Ley Lines, Animals and Dance

Ley Lines, Animals and Dance

Do animals move around following ley lines?

This was the question recently put to me by a researcher from a wildlife charity.  I loved the question because it focused my attention on that wonderful interplay between animals and landscape.

Immediately I could imagine any animal – a squirrel, an elephant, a spider – moving through their environment. What was drawing them in a particular direction? What was guiding the path they chose?

*

Some of you may not be familiar with the concept of ley lines. Others of you will be very familiar, so forgive my brief description.

Ley lines are thought to be flows of energy that move through the landscape. Some people are very sensitive to them.

Dowsers are very interested in tracking them.

Australian Aborigines called them Song Lines and say that people, especially shamans, are attracted to go ‘walkabout’ along them.

In the British Isles the students of Earth Mysteries are fascinated by how many sacred sites, significant places, churches and places of worship seem to be located on very long straight lines. For example, the most famous of these long lines in England is the St. Michael Line which runs from Land’s End in the south west through to the Norfolk coast in the east.

*

There is much discussion about the nature of leys. What exactly are they?  In the ‘Ley Lines and Ecology‘  booklet that I wrote quite a while ago, I suggested that there were several types of ley.

Earth’s energy matrix 
Just as human bodies have a matrix of energy, identified as meridians in Chinese medicine and acupuncture, so planet Earth also has an energy body.  Some of these energy lines are several miles high and wide and extend thousands of miles.  (That makes sense, doesn’t it, given the size of the Earth relative to a human being.) Some can be tiny too.

River imprints 
These are the echoes of where water used to flow.

Electromagnetic flows 
These are related to the electromagnetism inherent in any body, but amplified here by the minerals in the ground (eg: where quartz meets clay meets granite) and the way in which tectonic plates exert pressure on each other.

Animal path imprints 
These are the echoes from the repeated movement of animals along a particular path.

*

So to come back to the original question: do animals follows ley lines?

My intuition is that like most things in nature, it must be an interplay between all the dynamics of the landscape and the circumstances.

Just as migrating birds use electromagnetic sensitivity to guide their flight paths, but are thrown off course by changing winds and thermals, so all animals interact with their environment.

No matter how strong a ley or path echo might be, if there is an obstacle or predator in the way, the animal will obviously change direction.

The squirrel flows along branches from tree to tree, but shifts direction where appropriate.  (Or evolves into a flying squirrel.)

We humans of course create tracks too. It is obvious in our traffic systems. (Imagine our planet without traffic. Would there still be the energy imprint of where the motorways ran?) You can see how we create tracks too in crowded high streets and busy station concourses as hundreds of people instinctively make flows and adjustments. Waterloo Station, London

When we walk in landscape we are also guided by well-worn paths.

*

How beautiful it is then to walk free of determined tracks and to move intuitively through our environment. This free movement can be in forests and mountains and deserts. It can be in parks and gardens. It can be in our homes. It can be on dance floors.

How liberating and healthy it is to follow our instincts and play with the song lines and invisible leys to dance with life.

Malvern_Hills_in_June_2005The Malvern Hills
 

 

Psychic Powers Do Not Demonstrate Spirituality

Psychic Powers Do Not Demonstrate Spirituality

What is the difference between spirituality and psychism, psychic phenomena, metaphysics, the occult, mediumism and so on.

I want people to understand the difference in order to save them the kind of confusion I experienced and which took me almost fifteen years to clear up. As a teenager and in my early twenties, I came across many people with interesting powers. They could move objects with their thought energy. They could clairvoyantly see things. They could talk with angels and spirits. They could make things happen. And I was ready to give them respect and to sit at their feet and learn.

Unfortunately most of them were not very nice and not very wise. I can still vividly remember one man, sitting in a sofa, who looked at me with a glance that said watch this. He then directed his energy so that someone walking through the doorway suddenly fell backwards as if pushed by an invisible force. The man then glanced back at me with mischievous eyes, inviting me to become his student. I did not

But I was perplexed. How was it that this prankster had these powers? I assumed that these kinds of powers went hand in hand with spiritual development.

VISUALISATION AND IMAGE WORK

I was also confused by the whole business of visualisation and imagery, which was presented as such an important part of spiritual development. I was not very good at image work. I could not imagine vivid colours or detailed images. Other people seemed to do it easily and I assumed they were more spiritual than me. My confusion increased when these people talked about their visions in a boastful way and did little interpretation of what the visions actually meant. These people were also usually closed to exploring different interpretations of their imagery. The simple question how do you know this isn’t just your imagination? was not welcomed. But it is such a crucial question.

