Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Labyrinth and the Compass

English: AM 28 8vo, known as Codex runicus, a ...

English: AM 28 8vo, known as Codex runicus, a vellum manuscript from c. 1300 containing one of the oldest and best preserved texts of the Scanian law (Skånske lov), written entirely in runes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been carving a staff for Gary Cook for his upcoming opening night for the documentary on faery folk in New Zealand, ‘Voices from the Forest’. (See www.faeryrealms.com for news of this.) The task has been challenging, as not only is there the labyrinth of aesthetics to negotiate, and materials etc, but also the labyrinth of values, mythology and symbols. I have been learning a bit about the Norse runes,

Runes

Runes (Photo credit: spratmackrel)

and the mythology behind them. Odin was an heroic seeker of the runes, impaling himself on the World Tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights in order to get the runes. It struck me after reading the Women’s encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets that indeed he didn’t invent them, but ‘won’ them (by imitating the travail of women in childbirth, traditionally 9 days being the time of a mother’s seclusion, the article tells us). So, wheels within wheels… Did he supplant the goddess, wrongly? Or does every artist have to sacrifice ‘himself to himself’ as Odin says of himself on the Tree? In order to win for himself the runes of true art? Or should we emulate Bragi, who became the greatest bard of all by letting Idunn his wife carve the runes on his tongue?

An 1886 depiction of the indigenous Norse God ...

An 1886 depiction of the indigenous Norse God Odin by Georg von Rosen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, we can’t blindly trust any hero to tell us what to do, no matter if they are the ‘All-father’ Odin himself. We must bring our moral compass as well as an open mind, to all our encounters with gods and goddesses, no less than with ‘ordinary’ mortals. We are in a labyrinth – it is called Life on Earth. That’s an exciting adventure, the stuff of page-turning epics. We need that compass, though.

I think this is what makes a good Story: it has the twists and turns and blind alleys of a labyrinth, but also the author is showing the heroes and heroines using their moral compasses, trying to steer a straight course morally while dealing with the chaos of the unfolding multi-dimensional labyrinth of life.

I was up to here this morning in my (re)reading of Lord of the Rings. Gandalf at the last debate says:

“Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

So, we have it from the greatest wizard of all Middle Earth: the defense of the True West is a matter of weeding the fields set before us. And we need that moral compass, to tell what may be weed and what be wheat – or some other good plant!

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Ethics, How to be a Wizard, other wizards, The Defence of the (True) West

There are more things in Heaven and the Middle Realm…

Today I felt privileged to wave a blogger’s wand and manifest a couple of websites for Gary Cook – ready for lots of magical content. Have a look at this :

http://www.faeryrealms.com

here’s the header as I did it tonight anyway:

And it was great to find this domain available for Gary: http://www.middlerealms.com. Not populated yet, but soon will be. I loved the name. Middle Earth was Tolkien‘s term, but Middle Realms has a magical ring to it while remaining Earth, here where we live, between the high and the low, heaven and earth.

finally, watch for news of the upcoming documentary, Voices from the forest, about alleged encounters with NZ‘s own faery folk. And some surprising footage that may change some people’s minds about the existence of the fair folk…

 

1 Comment

Filed under other wizards

OMG I just reviewed “The Alchemist”!

With sweaty palms I reviewed this review before pressing Submit on Amazon‘s Paulo review page for his most famous, best-loved and therefore with an inevitable symmetry, probably most-hated (by a vociferous, poison-penned minority) book:  The Alchemist. (See it at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FCKC4C/ref=cm_cr_rev_prod_title)

English: The Alchemist

English: The Alchemist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why did I do it? Because it is a way to offer my own homage to Paulo, after reading some of the awfully negative and spiritually benighted hate reviews there.  … AND as an experiment, because it is a little-known but Amazon-approved way to share one’s own offerings.  I added a link to The Icon of Ainenia (now with a new cover, and soon probably with a new title, The Sword of the Fifth Element). This is my review, soon to be allowed by Amazon to appear in the ‘recent reviews’ section of The Alchemist (which has of course had a huge number of reviews – over 1800):

You who wander in the Wasteland of this present time! Do your weary soul a favour and give this work a chance, by putting aside (post/)modern prejudices about what a ‘novel’ should be. This is a timeless spiritual parable, no, a nested series of parables, and as such is a fabulous gem that sparkles in a different way every time you pick it up with an open heart and mind.

