Sunday, 30 September 2018

A million minds awaken

If things happened the way I want and believe that they could happen, millions of people would (simultaneously) develop a direct and personal knowledge of Jesus; discern the hopes and wishes of the Creator, and be sustained by a freely-chosen, self-motivated faith.

The millions would, each in millions of ways per day, change for the better; they would strive Not to do evil; and would instead strive to want, think and do Good.

There would then instantly be tremendous transformation in the way 'things work' - or, especially, do Not work. At present mass thinking and behaviour are trivially easy to manipulate for the Establishment - via the mass media and the mass of officialdom. People's minds are controlled by what is put-into-them by the media/ advertising/ PR; and this is amplified by social media and interpersonal gossip, and the interlocking single system of bureaucracy.

People are given the topic of the day - nothing is too trivial, truth is no obstacle - and the mass will duly comply and think, talk about, get angry/ afraid about, and respond to... whatever.

Yet with a mass awakening; suddenly, in billions of ways, people en masse would be un-predictable, un-controllable.

Yet Not 'randomly' unpredictable (such that it would average-out) but in a deeply coordinated, directed way. Yet also this coordination would come from within each person by their link wit the divine: the broad but (over time, despite errors) tenacious alignment of each individual to God's creative goals would align any number of millions without need for any external structure of control.

The simple totalitarian system would almost-instantly break - within hours this could be seen, within days it would be undeniable; the relationship between action and effect would be broken - outcomes would become radically unpredictable. Nothing could be done to stop this - because each individual would be an autonomous and self-motivating unit of Goodness, integrity, courage, love. No clamp-down could stop it because the mechanism of coordination is invisible, immaterial, acts instantly and over any distance...

All this sounds largely negative, and at the level systems of of social organisation it would be. The positivity would come from a multitude of individual acts - not from system changes. But the Good of any such changes is not, at the proper level of analysis, a material and this-worldly Good; but a spiritual Good. It is, indeed, perhaps most likely to happen when it becomes clear (with a flash of irresistable insight) that The System cannot, and does not wish to, deliver peace, prosperity, comfort and convenience - but is, instead, strategically engineering and implementing an endemic social state of universal, long-term, high-level fear and resentment.

Any such situation as this autonomous awakening of millions of minds cannot be imposed but only embraced - it is, indeed, the individual act of freedom and alliance with God that constitutes the situation. Top-down mechanisms can easily make matters work - but they cannot improve things.

Bottom-up, individual level, awakening and faith would certainly improve things - but these 'things' will be ultimate things; and the collapse of evil-intended strategies would surely be enough to collapse a great deal of Good, or at least essential-to-life, activity (that is, at least, the plan of evil, and always has been: apres moi le deluge... bring me down and you will bring the world crashing around your ears...).

But if/ when there is a mass and individual level awakening; then none of that will matter: the situation would, quite simply, be unstoppable - and (probably) nobody would ever understand (in this life) what had happened, what was happening, or why.


Friday, 28 September 2018

The Good People of Albion

I know plenty of these GP of Albion - I know their strengths... but I am also acutely aware of their weakness. I will try to explain why they are so weak.

In a nutshell it is because they are only unconsciously good.

They are not Good for any positive, explicit reason of which they are aware.  Their goodness is merely an inarticulate gut-feeling of what is proper, decent, common-sensical...

The mass and pervasiveness of insane and evil propaganda to which these Good People are subjected from officialdom, the mass media, social media and in their workplaces strikes them as wrong - but they cannot say, in contrast, what would be right.

They know what they don't want to do; but have no plan of what they ought.

TGPoA live by materialist assumptions that reject all that is divine or even spiritual. Consequently, the they lack core, spiritual strength; they lack courage - they do not have a 'cause'.

They live, at a conscious level, wholly inside The System. So they can easily be persuaded that some bad thing, which they know at gut-level to be bad, is inevitable - that 'resistance is futile'.

They passively drag-their-heels, privately grumble... but there is zero active, purposive push-back from the Good People of Albion; because there is, for them, nowhere to push from... nowhere that lies outside The System.


(...Because, the only real thing that lies outside The System is the divine; which the GPoA deny - by assumption.) 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

More on the New Age

Following William's recent piece; I was looking through examples of a representative New Age series originating some twenty-some years ago: James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy and the follow-up volumes.

I was interested in these because of the central place Redfield gives to Synchronicity (i.e. apparent coincidences that seem meaningful); and the idea of acknowledging and being guided-by events that seem to be examples of it.

(And there are plenty of good things in Redfield's books - perhaps most of what is needed is there, somewhere or another.) 

