Adventures on Starlight Express
- Be thou my star, and thou in me be seen
To show what source divine is, and prevails.
I mark thee planting joy in constant fire.
To Sirius_ G. MEREDITH
Many of us on this forum have made, or perhaps resumed friendships, and to
those dear friends who have given me so much, I address this more personal
post which is a sharing of something precious to me.
Some of you will remember that I had Polio in early childhood and have
restricted mobility. This was less of a problem in the past, because I have
a car and, born and bred here, London was my city, friendly, free and easy
and I could drive everywhere and park anywhere, or hitch a lift, and when
younger was able to walk more, usually barefoot. But Polio does not get
easier and Ahriman's net closes in, so that London is vastly changed; what
was always busy is now congested, which is a different thing, and everything
and everywhere has grown far less accessible to me.
So I recently bought an electrically powered four wheeled pavement scooter
and Christened it Starlight Express. Not after Andrew Lloyd Webber's
plagiarized, Ahrimanized Musical version, but after the original Starlight
Express, created by Algernon Blackwood and published 1913 in his 'Prisoner
in Fairyland', a book which is really a hymn of praise to the stars and
principally the Pleiades, the seven sisters Blackwood saw as bearers of
'unborn children' and his attempt to draw people into relationship with the
Blackwood's Starlight express was an old railway carriage bought for him
and his brother and sisters by his father and placed in the garden for them
to play in as children. Blackwood peopled it with vivid Imaginations, which
he found in later life were very much alive and still requiring something of
him, namely to ride with them again as he had in childhood each night, but
now consciously, through the stars, through his 'star net' journeying to
what he called 'The Star Cave' in the Jura mountains where lost stardust,
Expressed Starlight collected because human beings made such little use of
it, and to anoint those sleeping souls.
Quote 'Take your seats,' he cried as of old, 'for the Starlight Express.
Take your seats! No luggage allowed! Animals free! Passengers with
special tickets may drive the engine in their turn! First stop the
Milky Way for hot refreshments! Take your seats, or stay at home for
ever!' end quote from Prisoner in Fairyland
The characters are archetypes, The Cosmic Dust-man, star-dust-man, The
Sweep, sweeping the heavens for etheric energies - "I'll mix their smoke
with hope and mystery till they see dreams and faces in their fires -"
(bringing fire out of smoke)
The Lamplighter, The Gypsy, The Gardener, The mysterious Woman of the
Haystack.....harvest of dreaming Nature.
In 'Prisoner in Fairyland', Blackwood explores 'thought as thing' the
interconnectedness of all life, etheric energies and the tragic lack of
these in many people's lives. But the main theme and bedrock of the book is
empathy, sympathy, insight - 'seeing inside' other people, other beings, in
order to help and heal really effectively. In the story it is the wakeful
children who leave their bodies consciously each night and attempt to
distribute the healing stardust to soul-sleeping adults, bringing
transformation into their lives.
Quote 'But what does starlight do, I mean, why is it good for people to
have it in them - on them - whatever it is?' she inquired.
'It gives sympathy and insight; it is so awfully subtle and delicate,'
he answered. 'A little of it travels down on every ray and soaks down into
you. It makes you feel inclined to stick to other people and understand
them. That¹s sympathy. But sympathy is no good without insight, which means
seeing things as others see them, from inside. That's insight.' end quote
from Prisoner in Fairyland.'
So I bought 'Starlight Express' and am one of the sights of the Mossy Well
Hill, an eccentric lady theatrically dressed whizzing along on a thankfully
silent motor at an incredible four plus miles an hour (What speed!) courtesy
of Ahrimanic elementals and fallen ethers, heading for the Druids Hill of
Alexander Palace and trees, trees, trees! Birds, birds, birds! Dogs, deer,
foxes and field mice. Now I no longer need calculate the cost in pain and
fatigue of every step - is it worth the dozen or so steps to investigate
this plant, this tree? Now I can fly!
One of the good things about walking eccentrically (limping!) and
dressing differently is that everybody recognizes and thinks that they know
me and have known me for years. It is like being the Queen. People feel
free to talk as if I had known them, too, forever, and that makes for an
interesting time! Even better, dogs find Starlight Express an irresistible
attraction, and make straight for me, sometimes running alongside in a
companionable way, sometimes giving my velvet gloves a friendly gnawing when
I put out a hand to stroke them.
