Thursday 28 April 2022

A Dehumanised Future

 We supposedly live in a humanistic age, one in which mankind is central and owes nothing to anything or indeed anyone beyond itself. We are our own justification. We celebrate ourselves, and our art, politics and science are all based on expanding our knowledge and deepening our fulfilment of ourselves as ourselves. For some our potential is limitless but it is still our potential as human beings even if we bring the universe into it on some abstract or quasi-spiritual level.

What we don't realise is that humanity restricted to humanity is doomed to a solipsistic nihilism, however much we may give our fundamental emptiness a false glamour. The human being can only find any real fulfilment when it goes beyond itself. In fact, the human being is only properly human when it understands itself to be more than human. Humanism actually means separation from God so it is an anti-spiritual philosophy. Truth to tell, it is an anti-human philosophy because the human being without God is destined for death.

We don't live in a humanistic age. We live in an inhuman age. We cover up that grim reality with technological distractions and false ideas about ourself. We are lost, on our own, floating off into the void. We are so insane that people who are aware of this are regarded as mad or childish because they, so it is said, cling onto fantasies. But the biggest fantasy and the greatest arrogance is that we can live without God. Remove the artificial supports that modern human beings have, take away the elaborate structures we have built up to keep out reality and most people might reflect a little more deeply on what they are and what they should be.

The ground is being prepared for the incarnation of a being known as the antichrist by Christians who is probably the same as the one named Ahriman by the spiritual philosopher Rudolf Steiner. This is that aspect of evil which seeks to bind human beings to the material world and cut them off completely from the spiritual. The advent of this being has been prepared by our reduction of life to what can be weighed and measured. Our modern arts, science, politics and philosophy and even medicine have all been pressed into service to accommodate the ends of this individual who may already have been born. Even religion, which now focuses on materialistic humanitarianism more than true spirituality, serves the ends of antichrist/Ahriman. When he appears he will not be obviously evil like some of the despots of the 20th century. He may even appear benign by the materialistic standards we have built up over the last 2 centuries. But he will seek to divert us from true divine understanding and spiritual life. We need to understand that anything or anyone that promises happiness and fulfilment in this world, whatever it calls itself, is not of God. That doesn't mean that hardship and suffering are good in themselves. That also can be a false path. But this life is intended to serve the greater life and can never be justified in itself. 

The current state of the world has been brought about to make us ripe for the picking when the antichrist arrives. But God has not abandoned us. If we can see through the lies we become spiritually stronger. The lies are permitted because they must be brought out into the open in order for us to overcome them and that which corresponds to them in our own souls. If they were not made manifest and outwardly present in this way we would not be able to defeat them and nor could we deal with the same tendencies that exist within ourselves. There is risk involved. The darkness can overwhelm us or we can use it to see the light more clearly. But we are, or should be, spiritual adults now and we can only progress spiritually by facing reality and dealing with it. God will protect us but he will not overprotect us for then we would never grow up.

Ahriman/antichrist has many servants in the modern world, most of whom don't know they are his servants even though they serve his agenda and prepare his way. I would go so far as to say that more or less everyone in the public eye who has any form of power serves his agenda. If they didn't they wouldn't be there. This will only become more so. The plans are laid for complete control of human consciousness. That's not just control of human beings but control of human consciousness. The best slaves are willing slaves and that is what Ahriman wants and what his agents are currently working for in preparation for his appearance. We have to be aware of this. Preserve your freedom. God gave us complete freedom, making us free even to reject him. No one and nothing can take that away but you can give it away. Never sell your birthright, no matter what is offered in exchange for whatever is offered is worthless really. Stay free.

Saturday 23 April 2022

Spiritual Routine

 You might think these two words don't belong together. One suggests love, beauty, mystery, glory, the undiscovered country. The other seems dull, boring, workaday, uncreative, unimaginative. One is a mystic on a mountaintop. The other is a clerk in an office. However, as far as life in this world is concerned, they very much do belong together.

When one starts on the spiritual path in any serious sense one is full of enthusiasm (literal meaning, possessed by a god) for the journey ahead. Great vistas seem to open up and life seems to be about moving into more and more magnificence. For a newcomer to the path the world can seem irradiated by light. We are often impelled to this new life, new birth, by an experience of some sort which temporarily lifts the veil between this world and the next. We imagine this is just the beginning of a glorious journey.

