A Night in the Heart of Australia

April 6, 2017

This is an excerpt from a larger article “A Ganma Odyssey” in this blog https://dodona777.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/a-ganma-odyssey-2/

I will post other stories about my travels across Australia so look at this excerpt as if it’s a prologue of sorts.

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It’s been 25 years since I last visited Central Australia. Back then, the Sturt Highway was a two way dirt road all the way from Darwin to near Port Augusta. In 1972, words like revolution, liberation, justice, equality, freedom and peace, rolled off my tongue with a tender passion. Feeling the emptiness in the institutions, the knowledge factories and the general lack of soul in the world I hit the road. Back then I was searching for something. Nowadays, I’m still searching and it seems that the ” R ” word is the only one that doesn’t roll off my tongue so easily. Perhaps it should.
Twenty five years ago I found myself, with little more than nothing, in the heart of Australia. All I had was my canvas pack with a few clothes, a couple of books and some water in a bottle. I had no money. The previous three nights I had slept under the stars along the highway and during the day I prayed for a lift. I was two hours south of Alice heading for Adelaide when I was dropped off at Erldunda, near the turn off to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Across the road a petrol bowser stood as if on guard outside the general shop. A bus arrived and parked a few metres away from where I was standing. I watched the tourists get off. I hadn’t eaten a thing for over three days and I knew that the people getting off the bus would have something to eat. I approached a woman in a white hat as she stepped off the bus. Looking her in the eyes I said, “Excuse me, have you any food?”.

She looked at me with some pity and reached her hand into a brown paper bag pulling out a small green tomato. As she handed me the fruit I sensed everyone looking at me, from the bus driver to the little girl with her face pressed against the bus window. The white hat woman released the tomato into my hand and a ripple of disgust crossed her eyes and brow. I was dirty, I was homeless, a Dharma Bum now just a bum. I accepted the food and turned away from my shame. I noticed someone standing ahead of me in the distance waving, beckoning me to come over.

uluru-kata_tjuta1

Photo © Mark Moxon 1995-2017
All Rights Reserved

I had nothing to lose but everything to gain, holding the unripe tomato in my hand, I walked towards the stranger. As I got closer I could see white hair and a white beard on the face of an old black man. He wore trousers that were a little too big for him and a coat that was a little too small. He smiled and placed his hand on his belly whispering, what sounded like, “Hunger…hunger..” He took me by the arm and showed me to his home by the highway. It was a lean to humpy with a corrugated iron mulga branch roof. Some old flour bags were scattered on the dirt floor to sit on. He shared with me some milk arrowroot biscuit pieces and a powdered milk drink in a tin cup. He let me stay the night. The shop with the petrol bowser had switched its lights off. During the night, nothing much was said between us – the silences, with the occasional bark of a lone dog, said it all.

In the centre of Australia I saw that the dispossessed ones were the generous ones. We non – indigenous ones take and take while these people, the original ones give and give. Twenty five years later, in 1997, our government wants to stop the original people from reestablishing their culture and reconnecting with their land. Extinguishing the recently acquired native title rights is the equivalent of stealing what little these people have and giving this little to the rich, whether pastoralists, miners or just greedy transnational corporations. Will we the non – indigenous ones ever learn? So, 25 years later I was returning with a hunger so subtle that you’d miss it if you weren’t seeking it. It’s a hunger for something which may transform the hole in my being to the whole.


A Walk Through Sydney Botanic Gardens

April 3, 2017

Last week I walked through Sydney Botanic Gardens and took these photos with my phone camera. The day was overcast and I found myself drawn to textures and shapes.


Denial of Racism is Racism.

March 9, 2017

Below is a recent twitter thread talking about bullying and racism. I remembered an incident when I was a teenager walking with my mother from Redfern Station, Sydney to our place. Three Anglo guys stood in front of us and one yelled, “This is what YOU are!”  He rasped his throat and spat a huge glob of green mucus onto the footpath, just missing my mother’s shoe, “THIS! you big fat wogs!” he pointed to the glob. They laughed. My heart skipped a beat, my fists clenched by my side. My mother, looked forward and whispered in Greek, “Ignore them, keep walking.”

