Saturday, July 24, 2010
I was given a copy of Deborah Crombie’s book A Finer End, a detective story set in Glastonbury, which sparked the memory of this little-known bit of history. So I decided to share it!
In 1945, I happened to go into a bookstore in New York City and found a pamphlet on Glastonbury by a woman called K. E. Maltwood. In it, she described how in 1922 she had climbed the Tor and gone into an altered state and saw the zodiac hidden in the earth of Glastonbury. She managed to fly in a plane and took a picture of the area and, sure enough, found evidence that she was right. What she had discovered was that King Arthur’s Roundtable was actually the name for a complete zodiac represented by twelve figures outlined in the earth! The only exception was the substitution of a dog for the crab of Cancer. Dogs, however, are ruled by Cancer. Somewhere, I hope, in this house, I still have that pamphlet. The place itself dates back to 3000 B.C. but I have no date for the zodiac, which one presumes may go back to the time of the legendary King Arthur.
As the years passed, I further discovered that John Dee, astrologer, mystic, and alchemist to Queen Elizabeth I, had a fellow initiate confide in him that King Arthur’s Roundtable was hidden in the earth of Glastonbury!
In the 1980s, when I was at Oxford, I went into the famous bookstore Blackwell’s, one of my favorites, and lo and behold, on the bottom shelf of one of the stacks were two large yellow paperbacks on this very subject complete with maps and further evidence: graphics with outlines and further geometric wonders included, put out by R.I.L.K.O. [Research Into Lost Knowledge Organization]! Here in these books lies the proof.
Needless to say, I have visited Glastonbury several times and stood in the middle of that very zodiac. I have also visited the Chalice Well and drunk from its waters, and climbed the Tor where there are two famous old oak trees, Gog and Magog.
As I recall, the legend is that the biblical Joseph of Arimethia, a follower of Christ, traveled to Britain and to Glastonbury and placed a thorn staff in the earth, which blossomed on Christmas Day, I think, with white roses. There is no question in my mind whatsoever that Glastonbury is a power point and has drawn pilgrims to it over the centuries. It is not far from Stonehenge and Avebury, another Somerset center for standing stones, so the chances are that this has been a magical area ever since prehistoric times. As I understand it, it is now a site for crowds of young people who gather there for Glastonbury Fayre at the time of the summer solstice.
The great ruins of the Glastonbury Abbey still stand in mute testimony to an ongoing mystery. Before Ms. Maltwood, a man called Frederick Bligh Bond also had a mystical vision of what the monks at the Abbey were all about.
Nearby is another beautiful, still standing cathedral at Wells. The steps going up to its entrance show the wear of countless pilgrims and the sense of beauty and spiritual peace of Wells Cathedral is something never ever to be forgotten.
On a winter trip in the 1970s that I took alone, I stopped at a medieval inn. I was the only guest, and the landlord informed me that he would lock up and return in the morning; thus I found myself totally alone in this ancient inn. I confess, I slept very fitfully and woke in the night feeling both apprehensive and wary of every possible sound, but I met no apparitions. Still, it is a night I will never forget.
In my family tree, a number of my ancestors came from these regions, and I highly recommend the Salisbury area as a fascinating place to visit. P.S.: I do not know if R.I.L.K.O. is still doing research, but thanks to them there is now much more familiarity with such matters as ley lines connecting holy sites, standing stones marking places where they meet, etc. It seems the more we unearth about the ancient history of Britain, the more amazing discoveries we make. Here is a copy of a letter from Mrs. Maltwood, forwarded to my mother.
Copy: The Thatch, Royal Oak, Vancouver Island, B.C. [undated, presumably before 1976]
Dear Mr. Manley,
Many thanks for your interesting letter with these enclosures. You are very kind to tell me about the Orcutts.
If you are seeing them again, their daughter [Alice] might be glad to see the enclosed about my Guide, as it fits onto Philips Planesphere, from which I took it by pricking the stars through, onto the map of the effigies [the figures outlined in the earth]. If you hold it up against the light, you can see that the effigies were designed in each case to incorporate the constellations through which the sun rides.
I am sure you must have been hard-put to it, to answer some of her questions! Please let me know if I can help. I should be only too pleased to render assistance. The clipping from the local paper is well expressed. I am glad to have it.