And so it is. But this journey can be a long, hard slog. The excitement of early days may soon dissipate as the reality of the spiritual path kicks in. For the path is not about higher states of consciousness or bliss or happiness in this life. It is about work. The work required to make your soul a fit receptacle for God. The cleaning, polishing work, the removal of dust, dirt and deeply engrained stains work, the work required to address bad habits of a lifetime (or of lifetimes). It is to do with knowing yourself and facing up to facts about yourself you may not like and which you suppress. The path has the habit of unearthing all that and confronting you with the reality of what you are which is good because you can't get into heaven with any darkness in your soul. You can't cheat God.

The routine of spiritual life is what is required for the work you need to do on yourself. The Masters told me over 40 years ago that my life must continue in a routine, in fact, until I left my physical body. Such has been and continues to be the case. There is nothing glamorous about proper spiritual work. Of course, there can be moment of upliftment but we come to Earth to work and get to grips with what holds us back from deeper engagement with the source of life and divine being. Here is the perfect environment for that. But most of the time it is not exciting so don't expect it to be. In fact, if it is you should probably ask yourself what has gone wrong. Have you been led off the path by some temptation to the lower self, that self that is always looking for gratification of some kind?

Monks used to be warned that if they received too much what was called spiritual consolation or divine sweetness and what we nowadays call higher states of consciousness, visions, ecstasies and the like, it could well be the other fellow rather than God who was bestowing these. You can be a spiritual libertine as well as a sensual one and this was the trap that many New Age enthusiasts or those who looked to the East or to some exotic guru for enlightenment fell into. You become a spiritual pleasure seeker and forget that what is really required is sanctification of the soul and this demands self-abnegation, acceptance of discipline, humility and hard work. The rewards are greater than we can conceive of but they are not in this life which is about preparation for the feast not the feast itself.

Tuesday 19 April 2022


 We live in a world of constant distraction and the result of this is that we are endlessly driven to seek new stimulation. It has to be admitted that even reading and writing posts on a blog can fall into that category if we are not careful. You can see why all proper spiritual authorities insist that the spiritual life should be one of discipline that to the outer eye might even seem uneventful and dull. Distraction means we never settle inside. We never find real calm or peace. We always must be moving on to the next novelty to revive our jaded souls. But just for a minute and then we must move on again.

This has always been a problem for human beings seeking God which is why the early monks would withdraw to the desert or else to remote islands where worldly distractions would not disturb them. They would be left in the company of only their own soul and they could confront its problems directly, without having anything to entice them away from it. But now the situation is far worse than it has ever been as modern technology has given us the opportunity to be distracted 24 hours a day if we choose. I remember when I was young often feeling a bit bored but you learned to live with the boredom or else found something constructive to do. The young today are unable to be bored and this, though it may not seem so, is their great loss. They cannot be blamed. They live in a world of easy and constant and excessive distraction which is virtually impossible to resist. They are, quite literally, being taken away from their souls.

Fasting is a traditional spiritual practise designed to reduce stimulation to a minimum. Stimulation is bad or can be bad because it exteriorises us. It pulls our attention away from the reality of our inner life and being into a constant stream of worldly impressions, always moving, always changing, never still so always shallow. The principle of fasting can be applied to other areas of life than that of food. Meditation is fasting of the mind and for any spiritual person, I am tempted to say for any person, spiritually inclined or not, fasting from technology is essential. It is becoming more difficult to do this by the day but that only means it is even more important to try to free oneself from the tyranny of technological devices which are expressly designed to distract. You empty your soul into them and you get an immediate hit but then there is emptiness so off you go again.

The distracted person is a superficial person. He lives on the surface of life, always looking for its glitter but never seeing the source of the light. As a consequence he must always seek more and greater distraction. His attention requires more stimulus in order to be engaged. He will be restless, emotionally unstable and increasingly unable to deal with pain and sorrow because for him life has become all about entertainment. Don't think this just afflicts the uneducated. The sophisticated intellectual type is affected  by his sophisticated intellectual distractions in just the same way.

We can't sit and do nothing, not for long anyway, and nor should we. But we should make every effort to avoid the temptation of constant distraction. Jesus told us to watch and pray. This means focus on the inner world. Give your attention to the realties of spirit and seek to understand your own heart and how it might be led astray by worldly distractions. For there is a real sense in which too much distraction can lead to spiritual destruction.

