How to Build a Temple in the Woods

Ingredients:

  1. A remarkable tree, large enough to support a cairn of three large stones at its base. The tree should have had one of its major branches removed at some stage during its history, preferably as a consequence of the operation of natural forces.
  2. Eleven large stones.
  3. Nine sticks or cones of incense.
  4. A large stick, preferably a small branch from the tree that has been naturally discarded.
  5. A twig about the size of a pen, preferably from the tree (naturally discarded).

Method:

  1. Build a cairn of three stones at the base of the tree.
  2. Take a long but natural stride from the cairn and place the first stone of the circle.
  3. Proceeding in a clockwise direction, take a large stride and place the second stone of the circle. Proceed in this manner until you have constructed a stone circle consisting of eight large stones.
  4. Use the large stick to sweep leaves and other detritus out of the circle.
  5. Light a stick or cone of incense and place it on top of the cairn.
  6. Light sticks or cones of incense and place them on top of the stones forming the circle. Follow the same order as the construction of the circle.
  7. Inscribe a Rune or other sign on the moss that grows where the major branch has been removed.
  8. Take a seat a short distance away, look at your work and reflect on your actions.

Time is not linear but circular. Time does not run in years but in seasons. The year consists of eight parts and the eight parts are marked by the solstices, equinoxes and cross quarter days. The eight-fold division of the year is a revolving circle. The four-fold division is a linear nonsense and a Roman lie.

The tree speaks. The circle of stones marks the fact that the tree speaks. The incense burns to honour the fact that the tree speaks. This is sufficient.

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The Psychic Artist…English Shamans…

In 1997, I encountered a woman who claimed familiarity with spirits:

“I meet a psychic artist from Huddersfield on the train from Sheffield to Barnsley. Her father tells her that she’s been psychic from the age of 3 or 4. She can’t remember back that far. She paints both as herself and as other people, who paint through her. Sometimes the paintings are quite disturbing. Sometimes other people invade her works. She talks about a lion in a cave and a drowned woman, half in and half out of a stream. She will be exhibiting three of her psychic paintings at an exhibition in London.

Other people speak through her. Once, her friend’s mother spoke through her, to the astonishment of her friend, for her mother was dead. The psychic artist says that someone who has attained to the third level of self-hypnotism is as receptive to the spirit world as she usually is. A person who has attained the fifth level can be inhabited by another spirit, but only if they are a willing receiver. When the psychic artist’s body is inhabited, her spirit goes elsewhere, although she does not say where.”

In 2000, I voiced my concern about the so-called shamans of England:

“There are no shamans in England. It is given to anyone to call himself a shaman, and that is what these modern day so-called shamans do. The self-styled shaman of England characterises himself as an initiate, as one who walks in the presence of the gods. This heroic self-image is based on arrogance and self-deceit. His shamanic rites are based on fancy, of his own devising, or conceits of recent provenance. In places where shamans really exist, it is similarly given to anyone to call himself a shaman, but only the shaman does.”

Community Enterprise

I was on a community enterprise scheme, getting an extra £10 a week on top of my dole money, having my expenses paid for non-existent research trips to the British Museum, and qualifying for a cash bonus upon successful completion of the programme. I thought the works I produced at this time were literary masterpieces but I came to view them as almost unreadable (an opinion shared by the publishers I sent them to).

When the scheme came to an end, I started to publish extracts from this body of work in a series of heavily illustrated A5 size pamphlets. I left these art objects in libraries, churches, Rudolf Steiner centres and other resonant locations, adopting a similar strategy to that deployed around 10 years earlier, when I abandoned handwritten manuscripts in telephone boxes around Stoke-on-Trent. They were offered up as a sacrifice for the enlightenment and liberation of the people. Upon reflection, I don’t think the documents I distributed (or abandoned) were fit for purpose…

In May 2013, I discovered a computer disc containing extracts from the A5 pamphlets, which were produced in October and December 2001 from material originally published in 1991. The following selections are taken from this rediscovered archive.

* * *

There is nothing but now at any time, and a mind existing in that now. It is a question of being aware of this ever-present reality.