Ignore them? Smash the guy’s face into the ground, rub his nose into the green glob, and if there was any dog shit around, rub his face into that too. That’s what was ricocheting in my skull. I kept walking and saw my mother clutching her gold cross near her throat.

Attacking me with racist crap was all part of living in Redfern in those days. But attacking my mother in front of me was another thing. I knew these dicks, my gang knew them and we would get revenge. Our gang was wog only with two Aboriginal kids and we got back at them for the greeny and other crap they did to us. That’s another story.

Someone else told us about her father being hit with a molotov greeny through a car window. Others joined the thread.

Spitting Bogans 1

I then remembered what happened to me as a TAFE teacher and tweeted:

Twitter Insidious Racism

I promised I’d write about it – and here it is.

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I’m not going to use peoples’ real names nor the real region and campus. I’m protecting the guilty because, who knows, they may have changed and feel some remorse. Also, I don’t want to tar a region and a college with the same racist brush because they weren’t all racists. Everything is true except the names.

It was 1988, the Bicentennial of the White Invasion. I was transferred from an inner Sydney TAFE college to a regional college beyond the Great Dividing Range. My friends knew me as an inner city rat because that’s all I lived. Migrants moved to the slums because it was cheap and close to the factory work in the 1950’s and 60’s. For me, anything beyond Liverpool was the Bush. Sure travel through the Bush but not live in it. Snippets of the film “Wake in Fright” bobbed in my mind. An Aussified Duelling Banjos soundtrack played in the background of what I thought it will be like in my new place.

I had no choice but to take this transfer as an English Literature / Communications teacher. My English as a Second Language qualifications were not going to be of any use there. We couldn’t afford the rent in inner Sydney on one wage for a house big enough for me, my wife and five kids.

Upon arrival at my new college I was told the whole region had been waiting for a suitably qualified teacher of English/Communications for over five years. Now they had one.

It was my first ever class in a country college, an initiation into the rural classroom. It was an English class in the Certificate of General Education, TAFE’s equivalent to the NSW School Certificate for those seeking a second chance.

After introducing myself and greeting the class of 15 students I wrote my name on the board. While my back was turned I heard some muttering. When I turned to face the class two students in their early twenties, boy and girl stood up. The guy says, “I’m not having a fucking wog teach me English!”

Before I could reply he and his girlfriend ran out of the class. The other students laughed. I told them I’d be back soon. I saw the two students run down the corridor in the direction of my Head Teacher’s office. I caught up with them as my Head Teacher, Mr Turnip, greeted them.

I said, “Right, you two are not allowed back in my class unless you apologise in front of the class.”

The girl started to cry and the guy stared at me. Mr Turnip put his arm around the girl’s shoulder and said,”Look, just go outside for a while. I’ll handle this.” They walked away with the guy turning his head in my direction smirking.

Mr Turnip asked what happened and I told him. He replied, “But you know Stavros, it IS a bit strange having someone like you teach English.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. From a distance, I  heard faint banjos playing. I replied, “Do you realise what you’re saying? I’m a fully qualified English teacher with an Honours degree in English Literature from Sydney University and a Diploma of Education from the same place. Why is it strange?” I hated telling him my quals and feeling defensive.

He said, “Well, because, you know, you’re not the usual type of person to teach English.”

“Be careful Mr Turnip because you are defending racial harassment.”

Denial of Racism is Racism

“Oh! Come off the grass. What those kids did was not racist. They can’t help being surprised that you are their English teacher.They’re disadvantaged and not used to seeing people like you. Show some compassion.” He folded his arms, ” You take those students back into your class.”

“Sure, they can return as long as they apologise in front of the whole class. They have to do this, otherwise I’ll be a laughing stock to the rest of the class and others will attack me with their racist bull shit.”

