Welcome into the vortex........

anarcho-shamanism, mountain spirits; sacred wilderness, sacred sites, sacred everything; psychonautics, entheogens, pushing the envelope of consciousness; dominator culture and undermining its activities; Jung, Hillman, archetypes; Buddhism, multidimensional realities, and the ever-present satori at the centre of the brain; a few cosmic laughs; and much much more....

all delivered from the beautiful Highlands of Scotland!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Not Your Friend....

Part One

"Culture is not your friend." Thus goes one of the better-known quotes from the eminently quotable Terence McKenna. These are, I suggest, words filled with wisdom. For myself, I prefer to expand Terence's words somewhat. The Pale Green Vortex equivalent runs like this:

"Mainstream is not your friend."

Politics, entertainment, fashion (of all types, including that in thought, belief, and ideas); economics, history, religion; health and health cures, energy and energy solutions; consciousness, mind. These are just some of the areas in which mainstream (the version of reality with which we are presented as properly real) manifests. All, in my book, require close scrutiny, a questioning attitude. At all times.

Not that everything 'mainstream' is false, bad, total delusion. No. But discernment, ruthless discernment, is necessary, in order to avoid being sucked into somebody else's storyline. 'Mainstream' is not, in the main, chosen by you; it is chosen for you.

Much of what is mainstream serves to maintain a certain version of the world; one which is predominantly humanistic, pseudo-rationalistic, materialistic, scientific in a one-eyed way. Generally speaking, its menu is one that disempowers, creating a small view of the universe which 'ordinary folk' inhabit. It serves as a cover-up of the Great Secret, which is the magnificent, miraculous potential of each and every one of us. It refuses access to our magical resources through feeding pap and encouraging passivity: citizen as consumer.

The strategies adopted to maintain mainstream are clever and many. 'Education' is a prime weapon, be it in schools ('get them young'), or through pop educators such as Professor Brian Cox (bow down before his image, oh ye of little faith), Dara O'Briain, economics and political commentators etc etc. Distraction is another most effective tactic: television, 'news', sport and so on. And, in a manner that is truly archontic, there is the use of the decoy. If 'alternative thought and living' is becoming a bit too popular and threatening, simply promote a lookalike, someone who appears to be alternative and right-on, but is really (probably unknownst to themselves) effecting the opposite. I don't know why, but Russell Brand comes to mind at this moment in time. There is also a host of group decoys, from 'environmental groups', to those demanding the end of capitalism and giving greater power to the state instead.

This attitude towards mainstream stuff, tirelessly churned out of Pale Green Vortex, is not because it makes for fun. On the contrary. It would be far nicer if it were not so. But decades of thought, living, experience, and research have led to the inescapable conclusion: Mainstream is not your friend.

Part Two

I suppose that things never appeared quite the same after LSD. In terms of quantity, my acid forays were modest: fourteen in all, scattered over a three-year period 1974 - 1976. It was high-dose LSD, however, and each trip brought its own valuable and still-valued insights. In hindsight, it was not so much the precise content of the experiences which had the deepest, most lasting effect; it was the cultural milieu within which it all took place.

One of the remarkable things about those early psychedelic journeys was how close and, in a sense, easy it all was. Dimensions of consciousness which were extremely different to those of 'normal', consensus reality were just the most miniscule of microdots away. It didn't take much at all to trip the switch (bad pun....); since then, the accessible nature of higher states has been borne out further by other entheogenic plants and substances, plus non-substance techniques of consciousness transformation such as shamanic journeying.

Other states of consciousness, which felt more true and real than 'everyday mind ', were innate in human beings, this much was obvious to me. The most remarkable thing was that nobody in the mainstream world ever uttered a word, aside from ill-informed condemnation of that most dangerous of substances, LSD. I had been through the best education that British society could throw at me, culminating in a not-bad degree at Oxford University. But amongst the hundreds of hours of tedious trivia that I endured as 'education', not a second was devoted to the topic of experiencing other states of consciousness.

It was a weird feeling, to finally, and with great trepidation, swallow a little piece of acid-saturated blotting paper and experience what unfolded in the following few hours. Nobody had told me about this: it was what I now refer to as the Great Secret. I did not know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't this.