All things that know a beginning must come to know an end. This is one of the laws of time, to which all things that make their being in time are subject. The beginning and the end are one. This is the work of a mind that encompasses the whole span of time in its workings.

Everything that happens endures forever. Past events can be returned to through exertion of will. The journey from now into past times is achieved in the presently existing mind.

Hail the mind! Fertile ground of possibility! Curse the mind! Creator of all folly and pain! Worthy of condemnation and praise. The all achieving, the doing nothing. The impenetrable, the soft yielding. The never exhausted. The easily left. The returning.

* * *

I see fear shining from face to face. I see confederacies joined, to stave off the fear of the faces. I lead a perfect half-moon from its station above a tall and ugly building through dense woods, to rest upon the surface of a lake. It dissolves through the movement of water. Crowds are gathering in anticipation of the spectacle to come. They will have to make their own excitement, for none will arise of its own volition.

The beauty of the frost enlivens the land. The beauty of warmth allows us to appreciate the beauty of frost. Graceful crows flap and glide. They are omens, they are birds in flight, life manifest in the skies above us, the clear blue heavens, they are shining. The fog of last night has lifted, the mysterious shroud, creator of shades and roads become rivers, with ghostly ships sailing to the isles of the dead and the young, beyond the limits of our vision, sacrificed that this day might come.

I pass through the gateway separating two ancient kingdoms. The high wood’s resplendent bird life gives way to dark tunnels and the woods come again, through a straight line’s turning. Across the dividing spine of the nation, foothills rising to colourful mountains, dwarfed by other structures, real and imagined, but not of this world. To climb the mountains and behold scenes from the past, the mysterious centuries of a false dark age, for the people of that time looked to the stars and saw the light beyond them.

Pausing on the journey, signalling my presence in space and time, escaping the snares of space and time, entering peace, entering the stillness and drifting, full of purpose, with sure aim. Investing time and space with meaning.

Their corruption is unfathomable, and so is mine. They are lacking in wisdom, and so am I. Some claim possession of truth and set themselves apart through subtle falsehood. Some pace swiftly with inelegant tread. Some conjure wild rhymes or the suggestion of time in the passing. The eye casts forth its own sights for delectation, for sorrow, and the mind images thought through the world, fills the void with itself and searches out others. Like invokes like and disregards the rest. Dreams fade, are rendered invisible, and are given new life through returning. Much is left unsaid when all has been said, lost in the shifting, ignoring the now.

The greatest wisdom in the world is the knowledge of perfect liberty. But liberty doesn’t exist.

* * *

The world is full of falsehood masquerading as truth. The world is full of painful truths suppressed for a multitude of reasons. The world is full of confusion, bewilderment, doubt and invention. Where is freedom? It lies beyond these things; it upholds and leads through them.

The living die. The living and the dead are close kindred. Forgive the dead their inability to turn lamentation into the quarrel quit. Forgive the living their lusts and vanity, looming to haunt the works of their making, flung into the void of brick praising the sky.

We are what we come to. The living walk in the valley of the shadow of death. The unborn possess the ability to generate. The dead continue in more than one place. Let us cast our eyes upon the beauty of the land. Let us perform the fitting act as far as we are able to. Let us know what is fitting.

* * *

They are waiting for me

with their shadows.

They are wearing lifeless masks.

They say: I love you, I hate you,

and seem distressingly inescapable.

 

And I wait for you

with my shadow.

 

Lip and tongue become uncertain.

Malodorous treachery

infiltrates all nostrils.

People are sick in the graveyard,

leaving patterns in the snow

which defy interpretation.

 

Shadows dependent

on light.