I write this in homage to a great and true parable-weaver, who is subtle enough to be simple, cares enough to be direct, and knows enough to be, at many points throughout the book, simply divine, transcendent, eclipsing any deficiencies (including male chauvinism) so many of the reviewers make so much of here. They strain at cultural gnats while swallowing the camel of spiritual cynicism.

“The Alchemist” inspired me to write in the same genre a book which I venture (in fear and trembling at my own audacity) to offer to anyone who reads Paulo’s masterpiece and yearns to read other attempts at capturing some of the perennial wisdom hidden just beneath the surface, or in plain sight, within this world. Paulo, I thank you for the Alchemist! Here is my small homage to That which inspired you: [[ASIN:B007WCZBHG The Icon of Ainenia]]

You want to read my homage to Paulo? It has the advantage of being (I hope) non-chauvinist and also only 99 cents at present! Here’s the live link:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Icon-of-Ainenia-ebook/dp/B007WCZBHG/ref=la_B007SZAGA4_1_2_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1344929805&sr=1-2

Will some of the poison-penned reviewers descend on me in wrath? Perhaps, but it’s a great feeling to offer public affirmation and homage to something and someone who has given so much to me. We could all do with giving heartfelt praise to those who really deserve it, even the famous ones who (seemingly) don’t  need it any more.

3 Comments

Filed under other wizards, Purpose in life - the Mainspring, The Icon of Ainenia

Calling all wizards: It is NOT too late to defend the True West!