“No, you will take them back regardless of an apology. I’m directing you as your Head Teacher.”

“No, I refuse to accept them without an apology and I’m giving you notice I think this whole episode and your attitude is harassment.”

I turned away from him and returned to the class. I never saw the two students again.

I didn’t put in a formal complaint against Mr Turnip. It didn’t seem right in the first week of my teaching in a new college. Needless to say the vibes were tense.  My duties included teaching Higher School Certificate, Certificate of General Education English and Communications classes for vocational courses. There was such a need for my services I had plenty of overtime.

A department from Head Office, Sydney called me. They officiated over the Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC) – a course that prepares students for university study. They told me the Aboriginal community needed  a suitably qualified teacher to both teach and coordinate a pilot program. The local community had been waiting for years for this program. It had never been conducted before in NSW and it was now possible to happen because I had arrived. Wow! I grabbed this opportunity with my arms, legs, heart and brain. It was 1988, the Bicentennial of White Invasion – what an honour to implement this pilot program and to have an opportunity to teach an all Aboriginal class.

Yothu Yindi replaced Duelling Banjos in my heart.

Head Office warned me that there would be many obstacles to overcome to make it happen. As far as I was concerned, like the Blues Brothers, I was on a MISSION FROM GOD!

It’s another story for another time about the travails in getting this course off the ground and the joy of working in it.

Teaching and coordinating this course required me to travel 120 kms there and back to the small college twice a week. I heard there were other teachers who travelled even further to teach in colleges in rural sectors so my travelling was nothing.

One day, after returning from the special Aboriginal program I was called to the Head Teacher’s office for a meeting. Mr Turnip was replaced temporarily because he was promoted for a semester as Deputy Principal. My new acting Head Teacher, Ms String O’Pearls was also the Head Teacher of Adult Basic Education and she felt she could look after two sections for a semester.

There was no smile on her face when I entered the office and sat opposite her. Ms String O’Pearls asked me how I was finding working there. I told her it was OK and a bit of a culture shock for me. I also said I loved teaching the Tertiary Preparation Certificate even though I had to travel a fair distance to do so.

She didn’t smile, there was no spark of life – she just touched her pearls with the tips of her fingers. She said, “I’ve called you for this meeting because there’s been a complaint.”

“A complaint? About me?”

“Yes, well, not a specific complaint just a general statement that you don’t quite fit in here.”

I was aghast. “Don’t fit in here? What do you mean?” Yothu Yindi receded and I could hear the distant twang of banjos once again.

“People have been complaining about the way you talk and gesticulate. You’re pretty loud you know.” Her fingers played with the pearls around her neck.

My mind was somersaulting. As far as I was concerned everything seemed OK. I got on well with my students and I thought with my colleagues.

“What’s wrong with the way I talk?”

“You’re too loud, too passionate – everything is so big,” she said in her staid official tone.

“Wow! You’re kidding me! What about my gesticulations?”

“You can’t stop using your hands as you talk. People say if we tied your hands you wouldn’t be able to speak.”

“Well, it’s been a bit of a culture shock coming here. I’ve often wondered why no one ever smiles in this building. In fact you all may as well have a bag over your heads you’re so expressionless. How do the students handle you?”

“How dare you speak like that to me!”

“How dare you speak to me like this! Fuck! Unbelievable!”

The lines on her face contorted into a weird question mark with her mouth a tiny dot.

By now I couldn’t stop,

“Have you considered that maybe I’m suffering from a double whammy culture shock? You know, I’m the only non English speaking background person here among all of you uptight Anglos AND the shock of coming from inner Sydney – cosmopolitan – to this all white province – except for the Aboriginal people who live away from here. It’s a fucking shock to my system.”

“Oh, come on. You’re nothing special and I don’t appreciate your tone or language.”

“I am special, like we all are. You’re saying I don’t fit in. Well, so what? Have you heard of diversity? You say that staff don’t like the way I speak, act or BREATHE! I’m a Greek Aussie. This is how we are. YOU are a racist and you don’t even see it.”

