Thriller

with a plot still unfolding

It’s that silver lining. And can you see what I see?

Well, it’s a bit like that. For those of you who are interested, here’s the latest lowdown.

Sunday morning, wet and windy here in Cornwall. Early on, and Dr Isaac and I were dealing with an emergency, yet again, on Skype. We’ve become quite a team, he and I.

Felicia is hanging in there, just about. We had to take her back to hospital last night for intensive care, and a doctor there has allowed it on promise of payment later, bless him. Dr Isaac has sold his TV and sound system this morning to pay for oxygen and a drip. He’s such a dedicated doctor. I am sniffing around amongst contacts in the NGO sector, to see if there’s a good job waiting for him somewhere – he’s a true asset and he deserves better. He and his family risk having an Unhappy Christmas, though if I can change that, I shall. They are looking after Phyllis, who is doing well, and she’s a good kid too, and everyone loves her. We need to get her Mum Felicia back.

This is sharp-edged stuff. It’s really testing our mettle and our capacity to keep finding remarkable solutions. But we’re also both weary, fed up and in debt. Something needs to change now.

As you might imagine, this has been an enormous learning experience. It started with my doing a return favour for one of the company’s agents, to get him out of a tight scrape. Then it mushroomed from there. Quite a few people have been questioning whether I’m getting things right – to be honest, I don’t know, and we shall see. But I feel it’s right to keep these people alive.

The Moon emerges from an eclipse over Bethlehem, 2011.

So now it is a waiting game. Mercifully, my beating heart works well under pressure, and I’m not unused to being under fire. Though one thing we cancer patients have is greater sensitivity to and higher impacts from life’s buffetings, as if a layer of emotional armouring has been stripped away and we’re less protected. I’ve realised this in the last year since I became a single man again – fewer fallbacks, everything is up to me.

My response to this vulnerability has been a greater readiness to get down to the bottom line faster than before. Perhaps there’s a certain aged recklessness too, that comes when you know you’re in last-chance saloon and your time is limited. So, in a way, within the scope of the capacities I have left, I guess I’m playing for high stakes.

I’ve dealt with one-to-three crises every day for two rather long months, with no days off, unpaid, and I’m still in the running. Phew. I do want a rest and a break – even, dare I say it, some fun! But while Felicia, Phyllis and Isaac are in trouble, whatever anyone says, I’m staying with them. It means a lot to me, and I’m willing to lose friends over it – probably already have. This crunch period of the last week has really made me get down to first principles. What is my life about, really?

Burning. Sweatlodge fire at the Oak Dragon camp, 2022.

A friend in Nova Scotia, Susan, who has recently been my chief confidante, sent me a really pertinent lesson, written by someone called Paul Weinfield. Here are key lines from it.

Leonard Cohen said his teacher once told him that, the older you get, the lonelier you become, and the deeper the love you need. This is because, as we go through life, we tend to over-identify with being the hero of our stories. This hero isn’t exactly having fun: he’s getting kicked around, humiliated and disgraced. But if we can let go of identifying with him, we can find our rightful place in the universe, and a love more satisfying than any we’ve ever known. Everyone from CEOs to wellness-influencers thinks the Hero’s Journey means facing your fears, slaying a dragon, and gaining 25k followers on Instagram. But that’s not the real Hero’s Journey.

In the real Hero’s Journey, the dragon slays YOU. Much to your surprise, you couldn’t make that marriage work. Much to your surprise, you turned forty with no kids, no house and no prospects. Much to your surprise, the world didn’t want the gifts you proudly offered it.

But if you are wise, you will let yourself be shattered and return to the village, humbled, but with a newfound sense that you don’t have to identify with the part of you that needs to win, needs to be recognised, needs to know. This is where your transcendent life begins.

Gosh, well, yes. That hit me right on the nose! Yes, and that’s life. Planet Earth is a school – for some of us a real crash-course – and our purpose here is to graduate with honour.

But we do need to keep the school going, to enable our descendants to get born into a planetary body, to have a decent chance to do something with this strange privilege of life on Earth. And, you never know, we might one day have Heaven on Earth.

But today, we’re still on the case. If you are so inclined, please stay with those healing and helping thoughts, because we aren’t out of the water yet. I want these guys to have a Happy Christmas too – unlike me, they are Christians, and good Christians who do seem to live by the teachings of their master. That is, they’ll bust a gut for their fellow humans.

Meditation acts as a complement but not a replacement to action. In the Majority (‘developing’) World there is a higher proportion of spirited people who do bust guts for people and for justice.

Not that such people are lacking in the rich world, but here we play safe and stay within our comfort zones – we behave ‘properly’. It’s not very good karma, in the end.

This is one reason all those poor faceless people are coming over to Britain in flimsy boats – we are attracting them unconsciously in order to help us learn how to be more human, how to share. We are in a ‘cost of living crisis’ to teach us how to pull together and look after each other. We have problems with our politicians and bosses because we as a society have not taken life in our own hands. We have problems with race and gender because we labour under the belief that other people are deeply different from us.

Ridin’ that wave. Cape St Vincent, Portugal.

The good news is that, once the Great Correction really starts, life is going to get easier. Why? Because inequality and injustice are inefficient, energy-wasting, murderous ways of running a world. It doesn’t work. We need to make life easier. At last, increasing numbers of people are realising this. But the test lies in what we actually do. Leaving your job (or whatever) and changing your life is just the first step.

To get a country like Britain to a sustainable level, we need to reduce our consumption to 1960 conditions. Those of you who remember that time will know that, though there were problems, as there are today, life was alright. We had more time for each other. It’s doable, and we can be happy with that. It’s all to do with how everything is shared.

Bless us all. Life is tough at present, for many people. History takes a long time, and it’s grinding hard. But the Great Correction has actually already started – Covid was a tipping point and we’re now sliding inexorably into accelerated change. Now we just gotta get it over the hump, so that we achieve the necessary momentum to really crack our world problems.

Thank you so much to all those who have helped and contributed. There have been times when this has brought tears to my eyes. You’ve made a real difference – Felicia and Phyllis are still with us. However, this has become more of a marathon than a sprint, and there’s more to go.

It’s good practice. That’s how it’s going to be in coming decades. There’s no going back now. If I could hug you all, I would, but I’m down’ere in glorious isolation in Cornwall, so please feel it imaginally.

Love from Paldywan, and remember, stay human.

Blog: https://penwithbeyond.blog
Podcasts: www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html

The mountains of Sapmi, or Lappland. Padjelanta national park, above Kvikkjokk, northern Sweden – where, right now, the sun does not rise.

Samhain

and the cross-quarter points of the year

This is a little late, but it might interest you. I posted it on Facebook on 29th October and then got diverted before posting it here…

One of the benefits life is bringing me nowadays is that I can read stuff I’ve written earlier in life and learn something new from it! That happened with some material on Samhain and the cross-quarters that I read this morning, having got up at 6am, suffering clock-change syndrome. So here’s something about Samhain. This comes from my book Power Points in Time.

If you’re short of time, the bit at the bottom is the best bit.

————————–

The Fire Festivals or Cross-Quarters

It takes time for solar energy to filter through into nature and actuality. The quarter points mark the inception of each of the seasons, but mainly in principle. As with everything, there’s a difference between setting out to do something and actually seeing it happen. In nature there is a 45ish-day time-lag between the quarter days and the cross-quarters, when the season in question is really in full swing, in visible, manifest terms.

Thus, the hottest part of summer is not necessarily at summer solstice but later, around the beginning of August at Lammas or Lughnasa, when the heat has gathered momentum. Likewise, the coldest, crispest part of winter can be in early-to-mid February, about six weeks after winter solstice at Candlemas or Imbolc.

