Archive for February, 2008
¬† There have been quite a few times in my life when I have felt not only protected, but actually “saved” by forces which can be thought of and personified as Angels. To be accurate, according to Christian Muslim and Jewish doctrine, Angels are beings who have never incarnated upon this earth. It would seem that they came into existence all together, just¬†¬† before our planet and the Universe were created.
Angels are spirit entities, but can appear as men when needed - they can also protect and save human beings from harm…
…It was Easter 1964, the year after John Kennedy was assassinated. Liz my ex-wife and I set off from our guest house in Ambleside. Five shillings a night for a Bed and a large English Breakfast was about average in the early ‚Äė60‚Äôs, although the mind boggles when I convert the sum to our present currency and realise that I am talking about the princely sum of 50p! (around a dollar!)
We set off in the fresh morning sunlight, taking the country bus from Ambleside to Langdale, side by side with country-wives and farmers and the pungent aroma of pipe tobacco, mixing with gamey smell of earth, manure and good honest country-folk. I can remember adding to the delicious fug by puffing away at my own pipe, filled with a wonderful tobacco called Erinmore Flake, which I had adopted from Liz’s father who was head-gardener to the local squire. We eventually arrived and clambered off the bus in our hiking boots, setting off along the mountain path to Stickletarn which lies at the foot of Pavey Ark. The weather slowly became more blustery, with an increasing chill as we climbed higher. We skirted the tarn in bright sunlight, and followed the mountain path up toward the ridge, which would mark the start of our descent into Grasmere. Suddenly the weather changed, and within minutes the sky turned dark grey and our surroundings became obliterated by the snow, which was now falling all around us. The change was dramatic and Liz and I felt chilled, disorientated and increasingly frightened. Mountains are like sleeping giants and if we had disturbed this one, he certainly was showing his irritation.
By now we were standing, unsure of which way to go, on the thigh of Pavey Ark , in what now seemed to be a blizzard. Liz looked at me through the small porthole of her anorak hood. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want to die on the Mountaintop,‚ÄĚ she said. (and this was many years before Southpark and ‘Kenny’!) We were both a little scared. Slowly and carefully, as the snow had began to settle, we crossed the ridge. Then to our great relief, the weather started to clear. We were safe - or so we thought…
…We had reached the ridge and had just started to make our descent, when the weather, as if playing a dangerous game, changed again. The returning snow swirled and the visibility grew even less, until we could see no more than 10 feet in any direction. Again the fear started to grow within us. Then out of the greyness two figures came into focus, looking as if they had stepped out of a Victorian novel. The leader who was dressed in plus-fours, a stout tweed jacket, wearing a deerstalker hat and carrying a game bag, approached us…
…‚ÄúAre we near the ridge?‚ÄĚ he said in an upper-class military accent.
‚ÄúYes,‚ÄĚ said Liz. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve just come over it.‚ÄĚ Liz continued to talk to the man, who turned out to be called Nikolei, explaining that she had been frightened we would miss the path the two men had just climbed.
Nikolei replied with a gentle smile, ‚ÄúIt isn‚Äôt very nice, thinking you are going to get lost on a mountain in the snow, is it?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNo,‚ÄĚ replied Liz quietly. There was something very unworldly about the moment, something timeless and strangely electric…¬†
…Suddenly we heard a call, ‚ÄúCome on Nikolei!‚ÄĚ Nikolei‚Äôs hiking companion, who was carrying a wicker picnic hamper and dressed the same, except for being bare headed, with a shock of dark brown hair, had continued on their trek and seemed impatient to go on. A moment later Nikolei turned and set off toward him.
The transformation happened in a blink of an eye. The sky turned blue and the sun shone! We turned to wave and shout goodbye to the strange pair, but they had disappeared without a trace. We could now see right to the top of the ridge ‚Äď there was nowhere they could have gone or hidden ‚Äď absolutely nowhere! It was as if they had melted into the mountain.
