Dark night of the mystic soul

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As she wandered back to her cabin, searching for any fond memories she might have buried from her childhood, light faded everywhere around her.

How about the coloring? Children enjoy coloring, how about that? She’d spent so many hours and days on her art. It was as close as she could remember to having her Mamma stand over her with anything even remotely resembling approval. Her books and comics could be tales of Jesus, but coloring books had to be Old Testament because “No child’s impure hand could touch a crayon to the sweet beautiful face of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

So the little girl had scrunched down over Daniel in the lion’s den. Samson, screaming, being blinded with daggers and torches. The redder she made the flowing wounds of a man of God shot full of arrows, or stoned to death, the richer the flames of three men being burned in a box, the longer mamma let her stay out of that closet.

But the men still came. Mamma had no say over that. The Cleansers from the church had to step in as her father, since women were weak and needed men to set them straight. Mamma had done the unmentionable, and that sin must be cleansed from the girl child.

Paulette had fought so hard not to hum while she colored, since music was sinful. Now she fought to lock that vision back into its box. It was as close as she came to a happy childhood memory, but even this one gnawed away at her insides.

As that long night of deepening terrors took hold, her room grew colder. The trees outside began to quiver, then wail. The winds rose up, gathering the darkness in around them.

She heard rivers running everywhere, whitewater roaring far off.

But it was only those ominous winds, scraping and clawing through long-dried leaves that should have been left to lie still, and die quietly.

– From today’s chapter of “The Gardens of Ailana”

Aside

I have to describe “The Mourning After” in 300 words or less, emphasizing protagonist, setting, and theme. This is 273. What do you think? Any suggestions?:
Nightmares of war and death from lost centuries torment a young boy. He can’t separate fantasy from reality. Denis meets a child he calls M. She knows his dreams intimately. Telling him they’re more than imagination, she asks, “Do you … remember?”
They tear at him with devastating force and detail. Driven by a need for answers, the adult Denis searches America, finding only more questions.
Amid the storms and whispers of a haunted forest with intentions of its own, he finds a decrepit cabin, where his terrors start coming real. Beside its old barn someone has been tending the grave of at least one of his “imaginary” childhood playmates, Enoch.
Nothing makes sense if he can’t let himself believe that he and M lived there long ago. That they’ve loved each other for lifetimes, with increasing desperation, as he keeps dying young, leaving her grieving into lonely old age.
Enoch, always in the background, somehow holds the key to ending this cycle of suffering.
Denis searches for M, as she fights her own haunting mysteries back to him.
He meets a quiet, mysterious man in the forest.
In a world where death is just another beginning, they must trust in what they cannot believe.
M arrives too late. She finds Denis’s journal, his grave, and this deeply hurting stranger. To smash this ancient chain of tragedy, she must follow Denis into death.
From the other side, he has to find a way to stop her.
Then she falls in love with the stranger.
That which can’t possibly be true weaves through wonders that can’t be denied, until love makes everything real.

“The Gardens of Ailana”

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Sylva was holding her hand up in awe. A child of four, she was hardly even talking yet, but there was a good possibility this was intentional. Garden creatures understood her well enough.

She was watching a fat, fuzzy bee with golden stripes saunter across her upturned hand, trailing pollen along her palm, to the delight of her tiny companion, Renn.

Renn, all of six years of age, was Syl’s older brother, though it didn’t always feel that way. He trailed her through adventures into bright, spirited loveliness and sheer joy, asking questions, and hearing answers that often neither of them actually said aloud. In the world they inhabited, most beings didn’t speak. In that world, it wasn’t really necessary.

“Does he tickle, Syl?” he asked, though, because sometimes feelings have to be expressed.

He probably could have coaxed a bee of his own onto his own hand, but he loved watching his little sister’s eyes, sharing her delight.

“Petelmeyer,” she told him, answering the next question he was getting ready to ask. “We have decided to name this bee, Petelmeyer,” and it sounded like she was getting ready to knight it.

