Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Praising is what matters! He was summoned for that,
and came to us like the ore from a stone's
silence. His mortal heart presses out
a deathless, inexhaustible wine.

Whenever he feels the god's paradigm grip
his throat, the voice does not die in his mouth.
All becomes vineyard, all becomes grape,
opened on the hills of his sensuous South.

Neither decay in the sepulchre of kings
nor any shadow that has falllen form the gods
can ever detract from his glorious praising.

For he is a herald who is with us always,
holding far into the doors of the dead,
a bowl with ripe fruit worthy of praise.

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Sonnets to Orpheus, I, 7

translated by Stephen Mitchell

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winchester Angel

Angel in Winchester Cathedral ... October 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

To someone who recently burned their journals

'Better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad.'

(Christina Rossetti)

Only a fellow long term journaller (like me) knows what a lot of courage it took to do this. I too have often been tempted to destroy my journals of over over twenty years but just can't bring myself to do it. I don't often reread them...many of them are just too painful to do so....but when I do dip in they can call up the feel of a particular day, the actual memory as though it happened yesterday rather then twenty five years ago. A day in nineteen eighty six when I went to the shop and bought chocolate or a dream I had in ninety two...not only preserved but I suddenly am there again. It is like a kind of virtual reality time machine. This can be a bittersweet experience.

What the prompt of the journal does show is that it is all there still there, still stored in the mind but generally inaccessible, so presumed lost forever. So many of the details are right there just out of reach. And the patterns, the synchronicities and amazing coincidences, the apparently trivial (at the time) events or decisions which led to major changes in direction, changes in my whole life and sometimes the lives of other people.

Even now there is the difficulty of no one else reading them. My husband of four years is welcome to read anything 'before' he came along and the last few years I have moved to keeping it on my laptop and a memory stick (securely hidden away). It isn't that I want to keep things 'secret' as such but the moods of the moment have led to me writing stuff just to vent which would cause him pain and give him a false idea of what our connection really means to me.Though there is lots of joyful affirming stuff in there too.

My journals have been my best friend, counsellor and general life saver through some tough times, a record of triumphs and tragedies, loves lost and found, sublime insights and absurd follishness.

Each day it is as natural for me to write in the journal as clean my teeth.

I am filled with admiration at your action and inspired to rethink whether to keep them. I can see how cathartic and releasing it could be. When I declutter my house or have the yearly trimming of my book collection (again I have only limited space) I certainly feel so much lighter, spacious and free.

Why keep them? I have no idea but something stops me from returning their energy to wherever it came from. The time is not yet.

SONNET XXX (William Shakespeare)

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight;
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd, and sorrows end.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

In the Volume of the Book....

The Red Book ... Carl Gustav Jung

I have wanted to see this book for the last thirty years. To finally see it published is a huge event for me.Books fascinate me.In Jungian terms maybe I could be said to be enamoured of the Archetype of the Book, the mysterious text which answers all questions.Of course there is no such literal object, for it can only exist in our heart, in fantasy and dream.Maybe the most literal forms for me are the I Ching and the Tarot, both 'books' of great imagination and depth. Not just their actual content as Books of Wisdom but in their physical presence, to be touched and held, stored in special boxes, taken out for meditation, reflection and ritual. I have many versions of both of them. I can never find the 'perfect' one because it does not exist in the physical realm but something in me keeps trying. This book will not 'answer' any of my questions but it is a very special manifestation of the Book Archetype.

All books are variations on the books of wisdom we find in traditional religions, or the books that record our deeds on earth, or the book of our days ... beneath and beyond the facts and information offered in a book lies its mystery, its echo of sacred books, and it is in the hidden resonance that the book finds its enchantment. The heavenly book held so reverently in the hands of angels can be seen in any book, provided you have the eyes for it. (Thomas Moore)