Samhain 2014 (a personal reflection from The Hip-Hop Bard)

Happy Samhain!!! – I’m mid essay writing and nearly didn’t write anything about Samhain this year but as a part-time Druid (knighted Bard of a Druid Order for all my newer facebook friends) it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the seasons

Also all the academic writing for my essay has oiled my gears and inspired the writer in me so I feel like I should express while my mind is inspired rather than tired out by the writing process. Facebook prose…

“Samhain (pronounced /ˈsɑːwɪn/ sah-win or /ˈs.ɪn/ sow-in[1] Irish pronunciation: [sˠaunʲ]) is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November, or about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice” (Wikipedia)

So this month I have been facing my fears, admitting my fear of judgment to people beyond my synchromystic circle and the BV community (I love you guys loads but ironically I fear the judgment of those I love and respect the most.)

Samhain, the original title for the Celtic and Pagan festival we now call Halloween, seems to be primarily about 3 things, the coming winter, the veils between worlds being thinner than usual, and death. When spritual people talk about death they always counter by saying there is no death without rebirth. But there is death. Death is scary. Whether it’s the end of an era, the end of a relationship or the end of a life it is loss of something we found comfort in and fear of the unknown.

I moved out of Bristol back to London. End of an era? Maybe, I don’t know how long I’ll be in London, if I get this job maybe at least 3 months. I don’t know where I’ll be living next month or where I’ll be staying next week, uncertainty has been my status quo for about two months now, even before I moved out. There have been other deaths but I think it is time to move on to rebirth.

I attended an ecstatic dance workshop with Gai’Ama Sri Amrita. Now I am of the opinion that nothing is ever ‘wrong’, we just perceive different things from different perspectives and the illusion of “I” allows us to feel like something can be wrong with us. But prior to the dance workshop I perceived alot more fear and alot more pain. The dance-workshop allowed me to see how I was holding myself back. Rebirth was a main theme of the guided part of the dance and by the end I had arisen reborn like a Phoenix from the ashes. To be honest most ecstatic dance wrkshops I feel like the straight-guy out of Peepshow, out of place, with the added frustration of my inner rebellious child pissed off that someone has the audacity to tell me what to do. But Gai’Amma has a gentle way about her which allowed me to feel guided rather than bossed around.

It was the beginning of a shift. I have spoken about the shift elsewhere, Ben Tree had a birthday which reunited some of my closest tribe. Jokes with his little siblings, walks in nature with his extended family and heart-to-heart conversation with my closest tribe (plus the presence of a toddler) was all very nurturing.

The final ascent of my inner phonix happened with seeing Amma for the 5th or 6th time in the past 9 years (wow, nearly been going for 10 years now!) It seems fitting, it’s just a story and the parts of the story are only as important as I choose them to be but the people I went to see Amma with were new friends the first time and I was just in the process of moving to Bristol. And now I appear to be in the process of moving out, while applying for jobs as far afield as Devon, Frome and Glastonbury. Amma, to some the representation of divine mother energy on Earth, to me at the very least an amazing woman who understands the importance f something as simple yet magical as a hug, and a woman dedicated to the selfless administration of that energy to a heroic degree. The vibe at Amma is always love-filled.

I have not felt like performing much recently. The anxiety and the depression combined I did not feel much like I deserve to be the centre of attention. But after the ecstatic dance workshop, the days in Stroud with some of my soul-family and the night of Amma we sat on the steps of Alexandra Palace and I sang my little heart out over the sound of Daniel Waples and Craig R Ninjah playing hang. And I enjoyed it. I didn’t feel guilty for being the centre of attention, I didn’t hate myself for enjoying it. And I didn’t stick around too long too milk it until I did.

Was it a healing week? Well… that depends on if you think there was anything wrong with me when I was anxious and depressed. I don’t think so, it was just different. It was a week that gave me perspective. Things change. If I get anxious and depressed again I will not be so hard on myself. It happens to everyone. I’ll just take a short moment to relax.

On a personal level this has been a very real Samhain, very real death and rebirth vibrations. But on a wider level every single moment is a death and rebirth. But as we approach winter it may be worth noting what is over for you and what may just be beginning.