In fact, this was one of the important threads that led me to theism; since I reasoned that if synchronicity was real (as it seemed to be, in my own life) then it implied a personal God with an interest in myself personally... To make sense of synchronicity rules out a random and directionless universe, and it rules-out the idea of a reality of abstract tendencies.

At least, this is what I reasoned - but in fact Redfield doesn't go down this path of a Personal God, but keeps his discussion rooted in abstract and physics-derived concepts such as Energy, Light, Vibration and Frequency; and this is indeed typical of New Age thinking.

Such a perspective leads onto the practical conviction that the centre of religious life is therapy; and indeed Redfield was a professional (psycho) therapist, and the books are therapeutic in orientation. In other words, the centre of New Age spirituality is therapy; in other words how people feel - the books are self-help, and the social aspects are workshops and individual psychological work.

This shows the deficiency of New Age - and how it is assimilated to materialist modernity (as can be seen from the universal leftism of New Age gurus and participants). New Age is not an alternative to the mainstream meaninglessness and purposeless of publicly-shared 'objectivity - but is a strengthening of the subjective and the personally-arbitrary elements of modern life... In a sense it is a strengthened wishful-thinking within limits, and tested pragmatically in a trial and error fashion.

Because, in New Age, the ultimate reality is abstract and physics-like - because there is No personal God; this means that there is no personal moral guidance, in particular no sexual morality. And this was very important in the 'success' - and the failure - of New Age thinking.

Because sex is (probably) the second most powerful human drive (after religion) then in practice sexuality tends to take-over New Age life - and it becomes a miserable litany of promiscuity, affairs, divorces, manipulation and experimentation. 


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Third Eye errors

There is a recurrent spiritual idea that there might be an organ of spiritual perception - an inner 'Third Eye' - by which we might see reality; see, in particular, spiritual phenomena imperceptible to the ordinary senses.

But this idea is conceptually incoherent; because any inner spiritual eye would be prone to the same problem as any ordinary eye; which is that the meaning of reality is not Out There, but requires our own thinking. To know The World therefore requires not merely perceptual information (what we see, hear, touch, taste or small) but instead the true conceptual understanding of perceptual information*.

This 'combination' of perceptual and conceptual can happen in thinking, and only in thinking; and only when thinking is truth-full, real - is, in sum, the thinking of that aspect of each Man that is divine.

So, it does not matter whether an eye is one of the usual two organs that are located on our faces, or if it is an inner Third Eye - anything that is perceived by any means always requires to be interpreted and understood. Seeing is Not believed, not even with an inner eye, because we do not comprehend the meaning of what we see unless we are able to interpret what we see in light of true concepts, true theories.

It is hard for us to grasp this reality, since we are accustomed to assume that seeing is believing, and that anything really-real forces itself upon us without any act of interpretation. Yet, at the same time - and in a contradictory fashion, we also know that the same sensory data can be, and often is, interpreted in widely different ways by different people - or by the same person at different times, or when in different psychological states.

Such a contradiction is, indeed, one of the deep roots of modern nihilism and despair - because people have come to believe that they can never really know anything: that objective external reality is un-knowable and that that their personal subjective experience has no necessary connection with objective reality.

The idea of a Third Eye is an attempt to get past this assumed unknowability of external reality, by assuming-by-definition that there exists an 'infallible' organ which both perceives and interprets reality - an organ that leads to knowledge. And indeed there is! But it is not an organ of perception, but an 'organ' of direct knowing (without perception).

The organ of direct knowing is our true, real and divine self in its thinking.

Because only by knowing directly can we escape from the insufficiency of the perceived; and knowing is an active state of thinking - not a static and crystallised state: being is itself active, dynamic, doing.

Direct knowing (without mediation, without perception; just-knowing some-thing) is a matter that is difficult to conceptualise for Modern Man, but was apparently quite everyday and normal in ancient cultures. People have tried to conceptualise direct knowing in many ways, often using natural science metaphors - but I find these abstract and impersonal - hence misleading.

The way I think about it, is that all direct knowing is akin to telepathy between individual conscious beings. I assume that ultimate reality consists of purposive, living, conscious beings, of which Men are one type. I also assume that it is possible for such beings to have access to each others thinking, to share thinking: for two beings to be thinking the same thoughts, simultaneously. And That is direct knowing. 

And I further assume that this kind of thinking is ultimate reality - it is itself a part of divine creation (because divine creation is thinking: God thinks creation into reality).

What is the relevance of this to Albion Awakening? Well, rather than me writing an answer, you reading and interpreting it... Think about it.


*This matter was elucidated for me by Rudolf Steiner's books Truth and Knowledge (1892) and The Philosophy of Freedom (1894); although Steiner was himself inconsistent in his actual later practice - e.g. mistakenly asserting that perceiving (inwardly) is necessary to knowing.  

