Logan Rock or Castel Tredhyn, castle of Tredyn (SW 3972 2198)
With a daunting magic and brooding mystery hovering around it, Treryn Dinas is a fascinating place, though it’s also a place not to be messed with. Enter with respect or the Cosmic Trickster might knobble you with a dash of unsolicited reality.
You get the feeling odd things might have happened here. It’s a place of mystery, power, sorcery and truth. Not exactly tranquil, it is nonetheless impressive in its strong underlying feeling of power. In folklore it was the home of giants.
On the actual dinas there aren’t easy assembly places or comfortable places to hang out – precarious scrambling is involved – so at any time people will have been in small numbers only on the dinas. Something about this and its obstacular nature gives the dinas its character. It’s strong in feeling, and worth visiting to feel the brooding, enigmatic character of the place.
The headland has two parts, the rocky headland itself and a large encampment to its landward side called Treen Circle, built in the Iron Age, according to archaeological orthodoxy – and the banks on its landward side probably were Iron Age.
However, its first use would have been in the Neolithic 3000s BCE, if not earlier, even if little or nothing was built there then. Neolithic artefacts and relics have been found on the dinas – items and offerings hidden in the rocks.
How otherwise can we say it’s Neolithic? First, the dinas is so prominent and rich in character that it must have been important.
Second, Treen Circle lies exactly on a backbone alignment (108) through the Merry Maidens, St Michael’s Mount and Carn Brea – an alignment of three natural features (two Neolithic tor enclosures and one cliff sanctuary) with a Bronze Age stone circle dropped onto it. Treen Circle is where people would hang out and camp when visiting the dinas. Antiquarians once thought there was a stone circle in Treen Circle, but this is improbable.
It was the most inhabited of the cliff sanctuaries of Penwith except perhaps for St Michael’s Mount. Treen Circle encampment was large – it could have hosted some pretty big gatherings and, in the Iron Age, quite a few people in roundhouses. This would have been a summer residence – in winter it is exposed.
It was strategically placed, not far from Porthcurno, one of Penwith’s prime landing beaches. But still, it’s a bit far away for defence of the beach, if such were necessary, so a defensive purpose to the dinas is questionable, even though Treen Circle is separated from the surrounding landscape by a significant Iron Age rampart and ditch.
Just outside it, a strongly aligned menhir has recently been rediscovered and re-erected.
Unlike many cliff sanctuaries, Treryn Dinas had practical value, with good farmland and fishing grounds nearby, situated in a commanding position that is a twenty minute trot from Porthcurno.
One wonders whether rocking the logan rock at Treryn Dinas was done to make sound and rhythm for geomantic reasons, to pulse the earth, or even as an ancient kind of foghorn, sounding out a slow drumbeat to warn boats when sea mists were down.
The rather unique upstanding stone at its summit gives Treryn Dinas a special character – it might have been placed there.
Another backbone alignment runs from Treryn Dinas to Boscawen-ûn stone circle, Lanyon Quoit, Bosiliack Barrow (a rather special chambered cairn) and a menhir just yards from the Nine Maidens. So, three of Penwith’s stone circles are linked with Treryn Dinas – that’s significant. Even so, no alignment has been found with Tregeseal, the fourth stone circle of Penwith.
First of a series about my thoughts and experiences around world healing consciousness work.
Over time I’ve gathered quite a lot of experience in this, in my own explorations and working in groups. In the 1990s I ran the Hundredth Monkey Project – camping retreats for 100 people doing inner work with world issues of the time. Afterwards I was involved in the Flying Squad, a smaller group that worked together intensively for twenty years.
Last year I got the message that I should write and record all I know and understand about this. My aim here is to set people thinking about translating their concerns about the world into activities to help it. Together with activism, campaigning, pursuing our life’s work, volunteering, fundraising and things like that, consciousness work is also something worth attending to. We need to co-create a new reality on planet Earth by working with its underlying patterns.
We need to think through the issues around this. Not because everyone should do the same thing, but because, whatever we do, and whatever method we use, whatever faith and belief we have, it’s good that we’ve clarified a few things, for ourselves and with others.
That oft-quoted adage, ‘be careful what you pray for’ is quite profound. So that why I’m doing this series, to bounce things around and give some things to consider. Sometime it will emerge in website form as well as audio.
In the podcast I’m asking questions about what we’re really aiming to do, and underlying considerations about how to go about it. If you’re interested in helping the world, or if you practice any kind of meditation or spiritual work, this might interest you. Because we have a big problem in our world today, and it’s all hands on deck.
It’s 33 minutes long. Music by Galen Hefferman.
If it interests you, there are also the Sunday evening meditations, which loosely concern this very matter. A regular weekly meditation that anyone may join with, wherever you are. Information here.
I’m doing a series about cliff sanctuaries in West Penwith, Cornwall, where I live. I forgot to post the first one here when I did it, so you’re getting a bonus blog this time, about two cliff sanctuaries. The first is about Cape Cornwall and the second about Bosigran Castle. Also, at the bottom is mention of my forthcoming visit to Glastonbury at Easter – if you happen to live in or around it.
Down’ere in West Penwith, Cornwall (right at the end) we have an important coastal feature called cliff castles – though I call them cliff sanctuaries, a far better descriptor. Archaeologically they are customarily dated back to the iron age (from 500 BCE on), though actually they go back to the neolithic 3000s BCE.
That is, when this area was mostly forested, the main places you could get out of it, ‘get some space’, were on the neolithic tors and hills and the cliff sanctuaries. So these formed the first major ancient sites in the area.
This is one cliff sanctuary, Kilgooth Ust (pr: ‘east’), the Gooseback of St Just, or Cape Cornwall, and it’s near St Just. It was severely affected by the tin trade 150ish years ago – hence the remnant chimney and the houses. But it is a classic, and it’s one of the major alignment centres of Penwith. Originally it had four barrows on its neck. Here’s an alignments map: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/d/viewer…
Around Cape Cornwall were some of the richest deposits of metals in ancient times, with arsenic-rich tin, gold and other rare metals used in metal smelting to create different qualities and finishes, from around 1800 BCE. On either side of Kilgooth Ust was a landing bay where metal ingots were exported.
The rocks offshore are called The Brisons. It’s the left-hand, southern one that is the energy-centre there. In neolithic and bronze age times they were probably not islands.
I’ll post a few more cliff sanctuaries as time goes on. See the map to see the other cliff sanctuaries in the area, forming a necklace around Penwith, the ancient Belerion, or ‘radiant land’. These were sanctified spaces, and you can feel it.
Until someone did a proper theodolite job in late Victorian times, this was regarded as the Land’s End. But actually, what’s now called Land’s End is a matter of yards further west. But this, in a way, is the energetic Land’s End.
Bos chy carn, ‘home house [under the] crag’, often translated as ‘Ygraine’s home’ (Map ref: SW 4169 3688)
This is one of my favourite cliff sanctuaries, mainly because of its friendly atmosphere. There’s a story that it was the home of a queen – Ygraine, after King Arthur’s mythic mother, but it has other possible meanings too. It has a hospitable, sociable feeling. So, this queen, whoever she was, might well have been a great lady, leaving a strong imprint.
Today, it attracts lots of rock climbers – avid Bristolians in VW vans. You can be sitting there listening to the waves, looking wistfully over the sea toward Ireland, when a clinking starts up and, sooner or later, a helmeted climber appears over the parapet, trailing ropes and looking pleased. On one occasion a school of minke whales cruised past and the climbers were spellbound, frozen to the spot, hanging in weird positions on their ropes. I was moved too, preoccupied as I had been with my prehistoric ponderings and customary flask of anthropocene tea.