When you step out of the mainstream, even by a slight difference in gait
or attire, you find yourself in the flotsam company of
journeyman-wounded-wayfarers, the oddballs, the tramps, down and outs,
madmen. They recognize me as one of them, much as a ride on Blackwood's Star
Train is not bought with money for a ticket, but with an exchanged look of
recognition with the Blue Eyed Guard or Guardian. This vagrant brotherhood
is a company of souls that have much won through pain, to share and give,
friends who go wandering in disguise, and I am honoured to go alongside
Quote - 'What looked like a rag-and-bone man blundered up first,
his face a perfect tangle of beard and hair, and the eyebrows like bits of
tow stuck on with sealing-wax. It was The Tramp--Traveller of the World,
the Eternal Wanderer, homeless as the wind; his vivid personality had
haunted all the lanes of childhood. And, as Rogers nodded kindly to
him, the figure waited for something more.
'Ain't forgot the rhyme, 'ave yer?' he asked in a husky voice that
seemed to issue from the ground beneath his broken boots. 'The rhyme
we used to sing together in the Night-Nursery when I put my face
agin' the bars, after climbin' along 'arf a mile of slippery slates
to git there.'
And Rogers, smiling, found himself saying it, while the pretty Guard
fixed her blue eyes on his face and waited patiently:--
I travel far and wide,
But in my own inside!
And queer races!
I never go to them, you see,
Because they always come to me!' end quote fro Prisoner in Fairyland
The Holy Hill in springtime, this etheric wellspring in the midst of
London I now come to know in a new way. On Starlight express I glide along
the paths, heading ever upward, making for the Palace itself, atop the great
hill. Alexandra Palace was built as a recreation centre in 1873, but only
sixteen days after opening, burned down in a ferocious fire which some say
was the Druid's revenge on those who had dared to raise a profane building
on their Holy Hill with its sacred groves of ancient oak. It was eventually
rebuilt, and burned down again in the summer of 1980, a mighty blaze visible
for many miles which I watched along with most of London. Again it was
rebuilt, and I recently heard of another, smaller fire in an adjacent
building that, interestingly, broke out on midsummer day some years
ago.....The Banqueting hall burned down in 1971 and the ruin has been
allowed overgrow with brambles and bushes for butterflies to breed in. Fire
poltergeists? Perhaps... The butterflies bring more subtle fire.
The Scooter is really designed for a bit of gentle shopping, but I hurl it
up steep hills and over rough ground, envy the boys on the steeply curved
purpose built wooden skateboard slopes - hey! let me have a go! - and soon
am speeding along on the summit of the hill. Here the air is cold, clear
and fresh and always in movement. The clouds are gigantic and beneath,
spread in a great panoramic sweep of the eye is London' The Great Wen',
first the green, breathing oasis of the hill, and then streets of houses
with little back gardens and further away tall, famous buildings visible for
miles. On the highest point of the Alexandra Palace building stands a stone
Angel, looking down over London, symbol of the interaction between heaven
and earth so potent here.
Joining the Angel in calling a blessing upon the city, I turn back and,
clinging to the handlebars, plummet erratically down, down the hill along a
rough track into the glory of the woodland.
It is like plunging into the Crock of Gold. Gold below, gold above,
strewn careless on the ground, hung from every twig, glittering in the air,
hovering condensed into life as bee and fly, melted as melody. Nature has
scattered and spread bullion with her usual generous and profligate
abundance, and the earth sparkles with millions upon millions of yellow
starry Celendine flowers, while the Oaks and many other trees cast showers
of potentised, golden pollen from their blossoming catkins, and molten gold
forms itself fluid into new leaves and buds.
And the Birds sing. Sing! All is song, literally thousands of birds, and
there are a recorded 155 species here in this green parkland space in the
very heart of London, surrounded by concrete, from everywhere at once, from
all directions and from every tree and bush, above, below, they sing and
call and chant in an amazing harmony of difference blended and resolved.
This the true solvent, the life-elixir that dissolves matter, metamorphosing
into ever new form, new potential, new and higher co-creation, calls forth
the blossom on the trees.
