The directive was clear, both times…first, to purchase tickets to see Luxmuralis’ latest light creation at Salisbury Cathedral and the second, when that day came about, to visit Old Sarum, a place I hadn’t stopped at for over 30 years.
Between those two directives, a great deal had happened on all my different levels; a very great deal of water passed under the bridge. At the deepest levels, I had gone intensively into Lee Harris’ “Initiation“, his latest course, offering a perfect fit for my present stage of evolution. On the morning after the third, perhaps most personally revelvant, live session, still pulsing with the energy from the night before as I woke up, I learned that my closest friend and soul sister Kat had transitioned in the night (as written about at the end of a previous post).
Of course, I had no prediction of any of this when I bought the tickets several weeks ago, driven by how much I enjoyed Luxmuralis’ last offering local to me, in and around the Radcliffe Camera, the Bodeian Libray and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford (my photos here), two years ago, at a point in time when the subsequent pandemic and all that came with that would have seemed like a coming armageddon, had I but known about it in advance (thankfully, I didn’t or it might have been a dampener on the evening). Mostly, what I recall is just how uplifted I felt, like I was witnessing something tremendous, spawned out of ancient brickwork by the application of light.
Little did I know, I would come to welcome these new tickets, for an event in Salisbury, all the more by the time the date came around, because of this latest shock-factor, which had left me reeling even though I had known my friend would unlikely make it to Christmas. “We don’t have to go” was offered by my husband but, without hesitation, I knew I really wanted to, almost had to…it was exactly what my soul called for, witnessing extraordinary light flooding into old structures, resculpting them anew; I really craved something out of this world…and I also felt, somehow, it would bring me closer to my friend, perhaps ease my heartache.
The light show, entitled “Heaven and Earth” or “Sarum Light”, had more than a touch of life-review about some of its themes. Witnessing lists of endangered species projected onto a cathedral wall is a mightily powerful thing, loaded wih regretful pathos (we know not what we do)…as is witnessing a hovering blue butterfly as it seemingly breathes in and out the heavy structures of all the massive brick walls around it with every one of its bellows-like though fragile wing motions (the butterfly-effect in action)…and trees taking on a life of their own as they move in and merge with the high gothic arches (surely, trees are what inspired those medieval stone “leaps” to the heavens). This latest show seemed to have sucked in some of the sheer intensity of the last two years and grown up, in the interim, turning into something far more substantial and affecting than the last time…combined with the realisation that I was in such a massive space with more people than I had been around for a very long time. It had the feeling of holding a mass vigil about it; a moment of pause, for the planet and for humanity (and of course, for Kat), and I was so glad to be there.
When the walls became full of bees, I felt Kat all the more, her spirit filling the entire space as though suddenly super-sized all around me, in fact I could feel her glee…Even in her last months, as she faced coming off all the trials and winding-down her attempts to outlive the cancer a second time, she had signed up for an indepth online apiary course that I had sent on to her because of her passion for bees; to the end, always hopeful, engaged, eager and curious…just as bees ceaselessly breathe new life into our planet (or nectar into crumbled masonry, as I recall writing about a long time ago) though we hardly ever stop to appreciate.
So, it was the right call to go there, according to our plan (which made even more sense now), and I felt my friend with me by my shoulder all the way, yet that other part of our outing, Old Sarum, came from nowhere and I was quick to respond with a curious “OK then”. We could stop there mid-morning, en route to Salisbury, before we headed for lunch near the cathedral, before the light show.
A bit like my old haunt “Silchester” (Iron Age “Atrebates”) closer to home, which has been around for wayyy longer than the on-site informationals imply yet all the tourists ever seem to see (or want to see…) are the remnants of Roman-ness, Old Sarum was once a Bronze Age settlement and likely a neolithic one dating back as early as 3000BC and these feel like my layers. Having forgotten (until we pulled up in the carpark) how intact its walls are, compared to Silchester, I did my best to breeze past all the history pointers and imagine what it would be like without most of those walls, dialling right back into the original feeling of the place…whatever it was that drew people to its oddly rounded, perhaps volcanic hump (as is often the case where fault lines exist), to which fortifications were only later added…tuning in deep down and much lower than what still greets the tourist’s eyes, beneath a thousands years’ evidence of patriarchy.