Bosigran has a pleasantly healing and relieving feeling. Good for spending time when the weather is pleasant, it’s a great place for picnics, in both Neolithic and modern times. It could easily accommodate around 200 people for a summer weekend shindig, though there is no evidence and little likelihood of permanent occupation (too exposed in winter). Summer nights spent around a campfire would have been wonderful. It lies below Carn Galva, the magic mountain of Penwith, and perhaps the tribe that had Bosigran Castle lived around Carn Galva, coming down to the cliff sanctuary for special occasions. Summer sunsets there can be special.
A rocky Iron Age rampart sections it off from the surrounding land, though defence is only one possible reason it is there. More likely it was simply an energy-threshold, since when you cross it you get the feeling you’re entering special space. There are several distinct areas on top of Bosigran, each with rock platforms that could serve as outdoor ‘rooms’ – so it’s a place where a number of things could happen at the same time. At one of these areas is a throne-like rock where one can imagine a chief, wise-woman or druid sitting, with their flock arrayed around them.
The top of Bosigran is littered with earthfast rocks and, apart from the boundary rampart, there are few signs of rock-moving or the placing of stone, except in two instances. There is a logan or rocking stone on the top, near the ‘throne’. These are flattish granite boulders balanced in such a way that they could be rocked. It’s possible they were natural, or placed there or adjusted slightly to make them rock. What the purpose of logan stones was, we do not know, but the ancients clearly thought them special. These were the bass drums of the Neolithic era. Perhaps people drummed along to the deep rocking sound, building up a stirring, thumping beat.
Further along the left side of the headland and down a bit, there is a sunken, west-facing area with an array of rocks which suggest a ‘council circle’, as if it were a place for undisturbed discussions.
Nearby is a line of three rocks with their lined-up edges aligned toward Pendeen Watch, a neighbouring cliff sanctuary. These are (I think) deliberately oriented stones intended to highlight the relationship between the two cliff sanctuaries.
Bosigran is a good example of a cliff sanctuary potentially serving as a coastal beacon site – the prehistoric equivalent of a lighthouse. A few of the cliff sanctuaries will have been connected with trade, but this is unlikely at Bosigran. This was a place for gatherings and events. It’s a pleasant half-mile walk down from the road, and it’s worth going down into the zawn (inlet) on the western side too, to watch the seabirds, waves and climbers. There are some interesting tin-mining remains in the valley, with signs of tin-streaming methods having been used in centuries past.
I shall be in Glastonbury over Easter and doing two gigs while there.
One is at the Legend Conference in the Assembly Rooms on Sunday 9th April at 10am on Sunday morning, and here’s the blurb…
Consciousness work and the way it can affect our reality
My talk will be focusing on consciousness work and the way it can affect our reality. I’ll be going back to our roots, in the neolithic and beyond, to the early inner imaginal work that gave root to the core stuff of our culture, to our beliefs and ways of perceiving things. Using my home area, West Penwith in Cornwall, as an example, I’ll show how ancient sites were built for consciousness work in order to penetrate and engineer the heart of reality – amongst other things affecting the climate, the ecosystem and human society. Which happen to be issues that are a wee bit important today.
Forty years ago, the Assembly Rooms hosted some very early experiments in ‘working the circle’ – something that is now accepted and common – and Glastonbury is a place with deep historic and esoteric roots too. So the heart of my talk is about consciousness work in the imaginal sphere, how this might be used in jogging the prevailing reality-field of our world, and how it all started several millennia ago.
I shall also be doing ‘An Evening with Palden Jenkins’ on Friday evening, 7th April, hosted by the Inner Light Community, and that will be announced on their site and on my Facebook page soon.
On Saturday I’ll be around if anyone wishes to meet up. However, I’ll need you not to wear me out, and to have your phone switched off! I’m a bit of an old crock and I’m electrosensitive (my cancer is caused by EM radiation). Still here though!
By 2050, people won’t judge things by today’s norms. Millennials and their children will decide the shape of mid-century reality, especially in the majority or ‘developing’ world where they are numerically the largest generation. Things we now consider remarkable, unimaginable or outrageous will become the new normal. New factors we haven’t considered will appear, and some anticipated probabilities will not happen at all, or not in the way we think they will, or leading to the consequences we currently expect. And life will go on.
Only part of the future will be forged by making thought-through, principled decisions. Much of it will arise from questionable choices, dodgy politics, ricocheting circumstances, evolving facts, luck, opportunism, profit perceptions, corruption, brilliance, incompetence, incidents and accidents. Black swans will be involved – events and developments that no one believed possible until they actually happen. Centuries ago, people thought that swans were white only, until black swans were found in Australia – hence the name.
Recent instances of black swan events have been the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, the 2008 Credit Crunch, the 2014 rise of the Islamic State, Brexit and Donald Trump in 2016, and Covid-19 in 2019. Go back a few years before each of these events and they were unforeseeable, improbable, to most people.
Afterwards we re-edit our mental maps to incorporate such events as if they had been expected, but they weren’t. Black swans will continue happening – this is guaranteed – though their nature, shape and size is the stuff of guesstimates. This makes forecasting difficult, but factoring in black swans is necessary. Airplanes, cars and computers were once impossible, and so too, before your birth, were you.
Events tend to evolve in pattern-setting jumps – periodic defining moments where the game-plan changes critically. The period from 2008 to 2014 was like that, beginning with the banking crisis, progressing to the Arab revolutions and leading to the barbarity displayed by the Islamic State. Once the pattern has been reset, developments tend to extrapolate from there.
Our sense of future possibilities tends to be defined by groupthink and received beliefs, a safe territory of knowns and expectations established by consensus or in the duly followed utterances of experts and authorities. But things can head in contrasting directions from this, and more and different things can happen than we bargain for. In a sense, events are not guided solely by the past – it is almost as if the future pulls the present forward, toward possibilities or inevitabilities we hadn’t quite reckoned on.
These shifts happen suddenly, sometimes surreptitiously. The tipping point in today’s shift of power from the West to Asia was the 2008 Credit Crunch – a defining moment that most people thought was a banking crisis, but its implications were bigger, deeper, further-reaching and historic. There will be further tipping and inflection points, each preceded by incremental shifts along a trajectory that suddenly goes critical and changes, and 2008 was such a moment. Expect more.
Even so, the after-effects of such shifts take time to emerge. In the late 2010s there has been a flurry of technological inventions and advances arising from ideas hatched around 2008-12 in hidden away labs, backrooms and meetings. It takes time for things to unfold, even when a tipping point has been crossed. Not only this, but the symptoms of a defining moment can appear in disguise, looking as if the wrong thing is happening when things are actually going strangely right.
Around 2008-12, Asia discovered that it had a serious pollution problem – smog and toxicity. Up to that point, nagging Westerners with their environmental concerns were not fully believed in Asia. This discovery marked a tipping point after which Asia became the leading source of momentum in a global clean-up that will unfold in future years. The West will contribute significantly since it has had a head start, but the leading impetus now comes from Asia. That wasn’t expected.
