This blog is about contemplative inquiry

Month: January, 2017


In a contemplative state, I see myself in a small ocean going yacht, one which can run on sail or on a motor. It is a moonlit night in which it is possible to get a good view of the sea. The yacht seems to be stationary, or almost so. There are no crew on deck. Sophia and I are there together. It is winter and we are both well wrapped up, but I can see her face and make eye contact, which is how I recognize Her. She is somewhat as in my icon, although fully humanized and somewhat older.

She is in charge of the voyage, and she wants to show me the ocean. It is moving, relatively gently but enough to show the arising and dissolution of wave formations – the dance of the swell. Distinctive shapes appear, move, glint, before disappearing into the darkness or being reabsorbed into the mass of water, losing any claim to individuality. My immediate response is to feel the beauty in this process. Then I think, in quick succession, of my personal identity and my coming death. I experience myself as individuated and self-aware as a wave, in this moment. Woven into the hinterland of this experience is anticipation of my dissolution. I need to taste this, and believe it.

Then I find myself wanting to hurry – to perfect my understanding of me and the cosmos before I go. Sophia does not mock me. Rather, She nudges me to remember that I’ve got what I need, and to recall specific existing resources. One is my own review of Not I, Not Other Than I (1) in which Russel Williams talks of a “natural state of oneness with everything … stillness, pure consciousness, emptiness of being” and potentially available to all. It is “based on sense-feeling, and on filling the emptiness with loving kindness”. Williams talks also about following the Way of the Buddha rather than being enrolled in Buddhism. To him, Buddhism is a belief system, whilst the Way of the Buddha is a “recognition system”. I would like to claim the same for the Way of Sophia.

Another resource is my positive feelings towards a Water and Wave, a poem by Kabir (2) which asks the question: “Water, and the waves on it; how to tell them apart?” It also contains the verse:

There is a Secret One inside us;

The planets in all the galaxies

Pass through Her hands like beads.

I can remember this when using the rosary, which I wrote about in my last post (3). I am finding the current phase of my journey one of gifts, invitations, and reminders about where and how to focus my attention. I am understanding more about how to work with Sophia now that an enhanced dedication has been made. It feels now like a living process.






Revising the About section of this blog, I clarified the centrality of the Sophian Way to my spiritual life, whilst emphasising strong elements of continuity in this blog. The same applies to my practices as well.

The Paidirean of the title are the prayer beads of the Ceile De (1), known to have been used by Celtic Christians in the days of Columcille (St. Columba). I have had mine for four years and have written about them previously (2,3). I have not used them recently, but through a strong sense of prompting I picked them up again a week ago.

A devotional practice has rapidly shaped itself. This is an offering to Sophia as Cosmic Mother, an aspect that has only recently moved and engaged me in quite this way. ‘My’ state of awareness, well-being, peace or understanding are therefore not the point. The work is a prayer rather than meditation, though it does not involve asking for anything, whether for self, others or the world.

I work with the beads, saying Ama-Aima which in the Sophian Fellowship (Ecclesia Pistis Sophia) (4) means ‘Dark Mother-Light Mother’, here in the sense of the primal Mother both before and after birthing the material cosmos (5). She cannot be visible until there is someone, a child, to see Her. This practice is such a seeing, an act of recognition.

Ama-Aima involves two full, slow and conscious breaths: Aah (inbreath)-Mah (outbreath), Ae (inbreath)-Mah (outbreath). There are a hundred and fifty beads, and I will work through the whole rosary either once or three times. When doing it three times, I will break for a brief period of walking meditation after the second.

This is not a Sophian Fellowship practice, nor indeed a Ceile De one, though it would not offend the principles of either group. It constellated very quickly in my dedicated contemplative space at home. I could call it a mantra meditation, but I don’t – because for me this would mistakenly place more emphasis on syllables and technique than the intentions of the heart.

I am surprised that I have been so drawn to a practice like this. I am not a religious believer in any traditional sense and I could call my shift into a devotional mode an existential choice, almost a kind of lifestyle aesthetic. But the monkey mind alone would never have selected this option. The image that comes to me is of having fallen asleep in a beached rowing boat, then waking up at sea with the tide going out and yet trusting this new direction. From a Druid perspective, echoes of Taliesin – and yet differences as well.





(5) Tau Malachi Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ: a Gnostic Christian Kabbalah Saint Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2005


This post is the first after a one month break. It begins a new direction in the blog, though one with many points of continuity. I have also revised the ‘About’ section of the blog, to explain the shift.

I am a mouse in the talons of a great owl, who is obviously Sophia. Dull winter afternoon. Cloudy and windy. No sun visible, so darkening though not yet the twilight hour. Getting colder with intimations of storm. We are flying over water.

The world seems less than solid, as if half-made. To distract myself from my apparent predicament, I wonder about this. But origin and destination are not the point. What matters is experiencing. As mouse, I am not comfortable up here and I am somewhat prone to fear.

I know myself held, and carefully too. I won’t be dropped. I hope not to fall, and that falling would not be terminal. Then I let go of hope.

Focusing on the protection of these talons, I cannot forget them. Inside my anxious, racing heartbeat, I am still.


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