Sunday, 12 December 2010

Past lives?

Samael is, on the one hand, just another teen supernatural romance. Hopefully it is a pacy read, an exciting, scary and romantic page-turner. But it does have some deeper stuff going on under the surface. The book (or rather the trilogy) explores many esoteric ideas and, in particular, the concepts of reincarnation and karma.
All the main characters in the book have karmic links; they have known one another in other lifetimes, in other guises.

Samael and Gen are linked at a deep soul-level. I won't give away exactly how and why but, suffice to say, their bond is immense and deep. No matter how hard they may try to keep away from one another (Samael consciously; Gen unconciously) they are fighting a losing battle.  Their souls simply yearn for one another. As the series progresses, the relationship between the two of them becomes clearer and we see just why they are so attracted - but also how dangerous their relationship could be.

I have undergone a fair amount of past life therapy, and have even trained as a past life therapist (though I don't practice!).  I was lucky enough to meet and work with the wonderful healer, shaman and all-round lovely woman, Denise Linn.  Denise is convinced by the idea of reincarnation.  In fact, she thinks that past life trauma can be the cause of many current life illnesses and psychological issues. She has seen people cured of severe arthritis after undergoing past life therapy; people with hearing loss who have regained their hearing; people with impaired vision who have regained their sight.  She's seen phobias clear up almost instanteously and asthmatics throw away their inhalers. Denise says you generally find that asthmatics have been strangled or asphyxiated in a previous incarnation.

But what about Samael and Gen?  Denise does believe that people can repeat obsessive relationships from incarnation to incarnation and she thinks the therapy can often throw light on love and sex. 'When you find out that your father was your wife in a past life, or that your mother was your daughter, that transforms those relationships because you begin to understand why you are with those people,' she explains.

I have met my husband in previous lives - but, interestingly, as my brother...  My past lives have been an intriguing mix.  My first experience took me back to a tough uncompromisingly bleak life as a peasant.  I was a man, exhausted from trying to keep my wife and children fed.  I died of pneumonia, shivering in the cold, guilt dripping from every pore that I was leaving them behind.  I have lived lives as an athlete in ancient Greece, a 17th century herbalist and a bored Victorian housewife.  Perhaps the most shocking was a life in a very ancient Ireland in which I was sacrificed, with stones being pressed over me, as my beloved was held back, kept from saving me. 
I also had glimpses of a very very remote life as a priestess in which I and my lover did something terribly, fatefully wrong; in which we turned aside from the path we were supposed to follow.  Or, at least, that's what I 'saw' in the trance state of regression. 

What do you think? 
Do you believe you've lived before? 
Do you think we meet the same people, time and time again? 

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The dark

Strive for the light, always the light.  We live in a society obsessed with the bright, with the light, with the relentlessly positive.  Within this gleaming bright white perfect world there is no room for shadow, for penumbra, for twilight, for darkness. 

For a long time I relentlessly followed the path of the light.  I chanted positive affirmations until I was blue in the face; I knew I couldn't afford the luxury of a negative thought.  I manifested exactly what I needed - or what I thought I needed.  The message is that our lives should be permanently sunny, happy and joyous; all our relationships loving; all our spirits coursing towards the light. We are expected to be super-people, always up, always cheerful, always bright.

Is this natural? Is it realistic? Of course not. Virtually all of us have times when we feel down, depressed, negative. Times when we feel consumed with less than ideal emotions: anger, hate, jealousy, self-pity. If we were to believe some of the self-help gurus, we would seek to expunge such emotions immediately, drowning them in positive affirmations and self-talk. But is this missing the message? Do we do ourselves a disfavor by ignoring the dark and seeking always the light? Do we miss the subtlety of the moon’s shadows by always craving the clear illumination of the sun? By striving for perfection, for the ideal life, for permanent life, we are setting ourselves up for misery and failure. No-one can live perpetually in the bright sunshine. Life is made up of darkness as well as light. Our emotions too run into the shadows: fear, guilt, depression, anger. We cannot put a veneer over these emotions and simply hope they will simply go away. In fact, the more we disown these emotions, the more harm they will do.

