Comprehending God ~ Into the Underworld and through the Dark to Home(ii)

SRT_caving_deviation When I was in my 20’s, I had a great time, potholing (caving) in the Yorkshire Dales. Time off work from my job as a cave-guide, would find me sliding and slithering as I worked my way underground, often in spaces so small that it was impossible to get through without taking off my protective helmet and its lifesaving headlamp and sliding them along in front of me.

I often used to wonder what would happen if the bulb failed – I never went caving alone – but I knew one or two foolhardy types, who would disappear off by themselves, beyond the back of the show-cave and along passages and underground streams that led to the centre of Ingleborough mountain – and I don’t remember them ever taking spare bulbs.

I can remember myself and another guide, pausing for a rest in a narrow slit in the limestone only about 18" high, but wide enough to go off in many (wrong) directions - and switching off our lights. The blackness was absolute. The total lack of light fascinated me and my eyes felt as if they were standing out of their sockets as they strained hopelessly to find a glimmer of the vibration we perceive as ‘light’.

Light can only exist and be perceived, if the energy source/transmitter is present and the receiving visual mechanism and its link to the brain is in working order and operating at the correct frequency. If the receiver is none functional, light as a personal experience within our five senses is therefore an impossibility - although there are cases of people with the ability to see through skin tissue. 

If the sun were to extinguish and if the energy of all the other molten and volatile planets and stars that emit the vibrations of light and heat were to dissipate and fade, there would be no source and therefore no transmitter - then again, there would be no ‘me’ or ‘you’ either – at least in this dimension.

In the evenings, after I had taken the last party of tourists around the natural stalactite and stalagmite formations and returned from my own cave-explorations, I would walk home through the dark forest at the base of the mountain, towards the village. I would usually stop at some point and stand silently amongst the trees. On moon and starless nights, I would again find myself in almost total darkness, until my eyes became attuned enough to pick up the faintest glimmer of light around me - a glimmer that did not exist underground.

Slowly my surroundings would start to become apparent. The outline of trees and rocks would form from the blackness and gradually I would be able to see enough of the path to be able to walk through the forest, without slipping and falling down the slope to my left, into the stream that flowed from the mountain and from the entrance to the cave in which I worked.

As I trudged home, usually alone as my companion was staying in a semi-derelict cottage near the cavern, I would stop and listen carefully. Gradually my ears would pick up the small rustling sounds of unknown animals in the darkness – and the giggling and gurgling of the forest spirits. Of course it was the sound of the stream (I thought) as it flowed over rocks and boulders - but it did sound like words and muffled laughter. It was easy to imagine the malevolent  *boggarts as they clustered in the dark and to almost hear their whispered secrets.


Some people will see a fairy at the bottom of their garden, another will see a flower - the energy-cluster is the same. The fact that one person sees the energy-cluster as a Bluebell and another person sees it as Tinkerbell, does nothing to disprove the existence of the energy-cluster itself - it only goes to acknowledge an initial perception and the many variations of comprehension that may follow.

                                                              ~                                                            -

I’d love you to go to Robin Easton’s blog Naked in Eden - she has a beautiful video of a stream and equally beautiful thoughts for the New Year.

Happy New Year :) h

*boggart ~ ‘In the folklore of North-West England, boggarts live under bridges on dangerous sharp bends on roads, and it is considered bad luck for drivers not to offer their polite greetings as they cross.’ ~ Wikipedia.

They also live in the limestone caves in the area. “Boggart’s Roaring Hole” is a pothole on the flanks of Ingleborough Mountain, from which mysterious and frightening sounds can sometimes be heard. ~ h.

image at head of post from Wikimedia Commons - click on photo for link


  1. Comment by Lilly on January 3, 2009 12:39 pm

    Henry, that photo threw me, what is all the red? I thought it was some kind of accident or something. Oh I could never go potholing - I have been in caves but ones you do not have to crawl through. That would be my hell. You have had an interesting life.

    Anyway, another thought provoking post - beautifully written and this line deserved an Academy Award - “The total lack of light fascinated me and my eyes felt as if they were standing out of their sockets as they strained hopelessly to find a glimmer of the vibration we perceive as ‘light’”.

    I hear what you are saying about our differences in perception and our comprehension. Wouldnt it be wonderful if everyone could have this same understanding…of the essential energy of the earth and its everchanging creations. I have learnt a lot from coming to your blogs Henry. And Miss Robins too of course. I loved her video - some energy there!!!

  2. Comment by soulMerlin on January 3, 2009 5:22 pm

    Hi Lilly ~ I’ve changed the photo. You see, your gut response “that photo threw me, what is all the red?” made me realise that the photo was too sensational. I had lifted the red hue, to stress the association between underground and Hell, but when you said “I thought it was some kind of accident” I knew it would take people off-track. I hope you like the replacement - it still has a feeling of descending into the depths; even more so than the first photo. Thanks - your spontaneity has an immediate truth. I continue to appreciate your visits to this particular topic.



