Friday 1 June 2018

William Arkle and the telepathic adder - the nature of modern English magic

From Colin Wilson's Strange Powers, 1975:

William Arkle told me how the snakes in his garden seemed to respond to his thoughts. 

He bought himself a huge house - it used to be a monastery - on a hill top overlooking Weston-super-Mare. The garden turned out to be full of adders and grass snakes. One adder made a habit of wandering along beside Bill Arkle when he walked down the drive. He found it coiled in the middle of the drive one day, in such a position that he couldn't drive the car past without killing it. 

He got out of the car and prodded it awake with a stick; it hissed and declined to move. He decided that he had better kill it in case it bit one of the children; as soon as he moved towards it with this intention, it hissed violently at him. 

Being by nature a gentle mystic, he decided to let it live; the snake immediately moved to the side of the driveway, and went back to sleep.

All he told me made clear that the thing was telepathic.

This story is, of course, totally unconvincing to a materialist, when understood to be presented as 'evidence' of telepathic communication with animals - all these things could be 'explained-away' using biological arguments.

Nonetheless, if our metaphysical assumptions are different, this this is the exactly kind of thing we would expect from a world which began with an immersive consciousness of the nature experienced by (apparently) all young children, and by some hunter gatherers. As Wilson goes on to say 'We exist in a kind of psychic ether of which we are unaware.'

Owen Barfield explains why and how human consciousness separated-itself-out from this 'psychic ether' so as to become free, agent, and more fully divine; this separation has both historical and personal-developmental aspects - but the fact is that we do, both socially and personally, seem to be 'stuck' at a point when we yearn to escape alienation and return to the kind of connection wit the world described above.

Why - since we live in this primal 'etheric' state of connection with all things, is the fact not more obvious? Why is it not easier for us to recover this communication?

The Arkle story shows that such 'magical' things may just-happen, unconsciously and unintentionally; but when people try to alter reality purposively, to make a reliable science of magic, then it doesn't work.

And we should be grateful for that - considering the many unsavoury people who are attracted to magic, and what they would do with it if they could make it work! Imagine if the rulers of modern Britain were able to do magic - horrible idea.

(My understanding is that the ruling elites do indeed attempt to practice all kinds of magic, dark rituals and symbolism abound. The Jimmy Savile affair lifted a corner on this aspect of the Establishment, its extent and depravity. But the effect of all this black magic is - it seems - primarily for the rulers to corrupt themselves, to deliver and bind their souls to serve the dark powers.)

And that is, perhaps, the answer. When we are better people, such that we will not abuse our power, we will again become magical. But until then, there is a barrier erected for our own good.

Tolkien's great parable of this is Numenor. In the Second Age of the world; Men were given the magical power of elves, and used it - at first - in appreciation of life, in art and learning. But soon they began to use their magic in technology - and then in warfare applied to expanding their power, conquering weaker peoples, and finally assaulting the Valar (gods) in the futile attempt to wrest immortality from them - and the paradise island of Numenor was drowned and destroyed.

Since then, it is implied, such power, such magic, has been withdrawn from Men - for our own good; and modern Men (of the Fourth Age) are mundane. Magic, enchantment, has departed from our world.

But enchantment, including magic, can and will return, whenever we are worthy of it. This means that, under present conditions and for most people, it can only be infrequent, brief and mostly unplanned.

However, it would be valuable to notice and remember (but not necessarily to talk about it) when magic does happen in our personal lives - and not just ignore magic because it is not under our command.


Chiu ChunLing said...

While I have a number of supernatural affinities for elements of the natural world that I have used to consistently produce certain effects, I don't really regard them as magic.

Nor religion, I might add.

For the most part, the supernatural world is not confined to "magic" nor religion. It simply exists in the same way that the natural world does, though at a higher level. There is more to the natural world than churches or occult shops, and there is more to the supernatural world than the particular purposes represented by churches and occult shops.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Less than an hour after I read this post, an old friend of mine in America contacted me and told me a story about how his daughter had found a (harmless) garter snake at their house and, not wanting to kill it, they had taken it to a local park and set it free. Several hours later, they stopped back at the park to check on the snake and found that it had not moved at all but was still in the exact same spot, and that some kids were prodding it with a stick. They told the kids to leave it alone, and it slithered to safety.

The synchronicity fairies are out in force today!

Adil said...

I have a telepathic relationship with my cat. Synchronicity is real and it would be better if we developed our telepathic capacities to communicate with others but unfortunately we use smartphones instead, which disrupts our innate God given capacities.