The Color of the Witchblood is Green

Is This Any Way to Live?

Stockbroker Goes Bohemian

Yesterday I read a newspaper article about a disillusioned Stockbroker. Once he got into Wall Street trading, he found that the Stock Market totally consumed his life. Though the money was good, he was unhappy, so he quit and went to Europe. There he discovered a world where the love of art, beauty, architecture, ancient customs, and historical sites is still strong and vital.

Though they too have succumbed to Starbucks and Gap, many Europeans still value their rich cultures. Their many languages are fascinating, stimulating the mind and imagination. It is amazing how close together these various cultures are, how quickly one can hop from one country, and land in another that is drastically different.
Because  culture and the arts are held high regard, the way of life in many European countries has a grace that life in America has lost in the corporate slaughter. The ex-stockbroker learned, in his own words, that it was important to be able to “stop and smell the roses.” So, he went into business designing clothes with works of art on them.

Wearable art has been around for a long time. It has traditionally been the province of artists trying to fund their art habits, Granolas setting up market booths, and some mainstream fashion designers. There is not a lot of money in that, but some of us would gladly trade financial wealth for a  passionate life.

Stop and Smell the Roses?

I bring this up, not to discuss the pros and cons of business, but because this “stop and smell the roses” phrase, coming from this man, rose my hackles. Why?

One reason is that it seems as if it is only when one of those who has bought into the current dominant greed culture comes to a conclusion like this, that it is newsworthy. While those of us who have loved the arts above all else, and struggled to survive, or have made  sacrifices to live in communion with nature all of our lives, are used to being silenced, laughed at, pitied, or rudely dismissed by those who follow the big herd Wall Street mentality.

When I returned to the United States after 9 years in England, I felt I had landed on different planet. Seattle had once been a city of spiritual, nature loving, creative, optimistic people, who knew how to celebrate holidays, make guerrilla theaters thrive, and experiment with many philosophies, while happily never needing to settle on the Right Answer.  All this creative ferment seems to have become buried under the relentless demands of the Mighty Greedy whose only interest in art or culture is focused on etchings of Ben Franklin on $1000 notes.

Never a corporate type, I sensed that Business as God was the paradigm overpowering everything else in America. I left for Europe, and did not want to come back.

When did America get like this? And why? I grew up believing that this was a country of freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, etc. Never, in all of my schooling, was I taught that freedom of the market to rip off and gouge a living was a given.

I can’t answer these questions because I wasn’t here when it got so bad. What I can say is that the most pressing concern for any thinking person alive is the health of the Earth, and the strongest remedy for that is a return to the Old Ways of spirituality aligned with Nature.  This is commonly called Paganism, not in the hedonistic sense as some people have expressed it, but in a spiritual awareness of human kind’s utter dependence upon, and thus reverence for, Nature.The demands of these corporate types, and their Christian Fundamentalist cronies, is diametrically opposed to both of these necessary shifts in values.

We Live Inside of Nature

I was born and raised in rural Massachusetts where the beauty of my natural surroundings kept me rapt in a perpetual state of wonder. The slow cycle of the seasons transforming the trees and the light, the phases of the moon, mirror lakes, birdsong, cricketsong, fireflies,  wild animals, the low rolling hills, the long shadows of sunset, and the way evening settled on the ground. Nature has always been the Great Mystery and her Gods and Goddesses, expressions of the ways in which primal human consciousness interacts with this Mystery. We live inside the womb of Nature as an unborn child lives inside its mother — it is all Chinese boxes. We wake to the light, and if we have the Witchblood, or its equal, step into it with a deep sense of wonder. Even the dark side: the claws, thorns, blood, and cries in the night, are part of the resonance we share with life.

I never learned this, so I had to be told: those who choose to exploit, destroy, and take too much, got this way through a religion that teaches them Dominion of the human race over the rest of life. This is why we find religion and corporate greed walking hand in hand, even though Greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins — along with Pride, Envy, Lust, Sloth, Wrath, and Gluttony that are its underlying motivations. The Christianity I was grew up with taught that we are meant to be Custodians of God’s Creation.

Bocsh, Garden of Earthly Delights

Bocsh, Garden of Earthly Delights

The Value of an Inner Life

If you have a Magical Consciousness and nurture that awareness, you will cultivate a rich inner life. Your thoughts will be creative, you will value the power of the arts to move, transmit, and comprehend the complexity and depth of existence. You will seek answers in ways and in places that are off the beaten track. You will be an Individual, Individuated, rather than rabidly self seeking Individualist at the cost of all else.