With the Season’s greetings and best thanks,
K. E. Maltwood
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Theologically speaking, hell seems to be a nightmare place decorated with every form of torture; Dante’s Inferno is the best travel guide. The Church for centuries has depicted it graphically and symbolically as a place no one would choose to go to, and so sticking to the rules and conforming strictly and consciously keeps society in order. Psychologically, there is a trap however, because we end up judging ourselves and others, and unconsciously this results in our projecting our Shadow on others, both personally and collectively, perhaps forgetting what even the Bible cautions: Judgment is mine saith the Lord!
Now, along comes Dorothy L. Sayers, the British detective story writer, a member of the Oxford “Inklings,” and also, believe it or not, a serious theologian! She happens, in my estimation, to have written one of the wisest things I ever read! It has to do with hell.
The fires of hell are the flames of God’s Love rejected!
The wisdom of that statement rings true, and it heals the split between good and bad and places us back where we truly belong. In my first Credo, I express my dislike of the various names we give to the Mystery and offer an expression used by my grandfather Basil King in one of his brief novels, In Abraham’s Bosom. In it a character speaks of “a Vast Certainty!” and ever since I came across it, it is what I consciously term the Mystery. “The Tao that can be defined is not the Tao,” and since our egos function through duality, we cannot define God! So we either humbly accept or reject that “Vast Certainty.” And that, as I come close to stepping out of my mortality in this life in my 88th year, is what I have come to. But Sayers’ words are worth considering. I truly needed to share this before I depart!
It requires no definition but also no doubt! It works for all creation and every religion and every person. It is what Jung meant when he said, “I do not believe . . . I know!”
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
If you look up the Baal Shem Tov in any current reference book you get volumes of serious information, so go ahead, but you won’t get that from me! Not a one mentions the joyful, humorous, and wise Jewish saint that he was. My love for him is intense because he exemplified the Joy of Wisdom and the Wisdom of Joy, the title of many lectures and seminars I used to give. Religions generally take themselves so seriously or theologically that they totally forget that description of Holy Wisdom in the Old Testament. Let me quote from the British Jungian analyst Alan McGlashan’s book The Savage and Beautiful Country. I met him when he spoke at the Jung Foundation in New York and again when I lectured to the Jungians in London. He was a love.
Delight is a secret . . . delight has a glancing, dancing, penetrative quality, the quality of Sophia, the consort of God, as when she sings –
“From the beginning I was with Him
forming all things: And was delighted every day
playing before Him at all times: Playing in the world;
and my delights were to be with the children of men.”
Playing in the world! That is what Wisdom does. And this is what those sad, resigned ones . . . the will-driven, over masculinized betrayers of life miss.
Delight is a mystery. And the mystery is this: to plunge boldly into the brilliance and immediacy of living, at the same time as utterly surrendering to that which lies beyond space and time; to see life translucently.
To which, I can add my own delight in finding in Skeats’ An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, the following : Silly, adj. simple, harmless, foolish . . . allied to O. Lat. salvus, whole, complete, safe. The German cognate is selig which means holy, sacred.
In the biography of the Baal Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name) called Nine Gates by Juri Langer, he was born in Okup in 1689 in the disputed territory of what probably is today Ukraine. Whatever. When he was young, he observed his fellow Jews all spending hours poring intellectually over the Talmud, when he had an epiphany! God was not to be understood as a concept but in the delightful reality of the experience of nature, of beauty, and joy. So he literally began to dance and worship with a strong sense of humor and delight. He became the archetype of the Jewish comedian ever since, but always with a twist of holy wisdom. Here are some of my favorite anecdotes:
He was always concerned about those in poverty, so one evening he approached some drunken Cossacks in a tavern begging some money to help them. They responded by ridiculing him and throwing him to the floor. He picked himself up and said, “Well, that was for me. Now, what have you got for the poor?” The Cossacks enjoyed the joke so much, they emptied their pockets and hailed him out the door.
Another tale concerns a beggar coming to the door of his home, but he had no money to give him. So he went into his bedroom and took a necklace of his wife and gave it to the startled beggar, just as Channa discovered what her husband had done. She had a fit! So the good man ran to the door and yelled to the departing beggar: “Guess what? It is very valuable – see that you get a good price for it!”