For decades I tussled with this conundrum. Why wasn't I told? Why did the BBC so steadfastly lie to me, the politicians give misleading, largely untrue statements, producers of psychedelics locked away for many long years? Why the absolute demonization?  I finally worked it out; there was only a single rational conclusion. I wasn't told because I wasn't meant to know.

Part Three

It was early September last year when I would wake at 2am to the shining presence of a silver goddess of the moon, dancing behind my genitals and lighting up the darkness of the night with her scintillating brightness. With the continued unfolding of the energetic presence we may call kundalini since then, I have been compelled to delve into a little of the literature on the subject. This has consisted mainly of the work of modern 'kundi-actives', born and bred into western culture like me. At its best, this has saved my life; more prosaically, it has helped to make sense of an essentially non-sense process, and it has been reassuring to discover others who have undergone the same kind of non-ordinary experiences.

One fascinating aspect of this research has been my discovery that many kundi-actives have found themselves unavoidably of a similar mindset to mine of forty years ago. Experiencing a miracle taking place within their own physical body, they have been forced to ask the questions: 'Why did nobody tell me about this before?' 'Why the silence?' And some, mustering the necessary courage, have arrived at the same unappetising conclusion: they were not meant to know.

A very readable and full-length piece on the topic, with special reference to early Christianity and kundalini, is linked to below. It is well known, but frequently ignored, that the Bible is not an impartial collection of books by the best and only writers of the time. It is a carefully selected and edited product, one which has undergone many changes over the years as bits that are inconvenient and unacceptable to the message which the church authorities want to put over are deleted. In particular, anything which empowers the individual to seek out the spiritual by themselves has had to go.

With regard to kundalini/ twin flame, two major aspects make it dangerous and therefore unacceptable to the orthodoxy. Firstly, it bridges - or more accurately denies - the mind/body dichotomy, which is focal to the religious mainstream. It demonstrates the oneness of spirit with the bodily, the physical, the sexual. Secondly, the insistencies of certain guru-fixated Hindus notwithstanding, kundalini represents spirituality without the need for a pope, a priest, a guru. In modern times kundalini generally appears in an individual unexpectedly and spontaneously. Its progress is largely autonomous, it is its own guide and inspiration. It certainly requires no guru interfering in its inexorable course. Kundalini exemplifies how 'spirit' is inherent to the individual: the priest becomes redundant, the church as authority is rendered dead. This cannot be allowed. At any price.

Mainstream, indeed, is not your friend......



Saturday, 24 March 2018

Savonarola Lives

Part One

You may or may not know of Girolamo Savonarola. Back in the 1980s, when I was a great devotee of the art of the Italian Renaissance, Savonarola was the big bogey man, the good guy turned bad. Very bad. A priest in Florence with a high opinion of himself. Considering many of the wonders of the Renaissance to be pagan and classically inspired, and therefore decadent, damaging, and far from God, he organised for great burnings in public places. Irreplaceable manuscripts, books on evil subjects such as divination and astrology; sculptures, paintings by folk as prominent as Botticelli: all went up in smoke - or, if not easily burnt, were just smashed to pieces. And in this way Savonarola helped God create his kingdom on Earth.

Neil Kramer has recently written about how friends and colleagues of his are having their Savonarola moment, in the shape of seeing their accounts closed by the giants of social media: Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, and the rest. The reason is that their views, though often backed up by independent research, do not conform to the political models preferred by those aforementioned social media providers. In particular, he noted, true libertarians and neo-conservatives are victims of the new Savonarolas.

Rather than rant and rave about modern totalitarianism, as plenty of folk may be inclined to do (including Pale G.V. when it's in a strop), Neil remains sanguine. It is their prerogative, he points out. But we need to be aware that Twitter is no better source of unbiased and impartial information than are the mainstream newspapers and television channels. In the meantime, there are companies emerging with truth and integrity at their core. But there may be 'blips and outings' of info in the short term.

It raises the question of whether this blog should move ground. This would entail convening a meeting of the Board of Directors, however, and we all know what a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings they are....