Sunday, 23 September 2018

New Age Spirituality

Throughout the 20th century there were numerous people who felt called to a new and, they thought, higher form of spirituality than was offered by traditional religion. Often they would be inspired by Theosophical or Eastern ideas and frequently they, or someone associated with them, would be psychic, perhaps receiving messages from a spiritual source through the method known as channelling. These messages would speak of love and brotherhood, and talk of a dawning new age ruled by the astrological sign of Aquarius when all men and women would live together in peace and harmony.

Some people went off to find Eastern gurus, many of whom appeared from the 1960s onwards. They had been there before but not in such numbers. A question of market forces, perhaps. There was a genuine thirst for spirituality but, it must be said, much of it was self-absorbed. Everyone was looking for something. Everyone wanted something. Materialistic consumers became spiritual ones. Leaders arose to fulfil the demand and they were usually charismatic people but, even if sincere to begin with, they often succumbed to the love of power that is practically always associated with the founders of spiritual cults. That, and uncommitted sex which generally makes its way into supposed gardens of Eden with predictable results.

I have a take on this which is the subject of this post. There was an unleashing of spiritual force from higher planes over the course of the last century. Human beings reacted to this in a multitude of different ways according to their temperaments and mindsets. You might even say, according to their level of spiritual evolution. Some reacted on a political level, some on an artistic one and some on a spiritual one. But mostly the reaction was contaminated by the ego. Some materialised the spiritual impulse, some were unable to handle the creative power they sensed and it over-stimulated aspects of their lower nature. Some were inspired to take to the spiritual path but did so in a way that brought true religion down to a psychic or occult level which is that of the creation rather than the Creator. The inner creation (higher planes) is still the creation. Just because something is not physical does not mean it is spiritual. And some simply sought greater freedom for themselves, seeing this as a measure of their developed humanity.

In the spiritual world everything depends on motive, on purity of heart, but the majority of New Age enthusiasts did not have pure hearts. They talked of love but more often practised sentimentality. I was never personally interested in any form of New Age spirituality as a partaker but I was interested to the extent that, in many ways, it appeared to tread the same path I did. I wanted to try to understand it because, from the outside, it did seem to say a lot of good things. But actually it didn't really do that. It talked a good spiritual game but it tended to the shallow and self-preoccupied. Many people involved in it were sincere but naive. Many more were just spiritually greedy. Few had genuine love of God and few had any real interest in Christ other than as one among many enlightened souls. 

So was the New Age a stage in awakening spirituality, something that could be built upon and developed later, or was it a diversion of real spirituality into psychic channels? I would say it depends on the individual. As a movement, I have no doubt that the latter criticism is correct but each person, who is drawn to New Age type spirituality has the chance to move on to something more serious, and I am sure many did. I am equally sure many did not and the reason they did not was to do with motive. Were they genuinely seeking God or were they interested in the spiritual path for reasons to do with the unreconstructed lower self? Would they, in traditional terms, be willing to renounce the world, the flesh and the devil, or did they want to take these things, or some parts of these things, with them on their spiritual journey? It really does all come down to motive.

There is a lesson in this for all of us for, make no mistake, we all share the same tendencies to spiritual greed and shallowness.This is why constant self-examination is an important aspect of the spiritual path. We don't need to be thinking of ourselves all the time but we do need to look at our hearts and try honestly to see what is there. What if Jesus knocked on your door and asked you to give him a report on your spiritual state? What would you tell him?




Monday, 17 September 2018

Troubled Times and What To Do About Them


It's an amusing irony that many people on the left currently think we live in terrible times because of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, quite failing to see that it is their excesses and zeal for destruction that have caused these things. On the other hand, people who might be interested in the themes of this blog also think we live in terrible times but for completely different reasons. They see that humanity has turned its back on spiritual truth and substituted for that a secular version. 

But this secular version, liberalism by another name, totally ignores the greater part of what a human being is and thereby distorts reality to fit in with its impoverished idea of it. The modern left conceives of life as existing on the horizontal plane only, the material level, and dismisses not only the primacy but the actual reality of the vertical or spiritual level. Even those amongst them who do admit a spiritual dimension to life subordinate that to the ideologies of liberalism, apparently not appreciating that these ideologies are derived from a materialistic conception of the human being, one in which what it appears to be outwardly in this physical world is what it really is. Instead of subjecting their naturalistic views to the overlordship of spirit, they do the very opposite.

This is the basic difference between the secular left and religious right and it is why there can be no rapprochement between the two. Their metaphysical assumptions are too wide apart. Indeed, they are contradictory. When two things are contradictory, one of them must be wrong and in this case, it is the one that bases itself on a false and limited view of life. That is the left. 

