A reader sent me the following link to a bit more of the story of what happens to Randolph Carter. It's a jointly-written extrapolation of the original story by Lovecraft and an "E Hoffman Price." I don't know who Price is, but the expanded story, while interesting, I think somehow loses something in the rewrite. At the same time, it provides more of what I wanted to talk about. The Opening of the Gates.
In the original Silver Key, we read about the slow wearing-away of Randolph's abiltiy to Dream, and the misery and detachmnent, the apathy with the things of the world that came about as a result. In reading this part of the story, I couldn't help but find parallels in my own spiritual growth. I've also been hearing "Wish you were here" by Pink Floyd a lot lately. The lyrics, "Did they get you to trade, your heroes for ghosts, hot ashes for trees, hot air for a cool breeze..." keep popping up in my mind lately. I feel a certain peculiar resonance with the almost neo-Modernist pathos expressed.
One of the things I've learned about this particular feeling is that it means there's something going on spiritually that I need to address. It comes along with a certain inertia that is difficult to overcome, and a frustration, an unfocused angst that doesn't have any real reason for existing.
Personally, I know that I'm feeling this way because I have not been making time for either a relationship with God or my magical practice, two things I consider separate aspects of a healthy spiritual life. I have been doing some Work with Iophial, and Rising through the Spheres at night before I go to bed, but I haven't had the time to really finish the projects I really wanted to pursue lately, that is, finishing up the Hermetic Course curriculum (which is stored on a thumb drive that has annoyingly disappeared) and the new and improved Tepaphone.
I haven't gotten to it because my job is very busy right now. I'm happy with it, but it is sapping my brain power. It's getting interesting though. I get to do things in a leadership role now that I haven't before, and it's rather exciting. Good for my resume, and stuff. I'm also taking training for a certification that will increase my earning potential by leaps and bounds. It's not BAD work, it's just time consuming, and like a teen that would rather be getting everything they want RIGHT NOW, I'm all angsty.
So when I read The Silver Key again, it resonated in my sphere. It brought about a reminder of things I know, things I've been telling people in instant messages, and in my blog for years. It reminded me that the things that wear us down only have power over us as long as we are trapped by our inability to dream, to travel through the spheres, to open the Gates and pass through them into time and space.
The expanded story gets into some very interesting Gates and heady philosophy that is usually missing in as much detail in Lovecraft's other work. I'm thinkng Price must have at least studied a bit about traveling through the planes, merkavah and hekalot, possibly the Kabbalah, or been a member of one or another esoteric society. There's just too many things that are right out of the meditative and contemplative experiences I've had Working with the spirits, especially of Saturn, in that particular work of fiction for it to be a coincidence.
I didn't turn into something clawed and monstrous though. That part was totally made up. Honest. Typing with scaly claws wouldn't be too likely.
At any rate, we cannot forget that our paths are going to be muddled and distant from our long-term goals, on occassion, and when we do find ourselves in the valleys where we can no longer see the peaks, it is imperative that we stop in the midst of whatever is going on, and return to the Dream-realms to remember, to reclaim what we are.
I do this in acts of contemplation, because frankly, I don't have time to conjure right now. I can throw a talisman on the Box at will, but when I try to scry lately, I see my boss and the deliverables I'm tracking peeking out at me.
I took a moment the other night, when I normally meditate on the Seals of the Archangels of the Spheres, and I focused as I went up through the spheres not on just getting up and back down before I fell asleep, but on listening, seeing, feeling the radiance of each sphere. I let my own sphere relax in the presence of the Archangels, instead of keeping it all business and messaging, and I just enjoyed their presence. I think I ended up leaving behind some of the crap of each sphere that I'm supposed to. It helped.
This morning in church, I took time during the worship service to pursue the silent hymns of the 8th Sphere. Doing so in the midst of vocal hymns was interesting, and I highly recommend anyone working with Iophial or the Archangels of the Zodiac to take the time on a Sunday morning to go to a church that sings. It doesn't matter if it's contemporary or traditional, but if you've forgotten the essence of what a hymn to the highest is all about, then you won't have the context to understand what they can teach. If you're a pagan, review the Orphic hymns, I'm pretty sure they're around somewhere. The point is to worship, which is not a debasing or limiting thing at all. IT is freeing, and you can't begin to understand the image you were made in until you are able to understand what you're an image of. If that makes sense. My fingers are typing the wrong words lately.
Back to the Silver Key, in conclusion, I'd like to remind you of what it was that brought the Dream back to Randolph when he had lost it. He redressed his house the way it looked when he was a child and was still able to Dream. When he did, his dreams returned, and he learned from his ancestor of the Key, and how to open the First Gate to the realms of the Dream (Luna, Yesod anyone?). In the expanded story, he then learned the way to the Ultimate Gate.
So if you find yourself wondering when you exchanged hot ashes for trees, go back to the beginning. Recreate through similitude your surroundings from the time they were still trees, and see if that doesn't jog your memory, or bring back to your mind the conversations with the mentors, elders, or ancestors that were also the keepers of your destiny.