We headed off in the direction the two strange travellers had come from and a ray of sunlight inexplicably seemed to guide us down the mountain path to the village of Grasmere, shimmering in the valley below It was almost unbelievable, but it actually happened.
Were they Angels or Guardian Spirits - I’m not sure, but as Liz says to this day, ‚ÄúThey came out of nowhere, went back into nowhere and the weather cleared.‚ÄĚ
http://www.christiananswers.net/q-acb/acb-t005.html#9 (a good Christian analysis of Angels)
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel¬† (’simple’ wikipedia is a great source of information)
¬© henry metcalfe ~ “soulMerlin”9 comments
I had decided to write about ‚ÄúSoul and Spirit‚ÄĚ for this week‚Äôs Almanack entry, when I suddenly realised that I actually
‚Äúknew‚ÄĚ (and had always known) what my Soul looked like. Within me was an awareness of a soft and warm, oval-shaped mass. The awareness was both dove-like and egg-like.
The Soul Egg
We belong to ‚ÄúSpirit‚ÄĚ and yet have our own individual identity ‚Äď or‚ÄĚ Soul‚ÄĚ. The Soul is often thought of as an egg ‚Äď anyone who has seen the excellent, allegorical film ‚ÄúAngel Heart‚ÄĚ starring Robert De Niro and Mickey Rourke will understand ‚Äď but I‚Äôm not going to give the plot away; ‚ÄúAngel Heart‚ÄĚ is still available and if you haven‚Äôt seen it, it‚Äôs a ‚Äúmust‚ÄĚ. (I‚Äôd hate to spoil it for you in the same way many theatre and cinema critics do, when they analyse the plot of the movie or play they are reviewing and stupidly give the game away)
You can buy Angel Heart at Amazon.com:-
The Spiritual Dimension
As human beings, together with all the other animate and inanimate entities of our universe we function within the three dimensions of height, breadth and depth. If any dimension could be taken away, we would simply cease to exist. Although scientists and cosmologists postulate the existence of seven, ten or even more dimensions, our concepts of the spiritual-dimension are still limited by our surroundings and the nature of our own physical existence and sensory awareness.
The bible states that God made Man in his image ‚Äď the trouble is we can only easily perceive ourselves within three dimensions and therefore we often fall into the trap of limiting our perception of God to that of a three-dimensional white-bearded, King-like ruler. More importantly, we limit our own understanding of the nature of ourselves to what we can see in the mirror, neither recognizing nor comprehending the extent of our own spiritual dimensions.
The Spirit Soup
The word ‚ÄúSpirit‚ÄĚ has a more general sound than ‚ÄúSoul‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúEverything is Spirit‚ÄĚ as the Rev‚Äô John Chapman, the minister of Bedworth church would say‚Ä¶ The Universe can be likened to a womb, expanding and growing, creating galaxies, planets and stars from a pre-big bang state of ‚Äúnothingness‚ÄĚ, a state which scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku are still trying to understand comprehend and explore.
At the time of writing, the snowdrops and the crocuses are out and the earth smells of new life; a fertile soup bowl of spirit from which we originally emerged and of which we are inextricably a part.
If Spirit is the soup of the Universe then we are the Croutons.
The River of Life
My parents first home was called Riverside House. It was situated along the banks of the River Wear, which flows in a horseshoe around the magnificent cathedral and the wooded walks of Durham City in the North-East of England.
