“We do not, as children, first enter into language by consciously studying the formalities of syntax and grammar or by memorizing the dictionary definition of words, but rather by actively making sounds – by crying in pain and laughing in joy, by squealing and babbling and playfully mimicking the surrounding soundscape, gradually entering through such mimicry into specific melodies of the local language, our resonant bodies slowly coming to echo the inflections and accents common to our locale and community.

“We thus learn out native language not mentally but bodily. We appropriate new words and phrases first through their expressive tonality and texture, through the way they feel in the mouth or roll of the tongue, and it is this direct, felt significance – the taste of a word or phrase, the way it influences or modulates the body – that provides the fertile, polyvalent source for all the more refined and rarefied meanings which that term may come to have for us.” David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

Learning and creating languages is an interesting intellectual pursuit, but I think there’s more depth to it than that, something I’ve discovered in my exposure to other languages. The idea being that language goes back to our primal roots, through cries, grunts, murmurs, screams. The calls of animals we hear in the wild places are the primal matrix from which languages evolved, like the first light sensitive cell on a microorganism that eventually became an eye.

Our first experience of language acquisition is instinctive, not intellectual; it is something experienced by the body, and from there our learning of language is built up. Looking through a dictionary we might be mistaken that language is a purely intellectual pursuit, something “raised above” our instincts, and that translation between languages is just a logical pursuit of matching meanings of the words and/or parallel grammatical approaches.

Perhaps this is the reason I never learnt French in school (despite 6 years of learning), because the formal approach in a school doesn’t resonate emotionally or instinctively with us; it doesn’t access the roots of language. It’s well known that emersion in a language is the best way to learn, and that’s certainly the case with me: I’ve learnt more French and Spanish since living with them.

Sometimes I say something in Spanish, not because I know intellectually that it is correct, but because I have a gut feeling that some words or phrases are correct. I think even if I make mistakes in another language (or my own even) it is understood because I am learning to speak from a “gut feeling” level and am understood at the same level. The flow of the words (or even their non-flow) can communicate more than the words themselves.

I think even the written word, though supposedly abstracted from our bodies, can have an effect on us. Going back to gut instinct, we can get a feeling for the words on a page, not just their dictionary meanings. So much has been done so that our experience of the body is distrusted, and I think that use of language has a lot to do with it. If we trust the sensations of the body through our languages a whole new level of communication is accessible.

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“It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them.” Rose MacAulay

A little while ago someone said to me “Psychology doesn’t work.” I felt a bit defensive about this, since I am studying psychology (with Psychosynthesis and Ecopsychology) and find it a valuable and useful tool in my work. But it soon occurred to me that they were right! Psychology doesn’t work at all. It’s just a bunch of theories and methods for knowing and working with the human mind. Just tools.

People work, not psychology. People make psychology work.

If you are not willing to look within yourself and understand yourself using psychology then of course it doesn’t work! People go to therapy or counselling hoping that some “magic wand” (or pill) will help them get better, that somehow you just turn up and They; the therapists, psychiatrists and counsellors will do something. They don’t. They can only share their understanding and help facillitate your inner work. Maybe they can help start the process of inner healing with their knowledge and understanding but it’s not them that will have to follow through and accomplish the work (though sometimes these psychological facillitators may not always be competent, as I’ve found out, further undermining the value of psychology). Will power is a very important part of the process; the willingness to look at yourself and do the necessary work.

It’s a common delusion that someone else can work on your own psychological processes. That’s the delusion. There’s no one else in that mind except you and yourself. You will have to face Yourself someday, in the end. Know thyself (and what a journey that’s been, and will continue to be!).

To reflect on the quote above; of course talking doesn’t make “things” better. It’s not “things” that understand words but people. People understand words, they understand their significance, and words can help affect changes within. To give one example they can work like a release valve, releasing some of the pressure within (“A problem shared is a problem halved,” as they say).

And sometimes you don’t even need another person to hear them, sometimes it’s just worthwhile to put your inner thoughts and feelings into words that can help clarify and reflect on what’s going on (for years I’ve found this release mostly through poetry. In fact any art will do). But communication of inner thoughts and feelings also stops people from becoming isolated within themselves, proper communication, not just talking for the sake of talking. Talking for the sake of creating understanding.

