The Swan Song of Socrates

Living well means learning how to die, for when we are well prepared, due to proper guidance and education, to leave this body forever, we leave it not with fear or regret, but with wonder within our soul who has finally learned the power of eternal love that holds this cosmos together in this life and all other lives to come.

Anastasia

Excerpt from Plato’s Phaedo, 84e. Translation by Anastasia Harris.

It would be impossible to persuade other human beings that my present death sentence is a form of luck if I cannot persuade you two, Simmias and Cebes…yet I am not inferior to the swans in relation to prophecy when they sense that is time for them to die and upon that last hour before their death, they sing most beautifully and with great abundance, rejoicing that they are soon to arrive in the realm of the divine where they may be of service to the divine. Human beings, however, due to their fear of death, lie about the swans, and say that they are singing dirges in pain due to their death; but they do not understand that no bird sings when it is hungry or cold or experiences any kind of pain, not the nightingale; not the swallow; not the hoopoe, the birds they say who sing lamentations for their death. But these do not seem to me to sing lamentations, and neither do the swans, for I believe they are of Apollo, and are prophets and soothsayers who sing of the good things in the realm we cannot see, and they delight in that day of arrival there far more than in their previous time in life. I myself believe that I am a fellow servant with the swans and a priest of the god himself, and that I am not an inferior prophet of our master, nor more melancholy than the swans are when they leave their bodies.

The old gods

They are the stars in the night, sometimes showing up when there are no clouds. No one can touch them. They can’t touch each other. The loneliness is unbearable for them because they want to touch and feel and be inspired. Instead they have to project into a body to do that and pretend how marvelous it is. If they work hard at it they can sometimes see starlight in each other’s eyes and that gives them moments equal in both great joy as they look upon them, and in great sadness as they look away. Still as their body grows older, these stars, they are abandoned by society. The loneliness grows as well as the brightness of their minds and so they cultivate a cloudy hope that they are actually eternity itself who projects a million lights into the sky, an ethereal treasure to make this hell called human society worthy of all their soulful starry nights.

Plato: The Fate of the Impure Soul

No one would believe the things that she sees at night. For while others struggle to sleep with restless dreams and worries, she sees the spirits who wander about, generating fear and worry in those who would be better off being free to sleep, to heal and dream of the beautiful day that awaits them. But instead, they only feel depletion and rely on coffee or tea to get them by. Some seek out doctors and medications, herbs and various other salves, in hopes to find a better way to find rest. While she is the one who knows, that no drug will free them from the spirits that haunt and feed of whatever light they have left to provide. In order to solve their sleep problem, they would have to arise in the midst of their own darkness, where what haunts them lurks, playing tricks on them in dreams and visions. Souls who have died that refuse to leave the body and so feed off the ones who are still living. For when we sleep, the souls of the dead cling, still wanting to feel, to be, to exist. We do not see them, because we have become blind. We have forgotten the way and path to the underworld, for we have rejected our true purpose as custodians of the lands, the earth and heaven that we have inherited. We have rejected our duty to continue to keep our earth pure, our heart and soul clean, and our intentions in the divine.

One must consider this to be a very weighty and serious matter, this material consciousness of the visible realm: The soul that is attached to its physical manifestation is very weighed down and is dragged back into the visible realm due to fear of the invisible and Hades, as it is said, and being tossed about from tombstone to tombstone and grave to grave, around which are always seen the dark shadows and phantoms of souls, the kind of phantoms that these same attached souls themselves project, the souls that have not cleanly freed themselves the body, but still hold onto the visible realm, through which they still can be seen.

Plato, Phaedo, 81d

ἐμβριθὲς δέ γε, ὦ φίλε, τοῦτο οἴεσθαι χρὴ εἶναι καὶ βαρὺ καὶ γεῶδες καὶ ὁρατόν: ὃ δὴ καὶ ἔχουσα ἡ τοιαύτη ψυχὴ βαρύνεταί τε καὶ ἕλκεται πάλιν εἰς τὸν ὁρατὸν τόπον φόβῳ τοῦ ἀιδοῦς τε καὶ Ἅιδου, ὥσπερ λέγεται, περὶ τὰ [81δ] μνήματά τε καὶ τοὺς τάφους κυλινδουμένη, περὶ ἃ δὴ καὶ ὤφθη ἄττα ψυχῶν σκιοειδῆ φαντάσματα, οἷα παρέχονται αἱ τοιαῦται ψυχαὶ εἴδωλα, αἱ μὴ καθαρῶς ἀπολυθεῖσαι ἀλλὰ τοῦ ὁρατοῦ μετέχουσαι, διὸ καὶ ὁρῶνται.

