Guided Meditation Catastrophes and the Temple of Infinite Unknowing

Guided meditations can be enlightening, inspiring, boring and provocative.

Led well, they can transport the recipients into relaxation, altered states of consciousness, and provide insights and illuminations.

Led badly, they can be infuriating and sometimes funny.

For me, it all began decades ago in a London group where we took turns leading the group mediations. In one session, all of us lying down, our leader took us into a relaxed state and then guided our meditation journey to Heathrow airport. We all boarded a plane to the Caribbean and a lovely island.

‘And now,’ she said in a monotonous tone, ‘we light a fire on the beautiful beach and enjoy a barbecue, while the vegetarians wander through the jungle looking for food. . .’

Three of us immediately sat up, outraged vegetarian meditators.

In another group, the leader very slowly and carefully said, ‘And now, as we enter the airplanes, our consciousness expands . . .’

Afterwards I found out that the group leader was Dutch and had misheard their teacher’s original “and now, as we enter the higher planes . . .”

There was a similar misunderstanding when groups across Europe were leading people into ‘the greater hole’ having misunderstood ‘the greater whole.’


The most effective guided meditations often follow a format of starting somewhere very peaceful, perhaps a lovely meadow. The meditators are then guided to a place that is very special, such as a temple. Within the temple there is usually an upward path, culminating in a column of light, which the meditator ascends. At the top of the column of light, they then meet a very special Being, who gives them a meaningful gift or insight.

There are also guided shamanic journeys where the leader, often playing a drum or backed by some kind of tribal music, takes the meditators into an altered state and into a new kind of, often psychedelic, environment.
Meet animals, plants, rivers, mountains and rocks that speak to you. Give them gifts. Be humble and make a relationship.


Over the decades I have participated in and led many of these meditations. I have also created them, often to introduce students and friends to metaphysical concepts and beings.

I develop these new meditations when I myself am in meditation. (Where else could I possibly create them?)

Sometimes I do not create them in a deliberate and planned way. They arise as I open to a new expanded state of consciousness, and experience a perception and insight of metaphysical things I have not previously known. I am blessed by access to what Patanjali described as ‘the raincloud of knowable things.’

Recently, in my daily practice, I was blown away by a meditation experience. (Did you know that the Sanskrit word nirvana is often translated as meaning ‘blown out’ or ‘extinguished’?)

In this meditation I was deeply tranquil and spacious. At ease, empty and open. Gradually, I felt myself entering a new zone, I had never previously experienced, a new dimension of consciousness.

I had subtle impressions, intuitions. My brain-mind-psyche interpreted them as being in a kind of wonderful, subdued desert. Beige. Brown. Deep, expansive, calm.

I became aware of some kind of enormous archway. Very big. Several miles high and wide. Made of subtle brown-beige unfinished sandstone.

I was drawn through this archway into a dimension I could hardly understand. It was more serene, spacious and weird than anything I have ever previously experienced.

Again, my brain-mind-psyche sought to interpret the subtle intuitive experience. It spoke to me:

In the subtle realms you are accustomed to new colors and sounds.

In these expanded dimensions, there are also new feelings, vibrations and experiences.

What you experience as Love is just a beginning . . .

(The image is from the Hubble telescope of the Eta Carinae nebula which is 50 light-years across.)

Experiential Metaphysics Booklist V2

First, big gratitude to all of you who sent in suggestions for the metaphysics booklist. I have a draft now of what may be my final version. Of course you will not agree with all of them, but here is my rationale. Each book should stand on its own and not be duplicated in the list. The list is for experiential metaphysics – ie energy work, esoterics and psychic/intuitive practices. So I am not including books that are seminal for mysticism and general spirituality.
Here’s my twelve with one bonus.

1 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
There are many translations of this literary and spiritual jewel. It is short, extraordinarily insightful and integrates a thorough awareness of the psychology of consciousness expansion with psychic skills (siddhis.) My preferred translation is by Alistair Shearer. 

2 Alice Bailey: Glamour: A World Problem
For many folk Alice Bailey, working as the secretary for the Tibetan abbot Djwhal Khul, is the most important esoteric writer of the last century. This book in particular introduces learners to the collective karma and psychic pollution created by humanity and methods for transforming and healing it.

3 William Bloom: Working with Angels
I didn’t want to put in one of my own, but this is the only book I know that makes explicit the nature of the deva world and a universal method for cooperating with it in all realms – home, healing, gardening, work, arts, industry, education. . .