My favorite though is this account: By now, he was well known in the district. He went to a neighboring town and a large crowd was waiting for someone. When he asked about it, he was told a holy man. Greatly excited, he joined the crowd, looking this way and that, shouting “Guess what? A holy man is coming! A holy man is coming!”
His followers started what today is known as the Hasidic tradition, but as Emerson once pointed out, most institutions are the extended shadow of one person, and today, as I understand it, the Hasidim are bound by more rules and regulations than any of the others.
Islam has an equivalent legendary saintly humorist in Mullah Nasruddin, whose delightful teachings have been gathered by Idries Shah. Mullah lived in Turkey in the eleventh century and taught at the time of William the Conqueror.
The Celts defined the goddess Brid as the goddess ruling wisdom, weaving flax, and laughter!
The ancient Greeks gave us the twin masks of Tragedy and Comedy, and their ancient plays reflected this.
Physically, I understand that the synapses (?) in the brain governing laughter and tears are so close that sometimes we laugh so hard, we shed tears.
Shakespeare seems to have understood this because in almost every tragedy he wrote, there is at least some delightful and humrous relief.
The archetype of the Holy Fool is still with us reminding us of the necessity of loving humility and the courage of “laughter in the void”. It seems that laughter is a human attribute and actually a key to peace, if you think about it.
We are living in one of the most tragic challenging circumstances on our planet. It is hard, if not impossible, to see any humor in it. Yet, humor endures and we need its balance. I am reminded of the man on the sinking Titanic calling out: “Anyone want to buy a watch?” And nature quietly spreads its delights everywhere, especially in the miraculous beauty of flowers. The Gnostic Gospel according to Thomas tells us that “Heaven is spread upon the earth but men do not see it.”
Surely this points to the mystics telling us something that Jung always reminds us of: serious groups are a good beginning, but the joy and delight of individuation happens to us one at a time. Christ reminds us that we have to become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.
It seems that like popcorn, once you’ve popped, you are transformed!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I learned some interesting techniques that my mother taught me and even more from my own children as parents. I think they are worth sharing with others.
• When I had a two-year-old tantrum, my mother would simply drag me in front of a full-length mirror and hold me there. Eventually my fury would turn to giggles and the tantrum was over!
• When I dawdled about getting ready to leave, she would taunt me saying, “Of course, you can’t pack your own suitcase, etc.” I showed her!
• When she thought I would enjoy a book, I would usually demur, so she would hide it and let me discover it.
• When I was six in Paris, I was impossible. Mother would stop and ask, “Now, if you were the mother and had a child like yourself, how would you handle her?” Immediately, I would be intrigued and stop and give her an extremely sensible solution! (I found this account in a letter she wrote to my uncle!)
From my son and daughter, I learned how to take a lifetime of guilt complexes placed on so many children who are told how naughty or bad they are. Switching to a neutral position, one simply says:
• That’s a no! Or if they want to do something inappropriate,
• That’s not going to happen.
• Praise and recognition of achievement. For the very wee ones, just clap hands! They usually join in.
• Oops! is a very convenient expression . . .
Friday, July 9, 2010
I woke up in the middle of last night realizing I had made public the name of my dear, now departed friend Brewster in my last Credo, leaving him all those years ago in Dadaji’s corridor. I had named him only to honor him with the gratitude I have never ceased to feel. So now I want to follow up with what happened to him.
Briefly summarized, in time, he met and married a most lovely woman, Sandra, who had analyzed with Dr, Edinger. Their courtship flourished close by to me, and in the end, he was restored to a finer, deeper, and wiser man. He became a much loved and respected rector of a church, not far from the Berkshires, in neighboring New York State. He continued helping others with Jungian therapy, founded an organization that sponsored lectures and workshops, and grew into the wonderful person he was meant to be, aided actively by the warmth and intelligence of his wife Sandra.
The point that I am trying to make is one that both Jung and Edinger have written about: that to become a complete person, we need experience, and only then can we be of help and service to others, because it takes one to know one. Sometimes it is called “the Night Sea Journey.” It was the underlying premise of Bill, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who was influenced by Jung. It is the biblical motif of Job in the Old Testament, about which Jung wrote so eloquently, and again the ultimate myth of Chiron in Greek mythology.