Psychology doesn’t work, people do.

“Might there be levels of truth of reality that are missed by the science-orientated, common-sense consciousness we use to navigate our way through traffic jams, supermarkets and e-mails?” Jonathan Black, The Secret History of the World

“Not all meanings are meant to be clear at once. Some ideas take time. Some words are designed to lead us on inner journeys, with truth hidden deep inside them.” Brian Froud

I consider myself to be a materialist, although a very spiritually inclined materialist. And also I consider myself a rationalist with the concession that, as a human being, I must admit to non-rational dimensions to life (you ever read anything on quantum physics? That’s the land of Faery right there). Because of this, and for the sake of my “irrational” health and sanity, I have suspended disbelief to embrace another mode of thought in order to touch depths within myself not open to rational or common sense thinking. My vision of the universe has become transformed, unlocked by symbols that act as keys upon my soul. Perhaps this story is a mere tapestry of fantasy, but look carefully for the element of truth, a single thread, which can lead you back to its source, perhaps the Source.

Long ago, Heaven and Earth were one, there was no separation, no duality. But then a shadow appeared, and began a long process of separating the spiritual and the material. The many great and magical beings disappeared from the material world leaving no trace of their existence. And the many beings of Earth grew quiet and isolated from one another, unable to communicate any more, for all creatures of mineral, plant and animal were once friends and companions, forming a great company with one another and with the magical and divine beings. Yet despite this they still resonated with the rest of the cosmos, albeit faintly and unconsciously.

In only a few creatures of the Earth did the higher spiritual nature of Heaven remain, reflecting itself through spiritual vision, reason and imagination. One such creature were the humans, beings with a great capacity to understand and transform the world around them. In humanity the gods invested their Wisdom in order that when spiritual and material became divorced by the Shadow of Separation, there remained a seed of spirituality in a material world to preserve a guiding light in this despiritualised world.

Finally the Shadow of Separation grew so strong that even humanity lost contact, becoming mired in a materialistic delusion, now closed to Cosmic Inspiration and interested only in material gain. Despite this some people have worked secretly to keep the truth of our spiritual source aflame within us, protecting it from forces that look to steal or destroy it.  But this is inevitable and even necessary.

Do not think that the Shadow of Separation is not without a useful role in this for it is just an initiator of a new process necessary for the independent evolutions of Heaven and Earth. For each must grow in its own way before reuniting. That is why humans are not aware of Heaven, for we must find it for ourselves. This has been entrusted to us by Heaven; that we learn the secret teachings past down to us through the Ancients by the gods and overcoming the glamour of the material in order to spiritualise it.

Can you feel it? Come out from the material light of the City and open to the spiritual light of the Cosmos. Go to the woods where only moonlight and starlight shine, sharing their presence, if little else. They look at you and you look at them. They await you to return to them.

Can you feel it? The whole Cosmos seems to be waiting for humanity to take the long climb back up to Heaven taking the material world with it.

Can you feel it? All beings of animal, plant and mineral resonate with their connection to the Cosmos, though even they do not know it, and you were ignorant of it until now. Though unconscious of it, they too await us to fulfil our duty so that they can reawaken to the unity of Heaven and Earth.

It is in all life to reawaken to this. our very beings are made from the very stuff of the Cosmos. We are Stardust, it is in our nature, it is our destiny. Can you feel it?

“When… Arthur loses the power to give, his court disintegrates and his kingdom hangs in the balance. Only the restoration of his ability to give makes him leader of the community again.”

“The kingdom of the Grail, for example, becomes the Gaste Pays, a barren wasteland, when the Fisher-King was wounded for transgressing a geis and could no longer govern properly.” Jean Markale King of the Celts: Arthurian Legends and Celtic Tradition

I have something brewing in my head, a stew of ideas; of Celtic Sovereignty, kingship and kings’ sacred marriages to the Goddess of the Land; of healthy kings, wounded kings, fisher kings and Grail Quests; of suffering people, suffering landscapes and abused Sovereignty; of Arthurian legends, Dragons, Knights in Shining Armour, Maidens in distress, yet also of Empowered Maiden-Warriors fed up of waiting for glorified tin-cans. Awen, the Spirit of Inspiration, shines forth from the cauldron and a vision is formed. Please enjoy.