In surveying the future it is thus necessary to factor in defining moments, tipping points and black swans. By their very nature, and because of our normality bias, we don’t easily see them coming. But they come anyway. Talking of which, there is a possible future world scenario that we must mention here, an apocalyptic scenario – apocalypse meaning ‘revelation’, not catastrophe. There is the smallest of chances that the greatest of all black swans could occur, in the form of a global, simultaneous shift of public awareness or perception of manifest reality that brings a radical and wholesale shift of priorities worldwide.
In some cultures this would previously have been anticipated as a return of the Christ, or of the Mahdi, or of a sudden dawning of a new age, or some other such miracle cure for our woes. This possibility grates with the modern rationalist mindset, though for some people it is an article of faith. Although several end-of-the-world and redemption mega-events have been predicted in the last fifty years, none has happened – at least, noticeably.
If this report suggested that, by 2050, an apocalyptic scenario were to happen, it would quickly lose credibility. But it is wise not to completely exclude such remote possibilities, even when they confront our normality bias. They might look improbable, impossible or illogical, but it is also valid not to lock that door since, should it happen, we might be faced with very rapid choices to make, for which we might be unprepared. We should accommodate the slim possibility of enormous black swans in our future calculations. “Trust in Allah, and tether thy camel”, goes the Arabic proverb. Have faith in whatever you believe in, but do the sensible thing anyway.
As it goes, I’m not a bad holy warrior. By ‘holy warrior’ I mean someone who is willing to get in there and fight for truth – setting out not exactly to win, but to reveal truth and to deal with assholes. To stand up for what is good and right when bad things are happening. But in the saga I’ve been involved with, the battle is pretty much lost. That’s been hard to face. But it’s real life.
It started back in October when a British man, working as an anti-fraud investigator in Ghana, contacted me to ask if I would lend him some money (30ish GBP) to get out of a tricky situation. Yes, sure. Quite quickly things started going crazy – he was being chased by gun-toting, crack-driven gangsters because he had busted them, scrubbed their computers and taken some important information of theirs. He had been sheltering with a friend who first introduced him to me, Felicia. Suddenly they were captured, together with Phyllis, Felicia’s three year old daughter, and taken to the north of Ghana, near Bolgatanga, and kept in captivity for a week. I helped them with money for food and phone.
Then Andrew, the investigator, was taken away across the desert to South Sudan. I managed to negotiate Felicia’s and Phyllis’ freedom and they were dumped in a nearby town. I had to get them home. That took ages, and I ran out of money. We scraped along for a week, and then Felicia needed to meet another investigator, Dennis, in order to carry out some online actions that would free up some money – the company had rigid protocols over this and we could not access funds until this was done. Dennis and Felicia were then attacked, rammed by a car and left dying. A taxi-driver, Kofi, who witnessed this, bravely took them to hospital. They were cared for by Dr Isaac Acquah.
The company had promised me they would pay for everything. Then there were delays, then complications, and then the money didn’t come. They didn’t even pay Dennis’ hospital bills, even though they agreed with the hospital management to do so – he eventually died because of that. The story went on and on. Isaac rescued Phyllis and Felicia and took them home, but then the gang was after him. They raped and captured his wife and teenage daughter Antoinette. His wife was never seen again and Antoinette was returned, ravaged and traumatised. More complications, and then eventually they all fled to the refuge of a native healer, Okomfo Ayensuwaa. The Okomfo and I did a powerful healing on Felicia and Antoinette but the gang came again, killing Antoinette and the Okomfo. Isaac and Felicia escaped to Togo, the neighbouring country – all helped by me.
It went on and on like this… I shall tell the whole story sometime. Every single day there were crises and scrapes, and we were perpetually hampered by lack of money. The company had now balked because, after their failure to pay, in late November I had made a public appeal for support – which they did not like. But I could not just dump people in need, even though friends were beginning to encourage me to do so – or at least, they encouraged me to look after myself (a worthy thought) without really considering the consequences for the Africans.
All the time Felicia was guarding a memory stick belonging to the gang, to get it to the company. It contained all the details they needed for accessing their money, so they were desperate for it. When the gang discovered she had it, they chopped off two of Phyllis’ fingers in revenge and multi-raped Felicia.
Around Xmas the company had at last promised to send £8,000 – £5k to repay me and £3k for Felicia, as compensation. But the money did not come. My handler said that some of the company directors had blocked supporting us – I think there was a hard-nosed faction there who didn’t care.
At New Year, more complexities came, and Felicia and Pyllis were again kidnapped, then dumped in Niamey, Niger. Then there was a long saga trying to save Phyllis – she eventually died of infection and tetanus (the gang had used a dirty knife). Felicia then found she was pregnant, and she was also deeply traumatised. This week, after hospital treatment with a fine doctor who cared for her, we tried to get her back to Ghana but she was too weak, and started bleeding. As I write this, her life is again in question, and she’s back with the doctor having blood transfusions I am paying for.
That’s a short version of the story. All the time I was caught in deep dilemmas: financially I could not keep supporting them, but I didn’t want to abandon them. I had seriously misjudged the company and their integrity, though I had had cause to trust them, since my handler promised 6-7 times to pay up. Some friends thought I was being scammed by West Africans, but no, it was not them but the ‘secret’ company, an anti-fraud investigation contractor to a big Australian bank. Well, they defrauded me. Part of me would like to expose them and exact a price, but I must think it through carefully. First I must restore my finances, since I am £6k down – that’s a rather daunting prospect.
Despite everything, I am on the whole happy about the way I have handled this, except for two things: I allowed myself to be defrauded by the company, and I am useless at fundraising and asking for help. As a cancer patient I already have to ask for help quite a lot, and this operation was too much, and complex in its implications, and I was unhappy about asking too much of my online friends and followers. In these two issues I failed.
The shortage of money made everything so much more complex – if the company had paid up I would have been able to finance solutions and end this sorry saga back in November. If they had paid up, at least eight people would still be alive today, and I would not be in dire financial straits. Morally and in terms of duty of care, the company is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Feeling the weight of failure, yesterday I went deep and reviewed the whole situation. One positive thing emerged: on several occasions we had clearly demonstrated the power of remote healing. At times when I appealed for healing support amongst my readers, it really worked. In December, when I was working with the Okomfo, a lovely lady, we did a powerful healing for Felicia and Antoinette, and it really worked.
At one stage I was sending information I had psychically picked up to the Okomfo and she asked, “How do you know this?“. She could not believe that a white man in Britain could do what Okomfos and Mallams (witchdoctors) do. We both realised we had reached across a wide cultural divide: an Akan native healer meets a whiteskin aged hippy, and we clicked.
These spiritual experiences have been remarkable, and my thanks to all those who participated in prayer and healing – particularly Susan in Nova Scotia, Kate in Devon and Zoey in Seattle. Many thanks also to those who have donated money – I wish I could have done more with fundraising, but the ongoing task of crisis-management and spiritual work was well enough to deal with.
So, as I write, on Friday evening, Felicia is again on the edge of death and being given blood transfusions. I have been approaching women’s organisations in Niamey asking if they would take in Felicia for a week or two, if she survives. She cannot travel anytime soon. I now have fundraising to do – short term (£1k) to pay off medical bills and support Felicia until I can get her home (a hard, three-day journey), and longterm to try to rescue my own situation (£6k).
I am weary now. I want to reclaim my life. Did I do the right thing, standing by these people and ruining my own life? Should I have been more sensible? It will take time to answer these questions. I’m certainly paying a high price. Yet despite the tragic and painful things that have happened – I’ve cried tears so many times – I feel quite clean in my heart, since I have managed this whole process, I believe, pretty well. I would have taken on a weight of guilt if I had turned away from them.