Selected Works, 1980-2004

1980

  • The Modernist State – in issue 2 of ‘Notes from Underground: The Official Publication of the New Existentialist Order’

1986

  • The Bridge
  • The Breathless Creation
  • What It Is or Seems to Be
  • The Evolution of Consciousness
  • The City of Infinite Light
  • The Terrible Spirits of the Woods

1987

  • Any Time Not Evil Now
  • In Darkness Dwelling Create a Sun
  • Build with Stones in Lifeless Ground
  • The Sun Behold at the Midnight Hour

1988

  • Remembering the Death of Slim
  • Cider Brain
  • Book of Opening the Mouth
  • The Days of Rana Breiner
  • The Merry Gardener
  • The Great Shining

1989

  • Mushroom Song
  • Bastard!
  • Madman’s Creed
  • The Happy Wanderer
  • The Great Shining
  • Song of Potent Hatred and Fury
  • Be With Me
  • The Returning
  • Of the Acts of Prime Mover Received
  • Lines in Honour of Thee Heavy Metal Tribe
  • Turn and Embrace Thee Lord

1990

  • Dreams of Betrayal Come True
  • Eidolons
  • Electrification
  • The Days of Rana Breiner

1991

  • Captain Merrydown
  • The Book of Mystical Experience
  • The Benediction of the Beauty of the Communion of Souls
  • Christmas Eve

1992

  • The Pain of the Birth of a Vision
  • A Vision of Holy Splendour

1993

  • The Tale of Mucky Arthur

1997

  • 100 – 7 =?

1998

  • £ S D / £ s d
  • The City of God against Ian Paisley
  • The Great Shining II

1999

  • Redundant
  • Say No to Sally Strychnine
  • Space Age Recordings

2002

  • 493
  • befreiter

2003

  • Gone

2004

  • The Temple of Silenus

1996-2004

1996

I noted Shaun O’ Riordan’s report of attending a Neanderthal religious ceremony. He looked asleep to outward observers but inwardly he experienced something transcending dogma and going straight to the source of bliss. He saw a fire and he ascended a mountain. He visited the spiritual Mount Zion, established before the beginning of time to stand throughout eternity.

I dreamed of sacred stones inscribed with heavenly symbols, which I could easily decipher and understand. I tarried in the Valley of Vision and I rested in the House of the Forest, reading the Song of Solomon.

I reviewed the ‘Out of Mind, Out of Sight’ exhibition at the Mappin Gallery, Sheffield, paying particular attention to the work of John Martin, Louis Wain and Richard Dadd. I read Sufi poetry. I adopted ‘Know Thyself’ as a standard.

1997

I noted correspondences between ‘A Vision’ by W.B. Yeats and personal experience.

I praised Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as a master of Qawwali and recognised Antonin Artaud as a degenerate enigma. A crass but accurate assessment of Terence McKenna enabled me to think of DMT as a development of the magic mushroom trip.

1998

I developed a method of relating experience which consisted of describing where I was; my sensory impressions; what I was doing; and how I was feeling. I breathed with ritual slowness in the Centre for Transcendental Meditation, also known as the pub.

I saw that the medieval torture of heretics and the burning of witches, although not as common as supposed in the popular imagination, served both to impress the populace by its show of authority and to provide a spectacle for entertainment.

I perceived that the rites of the so-called pagans of England today are modern inventions, goonish aberrations, bound to fail, for they contain nothing of substance to sustain them. I saw that the laughable words and gestures incorporated into the rites of the neo-pagans do a grave disservice to those who engaged in religion before the coming of Christianity. One can still experience a deep apprehension of the splendour of the sun but the sun is no longer what it was in the minds of the men and women of former times.

I discerned that the religions and philosophies of the east are not properly comprehended in the west due to incompatibilities grounded in climate, language, culture, history, differing fundamental principles and perceptions.

I defined the shaman of the parish as a piss poor joker who takes drugs and spouts claptrap had from a book by one of his fellows, or conjured from his own mind after a couple of spliffs. In truth this fellow, who presents himself as something of a renaissance man – mystic, poet, priest, dancer, and magician – is an incompetent artist, whatever field he operates in. His wisdom is garbled ephemeral show. He has more in common with the self-ordained True Christian Evangelist Minister of the Deep South of America than he does with those he claims as his forebears.

I saw that bureaucratic Christians hate your body and your soul.

I reflected on the limitations of the mind, which are primarily due to its relationship with time. I was deeply moved by witnessing the death struggle of a wasp.

I listened to The Residents, Swans and Qawwali. I admired ‘The Plains of Heaven’ and ‘The Fall of Babylon’ by John Martin and ‘God Creating Evil’ by Jack Nettleship.

