Deep Forest: Inward Perambulations of Love

This morning, I walked a winding trail inside a dense coastal forest. I am fortunate to live right here, so near to this primal natural world, to feel the wildness of nature so close at all times. This place is sacred, it is a verdant unfolding of dappled greenery nestled alongside a narrow stretch of coastline that is home to some of the last remaining primary indigenous forests of South Africa. These forests provide safe retreats for the abundant biodiversity protected by our national parks. Here, you might find the spoor of a leopard and hear stories of the rare sighting of forest elephants. The birdlife is extraordinary, almost deafening at dawn. In this wilderness, one feels the touch of primeval earth, the cradle to the heartbeat of ancient life.

The pulse of this forest ushers me into a familiar place inside, where there is a deeper recognition of my own inner wildness. In recognizing our shared wildness, there is a remembrance that we are both made of the same fabric of consciousness. There is a deep kinship with the forest and all living things in this landscape, punctuated by trees, mountains, rivers, and creatures big and small. These woods are soaked in our shared soul, woven throughout everything before me. This kinship always brings me back to love—a deep love for the earth and all living things, a sense of connection to everything that I hold dear in this living world. It is also here in these delicately woven natural spaces that I sense how the forest is like a clear mind holding an original vision of creation. I love how this place is filled with potency and presence. I love the tryst between its fragility and resilience. I love how the forest breathes and then leaves me with the pulsating presence of a pregnant stillness between its breaths. The forest embodies wholeness, connectedness, and presence and a burning heart turned by the fingers of God. 

And yet, even though this place is pure wilderness and a place of deep connection, I cannot walk here without a vivid sense of what has been lost. I am surrounded by utter beauty but I feel such a deep missing.

In the forest are the echoes of absent voices; there is a hollow imprint of wild animals that once were part of the fabric of this place. Even in the fullness of this avian orchestra, there is a chorus of emptiness, a palpable void of silence that speaks of what was once here; songs filled with the silent ululations of the missing choir members. Only 200 years ago, this land was an undulating coastal forest, a labyrinthine mass of towering trees. Giant yellowwoods, some up to 1000 years old, punctuated every part of this canopy, perfecting the architecture of a dense understory. Not long ago, the uncharted forest floor stretched for hundreds of kilometers, spilling over into vast thickets and rolling hills. Thousands of antelope ventured out from the thick forest to graze, then disappeared back into this deep green sanctuary of wildness. The Knysna forest elephants once flourished here. But the arrival of the woodcutter and the hunter irrevocably changed this landscape. They set up camps, the trees fell to their axes, and roads were forged through the heart of the forest. And within a heartbeat, the woodcutters’ camps turned into suburbs, and their dirt roads into highways, reaching ever deeper into an ever-growing spillage of urbanization and suburbia.

What man wants, he takes. And if there is an insatiable need to forge a path into the sacred heart of the wilderness, then that path will be made. And in the dust of this path, there is the distinct smell of all the friends of this vast wilderness who are now absent. Their absence now fills the world.

We lose our kinship with nature when we destroy it. The relationship turns sour; the bitter aftertaste of desecration lingers insidiously. We suffer the desecration inside of ourselves and in the outer world because we are actually one and the same being. We are but the earth looking back upon herself.

As humanity encroaches ever forward upon the edge of the wilderness, not only does the footprint of the forest diminish, but the essence of this living being recedes more into her sacred core. There is an essential presence in this untouched wildness that cannot bear the face of man, tarnished by his naming and claiming. And so this wildness perambulates back into herself, withdraws her presence in this physical world. She coils herself into the inner sanctum of her wild heart and fades from the spaces that materialistic man seeks to claim, protecting a sanctuary that his gaze cannot pierce. This withdrawal into herself is a safeguarding of what remains behind, a careful cushioning of the inner essence of her wild heart.

She is the greatest of lovers, and every retraction of her heart shatters the heart of her lovers. We live in the agony of her absence, not knowing why or how we suffer this deep longing for something we inherently know is missing but cannot place. It is this ecologically lovestruck heart that fuels the cry of our souls in the night, this longing for that which is absent, which we know should be here but no longer have the words or memories to describe. That is an ache that the forest carries. That is the ache present in this cathedral of greenery with its myriad singing voices of creatures great and small.

Whilst walking along the sun-dappled path and feeling this deep missing and longing for the return of the wildness, I was touched by the life of the smallest of creatures in this forest: the humble spider. It was as though the spider, the smallest and most delicate of creatures, was telling me a story now. It was a story about the ephemeral nature of life, resilience, and love.

I had been cognisant of how my lumbering strides were tearing apart the webs between the trees that had been woven overnight by the spiders. The forest is filled with these gossamer threads, near-invisible lines cast across the path. Each thread is painstakingly crafted across the gaps between trees and I cannot walk forwards without tearing them down. I am reminded that all creatures great and small are equally valued, from the ancient forest soil strata below me with their billion microorganisms to the towering yellowwood architects of this canopy. And, while the forest is so often a story of the trees that grow to be a thousand years old and the wild animals that inhabit this space, paradoxically, the spider’s story is one of tininess and impermanence. The life of these spiders is fleeting, yet their presence is continuous, and their labour consistent. They inhabit this dynamic space in creation where their world of webs is made anew again each night and day. As I walk I watch this story unfold in my minds eye and it dawns on me that these webs are both temporal creations that last only a few hours but are also the very silky fabric of a family lineage that stretches back millions of years. These spiders have always woven their threads and will continue doing so forever. They will never retreat, will not stop this relentless pursuit of being embedded in their God-given territory and performing their innate role in this ecosystem. For me this resilience is the signifier of a wild heart that is simply true to itself without compromise. It is a beautiful testament to the power of the heart, the power of being embedded in one’s true nature where there is no possibility of being anything other than what you are.

I see parallels between our lives and those of spiders, a deep kinship woven into our shared soul. It feels as though, much like the spiders’ webs torn down daily by passers-by, we too face a similar fate: our culture has ceased to respect the ancient forests of mystical wisdom and the intricate webs humanity has meticulously crafted through spiritual practices that nurture love and connection in this world. These gossamer threads, spun from human hearts, are the narratives we have created by living true to the soul’s deeper reality. They are stories of our hearts, interwoven into the fabric of this world, brought forth with the silk of our spirits.

But like the spider webs strung across the path, the love we weave into the world holds no guarantee of permanence. Yet, we can draw lessons from paying attention to the earth and her expressions of love: Nature, embodied here by a spider, persists in living from a place of profound love—unwavering love for all of creation. This deep, true love, undeterred by challenges, emanates from its very essence and purpose. Nature embodies love incarnate. Mother Nature continues, unabated, to love and give herself freely to all life, completely surrendered to her heart, which is steered by the Great Spirit—the thread that unites us all.