4 Jane Roberts: Seth: The Nature of Personal Reality
The Seth books pioneered the whole field of ‘multidimensional reality’, parallel realities and how consciousness unconsciously creates our perceptions and experiences of ‘reality.

5 Arthur Zajonc:  Meditation as Contemplative Enquiry
There are so many books on meditation. This one is in our booklist because of its compassionate tone, insights into reflective practice and awareness of the metaphysical dimensions.

6 Barbara A. Brennan: Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing through the Human Energy
This is a very accessible yet deep introduction to energy healing and esoteric anatomy. With great illustrations.

7 W.Y. Evans-Wentz: Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines
This is a mind-boggling description of some of the esoteric practices in Tibetan (Bon) Buddhism. Contemporary shamanism sometimes forgets the depth of practice in the Himalayas.

8 A Course in Miracles – Book 3  Manual for Teachers
If there were only one book that spiritual teachers, coaches, psychics and healers, should read before working with others – this is the one. It merges inspirational compassion and psychological wisdom into a person-centred and immediately practical approach.

9 Thomas Sugrue: There is a River – The Story of Edgar Cayce
Edgar Cayce was probably the best and most accurate clairvoyant and psychic of the last century. His biography is an eyeopener for anyone wanting to follow in his footsteps.

 10 Stephen Skinner: The Compete Magician’s Tables
This is an extraordinary work of scholarship that builds on Alister Crowley’s ‘777.’ It is an encyclopaedia of correspondences – showing the harmonic relationship between gods, goddesses, aromas, angels, numerology, colours, etc, from the world’s magical traditions. Essential for sparking and expanding the imagination. — Do not purchase the Kindle version as the images of the tables are corrupted. If you do not want a print version, see if you can find a PDF.

11 John & Caitlin Matthews: Walkers Between the Worlds: The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus
Anyone studying magic and esoterics needs to understand the entwining western traditions – the Middle Eastern temple tradition and the more northern shamanic/Wicca approach. This book, originally in two volumes, is a wonderful history with practical examples.

12 Starhawk: The Spiral Dance
If there was one woman and one book that broke through with the wave of feminism and Wicca, this is it. Inspiring, socially aware, wise.

Highly Recommended
You should buy this book for the pure pleasure of its ambition. It is dippable and has great illustrations.
Manly P. Hall: The Secret Teachings of all Ages
This is the ultimate coffee table book for esoterics. Beautifully illustrated (if you can, get the full colour version.) It is a treasure of encyclopaedic information about the occult and the mysteries. Caution: a tad expensive.


Draft Mystery School Curriculum

Following my previous blog on what a modern mystery school might be like, I received a wonderful engaged response. Thank you!

I now want to take a further step. I want to spend some time fleshing out the school’s curriculum. In the previous blog I made a brief attempt at this. In this blog I want to begin to expand the list. It is very rough. It is work in progress.

What I welcome from readers are suggestions as to what is glaringly missing.

The applicant meets these criteria:
– My heart has opened and I prioritise compassion.
– I have a sense of connection with a benevolent cosmic mystery (known by many names.)
– I have a sense of subtle energies, patterns and archetypes.
– I am humble in the face of this wondrous cosmos.
– I am responsible for myself.

There would be taught introduction-overviews to each topic.
Students would then do their own research and action-learning supported by tutor groups and masterclass seminars.
We would create a Wiki of resources from the world’s diverse traditions, ensuring students explore and find their own insights.

Map where you live – geology, landscape, historical maps, peoples.
Map where you were born – geology, landscape, historical maps, peoples.
What of significance is N, S, W, E of where you live?
Attune to the land. Give a gift or ceremony.

Techniques of earthing.
How it feels. Purpose.
Inner smile – cauldron, bowl, tree of life, etc
Map what you know of your ancestry. Acknowledge/bless them.

Locate, map, acknowledge your place in space. Which planets? Stars?
Creation myths. Astrology

Develop daily practice of connecting, yielding, emptying, surrendering, soaking.
Open-Close. Psychic protection.

Your mode of cognition and interpretation.
Reflective practice.
Oracles etc
Projection, imagination, perception, assessment, discernment

Metaphysical maps
Metaphysical beings, spirits, angels, souls, avatars, etc

Chakras, meridians, dantiens
Modes of healing

Daily practice of quiet scanning and interpretation

Sacred space, magic circle, altar, grove
Laws of magnetic resonance; correspondences; manifestation; talismans.
Channelling. Radiation, Invocation. Healing.

Whence, why, whither?
Birth, life, death . . .
Contracts, karma, constellations

Ups, downs.
Dark nights, emergencies.
First aid.