We only have to look at nature to see that there exists cruelty, darkness, death. There are times of growth, times of decay. Sometimes day and light and the upward surge of life hold sway; sometimes we are in the grip of night and dark and the death-hush lies over the earth. We are splitting from an essential truth if we seek to live always in the light. After all, in order to have a peak, a mountain, you must have a trough, a valley. How can we truly know happiness if we have never experienced sadness and gloom?

By denying the dark we also lose the chance for genuine self-understanding and growth. There are many lessons to learn amidst the shadows, much wisdom in the gloom. We can and should sacrifice the idea of perfection because none of us is perfect. We all contain within us both good and evil, light and shade. When we turn and face our darkness, our demons of the night, we may find revelations beyond our wildest dreams. For there is dark energy too…

The ancients knew this and knew it well. In the Qabalah, the Tree of Life has a shadow image, a dark reflection. On it are all the sins and temptations known, the arch-demons of the soul. The qabalists realized that you cannot only see the bright side of life, you have to accept the dark as well. Ignoring the dark, pushing it aside, is to give it power over you. In many cultures the gods and goddesses were not just pure and good but complex creations with as many differing moods and attributes as us humans. Many initiation ceremonies demanded the initiate descend into the bowels of the earth or go deep into the forest or out onto the untamed sea to face his or her demons, to conquer fear, to embrace the dark and come out again, transformed, into the light.

I am not saying that affirmations and positive thought are bad things. They are in fact incredibly useful and worthwhile, particularly if you are the kind of person who constantly dwells on the negative. They are also valuable lessons in the first stages of energyworking. But once you have reached a certain level of skill in this work you no longer need to put a gloss on life. You need to face the dark energy, to plumb the depths: only then can you truly scale the heights.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Gates of Hell

What would they look like, the gates of hell? 
Would they be a split in the earth's crust, an abomination?  A gaping wound, a crevice, a vagina - the place of birth meeting the place of death? 
Or would they be suitably gothic and spooky? Would they swing open and you'd walk down a dusty path with nothing much to see?  Would you walk and walk and walk and walk, with the dust coating your throat and your eyes?  Would you just keep walking, never reaching a destination? 

Or would you see them from a huge distance away... rising up like a sentinel in a barren land of rock and dust? Would you imagine eyes watching you as you approach, your weary feet stumbling over the rocks?  You might want to turn back but you would know it's too late.

Might it be a small, Alice-like, hole. Something insignificant, something almost vulgar? An asshole of an entrance? 
Or, then again, could it be any doorway?  Any worm hole?  Any clicked link on the PC?  Any seemingly innocent door or gate or place?
The thing is, you never know just how close to hell you are at any moment in your life.  Be wary of doors.  Be very wary of invitations.  You never quite know where they are going to lead.....


I can't write right now.  Can't do anything much really.  Just exist.  I'm listening to music and crying and crying and crying.  Is that what writers do?  Is that a good thing to do? 

I'm also thinking about the underworld.  I feel a bit like Inanna, the Sumerian goddess. Inanna had the lot really - a kingdom, a husband, children, friends, all good stuff.  She is surrounded by love.  Yet somehow she feels she had to go down, to visit her 'dread sister' Ereshkegal, in the underworld.  She has to transform; she has to scour her soul. 

As she descends, she passes through seven gates and, at each gate, she loses a piece of jewellery or an item of clothing.  Each gate could be seen as one of the chakras, so I suppose you could say that the giving up might correspond with opening, or laying bare, each chakra.  Are they the trappings of our egos, our personas, the masks we wear?  Do we hide from our primal fears and dodge our true selves?  How scared are we to be stripped bare, to reveal our most inner being?  How scared are we?  How scared am I?

Finally she/I stands, naked, before Ereshkigal.  Ereshkigal, her sister, her shadow, kills her with a glance and Inanna is beaten and hung from a meat-hook like a slab of meat.  And so Inanna hangs...

And so I hang... 
And so I hang...
And so I hang...
And so I hang...
And so I hang...