so himself.

His relevance to this blog I would say is as a kind of forerunner to any spiritual revival in England. Amidst all the hyperbole and spurious glamour of New Age spirituality he stands as a beacon of visionary insight and good solid sense. A practical mystic. Part dreamer and part businessman. That's quite English, isn't it?