Archive for the ‘mysticism’ Category

Concierto de Aranjuez

July 10, 2013

Concierto de Aranjuez or as it is often known Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto.

The second movement, the best known part of the concerto, is a mystical, haunting, beautiful piece of music, that brings tears to the eyes.

Sometimes a piece of music has a sense of place. This is certainly true of the second movement. It conjures up images of southern Spain, of Moorish Spain.

The concerto was written at the time of the Spanish Civil War. It was a sad time for Rodrigo, his wife had suffered a miscarriage.

Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was blind from the age of three. What may come as a surprise, he was a pianist, not a guitarist.

BBC Radio 4 featured Concierto de Aranjuez in the aptly named Soul Music.

Summer Solstice

June 21, 2013
Summer Solstice Stonehenge

Summer Solstice Stonehenge

Summer Solstice, 21 June, the longest day.

Stonehenge, an ancient astronomical clock.

As the sun rises on the Summer Solstice, the sun is exactly in line with the gap in the circle. There is an outlier stone that is exactly on this alignment.

Stonehenge is on Salisbury Plain, not far from Salisbury. The stones came from Wales.

Salisbury is a cathedral city. The cathedral is by the river.

From a hill overlooking Salisbury, there once stood Old Sarum. From Old Sarum look across the valley. The spire of the cathedral is in line with a notch on the line of hills opposite. The notch is an ancient trackway, that has cut into the skyline. The line from Old Sarum through the spire, to the notch, is a Ley Line.

The location of the cathedral came to a Bishop in a dream.

The Summer Solstice was attended by over twenty one thousand people at Stonehenge.

The Angeli Symphony

May 18, 2013

‘I told my wife I thought I could be a great composer. Understandably, she thought I was deluded. I couldn’t even read music, let alone write it’

I grew up being told I had all the musicality of a brick. I couldn’t read or write a single note; music just didn’t feature in my early years. Instead, my life followed a traditional path – I married my wife, Jo, at 21 and our daughter Emma soon came along. We were expecting another baby when things took an awful turn.

During labour, the contractions stopped and the doctor couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. He performed an emergency forceps delivery, but there were terrible complications. Our baby died and Jo suffered serious injuries during the birth. Her life was in the balance and she needed major surgery.

I was devastated beyond words. I felt like giving up, but I had to hold it together for both Jo and two-year-old Emma. I felt utterly crushed and empty when I went to bed that night.

But as I fell asleep, I had a wonderfully comforting dream. All I could hear was music. When I woke up, I couldn’t stop replaying it in my mind. It wasn’t just a simple melody, but a symphony. And somehow I could identify each instrument and every note.

It felt very odd suddenly to have this awareness, and I wanted to see if I could make something of it. But I was working as a cook in a rural pub in Leicestershire and couldn’t just drop everything.

Jo and I never discussed the death of Ben, our baby son – it was just too painful – and we focused instead on bringing up Emma and our new daughter, Kate, whom we adopted shortly after Jo had recovered. Without an outlet to process what had happened, the music in my dream was a way of grieving for Ben, and the longer I put off recreating it, the more frustrated I became.

I felt desperately trapped and unhappy, and started to drop hints to Jo. “I think I could be a great composer,” I’d say. Understandably, she thought I was deluded. I don’t blame her – I couldn’t even read music, let alone write it.

I loved my wife and children, but I really wanted to see if I could be a composer. Jo reluctantly agreed to let me go to London and she gave me six months; I would keep in contact regularly.

I had nowhere to stay and ended up living in a squat, earning a few pounds here and there. One day I sat on a bench outside BBC Television Centre and a man stopped to chat. He was a musician called Anthony Wade and after I told him my story he listened to the very rough recording I’d made using a guitar I’d bought for 50p. He was amazed by it and told me that it could be magnificent if it was orchestrated, but that would take hundreds of thousands of pounds.

This was a blow, made doubly worse when I discovered that Jo had met someone else. I was devastated, but it made me even more determined to achieve my goal. I set myself the task of earning enough money to hear my symphony played by an orchestra. It took 15 years of working 20 hours a day as a business consultant, but finally I was able to search out Anthony Wade again, who was dumbstruck to discover the homeless person he’d chatted to had raised so much money.

He helped me put together a demo tape and put me in touch with the conductor Allan Wilson, who was initially deeply sceptical. After he listened to the demo, he told me that I had done the equivalent of brain surgery without going to medical school and that it could be a masterpiece.

Allan booked the Philharmonia Orchestra and finally, more than two decades after my son’s death, I would get to hear the music played as I’d dreamed it. As the musicians arrived at Abbey Road Studios, my heart was pounding so much I could barely stand it. I had sacrificed so much to arrive at this moment. Then the baton was raised and I heard my Angeli Symphony for the first time. I was incredibly moved. It was like seeing the birth of a child, as the notes were released from my dream at last.

The orchestra gave me a standing ovation after it was over, but I was so overwhelmed that it was hard to appreciate it. Fifteen years on, I have written another four symphonies: somehow musical ability has been released in me. I will never forget that first one, though – I still can’t quite believe I wrote it.

— Stuart J Sharp

Published in The Guardian.

Seven Stanzas at Easter

April 29, 2013
The Sun - Edvard Munch

The Sun – Edvard Munch

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.

— John Updike

Even the largest jug

April 11, 2013
even the largest jug ...

even the largest jug …

Even the largest jug will become full drop by drop.

What is life?

April 5, 2013
What is life?

What is life?

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

— Eagle Chief (Letakos-Lesa) Pawnee

Deepak Chopra : Physical Healing, Emotional Wellbeing

February 18, 2013

Talk by Deepak Chopra at Dartington Hall, Schumacher College, as part of the Tagore Festival 2011.

