Sunday, 25 May 2008

Seeking Clear Air

" . . . our individual lives, and every happening of those lives, is an integral part of the cosmic whole; it shows us our individual relationship to that whole."

says Dion Fortune in the book "The Work and Training of an Initiate." She also goes on to say that it takes 3 lives of steadfast effort to find the path on initiation. The more I read of this book, the more I feel that I am more than likely on life number 1, as the more I discover, the more I realise the little that I know!

The above quote stuck me in a powerful way, as I read it, as my part in the universal plan has been something that I've been thinking about in recent days. As we look at photographs of Nature in our back gardens, I've come to see that any person can be a lover of Nature, of the beauty that surrounds us, the wonderful flowers, trees, plants and incredible views from places of natural beauty, but few of us take the next step into not only appreciating but also experiencing that we are part of Nature. Part Of The All. We are not just Nature lovers, but Nature People. We not just observers of all that is around us, but we are intrinsically connected to all that is around us - we are part of the Cosmic Whole and we have a direct relationship with the Cosmic Whole. This is what is meant by on the Web of Life. We each have our place on that web, and we each send out our own unique vibration from our place on the Web of Life. More so, that vibration is required, it's needed, as we are interconnected to everyone else on that Web, and they need the vibration that we send. This is all part of the co-dependency of life.

Life, death and rebirth are part of the natural cycle of life, and as Nature People we move beyond the casual observation of all that surrounds us and understand that as we witness the happenings without, so we experience the same within. This also takes us to understand that "as above, so below." The 'little deaths' are required in order for us to move on in what I tend to see as a continual process of initiation. We are always spiraling in or spiraling out, as initiation isn't something that we experience as a one off, or as part of a series of 3, but something that is a continual part of our spiritual development.

Dion uses a lot of Christian imagery and uses a number of direct references to biblical themes in this book (I'm only just into it, so this isn't a review as such) and I struggle with this to a degree, because of my upbringing. It's clear that she never let go, completely, of her Christian roots. She talks a lot about triumphing over 'the flesh' and the need for the serious student to surrender the 'things of the senses' in order for the Higher Self to manifest. Whilst I struggle with the Christian concept of this, it does make sense to me when I see it in relation to the laying down of the Ego. It also makes sense to me when I see it as a path of 'little deaths' as Amber K talked about in her little book 'True Magick.' There is a call to sacrifice, there is a call to dedication. If we want to know that sense of true connection to the one Divine Life, then we have to live in accord with that one Divine Life and therefore our own motives are called into question and there has to be a process of 'sieving' before we can move on as true Magickal people. Dion talks about Westerners struggling with this because we see death as an ending, as opposed to a new beginning. Death is but a sunset, she says, to be followed by a new day. The laying down of our own desires and motives is the sunset before the process of initiation when we begin to know and experience the wonder of the Higher Self manifesting and through this knowing what it truly means to be connected to the One Divine Life. It's powerful stuff!

Dion talks of this process lifting us into a place of "serener air, clear of the accumulated heap of daily pettiness that threatens to bury us". I can relate to that statement so very closely!

Dion also talks of two paths, one being what she calls the path of the mystic (and she says that this path does not teach reincarnation) and the occult path. In this she seems (and remember that I'm only part in, so I may not be clear on her thinking at this stage) to separate religion and magick. As I've said before, I'm clear that magick can operate outside of a religious framework, there's no doubt about that, but for my path, magick happens within a clear spiritual and religious practice.

There's loads to draw from here, and I think I'm only just beginning to appreciate how it all fits together!


Ceri said...

Andy, I can't thank you enough for this posting.It is most relevent and welcome.Here again there are common themes that are coming up for me at the moment,interconnectedness,the web,co dependency to others on the web,surrender and reaching for that cleaner air.I can relate to that too, I'm guessing that we all can as modern day pagans we get 'bogged down' by life.Very interesting, yes I see it as laying down the ego but this is very difficult to achieve with social conditioning etc Perhaps Dion will do on to say how this can be achieved. Spoke to a pagan friend today who mentioned all of these issues too! Thank you again for sharing this in such an easily digestible manner, I needed it.Today the mundane was burying me and this has been a breath of the fresh sweet air that I needed so much :-)

Andy said...

I agree, Ceri, that the laying down of the ego is incredibly difficult, but the more I journey on my path, the more I see that there has to be an element of self sacrifice, or surrender of self. This is not a surrender to another person, but a surrender to spirit. I think it's about recognising that yes, we have been through social conditioning, we have been through socialisation, but in order to really know that true connection with the One Divine Life we have to lay this stuff down and start the process of 'becoming' - that is a returning to who we were before name and form. It's a tough one, and I don't pretend to fully understand it or all its implications at this moment, but I also don't think that I can avoid it!

Tess said...

I love your phrase 'Nature People' and you're so right about the interconnectedness of everything.
As I read this, I thought of the cells which make up all living things, and how substances can pass through the thin cell walls. Our skin is just another cell wall and sometimes the barrier between ourselves and all life is permeable, in both a literal and symbolic way.
I'm not explaining what I mean very well, I saw it so clearly when I read your words!

Andy said...

Yes Tess, I see what you mean. Dion calls it being 'free from the bondage of the senses' which is a really interesting phrase. Of course, we have to acknowledge that this book was first published in 1930, so language and its meaning has changed somewhat over that time. There is, without doubt, interconnectedness - we are connected to all things because all things are of spirit, all things are incarnations of divine life. However, Dion is talking of really entering into that oneness with the Divine Life, breaking free of the bondage and restriction that limiting ourselves to experiencing the world through only our natural senses brings. Having said that, she's not talking of supernatural experience, but of entering into a deeper and more profound consciousness. It's something I long for . . . and I'm very aware that I'm not there yet!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Andy. Your thought processes are so clear, and really assist the reader in following what you're saying. Fortune's book is obviously extremely thought-provoking, and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it even more, now!

Andy said...

Thanks for your kind words, GW, if you could see me you would notice that I'm blushing. Yes, Fortune's book is very thought provoking, but it's one of those that require slow digestion!