The tiny thing couldn’t kneel, since its legs hadn’t been assembled that way, but Petelmeyer he became then, and Petelmeyer he stayed.

As though she had commanded him to rise and assume his new duties in the Kingdom of Nature, he lifted up into soft garden breezes, touched her fingertip, and bowed away.

His realm called to him. He had duties to attend to in a nearby patch of strawberries.

The children giggled.

For some people, gardens come alive with the sunrise, with that first kiss of color, and warmth.

For others, they’re at their best in the darkness, when true magic is everywhere.

For these two, Ailana’s Gardens were always miraculous; they carried the magic around with them.

Sylvie was a wind-tossed child with scrambled hair. She would never wear a hat because there was no way she could keep it on, and just couldn’t be bothered. She had similar problems with shoes that tied, so she went everywhere barefoot or in boots. One couldn’t imagine her without a smudge on her face. Ailana called her Flitter.

She was a child born with wide open eyes who didn’t need to be told what she saw. Sometimes she played Peekaboo in the middle of a field, when there didn’t appear to be anyone with her, but no one really questioned her on it; few even chalked it off to imagination; they knew she saw deeper than they could.

Some thought she was late starting to speak because she was a slow learner, but those who knew her well suspected she’d been born with very little left to learn.

Visitors to the garden heard rumors that she wasn’t a normal human child at all. That she may have been more of a nature spirit, taking on human form for only this one lifetime.

What others thought and said about her, though, didn’t stir any interest at all. She didn’t think about people much. They were mere passing curiosities; just as they were to most fairies, tree spirits, and forest sylphs.

Her hippy parents may have sensed some of this from the beginning. This may have been why they’d named her Sylva.

As Petelmeyer plied the short green fields of berries, Sylva shared the gift of the pollen he’d left behind with her brother. Delicately pressing the fingertip the bee had kissed into a spot of golden powder on her palm, she touched that to the center of Renn’s forehead, just above his eyebrows.

She repeated that ceremony on her own.

Neither spoke.

One tree very near them whispered a quiet, contented croak. Sylv croaked back.

Sunbeams glistened off the wings of a dragonfly in subdued hints of purple, then green, or maybe red. Renn wondered just how many colors there were.

“God sings through the flowers, you know,” Sylva said, “Only you don’t hear him with any part of your head.”

Renn sort of knew what she was saying.

When Ailana came by later, she found the little girl standing over a dead rabbit. Her brother had wandered away. A child down the street had just died. He didn’t know how to process that, and didn’t think he really wanted to, so he just left her alone with the still form of the bunny.

Ailana said nothing. She just stood there with Sylvie, offering blessings of her own.

It was a while before Sylva spoke. She quite often didn’t, but when she did have something to say, it was worth fully listening to.

Now she told Ailana, “It is sad some things die, but it isn’t. The part we see with our outside eyes just stops moving is all. But the shiny part can play better then, because it doesn’t have to stay close to the ground anymore.”

Ailana smiled, and said nothing.

Sylvie much preferred people stay silent when there was so obviously nothing more to say.

– A character I’m creating within my new novel, “The Gardens of Ailana.”

Ailana’s Gardens.

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New opening lines for the book?: “I hurt so badly to connect with something.” She didn’t know how many times she’d awakened with those words in her head; that ache in her heart. She wasn’t completely sure what they meant, or what she could do to change anything. She only knew that feeling rode her somehow. Like a horse wearing blinders, she always felt something unseen, controlling each step, yanking at her reins, pulling her up short when she wanted to run free across vast fields she probably only imagined. Or maybe in some strange way remembered.

Dedication: This book is for those who hurt for something more in their everyday lives. Who desperately need to feel connected to something. Something Higher, richer, more meaningful. No matter how much they give to others, no matter how productive, over-stuffed, and generous their lives, they always feel they’re pulling up short.

It’s for those who need to feel what it’s like to heal, and be healed.

For those who need to FEEL again.

To feel something far beyond life’s daily drudgeries.