Autumn really does its business in early November and spring really blossoms in early May – give or take the vagaries of weather and climate, which can vary annually and from place to place.

This is where the cross-quarters or fire festivals come in: as the midpoints between the quarter-points, they mark the times when nature and actuality respond concretely to the energy-changes initiated at the quarter points.

The zodiac is measured in terms of 360 degrees (°). The Sun moves more or less 1° per day. The quarter points are 90° from each other, and the cross-quarter points are 45° from the quarter-points (and also 90° from each other). The ancients, at least in Europe, where the seasonal changes of light and dark matter a lot, marked these cross-quarters as important festivals, celebrating and participating in the power of nature and her manifest expressions.

Historical quirks have shifted these festivals away from their original auspicious times (just as Yule has been shifted to Christmas, 3-4 days after winter solstice). The cross-quarters occur when the Sun reaches 15° (the middle) of one of the four so-called fixed signs – Aquarius, Taurus, Leo and Scorpio. The astrologically-true cross-quarter points thus take place around 2nd-7th May, August, November and February.

Tradition places these festivals a few days earlier – such as Beltane or Workers’ Day on 1st May, Candlemas or Imbolc on 2nd February, Lammas or Lughnasa at the beginning of August and All Souls or Hallowe’en at the very end of October (or Samhain on 1st November).

This said, the ancients were not as calendrically-fixated as we, and they often shifted the festivals around a little each year to coincide with a new or full moon, or any other energy-blip that was hovering around at the time, on that year. A remnant of this remains at Easter, which occurs on the fullmoon following spring equinox (nowadays on the Sunday following that fullmoon). Only later on, with the coming of the institutional church and calendrical dating systems, were such dates nailed down at regular, fixed dates.

Outwardly, there are visible seasonal changes at the four cross-quarters, and inwardly there is a quality of very real engagement in the life-process, a feeling of breakthrough in relation to the theme being explored underlyingly in each season.

The cross-quarters used to be known as Witches’ Sabbaths, when the inner intents (or spells) of witches would work through and become reality. A ‘witch’ is a person with natural, herbal, oracular and magical knowledge and training, often practising midwifery, healing, rites of passage and death rites, who acted as an adviser and spiritual friend to the people around them. By the 1500s across Europe they were often misunderstood, demonised and accused of heinous crimes, particularly by the church. The sabbaths are times of coming-to-pass, stages of manifestation and transition. The times for clarifying intent are the solstices, and those for adjusting or reaffirming intent are the equinoxes. At the cross-quarters, it is necessary to actualise those intents, or stages of them, and give thanks too. Things actually happen at the cross-quarters.

Conscious energy-working is a process of bringing things from the stage of visualisation into manifest reality, intertwining our attention, intelligence, will and activity with the natural flow of subtle energy. This is the true meaning of the Sanskrit word tantra, or interweaving (of self with universe), which is the essence of magical-spiritual work. In so doing, we engage with and enhance the natural energy-flows of the world and are supported by them.

We harmonise our lives with the energy-weather, with the deeper realms and with the karmic threads interlacing all events and developments. Nowadays, this isn’t witchcraft so much as a sense of ‘deep ecology’, the spiritual aspect of respect for nature, or perhaps even ‘magical politics’, a deeper aspect of working for social change and justice.

In ancient times, people would gather together at the quarters and cross-quarters to celebrate life and focus their collective spirit, keeping the human family moving in tune with the times – especially since, with sparse populations, people, families and clans didn’t actually cross paths with each other very much. They’d have meetings, markets, negotiations, flirting, marriages and rites of passage too. Today, people are doing this again – not for the romantic purpose of fantasising about the ancients (though this happens) but because they sense that it is auspicious and necessary in our time. It’s a form of para-politics, voting with our feet, spiritually, and communicating with the subtle worlds to say that at least some of us do care.

Tuning into these eight points of the year, the quarters and cross-quarters, we move into greater harmony with the energy-cycle of the solar year. It puts us into gear with natural cycles. Thereby are our lives enriched. Try it. It sheds new light on the seasons and the underlying learning process within them.

To repeat, there is a distinction between the quarters and the cross-quarters. The quarters represent change-points in energy-patterning, in terms of light. The cross-quarters represent change-points in manifest energy, in terms of visible seasonal changes. The peaks of the four seasons show themselves at the cross-quarters.

Autumntime

The Scorpio image here is by artist Jan Billings of Glastonbury

At autumn (fall) equinox, relationships, togetherness and belonging become important. Summer has ended and nature is beginning to close down for winter. Increasing darkness and cold encroach on nature and people – we are affected, whether we like it or not. People, animals and plants must adapt if they are to survive the winter. We’re given notice about this at autumn equinox and it gets serious at the cross-quarter day, 45ish days later.

The need to really engage with what envelops and surrounds us arises at the autumn cross-quarter. In Britain and Ireland this is called Hallowe’en or Samhain. Strictly speaking, this cross-quarter occurs when Sun is at 15° Scorpio, around 5th-7th November. In Britain 5th November is Guy Fawkes Night, celebrating a terrorist attack and attempted coup d’etat in 1605, but the tradition of bonfires, burning a ‘guy’ or straw-man and setting off fireworks is really a leftover of a much older fire festival. At this time the dark and cold is definitely coming down: leaves fall off the trees, migrating birds have gone, frosts and icy blasts impinge on us and animals go into hibernation – except climate change is nowadays changing that. In the agricultural cycle it’s time for the annual slaughter, and all the firewood must be ready and stocks laid in for winter.

Humans, animals and plants must accept that winter is intruding: together we stand, divided we fall. In the plant world a composting process ensues, to feed the ground and cover the seeds, spores and rhizomes for winter. The relative freedom and bounty of summer is gone. It’s fact-facing time, concerning me-as-part-of-something-larger. Our urges to belong to a family, to groups, society, tradition and social mores grow stronger – it’s more about a sense of heritage than a sense of future at this time of year.

The ancients held a fire ceremony at Samhain to recognise that, while the solar light is dying, the light within must be cherished, to be reborn later. This is a time of the death of the old, and within it is the eventual promise of rebirth of the new, but that’s some time ahead at Imbolc or Candlemas. Another aspect is ‘All Souls’ and ‘Hallowe’en’ – a recognition of souls and beings beyond this life and beyond visible reality, of ancestors and things that go bump in the night. It’s a time of forced adjustment – like death, it’s something we must accept when it comes, powerless as we are to do anything much about it except to work with it. Once these impinging realities are taken on board, new hitherto concealed possibilities are revealed – the power to survive and make something good of challenging circumstances. It’s a time to get out your knitting, do some woodwork or wade through thick astrology tomes!

From Samhain to the winter solstice, a dark time, we start with winter’s hard, sometimes harsh facts and end with a celebration of our social togetherness around a warming fire. At solstice comes Yule and the assembling of the clans. Yet in early winter there can be a stark beauty too: wintry gifts, with crisp air, frosts and the first snows, and warm fires to come home to. In northern Europe there were candle-lighting traditions: the christianised Santa Lucia in Scandinavia, honoured in December, is a blond maiden dressed in white and wearing a crown lit up with candles.

Samhain or Hallowe’en

What’s ending and completing here? What can you wrap up, and what is to be carried forward to another time?

What’s under the carpet or lurking in dark corners? What’s the final secret behind all that has happened throughout the year?

What has been your part in the great cosmic chessgame of life? Acknowledge the mystery, the unfathomable wonder of it all, the unknowns and the bits you sense but don’t see or understand.