Most of them have died anyway. Dr Isaac and his daughter Adjoa, 6, are still alive as far as I know, but I have lost contact with them. He has lost his wife and two kids, his job and home and everything, except Adjoa. I don’t know what happened to Kofi either.
The story has been tragic, lives have been lost, remarkable cruelty has been carried out and, worst, the assholes have won – both the gangsters and the company. I do not like that. One thing that upsets me most is that ‘good samaritans’ in Africa who have helped out have all paid a high price for doing so. Meanwhile, the gangsters are all free and continuing their trade, and the company and its directors… well, I won’t write what I would really like to say about them. Shame on them.
I’m now in a test of faith. I’ve brought big money problems on myself. Thirty years ago, when I was working for the Council of Nine, someone asked them why they did not help with money. They explained that they can help with energy, but money is a human invention, and only humans can work with that. Certainly I have prayed many times for a cascade of money to come my way, and I’ve had to face up to the fact that it is us humans who decide over money, not higher powers.
Nevertheless, just before Christmas, the Okomfo and I did an inner process to remove the conflict within the company, to free up the atmosphere that was blocking payment – and, guess what, a few days later, my handler wrote to say he was going to send that £8k. But somehow, it still didn’t work. Someone blocked it. There’s a lesson in that. Money is very human stuff. Higher powers can help progress things on an energy level, but money is not in their realm. So we did well with healing and energy-support, but the money issue was different.
We’ve been through a time recently where the world’s assholes have been rather successful.
But underneath something else has been happening. There’s a deeper meaning to this whole saga: I can sense it though I cannot see it. Yet. For those of you who understand astrologese, the transit I’m on at present is Uranus opposition my Mars in Scorpio. That’s the holy warrior in me. A few years ago I wondered what this transit would bring, and now I have my answer. And the story is not complete yet. Another transit going on is Saturn conjuncting my Jupiter in Pisces – Jupiter is the humanitarian and deep-spirited part of me, and it’s under test right now. Tested by the agency of money. Saturn.
So while I have a lot to regret, something in me doesn’t regret doing it. There’s a saying that goes: ‘It’s not what you get for it, but what you become by doing it’. Something is changing in me. A battle has been pretty much lost, something in me that feels glad I didn’t walk away from it.
So, dear friends, keep praying for Felicia. She’s a very brave woman. She has dealt with stuff that would scare people like you and me. God bless her for that. After all she has lost, I cannot tell whether life is worth living for her now. But we shall see: she’s in the hands of Spirit and under the care of Dr Mark. Now it is time to get off the computer and make myself some soup.
Thank you all for being with. I’ve been alone for a long time, and your company means a lot to me.
This is supplementary to my last blog entry, for those of you who are following that story. Here are some comments, thoughts and bits of further news posted on my Facebook page, which might interest you.
Jo A heartbreaking story. I’m so sorry Paldywan. Love you. X
Palden Jo, it’s the pathos of human life and death. Over so many lives it has been part of the human condition. I still believe we can wind it down though, over time, to make this world a happier, friendlier and safer place. Big hug, Paldywan.
Stella Only today have I read this story in full. I’ve been putting it off as I knew it would be harrowing. It is impossible and undesirable to make any judgements as none of us are privy to the complete truth in all its details. I can only admire you, Palden, that despite your own serious health challenges you took this on and tried your utmost to help. I feel diminished and ashamed that I would not have been prepared to do the same. In trying to make no assumptions, a deadly sin in my view, I feel that although her story is unbelievably harsh, on some higher level it serves a purpose for humanity and her own sacred contract would have made this clear to her before her life began. Easy for me to say, I know, but all of us who read this story will be deeply affected by it and the wider it is known, the greater the lesson for humanity will be. Blessings to you, Palden. You did an extraordinary deed.
Palden Stella, hello. Yes indeed, the world can be a really harsh place. These events are taking place in an unstable zone as well. In countries like Britain, with notable exceptions, we live in a zone of rights and relative comfort and decency, sort of. It can therefore be difficult to believe some of the things we hear happening elsewhere. Despite such dramas – in the Sahel it’s a mixture of criminality, smuggling, jihadism and foreign interference – normal life goes on too. In our own media-dominated countries we tend either to ignore such places or to over-exaggerate the dramas going on there, when the cameras look, so we have a rather distorted view of what goes on, and also of what doesn’t go on. It wasn’t my plan to get sucked into all this, and it has been a stirring and disruptive experience. But I understand it as part of my pattern, having been involved in similar ‘borderline’ things before in life. This kind of work – as is the case with nurses, firefighters, soldiers, first-responders, aid-workers and activists – does tend to lead to a kind of vocational dedication that many people prefer to steer clear of, and I don’t blame them. But for me it has also met up with a difficulty in being able to hand over such duties to others when I can no longer continue – and this has been the case in my work in Palestine, with the Tuareg in Mali and now with this. It works better when you work for an NGO, where employees can be hired, or they can resign or retire, but there’s a price to pay for working inside that sphere too – not the same closeness to the ground, and not quite the same deep human feeling that draws many people into this field in the first place.
Palden Last night (Saturday 4th March) after talking to the doctor in Niamey (a good man) it was clear to me that Felicia had reached a crossing point. She was drawn to follow her daughter Phyllis, and I could feel her tiredness with everything – in a way, blocked at every turn. She had tried so hard. I felt it was important to nudge the process – not in the sense of encouraging her to die, but in the sense of helping her face that ultimate question of whether to live or to die. To get clear on it. She has been confronted with so much darkness and badness that I took her hand and led her to the light, to love, care and protection of a kind she sorely deserves. I can do this because I’ve been there myself. I gave her to the angels, asking them either to take her or to pump her up with new life and return her – but not the grey zone in between. The important thing is that, if she returns to life, she needs the strength, heart and will to make something good of it. She’s a special person, but she has been up against too much – even when a child she watched her family being killed in front of her, in the Liberian civil war. So I have handed her to the angels. I await news from the doctor as to what has happened at his end (Sunday midday).
Jennifer Palden Jenkins I was seeing/holding the same for her: seeing her held in golden angelic light while she made her decision, telling her either way was ok, and asking the angels to give her all she needed 💛🙏💛
Liz Thank you for sharing. So very sorry to read this – really shocking. I hope you can focus on yourself ❤️
Palden Liz, I wish I could but, unfortunately, it is incumbent on me to get her home and safe. If I worked for an NGO I could sent for reinforcements or be replaced, but I cannot, and this is a price you pay for being an independent humanitarian. But then, I chose to be involved and take responsibility for this, so it’s up to me. Focusing on myself is not right now very easy.
Liz Palden, I understand the need to help, truly. I perhaps haven’t followed everything but hoped so much the money that covered the operation for the little girl would be life saving. I hoped dearly I had made that difference. Again, it’s also important you focus on yourself. Take care ❤️
Palden Monday morning, 6th March. Latest report…. Felicia is alive and conscious and requesting food. She has returned. The doctor (he is Rwandan) reported that she has been near starvation and needs building up. So that is what needs to happen next.
Jennifer Palden, wow, what an amazing, strong woman!
Palden I think the reason she keeps coming back to life (third or fourth time now) is that she has a mission.