Part Two

The Savonarola syndrome comes round from time to time. Sometimes it manifests in really dramatic fashion, such as the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria by early Christians, thus wiping out centuries of knowledge-based literature accumulated by the Wise Ones of the pre-Christian world. European persecutions of witches, burning of heretics - oops, it's the Christians again - were similar attempts to remove knowledge of deeper realities from the public realm.

In one respect it is a good sign, that the perpetrators of the great artifice, the forces of synthetic darkness, feel sufficiently under threat to act in ways that any decent human can see as, well, indecent. In order to maintain its apparent dominance and control, the Great Lie has to continually martial enormous amounts of resources, fuelled by gigantic quantities of finance and humanpower.

To sustain Great Global Falsehood is a mammoth task: lies are not easy to keep going, especially when the eyes of the Shark of Truth are out there examining your every move. Though it may appear strong, unbeatable, even, the Mainstream Monster walks on shifting sands. One of its main tricks is to try and persuade you that it is indispensable and omnipotent, whereas the reality is rather different. Its foundations are in truth weak, non-existent. It is a Monster of increasing desperation, and despair requires extreme measures for its continuation.

Why is Mainstream Monster not as all-powerful as people like to believe? And what is the Great Lie? The two questions are interconnected.....

The Great Lie is that we need this crappy system of control in the first place. That we need big power politics and big power politicians; that we need crappy scientists, philosophers, academics, and commentators to tell us how the world works and how our world should work; that we need popes, priests, gurus, in order to experience anything of spiritual worth, and to become anything decent in this life.

A major function of the Great Lie is to keep everybody down, in place - to turn everyone into blobs, as Neil Kramer once succinctly put it. Independence, individuality, are bad news, creating troublesome people who question the status quo, the received view of the world. Mediocrity, robot behaviour, are the favoured styles, and ones which are encouraged from an early age.

Once the nature of the Great Lie is understood and absorbed, everything falls into place. We see how current acceptable attitudes and ways of thinking and behaving are not just accidents, but have a purpose. 'Victim culture', political correctness, multiculturalism as an article of faith and ideology, as opposed to a genuine appreciation of other cultures. Corporate living, corporate mentality. All have the effect of discouraging independent thought, independent living, discovering personal uniqueness. They are focal parts of the big business of creating mediocre hive blobs.

Part Three

A lie inevitable hides a truth. And a Great Lie has to hide a Great Truth. It is a truth most marvellous, most miraculous indeed. It is the Great Truth that, to put it in the terms that Timothy Leary once used : You are God! Or Buddha. Or the Divine. Or a manifestation of Universal Mind. As you wish. But you are it. Your sovereignty is, by definition, yours and yours alone. You don't need priests, politicians, news analysts, to push you around, tell you who you are, tell you about your own tiny little place in the world. Once realised, your sovereignty can be taken away by no one.

The Great Lie exists as an instrument of disempowerment. It appears real and necessary only while enough people bow to its synthetic, self-created reality. While enough people believe the propaganda, that it is indispensable. Anything or anybody who points out the truth about the Great Lie - whether mentally, through 'alternative history, news' etc or through direct experience, as in alchemy, mysticism, and psychedelic exploration - is inevitably in for a hard time. A desperate system will resort to desperate measures.

Savonarola better eat his spinach; he sure needs it.


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Return of the Archons

Part One

Yes indeed, they're back! Their cameo reappearance in a recent blog post met with a mixed response. Such is the way of the archons.....

The reason they reappear the way they do is that there are times when the behaviour of certain sections of humanity strikes me as so odd, so bizarre, so out of kilter, that only an equally bizarre scenario can be called forth to account for the current state of affairs.

The Gnostics and their archon theory are not the only ones to propose non-human elements as crucial in the moulding of human affairs. Castaneda astonishes in his final book with his chapter on the flyers, which bear close resemblance to archons. And there is the material on the annunaki, whatever we may make of that.....

I know people who have seen archons, but I have as yet failed to spot them, engaged in their pernicious activities.

So, for me, the theory of the archons is just that: a theory. Mind you, many things which people take as unquestionable truth are theory. Darwinian evolution is a theory. Cholesterol as a cause of heart disease is theory. And there is one of the most insidious of all, one which the archons wear as a badge of personal pride: the theory of human-induced cataclysmic global warming. For my part, while walking around town, I see more evidence to support archon theory than I do of Darwinian evolution.