The left is constantly expanding the domain in which it claims rights, economic, social, cultural and now even human and what passes in their eyes for spiritual. But actually this is just the inevitable development and working out of the ground principles on which their ideology is based, that being secular humanism with its foundation in liberty and equality. That would be fine if secular humanism were something that fully reflected reality but it isn't. It denies the greater part of reality, reducing it to its outermost expression. The left is also blinded by the fact that it has done some good on a material level to the deeper truth that it is fundamentally harmful to the proper growth of the human being. We are here to develop spiritually. Whatever aids in that process is good. Whatever hinders it is evil. In most respects, the modern left hinders it because its priorities are wrong. For instance, the liberty it pursues ends up being liberty for the lower, fallen self while its enforcement of equality merely brings a suppression of quality and lowering of standards. 

Jesus told us to love our enemies but I don't believe he told us to treat them as friends. We must be careful not to take words of his spoken in a particular context and misapply them. He told us to love our enemies but he was also scathing about those who did the devil's business and he exposed them as such. Did he love the Pharisees? Probably he did, but he knew them for what they were too. His love for them as children of God did not mean that he held back from condemning them, and revealing their falseness as those who had perverted the light that was within them. If good tries to be accepting of evil through some misplaced sense of fairness and desire to be 'loving', it will be crushed and evil will triumph. That is why we must point out the evils of our day though do so without hatred of those we see as defiling human nature. The ideal of hate the sin, love the sinner is a hard one to live up to but if we keep our hearts open to the truth of God and know that, however it may seem at the moment, truth cannot ultimately be denied, then we are safeguarded from falling into the sins of pride and hatred ourselves. Perhaps if we understood that the liberal ideology that puts the desires of fallen human beings at the forefront of their programme cannot possibly win in the long run, we would be more able to confront their excesses and deviations without undue antagonism in our hearts. 

Everywhere in the world there appears to be increasing polarisation. At the moment, this is mostly on the political level but there are strong cultural elements too. History teaches us that this cannot end well. Most people who read this blog will presumably lean more towards the right but I would strongly suggest that you do not allow yourself to get too involved in the current ideological battles. Instead, try to focus on the spiritual. I realise that the spiritual must and should spill over into the worldly, but when it does always remember that the spiritual is primary and that the worldly, while important, will pass. Don't let your attention be brought down to the world of change and decay any more than is necessary for if you do you risk losing touch with higher truths and getting ensnared in earthly battles. Keep your heart and mind on eternity. Know that these times were anticipated and that the apparent triumph of anti-spiritual forces was predicted. But that triumph will not last. God has promised that those who hold fast to the true vision of reality will be rewarded. Given that promise, is it really worthwhile feeling antagonism to those who are eventually going to lose the game and maybe much more? They are erring souls. Don't let their errors lead you astray and cause you to lose focus on what really matters which is your own soul.





Friday, 14 September 2018

William of Glasshampton


The Hermit possesses the gift of letting light shine in the darkness. He creates light, he creates silence and he creates certainty ...

Valentin Tomberg, Meditations on the Tarot

*

Father William Sirr (1862-1937) was an Anglican priest whose cherished hope of founding a contemplative community did not manifest in his lifetime. Yet this apparent failure has served as an inspiration to many, and his example continues to guide and enlighten today.

Fr. William discerned a vocation to the priesthood early in his life, but his family's straitened financial circumstances meant that he had to work for several years before starting theological training. He was employed for eight years as a confidential clerk at a wine merchant's in London, a role which sounds like it was pulled from a Grahame Greene novel and which gave him a Greene-like insight into fallen human nature. This education in the elasticity of business ethics served him well as a priest and made him virtually unshockable. Once ordained, he accepted a curacy in Vauxhall before entering the Fransiscan Society of the Divine Compassion in 1902. He was made novice master a year later and elected superior in 1906. 

Fr. William spent the next decade ministering to the poor in the East End. He did this with distinction and devotion but gradually came to feel that the Church was failing to connect, at the deepest level, with the people who most needed her. This, he believed, went back to the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII and the subsequent absence in the Church of England of the enclosed, contemplative life. He held that for the Church to impact positively on society, her practical ministry needed to spring from the hallowed and ancient soil of stillness, prayer and contemplation. Increasingly, he felt that God was calling him to renew that tradition and provide the Church with the bedrock of silence and recollection she would need if her societal mission was to flourish.

In 1918, Fr. William was given permission to found a monastery in Glasshampton, Worcestershire, in the stable block of a derelict country house. He converted the premises admirably - no easy task for a man in his late fifties and early sixties - but was unable to find men willing to stay and build the religious community he felt called to establish. Many came to visit and spend time discerning their vocation, but the life was austere, Fr. William's culinary skills poor, and his recitation of the Daily Office so slow that it irritated rather than inspired. Temperamentally, he was perhaps more suited to the solitude of a hermitage than communal living, and he died in 1937 having failed to make his vision a reality. 