Eventually, I reach a bench on top of the peak. I sit down and stare across the most breath-taking landscape, looking out over the national parks onto the lakes of Wilderness below. From this perch I can hear all the birds of the forest below me and as their song unfolds it becomes a conduit to love’s secret hiding place. These are the moments I cherish. I catch my breath and relax into a waking meditation, counting my breaths and drawing my attention into my heart. I feel the need to simply acknowledge how deeply in love with this place I am. My heart is swollen with awe and reverence for this beautiful forest, and it cascades into a love that opens it even wider, stretching it, pulling me deeper into love.

Opened like a rose, petals unfurling from this bud, soaked in the dawn of love. Love dawns inside and my heart is a waiting rosebud, surrendered open.

In this moment of falling in love with the Earth I invite Her to find a home inside my heart and offer my life work to be surrendered to Her needs. But what is more, for the first time ever I am conscious of a deeper surrendering in my heart to allow myself to be loved and held in return by the Earth herself. 

Dawn birdsong, soft heart
This is Love and I am yours
My heart enraptured.

Wild Flower

Heavy rains have descended into the dry Karoo desert in recent months.
The ground has been saturated, caressed by the touch of the clouds, a rare tryst in this arid land where the sky is selfish with gifts of water. The sweet drink served to the body of the earth has momentarily quenched her insatiable thirst. The quintessential scent of a saturated earth now envelops everything in a blissful haze. She feels full and pregnant, her senses heightened and her soul lifted with a fertile euphoria. The beautiful body of the earth seems to have transcended the dry ache of drought and entered into a realm of ecstasy. It is as if the sky has whispered its secrets to her and all she can now do is rejoice. 

The heavy rains have left a blanket of moist fertility stretching across this sentient biosphere, feeding and sustaining a delicate balance of fertile potentiality. The water is a lover that finds its way into her skin, nestling in her undulating folds and saturating her flesh with sweet sustenance. Her hunger for the water seems to have been laying dormant in the multitude of seeds which now come to life.  And as with the uniting of great lovers, this union of rain and earth unfolds in a celebratory kaleidoscope of liveliness, a surge in the creative pulse of the colours of creation. 

After experiencing such abundant rainfall at the cusp of spring an unimaginable number of flowers have taken to blooming. The beauty is immense. It feels like the earth stretches herself open to release every possible potential of her secret inner beauty. And it is the same feeling inside of me. It feels like I am prying this bodily frame open so that I can fit more of this floral blossoming inside of me.

There is so much beauty in the wildflowers. They carry the signature of something deeply sacred and holy, a primordial spiritual essence beyond the concentrated light of the sun. And as I witness this majestic unfolding of blooms all I want is to be more deeply immersed in them, remove all obstacles between myself and their beauty, tear open my chest and place them inside of me. It is not enough to glance at the flowers in passing and remark at their prettiness, I want to consume them wholly. 

This springtime bloom of flowers are a visual beacon, a symbolic signifier that draw me into the mystical language of a conversation with this living earth. This language of the earth points to that same place inside myself that reflects this beautiful outer scene. It is as though there is a place inside of me where I am alive like this blossoming karoo veld. 

We walk a kilometre through the wild open spaces of the karoo scrub gently treading along the paths made by wild creatures, meandering through patches of colour and stopping to admire the beauty in the details beneath our feet or to catch the feeling of a particular place. The feeling of this landscape is like an indigenous songline where the whole world is alive and in conversation with us. Our beacon is an impossibly bright patch of sunshine-yellow daisies that have bloomed like a giant oil-painted brush of yellow smeared over the land.  Have you ever seen beauty that pulls you open, that stretches your insides and makes you want more? This day is like that. It feels like there is a veil between my eyes and this beauty and I want to strip it away and be over-exposed to the imprint of this wild canvas of colour. The beauty touches all our senses and then aches inside. The more I look at it the more I need it. Yes, I want this aching beauty to consume me wholly. 

In this field of yellow, mesmerized by the sights, sounds and feelings of being so impossibly alive, there is not a sense of peace and completion but rather a longing, a yearning, a feeling of deep missing. I ask myself how can I be so close to these flowers and yet feel this deep missing? So I lie down inside this dense patch of brightness to meditate on the question buzzing inside of me. I immerse my body into the land, surrender my senses to this place with eyes closed and breathe it in, feel the meadow around me, immerse my mind deeper into my heart which is the only thing big enough to contain this scene of the fertile land. But now there is only more longing inside of me. So there I lie inside this patch of unfurling blooms and yet long to be even closer. It is ecstatic and agonizing, this pain of being pulled open by the beauty and never being satiated.

This agony takes me beyond my body, beyond mind and into the realm of the spiritual. The aching is too much to bear and so one goes beyond this world, this aching flesh, this frail sense of self and into something bigger than this. I melt into this essence beyond that flower, the state of being that that precedes its form, an essence that rings true in the heart like when you witness a sunrise and hear the dawn chorus of birdsong. 

I think you need to be a Lover to really take in the beauty of the wilderness. You see the face of God in the body of the earth. You see Her beauty, Her insatiable attractiveness, Her allure, Her ability to absolutely seduce and you are drawn in, spellbound, in love, in a heartbeat. Only with the eyes of a lover, the appreciation of the lover, do we really see the divine smile of the earth inside a wildflower. She gives to us endlessly, this love that spills out from inside the earth, this divine feminine secret mystery that spills out of her heart and into the world. 

Opening my eyes and returning to the present moment, I am here in the middle of what appears to be an ecstatic orgy of buzzing insects drinking the nectar of these flowers. This feels nothing like the pollination described in a biology textbook. It is intensely alive, filled with ecstasy, an intense feeding, drinking, procreating mess. This pulse of life, this surge of procreation, floods the air as the plants thrust their floral bouquets into the sky searching for pollination, fertilization and the continuation of their kind. The flowers drip with nectar and pollen, saturated in the banquet of sweet things that the birds and insects seek out. It drives the insects into a frenzy. They are entirely consumed in their drinking and eating, rushing about from one flower to another, utterly absorbed in their activity. The nectar of these flowers is irresistible to the insects and birds who become intoxicated in their love for more and more sweetness.

There, look at that yellow daisy with a beetle stuck so far inside you can only see his back legs kicking about. Here, a bee fully laden with its prize, body covered in the golden dust, legs carrying heavy bags of pollen. Look at that bumblebee: the vibrating wings unlock the pollen from that flower. This buzzing sonication is a secret floral password, the key to a lock, a Kamasutra of pollination.  And there: that high pitch buzz in the midday sun, that almost imperceptible silent ringing of these vast empty spaces of the wilderness, carrying the sounds of banqueting and a longing for fullness. 

