“The journey begins. It is a summer night and I find myself standing outside my front door. Waiting for me are Jesua (my first Otherworld Teacher), two Pegasii – one black; one white. Both Jesua and I are dressed in miner’s working attire – his is black, mine is white. All the blacks and whites shimmer – if I look closely, I see each are made up of all colours. The complexity is mesmerizing, so I slip back into black and white. Phoenix, my Power Ally, flies down to my shoulder and the bright light of his colours illuminates the street, so I can see dozens of Earth Spirits – below-ground dwellers – dwarves, gnomes and other beings for whom I have no name. They are also dressed in dirty working clothes and carry with them all the equipment needed for mining.
Jesua and I mount our Pegasii. We are to be carried by Elders of the breed – Elders can be identified by the complex patterns of their unicorns (a weaving of gold/platinum/silver) – the greater the complexity, the greater the knowledge/wisdom. Jesua rides the black Pegasus, I ride the white Pegasa. At this point, Phoenix shrinks to ‘very small indeed’ and roosts in the empty ‘bulb’ of my miner’s lamp, so everywhere I look, his Light shines brightly and my surroundings are illuminated.
The Pegasii and Earth Spirits travel into Chopwell Woods, to the site of my Otherworld Entrance – it sits in the root system of an Oak tree and, for this journey, it looks like a ‘pit-head’ (where the cage descends into the mine). The ‘cage’ is only big enough to hold a few at a time. Beneath Jesua & I, the Pegasii transform into pit-ponies (with shorter, stubbier unicorns of the same complexity) – when this happens, Jesua dismounts. He tells me to remain on my pony throughout this work, so as to leave as much as possible undisturbed by my passing. Then he leads our ponies into the cage, which begins it’s descent to my Lower World. It is a long descent until the cage comes to a halt, whereupon he opens the gates, leads our ponies out and closes them behind us, returning the cage to the surface.
I look around me and find myself gazing into a huge cavern. Jesua comes to stand by my side and he gestures to the cavern.
“Miners created this” he says, “With their endless toil and labour. These places are called Cathedrals, so it’s not really surprising to find me down here. Here, digging deep within Mother Earth, we depend upon each other for our very lives. When things go wrong, we rely on our comrades to help us and we know the pain of failure.
“Long before I became a fisher of men or a shepherd of flocks, I was a Miner of Deep Souls. People ask me why there is so much suffering in the world – my answer? ‘Which of your choices brought you to this place and I’ll point out the direction you need to go in to find the answers you need.’ For others, we already know that such terrible mistakes in our choices are how we learn about Free Will.”
Jesua stops speaking and looks around. I see our party is fully assembled. Then he turns and looks into my eyes, his face bright with pleasure, and says,
“I am so grateful to be a part of this work. These miners are my brothers and sisters; my family. I’m so glad to be part of setting their Spirit free.”
Then he leads my pony across the cavern floor to a second ‘cage’ big enough to accommodate us all. The Cathedral floor is polished and the whole place embellished with sculptures – it is quite breathtaking. Jesua leads us into this new ‘cage’, closes the gates and we begin our descent.
I see we are passing through a sandstone shaft – the banding of the sand looks like an agate. Who would think sand could be so many different colours! Apart from a creaking of the cage as it moves and the faint dripping of water, we are silent as we travel downwards. Suddenly, although I ‘see’ no change, I feel a clear change of atmosphere, as if we have passed over a threshold into a different dimension. What joy had been present vanishes into a sense of grim determination. Deeper and deeper we travel as this silent tension builds until the cage halts.
