In early July I had another vision thing, why do I call them things? I guess I’m still uncomfortable with calling them visions. OK, let’s kill that shadow, the writing is well on the walls by now Spud lad. I had another vision in July and I had some trouble understanding it, thanks to the ever-awesome Tommie Kelly, he was able to decipher it for me. You can listen to it here on a recent episode of TaSTA.
Let me run through it very quickly for you here. I was doing my usual mediation and towards the end I saw two flashes of lightening, both of them contained a word that the flash of fork lightening revealed but I couldn’t make out either of the words. In the first one I could make out the Greek letter Sigma (∑) and in the second word I made out the Greek letter Omega (Ω). However, I’ve just realised now when putting this post together that what I described was Omega upside down, so rather than it being a Greek letter, it was a Latin letter, Upsilon (Ʊ). This is a bit weird I have to admit, that OmniSyn word I was told is also a mix of Latin and Greek. But we’re going to have to park that bus for now.
I asked Tommie for help to decipher the meaning of this vision and he did a 40 Servants Card reading. We decided to do two cards per scene; for the first one he revealed The Depleted and The Fixer, i.e. to get what is worth getting you’re going to need to sacrifice everything. For the second one; The Depleted and the Master, the same thing but Tommie put it in a far better, musical way, for U2 to become the band they were going to be they had to kill the first version of the band, so again, to get to where you’re going, you need to sacrifice it all for it. Here’s the link again , if you’d like to listen.
Now, there’s something staring us in the face and we’re looking right at it but us being caught up in the moment we couldn’t really see it. Tommie decided to call upon one more card, this was the card to give advice; The Devil. This means appraising self-imposed restrictions and seeing if they are mine, are inherited, if they’re useful etc. It’s right there lads, we’re talking about, dum-dum-dum, the dreaded ‘ego death’ of spirituality.
At the end of the vision I heard a voice, she always sounds like Galadriel by the way, she said ‘By first giving love then by receiving love you become God’s love’. Tommie fit it with the cards better than I ever could, “By giving it all, by becoming the tree at the end of winter, The Depleted you’ll become the Master. It’s surrender.”
This all came back to me today after another meditation, although to be truthful on two things here I needed Tommie’s help to find the podcast, thanks man, and I’m not sure why as I write this, but I feel like I have to mention I came across this on my Instagram feed this morning. Now, for anyone who has been listening to the podcast of late you’ll know that Rupert Spira’s name has come up a fair amount. This post isn’t going to go into what he does but suffice to say he’s an incredible ‘non-daulity’ teacher of the ‘direct path’ as it’s known and his YouTube videos and interviews are simply brilliant. Anyway, it kind of seems fitting that this image popped up today, particularly as it makes so much sense to my new understanding of what’s known around these parts as ‘ego death’.
I’ve been wrestling with Evelyn Underhilll’s Mysticism, A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness for the past while, man, it took a long time to read. It’s suffers from two problems, Number 1 being that it’s so full of well-researched information that it’s just quite a lot to process and Number 2, Underhill wrote like a poet, she loved her flowery prose, although, in fairness I’d probably be moaning if it was delivered in dry, academic language. Anyway, towards the end of her book she dedicated a chapter to ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ where obviously enough the idea of ‘ego death’ pops up. Now, what’s really interesting here is that it became obvious to me that the current crop of occultists and spiritualists obsessed with the Dark Night of the Soul/Crossing the Abyss love the heroic version of it. Evoking and Invoking angels and demons, learning passages and incantations and spells from ancient sages, or douchebags like Crowley, so they can ride triumphantly into some epic battle in the realms of the Shadowland armed with great spiritual muscle and vitality.
It’s all bullshit though. It’s just more of this constant hero/victim complex we see coated across all forms of spirituality. I’m better than you because I’m doing X and you have no idea how difficult my struggles are because you are not me. I am the greatest victim of circumstances in the world story but I am the hero in my own and I will rise above it all and show you all just how great I am. And then you’ll be sorry. Underhill goes to great lengths to explain that the whole Dark Night of the Soul, which comes from St John of the Cross was really just eroding the selfish acts we do and doing God’s work instead; giving, receiving and being love.
Underhill explains the two different types of ego death that mystics, well, Christian mystics undergo. They are the sudden revelation where an individual sees themselves for what they truly are and turn their back on their old ways and embrace God’s love and do His work. The second type is the slow, self-examination and self-improvement where finally a person emerges from their inner work and becomes the person they were ‘meant to be’. It’s the same as Carl Jung’s idea of ‘individuation’.
The first types seems to go with a period of great personal challenge when all seems to be going bad for the individual involved and when they are really at rock bottom in their lives providence seems to stand in, grab the person by the shoulders, give them a good shake and a smack in the gob and get them onto the right road. The second one is a tad less heroic but nonetheless the one that, it would seem, seems to occur far more often to the Christian mystics, according to Underhill’s research anyway. Why you would willingly invite on the first version is beyond my limited brain power. You shouldn’t have to need massive amounts of drama to need to want to make a change. If you want to make a change you already know you need to. Most of the people who go through the first version didn’t ask for it, it’s madness to bring that level of mental anguish into yourself. Then again, we’ll all experienced periods in our lives when we’ve been addicted to personal drama. I’d like to extend an olive branch of hope and help to anyone caught in that loop.
