Yeah, We’re Getting There. Pre-Yule.

As I come out of the bus station, winter-morning Sandton is chilly and still dark.

Sunrise is still more than an hour away, but the streets are well-lit and a few early birds or late-shift-workers are passing along the pavement with their backpacks snugged around them like thermal blankets.

Venus greets me as she has for the last couple of months, high in the gap between office-block constructions. As I turn left along West Street, she is on my right hand and the Moon is on my left..

 “Paradise on my right. Hell on my left, and the Angel of Death behind”

..a youngish office worker trots past me,steaming from her mouth in the cold air.

My stride lengthens a little and takes on a steadier rythmn than usual, as if the Moon and Venus have opened a ritual promenade before me, all the way to work.

Yule is for me the time of greatest thinning of the veil. The time when even I can almost apprehend another world all around me, for all I lack the visual,auditory,olfactory and tactile senses to do so at other times of the year.

It’s this point, you see, Point III:

The nadir of the annual trip around the Sun, when the Ecliptic is furthest from the Equator and the term MidWinter really holds true.

At this time, too, I am far more prone to erratic psychic experiences.

A couple of weeks ago I dreamt that I was walking through my suburb along the roads in sorrow, passing a great oblong hole in the garden of one of the houses – it resembled nothing so much as an open grave, but I knew at the same time that it was actually someone’s swimming pool. The next morning I learned that a 7-year-old boy had drowned in a pool that evening.

Since it is getting colder – for Joburg, not to be compared to the howling ice of Northen Europe in any way – we bought a minky blanket for Warren to use on the couch when he’s up in the middle of the night. This blanket was draped across the back of the couch as I passed it yesterday evening. It’s a pale-grey-and-cream blanket with vaguely leaf-like patterns worked into it. All of a sudden, as I was calling Scylla for supper, I saw another blanket in its place: a pale blue blanket figured with white clouds and edged in white bric a brac. Shevek’s blanket from when he was a baby. And I saw it quite, quite clearly.

Oh, but I do love Yule; the sense of things becoming as deep as they ever will, with a simultaneous sleep-shrouded and nerve-opened feel to the soul. I can quite understand why fires were left constantly burning for this time of year, and why sistra were rattled in abundance, to chase away the disturbing spirits and warm our helpful ones…..


Still Not Halloween

Well, no, and it’s still not Halloween in a few days.

It’s still Beltane, here in the Southern Hemisphere, but I’ve just about given up pointing that out to most people.

I’ve had to conclude that either South Africans of the middle-and-upward classes don’t know what season it is, or they’re unaware of the significance of the ages-old celebration of the start of Winter.

(Or they just don’t care and are just doing shit because the Americans do, and I must say I find this parenthetical reason the most compelling of the three).

So, OK, a quick run-down of what Samhain, also known as Halloween, has meant to humans for thousands of years:

It’s the start of the Winter season. The Celts only recognised 2 seasons, Summer and Winter. Summer started on the first week in May and we celebrate that as Beltane in the Northern Hemisphere. The start of Winter was the first week in November, midway between the Solstice and the Equinox.

It marks the beginning of the period of cold and dark, the time by which all harvests were to be safely gathered in and shelters made proof against the gathering loss of sunlight.

At this time, the ancestors and the little folk – those of other realms and dimensions – would take advantage of the liminality of the environment and draw nearer to humans. It thus became necessary for us to devise strategies to keep them from our doors, our stored crops and our livestock.

You can very easily see how the spooky motif and the tradition of Trick-Or-Treating became established out of these mass subconscious workings.

The problem comes when you try to apply these venerable rituals to the start of Summer. It won’t work, and you end up playing the absolute fool across all worlds, dimensions and realms.

Good luck with that, as ever, South Africa.

Pic: May Queen from the Beltane Fire Festival, 2012

Escape From a Swarzschild Radius of Insanity



I have finally become a refugee.

From Twitter and Facebook, that is.

Last night I deleted both accounts before I went to bed and woke up this morning with such a sense of relief that I knew I’d done exactly the right thing.

I started out years ago on Twitter with 40 followers and ended up with over 1.5K of the buggers. This is not a good thing, as anyone conversant with the horrific phenomenon of Twitter can attest.

Twitter. It’s a great tool for keeping up-to-date on whatever news you’re interested in; you get the latest breaking stuff first, plus much of the as-yet-unverified speculation. But with that comes a clamouring clinging of hanger-on demons which will eventually deeply wound your sanity if you’re even halfway in your right mind to start with.