As I progressed, I began to realise that the ability to manipulate energy or work with imagery did not mean that I or someone else was spiritual. I began to understand that clairvoyance, psychism and energy manipulation were skills and tools like plumbing, embroidery, mechanics or banking. Being expert at them or having a natural talent for them was meaningless when related to spirituality. Spirituality, for me and I dare say for most people, is about a deepening connection with the wonder and spirit of life; is about wisdom, compassion and expanding consciousness; is about harmoniously serving the community.

Clever Trevor, the name we gave to the man who was so expert at moving energy and invisibly shoving people around, was not interested in spirituality.

HIGHER AND LOWER SIDDHIS

Years later, reading some of the Hindu scriptures and in particular a wonderful, short scripture called The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I finally came across clear teachings that described these metaphysical skills and abilities, and said explicitly that they had nothing to do with spiritual attainment. In the Hindu scriptures these occult skills are called siddhis. There are higher siddhis and lower siddhis. The lower ones are to do with clairvoyance, psychism and the manipulation of energy. The higher ones are to do with expansions of consciousness, discernment and the ability, for example, to blend with new dimensions.

There is also an explanation of why people have these lower siddhis. They are a test. The souls lesson is to dismantle the illusion that siddhis give status and use them purely for service.

My partner of 20 years, Sabrina, is also clear about this. She comes from an ancestry of healers and psychics, and is clairvoyant. She suggests that clairvoyance is sometimes for remedial students. Getting the visual perception may be exciting or entertaining, but you then have to interpret it. The higher siddhi, she suggests, is direct knowing.

Here is a simple example. Psychically, Adolph Hitler could appear in your meditation disguised as a beautiful child. The entrancing image is, in fact, a trap. So you have to sense through the image to its vibration. You cannot assess the essence of something from its form and appearance. Direct knowing is quicker and more accurate. As God says at the very beginning of Conversations with God, spiritual communications happen through feelings. Go into a forest or beautiful place of worship and be still. You will feel beautiful things. You feel it; you know it. For most people, in my opinion, it is a distraction to want the lower siddhi of having visions. I would far rather feel and know directly.

BREATHING FIRE

Returning home from holiday once, there was a message on my answering machine from a scientist friend saying, William, Sabrina, you might want to come over. We have a Ceylonese miracle man staying with us who can breathe light and fire.

We did not even unpack, but zipped over to witness this man who could make light and fire manifest in his breath. More than that, if he breathed it into your forehead or chest, it felt warm and energising. I was mightily impressed and began to put some time into promoting him. I then discovered that he was unable to keep his hands off women, had an uncontrollable gambling habit and the emotions of a five year old. I disengaged.

The phenomenon of the fire in his breath was useful. It opened people up to the possibility of other realms and dimensions. But his spiritual development did not match his miracle-making.

Of course I am still intrigued by and enjoy psychic powers and phenomena. I really like them. But I don’t confuse them with spiritual development.

Past Life Memories of Atlantis and Anxiety

Past Life Memories of Atlantis and Anxiety

Some thoughts about the fall of Atlantis and the echoes that we may still feel from it today. (The image is of the Grianan of Aileach in NW Ireland.)

These thoughts were triggered a few weeks ago when I was in a London hotel room on a Saturday night, resting in the middle of teaching a weekend workshop. I find it easy to relax with television and I found two programmes that I wanted to watch. One was the X-Factor, which I watch week by week with my family. The other was a very moving documentary about a group of autistic children rehearsing to put on a musical. For ninety minutes I shifted between the two programmes and watched them both simultaneously. (For those of you who do not like television, what can I say?)

I did not, however, do this multi-viewing mindlessly, but was aware of strange similarities between the two programmes — in particular fragile egos doing their best before a public audience. I was also aware of the technology and thankful for it, which made me think of Atlantis.

***

There is a theory that the same souls who developed Atlantean crystal technology also, many thousands of years later, developed the similar technology, which today supports radios, television, telephones and computers. Atlantean technology and today’s information technology are also similar in having created a global web of communications. (Whimsical comment: why do so many computer geeks look like bearded mythological creatures and play strange fantasy games?)

Of course, some people don’t believe in Atlantis. The last time I mentioned Atlantis in an article one friend, who is into many spiritual approaches, said, ‘You’ve gone too far. Mad!’