Now turn your head and witness this audacious orange splash of an aloe in full bloom. One cannot do anything other than be gob smacked at how potent and phallic and wonderfully erotic this inflorescence of a thousand nectar dripping blooms can be. The whole stem soaked in nectar like a fountain of sweet wine. The birds land in the flower and thrust their beaks deep inside, drinking the sweet syrup of the vermillion orange blossoms. Their beaks, their faces, saturated in pollen, the result of their lively dance on the phallus bloom. One can imagine the saturation of colour, nectar and pollen as a magnificent mating ritual, no, a passionate love-making act between bird and flower. Each beak plunged inside the flower bringing a fertile phallus loaded with ripe pollen that fertilizes the waiting ovum.  And I wonder whether they are drunkards, lost completely in their intoxicated states with eyes only for the one thing they want more, more, more of. It is the great seduction and they are powerless against Her charms.

I lie here wondering about the flower, thinking that maybe this plant feels it too, the orgasmic ecstasy of having the birds and bees tongues prying out its sweet nectar, knowing that soon it will be impregnated with seed that will fall to the ground and continue this great cycle of life. This is the intimate dance of the plants love lives. They are separated from each other, lacking legs to visit their lovers and so they get the insects to do the bidding of their seduction and lovemaking. There is a oneness between flowers, birds and insects in this moment, utterly inseparable, like they are an extension of the collective will of the flora to procreate. This is the face of God, not some disembodied deity in heaven, but a living, breathing, feeling, creative and passionate goddess that we call earth. This is He, this is Her. 

In this liminal space I feel the innate creative energies of procreation laid bare in the floral kingdom. I guess I realize that if one can dismiss the scientific courtesy of botanical nomenclature and imagine the flowers with the eye of the erotic, and with the lens of a living oneness, then these flowers become the living, breathing Kamasutra of creation. I start to understand that seeing without witnessing the sentience of our Earth and her erotic dance of procreation is to miss a vital way of seeing and to erase the feminine mysteries.

And as the day wears on and the flowers open and close, the night reveals its own sweetness. The frenzied hive of activity of the daytime has passed but it has left a sweetness in the air. The insects and birds will rest tonight, safely in their homes provided in an infinite abundance of places inside the folds of the earth. The fire outside crackles, sparks rise like stars being released from creation, floating back up into the sky. And above us there is a planetarium like no other. The air is crisp, clean, there is no light pollution for miles and the stars drift and float and wink in the sky. This work that we witnessed in the flowers today, it has left this whole place spent, and yet fresh and vibrant and whole. The fabric of the air held together with mystery, with satisfaction, with the lively potency of the dark black of night. Even here in the blackness, one feels the pulse of the flowers around us, as though all the insects and birds are dreaming of them and filling the night with the scent of their remembrance.


Set aside your thoughts and bring your attention to this page. Sit for a moment and be still with me. I want to share with you a story of the birdsong at dawn and the secrets it tells:

It is barely light outside—the crack of dawn. First light reveals the faint outline of the distant mountains as the emergent sun draws a masterful stroke across their monolithic forms. Everything is still, and the lake below is a perfect mirror of the dawn sky. This moment feels freshly squeezed with the potency of a new day, a rebirth of light after a long winter night. I love these moments, poised at the cusp between dreamtime and waking—an enchanted moment where the magical nature of the symbolic world has not yet closed the doorway between our world and the next.

There is a growing anticipation in this empty pre-dawn stillness. I know that any minute now, I will hear the first call of my beloved Cape Robin-chat permeating the air, proclaiming the arrival of a new day. I love this bird more than any other because she is the first to awaken. I feel like she and I are secretly allied in our love for the dawn stillness, both enchanted by the fertile potential that the new day holds.

My home is perched above a lake, which is a bird sanctuary on the edge of a national park, nestled between the ocean, mountains, and virgin forest. Outside my window, there is a tree with a bird-feeding station filled with chopped fruits, seeds, sweet red hibiscus tea, and cheese. These are my offerings to the small, feathered characters and choristers who decorate this garden with their presence. The small gathering of birds has turned into a veritable morning conference of birds since I first arrived here a few months ago. I love their company, and they love my gifts of food.

The Cape Robin Chat begins her song prompted by the mounting infusion of dawn light. Of all the birds here, she is the first to sing, rousing the hearts of every other bird to partake in the daily song of creation. She sings so sweetly and clearly: first, a steady low tone that resonates with the still dawn sky, and then a variety of notes masterfully woven into a mesmerizing tapestry of sounds that mimic the calls of other birds. I lie in bed imagining that she is performing the roll-call of the other birds who should be present in the garden, waking them from their slumber to join her in song. It doesn’t take long before she is joined by a variety of other performers. I don’t know them all by their songs, but I recognize the gentle, surging symphony. Like snowflakes, no two mornings are the same. Each performance is like a different poem expressing gratitude for the new day. I have seen them: the hoopoe, butcher bird, weaver birds, the rain bird, wagtail, boubou, doves, mousebirds, forest canaries, the bokmakierie. But in the darkness of dawn, it is only their voices that I hear, and the names don’t matter because the symphony is so sweet.

My morning ritual is simple: I listen to the birdsong chorus with my eyes closed, taking one hundred deep breaths and repeating a silent mantra called the Zhikr. This breathing practice is designed to take the energy of the mind into the heart, dissolving the mind in love, which is the most powerful force in the universe. This simple morning ritual, forged over years of practice, has become like a thread entwined with the dawn’s birdsong. This thread is what I seek out to find my way back, to return to the root of my existence. With each breath, there is a practice of tending to the garden of the soul, making myself present at the place where my soul enters this world, weaving the birdsong of the world into this place, finding that still center where there is no past or future, no mind remembering or imagining. It feels like the birdsong is resident there, inseparable, woven like a fabric into the space of my heart, like a sunbird’s nest with down feathers, moss, and gossamer threads.

From this still center, I imagine the birds’ breath in the morning air, carrying these notes from the inside of their being out into the cold morning air. Their misty morning breath feeds into the air like ink drops in a glass of water. I look inward at the fertile black screen of my imagination and fall into a visual banquet of birdsong imagery. There I see with the inner eye how the tapestry of birdsong spills out of them into the substance of life, across the globe as the dawn light penetrates the darkness. This image is of a living chorus of birdsong, of ancient song lines that are alchemically potent as they transmute the fertile darkness into new forms. It feels as though the very sound of birdsong awakens the whole world anew each moment. I see how the sun’s light touches the birds and how they erupt, spilling this magical light into song and bird breath, awakening the magic in the air, singing the light of creation into this world of material form.