“Careful! Don’t use terms like that. I’m telling you we don’t like the way you behave.”

“No, you’re telling me you don’t like the way I AM! You don’t acknowledge cultural differences – both ethnic and social – inner city Sydney to this place here.”

“You have been warned about your behaviour.”

I shook my head, looked down at my feet. Exasperated I said, ” You have been told that I consider this whole interview as racist in nature. In fact I’m going to use this experience, if I’m granted an interview for the position of Regional Multicultural Education Coordinator, in the Hunter as a classic instance of systemic racism perpetrated by staff who don’t even see it as racist.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“If granted an interview I will. I’m out of this place. Lucky for me I love my students – especially my TPC students. If I get that job it’ll be the only thing I’ll miss.”

I walked out of the office feeling flustered, upset, hurt and defiant. I wished with all my heart that I would get that job in the Hunter.

Well, I did get the job in the Hunter and I did use the incident with Ms String O’Pearls in my interview. I couldn’t help my self telling her how I used the incident in her office in the interview. I thanked her.

Lets talk about Racism


Swarm Mind and a Trip to the Bay

January 21, 2017

Where there is freedom, there is grace. Where there is freedom, devils play with angels. Swarm Mind chains them through the heart to the Swarm World.

Freedom is the result of not seeking a result. It is a means to an unknown end. It is a state imbued with grace. Swarm considerations expel the soul, and leave only husks of social being.

To be free means first and foremost to be true to one self. To be true to oneself one must give of one self. For it is in the giving that one manifests the growing bud of truth.

We must ascend to Heaven but our feet must touch the Earth. With our renewed energy, a gift from Above, we must allow the expansion of being to radiate into the Earth. This emanation is not from us but from Heaven. We, as men and women, are the medium through which Heaven meets Earth.

Through freedom we move both upwards and downwards , both inwards and outwards. Riding the Devil’s back we touch the sole of God’s feet.

How can I let life happen when I want to control it? The part in me that is the control freak, the “I” in me that seeks a result is the Swarm Mind that lives in me.

Freedom is seeing the Swarm Mind in Me.

swarm

Maybe seeing – vision is the wrong word to describe it. It is always a feeling, a flavour, a quality that no words can describe.

It is to feeling what vision is to sight. This feeling of freedom is Heart clarity.

To get away from the crowd and find some solitude I stay at a place right by the water at the Bay. You get to it by foot, air or boat. If you’re coming by boat, make sure that you can read the stars because modern navigational skills are useless here. Coming by foot doesn’t require star reading but it does require bare feet. Shoes will only get you to a swamp nearby.

Don’t ask me about the physics here. Location is important. The Global Positioning System here, at the Bay, is more astrological than astronomical. Pointing to the moon, looking in that direction, we miss the mark because the Bay is not in Euclidean space.

Psychics – physics – direction – up – down – in – out – close – far – positive – negative – are – all – in – a – continuum, like a multidimensional Mobius Strip. In this Bay, everything is connected to everything else. The higher dimensional frames are big and small enough to banish the Cartesian Spread.

Goethe said, “In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, under it, beside it and over it.” He forgot to add “ inside It ” for this inside is the entry point, the eye of the needle to the world that lies beyond Swarm World.

Inside it, is inside everything on the beach far away from the Swarm World Buzz.

This means that North is the direction our own question leads us. The compass is our conscience. So, to arrive at this Bay we need our own question and an inner need to be free. Free from the Swarm within and without.

The Swarm Mind, in its crudest, buzzes around inside a Bell Jar whose proportions are dependent on the Bell Curve – Consensus Reality – 3 D World – the Vegetative Eye’s view at one standard deviation. To see outside this, is a constant struggle against the hypnotic movement and buzzing of our life’s busy – ness.

We need help to go beyond the Swarm World – a lot of help.

We need help to free ourselves from the Swarm Mind buzzing in our skulls – a lot of help.