Part Two

Having resurrected the archons on this site, I feel inclined to say a little more about how they are purported to work. So I hereby present, in my own words, some of the Gnostic theory of the archons, in particular as I have learnt it from the works of John Lamb Lash.

The human being in its natural state is, according to the Gnostics, a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some more good, some more bad, but that's the picture. In our fallible state, we can easily make mistakes; fall into error, as it is said. Such error can be quite vicious, serious, nasty, but it is error. In truth, it plays a vital part in the destiny of human beings: it is through error that we learn. We correct ourselves as a result of bitter experience, and in this way 'evolve'.

There is, however, in human life, another layer; another degree of waywardness. The mind virus implanted by the archons permits error to run riot, continue unchecked and unabated, to perpetuate itself without correction. This takes place to such a degree that we eventually arrive at a different level of wrongness: where error tips over into evil.

In this way we arrive at the unusual notion of two-source duality. Much orthodox theological speculation is based on the idea of a single-source duality, in which good and evil issue from the same place, a God of some description or another. Such is Christianity, in which God is the All, the source of everything, and theologians spend millennia getting their braincells in a twist about the loving god who also created evil etc etc etc. The two-source duality of the Gnostics proposes that good and evil come from different places, that evil is the result of the perceptual distortion artificially imposed by the archons.

The archons are inorganic; they have no soul. They cannot be creative. So what they do is copy, replicate, simulate. They are very good at this. They introduce into the human mind notions that appear to be full of all manner of positivity, whereas in truth they demonstrate the opposite. The tragedy is how the majority of humanity remains well and truly suckered by the counterfeit realities conjured by the archons.

Part Three

Here, as tentative suggestions resulting from first-hand observation, are a few areas where the archons have successfully implanted their virus into the collective brain of sleeping humanity.

The archontic nature of much modern-day so-called environmental thought and action is well documented on Pale Green Vortex. It is the old archon trick of providing a simulation which appears to be the genuine article, while really effecting the opposite. In this case, how to save the planet by destroying it.

The modern cult of political correctness provides a veritable feeding frenzy for voracious archons. It is their same prime tactic: under the umbrella of mimicry or simulation, to take something healthy, distort it, and sneakily present the result as the same, while in truth it is the opposite.

Political correctness takes the truths of our essential unity and interconnectedness, and perverts them into the apparently similar (to the unwary) but in reality contrary notion of 'sameness'. This translates, as Neil Kramer once put it, into the aim of political correctness being to turn us all into blobs. Our magnificent uniqueness within the great web of interconnectedness is the foundation for self-realisation, spiritual gnosis, and so on. 'Sameness', on the other hand, renounces difference and uniqueness, viewing them as enemies. In this way, political correctness aims to sever us from our own paths of self-discovery, reducing us to identi-fit robots. In the definition given recently on this blog, political correctness is therefore, ahem, evil.

And then there's Europe. Here's what the archons want. They want you to think 'Europe' and immediately think Brexit, May, Juncker, Lagarde, Merkel, Tusk, parasitical French farmers, Brussels, and badly shaped bananas. From its inception way back when, what is now the EU was an archontic construct. Anybody thinking it is a salvatory instrument conceived by a bunch of loving, visionary Bodhisattvas intent on achieving lasting world peace should think again.

No. Authentic Europe is not the deadly perils of Brexit. Authentic Europe is magnificent. It is a rich and varied tapestry of cultures which mix, merge, and run into conflict in an infinite variety of ways. Art, music, cuisine, temperaments, ways of driving, dressing, and being. Just considering the richness of this resource makes you feel giddy. Europe has saved my life more than once, but the EU certainly hasn't.

Part Four

It is possible to escape the slimy clutches of the archons, but not through a mass movement or by 'attack the enemy' strategies. Developing authenticity, deep personal integrity, sovereignty, is the key to freedom. An authentic human being is, by definition, beyond the grasp of the archons, who can feed solely upon minds that are vulnerable to deceit through artifice. As transmitters of synthetic falsehoods, they cannot get inside the brains of the truly self-determined.