Deep daily practice of
–       Mystic connection
–       Metaphysical contemplation
–       Energy work (magic) that compassionately serves
+ Ongoing peer support and community

What Is the Angel of Findhorn? An Enquiry

This article is an enquiry into what people mean by the “Angel of Findhorn.” At the end of it I hope that you will add your own thoughts and interpretations.

First, though, advance warning that we are going into metaphysical territory and concepts. Materialist intellectuals – beware.

Second, for those of you who do not know Findhorn, we are talking here about what many consider to be Europe’s most important and influential eco-spiritual community. It is located on the east coast of Scotland between Aberdeen and Inverness.  Out of respect to the actual village of Findhorn, which is beautiful in its own right, we should properly call the community the Findhorn Foundation.

A bit of background: The Findhorn Foundation was started in the 1960’s and has been hugely influential in pioneering a contemporary approach to spiritualty, that integrates mysticism, metaphysics, ecology, and a holistic approach to wellbeing and personal development. All faiths and none are welcome.

One its most successful features is that it has also managed to avoid the usual pitfalls of utopian communities. It is free of gurus and sectarianism. It has also sustained a balanced culture, avoiding excesses in psychedelia and random partnering.

Most important there is, as nearly everyone who visits it says, a magic to the place. In fact, one of the first books about it was titled ‘The Magic of Findhorn.’

Of course, many places have a magic to them: sacred sites, temples, beautiful buildings and areas of landscape that radiate a blessing and harmony.

Buildings at Findhorn

But something else happens at the Findhorn Foundation, which has a certain uniqueness. People’s spiritual awakening is quickened and this is accompanied by a new awareness of how enjoyable it is to be connected to everyone and everything.

Here, I notice, is the difference between a normal spiritual awakening (if there ever is such a thing) and an awakening that happens at Findhorn. The Findhorn type of awakening has, it seems, a unique vibration in it. I am struggling for appropriate words. A gentle glee. A happy knowing. A sense of graced revolution. Like a snake discarding an old skin and emerging as . . . the same snake but with a freshness. All with an agreeable awareness that all life is connected.

So here is the question: how and why is this transformational effect achieved? A shorthand answer has always been that it is the work of the “Angel of Findhorn.”

Let’s explore what this might actually mean.

To begin, it is worth knowing something about the founders and their vision. These founders are Eileen Caddy, Dorothy Maclean and Peter Caddy. I also want to add David Spangler who set up the foundation’s core educational programmes.

I am fortunate to have known all of them and to have spent relaxed time with them. They blessed me with friendship and collegiality.

I want to propose what I think are the concepts and beliefs, which sit deep in their hearts:

  1. They were practical mystics, believing and experiencing that the universe is an ocean of unconditional love that seeks to express itself in and through everything.
  2. They acknowledged that we are all souls on a journey, and our purpose is to develop more love, compassion, connection and consciousness.
  3. They also experienced and were sensitive to the metaphysical world of subtle energies and beings with whom we can cooperate to the benefit of all.
  4. They believed too that our planet and species are at a crucial stage of evolution, and their purpose was to cooperate and support this evolutionary step forward —through the project of the Findhorn Foundation.
  5. They also believed that the Findhorn Foundation was part of a divine plan and they followed inner guidance on how to lead its development.


One possibility then is that the Angel of Findhorn is the combined thoughts of these four founders. Energy follows thought. These combined energies created a ‘thought-form’, a cloud of inspirational, good ideas. This thought-form then influences anyone who comes into its aura and radiance.


Angels of the Mystery Schools

Another possible source of Findhorn’s magic builds on this idea of the thought-form.

It suggests that this thought-form became the clothing, so to speak, of a great archetypal being, or beings, who were attracted to incarnate into it. Thus, the cloud of thought energy is a vehicle that is inhabited and dynamized by one or more spiritual beings.

Who is this other being or beings? There are contenders. There are many archetypes, angels and spirits associated with the ancient mystery schools that focused on our souls’ journeys, and how to cooperate with subtle energies, beings and forces. Angels. Gods. Goddesses.

In the western mystery tradition, for example, these beings are known by names such as Hermes, Sophia, Athena and many more.


Avatar of Synthesis

But all these suggestions so far do not explain that magical Findhorn experience of something new, exuberant and vital. So let’s explore more deeply the metaphysics.

All four founders of the Findhorn Foundation were trained in metaphysics and esoterics. By this I mean that they were educated and practised in the principles and concepts of subtle energies and their cosmic context. Their major sources were the Rosicrucian, Hermetic and Theosophical schools.