When Jesua opens the gates, we are looking into a gallery – a wide horizontal tunnel straight ahead of us. Our Lights illuminate the gallery and, ahead, I see that it is completely blocked where the roof has collapsed. I see bubbles of light appear around our heads and Jesua says “The air is bad here, as a result of the collapse” but within my head-bubble, all I can scent is fresh air. As I look down the shaft, I see the walls and ceiling show cracks and falling dust – it looks as though the entire tunnel is on the point of collapse. Jesua holds our ponies still and we remain in the cage, whilst our Earth Spirit companions enter the tunnel and begin the work of shoring it up. As they labour, Jesua speaks again:-
“It was the Spirit of Miners, like those of Chopwell during the Great Strike, who sank this gallery into the Community Soul of the British people with our dreams of a fair, just way of life. From the Chopwell spark grew the dream of the British Welfare State – when people built that in your reality, you opened up this gallery in your Community Soul. There was great rejoicing here when that happened.
“The roof collapse resulted from an inherent instability caused by a misunderstanding in of Nature of Manifestation. To create the gallery required an acquiescence of the Miners Power of Choice to those they thought ‘above’ them, trusting those to whom they gave power over decisions to choose wisely. It was this mistake that undermined the roof of the gallery and led to its slow collapse, beginning in the 1960’s and with the main collapse occurring in the 1980’s. As you can see, the entire gallery was now in danger of collapse, which is why we are here now.
“There are living miners on the other side of this – if we are going to rescue them, it has to be done now, lest the chance to do it does not come again for a very long time. We had to wait until now for the necessary lessons to be learned but that time is over. See for yourself,” and he gestures to the tunnel.
The walls and ceiling have been transformed. Constructed of expert sandstone dry-walling, the walls and ceiling now look solid and beautiful – created by true artisans – the kind of ‘building’ that lasts for eons. At the end of this new tunnel remains the untouched collapsed roof. Jesua now leads our ponies down the restored tunnel to when the collapse begins. At the end, I see a part of the wall to my left where the drywall ends.
Shining cleanly and richly in the bare wall is a fat seam of coal with a palm-print clearly visible in its centre. I gesture to Jesua by putting my hand near the palm-print and he nods. Somehow the earlier silence has still not left me – I have no desire to speak.
I place my hand in the palm-print and feel myself ‘close a circuit’ of energy that moves up from the Earth through the Wisdom and Knowledge of my Pegasa; through me; out of my hand and into the ‘socket’ of the coal seam.
“You are completing this Medicine Wheel” Jesua says and I ‘know’ exactly what he means. As I sit on Pegasa, completing the Medicine Wheel, the Earth Spirits step forward again. They carry no tools this time. As a single ‘unit’, they step up to the collapse and, engaging the power of Earth Magic, use their hands to sculpt an entirely new shaft. The collapsed Earth seems to liquify under their guidance and pull back to form solid walls and ceilings made of living rock. As the Earth retreats, I see jewels and gold coins appear on the tunnel floor, like stones and pebbles remaining after the tide has turned back to sea.
I sit on Pegasa with my hand in the coal-socket for a long time. Eventually a dwarf elder returns to us from along the new shaft and gives Jesua the thumbs-up. I gesture to remove my hand from the socket and Jesua nods. Just before I remove my hand, I feel the circulating energy cease, leaving me tingling and with a deep sense of returned joy. The air-bubbles around our heads wink out and when I take a breath, the air smells clean.
Jesua leads our ponies down the newly created tunnel and cautions me,
“Do not describe this. Each person who knows this place will envision something different”.
I will only say that what I saw was very beautiful indeed. The shaft is surprisingly long and bends, so I cannot see our destination. Finally we turn a corner and step into another ‘old’ gallery. Standing or sitting amongst the Earth Spirits are Miners – men, women and children – strong in Spirit, handsome in appearance – from all our human societies. Their faces fill with delight as they see Jesua. They joke and tease him. I hear comments like “You took your sweet time getting back here!” but as Jesua walks towards them with his arms wide, I see tears in their eyes as the men hug him with fierce manhugs.
“I made a promise to you”, I hear him say, “I always keep my promises”.
I find myself weeping as I bear witness and I sense the release of long-repressed emotion, especially hurt, fear and sorrow. As I peer through my tears, it is as if these feelings emerge from the Miners themselves in a weave of energy , gathering together to form a stream which flows to a naturally-formed hole in the floor of the gallery. I feel the same energy flow from me towards the stream and merge with the energies of the Miners.