  3. Comment by Michelle (Artscapes) on January 3, 2009 6:22 pm

    Lovely story… and a lovely response to your own exercise of part 1? Clever and rich - brings to my mind is Dante (love the header art!), duality, microcosm/macrocosm, imagination, perception and the realization that it is with us, is us, everyday at every moment.

  4. Comment by soulMerlin on January 3, 2009 7:14 pm

    Hi Michelle ~ You’re very canny, it was/is part of my answer to my exercise of part 1. (maybe I should have done an exercise for part 2)

    I’m in the middle of a three-show Saturday (playing Jacob in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and I have little moments when I can get on-line. I’ve just scanned your blog and I’m almost embarrassed by your praise of my header….your blog looks fantastic and the header is beautiful.

    I’ll be over in an hour or so to read (on my next break)

    thanks for the visit and the astute comment :)


  5. Comment by tricia on January 3, 2009 7:40 pm

    As always henry, an excellent tale with you expertly in control of every word.

  6. Comment by Tamera on January 3, 2009 8:15 pm

    Goodness. I could never have a job or hobby like that (crawling and descending down/through small places. You are a very adventurous soul.

    hmmmm…from dark to light….from dark to life. The experience of vividness during those experiences must have felt spectacular. I’m trying to picture how that would feel, and it seems a bit sacred/mystical/peaceful all at the same time. I was mulling over Lilly’s comment, and it led me to think that, ‘Yes…and, if we could all respect the perceptions of each other, there wouldn’t be so much arguing, and so many conflicts’……followed by a deep ’sigh’.

    It doesn’t matter what you write about, henry…you always manage to spellbind with your words. You are not an average story-teller (based on real life), you are a GREAT story-teller. You take us (your readers) on fantastic journeys, and I appreciate it. Thank you. ;o)))) And, Happy New Year to you. 2009 is going to be memorable in a fantastic way! I just know it.

  7. Comment by Susie on January 4, 2009 2:36 am

    Sounds like you are a very busy bee these days Henry! Go you! I love the life that reverberates from your writings and your life!
    If you can be comfortable in darkness, you are comfortable with yourself. Darkness is so feared, but is it really an evil place? Close your eyelids, and it’s in our minds, our perceptions.

    Loved this post, it made me think!

  8. Comment by Susie on January 4, 2009 3:10 am

    Thanks for the bc message - what sprang to mind immediately with this post was when I was a child and was taken down into a coal mine.. the dark.. the smells, the chatter of others afraid.. I knew I was safe, but the dark was a bit Dark indeed.. I wondered how people do this for a living.. I think I was 10 or 12 at the time, and it’s always stayed with me.. the musty dark mine.. I like the solice of the dark, and the images that come into my minds eye!

  9. Comment by soulMerlin on January 4, 2009 3:56 am

    Hi Tricia ~ “expertly in control of every word” - :) not until I’ve tried a least 50 variations and re-published nearly as many times! Happy New Year.

    Hi Tamera ~ Thank you for commenting, especially as your blog is long overdue a visit from me.

    “if we could all respect the perceptions of each other” You are so right. My friend Amir, who is a Muslim, attended my mother’s funeral. At one point the minister made the statement made by Jesus “the only way to the Father is through me”. It is a beautiful statement and one held dear by Christians - even though Amir was ok about it and followed the Christian form of the service, I felt for him. Jesus is a prophet in the Muslim religion; Muhammad is the last prophet and the founder of Islam.


    Hello Susie ~ I’m leading you a dance with the “Exercise 2″ part I’ve just added to the post…neverthless, your thoughts and feelings about darkness are so like my own. My mother used to sit and also walk around her house in the dark. I do the same.


  10. Comment by soulMerlin on January 4, 2009 4:20 am

    Hi Susie ~ It would seem to me that the symbolism of a coal-mine and being scared of the unknown, points to a journey along the pathless path - a journey of exploration and discovery. Although you are and will be frightened at times, you know that you are protected.


  11. Comment by Liara Covert on January 6, 2009 5:46 pm

    I am intrigued with the term. “potholing.” I am familiar caving, spelunking and other variations because this is a passion of mine, but you have opened my mind yet again to yet another word possibility. Avid cavers I have met have different motivations to engage in this activity. A sense of adventure and the desire to build courage and self-confidence often underly other reasons. I discern an innate desire to reconnect with remnants of civilizations such as Lemeuria and Atlantis. The crystal formations beneath the surface of the earth and inside mountains are life-transforming, especially as you attune to energy flow.