Developing sovereignty is no easy matter. It requires the courage to look deeply at the world created by the archons - which is most of the world that the majority of us believe to be 'real' - and to see it for what it is: an artificial construct overlaid on wonderful direct reality. No amount of meditation etc will do the trick if it is not accompanied by this looking into the heart (or lack-of-heart) of the world as presented conventionally through mainstream channels. In this respect, I wonder about some Buddhists I know and know of, who have spent decades 'looking into reality', while remaining staunch and sometimes aggressive defenders of the world-as-presented-through-the-mainstream version of reality. Anyhow......

One necessity for self-liberation from the archons: turn off the bloody television! And another: give a wide berth to mainstream 'newspapers' and internet sources of 'news'. Even brief exposure is sufficient to invite the archons in. Thinking you can move beyond the archontic sphere while watching BBC 'news' twice a day is like trying to heal a wound by scratching it constantly. Can't be done.

And that is about it for today, folks......

Wot! No pictures.....


Friday, 2 March 2018

Brain Programmes: the Postscripts

Here is a quotation from Jana Dixon's encyclopedic 'Biology of Kundalini'. It has relevance to the error of living from the Zen programme, as I called it in my previous blog post, without due regard for the Other programme, the one that acknowledges and affirms the value of dualities.

"Theorems of  Nondualism, No-self, and EST, propose the idea that the central core self is just another limitation on freedom. However, a more advanced way of looking at it is not the negation of self, but the acknowledgement that the self is plastic. Saying that the habitual self is 'non-existent' when all selves and organisms consist of morphogenic habit is silly. But we can proceed if we acknowledge that indeed new habits can be made along with a perpetually 'new' self-concept."

And, even more to the point: "The no-self thought virus is part of the feudal extortion system of religions and cults. Rather than emphasizing that we are a 'vehicle' of spirit, they emphasize that we are no-self and so can be enslaved to an external regime. Evolution is always in the direction of autonomy not slavery, and self-sacrifice is a control device of  exploitive power structures that rule by fiat." (Biology of Kundalini, Part Two, Section 'Existential Escapism'. Actually, the contents of quite a lot of Jana's book have been made generously available online).

I also like this quotation, because I was delighted to find another person who agreed with me about the delusory nature of identifying non-duality as the  truth. Jana's book is truly astonishing, and has been an invaluable guide in recent times.

Also invaluable at times in my life has been 'Not in His Image', the book by John Lamb Lash. Like me, you may not go a bundle on absolutely everything that John has written or said over the years. But his grasp of what the Gnostics were on about is unique. And for an understanding of what the archons and the demiurge are about, he is the best source, in my view. 'Not in His Image' remains one of the most important works on my bookshelf.

To all the authors of instruction and inspiration, I give thanks.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Two Sides to the Monster of Life

It is as if there are two different programmes running simultaneously in my brain. They treat information differently.

One I can call the Zen Programme. It runs on 'This Is It' software. Everything is simply the way it is, the way it is, and that's pretty much it. Wishing anything different is stupid, because things are the way they are, and that's all we've got. A bird is a bird is a bird, and it does birdie things. The person living next door does what he or she does because it's what he or she does. In the Zen programme, furthermore, not only are things the way they are, but there is a kind of perfection attached to all this. Everything 'is' in precise reflection of its own nature. Taken seriously, the Zen programme gives rise to a certain kind of contentment, a deep acceptance, and possibly feelings of unconditional love.

But there is also running in my brain a second programme. It hasn't got a name. I could call it the Alchemy Programme, but alchemy is all a bit mysterious. I could name it the Jung programme, but I have discovered that there are lots of people who don't like Jung.

It is this second programme which gives rise to sentences such as these in my recent post 'The Bliss'. Speaking of mainstream 'news and current affairs' programmes, I wrote: "Should I stumble into a thirty-second exposure to such programmes, it is like looking at another world on the other side of a pane of glass. And it is a hell world, composed of pure evil." These sentences actually provoked a couple of remarks from readers; and they speak volumes about the nature of this second programme.

