The night is the sea of old. Stitching letters upon the flesh of the sky. You claim to know all about sigil and script upon the shoulders of Orion, but do you? Hem of the highest river, cinched just enough. Moving silent, elegant, like shadows in the pantheon. This is how angry you’ve made me, Roma. This is what happens when you brutalise the indigenous and make weapons of angels. Legacies of Iesa; temple maidens aflame with the folded fury of the N'ashariin. Tell me, do you collude with conventional wisdom or are you among the genius of wild gods? See, I recall those bitter wraiths who foolishly forget their demented king. I know them by name. And I assure you, I am so much bolder than you imagine. Oh, ye mighty. I cannot wait to see the look on your faces. Cinched, just enough for angels. Messengers like a lover’s gown, in free-fall. So, church of the pale slain – hear this, if you dare. I walk among towers and stars of the sea. My blood is black as pitch. Old as uncut diamond. Albion was never yours, murderers. It belongs to the people, to the open-hearted. You wish to break me, don’t you? But I am not my sister. I'm not afraid of your shapeshift or your shamelessness. I too can change what was, and what is. These twelfth century fever-dreams. Syrians, sanctuaries and crusades. Mithriin of the high table. I see it all. My lies are grander and timelier than yours. I think you've forgotten your tithes, wraith. Why else would you insult and dispossess your sovereign the way you do? There are so many wild devils amid the details. Are you sure you know the difference between a poet and a cursed twin? Magdala. The shining ones, wandering lethal among these thieves of the sea. Fallen or flighted, it matters little to me now. I resist this occupation, this midnight of a thousand years. A new day will dawn. Restitution's rising light. Tyrants and sycophants, you shall be slain by my brother’s hand. Upon the steps and altars of your secret places. I promise you that, with infinite fury. You still think that time is passing. That you are masters of the temporal, but I am here to tell you that nothing passes anymore. Not until this tempest swallows the sea. Love is wild, callous ones. I hope you realize that, and soon. Love is ingenious. Here among these pantheon shadows you doubt such genii at your peril.
Sunday, 11 July 2021
When I was a child I used to sometimes dream of a wandering star. A mysterious ancient flame that moved across the night sky. It was a glow that seemed a part of me somehow, connected to the half-recognised grief of a lost homeland. A shattered, once-enchanted realm. I couldn't explain this grief to the grown-ups around me or the other children. I couldn't even adequately put it into words. The feelings, the visions and premonitions. Endless shifting between worlds. It can be so lonely and terrifying; seeing things that other people can't see. Knowing things that other people don't know. A young boy desperate for understanding, told that he was either a liar, mad or cursed. After a while you start believing those fears, especially in your darkest and loneliest moments. Perhaps that's why I dreamt so often of my wandering star. I called this star my friend. Sometimes I imagined it was an angel and that when I slept she would come down from the night to visit my window. Watching over me, singing to me, soothing my agonies. A strange floating light. It was only recently that I came to understand the true meaning of that night-star. That ancient flame drifting through the black. As a boy I wanted to believe it was healing my losses and tending my grief whilst I slept. But as I got older I stopped dreaming of that wandering star. I began to think I was a fool. There were no angels, no floating lights, nor sweet music at my window as I slept. Only suffering, shadows and wraiths. But I was wrong. I realize that now. The floating light was so much more than a simple childhood fantasy. The heart of the boy I used to be had been right all along. That friend in the sky was an integral part of my future hope and healing. An angel like a lantern at my window. Singing to me of faith, heaven and home.