Palden Tuesday 7th March. Felicia seems to be improving and has been discharged from hospital, now staying with a nice lady in Niamey. The doctor who has been looking after her has been helpful and good. We hope to get her a ride on a truck back to Ghana in a few days’ time. She is missing Phyllis a lot though. It’s difficult raising money to support these developments while I’m struggling for money myself, and I’m looking forward to bringing this saga to a close, but somehow we’ll get there. Prayers for her and for all of this are welcome! It’s fullmoon, and hopefully a turning-point. Love from me, Palden.
Zoey Paldywan! I just took in the entire thread here. This is real life! So many people are plugged into screens, trying to escape thr collective despair. I don’t know how Felicia is alive,yet i will join in strong prayer for her today.
Palden Zoey, yes indeed, very real life! There’s a lot of it going on. I shall not forget that moment some weeks ago when you and I worked together to revive Phyllis – thanks for being there at that moment, when needed. Even though eventually we did not succeed in keeping her alive, I hope that, in Phyllis’ own journey, she was helped by the intervention of helper souls who supported her. God bless her little great soul. She is being looked after by the Okomfo Ayensuwaa, the Akan native healer who was involved in December, who was killed by the gang for doing so. I miss the Okomfo – for a few days we connected deeply across space and a cultural divide that both of us were able to reach across, to work together on healing Antoinette (Dr Isaac’s daughter, who later died) and Felicia. This whole saga has been so moving and, even now, my cheeks are dripping with tears over the pathos of it all. This is, indeed, real life.
Kath Dear Palden. A harrowing, heartbreaking read. But in its sharing, I hope that it has lightened the load…a little at least. Those who heal, in the reading of your words will pick up the threads, and in compassion and humanity, help to hold them as Felicia makes her way. Blessings to you too Palden, be gentle with yourself. ❤️🙏
Palden Kath, hello. Doing my best, though I’m really ready now to end this saga and bring it to as good a conclusion as I can. Yes, it has been harrowing, even for one who has been involved from a distance. Wearing too. I seem to have held up better than I would have thought. But now I need less uphill grind, sailing against the wind and upstream, and more of at least a level pathway. This has not been the only challenge I’ve been facing, having manifested a number of them, the overall meaning of which I accept but don’t yet fully understand. There is meaning in it though (I can sense it), and that’s why I’ve done my best to stick with it to the end. Thanks to you and everyone else for your heartening messages.
Palden Wednesday 8th March. Things are progressing. My hope is to bring this whole matter to a conclusion by getting Felicia home – Niamey is not a good and safe place for her. So it’s a big push now to try to fix that – involves raising 600 GBP to pay for medical bills in Niamey, for the fare back to Ghana (already paid and booked for tomorrow/Thursday) and for survival money on the journey. The journey will be on the back of a truck going west to Burkina Faso and then another south to Ghana. Today I’m focusing on that.
I shall be so relieved if we can pull this off, because I badly need to get focused back on my own life and needs – this whole saga has been a bit too much for me (though it would have been so different, and so much shorter, if the company had paid up as promised). The doctor is being very helpful, as is a lady who is a pharmacist, who has taken Felicia into her home until it’s time to leave, and thanks so much to both of them. (The doctor wishes to join our Sunday evening meditations.)
Both Felicia and I need to get our lives back, and Felicia needs to be with her friends and in known territory so that she can start rebuilding her life and getting over the loss of Phyllis, her three-year old daughter. I’m really sad about losing Phyllis, having fought so long and hard to keep her alive. Thank you so much to those of you who have sent invaluable healing and support. At some stage I shall be able to tell the whole story, but that’s quite a lot of work, and it involves some tricky issues about what is safe and good to tell and what is not. Meanwhile, the challenge now is to make that final push and pray hard that I can get Felicia home again safely and without further challenges – with luck, by Sunday or so.
So that’s where things stand today, Wednesday 8th March. I hope to report further in a few days’ time. Sometimes I wish I were better at fundraising and hustling money, but my strength is in other areas such as human- and soul-support, negotiation, counsel, remote healing and crisis-management. You can’t do everything. NGOs can be good at providing stuff and facilities for large numbers of people (such as in Turkiye-Syria right now), but they are often not quite so good at the person-to-person stuff.There’s need for both.
Ishmael, my trusty taxi driver and fixer in Bethlehem, Palestine, twelve years ago, rang me up a few days ago. “Balden, when you come visit us in Beit Lahem?“. OMG, yes indeed. If only I could… I know why he was ringing. Things are edgy and intense there right now, and my friends used to feel a bit safer when I was around. I had to explain to him that getting to Palestine is no longer on the cards for me. Besides, I’ve been dealing with another, rather different battle.
I’ve been pulling back from the West African mission I’ve been involved with in recent months. It has worn me out, got me into financial difficulty and lost me some friends, and I can no longer help. I don’t actually regret what I have done. These are choices I have made. I trusted in a series of promises by an Australian security company to reimburse me for money I put forward on their behalf from the beginning of this saga in October, having saved one of their men, though I misjudged them.
They have not followed up on their promises and this has led to a series of deaths and difficulties. One day I shall tell the whole story, but there are dangers to doing so and I must think it through carefully. Felicia did her best to deal with my withdrawal from supporting her, but things were getting worse for her. She was in Niamey, in Niger – a French-speaking country, and different from Nigeria.
I found out on Thursday that Phyllis had died of septic infection. I debated what to do with this news, and how best to tell it. So I’ve decided to relay the last conversation I had with Felicia, on Friday 3rd March. It is filled with the pathos of a mother who has just lost her child.
[I have edited Felicia’s words to make them more readable.]