Light and dark; good and bad; masculine, feminine; up and down; night, day; sun, moon: these are the stuff of the second programme. It runs on opposites, dualities, couplings, pairs. Polarities. Syzygy, to go Jung and Hillman. Differences, distinctions, discriminations. Even if everything is One, that One is composed of the Two, and of the manifold. The One splits into Two, the Two unite as One. But without due cognisance of the Two, any experience of the One is wan, partial, one-sided, superficial. And, er, delusional and possibly dangerous....

So it is within this context of polarity that I wrote of the hell world on the other side of the pane of glass, composed of pure evil. 'Evil' is one of those words, isn't it? For many people it is a very loaded and emotive word. Philosophers, theologians, and metaphysicians have debated for centuries - nay, millennia - the nature of evil: what it is, or indeed if it exists at all. It goes without saying that we are no closer to knowing the answer now than were folk in Plato's time.

My own use of the word 'evil' comes divested of these big philosophical, ontological speculations. It is actually quite practical and pragmatic. 'What is the greatest good?' I ask myself. The greatest good is human beings fulfilling their potential, their most magnificent possibilities. Contact with Higher Self, with God; growing towards the Absolute; Enlightenment, saturated with Wisdom and unfettered Compassion. Individuality, Authenticity. The variants are many, and I'm not bothered with their differences at the moment. The main point about 'good' is the thing. It has this impulse, this motive, this direction.

If this is the greatest good, then evil is the opposite, the biggest bad. Evil is therefore whatever leads human beings away from achieving their miraculous birthright of 'awakening'. In particular, blinds that are tied before peoples' eyes, so they are unable to see what they could become. Deliberate confusing, deluding. Or denying that such higher potential exists. This, in my book, is evil.

So when I look through that pane of glass, I see the public being presented with a particular version of reality. It is a version in which misery reigns supreme. Fear, insecurity, anxiety, are created by what is spewed forth as 'news' and 'the issues of the day' for the unwitting consumption of the unknowing. It is a manipulation of people into hopelessness and powerlessness; away from their own authenticity into a strange fabricated world. A manipulation into ideology, especially the ideology of political correctness, and away from ones unique and direct personal experience of life. At best it is very partial, at worst completely false. It points away from that most dangerous truth for any powers-that-be: from the knowledge that god lives within, if you like, can be realised, and that everything else just pales in comparison.

This is why 'news' is full of reports of rapes, abuses, murders. Of abject apologies from celebrities and politicians for supposedly sexist or racist tweets or facebook posts. Keep people afraid to speak, afraid to speak. And why 'news' is not full of alchemy, kundalini, seeing God through the assistance of meditation or psychedelic substances; telepathy, advances in energetic treatments for disease, or efforts to produce cheap or free energy, all of which would liberate people from the shackles of the construct which 'news' exists to perpetuate.

There is a thing in human existence, a special evil, we could call it. Light and dark exist in the animal world. A crocodile tearing its prey to pieces, a cat playing with a pain-wracked dying mouse; the horror of a volcano, an earthquake, a tsunami. Death through starvation on the desert plains. It all seems pretty harsh and dark to me. But I submit that human existence comes overlaid with an extra layer. It is a layer which appears deliberately intended to keep human beings in ignorance, blind to what they could become, if only somebody showed them. This is what I term 'evil'.

So it is outside the natural cycle of Creation, Preservation, and Destruction, as elucidated by Hinduism, for example. It is another, new, factor fed into that system of nature. Deliberate, synthetic, pulling people away. And this is where, for me, the demiurge and the archons come in.

It is some of the Gnostics who insist upon the reality of the demiurge and his minions, the archons. We can take them literally, or we can take them metaphorically. Whichever, as a story, and as a description of what goes on in human affairs, it speaks to me in a way that nothing else quite does.

The demiurge is a false god. He is an impostor on the godly scene. He stands up and rants about how he is the creator of all, the one and only. It's a bit of a bad joke, until the tragic happens and the mass of humanity actually believes his story. He ends up creating most of the world that gullible people inhabit as a result. His job, his purpose, is to keep people believing this nonsense, and to keep them away from the truth. In order to assist in his subterfuge, he has his hordes of inorganic helpers, the archons.  They are his foot soldiers, engaged in deceiving and deluding  people. They lead humans astray through ideas and ideologies. To continue the computer analogy (a ridiculous thing for me to do, given my own parlous knowledge of things virtual), they are like a virus which infects the workings of the brain.