Saturday, 19 June 2021
Visionaries often dream in black, of black rock. The raising of works to an imagined centre. Some hidden perennial philosophy. Easier to see the luminescence of sigil and sign against the canvas of night, I suppose. Studying the occulted registers of those polyhedral gates by the water. Those risen places of oldest Kathari. Now chasing the imagined spirits of composite ghosts. Fulcanelli, or Flamel. Our Lady of mercurial tempest, on silver rivers further reaching than the Seine. This blackening earth. Sword of Eth'iir. It is raining beneath the nave, in ways beyond profit or purchase. Kashi speaks, as you imagine daemons might speak. Spirits of genius. How dare you, wraith-lords? Lesser kings. How dare you claim these gates as your own? You didn't shape our stones nor raise our learned schools. Liars. You slay and then steal the work of others, pretending ownership. Things you can lazily repurpose without grasping the true majesty of those works. These gaudy fables of erudition you invented. Well, it takes little skill to murder teachers, conceal their ancient texts and poison their gardens. You call yourselves masters of a craft? Don't make me laugh. Your tales of Egypt and antiquity. These lies of lineage. Would you like to see a real gypsy's magic? I think not. You can't even look at me, can you? Tell me, what do you really know of chrysanthemums, or chrysopoeia? Hallowed fire kissing water in that upward fall you so fear. Head to head. A language of respiration, and birds. A language you didn't invent either. Chlorophyll nymphs among the unseen forests of the vestry. At the heart of our endless cathedral of trees. Shepherd and sheep. Rupes Nigra, as you call it. Dark as Albion Black. All the better to trace stars upon the wheels and blades of procession. Aether; place of the crossing, and the cross. Polaris and his prism. Night-lights dancing before dawn. Stones that breathe among angels and aster. Hurry now to the krater of living waters, I say. As Offerus did, carrying the child through churning grey. I too was grey, once. Across rivers further reaching than you know. This was never about semiotic games, Fallen. Never about cliques, power or exclusion. Quite the opposite. This is about the Word. About service. Tending the wounded and the lost. Uplifting the least of our brothers and sisters, of every song and faith. As it was of our true history, beyond your false chronologies. Beneath this reigning nave is a gate of healing; a dreaming forest of fractals and higher thought. Our doors are open to everyone. From beggar to king. You cannot lie to the chymic nor the wedding. Nascent works made golden in the waters. And nameless. So, tell me again your so-called secrets of the rose? Tell me to my face.
Monday, 14 June 2021
I have seen a path of roses and a path of ruined dreaming. I have walked them both countless times. I walk them still. Shadow and spear. Fever and darkness. A light of heaven almost glimpsed amid the smoke. Tell me something, Fallen. In this thousand-year chastity of emerald and thorn, do you really assume I still wish to avoid torment? I was forged of torment. And fire. Born of witches, mystics and soothsayers. The devil's ilk, according to some. There were stories told in the days of hush and seething, as I’m sure you recall. That I was foretold. A dark renaissance, born half-formed. The union of whore and demon. An affront to Christendom itself. But I tell you now, betrayers. I am no devil's son. No lesser king. I do nothing by halves, as all heresies attest. The Kathari and others know well of my ghost beneath the bell. Sous-terre, and lower still. You pledge yourself to infernal hierarchies but you only exist because I allow you to exist. Perhaps there is something unnatural about me after all. These offers of redemption, transformation. Only a poet or a demon prince would bother with such fancies. Or perhaps a bright winged thing; an archangel in some bizarre attempt at devotion and grace. In any event, I have seen freshwater and flowers spring from the polyhedral secrets of Kathari stone. Cloisters, and comprehension. Like a feather upon the throat of darkness itself. Xashi, Esme, Osarai. I am many things, betrayers. But first and foremost I am a guardian. I did what I said I would do, didn't I? I lied to you. With flair and wondrous mirth. I have fashioned a tall tale of carnal treachery from the hair of a maiden's crown. The crown of a seer. But I didn't do it alone. I teach as I’m taught. As I take, so too am I taken. Here at the high place, where love is true and needs no recompense. Do you honestly think I’m making amends for some imagined fall from grace? I’m laughing at you, Fallen. In that ugly, half-formed way of mine. Witches and demons and thin gypsy thieves? Is that all you think this is? No, acolytes. Kashi has made a mockery of your sickening, infernal hierarchies. Blood-hungry and unclean, all of them. Any supposed god who revels in the tears of children is my enemy. Make no fucking mistake. And I have countless enemies. There are a million wraiths and more who wish to devour me. But I’m like poison in the well, or gristle in the throat. Favoured, stubborn, indigestible. You would do well to remember that, Callous Ones. Lest you choke on my maidenhead. I’m a misshapen, twisted thing. But I can move like a dancer when necessary. Here, at these mysterious gates of procession. I wonder, can you say the same? Could you stand like a sentinel amidst the ashes and the sand, as I did? Could you change your name; sacrificing everything you are, everything you'll ever be, for love? I don’t think so, but I like to dream. Let me tell you a secret now, fallen ones. You won’t understand it though, because your dead hearts remain un-animated by divine fire. Untouched by guilt, recognition of sin, or sorrow. Still, the demon-poet in me loves the idea of possibility. An open door. So hear me, wraiths. You are living within a rosebud of unfathomable splendour. An infinite cathedral of light. You are the mere shadow of a miracle. The shadow of all miracles. Messengers of the eternal radiant, with wings bright as dawn. Even your sickness and lust is proof enough of angels.