This is somehow a truly hopeful and life-affirming image of the world awakening anew in every moment of the day as the sun rises. It is a reminder that the song of creation is a continuously unfolding symphony of an ever-evolving choir made up of billions of birds.

Imagine it with me: As the light touches the horizon across the globe, bringing the dawn to each dark square foot of earth, the birds erupt in a wave of song. This song begins with the appearance of the light and travels across the entire earth every day. Like a tidal wave of dawn light, this wave of birdsong circumnavigates the globe perpetually. For millennia, this dawn chorus has never ceased—an endless choir song of celebration and remembrance that seems to have a magical ability to wash the world anew.

These are the mystical song lines that bring the world into existence in every moment, that rebirth the world into this present time. The songs are the morning prayers of creation that the birds dutifully perform every day, the prayers of Mother Earth dutifully performed through the voices of the birds. And perhaps this is why the simple birdsong is a music that pours through us, watering the garden of our hearts, leaving the ground and sky dancing. It is the primal remembrance that life is fundamentally holy and sacred, sentient and precious, ancient and wise, filled with the ability to renew itself again and again.

A Walk in the Mountains

This morning I walk in the mountains. I feel like abandoning life and beating a path of rugged undulations into the mountain, to erase the outside and explore the vast, empty wilderness inside this dark and fertile void of my being.
The morning mist descends, sinking gracefully below the mountain peaks that rise above it like guardians. It embraces the early morning silence as it diffuses the light of the sun’s rays and subdues the echoes of the bird’s morning symphony in the valley forest. As the winter sun ascends with grace, spilling its radiant light over the land, it casts warm, golden lines across Earth’s cool, shaded curves. And in the mist below, an infinite number of misty droplets each absorbing and reflecting the entire sunrise. With the sun’s touch the Earth awakens, her magnificent form accentuated, unveiled, her contours bathed in hues of dazzling golden light. The birds now begin to celebrate the dawn, their trance-like chorus harmonizing with an almost imperceptible pulse that feels like it could be the very heartbeat of creation. And there I stood, an awed witness, placing one foot before the other, traversing an unknown trail and embarking on an inward perambulation of discovery and connection. 
This place draws me inwards, circling closer and closer towards a silent retreat inside myself. In that familiar place I feel harmoniously aligned to this mountain, a familiar union between the still light of the Self and the light of nature. The light of nature reaches out with its tendrils and touches my light. With each breath I consciously embody this intimate embrace, weaving these sacred threads of love between my heart and this mountain.

As the sun rises I walk more swiftly, my body craving the sensation of movement, lungs breathing hungrily. Now it is my sense of smell that is flooded with infinite messages. Each inhalation a tapestry of scents from the wild space of the high fynbos slopes. And the flowers! The flowers…. their scent! The air is a perfumery of intoxicating scents, condensed botanical fragrances, the smell of a wet earth warming in the morning light, the invisible chemical messages of a thriving ecosystem of living creatures. I rise above the ground and with my mind’s eye envision an interweaving of fragrances that become a vast ocean of these chemical messengers, of mingling and merging currents floating above a living Eden. The air itself is cold and fresh and I take deep recharging gulpfuls. In this mountain breath I find solace and renewal, the kind of replenishment that the earth mother offers so freely and abundantly. The cold air floods my warm chest and it bites so sweetly. 

But more than that, this walking feels like it is a weaving between the inner searching and the outer unfolding of a human life rejoicing in the fortune of living another single precious day. These steps bring new life to my inward trail. I feel so lucky to walk here and I feel embraced by this majestic mountain. In its presence I feel fully alive, my soul spinning, singing and humming with deep recognition of kinship with this living place. 

As the sun rises and casts a seemingly sentient light on the peaks above, the sight of it invites me to sit down and soak it up. I drink it in, starting by sitting upright, then gradually edging closer to the ground until I am lying down wholeheartedly, my whole being saturated with its warmth. I drift into sleep on that warm rock, my body surrendering to the earth and to the sun. In this daydreaming state I call to the sacred threads of light that are woven into this living body of the natural world. This surrendered state makes way for a clear inner vision and through the mists of time a visitor appears: 

An old indigenous Khoisan man walks towards me from this image-encrusted fabric of the dream realm. He tells me that he has lived within the folds of this mountain for thousands of years. He wants to know why I am here and why I carry such an unfamiliar scent. He tells me that he wanders through these mountains endlessly, patiently waiting, observing, and bearing witness. Wise as the mountain itself, he may well be the very essence of this towering place, come to welcome me. There is a stillness inside him that haunts me because it is enticingly beautiful, dark and primal and potent. The leopard purrs inside him. His breath smells of wild honey. The plants have become his skin. He embodies the fabric of a dream, as though he were made of the stuff of a mountains own psyche. It is the gods that speak to us like this, appearing as simple men, but with the scent of the extraordinary. 

After an hour or so, I awaken from this tranquil sleeping meditation. A cascade of love for the mountain surges through me, from my heart flowing outward, saturating me with a profound feeling of kinship to this sacred place. 

I love you, mountains. I love you for these gulping breaths of fresh air, for lungfuls of sweet fragrances. I love you for your labyrinthine trails, your towering vastness, your majestic presence, your sheer massiveness. I love you for the enigmatic spaces that appear with each step I take along these rocky bones that expose themselves through your fragile soil skin. I love your abundant unfolding greenery, a cascade of life in vibrant hues of living things. Beloved mountain, you encompass all that I hold dear, so many things I love find shelter within you—ancient trees, secret valleys, pools and waterfalls, the sunrise from lofty peaks, the primal potency of dawn’s birdsong. I love how wherever I wander within you, I can never truly arrive. I love how I can become lost in your wilderness, losing my way back home. I love that if I were to dwell in you once more, I would reclaim my wildness and feel that I finally found home. I love how time slows down here, changes form, unveiling another world’s presence. I love immersing myself in the primal darkness of the earth, there hides a wild magic, in plain sight. In my heart, I hold this mountain—the entirety of it—inside. Love expands my heart to encompass its vastness. This love stretches me.

Everything has become the face of the Beloved now. All nature is made from bursting-bright light and saturated in love: The flowers, with their million faces turned towards the sun; the aloe glistening with morning dew; the sun that swims inside a dewdrop; the rays that warm the earth; and the ants that crawl, in their microscopic universe beneath my feet. 

With these soft eyes of oneness I see the signature of divinity in that tree, since it was a tiny seed, coaxed by dew and warmth, awakened to surge and sprout. And now this tree embodies the Beloved’s face, ever-present in the earth. The tree is His face now with earthly form that speaks to my heart. 