I had various lines of argument that I could have employed with him:

In all myths and legends, there is a grain of reality

There all these strange buildings being found on the sea bed

The impossibility of humanity evolving to this stage in just a few thousand years

The repeated memories of Atlantis that arise in therapy and spontaneous regression

The psychic and clairvoyant perceptions of it

I did not mention any of those. I only said: If Atlantis was real for one of the founders of western civilisation, Plato, then it’s real enough for me.

***

Over the years I have been in several landscapes where I have been overwhelmed with psychic impressions of a previous civilisation. A couple of years ago I wrote about the vast landscape temple of the Venice lagoon and how that space may have been used in Atlantean times for huge theatrical ceremonies and rituals. The astral gods, goddesses and mythic beings that took part in those rites still seem to inhabit Venice, which partly explains the extraordinary atmosphere and magic that people experience when they visit the city.

In the British Isles you can, in my experience, find similar echoes in certain places. The Griannan of Aileach in Donegal stands out for me. This circular monument on the top of a hill stands at the centre of a landscape temple, like the best seat in a theatre, next to an expanse of water — and across the water, if you have the senses, you may discern the presence of great beings who carry a haunting and beautiful atmosphere. All along the coast of California, Oregon and Washington, I have also felt the vibration of these sirens. For two years I lived high up in the Atlas Mountains of southern Morocco alongside the Sahara Berbers who are said to be direct descendants of the last Atlanteans.

Whenever I encounter these echoes of Atlantis, I am touched and haunted by their strange beauty. For me, it is like the sound of the whales calling across hundreds of miles of water. I feel joy and a strange grief.

***

According to myth and legend, Atlantis was a wonderful era spread across many continents. Its arts and its religion are reputed to have been spectacularly beautiful, and many of its people knew how to work artistically with spirits and angels. This psychic work was so developed that a whole world of beautiful and extraordinary beings became engaged co-creatively with humanity.

At the same time, humanity’s baser instincts were not well managed in Atlantis. Ego and power trips became rampant. Many cults became interested only in glamour, power and illusion. The vibrations of this negative and deluded culture became so great and terrible that Earth herself could no longer tolerate them. In reaction, there were terrible earth changes and the landmasses that supported Atlantis sank into the sea, mythically remembered in memories of the great Flood.

Looking around today, it often seems to me that I can discern waves from that terrible fall, which still affect us. All those souls who were in Atlantis at the time will have memories, mainly unconscious, of that awful disaster. Especially if they enjoyed the fruits of its beautiful psychic culture, they will have a haunting sense of grief for a paradise lost. There was never an opportunity to grieve the loss of that beauty.

There are other souls who were in Atlantis, who never fully experienced its beauty, but only the negativity and the trauma of its fall. The memories of that trauma express themselves today, it often seems to me, in a subtle form of hysteria that may be triggered by any idea that the world is about to end. Innocently unaware of their emotions’ true source in the tragic fall of Atlantis, their unconscious memory and trauma are projected on to a future event. Their concern and anxiety about what will happen, has in fact already happened.

This old energy field and memory of a global disaster are reinforced too, in my opinion, by the vibrational horror of the two World Wars, the ensuing Cold War with its threat of nuclear holocaust and the many minor wars and awful genocides that have also taken place. It makes sense that people will connect with that whole disastrous and frightening atmosphere and assume it will happen again — like someone who has been bitten by a dog and then feels the same fear around all dogs. It will happen again, is the communication from their unconscious minds.

Only when we have recovered our true history and understand the way that people resonate with energy fields, will many things become more clear.

For the record, I want to assert that my general intuition is that all is well and that we will pass through the next decades without any kind of disaster that resembles either the fall of Atlantis or the World Wars. It will, I imagine, be an uncomfortable passage as we work through the profoundly negative effects of celebrity culture and mindless global capitalism  — but, in my opinion, in my heart and my gut, I feel that all will be well. I will carry on enjoying television and trust that my head is not buried in the sand but mindfully optimistic.

Is the Law of Attraction Black or White Magic?

Is the Law of Attraction Black or White Magic?

Thirty years ago, I watched a group of men in suits standing in a circle and chanting on top of Glastonbury Tor, one of Earths great sacred sites. Afterwards I asked what they were doing and one replied that they were chanting for business and financial success. I was shocked. I shouldn’t have been so nave.

