Avalon of the Heart

“Go ahead”, writes travel writer Rosie Schaap in an article in today’s (27 June 2017) New York Times, “say their names:”

Avalon and Tintagel. Believe deeply enough, and they might emerge from the mouth as through an enchantment-induced vapor, as though borne on the breath of a dragon. (Especially after at least four people have corrected your pronunciation of Tintagel: Be gentle with that “g,” it’s tin-TAJ-l.) And, indeed, these two sites in the southwest of England are epic and romantic, the stuff of myth and mystery.

Strip this opening paragraph of its hemming and hedging, its “mights” and “as thoughs”, and you have a compact magical working, a true spell, ready made. You know what setting you need, that will invite and launch you, right? Light incense or a candle, invoke with the two names, visualize being borne on the breath of a dragon, and you arrive in the southwest of England without the need for British Airways, Heathrow or Gatwick, customs or currency exchange.

Feel the mist cool on your skin, see the green and pleasant land, hear the clash of swords as you pass the guard, hear seagulls and curlews crying, as you walk out onto the spit of land where the gray stones of Tintagel Castle tower again. Yes, you’ve been here before. What’s the message for you this time? What do you need to know that has brought you here? What offering will you make in return for the gift you receive? Offer it with your thanks. Then return, return, return.

If even a feather of the wing of magic brushed your cheeks, you felt it. What is “real” on the other planes, after all, but what we pay attention to, what we animate with our love and creativity, our desire and energy? We practice the real to make it real, or else we let it go for something else that draws us more strongly. Our call.

“Myth and mystery” are “stuff” indeed — the potent formative ingredients for an “enchantment-induced” reality. (Aren’t ALL realities induced by something? Why not choose and shape for ourselves what that something is, rather than accepting a mass-produced substitute? We’ve given too much away, and now feel the lack yawning and gnawing inside. Reclaim!)

Leap with me here, to that old Foreigner song from the 70s — “I want to know what love is”. It always struck me with its odd assumption that anybody else must know better than I do what love is. Why?

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me.

I’ve got just one question: Who’s this “you”?! With my experience of love as with my reality: why let anyone else ever determine it, at the very least until I know theirs is superior to mine?! Take a look around: just how worthy are many of these other claims to a superior reality? Do we like what we’re seeing?!

Indeed, as Lou Gramm goes on to sing, “I gotta take a little time, a little time to think things over. I gotta read between the lines …”

I swear this on the midsummer Sword of Light: I will not abdicate my spiritual sovereignty to anyone for anything less. I will practice love, as I practice reality, accepting the best I can achieve. Because as Lou also sings for us all, “I’ve traveled so far to change this lonely life …”

I have this sneaking suspicion that they’re versions of the same thing, love and reality, siblings of the same mother. Funny how love and reality so often harmonize. What we love is what is real for us. If one’s going well, usually the other is, too. They’re what I do to myself, for myself, as I do to and for others. And as they do to and for me. You who teach me, I keep learning from You what love is.)

Yearning is the first step that lets us know we need more — you hear something of that yearning as Lou sings — that we’re dying a little each day without it, that what yearn for is something we’ll recognize when we experience it. But we have a say in how we get there, and that effort will shape what we experience when we arrive. As we do, every day.

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