One important feature of all these schools is their teaching that planets, solar systems, stars and constellations are all beings. They have identities, and they have consciousness and purpose. Just as a tree is a being, so too is a galaxy. Hinted at in astrology, the being of a constellation is a huge cloud of awareness and influence.

Within this worldview the cosmos is itself a consciousness that we humans can hardly even begin to understand. Billions of stars . . .  The apparent infinity of space . . . Dimensions beyond time and space . . .

In the writings of Alice Bailey, who was the secretary for a wonderful Tibetan teacher, Djwal Khul, there is this idea that humanity is a single entity or being. You and I may think of ourselves as self-contained individuals, but  we are also part of a collective, our species – and our species as a whole has a character, personality and consciousness of its own.

Humanity is a single being. Moreover it is a single being that needs help.

From this perspective as humanity emerged from the terrible world wars, there was a wonderful opportunity for growth. We were recovering from mass trauma and at the same time entering a new age of electronic communications and global interdependence.  We needed help. As a single species we collectively created an unconscious mass request-prayer for support and aid.

The cosmos responded.

Or to be more exact, a particular energy, or being, or avatar heard and responded to this inchoate call.

This avatar carries a vibration and experience of joyful connection. It can perhaps be understood through the metaphor of the hologram. I am in you and you are in me and we are all in each other and everything. At the same time it has an upbeat vibration. It is not just a sober knowing. It is permeated with a soft joy. It recognises and seeks to soothe the pain and suffering, yet is positive and bouyant

If we are touched by the Avatar of Synthesis, then our whole being – body, mind and spirit – is magically inoculated and tingled into an upbeat sense of connection.

In the writings of Alice Bailey this being is sometimes referred to as the “Avatar of Synthesis.”

So the suggestion here is that the Findhorn Foundation was purposefully created as a vehicle through which the Avatar of Synthesis could land and help humanity and Gaia.

As well as touching down through the Findhorn Foundation, I have heard people suggest that it also landed in other places such as the Esalen Institute in California and Auroville in India. There are, I imagine, other localities which I do not know.


So here we have some interesting possibilities for understanding the Angel of Findhorn. It is:

  • The thought-form created by the combined energies of the founders
  • The spirits and angels that incarnated into this thought-form and energy field
  • The Avatar of Synthesis
  • All three working in synergy together
  • A mystery

Whatever the Angel of Findhorn actually is, it is a force for good. What intrigues me now is how its vibration and initiatory energy can also inoculate people without necessarily having to visit the actual place. Of course, visiting Findhorn is a great thing to do. I do not want to replace it.

Yet at the same time, this Angel, this avatar, can deliver its inoculation in at least two other ways.

  • It can happen through shared meditation and online meetings
  • As a benevolent infection it can also be carried by us as individuals

Whenever and however it is experienced, its wonderful influence can inspire in all of us a felt idealism and a lived experience of how humanity can develop.

It is, I believe, contagious. Not through our communications, talk and activities, but through our vibration and our attitude.

More love. More compassion. More connection. More consciousness.


Please join the conversation in Comments below.

Three Crucial Skills for Exploring the Shamanic, Metaphysical and Mystic Worlds

Preparing to teach a coming course on metaphysics, I began to contemplate how best to introduce it. I like to unpack knowledge in a way that encourages personal experience. This means I take a person-centred approach, exploring what is the best for each individual. Yet at the same time there are always fundamentals.

So I want to suggest three fundamental skills that are crucial if you want to explore the subtle dimensions of consciousness and cosmos. They are:

•  Ability to enter an altered state of consciousness, often called a trance state

•  Staying observant, alert and intelligent whilst in the altered state

•  Sustaining a good mood that is compassionate, open-minded and open-hearted


Altered States and Trance

The crucial importance of a trance state is that it alters the electrochemistry of your brain, your sensibilities and consciousness. Fields of energy that are normally too subtle for the five physical senses to access, become perceivable.

Some people have involuntary experiences of these states when, for example, they faint or dissociate. They may experience a blur and thinning of the veils.

Many practitioners deliberately take themselves into altered states of consciousness using, for example, plant medicines, ceremony, hypnosis, devotional prayer, mantra and repetitive movement.  Others go into these altered states using more contemplative methods such as philosophical study, music, mathematics or meditation.

There is a simple fact here. It is not possible to explore metaphysics and the subtle worlds unless we go into an altered state of consciousness.