When the earth is thirsty, it yearns for Him in the rain. When it is cold, He is the sun. I see how the mountain is longing only for the Beloved and how it is in this yearning that rain falls, that sun shines, that seeds flourish, that the aloe glistens, and the ant carries on. Everything within the earth points to this profound love affair. Everything materializes as a manifestation of this yearning and reciprocation of divine love.

I call on myself to tune in to the frequency of love, the channel of longing. Open my eyes to the unity of longing and witness that it is one note that reverberates throughout all creation. This note I hear is a melodious love song that tells the tale of a divine romance between earth and her Beloved. I am drawn back in time, a thousand years ago, to the great Persian poets who so perfectly described this love. And here in this juncture of today’s ecological predicament I see this same love story played out between the Earth and her Beloved. She is the embodiment of this love affair between heaven and matter. She pulsates with a heartbeat turning on an axis of His love. She embodies the longing for the touch of the beloved and her endless sunrise and sunset are the result of Him turning her heart in his fingers. It is the harmonious dance of unity present in all things. The vast ocean resides within the river, and the entirety of the river resides within a single flower.

This mountain incubates and holds the potency of divine presence, the sacredness of the source of everything which is alive. This mountain embodies the music that is at the centre of the world. What great strength and presence it must take to hold the magnificence of this living song of creation. Each mountain a crucible for the earths sacred singing, like an instrument each with its own unique melody, its own fragrant sounds. The shape and curve and emptiness of the valley, a giant cauldron for holding the million voices of the birds and all the living creatures that rest in the folds of her rocky skin. And lest we forget the songs of the flowers opening to the sun and bowing closed to the moonlight or the sense of clouds capping the peaks and settling silence inside the valley whilst the peaks remain elevated. 

To be sure, the mountain is an inner rising to the highest point signalling those who see them to reach inside their rugged depths and find new routes to their inner elevations. The mountain’s spirit peaks reaching heights that stand above all men, a high alp that others aspire to reach one day. 

A Story About Dying

It is not often that you get to die. I tasted death once. It was excruciatingly beautiful. The taste of death turned me inside out, the vast emptiness of my existence laid bare. All vestiges of my small self dissolved into absolute darkness. Ground zero, the void.

Honestly I was expecting to see the light. I expected to be visited by divine beings who would hold me and reassure me that everything was going to be okay. That didn’t happen. Instead I was present in an ocean of vast darkness that pervaded everything and the darkness was utterly intoxicating. A black opium spilled through me, drowned all impressions of my identity ’til there was no ‘I’ left in this sea of nothingness.

Death is so difficult to describe because it is the opposite of life. What we describe in this world has weight, form and substance. There is gravitas in this world. In death this is absent. Death is far more real than this world, yet there is also nothing familiar about it. Death seemed to have consumed the world, my life, my humanity, my form and turned them inside out. An upside-down realm where form has turned into its opposite which is a strange nothingness. Here all things that I was familiar with were their opposite, antithesis. As full as life can be with all the things that capture our attention, that fill our world, the air we breathe, the light we see, the people and places and natural space in which we exist, the opposite of this is an emptiness that is simply not anything. What was more strange was that this state was the absolute perfect antidote to life. Viewed from the perspective of death, life was only suffering. Yes, death was the perfect antidote to life, supremely sweet, the centre of existence. The closest to ever being truly alive was actually to die. It takes everything that you know and turns it inside out. Suddenly even life is out of one’s reach, no longer our familiar friend that is always a breath away.

There is a certain madness to death too. Its intoxicating poison dissolves the mind and fragile identity of the small self. This dark magic steals the grounding pegs that tether our identity, its potency instantly dissolving us into the fabric of emptiness. This is terrifying. With no identity to cling to there is just the bareness of the soul swimming in the vast ocean of nothingness.

I had an unnerving experience in this realm. It shook me, literally. In this black void an old woman approached me, chattering about my fate. She held up my essence in a glass jar and studied it, then shook the jar violently and watched it settle. Then she said to a partner in the shadows that there was still something I had to achieve in the world and she tossed me back. At this moment I re-entered my body with a sharp needle delivering a shot of pure adrenaline into my bloodstream. My son was holding the syringe, his hands trembling, tears in his eyes.

My allergy emergency kit brought me back to life. I was still swimming in this other place though, in an ocean of unity, but very quickly my self reassembled in an instant and returned to this world that is no longer real.

The difference between these two worlds is that there is an aliveness and fullness to death beyond this world we call life.

For days afterwards I was forced by an inner compulsion to go into seclusion. I could not stand to be in this world. I only wanted to go back to that place that had felt so supremely alive. One part of me felt like it was still present in that world. The hands of the goddess of death still holding me there. I was still not entirely released from that place. It felt like I was being reborn into this world, bit by bit reassembled here, squeezed from a place that was infinite into a tight and finite body. So I made a place for myself outside our home in the garden cottage, I created a sanctuary, a halfway house between this world and the next, a temple where I burned frankincense and listened endlessly to Ludovico Einaudi piano. My world was pieced together bit by bit in that place as I was reborn into the world again. But this identity, ‘Steve’, was so frail and so malleable. The self still rested so palpably in that other place.

What followed this experience was a few weeks of what can only be described as equal parts bliss and pain. The bliss came from nature, the forest came alive and spoke to me. It was not as though I was observing nature any more, but it was alive inside me and spoke to me from a seamless wholeness of connection. And then something strange happened: I started speaking to flowers. Everywhere I looked there were blossoms and fragrances and the flowers, leaves and forest spoke to me in a way that was palpable and alive. I crafted flower mandalas from the blossoms and leaves. These mandalas were like messages from this other realm, they were like lessons in love that were being given in the form of a mandala. The world I occupied was saturated in love, dripping in a divine nectar that consumed me completely like a lover. I discovered a language of love, a conversation with the heart of Nature through the flowers. Her colours and fragrances sang of this other place, each mandala a blessed conversation with Her. Love notes everywhere.

Then there was the birdsong. I became aware of the birdsong at dawn and I woke up before the first birds started to sing and prayed whilst their dawn chorus erupted. Our forest home is a sanctuary for birds, our house, called ‘Birdsong’ came alive with its name and the birds and I greeted the dawn together. Then I wept and wept until I could not weep any more. Tears of what, I do not know, but they were cathartic and they were purifying. They cleansed me and left me raw and open.

The finale of this divine performance from the other side happened when a giant kingfisher flew past me and landed in a tree. It turned back to look at me and spoke the most beautiful secret I dare not repeat to another soul, but captured the moment in a poem. And then death finally let me go and normality returned to my world. I was not the same again after this. The rigour of a work life helped me retain my sense of normality. Perhaps one day when I am old and resting in a chair all day long I will not return from such a journey.