It is hard to know if the song is chanted from the birds or from the
earth itself, from the Celendine, the Daisies, Day's Eyes, the many wild
flowers opened and transparent to the stars, as the constellations use their
voices here on the earth calling to us from every point and plane to be
cosmic citizens once again.
I was honoured by a visit from Royalty, (perhaps appropriately in this
Palace setting!) when a wondrous, huge and Archetypal Queen Wasp flew down
and settled on the back of my hand, holding surprisingly firmly with tiny
claws. We rode on in state together beneath the Royal Oaks, companionable,
friends. She flew off suddenly into the ever open ethers of the blue sky,
vanishing in a dazzle of light.
Even as a luminous haze links star to star,
I would supply all chasms with music, breathing
Mysterious motions of the soul, no way
To be defined save in strange melodies.
Paracelsus_, R. BROWNING.
Rudolf Steiner once reminded us of what is told in the Matthew Gospel. 'Ye
have not because ye ask not." If we have a question, he said, we are to ask;
to ask the trees, the clouds, the animals, the stones. Therein lies wisdom.
They will answer if we have the ears to hear. We have not because we ask
not. We ignore the Beings who will to help us and so are ignorant, lonely
and imperiled where we could be guided, enlightened and companioned.
Algernon Blackwood wrote in 'Prisoner in Fairyland' of Divine thought made
manifest in created things, in the Angels wrought works, and the creations
too of human thought, for good or ill.
Quote "The boy clasped his dirty fingers and stared hard. The sun was
listening. 'Then what I think is known - like that - all over the place?' He
asked. He held himself very straight indeed.
"Everywhere' replied Cousinenery (Cousin Henry) gravely. 'The stars flash
your thoughts over the whole universe. None are ever lost. Sooner or later
they appear in visible shape. Some one, for instance, must have thought this
flower long ago' - he stooped and picked a blue Hepatica at their feet - 'or
it couldn't be growing here now.'
Jimbo accepted the statement with his usual gravity.
'Then I shall always think enormous and tremendous things - powerful
locomotives, like that, and - and -'
'The best is to think kind little sweet things about other people,'
suggested the other...... ' end quote from Prisoner in Fairyland.
Ahriman too has a Palace on the Druid's hill. In 1935 the BBC leased part
of the building for news broadcasts, and later the first public television
transmissions were made from there and it is still in use. On the summit of
the hill a gigantic four legged aerial tower reaches far higher than the
Angel, increasingly bearing more and more sophisticated transmitting and
receiving devices. Those grown sensitive to the etheric atmosphere around
the area can easily sense and even sometimes hear the changes in electro
magnetic fields, encounter the pressure, the sense of closing in, closing
down. This is now very noticeable during periods of meditation or inner
quiet. The battle rages here, as everywhere. Light and chemical ethers
snatched by gravity become electro-magnetic. Matter has a tendency to turn
to dust, but the Elementals dance merrily in the Christed etheric and starry
forces of levity, and so are jokers, pranksters. The human being is tasked
know this, to be active participant, solver of riddles, at home in paradox,
not idle bystander or silent outcast.
Algernon Blackwood, Homeless Soul, son of a wealthy aristocratic family,
related to almost every duke and earl in Britain, who owned no possessions
other than what would fit in two cases and never owned a home, walked this
hill very often, broadcasting readings of his Tales of the Supernatural and
Unknown over the radio weekly. He would have known and certainly loved these
very Entish Oaks, each one an eccentric individual, as oddball as those
lonely souls who now wander among them, and would have delighted in the
etheric purity and life of the hill in those less polluted times. I think of
him often as I glide beneath the trees....
A tiny Blue Flower looked intelligently up at me from where it grew
close against the ground, Speedwell, the traveler's friend, with the
enigmatic Smile of the Universe on its glowing face. The smile went with me,
and I exchanged it later with one who walked uncertain, wounded, a Passer By
whom the world would call mad but we call brother.
That is a fine face that suffers there.
That is a life honed bright and keen by pain,
Spellbound the sleeping soul
Stirs in the castle of his bounden body
While the Spirit tears threadbare
The ribbons of his life
Adorning with mystery its road to freedom.