The following year I decided to leave my career and take spiritual retreat. I lived for two years in southern Morocco, in the High Atlas Mountains thirty miles south of Marrakech. Towards the centre of this walled ancient city there is a square of shops and stalls dedicated purely to magical paraphernalia and sorcery – bats wings, toads eyes, spiders webs and stuff that would shock you if I named them. One day I was shopping for some incense and a stall-holder asked me the most basic of questions: Is it for God or for the Devil? For him the question was as straightforward as a wine merchant asking whether you wanted red or white wine. He was not asking a moral question. He simply needed to know what frequency the incense should vibrate. This is the most fundamental and practical of questions when working with energies or, in another language, magic.

Like attracts like

All magic and sorcery is based on the principle that similar vibrations are attracted to each other. This is the fundamental Law of Attraction or what was identified as sympathetic magic, a phrase used by the Victorian anthropologist J.G. Frazer in his famous book The Golden Bough.

So, for example, if you have a negative attitude and radiate negative energy, you will put yourself in resonance with other peoples negative energy and attract it to you. Equally if you vibrate with positive energy, you will be harmonically resonant with positive energy and it too will be magnetically connected and attracted to you.

Let me give two more examples. If someone wants an attractive and intelligent partner, then that person needs to be attractive and intelligent in the first place, so as to be magnetically similar. Someone vibrating with neediness will only attract someone else with the same vibe. The second example is from talismanic magic. If you want to make a talisman to help you be more courageous, then you attract courageous energy through appropriate objects that resonate with courage such as images of Mars and heroism, the metal iron, the colour red and so on. Using these objects as tuning sticks or receptors, you then attract in the frequency of courage.

All of this is sympathetic magic following the law of attraction. It has been taught, usually in secret, for thousands of years. There are also add-ons and techniques which cam amplify its power. When I first began to study this field of energy work in my early twenties, my teachers reminded me to make a clear decision. Was I engaged in white or black magic? The High Art or the Low Art? Selfish or generous? Love or Greed? God or the Devil?

Energy work and the law of attraction can be used to feather your personal nest of materialism or it can be used as a spiritual path.

As a spiritual strategy, the law of attraction is used for positive good, for example, in healing, in communing with the natural world and in opening up to the benevolent flow of the universe. This is true personal development.

Material wealth and financial success do not bring personal fulfilment. (Let me be clear though. I like money and I want everyone on this planet to be clothed, fed, educated, safe, comfortable and happy.) I have known many rich people, but I have never seen money reaching deep into their emotional healing. Many people who have lots of money behave like selfish, anxious criminals. I do not recall any great spiritual teachers suggesting material wealth as a path to enlightenment and love. Buddha renounced the material world and was explicit about desire being the source of human suffering. Christ suggested that the love of money is the source of all evil and that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

True Abundance

So what is real prosperity and abundance? It is surely the experience of being connected to the profound richness of cosmic existence infinite creativity and abundance. How does all the gold on earth compare to the fire of the Sun or the power that produced our galaxy? To fully experience spirit, the Tao, God whatever you call it is this wonderful sensation and awareness of being connected with and part of the oceanic flow of a never-ending creative cosmic event. Prosperity is not to do with material riches. It is a cosmic spiritual experience.

Unfortunately, some people who teach about the laws of attraction and cosmic order have either forgotten or ignore the cosmic dimension. Sometimes they even show off about their material success and have the cheek to claim they are being spiritual or are sharing a great secret.

Worse than that, to promise material success as a solution to life’s problems is morally wrong and psychologically stupid. It is a false promise. How does it support anyones true soul calling? It may confuse people who are already disorientated by the harmful glamour of social glitter. It is black magic. Money is not a substitute for love and healing.

Moreover this kind of materialist approach is ignorant about how sympathetic magic actually works with spiritual development. For example, financial success might be positively harmful for some peoples growth their personal lesson may be to find joy in poverty. In a case like this, the law of attraction when applied to money is bound to fail.

But, as we all know, the real failure here is falling for the spell of materialism. And the real success is in expanded consciousness and increased love.

Jonah and the Whale – Initiation

Can you imagine what it was like for Jonah in the belly of the whale?

 

In The Bible story Jonah was avoiding a dangerous mission to preach the word of God and escaping by ship to somewhere safe. But there was a terrible storm and, having confessed to the crew that he was disobeying God, he was cast overboard to save the vessel and the sailors lives.
 
But instead of drowning, Jonah was swallowed by a whale and spent three days and nights in the creatures belly, after which he was spewed forth on to a beach, a changed man. He now obeys God and takes up the dangerous mission, but instead of threat he is greeted with appreciation.
 