“This stream is the foundation of our future wisdom. The sorrows and griefs of our Deep-Soul Miners inform Creation in order to heal the generations that follow us.” says a voice to my right. I turn and look into the soft and wise eyes of a deeply aged Crone. I smile and greet our Earth Mother – She is immensely attractive, no matter what guise she chooses to wear.
She gestures of Jesua and the Miners. I feel a power Wave of Compassion wash through the gallery, followed by Kindess and Healing.
“This has been a hard journey for the Children of Earth but it is ending. Nothing material can ever last – it has to let go of its form in order to create anew. This is the Nature of my Realm and not to be feared. Those who seek to fix human reality into one form alone cannot survive what is to be – what is needed is as much variety as possible in order to appreciate how the Laws of Creation work. Mistakes are learning, not disasters. Disaster only strikes when we forget what we already know or refuse to learn altogether. But these Children?” She gestures to Jesua, Miners and Earth Spirits, “These are my Children! Aren’t they beautiful? Is there anything more splendid or surprising as these? I am so proud of them, my Heart is bursting!”
I turn took look at our Company. I see ‘people’ who are powerful men, women and children – they are all races, shapes and sizes. Their labours are written on their faces and bodies but they hold themselves with Honour and Dignity accompanied with Laughter and Joy. I see eyes and teeth sparkle through their coal-dusted appearance. The sense of Joy and Healing in the gallery thickens like a nourishing broth around us.
As I watch, I ‘see’ the auras of everyone start to shift and change (like my earlier experience with black and white). The peoples’ ‘colours’ deepen, become richer and shining with health. As this happens, I see the coal-dust start to ‘vanish’ from their appearance. Suddenly, a sharp shower of cleansing ‘rain’ falls from above obscuring my vision. I am momentarily ‘alone’ (apart from Phoenix in my Miners Lamp) and I find the rain has washed away my attire leaving me feeling fresh and very clean. I look down and find myself dressed in my favourite ‘working’ clothes – colourful, comfortable, eccentric – I am bone-dry as the obscuring mist vanishes as quickly as it arrived. I see everyone, apart from Great Grandmother Earth, has been transformed too. We are all shining with health and Great Grandmother asks the Miners, “Are you ready to return?” The Miners all nod enthusiastically, still hugging each other and Jesua. I see families and friends with such Hope in their shining eyes.
Great-Grandmother turns to me and says “If these Spirit Miners return through the tunnel in their present form, matters may not go as well as they might with your help. Will you bear these Souls to Freedom for me?”
I say “Yes” clearly, firmly and distinctly for all to hear. Great-Grandmother turns again to our Company of Miners and, reaching within her robes, produces a crystal flask with a golden stopper. She removes the stopper and, as I watch, each Miner begins to ‘dissolve’ into the unmistakable form of individual soul-parts, which look similar to iridescent butterflies. She holds up the flask and hundreds of thousands of Soul-parts flutter through it’s narrow neck. As if She senses my astonishment, Great-Grandmother says, with a strong Geordie accent, “Nae worries, hinny – this is another tardis – they’ll all fit comfortably!”
The flask fills surprisingly quickly until just four soul-parts remain, fluttering close by. For these, Great-Grandmother opens a small Medicine pouch and they fly in. Closing both pouch and flask, she hangs them both around my neck. There is no weight to them – they are no burden – and both vibrate with happy contentment. “You will know who the four belong to. You also know what to do” and I feel the information growing in my mind. Yes, I do know these things. Then Great-Grandmother speaks again:
“We will not be returning with you.” She gestures to Jesua and the Earth Spirits. “To complete this work, we must remain below to greet all those Deep-Soul Miners who visit this place to learn their own Truth.