Life has its tough aspects, things come and go, but something endures too. Talk to your ancestors and appreciate what has now gone. Clear the space and, even if you’re wet, lost and cold, take it with good grace. There’s something wonderful amidst all this, so light a candle to celebrate it. And tomorrow is another day.

————–

Power Points in Time – and how time passes
Ancient festivals, lunar phases, planetary line-ups and historic moments

Website: www.palden.co.uk/time/
Order the printed book from Penwith Press

Earth

A podcast and a podtalk

An old pathway at our farm, certainly centuries old, could even be four millennia old

I’ve been at it again – beavering away on quite a few things, including coddling plans for my next round of events and activities in 2023. And for however long I stay standing.

It’s a product of spending a lot of time alone – as you might imagine, it makes me find things to do I wouldn’t otherwise do, if I could run around being busy like most people.

One outcome is a new podcast, and it’s called Earth – one of a series of ET-related podcasts I’m doing at present. It’s all about my understanding of the perspective that people who don’t live on Earth have about our planet and our acute situation.

It brings into focus a big reason why dealing with our world problem is important not only to us but across the universe. Sounds like a strange and rather human-centric viewpoint, but it isn’t. This podcast explains how and why.

Food for cogitation. 33 minutes of it. Enzymes for the soul.

Download or listen to it here www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html or on Apple, Google or Spotify (look for Pods from the Far Beyond).

Dans Meyn, or the Merry Maidens stone circle – 4,500 years old.

There’s more. If you’re really interested in this particular issue and want more, then I’ve unearthed an inspired talk I gave to the PAN conference in 1996, giving more details about the cosmic situation that Earth is in. It’s now a PodTalk, The Only Planet of Choosing.

I gave this talk not long after having written the book The Only Planet of Choice and during the time I was running the Hundredth Monkey camping retreats, working with world healing issues. It’s all about the wider reasons why world healing work is an important part of the mega-project of fixing Planet Earth.

I’ve uploaded it as a podtalk: www.palden.co.uk/podtalks.html – but this one is for those of you who are specifically interested in this (it’s 1hr 15mins long).

My aim with creating this audio output is to build up a body of material about those subjects and issues I’ve been involved in, for leaving after I’ve gone – they’ll come in useful in a future time.

With love from me, Palden

A cloud over Zennor, here in West Penwith, Cornwall

Tempus Fuckit

and scrunchy junction-points

A scene from the Buckfastleigh Magic Circle. Galen and Jahnavi, behind, had just finished playing music and we were ready for lift-off

With some pics from the Buckfastleigh Magic Circle, Sept 2022

We’re going through a really scrangly time at present, and I’m hearing of a number of people going through it, and I am too. There’s an astrological transit, Saturn square Uranus, which is turning out to be sharp-edged, hard and grating – a conflict between ideas-perceptions-expectations and evolving hard, factual reality. It’s all crunching hard in the public sphere and in our personal worlds. This seems to be a gritty threshold point on an evolving process.

A Saturn square Uranus would normally have quite a strong effect on events and atmospheres, but it wouldn’t be earth-shattering. However, at present the world is tense, insecure, ill at ease and loaded with hazard. It’s the kind of thing where the death of one woman can cause an uprising in a place like Iran – the Arab revolutions ten years ago started like that too. Social wildfires break out. It’s all to do with bottled-up, high-pressure underlying feelings in humanity that are so loaded and volatile that a ripple of energy can set things off. This Saturn square Uranus is a bit like that. Its influence is pumped up by eight billion people going through an intense time.

But there’s more to this too, and it’s longer term. We are in times of historic, planetary change, and the stakes are high. I’d break down the various intensities into three.

Jackie Juno does the introduction. She and Jeanne Hampshire organised it.

One is the bottled-up energy left over from around 2009-2012: this was an opportunity for change but little really happened, and the genie was more or less stuffed back into the bottle. In 2012 the future turned into the present, and everyone was forced to realise things were getting really serious. This bottled-up feeling means that there’s a big glob of unprocessed frustration, regret, loss, injustice and need for change that is sitting there in the collective unconscious, simmering and waiting to explode. The heat needs to rise only a little to start the fizzing – and there’s an uprising every few months somewhere in the world now. So it doesn’t necessarily need a major astrological configuration to spark off major events, in conditions like this. There’s a lot of pent-up energy left over from previous big configurations where fundamental issues failed to be processed – the current war in Ukraine, for example, arises from issues not sorted out around the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1993.

The second is a tidal shift that’s going on now and by 2024, when Pluto moves into Aquarius for twenty years until 2044. Twenty years of Aquarian issues. We’ve been through a period since the 1980s where Capricorn has been strong – money, law, technology, governments, corporates, tradition, hierarchies, resources – and now it’s going to change. Briefly put, this is about the wisdom and the madness of crowds – the world public. Do the people serve the system or does the system serve the people, and how much of which? It also concerns social control, mass beliefs and behaviours, the rights of individuals and of collectivities, inclusion and exclusion, the competing interests of nations and the world, the battle of new against old ideas, the forces of polarisation and solidarity, and human issues in the social context. This shift of themes is beginning to gain momentum, but it will take two years more.

I’m leading an inner journey to find the source of our souls. I was in there with everyone else, far gone.

When the economy rises, society falls, and when the economy sinks, society rises. The seesaw is tipping over to a new direction right now, especially for the rich world. Here’s another issue too: we cannot really resolve the ecological and climatic issues before us unless society itself goes through a fundamental shift – because it is society, humanity, which has to do the resolving. To do this we need to agree sufficiently on what we are trying to do and work together to pull off a miracle.

The third is a case where the future can exert a causative influence on the present. In the late 2020s, around 2025-28, it’s all going to be going like the clappers. So right now it’s a bit like the low-tide, eerie silence of an impending tsunami – the future is sucking us toward it. The bad news is that it’s going to prove to be all too much for everyone and, the way the world is, some people will get scrunched. The good news is that this avalanche of events and changes will loosen up many stuck, interrelated issues, and it will also bring a rush of solutions. It’s an acceleration.

The key issues of the time will be social priorities (Pluto in Aquarius), new and changing ideas and perspectives (Uranus in Gemini) and leadership and power issues (Neptune in Aries). These three will form a triangle, or an energy-thrum, which actually will be very positive, a florescence under duress. But, since we have so many unresolved issues in the world, unatrtended to in recent decades, things could get difficult. If we had started the necessary changes fifty years ago, this would likely have been a very productive time.

Look, I’m standing without sticks – lifting up others lifts me up too

But it will perhaps not be as nasty and depressing as we saw in the 2010s. There we had bad stuff with few solutions, while in the late 2020s we’ll get bad stuff with lots of solutions – if, that is, we treat them that way. Things are likely to start rushing so fast that fundamental changes will need to start happening, urgently and pragmatically, simply to deal with the onrush of events and cascading outcomes arising from them. The gift in the situation is that, at last, things will be loosening up and accelerating. The Millennial generation will also be stepping into positions of influence.

So we’re in a time of tension where there are forces pulling in a variety of directions, and the future is currently like a coin spinning in the air. There’s a sense that something is coming, and there’s fear and anticipation around it in the collective psyche of humanity. There’s also a lot of frustration and disagreement about what to do about it. Questions we have been avoiding for decades are all suddenly crowding in, and this will continue. There’s a feeling of jaded disappointment and disaffection in the collective psyche, after a trail of horrendous scenes in recent decades – atrocities, wars, refugees, hunger, disasters – and this adds to the bottled-up, stuck feeling of our time, a feeling that, no matter what we do, nothing will change. Energies of growth are being held down by the weight of accumulated past decisions, habits and procedures, and by the manic busyness of a coffee-driven modern culture that is running so fast it has forgotten where it’s running to and why everyone is running so fast in the first place. There’s a lot of opposition, division, diversion, distraction and blocking going on.