Plato, Phaedo, 81δ

The Rivers of Lethe (Λήθη)

Truth is not something to find like a treasure in the most distant mountainside. Nor is it something to be found through logical or scientific proof. Truth (αλήθεια – aletheia) is only what must be remembered, that which rises and flows from the darkness of our humanity into the light of our awareness. That is how the truth will set us free.

There are some stories that only the rivers remember. But these are no ordinary surface rivers. These are rivers of the underworld, questionable graces who echo in our blood through all our hearts, ancient terrible songs that we can hear only when we sleep or have a vision in the thinnest part of night, as the earth’s heart beats her subtle drums. It would take the deepest stillness for one to hear them rushing through the day; for during the day we try to be busier than the trees, preoccupied with what we see, our mental games, every question we can chase: whether to buy this or that, whether to forgive this one or not that one, whether to get a new job or go back to the one that’s old. And yet still there are many days when the light shines through our dusty windows, and we remain in place to listen to something bright; and we create the most magnificent poems and songs and laughter, things of wood and clay, things born of our heart no matter how deep or far away, scrumptious feasts, all prepared with a love that always finds its way through the denser parts of earth. These are things that give us hope that there is something worth living for, something valuable in our birth: freedom, joy, mirth.

But still the waters continue their flow, deep below, regardless of our chosen play for the day.

Yes, the rivers still flow through us, and they are no meager rivers, but mighty ones whose tow is more powerful than the tides of the deepest sea. They pull each one of us daily, endlessly like a frightened or angry child that has been forgotten. Each one of us can feel this river through our heart, for it carries the blood of our ancestors and the blood spilled by tyrants; the screams of children and families ripped apart. It carries the cares and the fears, all that has germinated by a love eternally dear, but one that did surface panic by the bloody dove, suspicion and terrified surrender to below from above. We, each of us, still carry those ancient stories of pain within us as we brush our teeth and worry about our jobs; as we lose control of our relationships and fear being alone; as we look at our lives and shutter at the emptiness of our home; for we fear that we are marksmen who ever fail the test. And even where we find our peace, that river rushes through us again, always reminding us that our bliss has an end not later than soon and that life will turn our hopes to rain again, just like the story it is telling us.

Yet while we are young we can resist somewhat and we can ignore, forging ahead, making better than what we feel is down below to dread. Nightmares of drowning are soothed with dreams of flying away.  Illusions keep our feet walking far and astray, though happy in our stride, we are only hiding, weeping on the inside, scrambling for psychology to tell us why we are dying inside. For that is where our apparent strength lies,  in withstanding the brutal flow of the river’s blood arising; but it is a strength that soon will weaken as the body’s heart begins to slow, and as time rolls past our proverbial prime, we will find that we are losing our power over the ancient stories’ flow, for they wish to carry us with them into what they know, their rises and their falls, their philosophies and their destinies are the laws they wish upon us to impose.

Until we finally completely drown, into death we finally fall, into the romance of those ancestors we will fall, doomed to repeat what mother, father, grandfather, grandmother and great-grandparents saw in the stories that only the rivers remember.  And we run the risk, if we do not stop to discern their theatrical songs, their lessons and their rights and wrongs, of allowing them to engulf our children, to pull them into their swift currents, unless we remember to discover, to finally tell them the greatest news, that their stories are now no longer true.

Meditation: Patiently We, Turning, Await

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! Some day I wish to be only a yes-sayer.

The Gay Science, Nietzsche

In the Northern hemisphere, it always begins and ends with the leaves. It always begins with Spring and ends with Autumn. It matters not that in between the Two, they are a triumphant green, for whom the mighty Sun gladly guides along his ways, his eternal turning and returning; their coming to their going; their going to their coming. It matters not that outside the Two, they become into nothing, and that all the World waits patiently beneath the silent cold.

And these perceived beginnings and endings absorb into the wheel circling round, years written to spin upon rims, reminders that what will be has long ago always been, revolving round the sun, careless of the yearly number and the spaces that they’ve won. For on they roll, neither contending with each other, nor fighting inside themselves. They are just as they are, each passing through, whether they are or they are not noticed by I or you.

And so it is a blessing I suppose that we seem to stop Time’s journey with the scent of leaves who linger upon the earth, with the symphonies of red, and orange and yellow matched only by Springtime’s mirth. We translate all into the voice of the Poet or the song of the musical Seer. We remember that great Spectacle, the sight of Autumn scattering upon the ground, a Muse of Art to repeat the Summer’s sweltering crowds, a Passion play to melt all Winter’s frozen sounds.  What we remember makes us feel as if it will live forever. What we remember makes us feel we will live in it forever.