Don’t just parrot the philosophers

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Ancient philosophers were explorers and wanted us to be. They wanted to understand this physical world, but not get stuck there. They didn’t share their insights so we would over-analyze and repeat them in endless loops through forever ad nauseum. Their goals never included being quoted and re-translated until they lost all meaning. They sought to be jumping off points, not stalling out points. They wanted to be doorways, not doorstops.

Friends want to drag you into their darkness

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The universe is based on contrasts: yin & yang / for every action there is a reaction. The world of spirit is no exception. For each teacher trying to lead us toward light there will be another slinging darkness. When we find ourselves dancing in joy we will find friends crowding nearer who want to drag us into their fears, angers, and disillusionment. When we lose ourselves in beauty, others will remind us of ugliness. As our lives fill with magic and wonder, there will always be those trying to beat these away from us with factoids and rumors, with scientific counter-references and left brain limitations.

I picture a dog in a storm outside a large comfortable mansion. He is standing at the door, barking and howling as the masters snuggle inside by the fireplace, dry and warm and feeling wonderful.

They go to the door to let the pooch in, but he won’t budge. He hasn’t been barking for them to let him in; he’s been trying to get them to come outside and share his misery, to join him in this horrible deluge.

So they walk back in to sit again by the fire, to snuggle up in the golden warmth, as he goes back to yapping in the darkness.

We can never rise unless we fall

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Doubt and denial seem to be an important part of spiritual development. Tales are told in most if not all religious traditions about those who deny, and who, other than Judas, lived to recant. Look also at stories of Christian and other martyrs, of Sai Baba, HPB, et al. Where there is a Light Bearer there must be those trying to drag us back into the darkness where they are more comfortable. Where there is purity, folks will sling mud. It seems to be one of the basic and undeniable, unavoidable rules of the universe. Like Yin & Yang, like there can be no up without a down to compare it to. Where there are those trying, we will find those falling short. “Seek & you will find”? Sure. But only if you are willing to get lost so many times that you have felt like giving up. “Knock & it shall be opened”? Maybe. But sometimes it will be the wrong door.
But the light is in there; and someday, you will get all the way home, only to realize that even when failing, even in your very darkness moments, you actually had been there all the time.

When should doctors let us go?

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Beyond a certain point, however well meaning, the medical staff may be merely keeping the physical structure alive, not the person in it. They may be keeping the soul trapped there, hibernating, when it actually wants to live, to reach out and thrive; just not in this body any more.

Does God know and control everything?

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I don’t think I believe that there is no such thing as coincidence; that God plans every detail, and all that. But I do know absolutely that beyond a certain stage in one’s development, once he is unshakably aware, interacting with that glorious vast whatever day and night, from then on every one of his moments will be woven out of deeply meaningful synchronicities.

Others around him may shake their heads, call it miraculous, say, “Whoa! That was strange!” but he keeps on keeping on, fully open to the next moment, and the purposefulness of every little bit of his life.

Of course this brings up the whole thing about no sparrow falling without God knowing it and all that.But then this all hangs on what exactly the speaker is referring to as “God”. It may very well be that nothing happens without something else knowing. It is certainly true that every little something else is then a part of a larger something else until it all weaves together into that Vast Something Else. – If we then call that Vast, Glorious, but ultimately unknowable Something Else “God”, then okay. In that case I can agree that “God” knows about everything.

How many steps along the path?

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Imprisoning oneself inside his own history; inside what he has always believed, what folks around him believe and proclaim; can’t reach very far into deep, pure, meaningful understanding. Learning to observe carefully with his senses, and to do so objectively, carries him much further in. Scientific understanding could conceivably carry him further still, and then deep spiritual attunement even deeper. But he doesn’t get there by taking any one single step; he doesn’t reach deepest knowing by locking himself into one level.
He gets there by letting go of it all.

In dark times, must we fight for Spirit?