We need help to beyond fear and greed – a lot of help.
We also need to function well in the Swarm World because our physical survival depends on it. So, we are in a paradoxical position. We need the physical, emotional and intellectual sustenance that comes from a world we all share. At the same time we must be able to separate from the noise and the Swarm Clouds that come between our vision and another world beyond the Bell Jar. This apparent contradiction is reconciled through its tension and our attention to our need.

I didn’t mention another world? Well, if we seek freedom from the Swarm and the power to see through the Bell Jar, we are accepting another world which can house seeing and freedom.

At the Bay, the 3 D World becomes a porous cube held in place within another 3 Dimensions. The 4th, 5th and 6th dimensions hold the 3 D World together. Swarm Mind is stuck to this 3 D Sugar Cube and does not see or want to go beyond its sweetness.

Swarm Mind’s global nervous system (that is in one of its foetal stages) of telecommunications has connected all continents and every square inch of the earth’s surface by geostationary satellites. Google is photographing every street and house being placed in a Matrix of their Global Map. GPS enabled mobile phones and in car mapping shows that we are now immersed in an electromagnetic mist of data. The Internet of Things includes us.

We walk on earth, we drink water, breathe air, feel the heat of the Sun – what is the experience of electrographic data ( telephone, TV, internet, GPS, satellite communications etc) ? We don’t eat it, drink it or breathe it and yet it is an element of our experience and it is permeating our being more everyday. What are the implications of our immersion in this “matter”, the closest we come to touching Swarm Mind?

Embedded in the Matrix of Swarm World one need never be alone, even if they are in space and location. Why bother getting lost finding the Bay or losing connection with the Swarm?

It’s comfortable here – TV, Internet, home and hearth, family, friends, companions and fellow workers. Why would I want to leave my comfort zone, the zone where I sleep and dream great soma dreams and eat ice cream beside a Merry – Go – Round? Not only that, the sex is great here in Swarm World. Is there sex in your beyond world? Tell me why should I even think about this? What purpose does it serve me to consider my existence as a tiny voice adding to the chorus swarm buzz ?

Leave me alone, with my house, car and beautiful partner, please don’t wake me, shake me or break me.

Yes, these concerns are paper weights on our consciousness. Our flat paper world, the Swarm World, dare not be blown away.

This is why you must need to go to the Bay. You cannot fake need. Either you need it, really need it, like needing to take a breath, needing to pee, needing it – real need, not a wimpy want because you can afford it.

At the Bay, residents need to be there. Some were ship wrecked here and can’t go back to where they came from. Whatever, everyone on the Bay needs to be there. From these spaces of necessity extraordinary and miraculous events appear to take place and some do take place.

No matter how you get here at the Bay, the vision that one sees at the Bay is not framed by Hollywood decrees. Maybe vision is the wrong word to describe the outlook from the Bay. It is always a feeling, a flavour, a quality that no words can describe.

It is to feeling what vision is to sight. Heart clarity that resonates on whatever is at hand.

Bay residents often ask this question: Is there life on Earth or are we just dreaming?


Predicting Election Results with Astrology

April 1, 2016

The chances of accurately predicting an election by pollsters and journalists are pretty dismal. If I toss a coin, there’s a 50:50 chance of being right. That’s not bad compared to some political commentators’ predictions.

A few years ago I came across an interesting article that said nearly 80% of astrologers who attempted, accurately predicted the 2012 USA Election outcome at least 3 months and one 26 years before hand! In his 1976 book “The Astrological Chart of the United States, from 1776 to 2141” Gar Osten wrote that the year 2012 would see the “re-election of the incumbent president”.

Intrigued I looked further into it because an 80% correct result is not bad considering most mainstream media had written Obama off before the election. A prediction 26 years beforehand is mind blowing.

I looked into each of the astrologers’ forecasting methods and predictive techniques. I wanted to filter out all approaches that were foreign to my approach and/or would require a level of expertise I didn’t have. By the end of this looking I found one I could adapt to my approach.