  12. Comment by Chrissy on January 7, 2009 3:16 pm

    Henry, How much I am enjoying these posts and how thought provoking. I had to get away from the thought of potholing, it sounds terrible to me. I am not afraid of the dark but even looking at that photograph raised my heart rate…. I am not one for lots of phobias but just think of enclosed spaces and I have to start controlling my asthma! But, then I can imagine some people would really dislike hiking through the woods in the dark, Andy has to remind me to take my mobile!
    “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, I found quite fascinating and intriguing. I not sure I should really like it but initially I did, so to quote your last line….
    “it only goes to acknowledge an initial perception and the many variations of comprehension that may follow.”
    Happy New year to you and yours, thank you for all your lovely comments on my blog :)

  13. Comment by soulMerlin on January 7, 2009 3:22 pm

    Hello Liara ~ When I first started potholing, I thought the term was used in the North Yorkshire Dales and that in other areas ‘caving’ was used. Then I realised that ‘potholing’ refers to descending on wire ladders and climbing underground. eg: Gaping Gill on the flanks of Ingleborough is like an underground bottle shape and to access it, requires ladders to go through the bottle top entrance and down to the base of the cave. Then I also heardthat ‘potholing’ refers to caves with water running through them…they are waterformed in the limestone and that ‘caving’ refers to caves that are dry…

    The stalactites and stalagmites are wonderful - as are the fossils and also the sense of adventure (and danger)


  14. Comment by Tamera on January 7, 2009 7:23 pm

    henry…I don’t read your work and comment, because you visit my blog. I read your work, because I LIKE your work..hehe…There are many that stopped reading my blog long ago, but I still visit them, because their writing is valuable to me. It either gets me to think, helps me to balance, offers a little break of entertainment, etc, etc……..You are one of the very few people I really wish would write a book using your fabulous mastery of language.

  15. Comment by Robb on January 15, 2009 3:01 am

    Kia ora Henry,
    I arrived from Robin’s place and I very much enjoyed this post. Your connection to Nature is palpable. I’m afraid I am too large physically to ever have been a caver, but I still find it fascinating and such a beautiful part of the Earth. I can strongly identify with how the surroundings become apparent in nature, the sound of water in the mountains always seems to be in my head, and there are certain places I can almost hear voices, alone in a tent or a hut almost ready to get up and welcome some late arriving visitor. I look forward to reading more. Cheers.

  16. Comment by Liara Covert on January 15, 2009 3:13 am

    henry, you are a marvel and a historian as well! I can imagine you descending a ladder, wearing a protective helmet and miner’s light. I have known people to slither down caves with dimensions only the width of their bodies. However, that experience I leave to other enthusiasts! I prefer to walk though caves as opposed to descending into potentially bottomless crevasses. Underground lakes and rivers are indeed fascinating to discover. Some cavers take orientation on their excursions because they have found themselves in darkness or off the beaten trail. BY the way, you and oter readers may appreciate these caving links:

  17. Comment by Robin Easton on January 15, 2009 4:43 am

    Oh my word henry!!!! I can hardly believe the life you have lived. Months ago you briefly mentioned to me (in an email) these inner Earth adventures of yours. I can hardly believe that I am finally reading about them here. You are one of the most fascinating and fully alive souls I’ve met. These adventures are worthy of a whole book. Your writing left me both spellbound and breathless in the most emotionally beautiful way. Parts of this brought tears to my eyes. I am in awe and profoundly moved….I guess by both your courage and your awareness of the world around you. Your openness to the mystery of Life and Death.

    You wrote: “I would walk home through the dark forest at the base of the mountain, towards the village. I would usually stop at some point and stand silently amongst the trees.”

    This brings tears running down my face. I could feel you standing silently in the woods, a lone soul with your God. So beautiful. And I had that same sense in the cave of your openness to and curiosity of Life. A heart yearning, seeking, communing with all of existence.

    This line left me stunned. “The total lack of light fascinated me and my eyes felt as if they were standing out of their sockets as they strained hopelessly to find a glimmer of the vibration we perceive as ‘light’”.

    I felt this in my BODY when I read it. I have been in blackness this black. I forget where but I know I have. Maybe it is only a primordial memory, but it is something I know so well.

    All your remarkable writing, all your passion and gifts that you share with others astonish, and this piece I felt was some very deep part of you. Maybe the deepest. It is so detailed and sensory. I am AWED! Moved…and left feeling more alive from it. More human and more connected to some infinite mystery. For that I am very very grateful henry. I have so many tears in my eyes right now Ican hardly see the screen anymroe.

    Just thank you.
    Thank you,

  18. Comment by Robin Easton on January 15, 2009 4:44 am

    Also….I am so very touched by your mention of my little creek video. Very touched, henry. Love, Robin.

  19. Comment by Janet Gardner on January 20, 2009 8:56 pm

    Hi Henry,
    Your journey through life has been inspirational. I thank you for sharing these wonderful stories with us. Your words bring us to where you were at that moment and time. It is so true, that even in the darkest of moments we are truly never alone. There is always a light and spirit surrounding us, we just need to focus to see and hear it like you did.
    Take Care Henry,

  20. Comment by Carol on February 6, 2009 1:15 am

    Any time I read one of your pieces, I finish it. Then just sit a minute with my mouth hung open. All I can come up with is WOW. You force the reader to think every time. You really are a soul merlin!

  21. Comment by shabanaali on October 14, 2009 7:27 am

    you have strange attractive strength in your thoughts and words .i feel their touch to soul.i often visit my grave where i have to go one day it makes me more bright ,live and positive towards life

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