Tear everything away from me
so that all that remains
is Love

Take it all!
Nothing that I created
can compare with one sweet drop
of your dark Love

I want you, Beloved
to crucify this old self, 
cut it up into a million pieces
and feed it to the Earth
my Beloved Mother

Leave nothing of me behind
but a sweet scent 
that someone one day may recognise
as the presence of Love
pure and Yours

Just take it all!
There is nothing left here
for my sentimentality
I would die as it is anyway
without Love

I am ready for death
I know that it is but
the sweetest belonging
a return to that
which is everything

So take me
I don’t care for any of this

Unless, Beloved
I can die here
whilst still alive
and have the chance 
to share this deepest of Love
into the heart of the Earth

Then my decision to stay
will have been one
that serves You


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


The world today doesn’t recognize it’s spiritual seers. We used to place immense value on these people, we gave them a central place in our communities as conveyors of the wisdom from the subtle planes. This time on earth where seers are no longer recognized is one of the signs of a darkening and constriction in the evolution of the consciousness of humanity.

A vital thread
Without seers we limit our access to the regenerative properties of divine wisdom because we deny the subtle inner worlds a living symbiotic thread with humanity. This relationship between humanity and the inner worlds is like a tree: the roots of a tree lie buried beneath the surface of the earth and they draw nourishment from the fertile darkness below. Their leaves draw nourishment from the sunlight and transmute it into vital life energy. You cannot cut the trunk from a tree and expect it to grow, regardless of how much light its leaves are receiving from the sky or how much nourishment its roots receive from the soil.

Seers offer us access to the wisdom of the inner worlds, the inner feminine wisdom of the earth and keep the relationships that nurture the growth of our culture alive. They are the roots that reach down into the dark, fertile depths of the inner worlds and wrestle out the nutrients that nurture and sustain us. They also are the leaves that capture the light of the sun and bring it into this world of form, into the body of humanity, the body of earth. They weave the light of heaven and earth, connecting the threads, holding the balance between the two aspects of our being.

This is a little understood and hardly remembered truth that it was the seers who weave the light between the inner and the outer, creating patterns that hold and nourish the growth of our culture. It is less understood how the seers, unbeknown to humanity, weave the light between the worlds and by this act allow our current to exist in harmony with the world around us. Without these hidden spiritual workers holding the balance between the worlds our culture will collapse, dying from the inside where the light that feeds our collective soul is no longer present. Humanity, driven by scientific rationalism, eliminated this understanding of the world from our collective consciousness and this is why we now stand at the brink of a radical ecological catastrophe.

The seers can be though of as those who steer our collective evolution, guided by the wisdom of the gods, weaving the sacred threads of light into life itself that it may grow and thrive. What a terrible fate awaits our world when we no longer listen and learn from the wisdom of our seers.

Oracle, seer, visionary and prophet
History has been shaped by those who have experienced powerful visions. Major events that have shaped humanity stemmed from seers who took to implementing their revelations into the world. Ancient wisdom gained from visionary states, and the truth it helped reveal, spans the entire history of humanity, passed in a golden chain from one mystic to another.

Thoth, the ancient Egyptian scribe, was thrown into a world of visionary wonder and birthed the first seeds of wisdom that gave birth to Western civilization. The Greeks claimed he was the true author of every work of every branch of knowledge, human and divine. Thoth drew his wisdom, the sum of his knowledge, from the visionary states reached deep in the underworld and he gave these to humanity, this creating the ancient civilisation of Egypt.

The ancient Greek philosophers would not have existed were it not for their oracles. Pythia, priestess to Apollo at Delphi, and the oracle of Dione and Zeus at Dodona in Epirus were the source of their wisdom. It was not clever men adept at analytical thought and reasoning that suddenly developed wisdom from nothing. It was wisdom that was first given by the oracles and then later interpreted and birthed into this world as the great founding secrets of Western civilisation. The fathers of Greek philosophy such as Empedocles and Parmenides performed elaborate sleeping rituals in which they visited the spirit realms and conversed with the gods of antiquity in order to access this wisdom of the divine. From these conversations with oracles and gods they gave us logic, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine.

The bible is littered with accounts of people receiving communication from God through dreams and visions. In the old testament these visions and dreams were considered so important and their absence was a cause of great concern for the ancient Israelites. The transcendent was accessed through dreams and visions and these sacred dialogues were treated with great respect.

Mohammed’s prophetic visions have altered the course of human history. He heard the voice of the angel Gabriel tell him that he was a messenger of God. This developed into a lifetime of religious revelations, which became the Quran, the foundation of Islam.

Genghis Khan claimed that he had many dreams sent from Tengri, or “The god of eternal blue sky”, who told him that the world would one day kneel before him. 

Carl Jung, a modern messiah, journeyed with the ‘spirit of the deep’ and gathered the remedies for the collective symbolic nourishment of the Western psyche. The birth of Jungian psychology ostensibly held the potential for the spiritual awakening of Western culture.

A new deism
Yet today we act as though revelation is something belonging to an ancient past and not worth consideration by an educated mind. Science has become our prophet, our messiah, our truth. We worship peer-reviewed studies, objective measurements and the proof of things that we can see and touch. We fear that which our ancestors claimed to be the source of their wisdom, inspiration and decision-making. We fear the primordial source of all wisdom. These are tales of a forgotten history of the modern world and the fact that they have forgotten the gift of revelation is a sign of our desperately impoverished inner world. The stories of the seers are the lifeblood of humanity, our collective sacred source of rebirth and renewal.

Our terrible fear of all things other than a Newtonian world has led us to believe that science is Truth. We have given away our access to the imaginal worlds, the unconscious depths, the fertile darkness. We have blacked out the mystery inherent in creation for the sake of science. 

We are multi-dimensional
Logically there is an absolute certainty that we are not the only civilization of sentient beings in the universe. Nor is our objective world, the world we can see and measure, the only thing that is real. Our universe is alive with possibility. Like a fractal, all forms exist within an endless variation to infinite ends. Similarly, if we follow logic and ask it to lead us to truth, there are multiple unseen dimensions too. Our experience of the world is but one dimension, one tiny realm of possibility. The inner dimensions, the worlds that exist beyond form are as vast and as varied as the physical universe. There are many dimensions that our ancient forefathers knew only too well, the dimensions of the Gods.

And here we are. We exist, of that we can be sure. We share in the experience of being human but are terrified to look beyond the physical veil. We refuse to look deeper into our collective and universal psyche, to bow down again to mystery, to put science to use where it has validity whilst we marvel at the inner worlds. 

Speaking to gods
In ancient times we had a relationship with dreams and visions, but today we are disembodied spirits experiencing a shallow and utterly superficial fragment of the human condition. Yet our world is still filled with people experiencing visions, having prophetic dreams, of trans-dimensional communication with beings from other realms, both angelic and godly. The stories these people tell are vast and deep treasure troves of knowledge. But we discount these tales as nonsense. Leave these tales to the artists and fob them off as crazy.