I am certain that many of you who read these Credos are familiar with the stages of suffering every one of us has to go through, and I share this notion to help anyone still in the process. The best counselor is the one who has walked the talk. Suffered and not succumbed or lost faith! And sometimes the pain is excruciating! I know this for a fact.
No one can help others truly by reading a textbook about how to become a psychologist. Or just passing tests on statistics. Wisdom involves becoming truly human and ultimately finding refuge and comfort in the discovery of the spiritual dimension of true healing, namely Love.
The Jewish philosopher defined it in a nutshell: Is the relationship “I-it or I-thou”? Jung stressed the importance of the latter and likened true therapy to the odd alchemical model of the lovers enclosed in a vessel or bottle! If the coniunctio is kept safe in the vessel, it is a sacred encounter, but the minute the vessel is broken it falls down into the duality of everyday life and the results are all too familiar!
When I was young and eager, I studied and read and read, and I remember my chagrin when my Teacher M shook his head and said I would not find what I was looking for by just reading, I realized that unconsciously what I termed the pook! was missing – in other words , the aha! that comes from the Divine Guest.
The proof of this surely lies with the wisdom of native “illiterate” people all over the world who are spiritually far more advanced than we are! They are the ones who learn from the greatest teacher of all – Mother Nature, Dame Kinde, Hagia Sophia.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate the model that Brewster provides us and the important role of the strong loving presence of the feminine that Sandra played and still does.
In my generation, it was an enormous matter to have a man be interested in one’s soul! So the projection onto the therapist was often a given and hard for a man not to be charmed by, thus falling into inflation and the breaking of the vessel. Ultimately, the best healing comes from the other simply holding up a mirror, which reminds me of my own mother, who, when I was having a tantrum as a two-year old, would drag me screaming in front of a long mirror and force me to watch myself! I usually, as I remember, ended up giggling.
So here’s to the Wounded Healers of the world and a salute of gratitude to my dear friend and psychopomp Brewster!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
We met him in Ventura, California, in 1982. He was the most exceptional Hindu I ever met, and you will just have to take my word for the incredible feats I am about to relate. There was a meeting of Indians in a private home. There were only four Caucasians present. We sat in a ring and he gave a lecture. He didn’t sound very special, just a dark, wavy-headed man, but as we bid him good night, he drew me down and whispered, “Come back tomorrow morning early.” So, I did. He drew me into a private room, and we had a spiritual conversation. It was as if we were continuing where we left off the last time. Then he asked me if I would like to know the name of God? I was to move to another room.
This room turned out to be the host’s baby’s nursery. Besides the crib, Dadaji had a small altar with flowers, fruit, a small oil lamp, and a few small ornamental bronze deities. I sat in a chair; he chanted a prayer, then took a small piece of paper and wrote a name on it in red ink. When he handed it to me and I unfolded it, it was totally blank! He smiled. Hypnosis?
Then he instructed me to return that evening with my husband. Each of us was to bring a simple sealed jar of water. The trip to and fro was about 30 miles, each way, but I agreed. Accordingly, I filled an empty mayonnaise jar and another, and we returned.
This time, the same group was gathered, and we were summoned in, one at a time. The rest of us meditated silently. When Walter returned, he looked amazed, but I was immediately next. This time, Dadaji was seated in a dark room lit by a few candles. Another low altar was in front of him with flowers and fruit. He smiled radiantly and asked for my jar. I handed it to him, determined to watch closely, which I did. To my astonishment, he took the jar, and prayed over it, and without opening it, it started to sweat water on the outside as he rubbed it! Then with a beatific smile he handed it to me, blessed me, and indicated I was to leave.
When I returned to the group, we sat again quietly. The Indian next to Walter whispered, “Open it!” When Walter opened his jar, a beautiful fragrance wafted out. When I opened mine, another fragrance, but it was different! When we came home and opened them again, the fragrances were still there, and we had been told it was safe to sip. I could not help but think of Jesus and his changing the water to wine at the wedding in Cana. This was still possible!
We soon became good friends and attended informal gatherings, only to discover how loving and humorous he was. He showered us with his books, which I still have. Also a printed portrait, framed. He was reluctant on one occasion to have his photo taken. At last, he relented, but when the film was developed it turned out to be that of a holy man with a beard! In India, he ran a small toy store! He was married. His real name was Roy Chauderi. He lived the life of a simple householder, but once a year there would be a special ceremony where, in the presence of hundreds, he would transform milk into an edible substance. Though I went to India twice, I never made it to Calcutta.