Tuesday, 8 June 2021
Once, in time immemorial, the place of my childhood was a vast forest of oak. I was raised at a high place. One of the highest places in London. Along the ridge of what was once the Great North Wood. A place the locals still sometimes call Beggar's Hill. You can see for miles from this high place. Towards the steel and glass towers of Central London to the stunning green slopes of the North Downs. Alas, most of the legendary forest is gone now. Felled long before I was born; sacrificed by nobles as raw materials offered to the ever-swelling presence of medieval London. It used to make me sad as a child, that knowledge. That my home on the hill was once a mysterious ancient landscape of oak trees that scaled the entirety of the Norwood Ridge. As a boy nothing stirred my imagination more than forests and high places. Knowledge of the loss of that landscape felt palpable sometimes. It still does. But there were fragments that survived all along the uplands of the clay ridge even as the sprawling forests were tamed by Man, becoming coppice and wood pasture. Wild fragments. Streatham Common Woodland, Biggin Wood, Spa Wood, the majestic tangle of Beaulieu Heights. It was here I went wandering recently with my beloved, on a beautiful spring afternoon. It always feels strange returning home, but this felt different somehow. I wanted to show her my high place. My formative years. I wanted to share a little more of myself than I had before. It gets lonely at the edge sometimes, doesn't it? No matter how bravely we love. We held hands as we wandered this remnant of the North Wood. In a red dress and with warm eyes she listened as I told her pieces of my past. We talked and laughed and kissed beneath green canopies. I still wonder about the Norwood Ridge, the countless oaks that once stood. There are many place-names here that speak of ravens, evoking an image of the old forest as a vast nesting ground. Thousands of crows among the branches, before Man ever came to fell the trees and raise the city. Even my old High School was named for a raven. Sometimes as a boy I would sense a strange presence upon the hill, something older than the legends of beggars and gypsies and the galleon of Francis Drake. Something ancient, druidic and supernal. I often wondered if the unseen spirits of tree-guardians wandered the ridge in lament. Perhaps they were watching as my lover and I explored the remains of their remit.
Only a stone's throw from the wooded remnant at Beaulieu Heights sits the church of All Saints. A beautiful building of dark stone that was badly damaged by a bomb during the Blitz. It is the nearest church to my childhood home and so holds a place of prominent significance for me now. Again I felt a strangeness as I invited my girlfriend on a whim to wander with me through the gravestones of its churchyard. The afternoon was warm and bright and the grass seemed lit with an even greener vitality. Life and death, I thought. Side by side, as one. Robert Fitzroy, famous Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy, is interred among the stones of All Saints. We stood at his grave and read aloud a verse from Ecclesiastes etched into the headstone:
"The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits."
It’s then that I notice something standing out among all the other gravestones. What I assume at first is an obelisk. Once we get closer I realise that in fact a tall stone cross is standing in the open churchyard. A Celtic cross, like the ancient quartered sun. For a moment I'm taken aback. Breathless, uncertain. I don't want to alarm my girlfriend, but I sense how much this could potentially mean to me. I feel a frisson of deep strangeness in the air. Like spirits have gathered and the oaks are all around. There is a narrow paved pathway leading to the weathered monument. My girlfriend notices a name on one of the memorials placed at the invitation to the path, and reads it out to me. Donald Rose. I smile, trying to laugh the name away, but I know this is a powerful sign. I can feel it. Her eyes tell me that maybe she can feel it too. At the end of the pathway I finally grasp why I sensed such strangeness in the air. The Celtic stone cross is perhaps eleven feet high. It seems one of the oldest things in the churchyard; a central feature of the original design from the 1820s. There are no inscriptions or names etched into the base. If any were there before, all trace of them have long since weathered away. To my astonishment, along the central shaft of the stone cross a mighty broadsword is carved. Its cross-guard is aligned to the quartered ring and its blade runs the length of the monument toward its base. I gaze in speechless wonder at the sight of this carved sword. Here, on this literal path of a rose. I have no conscious memory of ever having seen this thing as a child, or even setting foot within the churchyard of All Saints. To my mind I had only passed by the church on my way to greater adventures, occasionally glancing up at the church tower in vague appreciation. My childhood was filled with books, fields and remnants of woodland, not gravestones and churchyards. But gazing then I wondered. Was it possible? Had I seen this glorious sword once before and cast it completely from my mind? My girlfriend noticed my awe but not quite how shaken I was by the discovery. I explained some things, as best I could. I told her of pathways, poetry and spirits among the trees. Kings and coronations. I touch the carved blade in an attempt to draw some of its essence into my psyche. It's then that I was overcome with the feeling that the quartered cross was only a leitmotif to some greater, older secret. As though the Great North Wood wasn't gone at all, but remains somehow. Through some act of druidic sorcery. Ancient folk music hidden within the stone.