Long ago, in the land of my ancestors, there once was a King who’d achieved the Quest of the Source of All Rivers, passed the test of the Servants of the Goddess, and partaken of the Spring Waters, endowing him with the powers of Kingship and Sovereignty. He was a very powerful, ambitious and clever King, bringing great fortunes to his People and the Land but he had little wisdom to bring balance with it. Though he and his People revelled in the glory of his reign, neither he nor his People saw where all of this success was heading or the great troubles that would arise from it.

One day, a bright sunny day, the King and his band of faithful Warriors were out on an excursion, expanding the boundaries of the kingdom and its wealth. They encountered at the foot of some mountains a wild forest, and so, eager to investigate, they cut a path through it, chopping many trees down until they reached the foot of the mountain. There they found a cave, which one by one they all entered, led by the King.

Inside it was so vast they could not see the walls or ceiling, but even if it was smaller they would not have noticed the walls or ceiling for it was filled with many treasures, enchanting the eyes of the King and of the men. They went outside, drunk with excitement and greed for what they had found. They went back to their People and told them about the treasures and organised a way to take them and make the People rich!

So it was done, they went and cut down more trees to make way for the many carts and carriages that would take away the riches and inside the cave it was alive with people inspecting the glittering pieces, and people filling sacks up and lugging them away. But no one had noticed the dark presence inside, though it certainly noticed them. It was a Dragon, black as coal, that had been sleeping there for so long that the People only remembered Her in their ancient legends, and even then in vague foggy references that no one quite believed, or even understood.

The Dragon had finally awakened, and She was not happy. Her mouth began to smoke and filled the cave, suffocating all those who were inside. The smoke poured out of the cave and formed a great pillar where once there had been a mountain. The King fell out from the cave, coughing and spluttering, into the arms of his Warriors. The King died, but before he died the King warned his People to stop what they were doing for it meant great catastrophe to them and to the Land. Few heard him, for they were enchanted by the treasures or panicking over the Dragon.  And even those that did deluded themselves into thinking that maybe, just maybe, the King could be brought back to life and restore the Kingdom. But they did not know the source of his power or had forgotten it.

The Warriors rode away to the castle to see if they could bring the King back to life. Behind them, as they rode away, the smoke formed a wall that spread across the land, poisoning it. There were too few trees to hold the black wall back for they had all been cut down. The Land became poisoned, the crops failed and the Dragon’s hot breath melted away the ice-caps upon the mountain tops melted into water flooding the Land and destroying many people’s homes. The riches from the Dragon’s cave began turning to dust, leaving many People poor and at war with one another (though they had really been at war for quite some time). The Source of All Rivers dried up and the Servants of the Goddess withered in strength, and wailed and weeped for this great misfortune. The People suffered, the Land suffered. They needed healing.

Back at the castle the Warriors brought the King’s body and took it to the Queen’s sanctuary, where she stood guard over the Healing Chalice that the King recieved on his coronation. But upon entering the room a great horror met the eyes of the Warriors, for the Queen lay on the floor, dead, and the Healing Chalice had disapeared from its place. Court was held to decide what to do, but a further blow was struck for it was there that the People realised that the Princess, one and only daughter to the King and Queen, had disappeared, and with her the Royal Lineage. Some remembered the last words of the dead King and, taking it to heart, they set out to stop the catastrophe, though some people dispaired and could not bring themselves to do anything and others scoffed, still enchanted by the Dragon’s treasures, deluded by an ephemeral wealth.

Here is where I should tell you about a Great Quest, undertaken by only the best of the Warriors, to seek and slay the Dragon, to free the Princess, restore the Healing Chalice to its rightful place and for a new King to take the old one’s place, marry the Princess who becomes the new Queen and brings a new era of wealth and health, though this time a bit more wiser and a little less greedy. And so Happily Ever After and all that jazz.

I would that I could, but I can’t so I won’t.

