Archive for the ‘unverified personal gnosis’ Category

Nine Paths of Storm — Riding Changes   Leave a comment

clouds

An offering to Thecu Stormbringer:

Hail, Goddess. I will go with what I know,
with what you show: you give me
nine runes, nine paths of storm;
you tell me their wisdom lies in riding changes,
walking the storm-paths. So I ask how
I may serve in return for your gift.

Speak how, instead of squaring the circle,
to try circling the square. Not to share
exact shapes [of the runes], but their greater principle
you may share. [For] they form a sequence:
linear as you received them, but also

a circle or spiral. Four by three, and three by four:
ending and beginning lie side-by-side,
or — you will understand it —
directly above and below each other,
[on] different rounds of the spiral.

The Runes of Thecu combine straight lines
and circular shapes — lines of force
and vortices or whorls [of energy in motion].

How to ride changes?
Practice [with the runes] to find out.
And I will guide you.

How to transcribe what you receive in such instances? Well, the obvious answer is this: you do the best you can. And you ask, usually more than once, for clarification.

Let me puncture any mystery here: the words I attribute above to Thecu came during three intervals. The first and second, along with runes, over the past week, in two separate periods of meditation. The first led to the insight that Thecu was offering guidance on how to walk “nine paths of storm”, and a preliminary sense of what that might mean. The first five runes also came then, drafts scribbled on scrap paper, as I tried to get their shapes to match the different flows of energy my inner experience felt like it conveyed. The same thing a second time, two days later.

Then this morning: I already knew I was going to write about this, and I’d made a draft, along with the admonition I’d received not to share except in general terms the insight of the runes. So in about five minutes the above lines came, as I attempted to pull together fragmentary notes about the runes and render the impression of those meditation sessions into something more like continuous speech.

Are they “the words of the goddess”? Sure. Also, no and yes. In keeping with the deep wisdom of unverified personal gnosis (UPG), they’re meant to be tested and tried out, to see how their truths work for me. One key to practice, and it can be disconcerting, is to shift from “UPG mode” to “critical thinking mode”. I get this stuff in ways similar to how I get pieces of poems and stories. And it’s the same kind of thing: then you have to figure out what to do with them. Sometimes the message, image, metaphor is clear. Other times, it needs shaping or untangling. And to keep honest about proportions of these things has indisputable value, but not — it needs to said as well — spiritual primacy. The impulse-message-insight-inspiration needs to get recorded before, like such things do, it flows away like cloud.

And I share this experience for what it’s worth to others who may encounter similar impressions, nudges, doubts and insights. What to make of such things? For me, it’s to see how and where they might fit in living my life, and whether their usefulness, if any, merits passing along anything about them to others. So I serve notice here most of all to myself. Any value to this experience will emerge, or not, in and over time. And I will try to report that here.

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Image: stormcloud — “free for commercial use”.

We can of course take an a-gnostic approach to all of the above as well: I sense changes coming (no surprise at all, given the state of the world!) and my imagination/subconscious is throwing up images, ideas, tools, hints to help me deal with them. Useful, wholly apart from the nature of their origin, because they’re intended to be empirical: their value lies in what they can do, what I can do with them. Who says the imagination or subconscious has no practical value? In some ways, that’s the ONLY thing it has.

Prayer to Thecu Stormbringer   Leave a comment

[Part 1 | 2 | 3]

How do I pray to you, goddess of storms?
Let this my prayer be a litany of questions.
How may I best honor you?

You gave me a glimpse, no more,
of landscape, cliffs lapped with green,
mist-hung and mournful,

with this foreign name to call you.
What is your service, what
may I do for you? Why

make yourself known to me?
Unlikely am I, no familiar of shrines,
a god’s service, formal prayer.

Then, too, I know so little of you.
Does naming you for others answer
your purposes? How do I answer you,

goddess of storms? Here are words,
intention, listening. Let this litany
of doubts and questions be first prayer.