Yet on a deeper level, he was anything but a failure. Two of the men who came to him at Glasshampton, Fr. Robert Gofton-Salmond and Fr. Gilbert Shaw, were instrumental in the establishment of the Community of the Servants of the Will of God, based at Crawley Down in West Sussex and still flourishing today. Here is an icon of Fr. Gofton-Salmond (right), Fr. Shaw (centre) and Fr. William (left). These three are regarded as the founders of the community and their memory is celebrated each year on August 18th.


The monastery built by Fr. William became a house of the Society of St. Francis in 1947, so his many years in Glasshampton of prayer, waiting and patient building were not in vain in the end. Glasshampton Monastery, according to its website, was named by The Sunday Telegraph in 2011 as one of the eight best places in Europe for a retreat, so the foundations laid by Fr. William were obviously robust, both spiritually and materially. Here is a picture of the monastery chapel as it is today.


Alongside this physical legacy, there is also Geoffrey Curtis's biography, William of Glasshampton: Friar - Monk - Solitary (1977), and two more recent essays I have drawn on for this post: Peta Dunstan's, Fr. William's Baton, which can be found in Oneness: The Dynamics of Anglican Monasticism edited by Stephen Platten (2017), and this 2014 article on the excellent Desert Sprituality in the City blog.

Reading and reflecting on this literature, there are two things in particular which strike me about Fr, William. The first is his realisation that action needs to be grounded in the life of the spirit and not the other way around. This insight is all the more impressive as it was arrived at while experiencing at first hand the material deprivations of the London poor. Despite the grievous hardships he saw, he understood that the assistance offered by the Church would have no value unless it was grounded in prayer and contemplation. Practical help could be given just as effectively, if not more so, by a whole raft of non-Church organisations. Spirituality, after all, is the Church's raison d'ĂȘtre. Everything else flows from that. Fr. William would have concurred with his contemporaries in France - the 'non-conformists of the 1930s' - and their rallying cry, 'Primacy of the Spiritual.' Thinkers like Emmanuel Mounier (1905-50) believed that men and women can only flourish in a society which puts their spiritual needs first and places the political and the economic realms at the service of the spiritual. 

This was exactly Fr. William's understanding, a worldview which he lived out at Glasshampton with great faith and single-mindedness for nigh on two decades. This is the second thing which stands out - his ability to first of all discern his contemplative vocation, and then stick with it and continue to believe in it despite a lack of tangible success. One can imagine the inner voices which must have assailed him from time to time - accusations of folly, egotism, and a dereliction of duty in the face of so much deprivation, which he had been in a position, in the East End, to alleviate. Happily, it was the 'still, small voice' which he chose to listen to, and today - 81 years after his death - we can recognise very clearly the deep wisdom that spoke to his heart and prompted him to go to Glasshampton.

It sounds counter-intuitive to suggest, but Fr. William might have had more immediate success in building his community had he lived in our day rather than the inter-war era. Christianity was much more prominent in Britain at that time, with church attendance generally high. Despite poverty, strikes, and high unemployment, there was, on the whole, a far greater degree of national and social cohesion than now. But this very cohesiveness might actually have worked against Fr. William's project rather than for it. People, in those days, felt like they belonged. Whether it was the family, the neighbourhood, the church, the workplace, the union, or the guild - often all of these and more - Britons felt at home in a variety of settings and contexts, which all interlinked and related to each other like the circles of a Venn diagram. 

With the exception of those First World War veterans who were either unable or unwilling to adapt to civilian life, men had so many support networks and places they could call home that everything Fr. William was offering they could probably find elsewhere. His offer was so extreme and so intense that most likely it would only have appealed to those with a real hunger and desperation for God, contemplation, and fraternal, religious community. Such individuals would have searched in vain for years for these things and found only meaninglessness and rejection.  Such individuals would have been few. It was not so hard, generally speaking, to find meaning and depth in the 1920s and '30s, but the situation today is very different. The institutions that brought us comfort and belonging are in varying stages of disarray and dissolution. We feel, as a result, increasingly lost and disorientated, groping blindly for contact with something real and true, but searching all too often in all the wrong places and ending up more alienated and confused than before. 