Our modern spiritual traditions are built entirely from those human beings who claimed to speak to the gods. There are countless detailed accounts of direct revelation, direct experiences of these mystical prophets that walked the earth not too long ago. The very source of all cultures on this earth are epitomized by spiritual traditions that describe a living relationship with the gods. Yet somehow we deny our ability to communicate with the divine, with the spiritual, the transcendent, the angelic, the otherworldly. And look where we are now. What fruits has our supposed scientific enlightenment brought to the world other than desperate inequality and rampant materialism that is eating the earth alive?

For all our greatness in science, medicine, engineering, art and music, why are we so terrified of the transcendent and otherworldly?
Why do we guard our material world so closely and yet give everything transcendent away?

Material fixation
There is something dreadfully wrong with the global collective mind and soul. Our world is increasingly devoid of the wisdom of the soul, devoid of spiritual leaders and prophets who have been ignored. Somehow we have managed to make life all about ourselves, about individualization and about everything but spirituality and this is why we are dead, dying and on our way to out. This global culture is a failed civilization that has given up its soul purpose.

We live, eat and breathe a materialistic world which is devoid of spirituality and the transcendent and so we have cut ourselves off from myth and imagination, from the possibility of even hearing the messages from the spiritual world that may be trying to communicate something valuable, something needed in this time.

Materialism is the culture of the earth today. It dominates all aspects of the world. We have no collective wisdom for how to take care of the soul, not for our own soul or for the soul of the Earth, of life. We don’t have a collective story to tell other than that the earth is falling apart under the weight of our materialistic fixation. That is the story of our time: global ecological catastrophe as a direct result of our materialism, perpetuated by a humanity without a spiritual purpose and connection.

The brink of decay
We are at the brink of decay. The earth has reached its tipping point. Not only will we lose the ecological balance of the planet, but we are effectively killing our very own children. The primal forces of nature that we have ignored through our stubborn attachment to materialism are going to rise up and kill us, preparing a barren earth for our children to inherit. When our children die, then nothing remains of us or our lineages. We will be the fossilized remains of a species that once again rose up from this planet and then got wiped out.

By all accounts of forbidden archeology it would seem that humanity has done this before. We have reached great height of civilisation and then lost it all to ecological collapse. The difference this time is that humanity has singlehandedly brought the collapse upon itself and what’s worse is that we are vehemently denying it.

Today we have stepped even one step further from the truth. We now live in a post-truth era, where even science is questionable, where truth is constructed through an extremely complex system of media and marketing.

Perhaps our collective call has been for the Ahriman to lead us. Perhaps instead of the oracles we have chosen a different source of wisdom. We live in the era of the Ahrimanic deception, the title of a Rudolf Steiner lecture one hundred years ago. As he said: “Ahriman is the power that makes man dry, prosaic, philistine — that ossifies him and brings him to the superstition of materialism.” As Steiner went on to say “Ahriman will appear in human form and the only question is, how he will find humanity prepared. Will his preparations have secured for him as followers the whole of mankind that today calls itself civilized, or will he find a humanity that can offer resistance.”

Trailing Oneness

Oneness is the common thread that binds all of humanity across time and space. Oneness is the flow of light within all living systems that has been present since the inception of the world. It is the sweetness that existed before the honey, the fragrance that was present before the rose. Oneness is the living presence of God in this world. It takes us back to God.

Looking deep into a flower in the morning light, dewdrop reflecting a thousand hues, inhaling the fragrance, absorbing the colours. The light of God is present here. Feeling the sun warm the earth, listening to the birds greet the morning sun. God is present here. The sweetness of this moment exists before time. Nature is always reflecting this primordial love that is at the centre of creation. This love always revealing itself to a heart that is filled with awe and longing.

The substance of oneness, the presence of God in creation, is innately understood by the mystic who experiences this state in every breath. This state of knowing is the natural state of the mystic that we all long to experience. The mystic realizes this state and remembers it constantly. When we witness this remembrance in the teacher it strikes a deep chord of longing. 

There is a reason for this longing, a reason for our deep hunger for that which is real. There is a reason for our cry in the middle of the night when the darkness of the world seems to close in on us. We long for God when we are close to death, we cry out to God when we are in danger of being extinguished by the darkness of the world. We long for oneness because somewhere inside us there is the memory that it is our innate nature, it is the cloth from which our souls are cut. Humanity is a fabric woven by the angels who hold continual remembrance of God. Each thread is woven with the remembrance of God. Our true nature is that we are one cloth, one humanity woven together with threads of divine remembrance.

Each breath of nature witnessed in the cycles of night and day is a divine remembrance of God. Our beloved Earth breathes and remembers God. The birds sing this remembrance, the river flows with it, the sunrise pronounces it. Each breath a human being takes is an opportunity to remember God. Each breath we take is a moment of invoking the remembrance of God. The mystic longs for God so much that she remembers Him in every breath. 

“…trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!” (William Wordsworth)

She Is Art

I sit on a hillside overlooking an expansive estuary. My trusty old tent and I are hidden in a campsite that borders a bird sanctuary. My mattress is laid out and I am sleepy, but I have words to write. I am alone. On my headphones I listen to the lecture of a respected spiritual teacher and savour the eloquence of his words. There’s a tension in the air as I battle with stilling my mind from the 1 000 distractions of the day. I try to wrestle my thoughts into submission so that I can be present in this moment. There’s that knowledge that,unless I settle into my heart,I won’t be able to write. My heart is sore from the loss of a great love and I am raw inside. That is sometimes the only place to write from. 

“Life goal: Reach the furthest shores of Love.” 

I decide to make a cup of tea. The kettle comes out from the neatly packed camping box. I give the Steve from a few weeks back a little nod of appreciation for packing up so neatly on my last trip. The camping stove comes out.I have plenty of gas, now for matches. Yes! They are neatly packed in an airtightjar for protection from the rain. Another nod to that Steve. I have become more organised as I age. 

“I am sorry for your loss. It’s painful, but you’ll be okay.” 

The tea brewed, milk and honey blended;I get comfortable at my camping table. It’s a red fold-out table that I can carry like a briefcase in the back of my car. Over the years it has been an art table for the kids, a desk in the outdoors, a picnic place during lockdown road trips. It carries the signature of my life over the last decade: Raising kids, road trips, drawings, journaling, impromptu painting sessions in the garden, lockdown relationship. The threads of my past and present woven together and presented to me in this moment through the red table. I have made the transition to where I am.