Over the past few weeks, certain elements that I would have identified as fixed parts of myself have seemed to die off, or fallen away, eroded. I’m not quite sure what the best words would be to use here. Let me list them first; making a joke of everything, being an authoritative, father figure with the wee Murfs (or at least being seen as that), my asthma has nearly gone suddenly, horse riding lessons and always experiencing something by comparing it to past experiences. Let me run through these quickly.
On the podcast where we spoke about my childhood visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tommie put forward the idea that when I was laughed at for sharing my vision with the class that that was where I may have picked up on the need to laugh at things which I dismiss, or indeed that humour became a defence mechanism and it was easier to make a joke of something than to take something seriously. I’ve not stopped joking and messing and having the craic but I’m less likely to poke fun at something. Being authoritative with the kids; I’ve spoken about my fatherhood struggles aplenty on the podcast so I won’t bore you but I’ve hated being a bossy parent so I stopped. What’s the point? Instead of trying to get them to do stuff, I roll up my sleeves and lead by example. I’ve gone from taking two inhalers up to six or eight times a day to taking one two times and with the horses, sure I thought I knew how to handle any horse in the world, that illusion all came crashing down when we started lessons at a more professional place and while many would question his methods I want to be as good as I can on a horse so I took it on the chin and see it as a chance to become a better rider. The old me, if such a thing is actually a thing, would probably take the lazy option and go back to the easy lessons. Yes I could ride any horse but I wouldn’t be able to master any of them. But I will.
I understand these aren’t huge things for most people but humour and my asthma are huge things for me to see evaporate. That Spud doesn’t need to exist, so why does he? Well, because we have our clinging to our experiences and that brings us back to Spira’s quote above (ha, I knew there was a reason why I wanted to include it) ‘It is not necessary to get rid of thoughts, images and ideas; just cease deriving your sense of identity from them.’ To be the perfect Spud, I don’t need to identify with always trying to come up with a joke, I don’t need to identify with being an authoritative father-figure, I don’t need to identify with having bullshit asthma at 40 years of age, or being a cocky horse rider or always explaining experiences by comparing them to past ones. That’s a big one.
As much as I can I try now to experience everything as something new; a bowl of cornflakes for breakfast, I tell myself I’ve never had them before, or they’ve never tasted so good, or I add some different fruit, or dried fruit or nuts to it on different days to make it a new experience. If the kids are being difficult and not doing what we’ve asked them to do, okay, change tact and ask ‘if these were strangers’ kids how would I get them to clean up the strawberries they’ve just mashed into that blanket that belonged to my great-grandmother?’
This morning I had some very deep meditation sessions. I didn’t sleep well last night and I wanted to allow my body and mind to get some rest for the day ahead. Towards the end of the first one I could see a cave wall coming towards me and there was some resistance and I almost lost it but at the last moment I fell into the vision. I was standing at the bottom of a sheer cliff wall within a cave and water was trickling down it…caves do have cliffs don’t they, or do they have a different name, like steps are outdoor stairs and stairs are indoor steps, anyway, as sure footed as an old, mountain goat I made my way to the top where there was a small passage and the water that was making its way down the cliff face was coming from. I crouched down and I was in a kind of corridor, a bit like underground catacombs. I turned to my left and entered a tiny, domed room where a double-headed iron axe was mounted on the wall. I took the axe, went back to the corridor and made my way to the end.
When I got there I walked out into a main square of a town, people were dressed like peasants during the French Revolution and in the middle of the town square there was a guillotine with a person with a black sack over their head waiting for their execution and the executioner was standing there. He was looking at me. I stared back at him until I realised, oh, I have his axe. As I approached the stage the crowd began to cheer, they had realised too that I held the axe and I was making my way to the executioner to get the show over with. Why he wanted an axe when the victim was already in a guillotine I’m not sure.
I walked up the steps and the noise of the crowd was getting louder and louder until as I handed over the axe and a huge cheer erupted. With his eyes he told me to get off the stage so I turned around and walked off the stage, standing at the bottom of the steps. I wondered who was it that was about to be killed. Pretty obvious isn’t it?
The executioner removed the black sack off the would-be victim’s head and, of course, dear reader you’ve put two and two together quicker than me here, it was me. The crowd was silent. I stood there in absolute shock knowing I could do nothing other than watch. The crowd didn’t seem to notice the doomed and the axe-bringer were one in the same. The executioner lifted the axe then iron met skin and…
Suddenly the scene changed and my body and the victim’s body turned into two swarms of bees, they circled around each other in a dance for a while before merging in the sky in the shape of a man. When they were fully merged there was a flash of lightening. I was floating in the sky.
What I’ve learned then is that, for me anyway, what is called ego death isn’t some awe-inducing traumatic, meditation experience but it’s chiseling away at the biases, the conditioning, the self-image, the self-identity of the identified self and revealing that our ‘personal characteristics’ are the clinging of the self to ideas of itself rather than who I am.
So who am I? As we’d say at home, God knows lads!