I absolutely have to catch you up on all my doings in the past month, including movies seen and Cora’s recipe book. But mostly, I want to share the reason (perhaps) why my newsletter has been a bit thin lately, and to thank you, dear subscribers, for continuing on with my newsletter! You are the Golden Ones!
I’ve been a hermit, studying, reading, writing and opening up into a new metaphysical vocabulary. After writing intensely for a time, I landed in a new, more adventurous, realm. Whatever the process, I found myself looking into Platonism, something I’d always avoided as dusty classics ever since an intro philosophy course back in university. Oh, I’d known the references, the literature, but it never actually spoke to my heart. Now, by some magic, it has come to life and I’m avidly studying and learning about the roots of this remarkable ancient way and how it applies to life in harmony with the divine. I’m seeing its mystic pathways.
So here I am: a scribbling, studying, reading, contemplating hermit—exploring Platonism, reading Proclus and others, and taking part in some amazing sessions from the UK-based Prometheus Trust, which offers courses on all levels. (The Essentials course is recommended to start, and it seems very advanced, actually.) Since I spent so many years in the Sufi path, I look for resonances - is it Platonic Sufism or Sufi Platonism? Both. I’m aligning myself anew here, in this hidden-in-plain-sight tradition - coming into geometry and symbology, myth and gods and all that, with new eyes and contemplative attention. I have pages of notes from the talks, and endless papers and books to read, absorb and understand. Not to mention the best of all: what comes up in my mind’s eye as I explore this - it is overwhelming and I can’t get enough of it. Understandings pop up spontaneously. So I’m not reaching out much socially, my days are filled with this contemplative study, looking more upwards, and on the inside toward the divine process of the soul’s unfolding in light.
“All our choices complete the power of the soul.” Quotes like this were quickly jotted down in my notebook, but I don’t necessarily have a reference for them. When I consolidate the notes, the quotes become starting points for contemplation, or they open further as writing starts, since writing is one of my favourite ways of contemplation.
There is a beauty to this path of Plato that glimmers brightly to me, like stars in the night. I think it has done so my entire life and I’m looking back on those connections now.
Some childhood resonances
When I first learned about numbers, I saw them as beings with personalities, best friends, etc. Their coming and going, adding and subtracting, all made the most delightful stories of relationships. I remembered this when I read that Pythagoras had defined numbers as beings with affinities. I lost my sweet relationship to those numerical personalities once the deadening school arithmetic took a stricter hold of me. They faded out like childhood imaginary friends.
Just before the time of my theatre of numbers, I’d quit Sunday school when the teacher had no answer to my question: “What did God make the world out of?” My next childhood obsession— the planets—may have been a partial answer: it became a sustaining contemplation as the numbers faded to the background.
I became planet-crazy, imagining them over and over again, eagerly and greedily poring over illustrations in any library’s science books. I didn’t go for the stars back then, just the basics: sun, moon, and planets. The stars confused me because they were so complicated. I couldn’t understand the constellations, or make sense of those straight lines between stars that supposedly made outlines of creatures and beings.
Second to the right, and straight on till morning
Now I look again at those lines in the constellations. Of course, there is the way-finding element of this early star science: using the ideas of the minimally outlined beings to navigate the interstellar environment of night. “Follow Orion’s Belt,” or “look for the Big Dipper”.
The geometric overlay encoding a “being” or a kind of living animal in our starry firmament. If I accept it, I can imagine these beings as a community engaged in our well-being and education, passing over us through the nights. That can be a comfort. And then those stars could be sending lines down to us. Did they beam those lines especially with all the forces of our life at the moment of birth—an alignment that lasts all our life?
Do the lines of the mind merely project patterns up onto the stars? Or projecting from ourselves with our mind’s eye, are we awakening lines in the soul that were awaiting these contact points? What is behind it all? Why did my so-called education omit all these possibilities?
My interest and study in Platonism is a late in life re-education for me, discovering ancient wisdom to find the pearl of the Western World. I couldn’t see it till now, took it for granted. The shell hadn’t opened for me yet, and so I looked to the East for a mystic path of meditation and contemplation. But there is no the line between the East and West, it is a circle, describing one sphere, one planet, one language.
This ancient way has underpinned our entire Western culture for centuries, emerging and then receding again through each of the ages. Each time, it awakens the influences of the forces of culture that modify and shift our evolution as human beings.
Ah, philosophy: “Love of Wisdom”. I’ve been scribbling away, but haven’t decided how to share my writing on this so you could read it. What do you think?
If you’re intrigued by the painting, link over to the video from Sotheby’s, showing details and background on Leonora Carrington’s Garden of Paracelsus.
A few of the movies I enjoyed since last issue
Yes, I’m a hermit by day but at night, like most of us in these winter months, it’s an ongoing film festival. Here are a few you might want to add to your watch list:
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Call Jane (and the documentary, The Janes)
The Eternal Daughter
Some Easy Recipes for Great Vegetarian Meals!
Last month I mentored Cora Dickson as she complied her free recipe book. Download and try a few of these yourself! Yes, Cora is my granddaughter! And while I wasn’t exactly the always-cooking grandmother with steaming pots on the stove and cookies in the oven, I did help people put together their books and other publications. Those were the pots I stirred, and so it was natural that I could mentor her as she prepared her cookbook. Let me know if you want me to send over a pdf for you to enjoy.
Please consider joining my community of subscribers who help support my work here. From time to time there are special posts for paid subscribers, but mostly I’m sending out free to all. I especially appreciate those of you who have kindly stuck with me from the beginning! I’ll try to get out of the clouds long enough to write to you more frequently.
Till next time!
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