Why I write

This extract from the Facebook page of Mani Ridgley shows how the reality of people’s suffering may be artistically represented through words accompanied by a few visual images.

Even amongst the wild beauty of rural Guatemala, the magnificence of La Ceiba has captivated human imagination for thousands of years. It was the tree of life for ancient Maya, their axis mundi that connected earthly beings with the spiritual realms. Its mystical significance has been passed down through generations of Maya, preserved in narratives that emphasise profound affinities between all elements in the natural world.

Today, these sacred trees stand in the heartlands of extractive capitalism, rooted in the plantations of rich landowners of European descent. The privatisation of land swept Guatemala during the late-1800s coffee boom when the state sold swathes of traditionally Maya territory to wealthy immigrants, many German and British, for coffee production.

Attempts at land redistribution in the 1950s by a democratically elected government were thwarted by a CIA-backed military coup. Today, 65% of land is owned by 2.5% of commercial producers.

The Ceiba trees pictured above stand tall within a vast palm oil plantation in the Polochic Valley. Out of fear or respect for local Maya, plantation owners often leave Ceiba trees standing whilst decimating the surrounding ecosystem.

These palm plantations notoriously suck water away from local villages whilst wrecking the natural equilibrium that once evolved in harmony with indigenous groups. Ironically, private property signs dotted around the plantations remind the local Maya to care for their environment.

The signs also prohibit the impoverished locals from hunting or fishing. To feed their families, they are dependent on employment from the plantation owners. Those ‘lucky’ enough to have a full-time job work 50 hours a week for a minimal wage. In a month, Guatemala will hold national elections, but there is little optimism that government will effect change. Exploiting land and people is common sense for Guatemalan elites.

The future of our planet may depend upon the ancestral Maya understanding of humans being in nature, but for now, at least, it is business as usual.

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=mani%20ridgley&epa=SEARCH_BOX

Below is a wonderful presentation regarding the fact that suffering is a universal condition of the human race until such time as it is realised that the answer to our quandary lies in our own hands.

The Master Within–Roland Brisson, FRC

This is why I write.

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

 

 

 

LOVE (explained)

This post is an addition to the earlier LOVE post to try and clarify a few points regarding the Key of LOVE and how its deeper meaning may be revealed to the enquirer.

Arguably, like a Rorschach test, it reveals as much about the observer as it does about the universe. After all, one cannot immediately transcend one’s own understanding (except at certain key moments along the way). It takes time and effort to analyse certain circumstances – especially when they are encountered for the first time – and the internal powers of comprehension often judder, even grind to a halt, when an original paradigm is presented in an unusual form.

A common misunderstanding about the KoL arises when someone remarks that it is only applicable to the English language, since the word ‘love’ is written differently in other languages. The ‘written’ point is important. Not only is the word a different one, but quite possibly so will be the alphabet (if there is one, since some other symbol may be used, for example the Chinese pictogram 愛). प्यार is the Hindi, and любовь is the same word written in Russian.

But, letters are of course symbols more than anything else, more so even than whole words.

So, L may stand for other things, like 100 as a Roman numeral, or it could stand for ‘litre’ or so forth.

That is the first thing: LOVE is a symbol of the entire universe, in this instance.

Next, there is nothing new in having a word stand in for a whole different concept of meaning.

Actually, a word like ‘love’ has many different and nuanced meanings even in common discourse.

Let’s look at Gematria, the system used to elucidate further and more profound meaning from words written in the Greek and Hebrew alphabets. Dating from Babylonian times, letters are ascribed numbers and when these numbers are put together they take on a particular meaning, with correlating number systems then being associated with other words and sentences. LOVE in Jewish Gematria comes out as 775, a number which correlates with the phrase Holy Father of All. But that’s only one example and has no actual bearing on any understanding imbued by the Key of Love. It is simply to show how people sometimes invent meaning.