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thracia-daciaIn the single experience (see recent post) I had of her, Thecu was particular about the sound of her name: TEH-koo, spelt with a c, not a k. Something bleeding through here of eastern Europe: Thracian, Dacian, Illyrian, Macedonian Greek, Etruscan?

The linguist in me still turns over these very scant details. This is one of those shadowy regions of Europe, where we know so little, mostly echoes from the written histories of neighbors, along with a few hundred words, a handful of inscriptions.

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Image: eastern Europe.

New Gods for Old?   1 comment

[Part 1 | 2 | 3]

IMG_1703Listening for names. I spend a significant amount of time doing that, between my spiritual practice and my fiction. It’s a curious endeavor, hard to explain, but one a surprising number of people have experience with. What is it we’re hearing?!

Some two years ago in meditation I heard the name of a Storm Goddess, two syllables, beginning with the letter T. I don’t know about you, but the first time I encounter a deity, especially unsought, a being I don’t know, I can feel like I’ve just landed on an island no one’s visited before. No maps, no tourist description, no information to help the next person, because I’m the first one to arrive there. No other footprints on the beach. No electricity. When the sun goes down, I’m left only with this fire I choose to build, a new climate, night noises I don’t recognize, a night sky whose constellations have shifted, or wheel above me wholly new.

Subsequent listening brought me a little more information, a complete name I’m keeping back for now while I pursue additional ritual work and meditation. I do have a general location in eastern Europe where her worship originated. But not a lot more. I’m returning after this interval to pick up the thread, to think out loud here, to see if there’s more to discover. For me, writing about something often activates it in ways nothing else does, blowing hidden embers to flame. (A strong reason for keeping a journal, as I’ve learned. I confess I needed to track down the entry to recover her name. I only have it because I wrote it down.)

BlackSea

Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean

My title for this post isn’t meant to be serious — I have no sense of T “replacing” any other deity. She’s simply new to me, and as far as I can tell, her presence has left no written record. Barring a trip — beyond my resources at this point — to plant my feet on the ground and walk the region west of Black Sea where my meditation showed me her worship once flourished, I’m left with what I can discover from here.  No report of divine possession resulting from touching a barrow rising through the mist and contacting ancestors or land spirits. No blaze of insight, no recognizable historical scene unfolding in inner vision. No Hollywood or Bollywood or CGI to dramatize a blogpost. No Industrial Light and Magic courtesy of the Otherworld.

That doesn’t hamstring my search, but it does direct it inward, fitting for a deity whose worship has apparently withdrawn to inner realms.

Why did she make herself known two years ago? That itself forms part of my search. It’s the nature of UPG, unverified personal gnosis, that I can’t yet rule out being played by a spirit. That’s no different than how a phishing advertisement or a fake news article snags a portion of its readers who part with money, belief, a sliver of common sense and integrity. What distinguishes my experience is the approach, if you want to call it that, of T. Reserved, as if testing me. No requests. A trickle of information, a flash image of green and rocky landscape. Enough to hang a meditation session on, enough to ask for a return on the investment of energy involved in making contact with an incarnate being, me, with lots of other demands on his attention and time. Enough to provoke this post.

Now part of the experience is that the writer in me immediately, inevitably jumps aboard and starts playing. Imagine! he says. You were her devotee in a past life and she’s contacting you to revive her worship!  Decent premise for a story, right?! Or, or … it’s an inner warning of outer storms to come. Or this isn’t the goddess but a priestess of the goddess reaching out to you for a Dion-Fortuneque revivification of a spiritual energy whose time has now come again to wash over the earth. See what I mean? What to do with such a companion?!

Yes, my writer self is more than a bit of a quicksilver imp, a drama queen, a runaway dreamer who’d sooner spend an hour in reverie than getting words on paper or screen.

But for all that, he’s opened doors and given me words I don’t get any other way. He’s part of the package. I’m talking about all these things to give you a sense of my process. Yours, of course, is your own.

So, T, this post is for you. Your serve.

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Image: Black Sea.