It was the simplest.

Now, I’m aware that most of you reading this have a critical and sceptical view on astrology.

For this reason, I’ve wracked my brains over how to structure what I want to say about the coming election because I use astrology as a tool for understanding life. If I wasn’t using this tool to make sense of current political atmospherics and wrote an opinion piece instead, I’d have no worries. For some reason the mention of astrology gets peoples’ backs up and they immediately throw an Art that works with Time into the recycle bin.

Most people are happy to read opinions and commentary based on other biased opinions and commentary churned out in mainstream media. An opinion based on astronomical data ie number, generated by an active imaginative interpretation of this is “superstitious”. However, an opinion based from within a Press Gallery Reality Bubble is not. Is the Press Gallery commentary scientific? No, just an opinion embalmed in a mainstream media consensus reality.

The stars and planets I’m concerned with are archetypal forces (Carl Jung), mytho-poetic currents within humanity. Astrology for me is a means of exploring the edges of rational thought as it touches the unknown. The horoscope is like a semi permeable membrane, it can suspend the ordinary associative processes of the mind and allow a different kind of attention to manifest. This attention, striking off from the symbolic elements of the horoscope gives a different kind of mind environment. Psychologists call it imagination.

JUng collective unconscious

Diagram from: http://uregina.ca/~lawlorda/jung/jung.htm

This way of looking at astrology is not accepted by most astrologers because it banishes star forces, energies, vibrations etc of the external planets and stars. This way of looking at astrology is troublesome for many because it says there is NO intrinsic meaning to the planets. It also points the way to divination. Divinatory astrology puts it on par with other mantic arts – like Tarot and the I Ching. To many astrologers this is anathema because they like to consider it as a “science”.

Some have referred to this kind of astrology as Hermeneutic Astrology:

Hermeneutics is the study of meaning, of how we arrive at our interpretations of things. In the context of astrology the term implies a turning away from the common assumption that a fixed astrological meaning is simply “there”, in front of us, as some sort of fact of nature. The hermeneutic inquiry in astrology reveals the essential dependency of the meaning of symbols on the act of interpretation of that meaning. Seen in this way, horoscope interpretation involves something other than a supposed pre-existent meaning waiting to be decoded, and depends both on the context in which meaning is sought, as well as on the intentionality of the one making the interpretation.” (Cornelius, Geoffrey, C. 1994. “The Moment of Astrology: Origins in Divination”)

jung archetypes

I like to consider this way of looking at astrology as a poetic interpretation of astronomical data. Poetry from numbers and geometry – active imagination in action. The calculations and the process of symbolising are just a pretext to occupy the conscious mind. The complexity of nuance and context for symbolising engages the rational mind while the REAL work is done by the broader and more holistic unconscious. This unconscious insinuates “meaning” beyond the logical limits of rational “complexity”. So, my manner of working these “complexities” is to treat them as a long Zen Koan and the Sky Map – Horoscope as a Yantra.

One can explore consciousness and imagination deeper and look at the structures of mind and the material that appears as is done in various and diverse ways by Phenomenology. I just like to play on the edge of reason, that spot between sanity and insanity, where all the wild creatures are 😉

Sometimes, in flickering moments, astrologising can be vision. A “vision – feeling” into another world that is holographic in structure, energetic and alive. In these rare glimpses, a human and the universe are seen as the same organism. As above so below, Hermes Trismegistus says. A different relationship exists between things – or at least that is what appears when astrological Sun glasses are worn.

Here are two articles by Geoffrey Cornelius that point to a way I look at Astrology Practice “Astrology as Divination” and “Is Astrology Divination and Does it Matter?”

Below are posts in my blog which give further insight into my approach:

Guerilla Ontology

An Experiment With Astrology and the I Ching 

Astromusings 

An Astrological Turning 

I’m reminded of a Zen saying, “Don’t look at the finger pointing to the Moon, look at the Moon.”

All this astrological stuff is just a pointing finger.