Another aspect of gaining deeper understanding through alphabetic symbols is demonstrated in the study of Kabbala, where Hebrew letters create increasingly profound layers of meaning and comprehension. Because in this system Hebrew is considered to be a sacred language a great many rabbinical exegeses have been compiled concerning the words and sentences that go to make up the Jewish religious texts. Again, this manner of trying to gain deeper comprehension [of God, in their ancient realisation] is not directly applicable to the KoL because there is no religious purpose associated with LOVE here. Only mystical reasoning.

However, the Key of Love may be viewed as a kind of condensed cabbalistic diagram greatly distilled from the seraphic Tree of Life.

And many people are familiar with the figure of Christ being referred to the ‘Alpha and Omega’ – which is to say the Α and Ω.

Also, there is a lot of playfulness incorporated in the Key of Love, along with the notion of using the letters as pictograms. Understanding doesn’t have to be dour and tedious; plus the idea of suffering may be particularly enhanced in the Jesus Christ figure and experience of the last two thousand years, and may not be so applicable to other eras and cultures. Think Krishna – a precursor to the Christ – and his joy of life as he wanders through ancient India playing his pipe, dancing and generally having a great time with all the gopis who find him so attractive.krishna

So, L is in E (which is to say, the Logos is found – or manifests – in Earth). This is true, and is truly profound because it means that on earth it is possible to comprehend the very origin of existence. Look again at the written statement and you can see clearly that L is indeed found (contained) in the letter E. Just remove the top two cross-hatches.

Similarly L is in V…just tilt the letter L…and see!

Just as E contains all three levels: spiritual, mental, material, again with its cross-hatches interlinked with the vertical… Which may be compared to the human spine and from there the seven chakras and the raising of the kundalini which is itself both a material, mental and material manifestation of mystical enlightenment…

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

LOVE

Love is the force emanating from eternity which creates the entire universe.

We can show how this force is in fact all universal reality thus:

L

0

V

E

If we then add

R

It can be revealed how perfect knowledge of the universe is possible to the human being.

L is the Logos – or origination – which contains the essential seed of everything and from which all being grows and develops.

O is the symbol for eternity out of which all being is originally created and back into which all being must return.

V is the vortex – vortices – which form all the different possible facets from mind to mineral inherent in the Logos.

E is this Earth where all the vortices of the universe are manifested or can be known within the limits of extended human perception.

R is the Reflector, the purified human being which reflects the entire cosmos contained within the key of LOVE, inwardly and outwardly.

It is important to know that the universe loves you and cares for your being: that all existence is based on love, that the universal consciousness exists prior to the earth (see above), that the universal consciousness responds to thoughts and acts of love, that the universe cannot carry or reproduce harmful thoughts or acts that may be produced by any individual mind or minds (which are retained by the self-same minds and processed through the law of Karma).

At any time of the day – although on waking or before sleeping is best – meditate and send out thoughts of love to those you already love, associates, perceived enemies, and abstractedly: start with your own circle and gradually spread these thoughts to encompass the whole world. You will quickly see the beneficial results, as will the rest of the world through evolution.

By returning thoughts of love to the universal mind you are setting up a positive feedback loop that will grow in power, developing creative thoughts and attracting beneficent outcomes to your actions; not only will you be changing yourself, but your thinking will be changing earthly conditions within the universe for the good.

This is something the Roerich family understood when they set up their institute halfway up the Kullu Valley in the Himalayas.

Their ideas and beliefs will be explored in a further post, as will those held by others.

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

Reincarnation

Reincarnation must be understood if human conditions are not to remain incomprehensible. By recognising the transitional process of reincarnation which occurs throughout the universe the individual realises how and why they exist as they do.

Each human life-cycle covers an average period of 144 years, during which time various changes can and do occur, depending on which the starting potential of the next earthly cycle begins. In theory, living a perfected life the human being would not physically transition before this time. In practice, each person self-destructs and has occasion to dwell on a non-physical plane of existence before being returned to earthly life once more, thereby creating further possibilities for attaining perfection according to universal law.

Which is precisely where karma comes into play.

There is no ‘good’ and ‘evil’. There are kind acts and there are harmful acts. The former benefit at least one other person while the latter harms at least one other person, either by omission or intent. Then there are multiples thereof. This is not difficult to understand or put into practice, since common sense examples abound from personal to national and international acts.