It's been going on for a long time: our early Gnostics are contemporaries of the first Christians. Mind manipulation, warping humanity's view of reality, is nothing recent. But it is this which, I submit, is the foundation of the really really bad: of evil.    

To look through that pane of glass is to peer from a place of relative authenticity into a synthetic creation, a manufactured bubble, a nightmare induced by the god of falseness. Which is not to say that everything which turns up on the BBC Six o' Clock news is 'untrue' or designed to scare and manipulate. Of course not. But that is the overall context, the general worldview which issues from such a dark place.

It is possible to develop out of, to become free from, the clutches of the demiurge and his nasty minions. Courage to be sovereign, authentic, is the key. This may or may not come with recognised spiritual practice. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. There are plenty of people who may spend a lifetime sitting on a meditation cushion and go to the grave with their archon-derived notions intact.

No. The key seems to be awaking to the innate power within ones individual life, free of any organisations, systems, gurus, leaders, religious or non-religious traditions, ideologies. The spiritual anarchist stands the best chance. That is not to say that the demiurge will not impact upon ones life. His henchmen may turn up on the doorstep one day and drag you away because you've been a naughty boy or girl. Nothing much to do about that. But emotionally, psychologically, energetically, the person is free. Which is plenty to aim for.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Living and Dying in the Mountains

Every winter people die in the Scottish mountains. This season has been pretty bad, a reflection, in part at least, of the weather. It has been relentless for three months now, and that's at sea level.

I am always affected when people die in the mountains. I know why they went, why it was so important to them: the feeling is one shared among mountain people. I sometimes think: 'It could have been me.' Except that I don't normally go to the mountains when weather conditions are suspicious, in winter time especially.

'Dying on the mountains' is a real enough notion for me to indulge in some morbid fantasising concerning different ways you can perish on the hills. Falling down a cliff face in summer may not be so bad: hard and swift. But winter? Snow, blizzards, hypothermia, slowly losing all bodily sensation, physical and emotional energy, the will to live slowly sapping away. Or it could be quick and horrid: a mighty avalanche sweeping you away, or burying you alive.

It can't get much worse than this. "He died doing what he loved" (it is more often 'he' than 'she' in mountain mortalities) is the theme sometimes expressed in the search for solace, but it fails to convince me really.

The most anguished examples hail, not so much from Scotland, as from Himalayan, and occasionally Alpine, mountaineering. It was with fascinated horror, or horrified fascination, that I used to read about expeditions to the high Himalayan peaks, when only half the team would manage to get back to base camp. There's a mountain - it might be K2, I'm not sure - where climbing it entails passing bodies frozen solid into the snow. They have been there for years, but the oxygen's so thin at that altitude that nobody's got the strength to bring them down.

Closer to home, one incident in particular has affected me. Over a week ago now, two brothers - one in his 50s, the other in his 60s - along with a dog, set off to the mountains from the tiny hamlet of Achnashellach. They didn't return.

The incident has continued to play on and through my mind. I know those mountains well. The brothers set out to traverse the round of summits encircling Achnashellach. I have ascended these mountains many times: they comprise one of my semi-local happy hunting grounds.

On a fine day, there are no special problems for a person who knows what they are doing. But ice, snow, blizzard, wind chill, freezing gales blowing snow horizontally into your face.....

I can imagine in my mind's eye those two guys setting off on the path - across the railway line, turn left through the trees then down beside the cascading stream. Following its course as it climbs up into the mountain-encircled coire. Then choose a peak.

The images continue to play fruitlessly through my mind. What happened? Where did it go wrong? I travel the entire route in imagination: the climb, the ridges, summits, the little scrambles, the stalkers' path of descent. I know it so well. On a fine day......... as I said.

These are serious mountains, outliers of the famous Torridon group. Plenty of vertical faces of cliff, lots of rock. Lots. And, under winter conditions, plenty of places to get avalanched. One March a few years ago I was in these hills. The path cut below an enormous bank of snow. I moved gingerly, ensuring I created no disturbance, at one point diverting away from that bank, keeping all the while a close eye on it.