“When individual people create communities, their Souls contribute to the Soul of the Community which creates your future. The Miners of all the Little Moscow’s created the spark that led to formation of your Welfare State. Your Soul-Parts are the Seeds of Creation – some seeds can only germinate by passing through Creative Fire. Only Souls who passed through that Creative Fire, who laughed in the Face of Death and yet still lived, understand the Secret of this Creative Power – you know Creation only occurs by our own Choosing followed by our own Actions that confirm the strength of your Choosing.
“Tell them that, child! Tell them that. Tell them I Love them and the way out of the place they find themselves in is by Loving each other.
“Now, go. You travel ‘alone’ because we have work to do here.”
With that, Grandmother turns my pony around and pats her rump to send us on our way – Phoenix still shining brightly from my transformed Miners Lamp. As we pass through, the new tunnel is full of activity – I see new tunnels and shafts being opened whilst other Earth Spirits ‘sweep-up’ the jewels/gold coins scattered on the tunnel’s floor. One dwarf doing this sees me passing, waves with a big smile, and says “Chopwell is being looked after – we’re seeing to that right now” but I have no time to thank him. Elsewhere in the new tunnel, I see forest creatures moving about amongst the many shoots of green appearing in the walls and floor. The tunnel is coming alive!
I reach the dry-wall part of the tunnel and the ‘cage’ to my Lower World. The cage is much reduced in size but has become much more elaborate and welcoming. A smiling gnome opens the cage doors as I approach (not exactly the prettiest of sights but the goodwill and joy pouring from him means his appearance becomes unimportant) – we share a nod of Respect as I pass and his smile gets even bigger.
Pegasa, Phoenix and I enter the transformed cage – the doors close behind us and we begin to ascend. As we rise, we again pass through the dimension of grim reality, where all joy drains away, but this passes as we rise to the Lower World Cathedral, when my feeling of joyousness returns. As we arrive at the Cathedral, the cage doors open automatically. I can see no other living beings as we emerge into the vast chamber. Pony walks her way across the floor – the sound of her hooves echoing in the darkness of the place – whilst Phoenix flies from my Miner’s Lamp and returns to his usual size. He is a bright streak of colourful light in all the soft darkness around us.
We enter the open doors of the first cage and the doors close behind us as we start to ascend, Phoenix perched on my shoulder. Suddenly I can scent the fresh air of Chopwell Woods filling the shaft – it smells of recent rain, damp, trees and earth; it smells of home.
The cage arrives at the ‘pit-head’ and the doors open into the Woods. It’s is very early on a summer morning – dawn has just broken and the day is awakening. Beneath me, Pegasa shapeshifts back to her true form and she steps into the woods and towards the village. The sunshine is clear and the streams gurgle from the recent rain. The birds sing – in the distance, I can hear a cock crowing happily. We approach the terraced streets of the still-sleeping Chopwell village, moving silently to my front door.
I slip from Pegasa and give thanks to her for all her help (finding treats for her in my pockets) then, while she waits, I stand in the middle of my street facing southwards to County Durham. I remove the golden stopper and hold the flask to the skies.
As the high summer clouds turn the colours of dawn, hundred of thousands of Soul-parts fly free of the flask and soar into the air above the Derwent Valley. There are so many of them – flying off in all directions, to all points of the Great Medicine Wheel of Mother Earth. They fly to the village; along the river valley to Newcastle and beyond; over the fells to Gateshead, Cumbria, Scotland and beyond. It is like being part of a Great Sigh of Relief.
Finally all are free and departed, save for the four in the pouch around my neck. I restopper the flask and ask Pegasa to please return it to Great Grandmother. Pegasa takes it gently between her lips and, with a salute of her beautiful head, she turns and canters up the fell back to the Woods, stretching her wings as she reaches open space.
Checking the pouch is still safe around my neck, I turn to my front door. On the doorstep are three hessian bags filled with ‘swept’ jewels and coins from the Mine. Each bag bears a ‘seal’ of the completed Medicine Wheel and bearing labels. One label says “Spirit of Chopwell”; the second, “Idle No More” and the last “Spirit of Miners”. I pick up the three bags – which look heavy but weigh very little at all – and carry them inside.
My journey ends.”