Baroness Warnock's Christmas Mess-age
- Britain rocked a little more crazily on its precarious perch at the very
edge of the Abyss this weekend when Baroness Warlock - sorry! Warnock - like
some fell-omened bird, felt moved to utter words of advice to the old and
She urged 'elderly and frail people' to consider 'emulating the wild
elephant' and go away and commit suicide in order not to be a 'financial
burden on their families or their country.' Although eighty years old
herself the Baroness (who is 'Britain's leading medical ethics expert' and a
Dame Commander of the British Empire !?!) does not feel obliged to set any
suicidal example, as she is far from being financially stressed, and is
still in reasonable health, so therefore cannot possibly constitute a
'burden'. Or so she believes. Others might take a different view.
So we now have direct financial equivalence with human worth. A set price
on the head of each human being. Old, poor and frail? Go and kill yourself.
Comfortably off but frail? Your family could better use the money you cost
to keep. Go and kill yourself. We don't need you. Worse, we can't afford
Pensions which have been paid for in contributions over a long working
lifetime have been plundered or proving virtually worthless. State pensions
keep the old at subsistence level. People are rendered poor who have lived
responsibly, even frugally. Now they are just too expensive to be encouraged
Hearing this with some amazement, I felt a deep concern for the many
elderly people who might also be hearing it and feeling their physical
dependence increased by being themselves assessed as worthless. So it was
heartened to hear, on a radio phone in, many people attempting to explain to
the Baroness, as if to a sub-human entity lacking any means of understanding
human feeling - that they actually not only dearly LOVED their parents and
grandparents, but held them in great respect as highly valued and important
More, that caring for another human being was not necessarily burdensome,
but could actually be a privilege and infinitely rewarding to all concerned.
My brother told me recently, with tears, that the final few years of my
Mother's life, when he cared for her devotedly through the very hard times
of her last illness were the richest if most painful years of his life.
But there is more to this. The generation principally addressed by
Warnock, her own, is the generation who lived through a World War. Our
parents. Perhaps our grandparents, depending upon how old we are. They
lived long enough to have cast their age intensified consciousness back upon
their biography, as one who makes a butterfly from a blob of paint on one
side of a piece of folded paper. When the paper is unfolded, a new shape,
something perhaps winged, something with recognizable symmetry, yet
asymmetrical enough for further growth can be born. Rich insights, deep
feelings, new links with the dead, all are drawn as threads, plucked here,
smoothed and straightened there, loosed, tightened, cut and spun in a
weaving of pictured memory that lives as it never did before, that is there
for us to share with them, if we value it. If we take the time.
And if we do, light may flow into the world that bore us, into events that
formed our own spiritual, mental, physical, national and familial
That generation, whose precious youth was carelessly spent for them in
ways far from their choosing, caught in the remorseless, Soratic crush of
collective world karma, who lived through the war as many are living
elsewhere in the world today in a newly spewed and sown Shocked Awe of
bombing that will have its own remembrance and reckoning in time to come,
that ageing generation is in the crucial process of soul harvesting, light
harvesting WW2. A slow, cud-chewing process that is thus facilitating a more
complete digesting after death. A vital service to us all.
Born in 1948, I did not realize - as children do not - how close the war
still was to our parents. Childhood is timeless and forever, and nothing
physical existed before it as far as we knew. Certainly our parents had no
existed prior to the all important advent of our own young lives. They were
there for us alone! We brought them into being. And they very rarely spoke
of the war. Only on Remembrance Sunday when we kept strict silence while my
Mother stood stony faced with an expression we never saw at other times and
could not understand, only then did we glimpse something of a pain that was
still fresh, an anguish private yet collective, tangled and enmeshed in the
whole Nation's nerves, the whole World's nerves, a pain that had numbed
My mother had been war-widowed, left with two young sons and my father was
her second husband, he having lost his first wife. They were, like most
people at the time, deeply emotionally scarred. My father's adored younger
brother had died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in horrendous
circumstance. My father declined to accept the medals he himself was
awarded, seeing them as mockery merely. He went for a drink instead.
My mother had lain buried for days when the hospital she was in was bombed,
lying next to the dismembered body of a friend. Most of the young people she
knew were killed, either in the bombing or, like her first husband, as
The war ended. They got on with life. Between the houses, there were gaps,
bombsites where we loved to play. My brother was once discovered banging
with a hammer at an unexploded bomb, trying to open it...... Our parents
had inner bombsites where we did not go. Even the sight of London, their
devastated capital City with familiar landmarks scarred or gone, was
traumatic to many. Think of the gap left by the Twin Towers.
Inkling Charles Williams had watched from the balcony of his Hampstead
flat the Blitzing of the docks in firestorms. He wrote -
'I said to myself, 'London is burning.' but produced no thrill, though there
was a sense of crisis, due however, I fear, to the knowledge that it would
make a good landmark for that night. Living in history is as inconvenient as
living in love'....... and, 'my poor, beloved City! St Brides, St Andrews,
and the Guildhall! O well......!'
The warming of such experiences awaited the passing of time, the leisure
and soul activity of age in many cases.