Now, let’s see if I can be this wordy and expressive in the rest of my essay, I was not supposed to be on here this long :-p

The Rock, The Seed and the Rainbow Body

…and when I go I plan to leave behind a circular rainbow with
Shiva surfing tsunamis n Kali juggling flamethrowers,
540 squares the circle, being weird won’t hurt you.
Find the red and blue n between the two now there’s the purple.
Is it attention, affection, or food, clothes and shelter that we need?
From depression to perfection, do we just need to breed and feed?
Compare the contentedness of the rock with the ambition of the seed.
Think about it. Both perfect but what different lives they lead.
So whether I leave behind maggots, rainbows or both in my wake.
Just know I was guided by a feeling my heart and head could not escape.
“Only God can judge me”, but if we’re all God have we wronged?
Guided by my own future judgement of self on deathbed and beyond.
Nothing to do, nowhere to go and categorically nothing wrong with.
No true division between best and worst, shortest, longest, weakest, strongest.
Nothing to do, nowhere to go but absolutely nothing wrong with
It being just my preference to have a lot more to accomplish.

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Magical 2014: Self Discipline, the illusion of time and the trials of initiation. Test? Rest. Blessed!

Magical 2014

Test? Rest. Blessed!

2014 has been one of the most magical years I’ve had for a while, but also one of the most testing. I am appreciating self discipline. Moving to London, staying with my mum, facing the dentist, turning down sweets, turning down zoots. Still having loads of fun, only go to the rave I’m performing at and stay relatively sober but I’ll still dance all night and share cuddle puddles with the loveliest (and hottest) while witnessing yet more magical cascading coincidences in prettier places. But more discipline means better health and more money and those things are useful. Life doesn’t have to be hard, we can manifest all sorts of beauty and magic into our lives and you don’t have to live the standard template set out by society. But most hero stories, most tales of great avatars, they have the their dark times, they face their shadows. These are just stories. But great babas did not just do yoga in warm health spas, or meditate in cosy buddhist centres, they did yoga by camp fires and their vippassnas were in caves. I am not criticising, I intend to do more yoga in warm cosy rooms and I wonder if I will ever have the bravery and inclination for vipassna. One of Steiner’s more cosmic books Knowledge of Higher Worlds talks about Initiation, spiritual growth through the tests life throws at you. Initiation in trials by fire, water and air. It’s some deep knowledge of the ancients he’s going into but even that is just another story, it’s a perspective. You have had testing days. You do not necessarily choose what happens to you but you get to choose how you react to it. That’s a lesson Paradox taught well with the poem Attitude Kings and is echoed in Maxi Rai’s song Dear Sweet Universe {see both below}. How you react to it is what we are discussing. Sleeping in long barrow burial chambers on a solstice is easy, it’s easy if you have enough blankets, enough awesome people and enough instruments to keep you entertained. Light is information and sunlight is information and the solstice sun is a different form of information (some might say a higher form). But I can probably never quantify the value of witnessing that light or prove the value of sharing vibration with the DnA of the other people in those long barrows (like I have). Sleeping under giant trees is easy if not for the mosquitoes and the constant threat of loggers and police coming to evict you, but you can learn a lot from the trees (like I have). But I can probably never explain the communication that you can have with an ancient tree, maybe it’s entirely scientific, microbial mycelium in the winds, vibrational frequencies of my heart resonating. Maybe it’s all my imagination. Meditating in buddhist centres is easy, (easier than a forest with mosquitoes around your ears), but I learned more from getting cheated on, I learned more from sleeping next to lover for months who wasn’t