“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?”
― Garth Nix, Sabriel
Yesterday I couldn’t help but take time to watch the renovation of the track opposite my house and it set me thinking about our journey through life. A very loud grinding noise woke me up and I’d rushed to the window to ensure nothing terrible was happening to my car. It’s not that long since the wing mirror that allows me to look at the road behind the car had been taken off by a speeding lorry. It was stuck back on but the cracks have created a massive blind spot. So, out I looked.
Working in a winter wonderland
There, in the sparkling frost of dawn, a man with a mini-digger was laboriously scraping at the track that leads down to the power station. Inches thick ice covered the pitted surface. The digger was making a huge noise but little impact. It reminded me of my mentor Christine Hartley – who has been much in my thoughts lately since I found my Merit Aten head (see my Egypt blogs). When we first met Christine gave me a copy of Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings telling me it contained much wisdom. He said it was important:
“To preserve the silence within–amid all the noise. To remain open and quiet, a moist humus in the fertile darkness where the rain falls and the grain ripens–no matter how many tramp across the parade ground in whirling dust under an arid sky.”
Not quite whirling dust and an arid sky. The sun was shining by now and the ice beginning to melt. So mud, mud, glorious mud was more like it (the reason the track was being resurfaced). But how true nonetheless and I wished I’d thought of it at the beginning of the week when a house just up the road was having cavity wall insulation installed in the snow. Have you heard how noisy that can be? The pump literally screamed. Or was it the house at the invasion of its ancient structure? Change isn’t always comfortable as we know. I’d suffered in silence for several hours and then placed a huge chunk of Rose Quartz on the window ledge and went to ask the guy how much longer he’d be as I had a live radio phone interview coming up. He said it would take as long as it took. Those of you who’ve tried the Rose Quartz for calming noise trick won’t be surprised to know that within ten minutes all was quiet.
So, back to the guy with the digger. He abandoned it outside the power station. It all went blessedly quiet for awhile and then back he came with a Big Boy’s Toy. A massive digger almost as wide as the track. I hurriedly put a symbol of protection around my car – he’d piled what crap he had managed to remove from the track in front of my car so I couldn’t shift it. I should explain that my car is parked in a small space off where the track meets the road. The former school bus stop that’s thankfully been relocated previously occupied this spot. Not the best parking spot but as my huge former parking place now has a house built on it, it’s all I’ve got. When you live in a village that’s attached to an estate you don’t get that much choice in what happens around you. Life imitating art, or circumstances reflecting life? So symbolic as we’ll see. Stay with me on this one.
He carried on scraping for a very long time. Long enough for me to email a wise friend Kyrin Moreton and ask if I was being shown a lesson in the stupidity of carrying on the same path regardless, the futility of sticking to an inappropriate soulplan, or was it about having patience when removing blockages. Or, when all else fails get the big guns out – Terrie Birch’s helpful suggestion. The bin men arrived while he was at it, so I thought it might be about disposing of solid crap. Then his mate turned up with a massive road roller and a load of tailings to be tamped into the new surface. So, the dross from one process was being transmuted into something useful. Kyrin replied that it was saying to her that I would find myself on a better track.
I realised round about then that I was actually having a great time. I’d agreed to be a regular columnist for an on-line magazine called The Other Side – don’t you just love the title! But my year was already pretty full what with workshops and three new books to write. So I’d looked out some old ideas and was busy researching the latest info and bringing them up to date. I’d actually managed to write eight of the ten articles I needed. Thank you Triplite and the wonderful Petaltone Essence Silver Genie, couldn’t have done it without you (as you’ll see when you read Igniting Creativity). I’d found the most amazing site that explains fractals. I dropped it into my article on Magical Thinking (keep an eye out on my Facebook pages for when that one and all the others are due to be published):
Fractals: A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. Geometrically, they exist in between our familiar dimensions. Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, etc.
And of course, crystals are fractals too. Astrologer Bernadette Brady said in one of my MA lectures that they could well explain reincarnation. Yes! Except they are not lives endlessly repeated. They can change and evolve. But the site also explained chaos theory in words of more or less one syllable:
Chaos explores the transitions between order and disorder, which often occur in surprising ways.
Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. These phenomena are often described by fractal mathematics, which captures the infinite complexity of nature. Many natural objects exhibit fractal properties, including landscapes, clouds, trees, organs, rivers etc, and many of the systems in which we live exhibit complex, chaotic behavior. Recognizing the chaotic, fractal nature of our world can give us new insight, power, and wisdom. For example, by understanding the complex, chaotic dynamics of the atmosphere, a balloon pilot can “steer” a balloon to a desired location. By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.
And, I would add, by using the orderliness of a crystal lattice, we can entrain our thoughts and a crystal to create a new order. But the question is can we consciously create a new track?
I came back to the question asked at the beginning of this blog. Do we create the path or does the path create us? I seem to have undergone more than a bit of soul igniting these last few months, possibly as a result of the Egypt trip but it began earlier than that.
“When the path ignites a soul,
there’s no remaining in place.
The foot touches ground,
but not for long.”
As you may know, in 2013 I had two cataract operations that left me pretty much unable to see for nearly six months and required further corrective surgery. No, it didn’t give me time to develop deeper inner sight. My intuition was shut off and I was so disorientated I couldn’t mediate or navigate my way around. Couldn’t think. Not exactly the conditions under which I flourish. Fortunately being an astrologer I knew that it exactly fitted the transits at the time (if you don’t understand that one take a look at Terrie Birch on www.facebook.com/Astrologywise). I took a trip into the Underworld.
“In older myths, the dark road leads downward into the Underworld, where Persephone is carried off by Hades, much against her will, while Ishtar descends of her own accord to beat at the gates of Hell. This road of darkness lies to the West, according to Native American myth, and each of us must travel it at some point in our lives. The western road is one of trials, ordeals, disasters and abrupt life changes — yet a road to be honored, nevertheless, as the road on which wisdom is gained. James Hillman, whose theory of ‘archetypal psychology’ draws extensively on Greco–Roman myth, echoes this belief when he argues that darkness is vital at certain periods of life, questioning our modern tendency to equate mental health with happiness. It is in the Underworld, he reminds us, that seeds germinate and prepare for spring. Myths of descent and rebirth connect the soul’s cycles to those of nature.”
― Terri Windling
It certainly worked for me and I’ve taken many people through that journey since my return. I even took Margaret Cahill through it in the middle of my own trip. (You can read about that in Margaret’s new book Under Cover of Darkness). And I wrote a new novel The Alchemy of Night that was in part inspired by the journey. I’ll let you know when I find a publisher for that one. It’s challenging one to think outside the box at the moment. In the meantime you might like to take a look at Torn Clouds which emerged from a similar trip into the Underworld a few years ago.
So, what have I learned from the track across the road? Well, today it’s looking a bit rough round the edges. Not as pristine as it was but that’s ok. The guy who always leaves for work late still hasn’t realised that pressing the accelerator too hard only throws up a heap of stones instead of getting him over the hump, so there’s a few ruts and furrows already. But I’ve realised that I am on a different track. As Merit Aten pointed out only this morning:
“What you’re missing is that the path itself changes you.”
― Julien Smith, The Flinch
This is what my Crystal Wisdom Oracle had to say when I on the ‘pick a card’ link on my website. So appropriate!
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