Karma is predicated on these principles. There is no universal revenge involved, only a desire for harmony based on a cause and effect scenario which continues until the perpetrator of acts carried out knowingly or otherwise accepts there are certain outcomes which follow.

Of course, a knowledge of what comprises the universe enables the individual participant to make informed choices.

For a start, the universe is created by a force called Love, which emerges from Eternity and sub-divides into positive and negative elements which then manifest and are maintained on various levels of existence until destruction occurs. Or perfection ensues and a fully developed harmonious entity reunites in Eternity. With regard to the human soul, this outcome is experienced on earth as Peace Profound, and is the ultimate state sought by the knowing mystic. No other state or method is comparable. And when this condition is attained there is no further need for another earthly reincarnation to occur.

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

Release from Rishikesh

Waiting outside an ATM booth in town, a person about my daughter’s age, also British, came up and we got chatting.

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Source of the Ganges at Rishikesh

‘I hope this one works.’

‘I’ve got fifty rupees, and I want to buy a bracelet.”

‘My wife took all our cash. She’s gone on an ashram retreat.’

‘You didn’t want to join her?’

‘I was here forty years ago.’

‘With the Beatles?’

‘That would have been fifty years ago. Not Rishikesh. Just India. Bumming around.’

And, so, of course, this got me to thinking back to around that time.

Indeed, there had been no spiritual dimension – intended or otherwise – on my trip to the subcontinent back then. An opportunity had arisen for me to go there, and I took it. Most of the time was spent under the influence of cannabis, opium or Dexedrine. That’s how it was back then. Accounts of the Beatles’ stay with their retinue at the ashram down the river suggest exactly the same thing.

All that changed a year or two after my return to England when I became nauseated with the whole lifestyle. Not only did I change my appearance and sell all my music albums, but I also destroyed all my photographs along with any other reminders of my past self. I wanted to become entirely new.

Every day began at dawn with meditation followed by hours of writing. Then came a hike through the woods whatever the weather with accompanying contemplation of nature. A period of language-learning before dinner was followed by reading and an early night which never-failingly resulted in eight hours of blissful sleep.

After many years of this routine the sought-for event occurred in three spontaneous stages: the Creative Force revealed itself, pure Spirit flooded my entire being, and the Holiest of all the historical teachers appeared before me and filled me with Peace Profound. All in One.

Books by Glyn Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available at Amazon and bookstores around the world

DSC_0189
Seems like I could have saved myself a lot trouble…

I’ve got to tell you this town is just as venal as any in the world. As a traveller, with the exception of street-food and mineral water, there is no service or object that you do not pay more for than does a local. In other words, it’s a rip-off. The white people going around in their pantaloons and kaftans and dreadlocks and so on seem to happily ignore all this, preferring instead to see themselves as some kind of elevated and lofty spiritual souls. It really is cringe-worthy. All the visitors of my age seem to be on Largactil. It’s one thing being laid-back and going with the flow, it’s another to be apparently brain-dead and wholly uncommunicative, as though afraid of being found out for the fraud that you actually are. Viewing them, they seem to be living out spurious notions of how they believe mystically enlightened individuals ought to behave i.e at slightly one remove to all the benighted beings surrounding them. God knows what they are like back in their home environments. Equally preposterous, I imagine.

At least I got to experience Holi Day and for the one and only time during the trip was able to see what is a deeply conservative, caste-based set of people lightening up and enjoying themselves.

That’s some relief.

Now, if we can just find somewhere devoid of nasty, polluting traffic…

Himachal Pradesh, here we come!

Jottings from Jodhpur

60 today and I’m thinking of my Devon home.

Since my mother died over Christmas plans had to be altered and instead of enjoying a comfortable condo, learning Portuguese and looking forward to the start of Carnival with our daughter in Rio de Janeiro, we are staying in budget accommodation in dry and dusty Rajasthan with its heavily populated and polluted cities, which is playing havoc with my lung infection.

Come late spring/early summer I can receive medical attention and rest up in my lovely house.