Sunday 17 April 2022

The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

 This is one of the great masterpieces of Renaissance art. It forms the centre panel of the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyk and was completed after several years' work in 1432. The picture depicts Jesus as the Lamb of God standing on an altar in a meadow with angels in immediate attendance and various groups of worshippers surrounding the central figures. In the foreground is the Fountain of Life from which gush out the waters of life unceasingly, and above, wreathed in golden white light like a spiritual sun, is the Holy Spirit represented by a dove. Those adoring the Lamb in rapt contemplation are, at the top, male and female martyrs on left and right, some of whom can be identified, then, at bottom right, the 12 apostles who are kneeling with various saints behind them and, on the left, Old Testament prophets and pagan philosophers and writers including Virgil who is holding a laurel wreath. In the background are the towers and spires of the New Jerusalem and the golden rays coming down from the Holy Spirit bathe the whole scene in a kind of numinous quality. There is a great attention to detail in the painting of the trees, flowers, garments and so on which serves to create a heightened sense of reality. And an extra dimension of wonder is conveyed by the lamb's face which appears almost human without in any way being caricatural. Here it is after recent restoration.

The painting gives the impression of a real scene from the higher worlds, capturing a moment above earthly time in which the act of adoration is carried out as a constant paean of praise. The rich colours, the light emanating from the Holy Spirit, the stillness and intensity of the worshipping figures and the majesty and power of the Lamb all convey the sense of something profoundly real beyond this world. 

I have never found the image of Jesus as the Lamb of God particularly attractive. If he is going to be an animal I'd prefer him to be a lion like Aslan though I understand the reasons behind the lamb symbolism. But this Lamb has the majesty and power of a lion without it seeming in any way less lamblike. Somehow it seems to show the Risen Christ in all his glory.

Note: I apologise for the somewhat messy spillover of the pictures onto the righthand side of the blog but I thought it better to include the image in as large a size as possible. If you click on the pictures you should be able to see them properly.

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Stabat Mater

 There are a number of wonderful settings of the great 13th century hymn describing the sufferings of Mary at the foot of the cross on the first Good Friday. It obviously inspired many composers and still does if you look at the list of those who have put it to music. Among my favourites are those by Josquin, Palestrina and Pergolesi written when he was only about 25. But my very favourite is by an English composer and not, I hasten to add, for patriotic reasons. It really is extraordinary and contains some of the first word painting which is normally thought to have originated about 100 years later at the dawn of the Baroque period with masters like Monteverdi.

This composer lived in the latter half of the 15th century and his work is preserved in the famous Eton Choirbook which is a collection of sacred music for liturgical use, mostly dedicated to the Virgin Mary and including several Stabat Mater Dolorosas. John Browne may have a common name but his music is anything but ordinary. In fact, it is some of the most dramatic religious polyphony ever written with one famous example being his setting of the words Crucifige, Crucifige in which the clamour of the baying mob seems to depict the hammering of nails into the cross. But this alternates with more peaceful and reflective passages of great beauty, and Brown juxtaposes the full choir sections with settings for reduced voices with extraordinary skill. The piece is about 15 minutes long and not a note is wasted.

I actually found the first version I ever heard on Youtube and here it is. It's an early recording of The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers and for me has the passion of youth before professionalism takes over. Not that they aren't very professional here.

Stabat Mater

The Crucifige section is at 8.10. But little earlier at 6.54 the music shifts gloriously into the major at the lovely words Stabat mater, rubens rosa (the Mother stood, a blushing rose). And as with many of these English pieces of the period there is an extended Amen starting at 14.10 which brings the whole piece to an exhilarating conclusion. This is one of the most extraordinary musical compositions of any period and if you think that is hyperbole have a listen.

Saturday 9 April 2022

I Am God

Don't worry. I haven't taken leave of my senses. I just want to address a common spiritual misunderstanding. Common, that is, for those who move a little way beyond conventional religion into the idea that God dwells within us and can be known directly, but not far enough to see how He dwells within us and in what way He can be known. This is all one with many forms of Eastern mysticism. I am God. You are God. We are all God. Everyone is God. Everything is God.