So that’s why it’s rather intense at present. It’s going on for me too – it feels like I’m processing too many issues to be able to be clear any of them properly, and all of them depend on something else. I’ve been missing loved ones, particularly one of them, and fed up with my own patterns and with being single, and groaningly facing the fact that I might have to write another book, and dreading winter, and fed up with tribal politics, and feeling overloaded with things to pay attention to, and all sorts of stuff like that. The usual grinding stuff in which I sometimes get lost. Which I did today – I got quite down about it.

So I went to bed this afternoon to go inside myself, rumbling around in the netherworlds, then to surface and eventually reach above the clouds. One result was that it came upon me to get up and write this blog. It was Caroline in Glastonbury who had jogged me to do it this morning – she has a way of constructively jogging me – so thanks, Caroline. But I had resisted – the thought of sitting at my keyboard didn’t light me up. When she or others give me the elbow, I do sometimes resist at first, but that’s just an Aspie thing – I ruminate over such prompts once they’ve gone and eventually come to the rightness of what they tried to say. If, that is, it was right, and if it was not quite right, it helped me work things out and was a gift anyway. So this blog came out eventually, and I hope it gave some useful clues.

If you want to read the bigger picture of astrological trends in our time, try this: https://penwithbeyond.blog/2020s/

Love from me. I’m in a much better mood now, by the way! So thanks for that.

Paldywan

Photos are by Penny Cornell.
Audio recordings from the Buckfastleigh Magic Circle: www.palden.co.uk/podtalks.html

Blogs: https://penwithbeyond.blog
Podcasts: www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html
Everything: www.palden.co.uk

Tea break, even when in the fifth dimension

Buckfastleigh

Magic Circle recordings

Palden at Avebury

It’s raining and blustering, grey, with low cloud over Bartinney Castle outside my rain-bespattered window.

I’ve been fiddling away at home on the recordings of my Magic Circle in Buckfastleigh, Devon, and now they’re ready.

The first is about our origins as souls and about the people we come from, ending with an inner journey to uncover your own particular story – where you came from and what your people are like.

The second is about world healing, where we visit Pakistan to work with the psycho-emotional aspect of the devastation that people there are going through.

The third is about the gift of living on Earth and what we can do about the predicament we’re in, living as we do in a currently rather crunchy and crazy world.

They’re here: www.palden.co.uk/podtalks.html

That’ll keep you busy for a while, I hope! It kept me busy this week, and it was a great way of finding out what I actually came up with during the Magic Circle. Sometimes there are teachings in there for me too.

Since getting cancer I’ve gone through a big systems reset. It has changed my psyche and partially disabled me, so that I can’t carry on in life in the way I used to. Though I’ve stood on stages and led workshops and events for yonks and I’m drawing on lots of experience, cancer has made me start afresh and feel my way forward in a new context, with a rather different me who is doing it.

That’s partially what these Magic Circles were about – to feel my way forward in a new way, following a level-shift that cancer, and my way of dealing with it, seem to have given me – together with a few big Neptune transits that floored me and brought an unexpected rebirth. I’ve needed to start again, feeling out a new way of doing things that reflects where I’m now truly at. Each of the Magic Circles has therefore been part of a progression.

Hamish Miller

But another reason I’m doing this is also because my old friend Hamish Miller taught me a lesson. At the time when I was staying with Ba Miller and him, twelve years ago, I was fresh to Cornwall and didn’t know enough about it to dredge his memory for his own local knowledge, while he was still alive. Unthinkingly, I assumed he would be around for a while. Then suddenly he was gone and then, four years later, I embarked on a research project into the prehistory of this area, West Penwith. I’d really have liked to sit down with Hamish to raid his brains. Well, he did nudge me occasionally from upstairs, as did John Michell (another pair of shoulders on which I stand), but with dead souls you don’t get the detail and information you can with living souls – you might get energy and support, but not maps, diagrams and details. So that knowledge is gone.

When cancer came along and I thought of my own recyclability, something in me realised I needed to disgorge as much of my stuff as I could, in useful ways that people can make use of once I’ve gone. Three years later, they’ve taken the form of a book, a blog, podcasts and events. I haven’t given my life to fame or capital accumulation, but this is something I can leave behind. I’ve got Jupiter in Pisces after all – treasures in heaven, even though my bank account rarely did well.

We all have a contribution to make, and this was mine, acting out a planet-fixer’s karma in a world heading the other way, as best he could, with a few goals scored, and a lot missed. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, and that’s what life’s about. I regret the ways I’ve made life more difficult or painful for some people, and I’m glad for those whose lives I’ve helped or lifted up. It’s really a mixed bag, this Earth business, and I’ve been pretty mixed, and mixed-up, too. Though something gets distilled amongst all this and, in the end, this is what survives death. It survives as a bundle of experiential memory for the soul that passes on, and as a legacy for those left behind.

So editing and preparing material for uploading and leaving to posterity is what I’ve been doing this week, and now it’s done, uploaded and ready. Thank you to you who organised the Magic Circle and helped me through the weekend, and to those who came and those who couldn’t or didn’t.

Something else is brewing, and it has surfaced through these Magic Circles, and I’m making no decisions about it until at least winter solstice – it needs careful mulling over. Also, for future events, I’m taking my lead from requests that come from people who are happy to organise things.

I must go at the pace of a cancer patient who must manage his energy well. I have few energy-reserves, so every period of activity needs to be followed by a time of quietness and downtime. Energy-management has been a fascinating learning experience in the last three years – how to stay within my scope of possibilities, pace myself, and particularly how to recognise in advance the signs that I’m drooping and need to go into self-protect mode.

That’s a fascinating challenge. As is this: anything I start now will be intended to outlast me, and to grow forward from where we left it when I pass away. With all that I have done in group process, world healing, astrology, geomancy, geopolitics, history and other things, it’s all incomplete, a ‘work in progress’ that I hope will be taken forward by others from the place where I was able to leave it.

So, for people who were there and couldn’t be there, and for those of you who are interested, here are three pod-talks from the Magic Circle in Buckfastleigh, with love from me. Some vitamins and enzymes to feed the soul.

And now, guess what, it’s time to put the kettle on.

Palden

Blog: https://penwithbeyond.blog
Podcasts: www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html
PodTalks: www.palden.co.uk/podtalks.htm
l

Dumnonia rises again

Making Magic Circles

[Devon and Cornwall were once united as Dumnonia until the Saxons took Devon a millennium ago and ethically cleansed it. I’ve always felt that was one of history’s mistakes.]

If there’s a swarming of UFOs over Buckfast Abbey on Saturday afternoon, it’s okay, it’s just our lot doing a quickie. They’re doing some frequency modulation and levitatory assistance while us lot downstairs are cranking up a transdimensional forcefield down at Southpark community centre.

Yes, the Cornish are coming back, bearing a load of insight detonators and love-bombs but, since Dartmoor is geologically stable, we’re not setting out to create too many earthquakes. Just some gentle, barely-perceptible humming, though it might make a few loose bits in the vicinity rattle surreptitiously.

Penny will be making sure the urn is hot for a cuppa afterwards. It’ll be okay – not exactly routine maintenance, but we don’t anticipate major security breaches, though we might stretch the laws of nature a wee bit, but it won’t hurt. We’ll have it sorted by the time we’re finished. And we’ll wash up the dishes afterwards – though there might be a whiff of incense left behind.