I still haven’t hung out my ‘shingle’ at the front of the Story Ark where I reside and create and plan unrandom acts of creativity, but something has come up, calling me to action.
My son Daniel sent me links to a certain noble but pessimistic thinker and prolific blogger, who has written a major paper critiquing what he calls  the  current Western secular ‘religion’ – ‘PC’ (political correctness). In that paper:
Thought Prison: the fundamental nature of Political Correctness
Bruce G Charlton
University of Buckingham Press, Buckingham, MK18 1EG, UK, 2011
ISBN: 798 0 9563953 45
which he posted here: http://thoughtprison-pc.blogspot.co.nz/ he quite rightly attacks PC as being anti-rational and destructive of the West –  but he goes on to say its errors are intrinsic to Westernness itself. I strongly disagree! PC  is a sickness of the reason, a reason turned (irrationally) against itself. But to me the true foundation of the West – what makes it so strong in spite of all its parasites and viruses – is  acknowledgement of the transcendental reality of Truth – and Ethics. And dammit, Beauty. And yes, of course, Love.
But there were false steps in the course of its pursuit of Truth, and ugly ideas took root, bad arguments were believed,  that were undermining of this acknowledgement. Perverse philosophers did deviously use the tools of the reason to undermine reason. Scepticism and relativism did become entrenched, and became the dominant paradigm. And the social forces, still all too powerful in the universities and other bastions of intellectual culture, entrenched this scepticism and relativism. They became the fashion, no less! The Spirit of the Age.
We are at a time of tidal change where we are reaping the results of this undermining of Reason – but does this mean the tide cannot be turned? NO! Why? because it is not inevitable like the brute forces of physics. It is a tide of human minds all tuned to certain false ideas – ideas which were created by us and can be just as easily revised by us, or refuted. The human tide of ideas that could destroy the West is definitely flowing; but WE CAN turn it  back. We are part of it, and our ideas can spread, if they are worthy and carry the power of truth.
But I was about to quote Bruce Charlton’s paper, lest I be accused of misrepresenting him:
“By secularizing knowledge, by creating The University – by making philosophy autonomous of the Church (instead of having learning institutionally focused in monasteries) the West eventually made political correctness – which is now everywhere and inescapable.
And PC is the West’s Nemesis, because the West cannot decisively overturn PC without overturning that which made it The West.
The West cannot overcome PC without ceasing to be The West.
Yet, if this overturning of PC does not happen, then the West will itself be subverted by PC.
In other words, The West is built upon error: its strength is also its weakness; its power is also that which is self-destroying; even as The West built its great structures it was simultaneously gnawing at their foundations.
*
Here is the double-bind:
To be antiPC is to be anti-The West (always in tendency, albeit not by intention)
Yet at the same time, to be proPC is to be anti-The West (always in tendency, and also by intention)
And/ So/ But The West never was sustainable.
*
Looking back, The West was a blip on the graph of history – albeit a thousand year ‘blip’! –with a hundreds year long, gradual up-tick and the rapid decades long collapse looming ever-closer.
Just so soon as The West began to implement its assumptions towards completion (which is political correctness), just so soon The West began actively (as well as passively) to destroy itself.”
What? ‘The West cannot overcome PC without ceasing to be The West‘?  No! By BEING TRUE to our heritage of clear and fearless RATIONAL INQUIRY we can overcome the sickness, which is at root a sickness of ideas. Who said the arguments of relativism and physicalism are irrefutable? When were they truly proved? How could they have been, when they are inherently, logically, self-contradictory? ‘Dear me, what do they teach them in these schools?’ (Professor Kirk, Chronicles of Narnia).
‘How shall a man judge what to do in such times?’
‘As he ever has judged,’ said Aragorn. ‘Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among elves and Dwarves and another among men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his won house.’
So, calling all wizards in the tradition of Gandalf the Grey: become what you are, servants of the True West and ‘Numenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and ever will be.’ (- Faramir, in the wonderful chapter ‘The Window on the West’ in The Two Towers.)
Cast off the grey rainments of doubt, throw down the Balrog of fear, and become what you are,  white riders of the True West!
Which all leads me to think, we need those Schools which teach the true foundations. If they can be founded physically, all to the good, but even if virtual – they are needed! My Schoolofwisdomandwizardry.com is, in intention at least,  such a place.
PS: I haven’t addressed a major, major issue in all this: the vexed question of whether we need a religious underpinning in order to be the True West, or be good – many would say we do, including Bruce Charlton, who is I gather a Christian. Or he would presumably say that the good things the West has enjoyed have come from its association with the tradition and beliefs of Christianity. I can’t agree. I think an acknowledgement of the transcendental Truth and Ethics and the Good, IS enough: all else falls into place if we honour these. We can benefit from open-minded study of any sacred texts, or any secular ones too, but the evidence for any one religion having the monopoly on the Truth does not seem at all convincing to me.  This doesn’t make me a relativist, of course: They take the irrational step of saying all religions and teachings are EQUAL – ie equally meaningless, at bottom – they say there is NO truth of the matter. I say all religions, like all scientific theories, are better or worse – more (or less!) valuable GUESSES at the truth of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
 This doesn’t make me a sceptic, because although the complete theories are guesses, some truths ARE self-evident. The ones about logic and ethics. We cannot build a complete irrefutable theory of everything on these truths, I guess, but we can build a glorious and wise civilisation on them.
That possible civilisation is what I call the True West.

1 Comment

Filed under How to be a Wizard, other wizards, philosophical reasonings, School of Philosophy, School of wisdom and wizardry, The Defence of the (True) West, the existence of God or at least a Transcendental Order

The sign – putting it out there before I go mad

Well, it can get crazy when you overthink… What’s the worse that can happen if I put whatever I like out there, for fun, or for love?

So, the simplest one made me smile the most, and it wins, I think (I will sleep on it before printing out poster style in four A3 sheets which together will make a good sized sandwich board). So here it is:

The lightning says more than the words from a distance. This is OK I think… Will put this up at Cafe Eutopia too, of course. And there will be a list of my multifarious services as well.

What do you think and feel upon seeing this? Does it, hopefully, make you smile? Unlimited possibility is indeed all around us and within…. But we need more muses and wizards to draw it out. That’s my story anyway. If you don’t need our services, go be the wizard of your own life in your own way, and godspeed!