Felicia I don’t want to leave Phyllis’ dead body here in Niamey. She has been through so much. I will miss her, but I get that she needs rest. No matter what, I shall not leave her here like this. But I have no other option than to get her to be buried here at the Infants’ Hospital Morgue [in Niamey]. I have no money. I am so sad it has come to this. Palden God bless Phyllis. If she is buried at the children’s hospital, at least she will be with other children. Her soul is in good care – I know that, since I am watching her. Felicia I have to pay for the land at the cemetery. I have no other option than to bury her in a foreign land without family. I love her. Can’t help crying. I must pay for a cremation. Thanks for your love and help towards her. She loved you and I wish she had the chance to meet you in person. Thanks for all you have done. Palden I’d have loved to have met her too. But I shall watch over her now [psychically]. This must be such a moving time for you. This has all been far too difficult, with complications and tragedies at every stage. Felicia Yes. Phyllis has suffered a lot of drug overdosing, physical and psychological trauma, defilement, beating, threats, hunger, homelessness. Palden There was a stage a few weeks ago when I wondered whether she would have a good life if she survived. Especially with no hands [they had been medically amputated], and possibly with her mind affected permanently. When she died I had a feeling of relief for her. Poor child – she was such a little angel. But perhaps that is part of the story behind her short life. God bless her. Felicia She’s been without anyone. And I have been raped, starved, homeless and running for months. It’s by God’s grace that I had you to support us. We would have died long ago. The money you invested to saving Phyllis is gone to waste, gone and lost, like Phil, never to return. I am sorry. I feel so bad. I don’t know where to go with this pregnancy [Felicia was multiple-raped in January]. I don’t know how to take care of myself. I am beaten. Life has not been fair to me. Why does this happen to me? Palden One thing at a time. Try to get home to Ghana next. Then meet some friends, talk it through and cry your tears. Felicia I can’t forgive the company for not coming to my child’s aid. To help us. Palden I still want justice from them, and I am telling them clearly that they have an obligation to compensate and support you, as they promised. Not just me. Felicia I am burying her alone. Money has been the problem, and had the company helped, I would still have Phyllis now. I can’t make my way home now. I can’t find money for an abortion. I don’t want this child and shall not bring it forth to the world. Palden Wait and see. I really understand how you feel. Try not to make decisions now. Do what’s in front of you. Felicia Alright. Thanks for your advice and love and help. You have been of immense help to me, even though I can’t repay you for the money lost. Palden It is the company who should repay me, not you. You have done your best. It will make me happy to see you getting your life back and being able to make a new start. But that will take time. I hope it can start soon. Felicia Am so sorry for depending too much on you, am so sorry for having caused you so much financial difficulties, kindly forgive me, pls Palden You do not need forgiving. No blame upon you – you have been a heroine. Forgive me too for not being able to help at critical moments which could have made such a big difference. I was just not rich enough and the company undermined us. I regret that. Felicia I feel so bad all has been lost after all the care, love and support I have had. I have been thru so much, and I have lost all, and now where do I start from? Your help has been more than enough. You have helped too much. Thanks. Phil will be burnt and her ashes will be given to me. I miss her already and have been crying for days. If only I had gotten her home, maybe I could have got her to a good hospital, where she could have had the best treatment she would have needed. But it’s too late. Such a tragedy she died so far away from home. Palden Maybe. But maybe also the pain and difficulty for her might have been too great. Two weeks ago I felt her soul was tired, tired of trying to stay alive. It is important now not to think too much about “What would have happened if…?”. Unfortunately we must be dead real. We must get you home and safe, so that you can be more protected and release your tears and fears. Felicia Yes. This is the time for the whole story to be told to the world. I don’t fear the dangers any more. Got nothing to lose now. And when you write about it, pls do seek help for me. Maybe a good soul may pity me and help me get home and help with some money to start a new life and abort my worse pain in my life. For if I carry the child, I will never forget it. I don’t have any life here, and I don’t want to keep the memories of these past months with me. Got to abort it. I can’t keep a baby of bandits. I have lost my entire family. I have nothing to call my own. I have lost hope, and my dreams are dead. I know I am not safe from the gang, but am not worried about dying any more. I have nothing to live for, no family and hope lost, alone. Palden Bless you, Felicia.
That was the last I heard from her. In the evening I heard from a doctor at the Niamey Roundabout Hospital in Niger. Felicia had been found unconscious. He said she was short of blood, looking starved and had a fever. Well, as she said, she has nothing to live for. So on Friday evening I held her and committed her to her angels. She was at a point of soul-choice. On Saturday morning the doctor informed me Felicia had lost a lot of blood and remains unconscious.
And me, I’m tired, had enough. Throughout, I’ve been faced with a choice, whether or not to ‘be sensible’ and walk off, leaving them to die. This would have been sensible from a commonly-held British viewpoint, but to do so I would have had to block off a part of myself. Rightly or wrongly I chose to remain true to something deep inside that is very fundamental, at least to me. Some may not agree, and they might have good reason, but I feel that, on the whole, I’ve done the best thing. Now I pay a price. In life, you don’t win every battle.
In my humanitarian work I have always felt unhappy getting pushed by circumstances into raising money. It is not my speciality – I work as a healer, counsellor and adviser, not a fundraiser. I am reluctant to start raising money now, for a number of reasons. I think the best thing to do is this: if anyone wishes to support Felicia financially (medical needs and getting home) then I shall assist them, but I can no longer take on funding responsibilities myself. Some have cast doubts too, judging that Africans are scamming me, and questioning my integrity and judgement. I’m sad about that, and life is not quite that simple. But this is life. In a way, this has been a three-way battle, with a drug gang, an errant company and people’s considered opinions.
If on the other hand you wish to send healing and spiritual uplift to Felicia, currently lying in hospital in Niamey, Niger, then it has definitely helped before and I believe it would help now. This is what I and many of my readers are good at. This is very welcome, and you are welcome to join me in ‘holding’ Felicia and bathing her in light.
In my life I have met some remarkable, courageous women. I’m reminded of an old friend Gillian, from Devon, whom I last met in Bethlehem twelve years ago. She’d been involved in Bosnia, Kosovo and Palestine, and suddenly she died in a car accident ten years ago in, of all places, Luton, England, when arriving back from a conflict zone. Life moves in strange ways. Felicia has a bravery like Gillian’s. When people pass away they are gradually forgotten, buried in the rubble-heaps of subsequent events. I’m reminded of Gillian now.
Some suspect I had a romantic involvement with Felicia: no, it was her courage and fortitude that I supported. Only some people in this world are willing to stake their lives on what they believe in. She was a bystander, suddenly swept up with her child, Phyllis, into a drama of violence and horror, and she did her level best at all stages of that drama. The Australian company, having promised to compensate and support her for what she did, should be deeply ashamed of themselves.
Dear readers, I’m sorry to ply you with this stuff. I seek simply to share it. When I went down with cancer three years ago I resolved to share my story openly. This is a strange part of it and I take the risk of sharing it now. It’s the story of a man who, in late life, seeks to round out his life’s threads, and I’m yet again being taught one of life’s more ultimate riddles: some things just don’t make sense and should not happen, but they do, and that’s life. Planet Earth is a very weird world, where the depth and intensity of life-experience definitely burnishes the soul.
It’s funny how, as life goes on, we get small prompts that say it like it is. A few days ago I fell upon one by the child psychologist Jean Piaget, who said: ‘Intelligence is not what we know, but what we do when we don’t know‘. Life presents us with challenges we don’t know what to do with, and it doesn’t always tell us which path to follow. But then, Rico Rose, a Berliner I once met in the Sinai Desert, once gave me a really fizzly truth, there under the hot desert sun: ‘Everything is okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end‘.
Sometimes life is a real grinder, shoving us through things that can test us to the limits, whether or not we like it.
But there’s always something to learn from it all.
I went down to the woods below our farm to sit by the stream with my recorder to capture bird sonics, though actually a podcast is what came up.
It’s a streamside chat about going through stuff – in my case, cancer is a large part of that – and dealing with this very strange situation of living on Planet Earth.
It’s a place full of goodness and badness and everything in between. When you approach the end of your life and see it a bit more from the outside, you can’t help but wonder, “What was all that really for?“.
Short answer: the evolution of the soul, through learning from what life teaches us and making a contribution.
Though of course it’s much more complex than that.
With music by an Oregonian friend, Galen Hefferman. Recorded on a mossy log in West Penwith, Cornwall – near Land’s End – with the help of some twittering birds, jackdaws, the stream and some Atlantic breezes. 24 mins long.
The ongoing battle for the hearts and minds of humanity now approaches a crunch point in human history. I’ll start with a little astrology to flesh out this thought, though you don’t have to understand it to get what I’m referring to: it’s visible in the underlying messages and impressions that current events convey.
This year (23rd March to 11th June 2023, to be precise) and next year (21st January to 1st Sept, and finally from 20th November 2024 onwards) the planet Pluto moves into Aquarius. It will then chug slowly through Aquarius until 2043-44, for twenty years. It has been in Capricorn since 2008-9, the time of the banking crisis and a deeply historic tilt in the world’s power and wealth away from the rich West or Global North, toward the majority world, the East and the Global South.