Introduced by Satish Kumar.

Santa Maria

December 22, 2012
return of the troubadour

return of the troubadour

Fleury Tableau detail

Fleury Tableau detail


Haunting music, harp and vocals performed by Ani Williams at Rennes-le-Chateau (also see Rennes-le-Chateau), a small hilltop village in the Languedoc area of south-west France. Let us hope Ani Williams puts her music on bandcamp in order that it may be shared with a far wider audience.

This is the setting Kate Mosse uses for her trilogy, also features in The Da Vinci Code, and prior to that in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.

The church was re-dedicated to Mary Magdalene after the 14th century, previously being dedicated to Saint Marie. Originally it was never the main church of the village but a private chapel of the chateau, the main village church being St Pierre aux Liens or Saint Peters, until it became a ruin in 1380 when the village was attacked.

Abbé Bigou may have discovered a secret from the local family who could trace their roots to the Crusades. The family fled the French Revolution, then so did Abbé Bigou. Whatever secret was entrusted, it died with their deaths.

Bérenger Saunière, the parish priest, discovered something, no one knows what (though numerous theories abound) which made him very wealthy for a parish priest. With this money, he renovated the church, created gardens, constructed a large villa, constructed the Tour Magdala (named after the church) and held lavish parties. All of which led to his eventual downfall.

This is the area of the Cathars. One of their myths is that troubadours will bring about their return.

The Winter Solstice in Lincoln was marked by a silent meditation in Mary Magdalene representing the sacred feminine, followed by Lincoln Cathedral representing the masculine, yin and yang.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

December 21, 2012
Mary Magdalene Church

Mary Magdalene Church

Mary Magdalene Church

Mary Magdalene Church

end of the mayan calander

end of the mayan calander

I am the single radiance by which all is aroused and within which it is vibrant…
For the man who has found me, the door to all things stands open…
I am the magnetic force of the universal presence and the ceaseless ripple of its smile.

— Excerpts from Hymn To the Eternal Feminine by Teilhard de Chardin

Today was the shortest day.

At a little wholefood stall in at the Central Market in Lincoln, maybe a new stall as I have never seen before, a little typewritten notice of celebrations for the Winter Solstice.

0700 Walk up Hoe Hill, near Fulletby, near Horncastle to observe the sunrise

1100 Mary Magdalene Church, Castle Square, Lincoln for a silent meditation at 1111.

1130 Tea shop at Lincoln Cathedral.

1530 Heartwood near Branston to observe the sunset.

The only one I was able to make was the silent meditation at Mary Magdalene. Walk to the top of the High Street, then up The Strait and Steep Hill. I must be unfit as hard going.

Mary Magdalene is rarely open, it was a pleasant surprise to find open. No mention of mediation, no one knew what I was talking about.

Rather annoying, very noisy people in the church.

Unbeknown to the church the silent mediation did take place, and luckily the noisy people had left.

But why can people not be quiet in a church? In the main Catholic Church in Puerto de la Cruz, it is always quiet, those in the church are either silent or converse in quiet whisper.

Silent meditation in a church, one very quickly becomes aware of surroundings, every little sound.

Nine people turned up, ten counting me.

I like this idea a group of people unannounced descending on a church.

I walked with them to Lincoln Cathedral. I was curious why these two locations?

Mary Magdalene represents the sacred feminine, Lincoln Cathedral masculine (I assume St Hugh), yin and yang.

Mary Magdalene lies immediately outside Lincoln Cathedral. At Winchester there is a little church immediately outside the cathedral.

Mary Magdalene, an old Saxon church, lies on a ley line (I do not know what evidence). It is also at the junction of two Roman roads. One I know to be Ermine Street, I assume the other to be Fossway.

A little south of Lincoln, where you can still walk on the old Ermine Street, not a modern road that follows the route, is an ancient Templar building.

At least one of the group of nine had read The Alchemist several times (the tenth anniversary edition is currently available as e-book reduced price). I said there was a new book, Manuscript Found in Accra available next year, Aleph was in The Works at a low price, The Pilgrimage preceded The Alchemist, and to check out The Alchemist pen from Montegrappa. And do not forget audio book of The Way of the Bow is free!

Today the world was going to end (the day has not yet ended). A misinterpretation of what Mayans predicted. They predicted a new era of understanding, not the end of the world. (14th Baktun).

Eden People at The Keystone

November 27, 2012

Eden People meet irregularly at The Keystone, tonight was one of those evenings.

I had planned on being at the Keystone this evening, but almost went home, as was very tired, but decided to stay.

Quite well attended, lovely examples of synchronicity.

I was chatting with Michelle, who I had never met before. I do not know why, but we were chatting about Cornish Yarg (a lovely cheese from Cornwall) and Neals Yard in Covent Garden (where I said I was the week before for dinner at Food for Thought and the week before that lunch at Food for Thought).

Her friend ordered something to eat. Michelle ask me was Cornish Yarg wrapped in green leaves. I said yes, nettles. I asked why did she ask? On her friend’s plate was Cornish Yarg!

Philippa arrived and ordered soup. She said it was very good. Chestnut and mushroom. I said no, chestnut mushroom soup.

For some reason she mentioned Neals yard in Covent Garden.

I told her of the impossibility of finding NeverSeconds, and finally finding a copy in Waterstone’s in Guildford.

A hair, I have a hair in my soup, a long hair, but it is not mine.

I explained Martha Payne ranked her meals. One of the rankings was on the number of hairs, because once she found a long hair and it was not hers.

Eden People will next be at The Keystone for a Christmas special evening 11 December 2012.

The Keystone is a pub in Guildford, bottom of the High Street, over the bridge and behind St Nicholas Church.