Oh, now I need to get that wizardofeutopia blogsite up to scratch, fast! That’s my landing page! 🙂

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under How to be a Wizard, news, the Wizard archetype, Wizard for hire

Putting out the open sign

The back and front doorways of the Ark are more or less complete, painted etc now. but the SIGN for the front – ah, what do i write on that? I am so many things to as many people – and to myself.
Last night I was in an elevated,  clarified sort of state after watching Midnight in Paris, where the writer hero gets to explore the idealised past, and has to realise that his place is in the present – that’s where he must create, and love, or not at all. I saw from that higher place that I wanted to have the cosmic perspective in all I do. Which may or may not need to be written on that sign. Jesus – the carpenter, to those he served and made a living from in his home town! (Assuming he was a carpenter like his father of course! But for the sake of the illustration we can assume he was…)
I felt again that the ideal for life here on Earth, embodied as we obviously are in the humble flesh, is to be as the burning bush in which I AM appeared to Moses – on fire with the divine energy, yet not consumed. Still a bush – but what a bush!
 A balance of the fiery airy divine transcendent and the earthy watery immanent.
I know there are a dozen Shoulds and Duties (and people and banks who embody them!) that would tell me right now what I should be doing right now to earn my daily bread by the sweat of my brow. Yet that higher perspective is demanding an answer – What will I put on that sign? It is up to me, though every should wants to tell me it isn’t.
I put this halting journey up here, as it’s a journey that might entertain or inform, though painful for me! It is a journey of discovery too and a privilege – and a ‘right’. Just the constricted financial circumstances and pressure make it seem ‘wrong’.
Incidentally, what’s YOUR ‘sign’? Officially and unofficially. What’s written on the lines and what is between the lines. Which is most important? Should they be reversed? What if you wrote on your business card the things you DON’T say about what you do – and did them much more? If you ‘came out’? It’s a big question I know – we still want to be able to find an honest-to-goodness plumber, or carpenter – or book printer and binder. But more and more we are looking for someone to help us unblock our life energies, or repair the house of our spirit, or help us tell our story. Wouldn’t it be great to honour that more and see more business cards that had those things just as honestly offered?
So, what will I put on that open sign in front of the Ark, already?
Watch this space…

Leave a comment

Filed under Purpose in life - the Mainspring, thresholds and destiny

A tale of Two Thresholds

(Well more of a sprawling esoteric epic)…

How nice it is to have ‘random’ friends (but there are no true accidents, only more or less obvious synchronicities) who sometimes know you better than those who are so close they only see the (often tangled and annoying) trees. Today I got a third email from an email friend I’ve never met in person, about what she calls ‘name covenants’, and about mine in particular.

I had said this about my name, Peter:

‘it is … intimately associated archetypally with the threshold and doorways. The ancient name Petros …was part of the sacred threshold of temples. AND associated with the gates of dawn, and therefore the rooster – as in the gospels too. I got that i am or can be the ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’. Very like Peter Pan too! He was a psychopomp, leading the children to Neverland. and back – reluctantly!
‘So i guess i need to take my own medicine and know how to go in and out the gates myself. ‘physician, heal thyself’.’

She had said:

With regard to ‘petering out’  – this is how we see it: there are two spirit guardians of a doorway/threshold and also several traps. (And a third beyond, but that one doesn’t concern you until you actually get beyond). They are very high in the hierarchy of things and very dangerous. They mimic the cherubim. One is a spirit of constriction and the other of wasting. The latter one  is in charge of ensuring we peter out. (More especially true of people named Peter.) You probably have fewer problems with constriction or constricting circumstances than other people. (Though maybe not – the wine on the laptop could be a constriction.)
From ancient times, the threshold was the place of sacrifice.
Therefore when it comes to spiritual thresholds – that is, passing through the door into destiny – a sacrifice is required.
Some people actually sacrifice others to achieve their destiny. (And by sacrifice, I don’t mean minor stuff like be a workaholic and ignore relationships to achieve, I mean – make the decision to destroy someone mentally, emotionally or spiritually to get the desired end.) Most people have a sense of the real nature of the sacrifice required and are unwilling to do that. So most people sacrifice themselves, at least partially. This too leads to wasting/petering out.