 


The Calling

August 22, 2015

The possibility that thought was matter and that this equivalence may be divided by a number, made every belief housed in my skull obsolete. Meaning was a promise made on the fact of my existence, so I thought. I knew then I had to seek solitude. Why and what solitude meant was just as an unknown as my new predicament. In this moment recognition crept along my spine. At first it was a tingle, a feather gently stroking my skin. From the small of my back up along the trough following my spine the sensation flowed. A place of warmth emanated from the middle, between my shoulder blades.

My body seemed at ease and receptive to some message. I didn’t know what was recognised, only that a call had registered through my nervous system. Who or what was calling?

It was strange how this new ignorance appeared. The recognition was sensed complete with a set of meanings ascribed to without consent of my mind. Could this new ignorance be old knowledge long forgotten? Deep down, beneathe  layers of thought matter was the hidden destiny. This is what I felt. It didn’t matter whether it was a long forgotten bone buried by some equally long forgotten god, or just an abstraction to humour a sense of self. This hidden destiny pointed in a direction away from thought.

I lit another cigarette and walked over to the window. The sky was clear, the thunder clouds were swept away by the afternoon breeze. What was this call that began to sound in my secret emptiness? “Surely bones don’t shape one’s destiny!” I said aloud. Perhaps destiny was too big a word. My skin felt warmer all over, I closed my eyes and concentrated on an image of a candle flame. This was something I did when I was a kid before falling asleep. I felt the in and out of warm and cool air, breathed through my nostrils. Deep inside my chest, the flame burnt steadily, wax the pulse, relativity the breeze. Gentle candle smoke rose and insinuated itself along fissures and walls of my skull. My feet and hands became an extension of an invisible stranger that uses flesh and bone as a gardener uses a spade.

A snake slithered through sounds in the air. Its presence a mere hiss of silence, a soft scrape against a wall. As I looked down onto my hand resting on the window sill I recognised the snake curled up in gold around my Holy Ghost finger, a ring, a gift from a long lost friend.

“Babylon is burning at the end of your cigarette,” she said. She appeared before me with a pitcher of water in one hand and the other holding a glass. The air around me crackled – static on a phone. She whispered, “Tell me, what is a man? Wind blown dust swirling into a cone of events, swinging to and fro, like a pendulum across the face of his quarter acre block?” By now she had me in her gaze, though I could not see her eyes.

With the effort of a Houdini I replied, “I take refuge in my beliefs…..” I repeat this over and over in my mind, a merry-go -round mantra. The guns of doubt click and explode in Russian roulette timing: silent movies, iceberg expectations, half life relics, pantomime gestures. Bang! Frame by frame, every movement a question mark in human animation, every frame subtitled, ” I think, therefore I am.”. The soundtrack ever repeating “I take refuge in my beliefs”.

She placed the pitcher on the table and took a sip from the half empty glass. “You think that the real, natural heart’s,”  she pointed with her long finger , “that thing pumping in your chest. You are seriously mistaken.” She flicked some hair away from her eyes as she spread the feathers of one of her wings. Each feather had inscriptions that looked alternatively Cyrillic then Chinese with Arabic curves, Hebrew endings and Greek beginnings. All this however was just guess work for in truth I had no idea what was written. For all I knew each feather could have been a letter in this alphabet of feathers and the whole word wing a verb with an unknown subject . Perhaps the split between subject and object wasn’t even in this grammar – I was illiterate in the language of angels. I found myself  mesmerized by the area of her wing immediately to the left of her elbow. The letters or patterns were themselves hieroglyphs, or so I thought. I felt here was a mystery – how could something be itself and yet point to something else for its identity?

“This is not the time to labour the point. The whole three dimensional world presented to your senses five is a total illusion. If you could slow this holographic movie down to nearly zero you would find flesh and blood is one step removed from your real body. This real body which you fail to recognise is imperishable. It’s the same with your mind. You think that you think, that you set the perceptual and then the conceptual parameters, that the images and ideas in that psychological space are yours. They are just as synthetic as your heart.”

