Last night I dreamed of Poseidon. He, the great god of the sea and the rivers, said to me:

“I give and I destroy.”

Blue-eyed tempestuous raging power and strength. You are terrifying. Powerful. 

I woke up from this dream still feeling the presence and power of the god inside me. Some dreams do that. They stay with us. Messages from the depths, asking us to pay attention. They prompt us to journey inwardly and to follow the sacred thread that leads to the gates of the underworld.

The gods have been long forgotten, thread by thread removed from the rich tapestry of our inner lives. So when one meets a god, if even in a dream, it is a precious opportunity to catch the thread and weave it back into life. We need to listen with soft ears, to foster heartfelt connection, bow our heads down and feel their presence. It is through our prayers and attention that we can find those threads and weave them back into the song of creation. This sacred act will offer sustenance to them so that they may come alive in this world that needs their presence more than ever. 

Remembering the gods

Poseidon, you are our beloved old man of the sea. You are the place where the two seas meet. We remember you. Deep inside our hearts, there you rest in the ocean of oneness. I offer myself in service to you, to be a vessel for your presence. 

Your grandfather was Oceanus, the primordial living body of water that surrounded the earth. Oceanus was the partner of Gaia, the living earth. From their union emerged the vast unfolding of life and all the forms of creation. They gave birth to many children. Their sons are the river gods and their daughters the oceanids, nymphs of the watery worlds. 

Poseidon, you are the son of Cronus and Rhea. You inherited the rivers and oceans of earth whilst your brother Zeus inherited the skies and Hades the underworld. All three of you were given the earth to rule over, but you Poseidon held special dominion over the ocean and rivers. We see your presence in every drop of water as it makes it’s way from cloud to rain, to river and into the oneness of the ocean. We see you enter all living beings in the form of water, we see how you are everywhere that there is life and we honor you. 

You, great Poseidon, are imbued with the power to create earthquakes and lightning, tsunamis and floods. You draw an underwater chariot through the ocean powered by the dolphin-like hippocampus. You carry the power of the entire ocean in your belly. 

How quickly we forgot you, how easily we stopped recognizing your presence in all living things. Forgive us, come back to us, let us weave your magical presence back into this world that needs you so much right now. Come alive inside us again, through our prayers.

The ocean inside us
Poseidon was and is the living embodiment of the sea.  In ancient Greek culture there were temples, statues and sacred altars devoted to this great being. We sought his grace and his mercy. For what use is a life without the grace and mercy of the gods? 

Poseidon was a living god, alive in the hearts of the ancient Greek world. They knew the secret of caring for a god, they remembered that the gods were threads that could be woven into this world from inside the most secret inner chambers of our heart.

Our ancient gods are so lonely without our love, our affections our bowing down and honoring. What prayers remain to build bridges between their world and ours? 

My deep sense is that not only have we forgotten our gods but they too have forgotten us. We have muted them and they have tuned out from this world. In the depths of our silence they still reside. We are Poseidon looking back upon himself. He is alive, in the ocean inside us, if we care to descend into the depths. 

Lured to distraction
We have lost the wisdom of the ways that showed us how to navigate the depths. It has left us fixated on only superficial, material things which keep us afloat in a sea of forgetfulness, never able to dive deep. And so we are emptied of meaning with only the thinnest of threads connecting us to the depths where we need to descend in order to be re-born again. 

Now we fear the ocean and the power it has to take our lives, to drag us to the depths where we drown against our will. We know that the sacred lore has been broken and that we no longer have the mercy of the sea. We live with the deep unconscious fear of drowning and descending to the depths, but never meeting the gods down there. 

Where swimming leads to drowning
Drowning in the sea, I wonder if we feel a sense of returning to the oneness of life or if we fade away with a deep sadness that we are at the end a life where we forgot who and what we actually were. I wonder whether the spell takes us down and into the depths of the divine to witness what we have done. 

We die here, expecting realms of light, but perhaps we really are taken down into the depths of creation where the divine has been desecrated. Perhaps we are asked to make peace with the gods before we are released from this spell and given the opportunity to be born again.