It hasn't quite kicked in yet, but despite (or because) of all the above, I feel we might be standing at the dawn of a new religious epoch, an epoch analogous to that which flourished across Western Europe in the fifth and sixth centuries. At that time, holy men and women like Saint Kevin of Glendalough turned their backs on the crumbling Roman Empire and the collapse of everything stable and known, and retired to remote and rocky places to live lives of prayer and solitude. To their surprise, others follow them there, seeking refuge from the chaos and finding a joy and a sustenance that were fast disappearing from the dominant culture. St. Kevin (below) and others like him lived lives of depth, simplicity, integrity, and sacramental devotion. They spoke to the hearts and minds of others because they themselves were imbued and aflame with the heart and mind of God. So the pilgrims stayed and new communities were born - fellowships of radiant love, which would go on to shape and transform culture and society - locally, nationally, and internationally.


*

The great archetypes often surge to the surface of human consciousness in times of change and turmoil. The figure of the hermit is undoubtedly one of these. The very existence of the ninth card of the Tarot deck tells us as much:


Hermits abound in European literature and mythology. Nasciens, the Hermit of Carbonek, is an excellent Albion-related example. Thomas Malory, in his Morte D'Arthur, tells us that Nasciens, as a young man, committed some unspecified sin against Joseph of Arimathea when the latter brought the Holy Grail and the Christian faith to these lands. His punishment was to live far beyond the span of mortal men as Priest of the Grail until the advent of Galahad, the Grail Knight, some four hundred years later.

There are echoes here of Simeon in Chapter Two of St. Luke's Gospel, who is told by the Holy Spirit that he will not die until he has seen the Redeemer. Ramandu and Coriakin in C.S. Lewis's, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, also spring to mind - two stars, currently earthbound and living on remote islands in the Eastern Sea. Ramandu (below) is awaiting rebirth, when he will, as he puts it, 'once more tread the Great Dance.'


Coriakin, on the other hand, has been given the unruly Dufflepuds to govern by Aslan in response to another unspecified offence. When Eustace enquires of Ramandu what that crime might be, he is rebuffed with a magisterial, 'My son, it is not for you, a Son of Adam, to know what faults a star might commit.'

It is the Hermit of the Southern March, however - another profoundly archetypal figure - who reminds me most of William of Glasshampton. Chapter Ten of Lewis's, The Horse and His Boy, is named after this character, and he appears nowhere else in the story nor in any of the other Narnia books. By the end of the chapter we have learned that the Hermit (Lewis uses a capital 'H') has 'lived a hundred and nine winters in this world', and has extensive knowledge of present events but limited insight into the future. He keeps goats, is a skilled medic, and has 'the hugest and most beautiful tree that Shasta had ever seen' at one end of a pool in a 'wide and perfectly circular enclosure protected by a high wall of green turf.' We are told nothing about his spiritual life, yet the chapter glows with a quiet, restful luminosity, which leaves the reader feeling as refreshed from his or her encounter with the Hermit as do the four protagonists.

Shasta and Aravis, along with their horses, Bree and Hwin, are racing through Southern Archenland with a Calormene army on their trail and, more pressingly, a great lion - 'a huge, tawny creature' - snapping at their heels:

Shasta looked forward again and saw something which he did not take in or even think about. Their way was barred by a smooth green wall about ten feet high. In the middle of the gateway stood a tall man dressed, down to his bare feet, in a robe coloured like autumn leaves, leaning on a straight staff. His beard fell down to his knees.



The Hermit tends Aravis's wounds, sends Shasta out on the next stage of his mission, rubs the horses down, and feeds them with grass and goat's mash. His words to Bree, the proud Narnian warhorse, are very much in keeping, to my mind, with Fr. William's spiritual approach. Bree is feeling shame and remorse that he did not try to fight the lion off but ran as fast as he could for the safety of the Hermitage. 'I've lost everything,' he complains. 'Slavery is all I'm fit for.' The Hermit, gently but firmly, pops the bubble of wounded amour propre and restores a proper perspective:

'My good Horse, you've lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don't put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You're not quite the great Horse you had come to think, from living among poor, dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn't follow that you'll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you're nobody very special, you'll be a very decent sort of Horse on the whole, and taking one thing with another. And now, if you and my other four-footed cousin will come round to the kitchen door we'll see about the other half of that mash.'

This little speech, in many ways, conveys the essence of Fr. William's theology. As a spiritual director, he was not so much interested in what one believed or which denomination one belonged to. He focused instead on clearing away the barriers that were blocking the life-giving, restorative action of the Holy Spirit in a person's life. Then the real work could begin - a patient, peaceful waiting on God in silence of heart and quietness of mind. Like the mute boy in Andrei Tarkovsky's film, The Sacrifice, who sets about watering his dead father's tree in faith and hope that one day it will miraculously bloom.