Having discovered a sword in this haunted wood of my imagining, I knew the way was open. A leading way that would carry my beloved and I along the ridge and down past my childhood home. The area is a quiet Victorian suburb filled with grand houses once owned by wealthy families in the nineteenth century. Our home was a modest affair in comparison, yet I never felt out of place as a boy. Never a pretender or interloper. I felt like I belonged there among the ghost-forests of the high place; a witness to things other people couldn’t see or hear. As I walked beside my girlfriend I knew exactly what was needed to complete this particular path-work. We found our way to the recreation grounds where I used to play as a boy. Grounds that were sung to Oriana when first opened. All Creatures Now. Echoes of ancient folk songs latterly dressed in madrigal garb. At the edge of those fields is Rockmount Primary School, where I first learned to read. Where I discovered my love of the written word. The Ingram boy had returned home at last, it seemed. Like a raven among his own. There at the edge of my green and pleasant land stood the old drinking fountain. The thing that so fascinated me as a child. I had seen far grander fountains as a boy, but this particular one seemed a curiosity and drew me repeatedly. A little monument of polished granite that was broken and dry long before I found it. Quiet, lonely and regal. I still remember an old photo my mother had once taken of me sitting atop the fountain like a living statue. The fountain felt ancient even in my childhood. But it was still adorned with the silver plaque dated 1891. And a strange keyhole in the plaque's centre – a keyhole that as a child I was convinced would open to reveal some glorious mystical mechanism. If only I possessed the key. I was sure an active portal or gate of some kind was concealed within, that the monument was only pretending to be a drinking fountain in order to hide itself from unworthy eyes. But I had sensed its secret power, having trained my sight enough to be deemed worthy. My beloved smiled at me as I recounted the stories, warmed by my childish wonder and delight. There was such love in her expression. Like living water itself, as pure and true as the natural springs that once surfaced amid the oaks along the Norwood Ridge. It felt so right, I thought to myself. Being returned home like this, to the high place and ghost-forests of my youth. Stone swords and imagined kings. These enchanted lands had shaped me. These were the places that first taught me how to listen and see. The fountain's strange gravity always perplexed me as a child, as did my curious love of it. But, happily, it makes rather more sense to me now.