“Down there” in the layers of time, I found a place of huge spirit, important in its time but in far less of a “worldly” sense than later came to pass. I also sensed there was a leyline passing through, or very close, but had no reference as to exactly where it crossed over. Logic would dictate it cut through the centre of the circle, however my eyes and my energy were constantly drawn outside of the ramparts and towards a line of copper trees, so distinctly lit up against a smokey backdrop of distant woodland with the water meadows and river down in the valley below. Here was goddess energy, something far more fluid, though no less potent, than that which had been milked by the builders of castles up on high. Try as I might to spend time on the hill or on the other side of its walls, to walk the full circle, I was constantly drawn back to that other side, to walk the perimeter clockwise, dawdling near those trees, which were now lit up with such coppery fire, as though they had been “switched on” for their very own light show…and then those lights, just as suddenly, turned off again just as surely as though a caretaker had flipped the light switch just as we rounded the corner, back to the far side of the circle once more. It seems, we had been there at exactly the right moment, just in time for the one burst of sunshine all day.
Suddenly, the scene was bitterly cold and gloomy, the trees turned to drabness again. I was reminded that, when such rare November sunshine lights up all the dying leaves on the trees, we witness the incredible upgrade of colour that is autumn exactly at the eleventh hour of the year, right before those leaves start to fall and the trees go into their mini-death of the winter season. Light poured into old structures really is some of the very best we ever get to know; as though stored up for these last moments, a finale.
Of course, when I returned home, I checked for the position of that leyline and, according to my source, this is part of the Duke Line (for Rev Edward Duke’s controversial theory about how this line aligns with the planets see here), which runs from Avebury and through nearby Stonehenge, past Old Sarum, right beneath those copper trees (you can see the trees clearly on the ariel view), forming one side of an energy trine or triangle with the Michael-Mary line and the Apollo line (so good to see something so Brexit-proof as that triangle, for a change). My friend, who was a gifted astrologer, would have loved all this!
Perhaps the original settlers were alright with the leyline being off centre, knowing that to live on top of a ley is an unsettling thing. Perhaps those later folks, Romans, kings and bishops, thought its proxomity would bring them a shot of power…only, it didn’t quite work out that way, so they dismantled their original cathedral at Old Sarum, to move it brick by brick, down into the valley, next to the water meadows, where Salisbury Cathedral now stands.
Somehow, having walked alongside the ley…having acknowledged “I see you” to the original energy powerhouse that attracted people to this spot…I felt like a torch barer for the rest of my day, carrying that inner light down into the light show of the evening, to add it to the mix. Beside me, Kat seemed to smile all the while…she would have been having a blast.
There’s something so powerful about seeing a thousand year old building, beautiful as it is, being softened, resculpted and transformed by nothing more substantial than light. Its a reminder of something important…and that’s all it takes, to be reminded by the demonstration of it.
However set in our ways, however long we have been alive, or the building stood there gathering moss on its roof, layers of dust thickly accumulated, old feelings, emotions, associations good and bad trapped into nooks and cranies, signs of wear and tear mounting with the years, we can always bring in that shot of light and it is as though all is made anew, somehow freshened and transformed.
Perhaps many of the hordes of peoples walking through the vast spaces of the cathedral that evening could feel it too…I think we all felt a little “touched” by the effect…and long may we all carry it into our lives. We had witnessed a resculpting of bricks and space itself; a disorientation that somehow renews. Death is said to be such a disorientation, thus we fear it with all our might…yet, if we could only learn to hold the faith that light is coming, how much more light could we dare to open up to.
I’ve been pulling oracle cards more than usual this week, shuffling well and taking my time but the one that has come up an uncanny number of times is the “Metamorphosis” card. A timely reminder that the process of change is often painful…but it doesn’t have to be. Either way, “if you are to transform from one form to another, a part of you needs to die”. It’s been an open-discussion topic for Kat and I since the very beginning of our friendship, perhaps one of the reasons why we were so drawn to one another at the start. She recognised in me someone who had faced so many micro-deaths over all the years of chronic illness, run parallel with the death of just so many of my former beliefs and egoic structures and, by her side, I have stood more close to death than since my mother transitioned, which was my original spiritual opening-point.