I produced an indictment of the mental health system called ‘Redundant’, which I suppressed on account of its evil.

1999

I suffered greatly.

2002

I continued to suffer. No notebooks survive from 2000 or 2001. The record resumes in September 2002.

I remembered suffering an unexpected nose bleed in the grounds of St. Giles Church, Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1982.

I encountered Current 93 and Coil for the first time in October.

I experienced bodily discomfort throughout the course of the year.

2003

I made extensive notes on William Blake and listened deeply to Current 93. I compiled extensive lists of photographs and photo locations.

2004

I visualised the images from ‘Magnetic North’ by Coil.

I was deeply impressed by Bosch’s painting ‘Christ Mocked (The Crowning with Thorns)’, in which Christ’s tormentors are a magician, a drunkard, a jailer and a man of war, and a crescent moon and a bursting star can be seen on the head dress of the magician. This description of Christ’s tormentors is not endorsed by establishment art critics.

1994-95

1994

I understood that the temple of the Lord God of Israel built by the will of Solomon in Jerusalem was an outward manifestation of the temple of the True and Living God inhabited by the Spirit abiding at the heart of being. I knew that the Garden of Eden, the Temple of Solomon, the abode of the spirit and heaven were one. I saw that the succession of the good and evil reigns of the Kings of Israel and Judah were echoed by our feelings of closeness to and distance from God. I took Behemoth and Leviathan as representations of the pride and vanity of Man. I perceived that Zion, Eden and their contraries represent states of the soul and that the gods that are the work of men’s hands included not only money but also social, political and economic systems. I understood that the five loaves and the two fishes are the senses, the soul and the spirit and that the chosen people are chosen through spirit, not flesh.

Being is sustained by the operations of mercy and truth. Earth, water and sun reign in the world of the senses.

1995

TUTTO SACRO

I began to write directly to computer; consequently, I possess fewer notebooks, which generally contain comparatively briefer entries, from March 1995 on. I also began to make greater use of diaries.

I stood enraptured before El Greco’s ‘The Saviour of the World’ in Room IV of the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.

I noted similarities between Neolithic and early Bronze Age stone markings and the decorations around Bakewell Parish Church.

I believed that there is more of substance in the recovered past than there is in the imagined future.

I dismissed the absurdities of Rudolf Steiner on the grounds that Anthroposophists are generally middle-class and unfriendly.

I was impressed by Pasolini’s ‘Medea’.

1992-93

1992

In a dream, I was asked the meaning of life. At first I replied, ‘I do not know’, and then, ‘The pursuit of happiness’. Finally I said, ‘The attainment of everlasting bliss’. And then I saw a blue orb and I stood on the summit of a mountain. I saw a stone wall surrounding a small green mound. The wall was made of chalk and the mound was covered by grass. I proceeded to a woodland shrine and I was treated to cruciform symbols emanating from the centre of the sun.

 

I act as if I am.

I try to be

But I am not.

I suffer through not being

Through being as I am…

 

I described TOPY as producers of high class esoteric literature and liberators of dolphins. I saw a photograph of Crowley advertising the forthcoming appearance of a band named The Hallowed.

I praised Greek tragedy and renounced my notebooks.

 

1993

By the timeless passing, by the leaving of the body, by the head of the grinning demon, by the ghostly woman, by the strange joining and the miracle of the dancing hand, by the changes of the cat, by the might of the reality of the burial place of the tragic hero, I declare this to be true…

 

One day walking down the road feeling like a wreck

I was blessed to encounter a priest forever after

The order of Melchisedec…

 

Remember the memory plays tricks on the mind

As you search for the past in your wandering;

The blind come to see and the seeing are blind

In the turning of darkness and brightening…

 

If I should die before the morn

No fucker would weep, no fucker would moan,

Brief would be the sorrow of mourn,

No tears to bleach or bless my bones

Come the time of the bleak or the radiant dawn…

 

I felt close to death, to the truth of crawling to fall down. I refused language as a route to meaning.

 

I am the Best and my name is Mucky Arthur…