ready to have sex with me, I learned more from living with a mother who had completely different values to me (she wanted me to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a revolutionary and a rapper and ended up being a dirty hippy squatter, now I’d rather be a clean hippy teacher so we’re meeting in the middle.) I learned more about myself by facing the dentist and realising that every dentist is different, as every experience is different and the experiences I had with the dentist as a child is a unique one never to be repeated in exactly the same way again. I learn these lessons and I try to communicate them because I’d rather other people did not have to learn the hard way. That is my part of my path, part of my service, not an obligation but a preference. I want to be understood. But most people will never understand me. For while I am so over-sensitive that my emotions are often painfully adversely affected by the opinions of others, I am that stubborn, determined and proud that I very rarely allow my actions to be affected by the opinions of others. I am usually guided, inspired, and led by what I will think of my own actions on my own deathbed and beyond. I don’t always think in those terms specifically, but I simply try to do what feels right. But sometimes I have to take a moment to stop thinking and make sure I am not being guided by fear or desire, cos if you live in the now it can seem like the greatest benefit is eating sweets that make you happy now and not going to the dentist that brings up childhood phobias now. One of the most powerful books I have ever read is The Power of Now. But if I had children I may have appreciated the importance of future, and therefore the importance of discipline sooner. I teach children now, because past, present and future may all be illusions but while the illusion is as persistent as Einstein said it was I choose to enjoy my present while enjoying the company of beings who have not had the life sucked out of them by ‘society’ because my past has taught me that it is likely to be mutually beneficial for our future. But the past is just a story and the future is infinite possibility so essentially all we have is the illusion of now. Ha, and I want to be understood! When the point you are making relies on something as fleeting to both physicists and philosophers as the illusion of time it is time to change the subject slightly. I’m sure Craig won’t mind me quoting him before I quote myself, best advice for the day was – “you just go and enjoy relaxing in the chair, and rest for everyone that will never be able to see a dentist.” BOOM. Perspective shift. “…this year, studying to be a Steiner school teacher and all that is me putting off some fun things now to be happier in the future and that’s a new approach for me.” me, earlier today. “…facing the dentist and staying with my mum has led to more emotional (and therefore spiritual) growth than meditating on mountains, sleeping under giant trees or waking up in long barrow burial chambers…” me, earlier today. But more specifically, in my chat with Craig yesterday, “none of that cosmic shit did as much to make me a better person unless they gave me a moment to rest, a moment to appreciate the non existent now, or a {beautiful} memory to appreciate… the cosmic stuff had it’s place for sure, definitely showed me there’s more to life than meets the eye.” So I feel beyond words. Literally (but I’m still gonna use words to try!) I mean I feel pretty terrible and pretty awesome at the same time. My tooth hurts, I owe the dentist loads of money, I’m terrified that I’m too sensitive for London, and I’m terrified that even a short stay with my mum will erode my self esteem but I’m proud of myself for taking steps in difficult directions for positive reasons, excited at the size and depth of my hometown, excited at the thought of me and my mother growing to know each other better, excited at the jobs I’m being offered in London and the projects in Glastonbury, and volunteering at the Steiner school in Frome – and I’m supporting Top Cat, General Levy and Kenny Ken tomorrow. “Junglists are you ready?” Not bad for a freelance philosopher. Today’s essay was brought to you by local anaesthetic and insomnia. Bung.