One way of interpreting this story is simple: Obey and trust God or youll suffer the fate of being swallowed by a whale.
 
But there is another interpretation. This is one of initiation. Jonah is everyman and everywoman on the spiritual path. He is avoiding the dangerous places of his own psyche, but in avoiding them he creates the tension and storm of an even greater crisis. He begins to disintegrate psychologically and could drown in the perilous ocean of wild emotions, but instead finds himself in the belly of darkness.
 
What does it mean to be inside the whale?
 
Taken literally, the experience would be awful. It would be a smothering nightmare. Compression. Slow disintegration. No exit. A complete hell state.
 
THE INSIGHT
 
But this is a fable of spiritual growth in which Jonah is reborn as Gods appreciated servant. He has in fact spent time in the womb of the greatest creature on our beautiful planet.
 
He has been in the womb of the cosmic parent. The experience was not hell. It was safe, warm, all-enveloping nurture. He was soaking in the classic spiritual experience: a full-body melting into the great ocean of bliss, power and benevolence the sea of cosmic consciousness, Buddha consciousness, Christ consciousness, the Muslim Garden of Delights, Nirvana, Heaven, unconditional love, the Tao.
 
Jonah was having the deepest of initiatory spiritual experiences. Avoiding his original spiritual calling, he became a man of bad luck. He could sink ships. But in his depression he found himself embraced by the benevolent cosmos and was transformed. As a grown man, as an adult, he was returned to the primal, fetal state of being a child of the universe.
 
One interesting way of looking at the current ecological crisis is that humanity is now a collective Jonah and we have been thrown into the belly of the whale. The solution is for humanity too to experience rebirth in depression.
 
But that is a nave and idealistic hope unless we as individuals consciously choose to heal and transform. This is where good psychic work white magic is so crucial. Our task is to bring the benevolent resonance of the cosmos into the confused and painful energy fields of humanity.
 
The great value of psychic phenomena is that they remind us that the invisible world of energies is real and to take it seriously. Contained by dense physical bodies, limited by our five major senses, it is easy to ignore the dynamic reality of the inner worlds. Everything in the universe including us is energy and consciousness. All our thoughts, feelings and attitudes radiate into the collective psyche and influence other people. We are continuously participating in humanitys mass karma.
 
WHAT WE CAN DO
 
Psychic events and experiences wake us up, and we can then make conscious decisions to take responsibility. What does this responsible psychic and vibrational work look like? Forgive me if I am stating the obvious, but here are some possibilities:
 
The first great act of conscious psychic work is always to wake up and connect with the benevolence of existence. Dont live in the belly of a hell state, but recognize that we are all in the womb of the cosmic parent. This act of consciousness radiates freedom.
 
Follow the great insight of the Buddha that desire is the source of all suffering. Stop desiring that people and things be a certain way. The very act of desire creates vibrations of control that clog up the flow of free life. Just as bad, when we dont get what we want, our displeasure adds to the psychic pollution. Focus on achieving enlightenment and liberation, not on getting what you want and fulfilling your desires.
 
When you experience distress, dont complain. It makes things worse for you and everyone else. Breathe calmly and compassionately, absorbing and transforming the negative vibrations. Remember one of the greatest of all meditation exercises: breathe in negativity and breathe out blessing. (Never do this if you are feeling emotionally or physically weak. When you bless distress with forgiveness and with compassionate good humour, what was stuck and compressed begins to move again. Like a stagnant lake, polluted energy regenerates when allowed to flow.
 
All of this can be done at home, at work, with friends. The whole point of being aware, empathic, psychic or sensitive is that you cannot avoid sensing and perceiving the energy work that needs to be done. The most important thing that you can ever do with your awareness is more fully to explore the essence of cosmic consciousness and unconditional love, and channel it to relieve suffering. And this is the exact point where I know that I am stating the obvious.

Spirits That Accompany Spiritual Teachers

This article looks at the spirits and angels that accompany some spiritual teachers, and which give them a special aura and charisma. 2005

SPIRITS AND ATMOSPHERE

At first Sabrina and I did not understand what was happening. It was subtle, but the atmosphere kept changing and we were having unexpected dreams.

This began to happen shortly after we had started, with our friend Malcolm Stern, the Alternatives Programme at St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, where we hosted a wonderful variety of spiritual teachers from all over the world and from many different traditions. Both Sabrina and I are natural empaths and psychics. She gets pictures and I get feelings and sensations, and it took us a while before we finally understood what was going on.