It was only in her final few years, in her eighties, that my Mother spoke
fully of these experiences to us, her children, described in vivid detail
the unrolling scroll of her life passing afresh before her brightening inner
eye as if it had happened to someone else and interested her. Sitting in
her comfortable chair, embowered as ever by banks of flowers brought in
loving homage by several generations of family members, she saw again the
heroism of those who had rescued her from the bombing, described the tiny,
fearless nursing sister who had carried Mother over her shoulder out of the
still crumbling masonry and dangerously unstable rubble. She spoke too, of
the young soldier husband she had loved so dearly and had lost, of his clear
blue eyes and strict honesty, of the screams of a neighbour whose three sons
had already been killed, screams that could not be stopped, when the
telegram came that told of the death of her fourth and last soldier son.
We saw for the first time our beloved father, dead now twenty years, on
the day when he first learned of his brother's death, running, running in a
frenzy of horror and madness, trying to outrun the nightmare, and as she
re-lived it, telling it quietly as a storyteller, we saw his face broken as
we had never seen it, shared his pain, bridged the years and loved him the
My Mother told these things not with the stony pain I remembered in her
from my childhood, not in her strong and characteristic dominion over fate
and circumstance we knew so well, but softly, ponderingly, as if she viewed
them clearly and objectively in her mind's eye, as if she visited what she
had sown and could reap and digest.
Always a very beautiful woman, tall, with a natural bearing and dignity,
age brought her a new gentleness and greater, blossoming love as she
gathered in these memories and laid them over the previous pattern of her
life so that we too could see and wonder at them.
Quite suddenly she had passed back beyond the wartime days, and we saw her
as a child born into grinding poverty and harsh, unrelenting heavy work, her
talents and fine soul qualities untended and unknown by her parents so that
she could not take up scholarships she won, or offers of higher education
made by others, and we saw that her own self creating path had been a good
one, that she had risen by her own efforts, fashioned herself in her own
Her life continued to be hard and unrelenting, but the Warrior Monk in her
far past stood her in good stead always. To the two boys of her first
marriage were added myself and my three siblings. She was mother of six.
My father's business failed and he took a low paid job as Keeper at
Hampstead Heath, wandering among his beloved trees and hiding away in his
keeper's hut with his books. Mother did shop work or cleaning, took in
ironing, and still was always there when we came home from school ready with
hot food, freshly baked cakes, made our clothes, tended the garden,
scrubbed, cleaned, taught us and bought us books - books that were cheap and
plentiful from the many shabby second hand bookshops that characterised
London in those days.
I can still see her in our kitchen, amid great piles of other people's
laundry, hot iron in hand, stopped for a moment in ecstasy to gesture as
Wagner played on the radio and she told me the story of the Ring, the
swooping Valkyrie. And remember how her long, beautiful fingers flashed over
sewing or peeling vegetables while she recited poetry to me, or stopped,
laden with shopping bags in the London street to point out a tiny green weed
between the paving stones and say in reverence, 'God was here.......'
In the first three years of life we know from Initiation Science that
mighty, powerful forces play into the human being, forces so gigantic that
the human body can not stand them for long. Forces that incarnated in the
Christ in the Three Years. Trinity forces, forces of The Way, the Truth and
the Life sculpt the human child and give it power to walk, speak and think,
and the ego consciousness that grasps the thread of memory.
Quote from 'The Human Life' by George and Gisela O'Neil'
'The same forces which once shaped our infancy, too powerful to work for
long within the physical, are ever present in the etheric realm, and
accessible to all who find their way to live therein.
In realms of moral fantasy, in Ego-activity free of the physical, man can
regain the awesome powers of infancy. And make true for himself the cryptic
words: Become again as a little child!' end quote
Of course few will do this. Not all will follow the reflective path of
memory tenaciously and consciously enough to harvest light. But all are
worthy of their allotted life! Even those elderly people robbed of their
cognitive powers by illness or more probably medication, sometimes escape
into body free states wherein they experience spiritual insights, bringing
them back in a strange mirroring of the old initiation of Temple Sleep,
confused, fragmented, sometimes terrifying as I have witnessed in old people
treated in hospital, yet still part of their own unique puzzle.
We need these elderly wandering Memory Minstrels to bring us songs and
stories of their past, the nexus womb that received our own lives, Past
become conscious Present. We need their juicy, burgeoning cherubic etheric
forces. Baroness Warnock, with her cold Banking background, her love of pomp
and ceremony, her long immersion in the freezing waters of Oxbridge
Establishment philosophy might find a magical warming draught of life in
their remembrances and stories of the 'nuisance' poor and old.
It is over a year since my difficult, wonderful, enigmatic Mother died and
I have come to know her better in that year of accompanying, wondering,
listening - and I would say with Rebecca West, when she wrote in her trilogy
'The Fountain Overflows' of sensing her mother after her death -
'My Mother was huge across the skies; the peaceful fields, the peaceful
waters were her footstool......'
The Noble Baroness-Dame of an Old Empire may even receive a visit from
some healing Dickensian ghosts....... After all, the Ghosts of Christmas
Past and Christmas Yet-to-Come brought Scrooge to Holy Christmas