There’s a jackdaw on my roof, crarking away trying to wake me up, but it hasn’t twigged that I’m already up – my computer keyboard is already being finger-pounded and all is well here at The Lookout. Bags almost packed, walking sticks at the ready, blueberry muesli waiting for nutritive ingestion, and I’m finishing everything off before Penny comes in a van to pluck me up, collect Jahnavi and Galen and teleport us up the A30 toward England. She’s dropping me off near Scorhill stone circle to meet Rebecca and they’ll camp down near Holne tonight. Rebecca and I have some homework to do – we’re cooking up something for the future and getting aligned for tomorrow. Then we all meet up late morning, ready for… um… well, I’ve got something prepared, but….

At my last gig in Glastonbury we went off on a completely different trajectory, and all my prep, such as it was, just evaporated. So who knows where this will go? But I’m hoping to fix things so that people in the circle can back plug back into the place they came from, and this might prove useful in coming times. You see, it’s not much point trying to figure out where we’re going next unless we have a clearer grasp of where we’re coming from and why we’re here in the first place. So, getting anchored back to that is critical in clueing in to what to do next and how to do it. Not that there’s anything there that we don’t already know, but, well, problem is, living in this strange, intense, contradictory and rather heavyweight world, we forget this stuff.

I do too. I struggle too, believe me. But the stuff I wade around in becomes fermenting compost for something else, and the slough of despond eventually turns into a healing spring, and it all works out in the end. That’s what we’re here for, after all – to make the best out of a pretty tricky and convoluted situation called ‘life on Earth’.

Nowadays I’m blessed with the emergent presence of a growing circle of bright souls who really make a difference for me. As a cancer patient I have to struggle through each day, more than many of my fellow mortals, and it’s uphill most of the way. I’m so heartened by people’s response and support to my writings, utterings and appearances. It’s really meaningful that, in my current constrained state, I can make a contribution that others seem to value. I’m one of those souls who, if he can’t make a contribution, tends to wander off to find somewhere he can.

I’m lucky to have two really sharp characters around me nowadays who don’t let me get away with anything. It’s great. They’re on my case in the most caring of ways, and I’m much blessed. They scrape me up when I’m in a splurge, and if I’m going off track, somehow they seem to nudge me back again, often with one short sentence or one little action that flips the situation and lights up my smile. This summer, Penny and Rebecca have been minding me on my journeys upcountry, and it has worked really well. I’ve got both of them this weekend, lucky boy.

There’s something going on here, with them and with others who are hoving into view and making connections. One thing I’m really liking about this is that, since my life-span is short, as far as I can see, my hope is to leave something behind for people to continue and take forward from there. As a rather mission-driven person, it looks like I’m being given a last chance to see if I can fulfill something that’s meaningful to me and potentially valuable to folks like you. I have Jupiter in Pisces, and it doesn’t look as if I’ll be leaving money and estates, mashallah (as God has willed it), but I might be able to leave something else instead, inshallah (if it is the will of God).

Oh, and by the way, I’m not big on God, actually, but, by using that term, I’m alluding to something many people will, I think, understand. Since That Which Can Be Named is Not What It Is – and neither is it something else either. Perhaps I spent too much time in the Holy Land and God rubbed off on me. But actually, he’s rather an interesting chap – very busy and in demand.

Anyway, regarding plans, we shall see. All I can say is that something is likely to emerge in 2023, and events and developments will guide and shape it. It seems I am being given the grace of time – even though, medically, I do have problems, and I do feel rather tired deep down and ready to go home. It feels as if I’m being given a gift, and this has perked me up. When I’m standing before you, holding forth, you see me change before your eyes and my posture rises as I get flooded with a blessing-wave drawn through by you. Because it’s for you.

I rather like doing this – it’s something I can do, while I can, and it’s a capacity that came as a bizarre compensation for having cancer. It’s nothing big, but it is necessary, and I’m not by any means the only one doing it. All of us are challenged to do it, each in our own ways, expressed through our actions of thought, word and deed in the situations we conduct our lives in. We’re here to bring solutions, at a time when the world is in deep trouble. If what I am doing resonates with you, then stay tuned because, inshallah, all things being well, something will happen. It’s in gestation stages at present.

And time is what stops everything happening all at once. Which is one of the experieces we came to Earth for – to live inside time, so that our experiences are strung out along a stream of present moments, on one level sorted sequentially into days, weeks and years, but on another level sorted by the quality and depth of those experiences, in impactful more than sequential order.

For those of you who’d like to be there at the Magic Circle but can’t, keep your antennae up at the time and, if you ‘get’ us at any moment, that’s because you’re there with us – hello, and welcome. One way to do this is to listen to my recent podcast, ‘Soul Tribes’ (link below), and that’ll help you tune in. We’re in session from 12 noon to 5ish on Saturday, a few hundred yards from Buckfast Abbey in Devon.

There will probably be two twentyish minute occasions of inner process and meditation, but I can’t say exactly when. In the world healing process (unless something changes) we’re likely to be visiting Pakistan to help with the inner aspect of the mop-up – millions of souls are going through it there. So have a think about that. This is an exercise in using your spirit, your experience and your imagination in working with ‘inner aid’, and the trick is to find the ways you’re good at it, and the ways you can ease people’s hearts and help them find answers, or talk to the Himalayan glaciers, or help the helpers. When we do this kind of ‘surgical’ approach in larger groups, a lot can get covered – it has a homoeopathic, radiative, channel-clearing effect on the general situation in Pakistan and in the wider world. There will be a protective force field around us, so if you experience difficulty entering, check your motivation and try entering more slowly, because that’s the key.

Bless you all. Time to go. Thanks for being you. Hopefully there will be sound recordings of the Magic Circle online within a week or so afterwards.

Palden

Magic Circles: www.palden.co.uk/magic-circles.html
Pods from the Far Beyond: www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html
Avebury Magic Circle recording: www.palden.co.uk/podtalks.html

The Tipping of the Scales

Glastonbury Friday 9th Sept 2022

Carn Les Boel, Land's End, Cornwall
Carn Les Boel, Land’s End, Cornwall. Click for info about my evening talk in Glastonbury

Paldywan Kenobi beams down in Glastonbury, next week, on Friday evening, 9th September. If you live in or around Avalon, whether or not you know me, it’d be great to see you! I’m really looking forward to this.

I’ll share some tales from my time there, rattling the bars through the eighties, nineties and naughties. Also I wish to share with you a parapolitical panorama of where we stand in the long planetary revolution we’re all variously a part of.

A lovely quote popped up on Radio Four a week or so ago (from an American evangelical, no less) and it’s really pertinent now in the 2020s:

Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle.

I’m an old LSE student protester who didn’t quite give up, an old acid head who’s now tripped out on bone marrow cancer, staggering around on his sticks like a cripple on the wrong planet. Recently I’ve had to align to spirit like never before, to stay alive – death is my personal trainer and the therapy comes for free.

I’ve always been a strange combination of an esoteric extremist and a socio-political activist. The last three years squaring with cancer have been like ten – it was dark down there but there’s gold there too, and I brought some up.

Then suddenly a voice inside said, ‘Ah, we’ve got one more job for you…’. Oh shit, not again. I wasn’t expecting that – I thought I was on my way out. But then, when you enter an edge-treading miracle zone where it feels like your life is at stake three times a week, anything can happen, and it does. So I’m under new instructions, and this gig at the Assembly Rooms is a small part of that.

So this might be ninety minutes of utter crap (though it’s usually interesting), or a special sharing that you might remember longer than the next day. We shall see. That’s why I’d really like you to come – if, that is, you hear a little tinkling in your heart when you read this.