I melt into the land for a minute, settle my breathing, attune to the voices of the birds. The birdsong in particular is so beautiful here. It starts early in the morning with the Cape Robin Chat performing her song to the pre-dawn stillness. Then in the evening she returns to her perch and sings, sometimes into the dark night. The first and last song of the day. I find the birdsong nourishing. It’s the main reason I chose this campsite, because I love to be present when they sing. The birdsong reminds me of my old home on the edge of a forest,where I would wake up before dawn to pray with the birds. It is a conversation thread with nature that has woven a tapestry of inner peace and connection over the years. I learnt recently that the birdsong awakens the flowers every morning to open to the sun. These songs are prayers of love, the birds remember God with every call. For what more is a prayer than a call to the beloved? Through these shared prayers with the birds I have spoken to the forest and planted roots in her soil. I hope that one day,when this body falls away,my spirit will live on in this birdsong. 

In this beautiful place it is so easy to feel aligned with the harmonic symphony of prayer that spills like a spring from the centreof the natural world. Sinking into this moment, I let go and surrender to the love that is present in the light of nature. 

I feel it in my bones: Our beloved earth still sees us and she welcomes our calling out to her. I let myself fall… in love… deeper and deeper. My call to the earth is her “I am here”. 

Going deeper, breathing into my heart, my attention moves from the outer to the inner. There is a softening in this space inside, a vulnerability, a place where I am alone with my deepest feelings. The language I use to describe this world changes, my perception scans this inner landscape and I see my heart on the inner planes. There is a space inside my heart that is sacred and I remind myself to keep it clean. I used to clear this inner chamber out so that,in the absolute depth of my being,there was an emptiness reserved only for the longing for God. This sacred place where no person or thing may come inside, a sacred space reserved for my beloved alone. I recall the prayer, a sweeping of the dust, clearing the inner chambers so that the light can be present in this primal emptiness. There are wounds here that are fresh. My carelessness with boundaries. In this space of love the boundaries fade and merge and I make space for the love to be present again. 

Then,arriving in this space with my rawness, the longing for connection and a heart that is receptive to both the pain and the pleasure of her love, I spontaneously, prayto connect with the divinity in nature- less of a prayer than a deep and compulsive urge to feel that profoundconnection and oneness with the beloved who is present in the form of the earth.The goddess reveals her face and we dance. 

A warm wind pours over me. I recognise that the wind is alive and remember itsancient language. It carries the scent of the essence of creation. A note of love. The wind is like the birdsong prayers of the dawn chorus. The abundant generosity of nature’s love is palpable. It takes my breath away. It cleanses and nourishes the spaces inside me, soothes and holds, leaves an even deeper rawness and emptiness inside me which I don’t want to rush tofill. 

“Fall in love, Steve. Just let go.” 

It’s like an intoxicating plant medicine. It takes me away, to some other place. I am now at the edge of the world, where the earth comes into being. I see the light of nature as a wholeness that is the ebb and flow of life, evident in the estuary before me,which breathes the rising and falling tidal flow. This ocean that I am so familiar with flows onto the shallow banks and recedes again, like the blood of the world moving endlessly in currents and tides. For a moment I wonder whether the cremated ashes of my old surfing friends have found their way from the bay and onto these shores, back into the great cycle of life and death, absorbed into their beloved ocean. 

As the sun sets and it gets dark the frogs start to sing and the traffic from the highway quietens. A night-timebreeze carries the sound of the sea,which was drowned out by the daytime sounds. Crickets sing, dogs bark, nightjars greet the evening sky. A cricket beneath my feet sings loudly and passionately and it reminds me of a dream a sangoma friend told me about these little creatures that mean good things are coming. The stars sparkle and float and drift about in the vast night sky, taking turns to shine brightly. They fill the sky and some even drift about in their own strange journeys in the vast darkness of the heavens. The night sky is soaked in mystery. A vast oneness floating in the utter emptiness of space. Filled with the warm breeze, the sky appears to be both full and empty. 

“Through suffering and longing our hearts are liberated.” 

I experience an image of the people’s prayers floating up into the night sky asking God for mercy, grace, rescue, protection and sweet respite from all the other insecurities that we share. I imagine that there are also prayers for God’s sake, without requests, simply prayers of alignment and submission. These prayers hang in the misty sea air above the houses where the dogs bark. Do they really go up to heaven or do they soak back into the earth and travel to God through nature’s heart? I see my own prayers and wonder whether they arrived with God and whether they were received with grace, whether they will be answered or if they will lie at His door piling up in the night. I close my eyes and just remember God for His sake, bow in reverence. It feels good to surrender and to want nothing in return. 

I feel small in this scene where the evening stars dance in the darkness above me. My heart feels the wholeness and the emptiness of nature. I dry the tears from my face. Raw and alive, the emptiness within me surrenders. 

Salmon Shadows

There was a shamanic secret being whispered in the wind this morning as the clouds rose up above the mountains and wet the earth with their scattered drops. It tasted like a magic spell that sighed… “remembrance”.

The spell coaxed a memory from the recesses of my unconscious, from way back before the burnings, to a time before the darkness fell over all humanity. It whispered between the resting moments of a warm breeze, spoke trance on the surface of a dancing autumn leaf in the parking lot, painted a fractal riddle across the ocean surface at sunrise. It was there in the clouds, you could read it if you were still, taste it on the inside of your stomach. I stood on the side of the highway witnessing it this morning. Maybe you saw me as you drove by and wondered why I was looking out over the ocean.

After watching the wind on the sea I drove down to my favorite part of the river. I wanted to see if they were still there, the Cape Salmon that had swum so far upstream from the ocean. I loved the sight because it reminded me of an old sufi story. There I saw hundreds of them lying in the shallows by the low-water bridge, next to where all the morning traffic was rushing past. I spotted the feint signs of their presence, watched them dance on the surface with the wind as a cormorant zipped beneath the still surface hunting for klipvis.

I thought to myself: When you sit in nature and just watch the signs, it’s an act of partaking in something real. Most of the time we just dont recognize what’s real anymore, so we make up the world around us and get drawn into this crazy materialistic-consumerist dream. But there’s a realness in the simple act of being alive and just observing the world.

I know what was being whispered in the signs before dawn. I know that deep inside me is the memory of this thing that wants to be spoken. Its a part of who I am, an ancient part of my soul that was awakened ever since I first watched the fish kiss the water surface at sunset on the wetlands. Its at the core of every moment, a memory of my ancient nature soul. Its a memory that the Earth is what we are: humans, crafted from the body of Gaia, the living Goddess. We are made from her dust, birthed from her body, our breath is her breath, our mind is her mind. No separation exists between us and Her. She is the Beloved wrapped in form. We are the embodiment of her.

And so, with the sunrise and the fish, I remembered this secret.