Right to the very end, we had a no-holds-barred openness with one another such that she would video diary or say to me some of her deepest, darkest, and lightest, brightest, realisations, expansions and fears around death as they came to her, way beyond the cultural pro forma dictating how death is “supposed to” be referenced, discussed or handled. I helped to keep her sane as this one outlet where she could express exactly what she was going through, without all the cultural clap-trap, fear and taboos around the topic and, via her courageous explorations, we both experienced huge expansions. I have revisted some of those conversations this week…in tandem with feeling so much awareness around what transition is, as it came to me direct from my ongoing connection with my friend. In these and many other ways, we have somehow managed to shed some serious quanities of light inside some extremely old walls and structures during our friendship, continuing. She was born to be a breaker of moulds and so, for my sins, was I.
Because (if we let it) death opens us up, makes us curious, and we can’t help but be a little touched by its effects when it happens to those we deeply love. Faced with our own ingrained terrors, we may choose to close ourselves down in the face of all that learned cultural fear…leaning into all the near-at-hand “conventional” responses and platitudes or becoming the victim…or we can open ourselves up widely next to that person going through the process, from which hallowed spot we can’t fail to be brushed by some of the expansiveness and light as it comes in to dissolve old structures. That is, both their old structures as they leave the physical realms and also our old structures, especially our old beliefs about “what dealth is” (even as we look our grief straight in the eyes and embark upon our own healing process, for as long as that takes).
What is left is so much light because light does not disolve the light; rather, it becomes even more light. I am quite confident there is plenty of Kat “left” after her transition; I have been feeling her closely since she passed, and I know she will always be with me at some beyond-three-dimensional level, a realisation that brings me much comfort (in some ways, the fact we never met in the flesh set this connection up all the better, since we have become accustomed to feeling one another, even when no words were being spoken). As happened when my mother died (mothers and daughters already have that unspoken connection…) opening up to all this possibility of remaining connected can be the start of our own next evolution towards letting more light in. My mother’s light is as real to me today as it was 25 years ago; and the same applies to Kat, I have no doubt, thus I feel lighter and more blessed for having known them both.
Love, of course, is also left and all that was ever related to love (certain memories, all the many ways you were touched by each other because of that love) remains intact…whilst so many other, unnecessary, structures just seem to dissolve away before your very eyes, as though they never even mattered at all. It’s an important lesson, if we are open to receiving it…and then remembering it, once the initial effect of the “light show” of transition has worn off. If we let it stay with us, touching us, it can change us forever.
We do this by letting go of all those no-longer-needed aspects of ourselves that get highlighted in the process; and I am busily gathering mine, newly spotlit, dispensing with whatever I can afford to lose, to better hold onto that which is most cherished and light-imbuing about our friendship.
Nothing in form is meant to last forever and we are thoroughly deluded (or caught up in some egoic “posterity” trip) if we think it ever will. As I spent some time today filling in some of the rotting wood around my window frames before the winter weather, I knew this was just a makeshift way of delaying the inevitable, and the same applies to all our efforts to preserve forever our bricks and mortar (or anything else made of form), though we can try, for as long as possible, to preserve our most treasured keepsakes, to prolong a life, to bring us some comfort and extension.
Better still, we can review what is most worth keeping without ever locking anything away with such reverence that we dare not ever bring it to the light of day, or reintrpret it, or find it a new use, or give it a cheerful lick of paint, or blast it wide open in some other brand-new way that could be the re-making of it…one of the reasons I so appreciate these light shows held in places of such high antiquity that their preservation orders are well intact and yet, with my very own eyes, I have witnessed them being totally reinvented and transformed beyond belief. Looked at that way, death is just another version of upcycling the best of what we have become, without making the flesh so precious that we are too afraid to let it go. Kat spoke on this topic, most eloquently, as she made her final peace with her situation.
Of course, letting go isn’t easy but, just as a caterpillar must shrug off the last remnants of its former state to become the light-filled butterfly, there is no skipping out this stage of the proceedings. Either we open to the evolution, letting light in (knowing that light can, and does, destroy what is not of the light) or we don’t evolve at all. Kat said to me, in one of her final messages, that she really wasnt so sure she was meant to continue. She could feel the old world imploding, a necessary shift taking shape, and it was beginning to feel to her that she was a part of that shift; that in order to encourage the shift, she also needed to be part of the leaving, making room for the new; how incredible she was. It’s so easy to think dark thoughts when something or someone is “taken away”, or fall back on the reassurance of how things “have always been”, even once they are not working anymore, gripping on at all costs, in preference to change but all that ever does is block out all the light potential of metamorphosis; a message for our times.
A beautiful tribute and a way to carry on the friendship as it passes into a new phase!
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