Alert and Intelligent

Whichever gateway into the altered state is used, the practitioner can only progress and expand further if they are able to stay observant, alert and intelligent. Watch an experienced shaman facilitating a group in a vision quest. The participants will be fully absorbed by the visions and phenomena. The shaman however is watchful and conscious, centred and grounded, able to lead and guide the experience. This is the difference between a beginner and an adept. The beginner is absorbed in the personal experience. The adept is alert and guiding, respectful of the mystery.

There are many dimensions and pathways in the subtle realms. Without alert and discerning intelligence, people may easily get stuck or lost in delusion.

Good Mood and Love

A good mood is also fundamental.

If the practitioner is over-serious, over-focused and earnest, this constricts the brain, clogs up the electrochemistry and sabotages the expansion of consciousness and altered state. It limits the practitioner to mental fields of energy boundaried by intellectual logic, which are interesting, but there is so much more beyond.

Yes, there are negative energies and what is called evil, but practitioners who are familiar with altered states continuously experience that there is a benevolent essence to the cosmos. You may call it love. To connect with fields and beings of higher energy, it is absolutely necessary to be in harmony with this benevolence and love. And the simple strategy for putting yourself in harmony with this goodness is for you yourself to be in a good mood. Without a good mood, human consciousness is simply blocked off from expansion.


Health and Safety

So there we have three fundamentals for exploring metaphysical dimensions.

•  Altered states of consciousness

•  Alert and intelligent

•  Good mood

Of course, be careful with the method you use for entering your trance states.

There is a middle way here. On the one side you need to be daring and courageous. On the other side you need to wear a health and safety helmet and not put yourself at risk.

It is a path of discernment and wisdom.


Enjoy your psyche and the wonders of exploration.


If you are interested in exploring this area more fully, my course in February may interest you. Click here

Space Consciousness Love and the Pandemic

Space Consciousness Love and the Pandemic

Recently a research project asked me for my definition of consciousness.

Answering this enquiry philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists usually disappear down a rabbit hole of complexity. But I like a simple answer.  I encountered it first in Vedic philosophy and the books of Alice Bailey.

I summarise it:

Consciousness is the innate capacity to respond to stimulation. 

It is the capacity in everything to respond to stimulation.

Every time we see something responding to stimulation we are witnessing consciousness in action.

This applies to everything. I really mean everything — electron, atom, rock, plant, animal, human, planet, solar system, galaxy, cosmos, space . . .

Here are examples:

A rock responds to pressure and temperature. That response is an indication of the rock’s consciousness.

A plant may respond to temperature, gravity, sunlight, moisture and nutrients.

Animals may respond to many stimulations.

Humans respond to even more stimulations. Humans can respond to their own thoughts.

So the difference between a rock and a human is this. Human consciousness is more complex, more responsive to multiple stimulations.

Based in this interpretation we can suggest that consciousness is woven into the essential fabric of life and cosmos.

Expanding their awareness beyond the human realm mystics suggest that planets, our sun, stars, galaxies and the cosmos also have consciousness.

Space is consciousness.

This possibility can be a focus of enquiry in metaphysical meditation as human consciousness expands and experiences altered states. Sitting quietly it is the empty mind, like a receptive radar dish, that can garner insights. These insights are found in what one of the fathers of yoga, Patanjali, called ‘the raincloud of knowable things.’

Some meditators may reject the idea of any activity when sitting in silence. Others are very happy to explore inner realities, possibilities and dimensions.


I have been building on this understanding of consciousness. In meditation I have been contemplating these seed thoughts and exploring their mysteries:

— Space is an infinite ocean of consciousness with an innate capacity to respond to stimulation

— Empty space is filled with matter, energy, electricity, vibrations, beings, ideas, plasma . . .  some miniscule, some galactic

Like all mystics and meditators my consciousness expands further when I am in a soft mindful state of love and bliss

Let me now add a thread that may help us address our current global crisis.

Ultimately our galaxy and all the dense matter we know will disappear.  It will be sucked into the mystery of a black hole.

This event is billions of years away, but it is inevitable.

So here is an interesting possibility:

When all the matter of our galaxy disappears into that black hole, will human consciousness also disappear?

Perhaps only dense matter is sucked into the black hole.  And the more subtle matter of our consciousness continues.


This kind of enquiry posed in meditation is profoundly relevant to how we manage the current global crisis.

We can only conduct these contemplative enquiries if we are deeply calm, centred in our hearts and awake.

In that state we can truly see the bigger picture.

Waves and cycles of human history come and go.

There have been many plagues and demagogues. They pass.

Calm compassionate equanimity radiates.

It can balance, stabilise and heal the suffering, distress and anxiety of our times.

Humanity’s destiny is to be loving, conscious and connected.