Or like Shasta in the very next chapter of The Horse and His Boy, who hears the Voice of Aslan while riding wearily to Anvard, following the Hermit's instruction to warn King Lune of the coming Calormene attack. As with Bree, Shasta is lifted out of self-pity and narrow, self-defeating horizons and shown a wider, truer perspective. It is a miracle. It is what we all long for, and it will happen to us just as it happened to him, be that during our lives, at the end of our lives, or at the end of time itself. It is the 'one thing needful' - heart to heart contact with the Living God - and it is what Fr. William spent so long, and so successfully in the end, trying to restore to the life of the Church. He knew how much his country needed it. And if we needed it then, how much more so now?

The High King above all kings stooped towards him. Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mane, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met. Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together in a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared. He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing.

William of Glasshampton, pray for us.





Thursday, 13 September 2018

Finding the hidden Albion


Finding the true Albion is generally depicted as a matter of discovering some place or persons that are physically hidden. The emphasis is on finding; and what is found is objective: everybody would recognise it, naturally, if only they could find it.

This leads to strategies such as pilgrimage, seeking sacred places, perhaps ancient places: there are lists of such places. Sometimes people use technologies such as finding ley lines on maps, or dowsing for sources of power.

The general strategy could be termed 'In Search of...' as in the old and highly influential guidebooks written by HV Morton starting with In Search of England in 1927 (followed by Scotland, Ireland, Wales etc.) - the general idea being that there is an Old/ Folk/ Traditional England still in existence if only you know where to find it...

Innumerable travel books are of this type. Indeed, this attitude might (rather harshly) be described as a spiritual tourists attitude to hidden Albion - the idea or hope that we might be-transformed-by what we discover. But it does not really work, and indeed Morton's and most such books (also TV programmes, articles and other reports) are journalistic contrivances: fakes, that affect an exploration and claim a personal transformation that never happened. 

But the proper and actually-effective way of discovering hidden Albion is almost the reverse of this - in that we must first transform our consciousness, and only then should we seek hidden Albion with the possibility of actually finding it.

Because, it will turn out, Albion is hidden in plain sight - imperceptible to those who have not already been so-transformed. If hidden Albion is certain people, places, and things - then you could take 99% of people to them, show them, pick up and handle them, speak with them... and the average person would see nothing except the usual disenchanted, normal, mundane ordinariness...

(After all, if the real Albion could be found in a guidebook, it would soon be obscured, blighted, or destroyed by the forces of evil - as has incrementally already-happened to the famous spiritual centres.) 

Because it is the mainstream, modern materialism - our in-principle denial of the reality of the 'spiritual' which is what hides Albion. Even if, by a brief alignment of person and place, the hidden Albion was noticed momentarily - a moment of magic and meaning and a revelation of purpose; it would not be 'detected', it would be denied - it would be regarded as wishful thinking, or some kind of coincidence of mood and place, or a delusion.

Once we have a consciousness that is prepared to accept the hidden Albion as real: then we can embark on the quest to find it. And then we will be assisted (if necessary) in our search, and nudged and guided (minimally) so as to make that encounter.


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Preserving culture versus direct Christianity

In these End Times, there are some difficult decisions looming; one is the conflict between preserving culture and doing Good.

At some point, the culture will not be salvageable - yet it will (like everything) still retain Good aspects; because nothing can ever be wholly evil, and most evil things have a fair slice of Good (e.g. loyalty, hard-work and obedience are Goods (albeit minor ones), but when harnessed to an evil agenda they make evil more effective).

Those who read this blog will, no doubt, value a great deal about the 'culture' of Albion; as I do. Yet, as things become ever more corrupted, there will come a time (many times) when there is a stark choice between doing something to preserve what is left of culture and doing what is right; and we will have to sacrifice the cultural remnants.

These situations will, no doubt, be deliberately engineered; the 'deal' being that if we wish to preserve some-thing cultural and well worthy of preservation - a lovely landscape or architecture, a venerable school or college, high quality performances of Shakespeare or Tallis... - then we would be doing so at the cost of strengthening (eg by funding, publicity, subsidies, propaganda, privileges, laws) the active institutional agents of corruption.

As an obvious example: the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) does valuable work in preserving and promoting Shakespeare in performance; but at the cost of advancing directly, (and, more importantly), covertly and implicitly; exactly that thoroughly corrupt, anti-Christian, leftist-materialist-globalist agenda that is killing English culture. Funding, supporting, sustaining the RSC therefore does good to culture; but does far more harm than good.

Another instance: The Church of England sustains a tradition of choral singing which is very valuable; and if the church goes, then so will this tradition. The CofE is indeed going - it is being very rapidly and purposively self-destroyed by its secular-materialist Establishment leadership (archbishops, Bishops and their offices), and inevitably this destruction will include the choral tradition.