Ah, such bliss!

Funnily enough, 40 years ago I was also in Rajasthan – only back then all the cars, scooters, motorcycles and tuk-tuks weren’t fouling up the city streets. At the end of this trail of eight cities we will have some time birdwatching at a wildlife sanctuary in the north-east of the state.

Then we can resume our original plan of heading to the foothills of the Himalayas and visiting the Indian/Russian cultural centre set up by the Roerich family – Rosicrucians – 100 years ago and still active today.

In preparation for this stage of the trip I’ve been reading some books published by the Agni Yoga people relating to their mystical understanding and unfolding of world events.

It would seem that the Hindu era of Kali Yuga is more or less at an end, while the Satya Yuga is being ushered in. Put simply, truth and goodness based on an increased sense of spirituality within the evolved human consciousness will take the place of a debased and materialist approach to humanity’s relationship with the universe; meaning peace instead of war, love instead of division, and shared prosperity in place of selfish acquisition.

Just think: no more national exceptionalism and perverted striving for planetary destruction, no more invasions of peaceful communities, no more abuse of the Earth’s eco-system for material profit!

That is our projected future. And it is coming so long as people are prepared to share their desire for a harmonious existence on this globe alongside the rest of humanity.

Sometimes you get the feeling that you are just caught up in all that is happening around you.

Actually, with regards the death of my mother and her funeral, you will often find as you look back over your life many important matters came to a natural end or were terminated in the fifty days or so leading up to your birthday. This is in accordance with the seven-period cycle that makes up your natal year and has an effect over each intervening twelve months. Of course, each of us has free choice, but like the external seasons which may affect our decisions, so do the different fifty-two day periods influence our personal outcomes.

I am looking forward to the first period of this cycle as I hope some added vitality which always occurs during this interval will aid me in making the most of my remaining time spent travelling before settling down back home once more.

*

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Rooftop venue for my birthday dinner

Jodhpur is known as ‘the blue city’ on account of the indigo that was added to the wash used on the outer walls of dwellings and was thought to repel insects. Not sure it still works as we are having something of an air infestation concerning midges. Later we will wander through the old fort and take in the views from high up.private-tour-jodhpur

A musical festival is also about to start and when we gather more information will hopefully be able to attend some of the shows. For now, we are making do with the drumming and chanting coming from the street – interspersed with my own favourite Turin Brakes songs from the ‘Bottled at Source’ compilation album.

Books by Glyn Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available at Amazon and bookstores around the world

Rosicrucian on the Amazon

It’s such a beautiful image that I can’t refrain from sharing. My daughter is reading her old man’s latest book ROSICRUCIAN as she floats down the Amazon river to Brazil. This after she had unexpectedly met with Rosicrucian musicians who were traveling through Colombia with permission to visit some sacred hill temples.

rosicrucian copy

We were supposed to be joining her, but the death of my mother on Boxing Day means that we have had to change our own plans drastically. Rather than hole up in a comfortable condo on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in preparation for the Carnival, we’re more likely to be seeing out the next couple of months in an empty end-of-terrace in the East End of London.

Remarkably, I used this setting in my very first book QUESTION.

Question_Cover_for_Kindle

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Rosicrucian Knowledge

In my just completed novel there are many references to the Rosicrucians, old and new.

In case anyone is not familiar with the Rosicrucian tradition, here are a few pointers.

No one really knows when existence began – or if it ever really had any beginning at all.

If there was no beginning, then there can surely be no end.

So in that case what exists is only and purely eternity.

Whatever you may know outside of this truth can only be illusion.

Overcoming this state of uncertainty leads to true knowledge.

In theory, anyone can reach this end point of realisation and understanding.bees rc

In practice, few know where to begin.

Which is where the Rosicrucians come in.

Down through the centuries knowledge of the path to certainty has been handed down from culture to culture. The Rosicrucians are a part of this process.