Actually, this is true but only up to a point. God is indeed within every bit of His creation which could not be unless He was so present, but He is also transcendent to it and His transcendence ontologically precedes His immanence. Put another way, He is immanent in part but transcendent in toto.

I want to keep this simple and not go into elaborate differences between pantheism and panentheism. I will leave that for the philosophers. But I will say this. God is in everything but at different degrees of closeness. For Christians He is fully in Jesus but He is in everyone. However, you can only know Him to the degree that a) you have opened up to Him - this is faith or acceptance, and b) that you are able to manifest Him. A pint pot cannot contain a gallon of liquid let alone a whole ocean full. And the ocean that is God is infinitely large.

Therefore, while I may be God if I am fully transparent to Him through faith and a wholly purified soul, even then I am not God as God is God. I don't even approach that. God may be in His creation but He stands outside it in His fullness and no created being can ever know the wholeness of God. What that being can do is become attuned to God and thereby become godlike, and from that initial stage become ever more aware of the unplumbable depths of God, but he can never be God.

The mystical forms of religion and esotericism, both East and West, that identify the soul with God are confused. They mistake a star for the source of light. It is, forgive me for saying this, the error of the spiritual beginner. Or else, and forgive those that succumb to this, Satanic inflation. I am God and you are God insofar as God dwells within us and can be known as the ground of our being. But I, William Wildblood, am not God and never will be in the whole of eternity. I may eventually grow so far into God as to be able to wield godlike powers, as may you, but that is an entirely different thing. The gap between created and Creator can be bridged but it can never be completely overcome.

That's what I think.

Tuesday 5 April 2022

Learn From the Past But...

 We live in a time when the past is more within our reach than ever before. We can access ancient works of literature, art and religion from within our own homes. Almost all the learning of humanity that has been preserved is at our fingertips should we choose to search it out, and more is regularly unearthed. But, at the same time, our connection to the past is being systematically destroyed. Tradition, through which our forefathers were linked to the past, is rejected almost completely, and modern education focuses increasingly on the modern world to the exclusion of earlier times. Even history in the UK, I am both amused and disturbed to find, seems to be centred on World War Two with an occasional nod to the Tudors.

When you are separated from the past you are at the mercy of those indoctrinating you in the present time. You no longer have a wide palate of thought and various differences of approach to explore and thereby enrich your mind. You are marooned in a world in which only one way is allowed and if that way is, as it now is, atheistic you are cut off from any proper idea of God who will still be around but only as an outmoded superstition. Many people today think that religion is childish but that's because their knowledge of it has never progressed beyond the child level. They have never been instructed in religion to any serious degree.

All tyrants try to destroy the past. The tyrants of the present day do exactly what has been done before but they do it more subtly. The end result is no different.

So, it makes sense to seek out the past and give yourself a greater understanding of the world than that afforded by contemporary thought (or lack of it, I am tempted to say.) However, it's not quite as simple as that. Learn from the past but do not be restricted by it. The past has much to teach us but we also have to go beyond it. When Jesus came he built on the law and the prophets. He brought something new but it was adding an extra dimension to what had come before. It did not replace it and without having that foundation his teachings would not have shed the light they did. Truth is alive and what is alive grows. It grows from what it is but it grows all the same. We too need to grow but we grow from our roots. Today, we are being cut off from our roots. Things that are cut off from their roots die.

Friday 1 April 2022

First Things First

 Nothing that is happening in the world today is of any real importance. Let me repeat that. None of the supposed big issues of the moment, whether to do with sickness, war, cultural collapse, problems to do with the weather or the cost of living, none of that really matters. They all seem to matter and they are all being relentlessly pushed as significant concerns which should absorb most of our intellectual and emotional energy. But they do not really matter and should not take up too much of our attention. I don't say that they aren't real in some way and that there won't be consequences, perhaps severe consequences, associated with them. But they are not truly significant.

What can affect you on a profound level? Of course, outer events will have an impact on you but they do not touch you where it really matters. They do not penetrate to the soul level unless you let them. What you should be focusing on now is one thing only. It is your relationship with God. 

The only thing that really matters now or ever is the state of your soul. Let the winds of the world blow as hard as they may. I don't doubt that there are storms ahead but none of them can hurt your soul so long as it remains firmly anchored to God.