If we try to preserve the choral tradition; then - as well as any short term benefits to the choirs - in practice a substantial proportion of any such resources (probably the bulk of them) will be redirected to the net anti-Christian purposes of the church leadership: to sustaining management, political policies and ideology, systematic personal corruption of the clergy and laity; lies, smears and cover-ups etc. Also the prestige of the choirs, their beautiful music, serves to maintain the public reputation of an otherwise increasingly-obviously despicable corporation.

Thus short term protection of the culture fuels the same evil agenda that endangers culture in the first place.   

When the world is owned and controlled almost wholly by the forces of evil, this crux is magnified and made unavoidable. Everything done to protect the Good, will also have immediate and negative impact in causing harm. And our totalitarian bureaucracies ensure that this is always maximally the case - in face of reduced support; officials will cut provision rather than administration, will cut good/core functions while preserving the evil/ political functions.

Therefore, while we would certainly want and hope simultaneously to pursue Direct Christianity and preserve and advance the Culture of Albion - it is likely that this will be made impossible; and we will be compelled to choose one or the other.

The right choice is not difficult to discern; but it is very difficult actually to do.

  

Friday, 7 September 2018

The Age of Aquarius

Do you remember how this used to be presented as a dawning new age of harmony and enlightenment for humanity? How we were moving forward into a bright future in which all men would be brothers, and spiritual benevolence would be everywhere? The idea never made much sense. Given how unenlightened we were at the time, such a radical transformation, even if initiated by rays of cosmic power beaming down onto the Earth, as was occasionally postulated, seemed very improbable. Furthermore, it was not in the tradition of any of the major religions, most of which seemed to anticipate a spiritual decadence at the end of the age, not the precise opposite to that.

The Age of Aquarius is supposed to start when the sun at the time of the vernal equinox moves out of the constellation of Pisces into that of Aquarius. This movement takes place because of the phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes which is caused by a shift in the orientation of the Earth's axis which completes a full revolution roughly every 26,000 years, during the course of which the sun in springtime moves through each one of the 12 constellations that lie along the ecliptic. So far, so astronomically good.

The problem is that no one knows where Pisces ends and Aquarius begins so a definite time for this transition cannot be pinned down. Never mind, the idea is that as the sun approaches Aquarius at the onset of spring in the northern hemisphere, the Aquarian influences will start to be registered by humanity. In fact, the discovery of the planet Uranus in the 1780s (though it had been observed before) is sometimes taken to be the beginning of Aquarian forces making an impact on the mind of humanity, and that time does coincide quite nicely with the Age of Enlightenment and the end of long established ways of being as new ideas erupted into human consciousness.

This brings us to what the Aquarian influence might entail. Aquarius is an air sign, concerned with thought, reason, democracy, freedom, humanitarianism but also rebellion. It is definitely a sign of the rational mind. Now, all these things have certainly become much more prominent in human consciousness over the last 250 years, and they are becoming ever more so. Aquarius rules things as disparate as electricity and computers, both of which could be taken as defining the modern age. It seems that there really is an Aquarian influence at work.

But wait a minute. These things aren't really spiritual, are they? They might represent a kind of progress on the purely human level but if it's spirituality you want then the Piscean influence, the one that is supposed to be fading out and is regarded as representative of old, unenlightened, passĂ© ways of thinking, is actually a better bet. For Pisces is the sign at the end of the cycle of 12. It shows completion. It is concerned with compassion, intuition, imagination, wisdom, mysticism and the like. It has its negative side, of course, but so does Aquarius which can become cold, amoral, overly fixated on rational thought and dismissive of faith and intuition.

The point I am trying to make here is that there is nothing about Aquarius, as understood astrologically, that indicates any tendency to higher spiritual consciousness. Yes, it is more intellectually focussed than Pisces but there is not much faith or imagination or humility or love about it. In fact, it is the sign of the type who loves humanity but has no interest in individual human beings. A sign of abstract theory and dispassion rather than real feeling. To be sure, it strives to be fair but more because of logic than any real sense of heart. Pisces is a much more spiritually-oriented sign, and that is the one we are currently leaving.

Of course, evolution may well include a focus at different times on different aspects of the whole of the psyche. A focus on developing mind may be the current priority.  But this is by no means necessarily a spiritual thing and, in fact, is capable of a great deal of anti-spirituality if it is not done under the directing influence of a strong spiritual sensibility, but that is not a natural attribute of the Aquarian mentality. The advent of Aquarius, if a real thing, does not necessarily lead to a spiritually advanced society, as the dreams of a few 20th century mystics hoped to persuade us, and could well end in something very different. If the present is anything to go by, the latter scenario is more likely but it is a reckless person who thinks he can predict the future. Only God knows.

Disclaimer: I don't have any planets in either Pisces or Aquarius in my astrological chart.