Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Tragedy of Feminism

Feminism has poisoned womanhood and the tragedy is so few women see it because they have exchanged their birthright for the appearance of power so they think they are better off.

I am well aware that in making such a comment many people will dismiss me as a reactionary old bigot. It might also seem an ungallant thing to say, though I would say it is precisely the opposite since it seeks to defend femininity against the contemporary assault on it. But, anyway, I am not condemning women for feminism. There is a case to be made that they are the chief victims of it and, whatever its apparent material benefits for them, it is also spiritually disastrous in that it encourages pride, egotism and the rejection of nature. 

The real question, though, is why did feminism arise, and I would point to two principal causes. It is no coincidence that the female rebellion against the male followed the male rebellion against God. When the order of being starts to be overturned from the top then anything goes. If you take away the foundation of truth then truth will crumble. The rest of the building will start to fall down.

The second factor behind the rise of feminism was the irresponsibility of men. If they had honoured and respected women as women, and, while not wanting to dominate, remained true to their masculine role as leader, then women would not have reacted against womanhood.

In making these claims it should not be overlooked that feminism is also, in part, connected to the rise of self-awareness and the (necessary) development in the human being of greater individual agency. From this perspective, it is a good thing and a sign of progress. But it was derailed early on and led away from the direction in which it should have gone to one quite different. Even so the fact that there is an evolutionary good in it (and there is, it's not wholly wrong) should not blind us to the reality that this good has been hijacked and corrupted.

You are born male or female but you have to become a man or a woman. These are archetypal roles which have their lower and higher expressions ranging from biological to spiritual. Neither sex is currently fulfilling that task as it should because neither sex sees itself in the light of God. Consequently, each looks for material and personal self-fulfillment, and that alone.  But men and women can only reach their proper potential and manifest their true being when they turn to God. Unfortunately we have first rejected the Creator and then rejected the natural order that he created. Feminism is a betrayal of the true feminine because it seeks to remake one sex according to the template of the other. Like many falsehoods today it justifies itself by the dogma of equality but God did not make men and women equal. He made them men and women, and our task must be to find full and proper expression as a man or woman. If one sex tries to imitate the other, the whole balance of nature is lost.

Satan knows that if he can corrupt women men will follow. He's done this before and he is using the same tactics now. On the first occasion the man was weak and betrayed the trust placed in him by his Maker. Unfortunately, it looks as though that is happening again. The answer is not for the male to assert himself in a domineering or aggressive way but for him to refuse the lie on the one hand and uphold the reality of God on the other. Harmony can only be restored when the foundation of all truth and reality is recognized and given its rightful place.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Inconsistency and Confusion

Today we still live as though free will were real but the philosophical basis of our culture, which is materialism, would mean, if its implications were properly faced,  it could not be. We would just be passive objects formed and impelled to action by mechanical or chemical but certainly external forces. Even the erudite philosophers who deny free will professionally don't actually live in as though they had none. No wonder we live in such confused and chaotic times.

See the full article is on Albion Awakening.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Music, Sacred and Secular