However, he came to the East Coast to Connecticut, and we were invited to visit several times. There he would have an audience, one on one. Brewster, a Jungian analyst and Episcopal priest, and the very one to invite me to lecture at the Jung Foundation in New York, thereby changing the course of my entire future, came to see Dadaji. He had been through hell, lost 40 lbs, and was at the lowest point in his life. He had been kicked out of his professional position, having been publicly accused by his angry significant other of sleeping with one of his patients. Not quite true, as she had quit before this happened, but true enough. So he arrived a broken man and went in to see Dadaji. When he came out, his blue denim shirt was soaked in front and the fragrance was overwhelming! Apparently, Dadaji had stroked the front of it and the fragrance came out of his hands like oil. In India, this is called Padmagandi, and other gifted gurus have the same gift.
As I had been a friend of both Brewster and his angry partner, I urged her to visit Dadaji. When she walked down his corridor, he waved and ordered her to stop. He told her she might return in a couple of years, but he could not see her that day. I had said nothing to Dadaji about the situation of either one of them.
Walter, who was a Reiki practitioner, had compassion for Dadaji, who was clearly exhausted, so Dadaji agreed to let Walter treat him. It helped enormously, and so the two men became dear friends. We were invited several times to visit and had the pleasure of meeting his wife.
Needless to say, this encounter forced me to rearrange much of my opinionated mental furniture! I am by nature a skeptical Scorpio, but I now have a true Saying of Gezeebius: Always keep an open mind and a good crap detector! This has served me well and, by now, you should know that what I have written here was truly witnessed by me. He was an extraordinary human being, and his teachings were wise and loving. I still hear his laughter and feel the warmth of his hugs. Though he is no longer in the flesh, his spirit, love, and teachings continue. He is the one who called himself an anti-guru guru! He told me that everyone has the same access to the Truth; the only problem is that we are unconscious of it, so time is kind by coming in minutes, hours, and days as we live to say aha! In that way, Jung is saying exactly same thing: the Self knows but it dwells in the Unconscious! As you know, by now, I think of this as a candle. Everyone has an individual wick but the flame on every wick is the same flame!
Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all,
Where truth abides in fullness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception which is truth
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error: and to KNOW,
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
Than in effecting an entry for a light
Supposed to be without.
– Robert Browning (1812–1889), from Paracelsus
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Here are three true stories that bring a smile whenever I think of them.
Years ago, my father, who was the International VP for The Mergenthaler Linotype Company, received a telegram from a prospective client in Bucharest, Romania. He had obviously consulted a dictionary!
DEAR MR ORCUTT I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING INTERCOURSE WITH YOU IN THE TWILIGHT OF JUNE 25 STOP SINCERELY YOURS . . .
When I was nine, we were staying at the best hotel in Oslo, Norway. I was to take a nap. My mother, who apparently didn’t quite trust me, chose to check on me by bending over outside my bedroom door and peeking through the keyhole . . . just as the manager turned the corner showing some prospective guests to their own room further down! (Serves her right, sez I!)
I am in the process at the moment, of clearing out my files in preparation for bestowing my papers to the Sophia Collection of Smith College on the occasion of my Aberduffy Day (death). Two days ago, I came across a letter describing my arrival at JFK from a trip to Ireland in 1980 with Mary Andersen, my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, and my nine-year-old grandson, Jamie Samuels. As you may remember from a previous Credo “Naming,” it was a family necessity to give names to our luggage, as my parents and I traveled and separated so frequently, they needed a convenient way to identify luggage.
Mary had taken off on this trip with a drab grey suitcase that looked as if it had taken vows of poverty – so I named it “Mother Teresa.” Mary explained she did this intentionally because no one would want to steal it. However, once in Ireland, she stocked up on Irish goodies and had to buy a bright red suitcase.
When we arrived, the crowded plane disgorged our luggage on three different carousels so the three of us each monitored one of them. Jamie got quite excited, and he shouted “I found Mother Teresa but the Cardinal hasn’t come!” Standing, right behind me, so help me, were two priests and a nun!! They got all excited as well, craning their necks at the prospect of such distinguished passengers! Needless to say, I didn’t have the heart to explain the matter further!