If you can’t make it, I’m doing a five-hour ‘magic circle’ in Buckfastleigh, Devon, on Sat 24th Sept.

The pic here is of Carn Les Boel, a cliff sanctuary near where I live, and it’s a really strong place at the southwestern end of the Michael Line – next stop, the Mayalands of Yucatan, Mexico.

Greetings from the Far Beyond, West Penwith, Cornwall, with love from me. Palden.

Site: palden.co.uk
Podcasts: www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html
Events: palden.co.uk/magic-circles.html
West Penwith: ancientpenwith.org

Return

and full circles

It’s fascinating. I’m in a state of positive shock. Six months ago I was in the lap of darkness, falling, flailing, falling… and it has all completely reversed.

This is weird, and I wasn’t quite ready for this! It has happened so fast and completely. So I’m making some big adjustments. This is one of the things about cancer – as least, for me – since everything impacts so much more than it did BC (before cancer). I’ve become more permeable, more affected and vulnerable, in all areas of life. This has its good and tricky sides. At times in the last month I’ve been overcome with pure joy, rather childlike and overwhelmed – I break out in tears so easily nowadays. Perhaps I should hire my services to a water company to help them restore the water table.

Some months ago I asked myself what I would have been doing if I hadn’t contracted cancer. Answer: just carrying on. What has happened since cancer joined me? I’ve been living each day quite intensely, in a very here-and-now way, and the difficulties I’ve had have given me a completely new focus. It’s now all about staying alive, staying happy, living life fully and resolving the loose threads of my life as best I can, while I can. In a bizarre and at times painful way, that’s called ‘a new chapter of life’. And I’ve been given it.

This is where free will comes in. Free will is not about Toyatas and Volkwagens, or left-wing, right wing, or this or that. Free will is all about how we deal with what we’ve got and what’s in front of us and, particularly, staying true to the root reason why we chose to come into life in the first place. Because we did choose. No one is here by accident.

This then leads to the question: what kind of life am I setting out to live? Well, the issue with me is that watching TV, eating, socialising and carrying on with a routine don’t tend to lift me up – I lose interest quite quickly. That’s an aspect of life on Earth that doesn’t do much for me. I have this strange obsession with having a deeply meaningful life. Some or all of you might suffer this syndrome too.

I can’t sit around waiting for something – though much of my life has involved a lot of abiding and patience. And strangely, at times when life has been most difficult, I get deeply motivated to do things. Not necessarily about the problem at hand, but more about some sort of strategy that changes the game more than it changes the situation. I seem to be at it again. Strangely, it took the cancer experience to really get me fired up. Or perhaps sufficiently desperate that I have no alternative! Free will is sometimes about making a choiceless choice.

I wake up with instructions, sometimes. Well, it feels like that. Something fizzy is inserted in my psyche and it starts fermenting. Before long, a whole picture of possibilities has formed. But nowadays, I’m wise enough to know that, first, I must put it on the ‘perhaps’ shelf in my psyche, to let it sit there for a while. This will show whether what I see is solid and feeling dead right. If it isn’t, it fades away or changes, as life progresses. But there’s a central issue or motivator to it, an aim and strategy which, if it is solid, can form the core idea or axis or pattern of something that could take shape in the next few years. Here’s the rub: the intended fulfilment date is around 2050. If I’m incarnate at that time, I’ll be a young’un. I get the feeling I’ll return a bit later, but that’s not entirely my own choice, and it’s subject to review.

There’s an interesting twist to this. I have a limited shelf-life. I do know this. Some people will try to dissuade me from such ‘negative, deathist thinking’, but often they need to learn something about acceptance, surrender and the otherworlds. Here’s a riddle: we do not and cannot choose the time and manner of our dying, yet, in another way, we can. Sort of. Particularly through attitude and power of spirit, though also with the helping hand of medications, supplements, healers and so on. However, ‘the hand of God moves in strange ways’, and when facing death we do need to hand ourselves over, to accept our progressive loss of control. Why? Because such acceptance leads to another kind of control. Metaphysically, it’s the control of a slalom-skier, where you have to lose control in order to gain a new kind of balance. It’s not fear-driven, though it’s one helluva ride.

This happens in life too, and many people stand on this precipice at present – it’s the Great Unknown, gaping at us and shaking us out of our comfortable stupours. Yes, folks, shit’s happening and there’s little we can do about it. We’ve been in ‘good’ times, and now it’s going to be ‘bad’ times. Many people resort to complaining – that’s unwise and gets no one anywhere. It’s necessary to get real, make it simple, focus on what’s essential, stay happy and look for the gift in this evolving situation. Do this, and you’ll survive. Dig in your heels and trouble’s coming.

However, when the economy rises, society declines, and when the economy subsides, society rises. So what is our choice here? What do we really want?

Photo by Rebecca Brain

I too must square with this one. My cancer immunotherapy (Daratumamab) comes in a little refrigerated phial once a month by special delivery, and a nurse comes to administer it (Janice or Nicola – they’ve been really good and helpful). This phial costs £4,500 each month. I am privileged to live in a country where this is possible – elsewhere I would be dead or, if so blessed, rich enough to pay ridiculous sums for treatment. During my life there is a possibility that the state support I receive will dwindle or disappear. Yes. One of the existential risks we face that no one talks about, is ‘sovereign insolvency’. Government and national bankruptcy (it’s happening in Sri Lanka). Caused mainly by debt, by excessive public and private borrowing on a rosy future that didn’t happen.

That’s life. And it’s okay. I don’t have money but I have some social cred and survival instincts, and I’ll manage somehow – worse has happened, and I’m not in receipt of incoming mortar shells. A number of us will have to go – as was the case with Covid. Some might think it’s Big Brother pulling this off, and there’s a smidgeon of truth in that, though not as much as some might like to think. But are we going to sit around blaming others for our plight, or are we going to rise up and come out to help our fellow humans? Sorry to be blunt, but it does come down to that. That’s one reason I live in Cornwall – we do this down’ere.

I have a limited time left – current estimate, 3-5-7 years. When I’m performing in public I brighten up and come alive, so that’s not a truly accurate read-out of how I am overall. I go down too, megaflopped, with gravity running double-heavy and systems creaking along on three cylinders. Though, on average, I’m doing much better now than some months ago, and things are looking up. I no longer have to strive for hope or optimism: it’s coming at me in torrents! This is the positive shock I mentioned earlier. I guess I’ve fallen into a kind of miracle zone in which, at first, you have to go right down into the depths of The Pit before revival kicks in. Revive I did. It might be true to say that conventional medicine has kept me alive, but healing from so many people and from ‘friends upstairs’ has given me a new life.

In early May a message was dropped into me which said, ‘We have one more thing we’d like you to do…’. Part of me said, OMG, not again, leave me alone, and another part sparked up and was fascinated with what might happen and what exactly this might be. I have some starting notions and I’ve twigged the core objective, but this must unfold in its own time and way. Next we come to the earthly manifestation bit. Thing is, since I most likely have only some years to play with, anything I do, unless it’s something brief, is to give to others to take forward. I need to sit on that and mull it over, and some of those others might need to do so too. It’s necessary to let various things take shape, which will serve as indicators from Real Life that there’s support for it in all worlds and that it has some chance of actually working. I have a wee bit of experience in that matter, and I’m a ‘sensible Virgo’ (I am told), and nowadays I look before I leap. But I don’t tend to sit on my hands and hang back either.

