Brushing the Leaves

With fondest regards to all our readers. This is another guest post from Chris, featuring pics taken during his recent trip to Dodona, Greece, and the exciting tale of his adventures at this remote location. Take it away Chris.

This has been a place of the oracle for thousands of years. The oldest of the oracle sites by far. Its origins spring from the divine 
feminine and Gaia millennia ago. I sat with my hands brushing the leaves of the sacred oak (long since gone of course but now replaced) as the wind rustled the tree. The oracle it seems spoke to the priestess in exactly this way.

The journey was its own tale. We set out the day before, following a straightforward route on good roads. One wrong turn will take a traveller onto boulder rivers that run for miles. And so for us. Here we collected two punctures. The car abandoned, we walked for miles without meeting a soul. Except one wild bearded man whose clothes seemed to be from a another age. He walked with bearing and indifference.

He reminded me of a Sarkatsan, as described by Patrick Leigh Fermor in his book ‘Roumeli’.
The wanderings of Patrick Leigh Fermor, have panache and romance and were always conducted with a deep respect for ancient peoples and cultures. 
His first honour as a human being was bestowed upon him when he was expelled from Kings College Canterbury. At the age of 18, he walked from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. From here various adventures in Macedonia and Greece, where in Athens he met Balasha Cantacuzène, a Romanian Phanariote noblewoman. They fell in love and set up home in an old watermill outside the city. The couple stayed together till he returned to England at the outbreak of war. He was sent to Crete during the war, and after the end of the war, continued travelling and writing.

Patrick Leigh Fermor’s travels are remarkable enough (and pretty much impossible now), but as a writer he was unsurpassed. He died in 2011. It was said in his obituaries, he was the best writer of his time.
 Patrick Leigh Fermor spoke ancient and modern Greek and eventually learned Sarkatsan. That the Sarkatsans recognised him was unusual. Outside of a keen watchfulness of current ‘goings on’, enough to preserve their safety, Sarkatsans do not recognise or give attention to the values of modern Greece, modern living or the ways of foreigners. (Fermor was then writing of mid 20th century Greece). Sarkatsan rituals, dress code and nomadic way of life have remained unchanged for perhaps 3000 years and maybe longer. Well that’s how PLF described them in the 1940s and 50s. I have no idea how they have fared in the sixty odd years since. Our mountain route crossed areas that have fed and watered Sarkatsan animals for millennia. So I like to think the man we encountered was Sarkatsan.

We were blocked from Dodona that day, but the next day’s journey was error free and effortless. An air-conditioned tarmac smooth 90 minutes. Disgorging from a tin can is an odd way to encounter this place.
 To show some perspective of the site, there is a photograph of me, leaning against one of the massive supporting walls that surround the amphitheatre. For the purpose of scale, note the man walking towards the front of the amphitheatre. The  supporting wall (where I was photographed) is the second tier above him. You could not get a Euro note between those massive stones.

Yet the scale of the amphitheatre was no preparation for the energy at the place of the oracle and sacred oak. The smell of wild thyme, a warm breeze and the sound of bees. I did not want to leave this place. It is with me now. 
As for Sarkatsans; these people have a living memory of Dodona as the preeminent oracle of the ancient world. Through their oral  tradition and way of life, unchanged for millennia, Dodona breathes its spirit into the world.

 

Dodona small

 

Wasn’t that great? I hope you found it inspiring. Thanks are due again to Chris, and to all you good readers and followers. I have been very unwell again of late, If any kind soul wishes to say a little prayer for me, it will be truly appreciated. My sincere thanks in advance.

Until next time, may we know peace; and may we all come to enjoy the priceless blessing of possessing a clear conscience.

 

[I have] a heavenly vase full of autumn leaves.

They look so beautiful.

How much closer to God can one get?

Lotte Lenya.

 

Photography ©Christopher Hammond.

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As it Stands

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Greetings, and salutations to you, dear readers, and friends. The observant amongst you will have noticed that we have been absent from the blogosphere for a while. This was caused by the advent of a number of extreme difficulties, experienced on top of a number of already existing extreme difficulties; by me.

As it stands, my days are spent addressing these new and developing conditions, and this has, of course, impacted my blogging, as well as all other activities.

However, when we choose to rise to our challenges, no matter how much they would overwhelm, then surely we honour the purpose of our creation. After all, each and every one of us, was born, tailor-made to live our own unique and very personal lives.

A few months ago, it looked, once again, as though I were done for. But I wasn’t. Now I am due only one more hospital visit for this year. If there should be any further untoward developments, I will let you know, if I can.

So, while I cannot guarantee a regular return to the fold, I’ll do what I may. Today is the International Day of Peace, and as this blog has declared universal peace on more than one occasion, I felt it fitting that I should make every effort to add our voices once again, into this great chorus rising from the hearts of humanity.

In the near future I hope to introduce you to the photography of my globe-trotting friend, Chris. He has offered, very kindly, to let me to post some of his travel pics here.

In the meantime, the pics above were taken by me near where we live. I hope you enjoy them. It was my first day out that wasn’t spent in hospital since May, and my eyes simply devoured the scenery. Amanda took many pics too, and I hope to get some of those posted soon. Unfortunately, we arrived a day late for the farmers show, but we did meet a friendly straggler in the field. He had forgotten to bring home his wife’s prize potted plant from the day before, poor man.

Before signing off, I will spend a few minutes in silence. If you are a keen reader, why not join me, before moving on, and share in a prayer for peace. d14

Until next time, Namaste from Amras.

A normal human nervous system is potentially superior to that of an animal’s. For the sake of sanity, and balanced development, each individual must learn to orient himself to the real world around him. There are methods of training by which this can be done.

From “The Pawns of Null-A” by A.E. van Vogt.

The Irresistible

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Now, as the days grow shorter, and the trees shed their summer gear, I felt it was a good time to look back to just a few days ago, when those trees were at their most handsome. The irresistible wish to share such beauty fell upon the pics above. I hope you enjoy them.

Living as we do, in an aggressively materialistic society, we are sometimes subjected to scoffing tongues and pointed type. Many folk dedicate themselves to discouraging others from their spirituality. We all suffer for their ignorance.

As we need more light than darkness in our lives, I would ask any friendly reader, who agrees with me, to consider such folk in their payers tonight.

With that, I wish peace for every living soul. Namaste from Amras.

 

If you don’t know where you’re going,

any road will take you there. 

George Harrison.

 

 

Photography ©Francis Moloney.

When You were Born

Rescue

What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?

And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you.

You will find out, among other things, it will pose the next question to you.

What was it like to wake up after having never gone to sleep?

That was when you were born.

You are something that the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is something that

the whole ocean is doing… The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around;

the real, deep down you is the whole universe.

Alan Watts.

 

Namaste dear readers, I haven’t been feeling too again good of late, so I won’t write for long. My deepest appreciation goes out to all of you who sent kind wishes in response to our last post, thank you so much.

The duty of those who pray for peace, is to become peace itself, during times of turmoil. This is made achievable by nurturing a very good relationship with the deepest, and most intimate contents of our hearts. When forgiveness wipes the conscience clean, finally, faith becomes a radiant force for divine service.

With that, I shall leave you in peace. Until next time, best wishes from Amras.

 

Artwork ©Francis Moloney.