Saturday, 5 June 2021
In the garden of well waters, I stand. At the ever-flowing spring. Guided, strengthened. From those subtle places. Prompted to know the truth even whilst lost. Seeking amidst every confusion. It is only this: a hand upon the heart. For when a voice is hidden within a voice, and an eye within an eye – then a kingdom is found in the mists. There is a hidden river, a living path, known only to the woman in man. The wife of his husband's wife. Prince of her maiden's apostolic theurgy. Beyond covenant, convent or coronation. This is more than Mass. More than bread, or wine. Isn't it? Daughters cradle those mothers who birth the sons, who thus nurture fathers like seeds in their breast. For there is nothing buried that shall not be raised. These song-lines are folded in ambient and stone. Turrets of living spring, unseen. Freshwater and flowers. Because sometimes it's not enough to be touched by an angel, blessing though it is. Truly, we all cry out for the embrace of our beloved in the end. Don’t we? Whether met, known or merely dreamt. Faint or flesh. Mourning, at dawn. I've felt those agonies too. Such tempest upon this Marian sea. This rage is only the ghost of the depths of my love. An ocean of behest. I hope you know that, my friends. Kashi hasn't forgotten his brother's kiss or command. Neither have you. Not truly, which is why we’re all here. Perhaps. To know again, in the old ways. As it was in those shining temples of the first dreaming. In those chronicles of the rose. The mehndi on my palms, the hooded crimson shawl. These dark alabaster hands. Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek. Not mere letters, but light. Hallows of the hidden. The sacred teachings of the innermost passing unrecognised before the profane. Teachings of union, multiplicity and recognition. Hear me. All true kings are crowned only by a beggar's grace. Pleading in every tongue. To be heard, seen, and attended. Thus, let a voice be with a voice and an eye with an eye. Lest these wraiths burn everything and place horrors and falsity at the feet of our name. But we are not without humour, are we? Or élan. Temesh, of the healing waters. Where the fishers dwell. It flows like a thousand stars through these secret books of the vessel. Yet far more than vessel. A many-splendored mirror. A chalice of the leading way. An ever-flowing spring. To drink from this lamp of the heart is not to obtain an unconquerable power, it is to begin a truly meaningful life of incomparable study. My love taught me that. So tell me, Kathari, whom does the grail serve?
Friday, 28 May 2021
I saw an angel once. Like an answer to a thousand prayers. But not aflame in a Lambeth tree as Blake saw. No, I glimpsed this angel on one of the worst days of my life. I was surrounded by a circle of wraiths. Darkness and filth. They were ravenous. They had made a living sacrificial altar of me. An inverted sun like a wound in the firmament. I bled profusely. Spiritually, psychically. At the mercy of their whispering laughter. The hideous laughter of things that had lost all connection to Light. The innermost that should guide each sentient being was gone. Not a glimmer of it remained within them. These wraiths. These vile, sorcerous cowards. But behind them the angel stood, half-hidden in shadow. They didn't even know it was there. It had cloaked itself from them, but not entirely from me. It knew I could see things and it wanted me to sense its presence. The scent of flowers and freshwater. The sweetness of honeysuckle, a touch of lilac. Then the familiar, calming drift of my beloved roses. Those wraiths wanted me broken, you see. Defiled. They thought the imagined altar of my flesh was theirs alone. A ring of ruptured psyche, conjured and held in place by their malefic intent. But the angel was there too. Hidden just beyond the circle. It turned, and looked right at me. I had never felt anything so beautiful. Warmth, peace and vitality began flowing through me. A healing energy. The angel slowly raised its right hand, palm open in sweet regard. And I was granted the mercy I had long prayed for. Though half-hidden, I saw its incredible wings unfurl. Each feather forged of image, poem and song; some of my own among them. Utterly humbled, I simply gazed at those dreamed promises of ascension unfolded at its back. Then, like a pulse that shook perception itself, the angel took flight and was gone. The wraiths were cast out in that very instant. The ring of filth broken. I just lay there in stunned silence, the night spread all about me. I could still smell the faint scent of roses in the air. I could feel the angel's healing touch restoring both my mind and my flesh. I laughed in awe, at the explicit wonder of it. Despite my abilities I had never been visited quite so directly before by a thing of winged dreaming. Sometimes I still wonder if those malevolent wraiths intended to kill me that night. To finally finish what they began so long ago. Never had they gathered in such numbers or with such sinister gravity. Perhaps I wouldn't be here right now if not for that quiet look and raised palm, that lingering scent of freshwater and flowers. I thank you, friend. With all my heart. For the intervention, your protection, and the gracious gift that is kindled within me still. I believe this gift isn’t mine alone. It is to be shared, through image, poem and song. For those gentle souls who find themselves tormented by these sorcerous wraiths, as I was. The broken and almost broken, currently shipwrecked at the edge of everything. Hear me. You’re not alone in the dark with those things, I swear it. You might not possess the inner vision of a seer, but I promise you the Bright Ones are very real. And incredibly powerful. Thoughtful guardians of such nuance and empathy. They are in the darkness with you, my friends. Just beyond the sight of your demons. These angels are lighting your way, gifting you with the strength to keep going. The strength to learn, laugh, and perhaps fall in love. Each moment of inspiration, every courageous act – they stand with all of us, often unnoticed. Hands raised, palms open in devotion and sweet regard. Did you know?