In the seventeenth century proclamations in writing appeared in various important European cities announcing the re-discovery of the eternal wisdom as it had been experienced and passed down through the generations. This learning, it was said, now lay in the hands of an organisation consisting of the members of the ‘rosy cross’. Hence the name ‘Rosicrucian’. People were invited to join, but had to find their own way to make contact with the organisation.rc

And so it remains today. The big difference now, if there really is any, is that people are less likely to be persecuted for seeking the truth which exists beyond the illusion of everyday existence. At least, one would like to think so… Even if you believe this is so, there is still a great deal of ignorance and hostility to the idea which has to be overcome, not to mention personal prejudice.

Still, with clear-sightedness, strong purpose and the courage to pursue what currently appears possible only in the imagination, full knowledge is attainable through the right means.

This is why there are so many references to the Rosicrucians in my just completed novel ROSICRUCIAN rosicrucian copy

Novels by GLYN F RIDGLEY are available from Amazon and bookstores worldwide

Balkans weblog #8

Time not mattering, money è non importante, life – limitless. That’s what good writing is about, what my books are written to convey…like VdGG and seventies’ rock or a Brueghel painting…

And that is what Albania has reminded me of.

Peering out the side door of the van at a line of grass in Vlorё is the same as peering out the tent opening in Peter Tavy many years ago.

(This is not about re-capturing a bygone moment of time but rather of picking up where that moment left off…)

I used to think freedom was a car and the open road but after having driven thousands of miles over the past few weeks I’m beginning to have second thoughts. For a start, everyone has a car now and all the roads that go somewhere – and a few more besides – are choc-a-bloc with vehicles. Fuel consumption, for sure, is going to destroy the world if war doesn’t do so in the meantime.fiat doblo

Now I am starting to think that maybe freedom is settling down in a dwelling with an olive grove and learning a foreign language…

Freedom always seems to be the opposite of what you’ve got (we ain’t missing our home/house btw).

As a matter of fact, humans are patently not really meant to occupy this planet for long at all. A few enlightening incarnations (following maybe thousands of  unenlightening ones) and then – enough! Moving on to a more spiritual plane. (See Key of Love as outlined by the characters in the novels.)

Anyhow, human beings are currently destroying the planet day by day. It soon won’t matter whether you agree with the above statements or not.

Discussing the World Cup and finding out the widespread support for Croatia this way (Montenegro and possibly Serbia being an exception) because they are all part of the Balkans, makes you comprehend how a real sense of a shared identity exists in what is an otherwise somewhat nebulous area. Working on the assumption that northern Greece is the most southerly tip of the Balkans region, arriving there will mark the end of this part of the trip. Before that however, we intend to work our way up through the south-eastern part of Albania, and from there cross the border into Macedonia (though even this may change as Anne is poring over the atlas ere I write…)

Posted from beside the Ionian Sea, Albania

Novels by GLYN F RIDGLEY available from Amazon and bookstores worldwide

Balkans weblog #7

Waking up in our van high in the mountains of the Mak region in Albania as the sun casts its rays from above the far eastern ridge is undoubtedly special. In the cornfields the labourers are using their hoes to hack at the weeds between the rows of six-feet tall plants, calling out and chatting to one another. A man from the nearby village leads a donkey in a harness followed by two consumptive-looking pale-brown cows as they head for the pasture at the top of the lane. Our dog raises himself onto his haunches and yawns lazily before shifting a couple of yards into further shade as it ebbs away across the courtyard. The church stands stone-fresh and gaunt as an Italian nun enters its wooden doors before attending morning prayers.

And yet all this bucolic bliss comes at a price – not for us, but the Albanian people living here.

albania sunriseOwing to Anne’s fluency in the Italian language we have learned how the Roman Catholic church set up a project here in 2002 in order to help the local children overcome some of the social problems that have beset the community since the death of Hoxha and the collapse of the totalitarian system he put in place as Albania was proclaimed the world’s first atheistic state. Most of the priests were shot dead or imprisoned. People were forbidden to pray to God. Wives hid their religious faith from their husbands for fear of reprisal.