Some issues, let’s face it, are bound to be emotive. Transgender Rights, the Patriarchal control of the globe, Donald Trump…So you make a resolution to rise above the gutter-wiping of the basest Tweeps. I’ll just observe, you tell yourself, and take in arguments from both sides – to which end, you include a broad spectrum of class, race and political affiliation in your Follow list. Sounds about right.

But gradually, over months and possibly years, you find yourself taking sides. taking umbrage at the others. Taking seriously the emotionally immature rantings of a faceless archon who uses 140 characters to inflict as much pain as possible. And you find yourself doing this, too; becoming habituated to being as pithily nasty in as short a text as humanly possible to someone you don’t even know.

This is the template for all 9 rings of Dante’s Hell to coalesce and eventually collapse into a screaming, barking mad black hole of insanity.

And Facebook? With even the best of intentions of keeping it confined to family, you find yourself scrolling through endless reams of photographic saccharine memes, brain-deficient repetitions of somebody else’s endless idle time…nope. Just Nope.

And so I left those places. Threw them to the West, iconic icons and all, turned on my heel and walked away.
Because I can’t be having with this any longer.

Pic: Paul Kidby’s rendering of Esmerelda Weatherwax

Time Travel


My Pitbull boy, Taranis, huffling by my side of the bed just before midnight caused me to get up,wander through the dark house to the kitchen and open the door to let him out.
The back garden was lit in that specific way that lets you know the Moon is high, so I could see the fur-boy casting back and forth along the grass near the washing line.
The air was chill but not as freezing as we’d been promised, so I stood in the door waiting for him to finish.

It was then that I moved in Time and Space.

I am 15 and just about to step out onto the flagstoned patio at my Garlands Ride home in Salisbury, Rhodesia.
The time is somewhere between midnight and dawn.
Two telescopes stand waiting for me – a 3″ refractor and a 6″ reflector named “Slubbitygullion”.
More importantly, the deep space galactic clouds and star clusters are up there, waiting forever.
The Yugoslavian-printed book of constellations crackles open in my hands, I feel the slick cover and well-thumbed pages under my fingers and thumbs as I bend the spine of the little book back at the place I need tonight.
I smell the chilly night air. I see the patio illuminated only by starlight.
I breath into and out of a body 40 years back in time and a few thousand kilometeres away in space.
I was there.
And I am still, and can always be, there.

Internal Red Light – Disconnection


Today I felt sad.

A deeply emotional melancholy which pervaded my entire environment. My work, my relaxation breaks, my inter-office communications and my musings among the clouds covering Joburg.

I had heard, after 15 years, some words from my brother. We used to be close, but, like two trees sundered for years one from the other, we have little in common any more. This would make anyone sad. But the state of the country – the rabid self-serving pomposity of most of its politicians, the growing violent crime and the free-falling standards of living for all – and the horrendous state of the human world all had their say in my mood.

And “mood” it was, and all it was. I can feel deeply sad without losing my sense of being in the world, one with the life and energy of the web.

That is melancholia, and it’s human.


On the other hand, for about 2 weeks I have been dogged sporadically by something entirely different in magnitude and kind: depression.

I have felt it before, when I foolishly took an anti-inflammatory which was not prescribed for me. That was a nasty little episode, and it was undoubtedly chemical in origin.

But this, lately, has caught me completely off guard.

It’s a bit like being trapped in a box barely big enough for your body. You’re crouched, unable to move, and the only emotions which come through are bursts of rage.

If someone comes up to the box and tries to help you out of it, you feel like you want to rip their head off.

If someone so much as walks past the box, or comes into the vicinity of the box, you also feel like ripping their head off.


And all the time, your sense of being a part of this magical, awesome universe of Life and the becoming of Life is..gone.

Like a network from yourself to the rest of the cosmos has been summarily and totally severed. No sense of Being. No sense of the Love which infuses all things. No real sense at all.

It’s horrible beyond the telling of it. And this is Depression, I am given to understand.


I have, by the grace of the Great Spirit, been able to lift and clear these symptoms to a large degree, through the blessed help of our plant allies. I am so grateful to these unselfish beings for sharing their beneficence with humans, for without them I would have still been trapped in that box.

I cannot make this connection through any of the usual religious methodologies. This has long been a problem for me, although I can empathise with those for whom they do work.

For me, it’s possible to re-connect (or re-ligate) the soul connection through other living beings giving of their spirit to infuse into mine.

I’m getting better. But I beseech, with all my being, the Great Living Spirit that I never have to go there again; into the box, with no connections and only a spiraling, raging, internal red light of rage and despair to keep me breathing.