SCARY! and then this:

For most people in the modern world, the constriction generally seems to be financial. I’m not sure how to describe the thresholds – man-made or daemonic – I’m still struggling to understand their nature. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re independent-minded or not; the crossing of the threshold is about a willingness to make a sacrifice – to pay the price to come into your destiny.
As for what the Bible teaches about thresholds and the covenants governing them, again I’m not sure. I think the idea was so common in ancient times that it is assumed everyone could pick up the references to it. When Jesus renames Simon and calls him Cephas (Peter), I think there’s a multiple play on words – the word is not just rock, but threshold stone in a gateway or doorway …Most Christians take the simplistic view that any problematic threshold covenants were undone at the cross and that therefore no Christian these days suffers from this problem. Which, in my experience, is not the case at all. Christians don’t come into their destiny much, either. In fact, very few do. They suffer just as much from the threshold problem as other people. Mostly I think it’s ignorance that leaves them stranded. And a kind of fatalism (more of a Muslim than Christian kind) about the will of God.’

I replied,

‘It is a comfort to have someone else looking deeper, even gropingly, tentatively, when all the world seems so hasty and surface-dwelling. When there are obviously (to me) things going on beneath the obvious, things that stop us year after year. And you are right – most Christians assume they are exempt. Then they go and live aimless lives, serving Mammon, or man in the form of pastor and the church fashions, while the poor starve outside their gates.

I am for honesty, and reality. If there’s a gate to go through, i like to say so, or be told so. I have seen many people baulk at their own destiny-gates, and retreat in haste lest they go through and walk with God – and confront their demons.
i note that Cephas/Peter when the cock crew denied Christ, ie baulked at following him through the gates of self-sacrifice. Many years later he himself was led away ‘where he would rather not go’, and was crucified – but upside down. hm. hope it doesnt have to come to that!
So many synchronicities at present between these thoughts and my life:
– I am currently carving a taniwha/mosasaur pendant for my brother’s monster movie, called (working title) In Depths Below, with the tagline ‘No-one Wants to Believe’.
– I happen to be changing both thresholds of the Ark where we live and i work: the front door now has a round window in it facing east to let in the dawn light, and the back has a whole wall of window glass closing in the porch, and the double doors are now out at the end of the porch. And where the doors used to be is an interior threshold with a thick board of totara milled from a ‘sinker log’ – donated by a young man who raises these logs from the river where they have lain for 100 years since the logging days. (The finial i carved for the front of the Ark with an owl and celtic knots, is also made from that totara. When i can afford the time i plan to make a rooster weathervane to go on top of the finial…)
When i was just nailing the doors in their new position, i went out the back of the section and saw the sun was an orange ball behind the clouds, just setting behind the hills.
So, thresholds, sunrise, sunset, depths – and monsters from the deep. (Also the Taniwha of that river was said by the Maori to take the form of a log which floated (spookily) UPstream.)
Meanwhile at  cafe Eutopia I finally got round to improving a (sliding) door to the big tent, and put handles on it which it had lacked. And issues at the cafe with finishing, with the lease for the cafe business – covenants, penalties, thresholds, stuckness…
All this time I’ve been attempting to relax enough not to get the migraine which keeps threatening, long enough to get my ‘Wizard of Eutopia – for hire’ sign composed, printed and put out the front of the ark. This is all about ‘coming out’ and being a contribution (serving others as they wish to use me) rather than only ‘building‘ a contribution (in the form of (complex, hard to finish) structures and products I hope they will find inspiring). Quite a lot of inner issues here, think i am working through them. Not easy when you dont know exactly what they are.
One issue is claiming the name ‘wizard’ in the first place – evil to my christian relatives, while charming to many others, who like the fun of finding someone willing to be a stereotype, and do it with conviction. 🙂 Of course I aim to be like Gandalf or Dumbledore, not Saruman or Voldemort (of course!). Gandalf was a steward, of all that was worth saving in Middle Earth, and of the ancient kingship and its return. His life’s work was the ushering in of the new age with the return of the king. Meanwhile I as would-be Wizard of the Epic plan to make a bold foray back into Aeden, revise volume 1 one more time, and then revise vol 4, and the whole will have some completion, even if it is not yet ready to take on the world… That epic being of course the story of the end of the Fourth Age (the one Gandalf ushered in) and the dawn of the Fifth, the diamond Age.
Here endeth the Tale of Two Thresholds.

1 Comment

Filed under How to be a Wizard, other wizards, the Wizard archetype, thresholds and destiny