It has been my observation that those who focus exclusively on money, and the costly, external trappings of life, are often lacking an inner life. That is why when they lose their Stuff, they feel they have lost their reason to live. To have an empty bank account is to have an empty life. These people were not born this way. They became this way by relying on external sources of validation, instruction, and self esteem. They avoided the solitude, silence, and times of reflection in nature wherein the seeds of the creative heart and mind are planted. And in doing so they prevent others doing it too. Perhaps they have to use Nature as place for recreation because they never known life outside of a city. So why do they come out into Nature when it bores them?

It always bothers me now that I cannot walk in the mountains, or beside a lake, or down a tree lined lane, without some soulless mountain biker or jet skier shattering the atmosphere that one requires to commune with the subtle energies, and beauty of the environment.  Nature is my Cathedral, and I must suffer its defilement constantly. Noise is one of the biggest obstacles to spirituality there is. Natural sounds are soft, and the Music of the Spheres, subtle. It is on the breath of those voices that poetry is received, it is in the heightened perception of the way the light plays on the leaves, grass, stones,  or a companions face, that art is inspired.

I am glad that this ex-stockbroker was sensitive enough to allow his transformation to take place. But it must not end there. Those of us who have always known the truth of stopping to smell the roses. must speak out as I am doing here.  More stockbrokers must be woken up to the impoverishment, and destruction, they are inflicting on everyone and everything around them in attempting to grab vast amounts of shallow, transitory wealth in order to fill their inner void.

Slattery, Woodland Woman

Slattery, Woodland Woman

Wild Horses Try to Save the Trees.

What could be more moving than this as an example of the sensitivity of the animals and the power of connection among all creatures on Earth?

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Mysteries of the Tarot: The Ship of Fools

The Ship of Fools: Heironymous Bosch

Ship of Fools, by Heironymous Bosch

As a great fan of Heironymous Bosch, I could not help posting a whole boatload of Fools! Note the little head in the tree!

I found an interesting source for the idea of the painting in a book called Dreamtime: Concerning the Boundary Between Wilderness and Civilization by Hans Peter Duerr.

The Fool has a lot of resonance with Dionysus, God of Divine Madness.
Here it is:
“The maenads of Zagreus–Dionysus were closely related to the Couretes, and probably had the same roots. The Meanads were the ‘grasping ones’, the ‘tearers’, even more closely than the Couretes bearing traces of the Wild Hunt. Like the Erinys of Artemis, these ecstatic huntresses were spirits of the dead who raged through the land ‘between the times’, clad in the skins of panthers, deer or foxes, carrying the thyrsus and suckling wolf pups. they were given death offerings usually of milk and honey. The same offerings were later given to  the ‘bonnes dames’ and the ‘naht-frouwen’, the women of the night. On choes, the second day of the of the Anthesteria festival, Dionysus, the ‘great loosener’, the ‘god of blossoms’, rolled through the streets and alleys of Athens, seated on his ship cart. The cart was drawn by two satyrs, and the god was accompanied by the souls of the dead, who on this day arrived from the swamps of Lerna, the door to the underworld, to visit the mortals.
When a ship rolls on land, all matters are turned upside down. the rule of the masters did not prevail on choes, and the slaves were free and could do as they pleased. As late as 1133, a wooden ship on wheels traveled from Cornelimunster to Tongern and Looz via Achen and Maastrischt, where it was fitted out out with sails and mast. Wherever the ship haulted, women were overcome by wild ecstasy. half-naked or clad in short shifts, their hair loose, they danced around the ship and later engaged in behavior about which a monk who reported the event maintained he could only weep or be silent. Regrettably for posterity, he did not write while weeping, so we are left in ignorance as to what might taken place around the ship after nightfall.
Ships float in water, in no-man’s-land, as it were, not subject to the laws of one particular country. it is understandable, therefore, that in the latter part of the Middle Ages, ‘lawless’ fools were often represented on ships. If the ship then traveled over ‘someone’s land’, this was chaos overcoming order.”

The images here are amazing. If you read this paragraph slowly, allowing the images of the Maenads, the ship, the mad Fools to play in your imagination, you will see how one simple image of the Fool resonates, like fine poetry, into the deepest levels of the unconscious and tap into the Ancestral Memory where the Ship of Fools still exists as a ‘reality’.
This is how Tarot works. Images and symbolic keys to deeper meanings, many unseen, not obvious, require meditation to reveal themselves. Images from the Ancient Mysteries transmit core energies from the Soul of the World, fertilizing and ordering the imagination so that it becomes a mediator between times, dimensions, and levels of consciousness beyond the boundaries of the known.
For this to happen, you must do something that has gone out of fashion — you must slow down, savor, brood upon an image until it falls into your bloodstream and becomes part of you. Then, when you read the cards they will come to life and speak in ways no instruction manual can teach.
Next post will give a definition of Tarot with a few ideas on how to consecrate a Tarot deck.
Peter Breugel, Carnival

Peter Breugel, Carnival

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