This piece derives from a conversation I had with someone about what constitutes spiritual music. That is to say, music that potentially expresses a spiritual reality and might even be conducive to helping a listener experience that reality, to a degree anyway. He said that if the composer had a spiritual intention then his music could be called spiritual, and he further thought that words of a spiritual or religious nature could transform any sort of music into spiritual music. I disagreed. The intention of the composer is irrelevant if he lacks insight into what the spiritual really is and interprets it in the light of his subjective limitations rather than being sufficiently open to the objective reality of it. Of course, no one has full insight but there is a big difference between the composer whose imagination, and even soul, is really open to spiritual truth and one who merely aspires to that or who forces it to fit his own idea of it. Moreover it should be obvious that a profane style of music does not become sacred merely by having some spiritual words overlaid on top of it. That might have some ennobling effect but, by itself, it is not enough.
The form of music has its own meaning and influence, and different types of music speak of different psychological states and convey different, sometimes very different, messages to the listener. Words can be added to music and shape the surface message, but they cannot fundamentally alter its basic tone for the music already has its own natural language which remains the primary form and is the keynote to its atmosphere and effect.
Therefore, if you take a musical language that has developed to express physical or emotional states of a particular kind and simply add some religious lyrics, you are not making spiritual music. The words may be saying one thing but the underlying language is saying something quite different, and it is the musical not the verbal content that speaks more deeply to the soul and expresses the real message of the piece.
Most forms of profane music cannot be used to communicate genuine spiritual emotions or states merely by being given a superficial outer coating any more than Gregorian chant would be an effective medium for a pop song.
If you use the style of a profane form of music in a spiritual context then, whatever your intention and whatever words you might employ, you are still making profane music. And the more the musical form you use is linked to lower levels of being and consciousness, the truer that statement is. So, while a Renaissance madrigal, which expresses refined emotion in a refined way, may largely be a secular form of music, its form is certainly less antipathetic to spiritual expression than the crudities of, say, rap to take an extreme example. The musical language of the former is capable of communicating elevated emotion, that of the latter is more to do with physical aggression, and its popularity speaks volumes for the degradation of culture in our day.
Regarding the division between sacred and secular that I have set up here, I should say two things. First of all, it is not absolute. There is a gradation between the two even if they relate to different orders of reality. There is also a cross-fertilization. For instance, Renaissance composers would take a bit of melody from a secular song and weave that into the underlying theme for a polyphonic mass. However, they so transformed the theme in doing this that very little of it was left, and the resulting musical piece was completely in the style of sacred polyphony. A similar thing arose when Bach or Handel re-employed something from secular music in a piece intended for religious use. But, more to the point, the gulf between sacred and secular was not so wide then as it is now. There could be some sort of legitimate interchange. That is not the case with the great bulk of modern pop, rock and jazz and similar 20th centuries musical styles all of which are much more deeply connected, through their strong focus on rhythm, with the physical, and therefore they are more separated from the spiritual than traditional secular music. 
Spiritual music should elevate the soul just like spiritual architecture. It is not intended to excite the emotions or stimulate the passions or arouse the body in a sensual or sexual way which is the aim of much modern profane music.
The music we listen to reflects the sort of person we are, but it also makes us a certain sort of person. It’s a two-way process. Music tends to make us become more like what it isPeople will gravitate towards the sort of music that expresses their hopes and desires but then this music will also foster hopes and desires within the listener that correspond to its own language and form. Those who seek the beautiful and the transcendent will look for music that expresses this and they will tend to avoid music that actively rejects those things. Those attached to the body and lower emotions will gravitate to music that satisfies those desires. Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive but the more someone is interested in the former, the fewer forms of the latter will attract him and some might actively repulse him.
A huge problem today is that many people are never exposed to beautiful music. Their taste is often formed (and corrupted?) when they are young by the commercial and fashionable product of the day, and they then become so attuned to this basic level of musical inspiration that they are unable to progress to something that speaks to a deeper level and demands more input from the listener. There is nothing wrong with profane music (profane means outside the temple) but it should exist within a spectrum of music with the higher clearly denoted as such and the lower (as in relating to more immediately accessible aspects of the totality of the self) also known for what it is. In this way every level of our being is catered for and brought out rather than being over-emphasised or denied. Of course, if this really were the case then many forms of profane music would not be made at all because it would be clearly seen how antagonistic they are to proper all-round development of the soul. I repeat, there’s nothing wrong with romantic music or dance music or even martial music or any sort of music. We actually need all these different types of music. But that does not mean that any sort of music is good. There is music that tends to healthy self-expression and there is music that corrupts and degrades just as there is music that inspires and exalts. You don’t need me to tell you what sort dominates now.
Music is perhaps the most profound of all the arts. It is certainly the most affecting. Its power to uplift or debase is enormous.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

My Snake Stories

This is a rewritten version of something I originally put in the book but cut out due to lack of space. It's also on Albion Awakening.

Between 1980 and 1985 I lived in southern India just outside a town called Yercaud which is 5,000 feet up in the Shevaroy Hills in Tamil Nadu. It's coffee plantation country though with plenty of surrounding forest and jungle as well. I lived in a Victorian bungalow which had been owned at one time by two English spinsters who were the daughters of a missionary who had worked in the district. They had remained behind after Indian Independence in 1947 and apparently become increasingly isolated from the modern world. The flowers in their garden were exclusively various types of white lily, and they would borrow books from the local club (clubs were a mainstay of British India and many carried on after they left) and literally cut out any romantic bits with a pair of scissors. Since none of the books had been published after the 1940s, these must have been pretty mild by today's standards. The sisters, tolerated as local eccentrics, had died in the 1970s and the property had been left unoccupied for several years. 

It was built on the side of a hill and consisted of three levels as terraces had been cut into the slope. The bottom level, adjacent to the road, had a well and a couple of sheds which might have been servants' quarters at one time. Then on the first level there was a small bungalow, which we used as a guest house, and the top level had another, larger bungalow where we lived. Behind that the hill stretched up and it was covered by a sort of scrub jungle. The builders had cut into the granite rock under the vegetation leaving a rough cliff about a dozen or so feet high at the back of the house. Between this cliff and the house was a concrete gulley which ran the length of the house and then down the slope at the side before petering out in the undergrowth below. It had been constructed to take away the waste water from the kitchen and bathing areas which were situated at the rear of the house. This gulley was about 6 inches deep and wide, and open to the sun. 