When my mother died, it therefore seemed right to return her remains to the beautiful city where she, my father and I had all been born. I scattered her ashes all around her favourite walks and finally swam to the centre of the river where I unscrewed the urn and let the remaining ashes disperse into the water. Watching the ashes dissolve made me think of her soul dissolving into infinity. My ex-wife Liz and our friend Debbie had joined me on the trip, which had begun to feel more like a pilgrimage and which had become increasingly full of laughter as we remembered and honoured her life. When I returned home, I wrote the following passage:-
~If Spirit is seen as a river, then a Soul can be seen as a glassful scooped from the water. At the end of a lifetime, the glassful is poured back; and the Soul rejoins the river source, blending and dispersing within it and yet in no way ceasing to exist or being lessened in any way. The soul-water is enriched by its return and it‚Äôs re-merging with its source and with all the other returned souls. When another glassful is taken from the river, the ‚Äėnew‚Äô soul is a mixture of many, perhaps all of the souls that have existed before~
At this point, I spent some time considering my three-dimensional ‚ÄėSpirit-Soul-River‚Äô description above, in relation to a recurring theme in hymns, psalms and sacred songs. The theme I am referring to is ‚ÄúLosing Oneself‚ÄĚ ‚Äď either in ‚ÄúThe Light‚ÄĚ or the Glory, or the Love of God.
I typed a random phrase: ‚Äúlose ourselves in thee‚ÄĚ, which seemed to be a combination of all the ‚Äėgoing into the light‚Äô hymns I had ever heard, into Google and the first example I pulled up surprised me by having my late mother‚Äôs name in the title:
Anyone who has read my Almanack in any depth will know that I have been told by many psychics that my mother is now my spirit guide. Of course any sceptics (including me) might just put it down to co-incidence ‚Äď except for the following:-
Around five years ago, my mother and I were going through some of her paperwork, when I came upon her birth certificate. Now my mother‚Äôs name was Christina, but the certificate read ‚ÄúChristiana‚ÄĚ. My mother was amazed that at the age of 87 she had at last found her real name and although we never actually used it, I could see that she rather liked it.
There on the Google entry was the quote I was looking for:-
‚ÄúTill in the ocean of Thy love We lose ourselves in heaven above.‚ÄĚ
by Benjamin Hall Kennedy - 1863 - Hymns, English - 404 pages
2 Shade of eve with morning ray Took from Thee the name of Day; Now again the shades ‚Ä¶ Till in the ocean of Thy love We lose ourselves in heaven above. ‚Ä¶ books.google.com/books?id=IHpIKnVCPuAC‚Ä¶
It was perfect, my random choice of words, being answered by my mother‚Äôs real name, then the spirit-river of life flowing into the ocean of God‚Äôs love. But the final mix of the river, the ocean and heaven, was the unexpected reply to my Google search: My river and cup had been transformed into the all-embracing sea and sky. For a moment I glimpsed the all transformed into the divine…
…and then literally, down to earth: The Big problem for me (and I suspect many people) is that although we all sing about ‚Äúlosing ourselves in Thee‚ÄĚ and talk about ‚Äúgoing into the light‚ÄĚ, I for one most certainly do not relish losing the ‚Äėmyself‚Äô of this particular incarnation. After all the sense of ‚ÄúMyself‚ÄĚ is also the Awareness of my Soul ‚Äď as Wikipedia would say:-
‚ÄúThe soul, according to many religious and philosophical traditions, is the self-aware essence unique to a particular living being. In these traditions the soul is thought to incorporate the inner essence of each living being, and to be the true basis for sapience, rather than the brain or any other material or natural part of the biological organism.‚ÄĚ (wikipedia)
But I must accept that my ‚Äúself-aware essence‚ÄĚ is perceived by me from only a three-dimensional viewpoint and I must remember that if we all are part of the Great Spirit of existence then we must all be part of each other. Each and every one of us is a tiny part of a God, who instead of being merely the personification of an old warrior, is indeed both ‚ÄúThe All‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúThe Divine‚ÄĚ.
I was delighted to get two internet media reviews a couple of days after posting this entry - however I had more website problems and erased them by mistake.
(Nothing daunted, I’m putting the links to their organizations below)
‚ÄĒ Movie Information blog
http: / / movienewsflash.com/ 2008/ 02/ 12/ the- soul- the- spirit- and- christiana-
it’s nice to be appreciated4 comments