But I have seen Man desire the beginnings and fear the endings, to hope that Summer stays as fixed and frozen as Winter’s dying, and wanting Springtime’s hand to pull Autumn off his grounding.  But I have even more seen Man despise the Seasons as they flow through him and within him. Why can’t I remain the same? Why must I ever be becoming one into another? Why not Line instead of Wheel? Why not forever instead of timely me? Why not keeping this and that, instead of ever letting go? Why do I seem to be nothing, nothing true and chasing rainbows? Thoughts rattling questions like snakes inside a child’s head until they surrender into a pool of suffering and dread.

For in one hand, Man holds Desperation and the other, He holds What Man calls love, but it is a love that grows in the soil of His fear, and so perhaps it should be called just that, only Fear.  For day in and day out, He works until he dies, not with joy, but with the sorrows he conceals with entertainment, petty battles and holy lies.  And He willingly sacrifices all the primal energy of His Seasons, all of what is left of His dance around the Sun; all that is left of Will and Love already won: the birthright to his Bliss he himself, deftly swindled, has forsaken.

But still there is Hope in the songs, the songs that spell away from stinging thoughts to celebrations of His Sun.

Begin in the Northern hemisphere, it always begins and ends with the leaves. It always begins with Spring and ends with Autumn. It matters not that in between the Two, they are a triumphant green, for whom the mighty Sun gladly guides along his ways, his eternal turning and returning; their coming to their going; their going to their coming. It matters not that outside the Two, they become into nothing, and that all the World waits patiently beneath the silent cold. Fearless we await beneath this silent cold to begin and end finally once again.

You, the Cosmos

You are who you are right here and right now. You are already your own potential. And your potential already exists. It is already present swirling in your flesh, your blood, your bones, your spirit, your stars. It just doesn’t appear that way now. The cosmos is already who you are, but it has not come into awareness yet. You are still squinting your eyes, barely opening them due to the salt that stings. For you are swimming in the primal sea of awareness but you haven’t been able to distinguish it in your mind’s dark lies.  You long to hear the voice of gods or angels to tell you how to be something better. You are imagining that you see land and that you can reach it if you play your cards right. You want to be saved from your situation, for you are lonely and do not know what you are supposed to be without someone telling you the way. You think the way is always away from here. But it is precisely here that is the way: where you exactly are.  No need to run, no need to hide or fight. Just open your eye, the one that feels and sees all. Ignore the stinging salt and soon it will fall away. Get to know your currents and the tides that rise and fall. The sun that bathes you in the day and dives into the water by night; the moon that cradles you in the dark and sleeps when morning gets her start. Get to know your dolphins and your whales, the fish of your ocean. The birds of the air fly above, but the water is where they hunger to be. All your universe gathers here round and in the water for the great feast that is your life, both above it, and below it with you in the center learning, evolving, forever expanding, ever being.

Sea of Awareness

Our awareness is as the sea. It ebbs and it flows. One day you are up, the next you are underwater nearly drowning. There are many creatures of the sea, some that look like you, and some that seem to want to consume you. There are warm currents and cold currents and they intermingle beneath the sun that scatters on the surface. The sea captures the rain from the clouds, returning them to where they began. The sea feeds and the sea destroys. All begins and ends in the sea. All are born and die here.

And there is a deep darkness in the depths of the sea, a place to where we shudder to travel, for it has not greeted our eyes.  We pretend it is not there, that hidden part of the sea, and remain on the top ever carried by the wind and the surface of the water. Always the clingers of the surface, are we. Always diminishing the importance at what below us might be.

But during the reign of the moon when, as the sun sleeps, she lights the way, that which from the bottom will surface to the top, These creatures will surface and you will experience beings that you never knew existed, some frightening, some kind and angelic, some beautiful, other terrible.  All the same, you will witness these if you stay open and vigilant beneath the light of the moon, and when you do, you will experience nothing short of wonder and glory, for all that was previously invisible to you, all that seemed impossible, was always ever here beneath you waiting for your discovery, for you to begin your life anew.

Your Magic Behind the Veil

There is magic behind the veil we call reality, but one must go through not only the veil, but the gatekeepers of the veil in order to find it. You will have to walk through the walls of your own limitations, the friends and lovers you thought were real but were simply phantasms to counteract fear and self-loathing. You will have to dismantle them all piece by piece, peeling them away as if you were peeling the outer flesh of the onion. You will find it a wonder that all the aspirations and dreams that you thought were so dear to you, were but only reactions to fear and a world that wants you to dissolve within it, with your soul as a sacrifice. You may have to walk away from parents, from spouses, from people who helped you to project a world that they inherited from ancestral pain and misery. To pierce that veil, all you will need to take is your courage and your love to find that there is magic at the end of this journey, and that that magic will always be you and yours alone.

Necrologicos

Writing is a form of necromancy,
digging up what you thought was dead
what you believed was never even alive,
what you believed could never even exist,
only to discover that not only does it breathe,
but that it was the one breathing for you all along