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These are troubling times for the Deep of Spirit, but we have our forebears even here. Did KH and M ignore the political heavings and machinations of the London Lodge? Did HPB fight with Garibaldi? Did Annie Besant never take a political stand, nor her friend, Mahatma Gandhi? Would the good Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King want to be forced to choose between being a man of spirit OR a political activist? And from my readings of the Bhagavad Gita, I did NOT get that Krishna was telling Arjuna, “Okay, buddy; you just sit this one out. Go back and meditate under that tree in that field; maybe if you OMMMMM loud enough you won’t hear the cries of pain and the clashing of the armor.  Let these lesser yokels fight amongst themselves. You’re on the path now; don’t soil your hands.”

Just be love

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Life drew my attention yesterday toward someone I know who has long been at loggerheads with her family and friends. Of course she always sees this as everyone else’s fault; they are just not living the way she tells them to. I thought of how miserable that could leave someone, though I doubt she would see herself that way.

How healing it can be, what a joyful moment, to feel humbled, in tune with the truth, apologetic, and then be forgiven. To come clean and be released. It is so freeing, such a feeling of lightness.

She may never experience this.

However; although my caring may briefly slip just enough into her pain to connect, I don’t choose to get stuck there. My job is to feel and share Joy, and Light.

This lady brings up slights and failures (real, exaggerated, and imagined) from times now long passed. She wants to keep them alive and drag others into them. But in doing so she shines light on certain choices each must make for himself: Do we wallow, or do we climb free? Do we dull, or do we shine? Do we anchor into old times and relationships, or do we embrace the new? Do we crawl back into our moldy old caves of sorrows and shadows? Or do we fly open-armed through bright open fields of delicious possibilities?

Doorways to Everything.

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A trained, logical mind can be like a door with well-oiled hinges. But it is not the doorway itself, just a slab on hinges pivoting around itself within set parameters.

The doorway can be reached by stepping beyond the door, by turning away from the strictly physical. But you are still merely standing on the threshold.

Freedom, Bliss, and True Knowing can only consume you once you leap through the threshold and fly.

Being the Light.

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Years ago my other-worldly connections shifted dramatically. I could sometimes feel myself traveling to a hospital or sickroom somewhere to assist in the healing, and would get unsolicited confirmation later that day. Or I might radiate general Light to all beings; I might feel myself a radiant sun on high, shining down onto all beings, onto and through the planet itself. Or I might for a while enjoy the Bliss of Humility, and just receive for a while. Then I went through a long period of time when I just felt part of the woods I live in, part of the world’s peace.

This troubled me when I read the masters’ letters and they spoke of being there for poor orphan humanity. A dear and knowing theosophist / psychologist friend, Dr. Barbara Hebert, told me I was a radiating center of peace and that this was a good thing, but I had trouble agreeing with her that this was enough.

It sure felt good, though. It felt natural, and healing, and right.

I had some cancer spots for years that bled and hurt all over my back and shoulders and Lynden suggested, “Well, you send all this healing all over the planet and beyond, why don’t you just redirect some through yourself?” – Well. I have to admit that had never occurred to me. So I sat and drew down the healing forces, pulling them through me. The cancer went away and I apparently set about getting ready for the next stage.

I headed off for England where I came into contact with lingering spirits in ancient monasteries and graveyards; stone circles and centers of magic; pieces of the true cross, bones of apostles, the robe of St. Francis …. And it was like my molecules were changing. I was losing my sense of physical presence. Lynden and I were sick for months and I stayed home. The winter broke records and I stayed inside. I got a devastating earache and deafness in Italy, and I could hardly have felt any more isolated.

As I healed from this, it was as though I was now in a very different body than the one I’d felt the pain through. In recent weeks I have been constantly buzzing in some other-worldly kinda way. I have never been good with numbers, but now I seem to have no connection at all. If I just make the slightest shift from paying attention to my surroundings, I feel the flow of healing pouring through for all; and I am a part of that flow. Shortly after that, for some reason, I desperately need a nap.

As Lyndie and I were coming home from Scotland yesterday, after visiting Roslyn Chapel again (I spent a lot of time in the crypt below it this time), I felt like I was just some non-specific force of Nature, just pouring some benign energy out into the hills.