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Perspective – from mainstream radio to Palestine via football

Builders in my moms house listening to Radio 1. Forgot about that vibration. How you listen to the same 10 songs in a row for 6 hours? That’s normal, right?
Funny, last week someone was in my house in Bristol and asked me what team I support. No hate but I had honestly forgotten that most men in England let the success of 11 men they have absolutely no control over determine whether or not they’re happy. That’s normal too. I’m not even dissing, we all let things we have no control over affect our moods, like whether or not 1 of the 7 billion people on planet Earth happens to fancy you or not. Or whether or not an insane and amoral society approves of your decisions.
Some people get miserable cos their football team lost, I get miserable because there are children on fire in Palestine. And I’m the weirdo.
How did I get from Radio 1 to Palestine? Oh yeah, what seems normal to most seems cruel and unusual to me and what has become normal to me – not knowing anything about pop culture, football or Robin Thicke but caring about people in other countries – that seems weird to other people.
Essentially though, we are all doing the best we can with the information we have at the time, I’m not criticising, this is just stuff that is happening and you can look at it from any angle you choose. It’s my preference to write about the other angles…

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My F*cking Thankless Life (explicit, obviously)

I spend my entire life making sacrifices for people who will never know, or never care, saving trees in other countries, turning down sex if it doesn’t feel right, turning down jobs if it doesn’t feel right, even turning down benefits if it doesn’t feel right. But nobody ever remembers the times you said no, they’re all waiting for to tell you off for the time you said yes. I’m a footstep away from being the bad guy but all I ever wanted to be was the hero. So it hurts when the people you think understand you misjudge you. But nobody understands me, I’m a fucking weirdo for caring and telling the truth. I don’t even know why I care so much, I think I need to stop talking, I’m being irrational. I was saving trees in Tasmania. Spent 3 months in the rainforest. My first week there I was called a nigger by a white person to my face for the first time in my life by a guy who also threatened to rape me in the woods. In the first month one of the protestors died, seemed like a suicide, and I partly blamed myself cos I had caught him being violent with his girlfriend. I wondered how many of his friends blamed me (I haven’t really spoken to anyone about that.) A couple of months later a friend of mine was molested by a cop while he was tied to a tree. By the 3rd month I was spending more time in the nearby town of Hobart making Hip-Hop  than in the woods. I was scared of some of the protestors who were friends of the guy who died, I was scared of the cops, and I was scared of the loggers. I was a target, I was black, English and an environmentalist greeny. Seemed more useful for the black, English, greeny to make positive music by month 3 than be shitting himself in the woods. Giant trees though man, I don’t regret a thing. The day I got back from Tasmania my mum spent about 2 minutes congratulating me and about 2 hours telling me that people will think that the gap in my CV was prison time. 2 hours making me feel like an idiot for caring. Fucking thankless life. I didn’t do it for thanks though, I did it for trees, I did it for honour and I did it for myself. What the fuck happened to honour? Fucking nice guys. Most girls don’t even pretend to want a sensitive nice guy anymore. “He’s too nice”. You know what that means? She’s not ready to settle down, she wants to fuck around and if you’re too nice she can’t justify it. If she says you’re too nice, she’s right, she doesn’t deserve you. You watch TV and you’re programmed to think men will have sex with anything with a pretty face. Wrong. Some guys will but some guys are fucking morons. Shallow men want shallow women and shallow women want shallow men, there’s no room for sexism here. But this is not a one dimensional game. Nice guys like sex too. Nice girls like sex too. But just because a guy has sex with more than one person in a week, or flirts with more than one person in a day, does not make him a player or a man-whore. Just because a girl has sex with more than one person in a week, or flirts with more than one person in a day does not make her a slut. The issue is when you lie about it. I would rather be honest. But if honesty is gonna tarnish my reputation, a reputation I’ve turned down plenty of sex for I might add, it’s like can I at least get some props from the nice guys? Can I at least get a ‘thanks for being honest’ from ladies? No, I wait 3 years for someone for them to go to another country and have a threesome with another couple. Or I make massive sacrifices and emotional risks to be immediately repaid by being cheated on. So excuse me if I fuck around a little. I probably won’t, cos I’m over-sensitive and get emotional, but excuse me if I try. Will a week of flirtation erase a lifetime of semi-celibate good behaviour? It will if you don’t give them your resume. Fucking thankless life. I didn’t do it for props or thanks though, I did it for the sake of honesty, I did it for honour and I did it for myself. Oh, and for orgasms, orgasms are awesome, I like to give and receive. In the past I turned down plenty of jobs, in the past I turned down benefits, I lived in squats with rats and ate out of skips to avoid having anything to do with a system that routinely spends our taxes on bombing brown children. That is a fact. I could have been on job seekers allowance. I could have been on housing benefits but I chose not to because I was disgusted at the system. I have had to listen to people who KNOW what our taxes get spent on call the people who dropped out of society idiots for dropping out. Why? Cos not enough people were gonna drop out with them for making a difference. Well excuse me for trying. It’s actually the one revolution that would work but most of us don’t have the balls to just stop paying taxes. But if we did there would be less children on fire right now. Fact. And so I return to society with my tail between my legs waiting for the revolution to start. Fucking thankless life. I didn’t o it for thanks though, I did it cos I could see the reality of a corrupt and hypocritical society, I did it for honour and I did it for myself. And now all I want is to be understood. If I work in a 9 – 5 I don’t want to be judged for it, if I fuck around I don’t want to be judged for it, if I pay taxes I don’t want to be judged for it.  I always wanted to be the hero, but my own hero, not somebody else’s. But I’m only a footstep away from being the bad guy. Is it just me and Ned fucking Stark that give a shit about honour? (Geeky reference, sorry, it was gonna happen.) Why do I care? Why do I care? Why do I care? Why do I care? Why do I care? Do I care? Do I care? Do I care? I don’t care. I’ve done shit that most people wouldn’t dream of for reasons they couldn’t fathom, they will never understand me and I will never be understood. But I am not the only one. So go ahead, judge me. Why should I give a flying fuck? :-p x]

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Epilogue

Oh yeah, relax. It’s all you. I keep forgetting but that’s fine, cos one day I’ll die and then I’ll have no choice but to remember. Until then, I might as well relax and enjoy it. I’m still typing aren’t I? Relax.