This story has not really finished yet. In fact right now, the land is only just feeling the effects of the People’s greed and the King has only just left the cave, warning his People. But he will die, he has to. The old Patriarchal order has to go and make way for a new order if the land is to be restored to something like its previous state and the People freed from their suffering. But the scar will linger for some while, carried by many future generations.

Will the Dragon ever be slayed? I think not, the Dragon can never be killed for She is the raw power of the Land itself provoked into a destructive mode against the People that disturbed it and abused its generosity. There is no hope to slay this Dragon, because if we did we’d just be provoking more of the same. We can but hope that we don’t provoke Her any more than we have, so that She might once again go down to the Land and rest deep within it again. Perhaps by not cutting down any more of the Wild Forest and planting and growing more trees we could entice the Dragon back to the Land because She likes that luscious greenery and when she knows there are enough trees (and Ents?) standing guard over the Land She can rest at ease, supporting life’s energies in the continuous breaths of her peaceful dreaming sleep; the unconscious evolution of the living Earth that has been going on long before humanity appeared.

And we cannot expect a single champion to put all things right by his own efforts alone. Even the Princess, though she is trapped in the Dragon’s lair, cannot rely on a Knight in Shining Armour to save her. She is not a passive or weak victim and must prepare herself to be free, with or without the help of a hero. And her Queenship is innate, not determined by her social status or something to be supplanted by a King’s reign whilst she stands by, supporting him as a passive symbol of Sovereignty. She is empowered, she is power and has a little of the Dragon in her too. A lesson for all women.

The King is dead, long live the King; so the saying goes. But there is no new King to replace the old one. The old King was Patriarchy that supplanted the power of the Queen and led the People into imbalance within themselves and with the Land. This is what killed the Queen, the passive female supporter of the Patriarchy. The old King can no longer lead us when he has gone past his use-by-date. Replacing him with another King would  be repeating more of the same, just with new packaging.

It is the Healing Chalice we need. Where is the Healing Chalice? Where can we find it to heal all that is ill and poisoned? Can we restore the King back to life? Or the Queen? The Healing Chalice, like the Holy Grail, is spiritual. As Jesus said “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, and people will not say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” Each of us has the Healing Chalice within us. It has not disappeared; it has simply become entrusted to each of us so that we can all help heal the People and the Land. It is up to each of us to engage with our own spiritual journey within, to access our own inner resources of healing and wisdom and to use that in the service of Land and People.

It is in the power of every man to be a King. It is in the power of every woman to be a Queen. The Sovereign is one who keeps the balance within their People and between People and Land, making sure that justice is maintained and that true and noble Sovereignty is kept constant. Though one person cannot lead the People without the help of the People. The People themselves must commit themselves to the restoration of Sovereignty within and without and the healing of Land and People, with or without a leader.

If the kingdom lies within then we should strive to learn to be good Kings and Queens individually and maintain the balance within ourselves, within our own psyches. And that this inner balance be balanced with the surrounding environment. With the inner balance of each individual established and that in balance with the environment, then the balance of Land and People, of Earth and Humanity, naturally follows on from there.

Each of us is a King, each of us is a Queen, each of us is a Princess, each of us is a Warrior, each of us is the People, each of us is the Land, each of us is a Dragon and each of us is a Healing Chalice. Blessings on your Quest and upon mine also.  Let us seek out and restore the balance in the ways that we can, remembering this vow wherever the journey takes us.

 

 

Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones
Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones

“There are few experiences quite so cruel as, when after having made a well-argued, even elegant and moving case to someone, you lean back expecting the warm sparkle of shared insight and understanding, only to encounter the flat opaqueness of complete and utter incomprehension.” John Livingstone

“Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.” William Butler Yeats

THAT (the quote by John Livingstone), I feel, is the result of centuries of religion where the only people being religious were the priests. They stand at their pulpits proclaiming the word of God, whilst the believers that they serve sit in their pews passively listening hoping some of the religiousness of the priest will wear off on them (Pew Potatos, like the Couch Potato but religious). But that’s not my way, I don’t want to be a passive listener, I want something more intelligent than that. Nor do I want to be the active proclaimer talking to a passive audience but I can’t help thinking that maybe I am. I mean, here I am writing things, hoping that my words will be more than just passive two-dimensional monologues but there’s no way of telling because, although I can see how many people have visited this blog, I don’t know who’s reading it and what they’re (you’re) thinking and feeling, what sort of dynamic responses is going on in the brains of the readers.