Why doesn’t Pluto move into Aquarius just once? The reason is this. Though the planets all orbit the Sun in roughly constant orbits, and in the same direction, we see them from a moving viewing platform, Earth. This leads to a two-steps-forward, one-step-back motion of these planets as seen from Earth, rather like moving trains where a faster train, overtaking a slower train, makes the slower train look as if it is going backwards. It isn’t – it’s just their relative motion.
So Earth, orbiting faster than planets further out in our solar system, makes them seem to go backwards, or retrograde, for periods. Hence the multiple dates given above. This year Pluto enters Aquarius, stops and retreats back into Capricorn, then it edges a bit further during 2024, again backing out slightly, until finally it stays in Aquarius from November 2024.
Pluto takes 250ish years to orbit the Sun. It deals with historic-scale stuff. It’s in the same position now as it was at the time of the American declaration of independence in 1776 (which is one reason why USA has a major constitutional problem right now). This was also the buildup to the French Revolution of 1789-92. It last entered Aquarius in 1778 and left it in 1798, after the French Revolution had turned bad and the progressive dictator Napoleon took over. The industrial revolution, with its dark, satanic mills, was also lifting off.
These weren’t just big events: they marked the beginning of a long cycle of development and dominance of Western culture – an age of urbanisation, industrialisation, mass movements, voters and consumers – that, by now, has hit the sandbanks.
Meanwhile, during this time, the world’s population swelled from one to eight billion. Paradoxically, as the crowds grew, with it came the breakdown of families and communities. And, guess what, an underlying theme of Aquarius is human collectivities, our individual involvements in them and our feelings of belongingness. Our sense of identity hangs around the social groupings we identify with.
Together with Uranus (85ish years) and Neptune (165ish years), Pluto tends to influence underlying, history-spanning issues – the rises, transitions and declines of megatrends, nations and peoples. Except during rare moments when we see current events in a more historic perspective, we tend to ignore such critical tilts in the drift of history. But these moments do hit us. The fall of the Berlin Wall was not just an isolated dramatic event – it marked the end of a chapter and the start of a new one, a key tipping point in the tilting of wealth and power from North to South and from West to the East.
We all thought it was about the capitalist and socialist worlds. Yes, it was, but it was also a power shift from the urban-industrial-materialistic North to the South, itself part of a still larger process, levelling up the Global South and levelling down the Global North. And this, wait for it, is a preparation for something even larger, which will be relevant by the latter half of this century – the eventual global integration of humanity into one planetary people.
Out of necessity: the big issues before us are global, and humanity’s divisions and inter-tribal frictions, though still relevant, are getting in the way. In this context, the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, or the rivalry between China and America, are already rather obsolete as a way of solving our world’s current main pressing problems.
Pluto has been dragging through Capricorn for 16 years, and this also marks the end of a 35ish year Capricornian period, beginning in the 1980s-90s when Uranus and Neptune chugged through Capricorn. The transition to Aquarius marks a shift of focus. We’re emerging from a time of the Megamachine – finance, technology, institutions, corporations, regimes, oligarchies, laws and regulations – to a time of people and crowds, of very human and societal issues. It concerns the collective wisdom and madnesses of people in our millions.
Classic symptoms of this shift are the people scenes we’ve witnessed in the Turkiye-Syria earthquakes and the Ukrainian war. Two aspects of the Aquarian dilemma present themselves: in Ukraine we’ve seen the power of social solidarity in response to man-made threat, and in Syria and Turkiye we’ve seen social disintegration and helplessness, decreed by the full force of nature. Both provided suggestive images for the future, prompts that draw our attention to a basic hard fact of public and social life.
That is: we hang together or we hang separately. The choice is ours.
It’s that simple. What matters more: shared interest or self-interest? Global or national-regional-local priorities? Where do we as sovereign individuals stand amidst an eight billion strong throng? Covid-19 and its lockdowns flagged up these issues for all to see, starting a process which will escalate over the coming decades.
The image of People-against-the-Megamachine has been symbolised in the many uprisings and protests of the last few decades, recently in Belarus, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Peru, Sudan, China and other places, and in the Arab revolutions. These were based not on high-faluting philosophies or beliefs: they were straight expressions of human need and preference. While Pluto was in Capricorn, the People lost.
But this is changing – and that change could be a mixed blessing, not only for those at the top of the Megamachine. This concerns the dynamics of public sentiment, opinion and collective action, which sometimes is inspired, sometimes brutal and unfair. We’ve seen a lot of polarisation in recent years – the opposite dynamic to what is needed right now. For in the 21st Century, together we stand and divided we fall.
Here we come to the battle for the hearts and minds of humanity. I’m not talking here about Russia against NATO, Iran against Saudi Arabia, Palestinians against Israelis or people on the streets against the army, or any other divisively oppositional scenarios that the media do love to exaggerate. It’s not about goodbuys and badguys, Us and Them, or right and wrong – though these, on a certain level, are nevertheless relevant. It goes much deeper.
It’s all to do with a deep-rooted condition that emerged millennia ago, a fundamental perception of threat – threat against which we must fight and defend ourselves. It is rooted in a belief that They, over there, are different from Us, and that We are more important, right and good than They are.
It’s a mindset, a projection, a mega-meme rooted largely in past pain and in fear. It’s a set of pre-programmed, knee-jerk reactions that can easily be manipulated by anyone with a neat narrative to spread around, if it hooks into a lurking public feeling bubbling up from underneath. It rests on a feeling of victimhood, which that lot, the badguys over there, are to blame for.
Israelis call this hasbarah – repeatedly accusing the other side of intentions and crimes that our side is itself doing. It provides cover and justification for many bad things to happen. It’s often aimed at the wrong targets too: Palestinians often say, “Why are Israelis having it out with us, when it was the Europeans who gave them such a hard time?“.
In any rivalry or conflict, both parties play a part in the same game. This doesn’t make them equal or relieve the primary perpetrator or the stronger party of its own responsibility. But both sides are in the same game. They see badness in the other side, believing that they themselves are not like that. But the trouble is that, at least to some extent, our side of the argument is always flawed. As Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount: “Thou hypocrite, first cast the plank out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote of dust from thy brother’s eye“.
Brits and Germans, though neighbours and of the same blood, still live under the lurking shadow of two world wars. It came up over the supply of tanks to Ukraine. The Brits were enthusiastic because we have a winners’ mentality and almost desperately want to keep it that way, to prove that we aren’t as small and insignificant as we actually are. Such victors’ bravado conveniently obscures the war crimes we committed in WW2 such as the systematic bombing of German cities – which, when the Russians are doing the same in Ukraine, we find to be abhorrent. Meanwhile, the Germans were understandably reluctant to enter another war, for historic reasons – some would say guilt, others would say a sense of responsibility.
These shadows from the past cloud our responses to real-life situations now. They are cover-ups and avoidances. International relations are riddled with this stuff.
Dig deeper down and, in Ukraine, we’re faced with a dilemma. Most people would prefer to avoid war but we don’t usually do the necessary work in advance to stop it happening. There is a current risk of civil war in USA, and not many people are doing anything about that – Reds and Blues simply think the other side is plain wrong, and that’s that.
Sting once sang, ‘The Russians love their children too‘, yet today we Brits, and NATO, are busy killing those very children, conveniently using Ukrainians as our proxies, and feeling somehow glad when lots of Russians die. Even so, there is good reason to support the Ukrainians in their plight. However, we didn’t pay attention to proper peace-building processes in the 1990s. We failed to see that NATO and EU encroachment on Russian security space would cause trouble – even though some observers, including me, raised this matter back then.