I pondered over what that might mean. A tree in the forest is a center of peace, but doesn’t get all anxiety-ridden over where he should be sending that peace. He is just doing what he is. Winds are forces of Nature, but don’t question whom they should be seeking out to blow upon, and where they should be blowing him.

There is a picture on Lynden’s altar which we think was supposed to be KH, but I have never believed they looked like their pictures in real life. I can see why they would not correct this, because having too many normal people focusing on them could disrupt their work on other planes, so I just see these as pictures of generic mahatmas that I could make use of however I will. If I am in a place of gentle loving peace and wish to grow more so, I can see this drawing as KH. If I am kneeling there with Sword Ganesha in my hands, in a mood to bust through the blockages and the darkness, I can see this as M. I can use this to offer myself to guides and spiritual teachers generally and ask to be an extension of their work into the world I inhabit, without having any idea whom I am praying to. I may or may not be a student of some great teacher, but that question doesn’t bother me. I want to be there if needed, as needed, in every moment.

Period.

I no longer need feedback. I don’t need the ego trip of people re-assuring me that I had indeed helped them. Spreading peace and joy is a good thing, and if more is needed of me, doing that will keep those channels open.

If I hold too specific a picture when wishing to contact a particular master, I am limiting him, and my access to him, to what I have imagined him to be.

If he offers some teaching or challenge, I have already opened one particular doorway for that gift to come in through, and by golly it had danged well better fit through that tiny and very specific portal. Unseen teachers can only reveal whom they are to the extent that I can let go of whom I am expecting them to be.

And in the end, isn’t it really all about letting go?

Why should I feel bad for feeling this good; even if I don’t know how, or if, I might be helping others? Why not just trust? Let myself be that force of nature, even if it is a Force of a Higher Nature I can’t see or be thanked by?

It feels good. It feels powerful. It feels completely and totally right.

I guess I can be okay with that.

Nurture budding spirits

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So many of us have loved children who have trusted us with memories of their earlier lives. “You remember, Mum. Back when we had that farm, and you were my daughter….”

For parents, this can be scary; what is wrong with their kid? But try to see it from the little one’s point of view. This is real for him, whether imagined or not, and it may very well not be his imagination. There have been an awful lot of studies supporting such possibilities.409157_375965372430895_740548475_n

As with any other early developing personality trait or self-questioning, though, we can nourish his budding spirit, or shut him down, planting even more doubts within him. He may have worked hard developing even this much confidence and strength of character over long decades spent working that farm, raising his own children; conquering, and losing, and conquering again.

Do you really want to take all that away from him? Tell him it was just a dream; that he made it all up? That those few things he has learned to trust in, believe and depend on, are just craziness? That where he feels strong, he’s really weak?

That could be unnerving to him; disturbing; even devastating for the child.

Like all memories, these will fade with time. Hundreds of studies have shown that they tend to be pretty much gone by age 5, maybe 7.

But suppose their aftermath starts surfacing again in his grown years, once he has long forgotten his roots. He no longer remembers things he had said, things he’d known, things he had entrusted long ago into your care. Now he faces harsh challenges that can only be resolved, can only make a modicum of sense, from this earlier perspective.

You could be the keeper of his dreams. You could help him make that invaluable connection. You could go back over your notes from those times, and tell him, “Here! It’s right here! This is how you handled it last time. You used to wonder about this same thing when you were little, and now here it has come up again. THIS is the connection! You are completing something you left unfinished that last time!”

But if you had taken no notes? If you had dismissed your child and all he had worked so hard to conquer before that? If you had essentially just told him, “You are flawed! You are weak! There is no help or progress in this unfriendly world; we must start it completely from scratch!”

How discouraging that could be for his tiny new spirit; how devastating. Is this really the barren, infertile field you want your child to sow future hopes and potentials in?

If your child comes to you in trust; cherish him! Cherish him, and all he clings to most dearly.

Yes; it is just that simple.

Children come in with enough vulnerabilities. Please don’t smash them down into these when they most need help standing.