Public Celebrations, Iconic Images, and Personal Experience   Leave a comment

In the lovely and iconic image below, courtesy of Cat Treadwell, Druids climb Glastonbury Tor earlier this month as part of OBOD’s Golden Anniversary. Fifty years ago, Ross Nichols (1902-1975) — poet, Druid and school-teacher — formed the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.  As a member of the Bardic grade, of course I yearned to attend.  For a delightful acccount of the event, go here for Joanna van der Hoeven’s 9 June 2014 post “Celebrating 50 Years of OBOD” on her blog “Down the Forest Path.”

OBOD 50th Celebration -- Druids climb Glastonbury Tor

OBOD 50th Celebration — Druids climb Glastonbury Tor. Image Courtesy of Cat Treadwell

Does it matter whether Druids and Glastonbury share a historical connection? Ultimately, only to historians. The lived experience of Druidry, as of any flourishing tradition, means that what we do today shapes our experience more than what may or may not have happened in the past. When my fellow Druids assembled in the town and on the Tor, the sense of community, the sharing of ritual, the reunion of friends, the inspiration of the talks and workshops, the sense of history, and the beauty and much-vaunted “vibe” of Glastonbury, all converged.  And the same kind of convergence is true of personal experience as well.

Though OBOD’s Golden Anniversary celebration tugged deeply at me, my wife and I had already committed resources to a trip within the U.S. I couldn’t manage both, so I had to forgo what was by all accounts a moving and delightful celebration. But I couldn’t sustain much self-pity, because our own itinerary included a return to Serpent Mound in southern Ohio. I’d visited before in 2008, and experienced a strong past-life recall there.  I saw and heard further details this time.  Among them were a specific name (of a tribe?  a person?  I don’t — yet — know), voices singing, images of  the tribe’s shaman, and of my death near the Mound in an inter-tribal conflict.

trailsignsmBut these details, while moving and significant to me, matter less than the impact which these kinds of experiences make in general.  As an instance of “unverified personal gnosis,” my experiences don’t require any belief on my part, though of course I may choose to believe all sorts of things as a result.  Nor do such experiences legitimize any attempts I may make to persuade others that my experience was “real” or that they should act differently towards me — or their own lives — as a result.  What the experience did establish for me is a strong personal resonance with a place and a culture, and a doorway to potential future choices and insights about my life and personal circumstances that I might not have been able to access in any other way.  Whether I choose to act on that experience is my responsibility. (What is significant to me right now is that the details of my experience form the basis for a decent historical novel, for instance — one way to dramatize my personal experience and — with further hisorical research — turn it into art.  I feel I can explore and concretize its significance most vividly and vitally this way.  And who knows what further confirmations such research may provide?)

SerpMndplacardsmThe Serpent is “a 1,348-foot (411 m)-long, three-foot-high prehistoric effigy mound located on a plateau of the Serpent Mound crater along Ohio Brush Creek in Adams County, Ohio” (Wikipedia entry, and the sign above).  On the ground, it’s not a particularly impressive structure — at first.  A 30-foot viewing tower near the tail of the Serpent allows some height and perspective  for the kind of photos I took. Shadows in pictures taken early or late in the day help highlight the shape and outline of the Serpent.

Both the age and purpose of the Mound are a matter of debate.  Many published sources estimate the time of its construction around 1000 or 1100 CE.  But the Ohio Historical Society guide at the site assured us that recent archeological studies, due to be published later this month, revive the claim (with apparently solid evidence) that the mound dates from an earlier period around 2000 years ago.  Artifacts recovered from the mound include charcoal, beads and other jewelry, flint knives and arrow-heads, and deer-bone tools.

serpmoundsm

Aerial shots like the one below begin to convey the size and significance of the mound:

aerialSMnd

Add to this the presence, both at Serpent Mound and elsewhere in Ohio, of separate conical mounds like the one below (the picnic table in the foreground gives an approximate yardstick to estimate its size), and for me at least the sense of Adena tribal presence and purposefulness grows in my heart, a living thing.

SMmoundsm

 

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Image: Aerial shot of the Mound. All other images by me.

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