Those admirable, courageous people from Mountain Rescue found one body. I believe they've given up for now, with the search for the other body considered hopeless until there has been significant snow melt.

Personally, I love mountains, but have grown to feel that there are times when they are not really a suitable haunt for me. We are not 'meant' to be there, similar to how a walrus is not meant to be hanging out in the Atacama Desert. Love gives birth to respect, and to restraint. In my case, at least....

Images: Mountains above Achnashellach, late spring

Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Bliss

'Society cannot allow ecstasy. Ecstasy is the greatest revolution.... If people become ecstatic, the whole society will have to change, because this society is based on misery.' Osho, Body Mind Balancing.

Not everyone in the 'spiritual world' greets ecstasy and bliss with such enthusiasm. Some schools of Buddhism are full of sharp wits queuing up to issue stern warnings. 'Bliss, ecstasy, rapture are all very well, but heed my wise words. They are impermanent, just like anything else, fragile as the leaves on the trees in the autumn wind. Pay them attention, get attached at your peril. Suffering will follow in their wake as sure as night follows day.' 'Lofty but still mundane possibilities' is what Sangharakshita calls the jhanas, or higher states of consciousness, which are suffused by such qualities. And that need to emphasise 'mundane' seems to bring bliss, ecstasy, and rapture down into the same category as queuing up at the supermarket check-out.

Fortunately, not all Buddhism views ecstasy in such a dim light. Vajrayana, Tantra, see the energy of bliss as a quickener, creating a kind of short cut to wisdom, or gnosis as I might prefer to call it. It is fuel for the path, as well as a reflection of the blessedness of gnosis in and of itself.

As I sat in a shrine room full of meditators in the 1970s and early 1980s, a wry sense of humour would come over me whenever these bliss-alerts came to mind. One would-be meditator would be sitting there trying to banish fantasies about the girl he saw on the bus en route to the class. Another would be assailed by an avalanche of jobs that needed to be done by the weekend. Another would be engrossed in irritation at the stupid guy he was talking to over a cup of tea before the meditation. Yet another would be shaking and wobbling internally, undergoing his regular visitation from generalised anxiety. And there we were, told to beware of the dangers of too much bliss and ecstasy.

Jana Dixon amplifies on what 'society based on bliss, rather than misery' is actually about. 'The bliss is a permanent background which is impervious to both suffering and pleasure. The bliss is all pervasive. That is, we can be in the worst physical or emotional suffering and still be in radical bliss. Then on top of the bliss there are emotions, desires, suffering, numbness, anhedonia and whatever our relative response to life is at the time.' (Biology of Kundalini, section 'A tolerance for bliss'.)

So, promoting bliss does not mean becoming a 'lightworker' who shuns the dark side of life. It is about background; the programme running quietly yet continuously in the background.

A better feeling for this may come from considering the opposite. As Osho says, a society based upon misery. Everybody will be familiar with this as the backdrop to existence, either from personal experience or from those they are close to.  It is the wash providing the context, influencing everything and all. Birthday with lots of nice presents: great, but with a background of misery. Promotion at work: yes, but the background's there. Holiday abroad: sun, sea, sand, and a backdrop of misery.

Spend any substantial time in the company of mainstream media, and I suggest that it is almost impossible to experience life as anything but misery. 'News', current affairs progs and documentaries, soul-destroyers like 'Newsnight' and 'Victoria Derbyshire' on BBC in the UK. My own continued 99% boycotting of these noxious programmes has yielded interesting results. Should I stumble into a thirty-second exposure to such programmes, it is like looking at another world on the other side of a pane of glass. And it is a hell world, composed of pure evil. 'Are you telling me that this.... is..... the....world?' I ask slack-jawed in disbelief. It is a synthetic, manufactured version of 'what is important'; and it is purpose-designed to instruct the viewer that life, the world, is misery. It's a lie, a vicious piece of mind control. Better by far the way of bliss.

Image: Chinnamasta. Or, from Tantric Buddhism, it could be Chinnamunda, a form of Vajrayogini. When I saw this thangka, I immediately thought 'Ah, Kundalini.'