One day at around midday I was in the kitchen preparing lunch. There was a door at the back of the kitchen which was around 5 feet in width, twice the width of a normal door probably to air the place more effectively. This was wide open since it was a hot day and there was no other ventilation. I was standing at the far end of the kitchen and had my back to the door. Suddenly there was a loud crashing noise. I turned round to discover that a python had fallen down the cliff behind the bungalow and its momentum had carried it forward through the door and almost up to my feet. I estimated it was about 9-10 feet long. There followed one of those time stands still moments. I looked into the python's eyes and it looked right back at me. It was the strangest sensation. I seemed to be looking at something incredibly ancient and completely alien. I understood the mixture of veneration and fear that many cultures had for this reptile. It was a complete mystery. This lasted a brief moment. Then the snake turned round and shot out of the kitchen through the back door, and I did the same but in the opposite direction. But almost immediately I regretted my cowardly retreat and turned back to chase the snake. It was slithering down the gulley. I went after it but it moved incredibly quickly, faster than I could run and was off into the undergrowth before I could catch it up. But I was left with the memory of that brief moment when I had, in some indefinable way, communicated with something totally other. In that instant when the snake and I had looked into each other's eyes all my attention had been focused on that one thing, concentrated on a single point outside of which nothing else existed. For a second there had been no fear because there was complete fascination.

Me with another (smaller) python 30 years later

On another occasion one of the guests at our guest house came running up to the bungalow saying there was a cobra in her bathroom and could I do something about it. A spider I thought I could manage but I wasn't sure about this. The bathrooms in these bungalows were fairly primitive. There was no bath or shower or, indeed, basin for that matter. The facilities consisted of a couple of buckets of water and a small area in which to throw the water over oneself which was enclosed by a little ledge about six inches high to stop the water slopping about all over the place. The water drained away through a hole in the wall next to which there was a door leading to the outside through which the servants had come in the old days to collect the unmentionables. We, however, had moved into the modern world to the extent of fitting proper lavatories as opposed to the traditional so-called thunder box. Anyway, a cobra had crawled in through this drainage hole, presumably to escape the heat. It was lying in the washing area. I had a stick and my idea was to open the latch on the door with the stick and then somehow encourage the snake to leave. I did eventually manage to flick the latch and open the door but the snake showed no desire to vacate the premises. I wasn't helped by the fact that our cleaner was shrieking "Pambu! Pambu!" which is Tamil for snake.

Now, I believe in invisible helpers. I sent up a little prayer for assistance and the thought came into my mind to talk to the snake. So I did. I can't remember exactly what I said but it was something banal along the lines of "Please Mr Snake, would you mind leaving as we can't use the bathroom while you're here". I think the cleaner thought I'd gone mad. The snake didn't budge but I carried on talking and then he finally slithered away out of the door though, if I'm honest, that was probably because of the hysterical behaviour of the cleaner. To her credit, though, she had at least stayed with me in the bathroom while the guest remained safely outside.

When I spoke to this cobra I didn't have the feeling of primeval connection that I had had with the python, possibly because the encounter was not so sudden. But I still felt that here was something almost not of this world, and I again understood why snakes have been objects of religious worship.

A cobra in Sri Lanka. 

Note the beautiful pattern on its hood.

The snake has a dual significance in spiritual tradition. On the one hand, it is a symbol of evil as shown so clearly by its presence in the Garden of Eden and its responsibility for the Fall when it tempted Eve to sin. But, on the other hand, it symbolises wisdom. The cobra in Tamil is called nulla pambu or good snake, and this comes from a story that it raised itself up and protected the Buddha from the heat of the sun with its hood when he was deep in meditation. The upraised cobra on a Pharaoh's headdress is the emblem of his divine authority.

Might the evil aspect be the snake on its belly close to the earth while the wisdom aspect comes into play when the snake is raised or lifted up? And is there, in fact, a correspondence between this and the energy of life, the fiery energy that is within us all and which can either be dully focused on earthly things or, when it is lifted up, directed towards the spiritual? The serpent connects the most ancient mysteries of the earth with spiritual enlightenment, and this comparison was even made by Jesus when he said in John 3:14, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." I am not saying that good and evil are two sides of the same coin here. Rather that the true spiritual goal is not to leave matter for spirit, as the Gnostics thought, but to unite the energies within matter and spirit to make something new, and the snake in its two modes is a symbol of that. This is perhaps why we must be born in a material world in a material body if we are to reach full spiritual potential. There is something in the root of matter, represented by the snake, that can be transformed into conscious light when brought into line with transcendent spirit.