One of my weird gifts is a capacity to articulate things that people already half-understand, or things that are coming up for them that they hadn’t quite ‘got’ – and also to make connections between things people hadn’t quite seen before. Such as the relationship between humanity’s psychospiritual condition and climate change – think about it. I tend to look a bit further than the next horizon and the narrowness of short-term fixes. Thirtyish years ago I realised what this was about, for me: I came here not exactly to bring change, but to bring suggestions about what comes after that change.

As a former revolutionary (we lost), I’m now dedicated not to bringing down the old but to bringing up the new. This is what I told young Syrians and Egyptians in 2011 in Amman, Jordan, as their revolutions were failing… Yes, you lost, but, Allahu akbar, God is great, history is on your side and, look guys, I’m still here decades later, still at it, so you do that too. It’s hard and it takes a long time, but real change does take time, and that’s no reason to give up. They got it. I told them to tell their friends.

The Nine once said something interesting, that the revolutions of the late 1960s were meant to bring social-spiritual change but, instead, in the 1970s, they brought personal change to a relatively small number of people. This did lay the foundations for future developments, but it was a slower path to take. The social change is yet to come: a big opening for this starts in 2024, as Pluto enters Aquarius, accelerating rapidly through the late 2020s, and the complete process continues for a few decades. (For more about this, try here: https://penwithbeyond.blog/2020s/ ). It depends, of course, on what we humans do about it, and a wide range of issues, problems and solutions will come up. We shall see both the wisdom and the madness of crowds. The questions of social trust and care and also good leadership are biggies to sort out.

On my recent trip upcountry to England, I was really happy to meet many remarkable people, and impressed with the quality of those who attended the two magic circles. Attending the OakDragon camp was like a turnaround for me, rather like reaching the top of a high mountain pass, suddenly to see the vista on the other side. I felt welcomed, included and valued, and it was warming to heart and soul. At the magic circles, it felt as if people were right there, and they definitely seemed to understand what I was sharing. Also, I survived the magic circles myself, better than I expected (after all, it’s 5-6 hours), and I’m up for more.

If you’re the kind of person with the connections in your area or network to organise one, you’re welcome to get in contact – I go where invited! The next Magic Circle is in Buckfastleigh, Devon, on Saturday 24th September (see palden.co.uk/magic-circles.html). I’m really looking forward to that.

In Devon we’ll have a little music from Galen and Jahnavi, two musicians coming all the way from Portland, Oregon, to join us. As I wrote this they were stuck at Heathrow, waiting for the plane to Newquay, Cornwall. Such are the ways of this world. Penny is picking them up – they’re staying in a bell tent in the Field of Dreams, our wild-camping field here on the farm (thanks, Jo!). An old friend, Kevin, is here too – he’s an old Flying Squad member, and he, with Sian and Sarah, three core members, came to the Avebury circle. I was so happy and moved to see them – we’ve been through so much together, for so long. We’re realising in a new way that perhaps we prototyped something more valuable for the future than we thought at the time (flyingsquad.org.uk). So we’ll have a campfire in the field and share dinner together. Guess who sorted that out? The Rt Hon Dame Penny Cornell MBE, haha.

Lots of good stories have happened for quite a few people in recent weeks, and I’ve met with new friends and old. Bless you all for that, and thank you to Bruce, Ivan, Pia, Lily and particularly Rebecca, with a host of others, for lighting up my life and helping me on my way.

If you live in Glastonbury or within easy reach, I’m giving an evening talk at the Assembly Rooms on Friday 9th September – called The Tipping of the Scales. It’s for Glastafarians of all generations. A Glastonbury veteran (1980-2008) returns to his old home to meet the folks. I’m coming up the Michael Line with some messages from the end of the world. (Info here.)

I need to hobnob with people through doing talks, magic circles, blogs and podcasts because, as a cancer patient, I don’t have the energy it takes to meet so many people except in EM-free groups. I love you all, but I can’t get round everyone. Yet magic happens too, and I’ll get round everyone who somehow matters – whatever that means.

The EM-bombardment my dearest friends give me, even if accidentally, makes meeting you extra tricky. It takes three seconds to be infected and two days to get back on balance. What proportion of the population has electroesensitivity? One hundred percent. It’s just that only some people notice it, and I fear for the rest.

Recently I’ve been talking about dying as a gradual process. Here’s a quote from the website of my root Lama, Rangjung Rigpe Dorge, the Sixteenth Karmapa, about his death of cancer at Samhain in 1981, in a research hospital in USA:

The hospital allowed the body of the Karmapa to remain in the room where he had died, because it was obvious that this was not an ordinary death. Even though he had died, for three days he remained in the Tugdam, a state of meditation. This was clear from signs such as the area around the heart remaining warm and the body remaining supple. The signs were witnessed by the medical staff present.” (karmapa.org/life-16th-karmapa/)

Though the quality of my meditation isn’t anywhere close to his, I don’t believe only Tibetan lamas or similar can work with their death process in this way. But we shall see, won’t we?

Love from me. Palden.

Collected blogs: https://penwithbeyond.blog
Podcasts: www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html
Events: www.palden.co.uk/magic-circles.html

Magic Circles

First of a series of PodTalks with Paldywan

Palden Jenkins at the Oak Dragon camp near Glastonbury, August 2022

I’ve started doing ‘Magic Circles’ – five-hour sessions (attendees do get breaks!) – thus far in Glastonbury and Avebury. They were well attended, with a lovely quality of people coming to them.

Here’s a recording of the first segment of three from the Avebury event. If you like my podcasts or you attended the Magic Circle, or you just want something a bit more than what you get in the podcasts, you might like this. It’s an hour long. Stream it or save it to your computer or phone.

It’s the beginning of a new series of podcasts of my live talks, called PodTalks. The first is on the PodTalks page on my site, and more will follow:

Palden’s PodTalks

The next Magic Circle will be in Buckfast, near Totnes in South Devon, on 24th September 2022 – info here: Magic Circles with Palden

With love, Paldywan

Home from Home

The turning of circles

Palden with old friend Barry Hoon. Together we created isleofavalon.co.uk in the 1990s

Oak Dragon called me. I returned. Something came full circle.

It all goes back to 1986-87 when I started the Oak Dragon Camps. For three years previously, with a lot of help from friends I had run the prototype Glastonbury Camps on a spontaneous, improvised basis, and this was the next step. Apart from a solar eclipse camp in 1999 in Cornwall, I hadn’t been back since 1993. I had been ousted by ‘we, the people’ (well, some of them), and went my way, soon to work for the Council of Nine and then to start a new generation of camps, the Hundredth Monkey Project, in 1995-97, inspired by the Nine and drawing on experiences gained earlier.

Ruby is on the right

Ruby and Penny took me to the camp and, in the process, found a new family. Ruby, 12, grew a year in one week. Penny, one of those souls who holds the world up, found new context for it in a big-family setting. Everyone loved them. As for me, staggering around on sticks, periodically drifting off into dozy psychic reveries while flopped in my seat, I was so welcomed and cared for that I was moved to tears by the poignancy of it all and the love of a tribe I had set in motion, lost and suddenly regained. “If you hadn’t started this, all of us wouldn’t have met, and some wouldn’t even have been born“. Believe me, it was really moving to hear that.

Fiftyish of us were camping in a big circle divided into four smaller circles. Some were regulars who had met up for years, some hadn’t been for years and some were new, finding themselves melting into a new family they hadn’t anticipated joining.

Each day started with an optional meditation and the Dance of Life (a native American greeting of the day). Then came a daily camp meeting in a big, circular marquee, then group activities or a ‘council’, a talking-stick sharing session.