It’s only in active dialogues that words come alive, they take on the quality of vitality, not just something that’s known but something that’s experienced and developed into something that can be applied to life. Words can change things, that’s why talking, writing, conversing are arts, they can reach into minds and connect synapses that weren’t connected before, opening doors of realisation and comprehension. Or, if misused, words can create the opposite; ignorance and denial. Which is why we need to be wise enough to be careful with words; with who we speak to, what words we speak to them and how we speak to them.

Still, I don’t need comprehension here. I’m sure lots of people understand my words, and it’s easy to agree to words, but the real challenge is when someone disagrees or doubts (or doesn’t understand but wants to understand). For me that would be the real work with my words, to grapple with them (the grit in the oyster to create the pearl), give them dynamism by introducing them to other minds where they are expanded into dimensions beyond the original two they were written in. When that happens words then become an organic experience, growing, rooting, branching, like I said before, coming alive. Evolution happens! Synergy happens!

Synergy is a word I was introduced to a little while ago (last year I think), and it’s really opened my eyes to the sort of relationships we can have with people. A synergistic relationship doesn’t have an active part and a passive part, an energy giving and an energy taking part, no way! All “components” (or individuals) in a relationship of synergy are active parts (energy giving), and this positive contribution by all involved builds up momentum by itself, as long as there is energy being put into it and doesn’t become victim to energetic leaches.

Going back to the beginning, where I talked about active proclaimers and passive listeners; it doesn’t just happen in churches or other religious places, it also happens in schools and in present day entertainment. Students just passively “eat” what they learn, there’s no way of learning how to use their learning. And also there’s the TV, which has produced the well know Couch Potato (although if you’re lucky some synapse triggering stuff might appear lol). This is “filling a pail” when what we really need is “the lighting of a fire.”

Now, I’m not saying “come on have a dialogue with me,” although you can if you want to. What I really want to say is don’t be passive in reading this, use these words to light a fire inside you and make reading this blog, in fact any blog (or even any writing) a dynamic activity.

And finally, the only potatoes I want reading my blogs are the ones that you stick in the ground that grow more potatoes. Well, my dinner’s got to come from somewhere LOL 😉

And finally finally (no really, finally) a note on the image. That is from Smith and Jones, a British sketch comedy in the 80s and 90s. The image is of them in deep conversation (a well know “head to head” sketch), usually about some deeply inane subject. An image of the type of dialogue I DO NOT want. As it says in WikipediaSmith was the idiot who knew everything, Jones the idiot who knew nothing.”

 

 

 

 

Photo of Mas De Gomis taken by Mika 2008

“Concern with the environment is no longer one of many “single issues”; it is the CONTEXT of everything else- our lives, our business, our politics.” Fritjof Capra (I told you I’d repeat some quotes lol)

“The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things.” Tao Te Ching.

We’re living in a bit of an eco-fallacy. Somehow “ecology” got sidelined as a mere “subject” within human existence, like it’s optional. Simply inventing the word ecology can create a split, and instead of being the whole context of our lives, it’s become a specialist subject.
I can imagine, one day in the future, a teacher talking about the word ecology as though it were a footnote in history…

“Well, long ago, humans thought as though we were somehow separate from the world around us, from the processes that sustains life. We used this word “ecology” to describe the natural processes, but described it as though humans aren’t a part of it, which has had very tragic circumstances.

“Some while later, humans were suffixing “eco” onto nearly every word as they realized just how connected to ecology they were; things like ecopsychology, ecobusiness, ecopolitics etc. But the term “eco” was used so much it became superfluous and wasn’t needed for anything anymore, because every aspect of human existence was realised as a part of “ecology”. We cannot talk about human existence without ecology…”

Perhaps in the end, “ecology” will become superfluous. But before then, we need it, we need the idea of the importance of ecology and that idea needs reinforcing, it’s a word that will help us properly orientate our lives. And perhaps then, when our lives are so suffused with the concept, we can do away with the word.

But not yet…

(Tao Te Ching quote from http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html)