She stopped talking and stroked the rim of the glass with her index finger. The low hum coming from the glass punctuated the silence. She began talking again in a slightly louder whisper, “In fact your thinking is the thinking of someone else that has passed through your mind. You are property. Thoughts that cruise and fly by in your mind are visitors and have nothing to do with your volition. They enter, stay and leave, sometimes become squatters on their own accord. The cube of mind, a stage and a corridor, a cage and a peeping Tom show through cracks of vision, sound, smell, taste and sensation .”

Her countenace slowly began to fracture, crumble like a clod of dry clay and become translucent – from a Greetings Card angel to a stained glass living sculpture. Gradually her form shattered into many more countless pieces. She became a mosaic of color merging with the window. Like salt in water she dissolved through the glass and became orange streaked twilight dusk.

A snail slithers across the dome skull of history. Echoes, of prophets wailing, a curling shell. Cochlea. Earth. I heard the calling, (my) intent unknown.


Dear TAFE Colleague

August 21, 2015

It’s great hearing from you.  You asked me how I am so here goes ….

I’m sitting here ruminating about stuff.  Kinda like reviewing a movie, a film called “My Brilliant Career in TAFE”.  It has been 5 years since I left TAFE. In the first year images of TAFE World – faces, encounters, engagements, conversations and meetings kept flashing across my mind.  Scenes  rose like steam from a drying towel in the sun. Rather than in a sequence, my mind made it all appear like one of William Burrough’s cut up stories.

When TAFE got rid of Principals it also got rid of access and equity principles. From a college it became a Corporation. My nervous system became programmed to corporate tunes that had nothing to do with education. TAFE gradually became a health hazard to my hopes, dreams and life. Sure, working there helped pay   the mortgage and bills but  I feel  I am still rehabilitating from the “brilliant career”. After   5 years away I am a lot more relaxed and do not feel the need to “perform” to some KPI. Yes, I remember some of those acronyms.

I am getting to know me again.

I remember how afraid I was to leap into the world of university study. Fear may be too strong a word, but I felt I was going to lose my “mindful” innocence,  that the systemic conditioning of my thinking into the University Academic  Mould, would destroy my individuality – my soul.  Yes, it was my own Blakean song of innocence and experience.  It was my own small town version of Paradise Lost. Whatever I feared at the beginning of university became a tool of remembrance   for my  efforts  to work on myself in the Fourth Way. Fourth Way? Yeah, something I couldn’t talk about with any of you.

That’s the other thing. I wanted to tell you that one of the reasons I had to leave when I did was to ensure I didn’t have my second Saturn Return while still working in TAFE.  If I stayed my life patterns showed it would be a disaster   because I didn’t have the courage to follow my heart. I felt I couldn’t say this to you because you and others in the system would just laugh. Little did any of you know how often I used Astrology and the I Ching to strategize and coordinate projects that won national and state quality  awards. In case you’re interested here’s an example that helped introduce English for Specific Purposes Program in the BHP Workplace. No one knew except me and my muse 🙂   This is not the place to explain  Saturn Returns but if you’re interested let me know.

The old Zen images of enlightened Mind  –  “Chop wood, Carry water” and “No Moon, no water” are now hovering around my attitude.  I’m getting something nutritious in just chopping and splitting  logs for our evening fire, painting the new sleeper pine wood pegola and garden boxes with decking oil, planting seeds, cooking, reading and trading at a much more relaxed pace. Ah, trading! Yes, I’m now a Forex Trader. That’s a whole other letter – again, if you’re interested.

I’m reading drafts of many unfinished works and instead of flogging myself with guilt that they exist and NOT finished, I’m just reading them. I’m playing around with ideas and don’t know where it will take me except that I’m enjoying just catching up with my stuff…….catching up with me.

Yes, I know it all sounds narcissistic, and maybe it is,   but I feel  I need to nurture that part of me the Corporate World could not and did not value.

How are you?

Stavros


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