Along with these repressions, and more particularly following the end of communism, the mountain people of northern Albania still retain their custom of ‘Kanun’ – similar to the old Italian code of vendetta – whereby murders committed by male members of a family lead to ‘blood feuds’ that may end in the killings of all the men in the family. The code extends to relations between men and women and the nuns told of how they have been required to hide local people so as to protect them from some form of ghastly revenge.

Gent, the young man from the village who has been involved in the various projects, confirmed all this and added some personal details of his own; for example, explaining how his entire family acquired a ‘negative’ name when an uncle fell foul of the communist regime, were thenceforth unable to access any state privileges, and his father spent a lifetime working in the local chrome mine (for which he now receives a state pension of €150 a month).

(Not even King Zog, Hoxha’s predecessor, was exempted from the Kanun and required police protection when he jilted the daughter of a respectable family after promising to marry her. In his novel ‘Broken April’, Ismail Kadare relates graphically how the centuries old codified rule system operates in practice – as I have tried to show in my work ‘Question’ what can happen in terms of revenge killing when the law fails to protect the population from economic exploitation.)

So, yes, the surrounding mountains are beautiful to look at – but their appeal has been costly in human terms.

Well, after watching the England football team lose to Croatia in the semi-final of the World Cup it was time to head back out along the mountain road up to Burrel and follow the river Mak out towards the Adriatic coast road. The roads in Albania are the worst I have ever come upon; the potholes aren’t so bad because they are at least usually visible in advance; no, the worst danger is subsidence, which you can’t actually see until you are pretty much on top of it. So far, the old car has coped admirably – so much so that there is a danger we will anthropomorphise it and add it as a family member (subject to vendetta and all!).fiat doblo

We were only able to locate an apparently abandoned campsite at our intended next destination of Krujё, where the tourists are now being lured and parking spaces openly touted, so continued on the coastal road southwards to the port town of Durres, where we thought we might take a hotel room for the night, but following a second glance at the developments fronting the sea decided to press on for a further couple of hours through the burning heat of the afternoon instead.

Travelling through Albania, we really are made aware of being in a foreign country. Anne is pretty handy with European languages, we can both read Cyrillic and understand Slavic languages to some degree, but Albanian offers us no clues whatsoever and even the signs and hoardings are almost indecipherable. Somehow we manage, and the kindly patience of the people we meet mitigates any real confusion. Add to this the really intense heat and rolling, dusty countryside in the lower reaches, and I would hardly guess that we were anywhere in Europe at all.

So, ‘travelling’, what is its appeal? Self-discovery, might best sum up the passion it instills. As a tourist, you are directed to particular pre-arranged destinations over which you have little or no say: you remain the passive partner. Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with that; on the contrary, such an arrangement is often the perfect antidote to the daily demands of life. But as a traveller you choose where you are to go and when, what you are to see, and with whom you are to communicate: you become the active partner. As a result, you expose yourself to various dangers, disasters and misunderstandings, it is true, but the pay-off is that you become responsible for the enterprise and make any discoveries personally.

We located the campsite close to Berat which we intended to use at some stage of the journey and after a meal prepared for us by the site-owners settled down for the night behind the mosquito net we just installed. I was still driving in my sleep and barely succumbed to full unconsciousness (not as bad as after driving along the hairpin roads of Montenegro where for nights afterwards it felt like I was laying in a boat out on the ocean…).

This morning we awoke to hot early sunshine – and a group of youngsters from Flemish-speaking Belgium who had appeared overnight and were sleeping off their journey in pod-like single tents.

I have had to wait until the campsite emptied during mid-morning before embarking on this – seventh – Balkans weblog.

In the perfect mountain silence and seclusion of the Suc church compound, it felt like you were waiting for God to speak (…now that Hoxha and his henchmen were out the way). As though some personal revelation were forthcoming. I don’t know if atheists ever experience this or any similar feeling. As for the peace it instilled – that is, the feeling of peace – it is surely not a human condition, not one that humans can realise by themselves. Peace is a holy, cosmic disposition only available through spiritual means. Peace must be actively sought, and only then can it be found.

Posted in the shade, near Berat

Novels by GLYN F RIDGLEY available from Amazon and bookstores worldwide