The spirits and angels associated with the speaker were coming to St James’s in advance of the presentation and Sabrina and I were sensing them. One of the earliest occasions we noticed this was when Sun Bear, the most well known native American teacher of the time, came to talk. A few days before his actual arrival, the totems and spirits of his tribe and lineage turned up. Unlike Sun Bear, who had to transport his physical body in airplanes and cars, the spirits could just zip across into the space as soon as the thoughts, energy and momentum carried them.

Sensing the presence of these invisible visitors was always interesting and gave us a different perspective on the evening’s presentation. We were often following two parallel tracks. One track was the observable presentation of the speaker. The other was the accompanying atmosphere, energies and mood.

THE AURA OF LINEAGE

I will not name names, but most famous speakers and authors really are just ordinary, normal, average people. (Over ten years of hosting at least 50 events a year we got to meet most of them.) We would welcome them into the rectory and give them a cup of tea or space to relax before the talks. Just ordinary folk. Then they would go into the main church and their presence and charisma would change. The atmosphere became charged and amplified.

There was one eastern teacher who represented a particular tradition, the leadership of which had been handed down from father to son, generation to generation. As Sabrina said, he had inherited the family business. Backstage he was shy, interested in cars and not very good at conversation.

In front of the audience, he began his talk by first saying some prayers. Immediately the atmosphere changed into something profoundly moving. This was not due to his personal energy, but due to the spirits, the totems, of his lineage over-lighting and then channelling through him into the space.

Over the years we experienced this many times – ordinary people transforming into charismatic spiritual teachers as their aura was amplified and filled with the radiation of the spirits and angels of their lineage. Sometimes, of course, the teacher is also a person of great integrity and wisdom. The Dalai Lama is a good example of an old and very deep soul, but if you want to understand the power of his gatherings and ceremonies, it is not right to see this spiritual power residing in him as a person. It resides in his office as head of his Tibetan Buddhist order.

INITIATION AND ORDINATION

The women and men who become the heads of traditions and lineages, almost without exception, go through initiation rites in which they are ordained into their new role. The theosophist and clairvoyant, C.W. Leadbeater, described in great detail what happens to Christian priests when they are ordained in his book ‘The Science of the Sacraments’. The ordaining bishop may not know it, wrote Leadbeater, but when the ordination is sanctified a tiny spirit (cherubim) is anchored into the new priest’s energy body. This means that the priest now has a permanent connection to the spirits and angels of the Christian lineage – and to its vast reservoir of healing and christed energy.

Exactly the same happens, for example, when a Reiki initiation takes place. A permanent connection is made between the healer and the great reservoir of Reiki healing energy. When Reiki healers visualise or draw the appropriate symbol, a connection is created by the Reiki spirits to the healing field. This kind of connection also happens when monarchs are blessed and crowned.

PROBLEMS, PARADOX AND BLESSING

This inner and energetic connection made by spirits can lead to a couple of problems and it is good to be aware of them. The first problem is that people can often believe that the great spiritual atmosphere belongs to the individual teacher; in fact it usually belongs to the spirits. This kind of idealisation is understandable, but not real and not healthy for anyone’s development.

The second challenge can be even more distressing. Once healers or priests or holders of a lineage have been ordained, they may still act as channels for a blessing or healing even when they themselves are dysfunctional. This can lead, for example, to the awful paradox of corrupt priests being able to bring through a blessing despite their abusive behaviour. I have met many spiritual teachers, priests and shamans who are alcoholic or sexually abusive, but nevertheless still carry the power and blessing of their lineage. This is very confusing and damaging to their disciples or congregation.

In this kind of a situation it is reasonable to expect that the spirits would withdraw, but they are, it seems, innocent in relation to this corruption and continue to do their blessed work. An excommunication imposed by the ordaining hierarchy might well break the connection but is rarely used because most spiritual mavericks evade detection.

When I write these kinds of article, I worry sometimes that I am being a party-pooper. So many people gain so much from the magic of priestly and guru charisma – and I do not want to diminish that. At the same time, in these modern times, when spirituality is melting the old religious hierarchies, it is important that we be wise about these hidden dynamics.

Within the paradox of all this, there is also something inspiring. Regardless of human behaviour, spirits, totems and angels continue to give blessing and healing.

Book Cover Working with Angels by William Bloom