I watch over the ocean as it recedes like a living breath, returning endlessly to the shore.  The rhythms of the sea mimic the journey of our souls, ever embodied in this world of form, endlessly moving into and out of this world with the moon and the tides. We are bound by the sea, as it is bound by the moon, endlessly brought back to the shore.

We forgot. Our purpose was to remember the oneness of the sea. We lived so that we could hold the entire universe inside us, remembering the gods with every breath. And yet our deep sense of security will vanish overnight and leave us to face the emptiness laid bare by our forgetfulness. 

And there, in the depths, Poseidon lurks. Closer than we care to see. Ever present, watching, waiting to see what course we choose next, where the vessel sails. Caught in doldrums, no distant shores in sight, no voyage of discovery, no new route being forged across unknown oceans to mysterious shores. He invites us to swim in the ocean of oneness, where swimming ends always in drowning. 

The voice of a god
Useless to speak to humans nowadays. Always distracted by a thousand things. Voices in their heads, thinking, solving problems, obsessing, wanting more, always more. 

No silent receptive space to hear the voice of a god. 

But in the depths of belonging, the ocean inside, I am there. I am present. Inside you is an ocean of vastness, distant shores, spice routes. Inside you are new lands, continents, depths unexplored, unknown. Inside you an ocean where, yes if you choose to sail there, will leave you wide open, exposed, vulnerable and at my mercy. One small storm and I can take your life, sink your boat, drag you into the depths where you are never found. 

But on the surface of my vastness, the things you will see. The play of light, so beautiful it will mesmerize you, hypnotise you, make you want me more, more, more. The hunger it will leave in you, for that which is real, the taste of something that will light your soul. 

Be careful, one taste and it will consume you. You will become like a hungry lover who has been left wanting for millennia. Your passion will be reignited and your spirit will want always more.

Venture off the shore and into the depths, risk the security of thinking that your ground is stable beneath your feet. Take one step towards me and I will take two towards you. 

Where the two seas meet
Now I sit on the Transkei coast, looking out to sea. This place has special ancient magic to it. The world here is still a dream, it is not real. The sea glistens in the half light. Waves gently rolling onto shore. The silent loud white noise of the sea. 

There he sits, looking out, sitting on the shore and staring out to sea. A peaceful monk, contemplative, empty, receptive. I long for what he has. Stillness. Knowing. Inside him is Poseidon, alive and present.

He turns to me and says: 

“These are the furthest shores.”

I sit behind him, as though I am watching a scene from an ancient story unfolding. The furthest shores of love are this place where the two seas meet and it is right here, endlessly unfolding. Here everything of the world has been rubbed out. Only endless lapping waves remain, rolling to shore. No more world, no more grand illusion, just a person and a shoreline. There is nowhere left to go, nothing left to do. This is the furthest shore, the place where the small self merges with the ocean of oneness. This is the place of being, the still centre. Here the illusory world has fallen away and the soul can go. 

Then the scene changes. The dream fades, the intercession of two worlds returns to the present moment. 

I sit at sunrise looking out over the ocean and watch the red sun rise above the horizon. There have been whales jumping out of the ocean for days on end. They come here from far away, invisible visitors to our shores. Then for a brief moment the majestic creatures rise from the depths and launch themselves into the air, an explosion of whitewater. I gasp at the sheer magnificence of the sight unfolding before my eyes.  

We travel outwardly to wonder at the vastness of the ocean, the long meandering rivers and the cool mountain pools but we neglect to look inwardly. In the depths of the ocean is the oneness of being. There the mythical creatures of the ocean and rivers exist inside of us. In our own depths the gods exist, the spirit of the river, the spirit of the sea. They wait for us in the depths of our own psyche, ever-patiently waiting for us to see them. 

Here at the Southern tip of Africa, here inside us all, is the place where the two seas meet. The great Indian and Atlantic oceans merge here, but inside of us is the same magnificence. Inside there is an ocean of vast beauty, ready to drown our small self and make it whole again. 

There is a potential that has been unlived. A potential to be in a living relationship with the archetypal world. To acknowledge the presence of these beings who live inside us. Poseidon, god of the sea and rivers, father of the ocean, come back to this world that we may invoke your mercy and grace once more.

“To live, to breathe, to die, we all need the mercy of the sea”
– Peter Kingsley

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