Ronald Hutton with a group at the yew tree

In the afternoon and evening, group activities ranged from talks, artwork, Breton dancing and making things, to visits to a nearby ancient hill camp, Dundon Beacon, or the ancient yew tree at Dundon church. One day we had a sweat lodge, a day-long process that Ruby and I joined. Some days we cooked the evening meal over campfires in our tent circles and sometimes we did it communally. Nowadays, Oak Dragon has all its developed ways and custom kit – marquee, domes, showers, tools and bits – but, in the earliest days it had been a matter of makeshift improvisation and doing our level best.

This is not just a nice bunch of people doing enjoyable things. In originating the camps I sought to create a space in which people could experience living in an accelerated growth zone, a different world without walls and with very different ways. Crucial here is life-education and what community living does to us as individuals, but the main issue is that an enspirited magic circle like this helps people go through breakthroughs, revelations, resolutions and great leaps forward. Then they spend the rest of the year integrating it, and they return for more whenever it’s right.

Throughout the camps, one of the most rewarding things has been watching young people grow in leaps and bounds, and seeing whole families release their power issues, conflicts and tensions. Everyone comes out glowing, whoever they are. There is pain, dilemma, choice and wobbliness too yet, when a camp is well set up, focalised and run, a supportive and safe atmosphere makes it all very different from the world out there.

Penny, actually sitting down

I myself was a case in point. Back home, I rely on one helper, Penny, who comes once a week and is also reliably on call, plus a number of people who assist in disparate and occasional ways, and it is something of a burden on them. With my partner, our relationship had gone from one of equals to one of dependency, and this had weighed heavily on her. Meanwhile, at the camp, anyone would roll up with offers of tea or carrying my seat and I was both cared for – amply hugged, heard, supplied and assisted – and much appreciated for what I could, within my scope, contribute.

Becky

When Becky, the camp focaliser, invited me, I wondered how long I would last, physically. At the camp my body ached, camping was an effort and my psyche was rather overloaded after 2-3 years of relative isolation. But my spirits were lifted up, they kept me going and, on balance, I had a great time. It’s all a matter of attitude, really.

And… what goes around comes around. Once upon a time an organiser, this time I was on the receiving end. I was relieved of a pattern of mine: I couldn’t work my ass off. I used to be one who felt unconsciously that he had to pay off karmic debts to family, people, society and ‘God’ by contributing more than was due. I tried too hard. This is a common ‘server soul’ syndrome, though it does cause amazing things to come about.

I watched Penny acting out her own version of it, a few times dropping a hint to her that she could also sit down and hang out for a while, but she’s a compulsive helper and lifesaver, and this is her path. Frankly, if there were more people like her, the world would be so much better. Humorously I introduced her as my bodyguard – well, she is a former nightclub bouncer. She’d be great in a war zone. She calls me ‘boss’, with a cheekily ironic look that keeps me safely in my proper place.

In a week from now I’ll be back in Cornwall doing blood tests and scans. When I was tunnelling around in Hades in February-March, my readings got worse. In spring I stabilised. I suspect that, now, the readings might improve. At the camp I found I could keep going longer, sit cross-legged for a whole three minutes, my posture and digestion improved and the biggest medicine of all, spirit, shot up. I even started forgetting my sticks, which worked for about ten paces before rather painfully I remembered I couldn’t hold myself up any longer.

It feels like I stand at a new beginning, perhaps a new mission. A mission-driven person, this is my path, even in this last chapter of life. It gives me something to live for and I feel that, if I can bring about what is asked for, I’ll be kept alive to do it. If not, something else will happen.

I reckon I have between one and seven years to live – longer than I reckoned during last winter. But this brings up various questions. It makes life more complex, surrounded as I am with people living more normal lives and going at a pace I cannot keep up with. Then there’s the matter of making plans and how I shall live during whatever time I have left. I’ve been lonely and under-supported and I need that to change. Losing my partner six months ago impacted all areas of my life and, in a variety of situations, I still find myself wishing she were here, not only out of need but also from a wish to share and to give – we had grown into each other so much.

Today I planned to go clothes shopping but, frankly, I’m unsure I can do it alone – I need a second brain, an extra pair of hands and someone to scoop me up when I droop. But I’ll try anyway. Many of my life-needs are quite specific and it doesn’t work for just anyone, however well-meaning, to help me. That’s tricky – it has taken Penny time to figure out my nature and quirks, and really I need an extra person to complement her and cover those times her hands are already full. So there are issues I must contemplate when I return home. Something needs to change. Or I need to change. Or both.

Pete and Dot, my camp neighbours – they were so kind

Coming close to death made me acutely aware of what I haven’t done – you’ll find this happens when death approaches you. My book Shining Land, about ancient civilisation in Cornwall is now finished and coming out before long, I hope. I think it’s my last book.

This cancer blog, and my podcasts and events, all grew out of squaring with cancer. But I’m unfinished on a few fronts: family (I miss them), love (a big gap that is not healed by admonishments to love myself), world-work projects, and finding someone to step into my shoes with the Tuareg and the Palestinians. I’d like to close these circles before I’m done, if life permits. In the last chapter, some things we must accept as final and some can still be progressed.

While this cancer blog is not as medically oriented as many others are, it’s about the side-issues that have arisen for me as a cancer patient. Life has been hard overall, and one reason I appear to do cancer relatively easily is that it follows in a continuum, albeit in a new format. If you’ve done jail, exile, unpopularity, poverty, loss and bullets, cancer is just one step further. I’m a flawed human like anyone, with lots yet to learn, but I do hope that, by exposing my struggles and joys in this blog, you might gain a few glimmers of light.

Soon I turn 72 but cancer has thrust me into my eighties, with what seems like 120 years’ worth of experience trailing behind. This happens when you live intensely, wading around in a variety of high-risk zones and deep altered states where time shifts into another dimension. Cancer has pushed me into a new phase: I’ve stepped into a new archetype and even the patterns on the palms of my hands have changed. Even so, one thing I do need to learn is how to write shorter blogs, and I never seem to manage.

As for the ‘magic circles’, the first one in Glastonbury went really well. Thanks to Bruce Garrard for organising it and to the remarkable people who turned up, and to Avalon, my old home, for wrapping us in its energy-field. The next is in Avebury, this Saturday 13th August, and another follows in South Devon on Saturday 24th September (a link is below). It lights me up to do these – at last Tuesday’s circle I started out frail, coming alive and on-the-pulse as I warmed up. I think I’ll tighten up the next one – time went too quickly and I need to present everything more succinctly.

John and Chrissie Ferngrove. Chrissie was one of the founding Oak Dragon team, back in 1986.

This is an experiment and a new way of working, for me, an old hat entering a new chapter. I’m fishing for new avenues, people and a way forward, while finding out whether I have it in me to follow through. So far, so good.

Sometimes ‘guidance’ comes from within but, for me, it reveals itself when I act on possibilities and prod the future – this is how the alchemy works. Besides, when I get inner guidance, it’s often cryptic, pointing at principles and possibilities that then have to be applied in real life. It starts with preparing the ground, planting seeds and seeing whether and how they germinate.

An old friend, Dechen

After Avebury, I’m back to Cornwall for a recharge, cancer drugs and blood tests before the next wave of activity in September. One step at a time.

Right now I’m staying for a few days with Lily, a new soul-sister, having a quiet time in her studio, writing and recuperating under the calming gaze of Tibetan thankas, sorting myself out before the next bit at Avebury.

May you be blessed. You bless me by reading this. There’s more to come, inshallah.

With love, Paldywan Kenobi.

Magic Circles: www.palden.co.uk/magic-circles.html
Podcasts: www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html
Forthcoming book: www.palden.co.uk/shiningland/

The sweat lodge fire, busy cooking hot rocks