Many of us are thus caught in a dilemma: on the whole we support peace, but in this situation we support Ukrainians in fighting a war. This is problematic, but it highlights a key issue: if we wish to avoid wars, we all need to unsubscribe from the habit of projecting threat on the other side. And that lies at the core of the battle for the hearts and minds of humanity.
The underlying problem here is, to quote Mahatma Gandhi, ‘An eye for an eye turns the whole world blind‘. The end-product of most conflicts is not resolution of the issues at hand, but damage, devastation and consequences cascading from it – such as food shortages and economic disruption, in the case of the current war. Often I quote Bertrand Russell here: ‘War is not about who is right, it’s about who is left‘.
Cities can be rebuilt and battlefields can become farmland again, but the damage to people is worse and deeper. Dead people can’t be brought back, and the living bear the scars of trauma, shock, hardship, atrocity and the sheer ugliness and pain of conflict. It lasts generations, even after the memory fades.
I’m not naively suggesting that everyone ought to just declare peace and go home – it just doesn’t work like that. Conflicts have their reasons, they can be complex, and both sides have a point. Conflicts end when both sides accept that there is no gain in carrying on. Half of all conflicts end simply because of weariness.
The main issue here is mindsets: are we against other people and their leaders, or are we all in the same boat? This same issue concerns the world’s ecological and climatic crisis. We won’t succeed with the 21st Century by continuing our ongoing war against nature, animals, enemies, competitors – and ourselves.
We’re stuck in a vortex of competitiveness, attack and defence. In our personal lives, the same mentality is cloaked in neatly ‘civilised’ ways like dressing up, pursuing careers, buying houses, insuring ourselves against risk or even, in my case, ‘fighting cancer’. It’s a mentality of us-against-the-world.
Yet it is destroying the world, making humanity even more unhappy and threatened. It’s a self-destructive momentum where, the rarer and more exhausted anything becomes, the higher its price and profitability – our economic system leads inexorably toward extinction. As natural environments are cleared and communities die off, young generations grow up without knowing they had even existed.
The emergent paradigm of the 21st Century is different. By necessity it’s one of cooperation, arising from the bottom-line observation that we are all in the same boat whether or not we like it, and we sink or swim together. This is a pragmatic, sensible, economic solution, no longer idealistic. This is being presented to us in the current drift of events. There is mighty resistance to this paradigm shift, taking the form of social and political polarisation, exceptionalism, populism and fear of being overcome by change.
In many countries we fear being flooded by migrants, whom we believe will change our societies and take away our privileges and comforts. Well, we did it to native Americans, Africans and Aboriginals, so, as Aussies would say, fair dinkum.
Such resistance can take softer forms in which we favour change as long as it doesn’t affect us. Or we make a big fuss over anything we might lose – the plenteous food and consumables, or the perceived right to assert our personal freedoms whatever the cost to others. We forget that only some of us have such privileges, while the rest pay the full price.
There’s more to this Aquarian question. It concerns social control and the capacity of masses of people to control ourselves. In the digital era new forms of social control have crept up on us while we have studiously avoided getting our heads round it.
The trouble here is that railing against people at the top is only half of the issue, and it’s rather an avoidance and escape. Collectively we permit them to do what they do by failing to stop it. The real issue here is social solidarity, vigilance and the behavioural changes we need to make if we really do believe in freedom and social-economic justice.
This issue arose in the Arab revolutions and in many uprisings since then. People come out onto the streets to protest over issues they face but, if or when the regime falls, people are often not organised to handle what follows. Or repression from above or intervention from outside squash, corrupt or divide the movement for change.
So this goes deep. Inevitably, the need for self-preservation can override the urge to sacrifice ourselves for the general good. Revolutionaries still need to pay their bills if they want a home or to support their family, unless they retreat to the jungle or escape the country, thereby marginalising themselves.
Meeting up with disillusioned young revolutionaries from Egypt and Syria twelve years ago, I found myself telling them my story. The uprising I was a part of, like theirs, didn’t succeed, and it led to a decade of pain and self-examination for its participants. Since then, to the extent I could, and with others, I’ve tried contributing toward a deeper, psycho-spiritual and behavioural change.
Standing on the top of a mountain at age 22, I made a commitment to give my life to helping the world tip into irreversible positive change. I had realised that a mass change of perception and consciousness is the key. Well, the world hasn’t tipped – yet. Now, near the end of my life, I’ve had to let go of that ‘in my lifetime’ bit, though I still believe we’ll get there. But I must still own up to a bottom-line truth: this is a belief, not a foregone conclusion, whatever I might hope for.
Yet in my life I’ve had multiple demonstrations that the new paradigm works – recently readers of this blog have shown that their remote healing efforts do indeed work. Or, larger-scale, I’ve been involved with circles of people where we have worked on a world issue, such as forest fires or the Bosnia war and, shortly afterwards, a fundamental change to such situations actually occurred. While we cannot definitely prove ‘we did that’, it nevertheless is the case that we did the consciousness work and the fires were doused and the war came to an end. Though it doesn’t happen every time.
It all boils down to a simple rule: together we stand and divided we fall. When people work together, acting with one mind, miracles can arise. A miracle is an event that no one thought possible until it happened. It’s one-mindedness that is crucial here.
Here’s the punchline. The pressure of crises, together with the Aquarian themes mentioned above, point to a likely existential crunchpoint, a time when our very existence on Earth comes into question – not just theoretically, but, like, now, this week. Even presidents and billionaires will share in such a fate. There is a possibility that such a sitation could catalyse a deep realisation, an emotionally-powered thought that, above all, and whatever it takes, we must survive and we must get through. Or we’ve all had it. Even if some people survive, it will not be a happy outcome for them.
That, ladies and gentlemen, represents a potential for a breakthrough and a miracle that no one thought possible: a global one-mindedness in which everyone everywhere – or at least, enough people – have one shared thought, and they think and feel it powerfully.
Which leads us to the bottom line. Whatever our disagreements, it is not a case of who is right and who is wrong, who will win and who will lose. For in the end we all lose. Or we all win. That’s the formula.
In the last year I’ve had some crunches and battles in my own life – with cancer, with my ex-partner’s departure and with a few other issues, and in West Africa I’ve been caught between two parties battling each other and killing people in the process. A big lesson I’ve been re-learning is that true victory lies in everybody winning together. It’s a neat notion that’s not difficult to subscribe to, but carrying it out in real-life terms is another matter, and it’s taking all I’ve got to do that.
Because we do hang together, or we hang separately. That’s the way things are. So the battle for humanity’s minds and hearts goes really deep. It’s a button-presser, confronting all of us. It involves making friends with and profoundly understanding even the people that we don’t like or agree with. That’s how we’ll get through the 21st Century.
In my own life and in yours too, this is the issue. Events are shepherding us painfully in that direction. I can’t say I’ve succeeded with this in my own life but I still have thunder in my heart, running up that road, running up that hill. It’s quite a struggle, but then, that’s one reason we’re all here, isn’t it?
With love, Paldywan Kenobi.
If, like me, you have sufficient madness to be into astrology, try this chapter about the outer planets in history, from my 1987 book Living in Time. If you’re seriously mad, try my Historical Ephemeris, an astrological resource about the way planetary motions influence the tides of history.
You must be logged in to post a comment.