“I’ve got to teach you how to teach yourself. If God gives us life and we continue as we have, someday when I’m a pile of ashes and the smell of my smoke in your memory is all you have left of these days, then you will see situations and sickness never seen before. I’ve no idea what they may be; I have no way of recognising them with our very old ways and traditional root. But you’re the new one who’s going to have to find special medicines to deal with them, instead of just using the old things because they are old. You must find new ways to do old things, and new medicines with old roots to cure the bad times made by new things. Does that stay lit in your head?” So said the old Tzutujil Mayan shaman Nicolas Chiviliu Tacaxoy to his young adept Martin Prechtel, detailed in the book Secrets of the Talking Jaguar (Thorsons).
Tellicherry black pepper. Let those be the first words of this, my new blog. I have no real idea what Tellicherry is, although it has a certain south Indian ring to it, but it sounds like a good word with which to launch a new blog with.
The truth is I’ve been sat here for several minutes looking at a blank screen and wondering what to write. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say – on the contrary I could fill the Albert Hall with words. And it’s not a case of writer’s block either, which is something that’s never affected me. In fact it was more of a case of knowing where to find that small semi-hidden trapdoor that would permit entry into the factory storehouse where thoughts are turned into words for relaying out into the ether and connecting with other minds.
And so I needed a starting word. Any word would do.
Tellicherry it was. That is the word that is displayed on the label of the pepper grinder, which is currently sat next to my glasses case, a tape measure, a candle holder, a dead phone SIM and a blue plastic sharpie, all arrayed on the table before me. A single word that would enable me to get my hands under that trap door and get my fingers moving across this keyboard.
And I’m in.
Before the several minutes of staring at the empty screen and the flashing cursor there was also a good couple of years of metaphorically staring at a blank screen and NOT WRITING. Okay, so I may have written a book during that time, but the book was mostly written several years ago and I was just rearranging it and editing it.
I had another blog. It was going for the best part of a decade and I had even amassed a readership. But like some sort of tragic family pet, I neglected it and it died from lack of feeding. Sad but true. And so people would ask me when I was going to write something again and I’d just shrug and say ‘soon’. But the truth was I’d grown tired of writing that blog, and its subject matter (peak oil and the death of industrial civilisation) was becoming repetitive and stale. In truth, it was downright depressing and I needed to find something else to write about. There are only so many facts and statistics and dire projections you can write about, and in any case such writing comes from the head, not the heart. I needed to learn how to write from the heart.
That’s what this blog is.
I’ve been doing some thinking. Six and a half years ago, mainly because of the concerns I was writing about in my dead-family-pet blog about peak oil, my wife and I upped sticks and moved from her native Copenhagen. Together with our two daughters we bought an old house and a small woodland and settled in western Cornwall. For those of you who don’t know much about this part of the world, Cornwall is the south-westernmost promontory of the main island of Britain, and it pokes out into the Atlantic ocean like a Goth dipping his winklepickered foot into a huge lake.
It’s a slab of hard granite blessed with an almost subtropical climate, showered in warmish rains and edged by sandy beaches and coves dotted with black rocks covered in slimy kelp and barnacled limpets. Rock pools form at low tide and reflect the sky like liquid mirrors, each one a mini universe of life in microcosm. Maps say Cornwall is a part of England, but everyone knows it’s an ancient Celtic nation and that this land of smugglers and wizards and mossy stone temples is really called Kernow in the old tongue.
I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, and I knew even when I was six years old that this was probably where I belonged. Imagine young me, standing on the cliffs at sunset and watching as the powerful ocean waves spumed and roiled below and the marine ariel cry of the gulls pierced the air. An experience as magical as that can travel down the decades and lock you to a place like a binding spell. Cornwall still has that natural sorcery that has gone into hiding elsewhere.
Since I put down anchor here, strange forces have been at work on me. Perhaps it is the nature of the elemental powers that are so strong here. It’s a liminal zone where land meets sky meets sea, blasted by the fiery Sun in summer and bathed by the stars of the Milky Way during the dark, dark nights. It is sometimes said that waves of consciousness wash up from the depths of the ocean, sweeping across the land in the dead of night to inspire dreamers and artists. Whatever it is, there is definitely something weird going on here. It must have been these strange awakening forces that led me to write my book The Path to Odin’s Lake.
Since then, my mind and soul have been storm tossed. I have gone down avenues I never dreamed I would go down, met people who might otherwise be seen as misfits – and learned from them – and found my own deep connection to this land and the ancestors who lie sleeping within. I have been startled to experience living currents of energy snaking through the land in places people would regard as both sacred and profane, present everywhere from stone circles to supermarkets. Inexplicable synchronicities have occurred, unidentified objects have been observed, bizarre experiences have befallen me. There have been ghosts.
In the meantime I have been reading. Reading and connecting. Hundreds of books, thousands of articles, countless Internet connections with others who are also on what one such friend called the path with no path towards the gate with no gate. Jupiter is one of my ruling planets, and that big old gas giant means I tend to try and inflate myself with too much information all the time. To be honest, it has all been a bit too much for my poor mind to assimilate and communicate. But assimilate and communicate we must if we are to be of service.
So this is my ‘fingers in the crack’ trying to prise open the trapdoor. Outside the liminal zone we can see that big things are stirring. Uncomfortable shapes are shambling into view through the mist. There’s a feeling that next year, 2020, will be a game changer in terms of human evolution and consciousness. It’s not going to be a comfortable transition, of that we can be sure, and it is both enthralling and scary to be alive at such a point as this. One thing is clear: we are in the middle of a vicious psychic war where nearly everything is illusion. Propaganda and control pours into us relentlessly from a billion screens. Fake is the word. What was good yesterday is bad today, and what was taboo last year is now considered virtuous. Honest concern for Gaia is diverted into protest groups backed by corporate interests, and the young are deliberately targeted. Meanwhile people pour their vital life forces into politics and dogma and Big Ideas, all the while thinking that they are doing the *right* thing, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Mental illness – or soul sickness – is rife.
But unseen forces that we can barely imagine are shaping our destinies and our societies. A great quickening seems to be occurring as those dark egregores try to snuff out human resistance. We need to evolve tools to fight back – and fast.
It’s time to come out of the shadows and stop lurking around: there is everything to play for at this point in time. It seems like an unsurmountable task, and there’s no playbook either. And yet, we have our allies in our ancestors and in the dreamtime world where the spirits of plants and rocks live. How we call on them is of prime importance right now.
I believe that the first place we need to start looking for help is within ourselves and the land around us. Know thyself, was the commandment at the Oracle of Delphi, just as it was in ancient Egypt. And a big part of knowing thyself is relearning how to connect with our hearts and minds to the other forms of intelligence around us. Many people are doing this right now, all around the world. Hidden repositories of knowledge are being revealed almost by the week; there are secrets buried in the Earth and we need to rediscover how to connect with and learn from them.
I don’t have the means or knowledge of how to do so, but I approach it with an open mind and a willing heart. These writings henceforth will take the form of wanderings of both a physical and mental nature. I’ll be going on mini pilgrimages to places of magic and mystery and documenting my findings and experiences along the way. I humbly hope that you’ll join me as I roll out my thoughts on these matters as we go forward into 2020 and beyond.