Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

A friend told me recently I should write poetry. I found these poems tucked away in my files. Some are nearly twenty years old! I make no pretensions when it comes to being a poet, but I do like this little offering. I hope you do too.

 

Dreams

 

In the silence of the night

I dream

Waking dreams

Of whirling

In time so still

A vortex of tense nothingness.  (1998)

 

Wounds

 

We all have our wounds, kind sir

The willows weep

branches billow in fractured sunlight

My mother’s curse

 

Mary in yonder days

Scant eyes upon the widow’s peak

In the icicle cold ways of youth.  (May 1998)

Night

 

Eyes wide as shadows dance

Tantalising is the darkness

Enticing is the unbroken silence

Desirable the sweet chill of fear.

 

Distance Learning

 

He promised her biscuits and a TV

What was wrong with that?

She can watch the fighting at a distance

And feel apart from it

 

Friday saw another explosion

A few more thousand dead

It doesn’t touch her

Lying in her bed

 

Can’t she build a bomb inside the TV and blast it all away?

When heaven meant to call on him tomorrow

And sent him there today

 

She meant to tell him another story

But it got told by him instead

Jason’s burning up

Inside his big head

 

She thought love lived inside a freezer

Mary said she knew

Not much got done about her poor heart

Destiny blue her hue.

 

On spirituality

 

Make the journey safe

Sacrifice, your soul

Invent one crucial space

To murder moulded hands

In heavenly shroud

 

Mellow moods of knowing

Sparks and subtle glows

Never late to fabricate

Bugs in beds horror

 

Sharpen perceiving eyes

Looking both ways

Lover love reflection

Light look undercover

See trembling lies

 

Fellow mover over mountains

Finger to figure form

True to be a fated truth

Open petals fragrant

In thankful promise

 

in these things we treasure most

Resting beneath my breath

Cascades deep, river fresh.   (2003)

 

Trauma

 

Ankle deep in shattered hopes

Their shards dig deep wounds

Leave big holes

Where love should be

A barrier, a shield

 

Blame the dreams

That served to shelter

A tattered heart

That led to waking

To find the nightmare real. (July 2000)

 

 

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I have a little announcement, and I’m feeling awfully nervous.
For the past few weeks I’ve been throwing obstacles in the path of this. I’m beginning the demanding task of turning my doctoral thesis into a novel. Well, sort of.
My thesis concerns a corpus, a body of obscure texts. My novel will attempt to embody the life of the author. Her name is Alice Bailey. She’s a highly controversial figure nobody outside New Age and conspiracy theory circles has heard of. Yet her writing has been enormously influential on the world stage and it is easy to show how. Her life is colourful and interesting too, with themes many will relate to, including domestic violence, elitism and exclusion, jealousy and malice.
What is challenging is that I am treading the controversial path of ‘faction’ – inspired by  Heather Rose’ The Museum of Modern Love, and Melissa Ashley’s The Birdman’s Wife, both prize winning books. I am indebted to the authors for tamping down the grass on this narrow rocky path, impressing us all with the results of their hard labours. I’ve reviewed both works and I have become so enthusiastic in my praises, the authors might be wondering ‘who is this nut who keeps liking my short-list announcements with “told you so” comments?’
In reviewing these works, it appears I’ve been set a high bar.
My story will be structured differently. There will be echoes of The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, for mine is a frame story. I have chosen this approach as I want to tell a little of Alice Bailey’s legacy. Creating a narrative frame set in the present seems to me the only way to achieve this.
I have the title.
I’ve conjured a protagonist to put in the frame. I already love her to bits.
I’ve completed my research on the life of Alice Bailey. I have it all written up in a submittable draft, what I thought was a submittable draft.
I’ve storyboarded the chapters.
I am about to invoke the voice of Alice Bailey.
Nothing in my literary journey to date has been more daunting and more compelling than this project.
Will I pull it off? If I do, will anyone, other than me, be interested in this mysterious woman whose story has gone untold for many decades?
So here I go, bathers donned despite the cold, facing the choppy waters of historical fiction. Already, there’s a storm on the horizon.

First published in 1930, Narziss and Goldmund forms part of a profoundly insightful body of work by Hermann Hesse.

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I visited Goodreads and was not surprised to find well over a thousand reviews. I’ve only read the first few, and I’m left wondering what I can add that would contribute to the collective understanding of this work.

I will admit I am not a scholar of literature or history, nor have I read any biography of Hesse. I first came across his work in my twenties and devoured Steppenwolf and The Glass Bead Game among others. Back then I had not a clue about the spiritual path or western esotericism. But decades have passed and now I do, and it is with fresh eyes that I can perhaps see what Hesse might have been trying to achieve.

In Narziss and Goldmund, Hesse presents the reader with two sorts of spirituality and the two paths that unfold from each. Narziss is destined to be the Abbott of a cloister. He is a philosopher, a thinker, living close to God in the realm of the abstract mind. He is the archetypal master of wisdom.

His pupil, Goldmund, is at odds with himself. Memory of part of his childhood is denied him and when he awakens to it, he begins a journey of self discovery that takes him away from the cloister and out into the world. Not the ordinary world of duty and work and family and community. His reality is akin to Arjuna in the battlefield, as written in the Bhagavad Gita; a journey through the realm of extreme emotions, with desire and lust on the one hand, and death in all its forms on the other.

So intense are Goldmund’s responses, that at first he cannot find meaning. But eventually, as he journeys into and through the experiences that befall him, he does. He is a seeker, and the journey is an initiatory one, culminating in the realisation that we transcend the ravages of the emotions through the faculty of imagination, and its finest expressions in art.

Those who resonate with this story are engaging with a work of visionary/metaphysical fiction of enormous profundity. Those who see past the compulsions and shallow satisfactions of the flesh; detect the irony in Goldmund’s relentlessly questioning mind; see into his frustrations and emerging detachment; may understand that through his character, Hesse is portraying the most fundamental pairs of opposites upon which human experience is cleaved: woman and man; lust and death, passion and intellect, good and evil.

And the esoteric thinker will also understand Hesse’s portrayal of the transmutation of the emotions through the faculty of imagination; the image maker within, existing on the plane of intuition, sees in patterns, in completed wholes; thus it is through the harnessing of this faculty of the soul through the imagination that the artist stills the emotions and imbues them with the stamp of something transcendent and universal. And so it is through this process that the pairs of opposites may sit in loose unity.

I’ve long admired Hermann Hesse’s work. I resonate with it now more strongly than ever. As an author I’m in awe of his achievement.  Narziss and Goldmund is not a piece of entertainment; it’s a literary portrayal of the spiritual path.