Friday, July 3, 2015


On June 5th, 2009, I attended an 11:11 Activation Ceremony at a local healing center named "Eagle's Nest" in Sungai Penchala Village. It was a difficult spot to locate but scenic enough once I arrived. There were some really sweet folks already gathered there and it promised to be a memorable occasion.

The ceremony proceeded smoothly enough, though the energy was rather low-key throughout. For me the best part was an extended late night supper with three funky women afterwards.

A few days later, to my utmost surprise, both my legs began breaking out in boils. This was something I hadn't experienced in decades. I couldn't figure out what was happening in my body. Where was all this poison coming from?

It so happened that around this time my second daughter paid me one of her rare visits with an empath and energetic healer named Sandra Sweetman in tow. Sandra is extremely sensitive to magnetic fields and in the course of our conversation mentioned that she had recently been to the Eagle's Nest and felt troubled by what she experienced there. She said it was like the scene of a violent murder - the whole place was unsettled and rife with murky frequencies.

I couldn't say for sure that the toxins in my bloodstream erupting as boils on my legs came from the Eagle's Nest. But I had been walking around barefoot part of the time and might have absorbed some of the unwholesome exhalations from the earth. Nevertheless, I was aware that the area was charged with very primitive magic going pretty far back in time. There must have been a large enclave of bomohs (Malay witch-doctors) residing in Sungai Penchala within the last hundred years or so.

It was also clear that ruthless "development" over the last few decades had all but wiped out the original forest, including a thriving Orang Asli community in Bukit Lanjan, leaving tiny patches of green here and there. Perhaps the small hill upon which the Eagle's Nest had been built was the final refuge of all the nature spirits that had been rudely evicted from their forest home by a massive invasion of chainsaws and bulldozers?

A close friend who had been at the June 5th ceremony complained of acute lethargy and went for a medical check-up. It was discovered that she was suffering from severe bacterial infection and required a massive dose of antibiotics. She later had a session with clairvoyant healers who described her condition as a case of vampire attack. Apparently, her body was infested with astral parasites which had to be pulled out like ticks.

The clairvoyants were assisted by a shaman named Ishtar who told my friend he once lived in Sungai Penchala and on one of his walks around the area had noticed a disturbance in the magnetic field. On closer investigation he realized it was a dimensional crack through which many astral and elemental entities were emerging into the physical world. He immediately sealed the portal the best he could - but it appears to have been reopened since.

I tell this anecdote as an example of what happens when humans resort to primitive forms of sorcery to attain petty objectives, e.g., gaining political influence, securing the affections of a desired lover, or attracting heaps of money.

The entire Malay Archipelago is rife with ancient magic and mysterious phenomena. To attain and retain political power in their own countries, many have relied on occult help from professional mystics-for-hire. President Sukarno, for instance, was known to have consulted an old magician who lived in the Elephant Caves of Bali. Even Mahathir, a medical doctor by qualification, was widely rumored to be in possession of a powerful family toyol (gremlin) who did his bidding and protected him from psychic attacks.

By now it's common knowledge that Rosmah Mansor, the crime minister's larger-than-life wife, is particularly fond of magical talismans and charms and that she herself possesses a measure of witchy powers.

On 7 September 2008 I posted a story on my blog with the following commentary:

Oh dear, what is this country coming to? On the eve of the Permatang Pauh by-election, Malaysia Today featured a statutory declaration by one Thangarajoo a/l Thangavelu, former chauffeur of Datuk Kenneth Eswaran, close personal friend of DPM Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, attesting that he had "on numerous occasions" driven a Hindu mystic named "Mr Ji" to the residence of Najib and Rosmah for the purpose of conducting Hindu prayer rituals "to ward off evil." Swamiji's magic is clearly potent, which might explain why neither Najib nor Rosmah has been subpoenaed to testify at the Altantuya murder trial, despite glaring evidence linking both to the crime.

As Raja Petra Kamarudin rightly pointed out, if what Mr Thangarajoo stated is true, it would totally invalidate Najib's widely publicized attempt to declare his innocence and non-involvement in the macabre Altantuya murder by swearing on the Koran before a mosque audience that he had "never met that Mongolian woman."

One cannot claim to be a bona fide Muslim and believe in Hindu ritual magic at the same time.

In any case, I must report that ever since the Permatang Pauh by-election which saw Anwar Ibrahim winning massively to become Parliamentary Opposition Leader, the psychic atmosphere in this country has become progressively denser and murkier. The astral gunk became even thicker towards the end of 2008 when Najib's ascension to power came under severe attack on all fronts.

Shortly before Najib took over as prime minister from Abdullah Badawi in April 2009, it was reported in the press that security personnel had stumbled on a mysterious object with Jawi letters written all over it hidden under the PM's chair. What does that mean? As to be expected, there was no follow-up to these reports.

However, I couldn't help but notice that petty squabbles soon began erupting from within the ranks of the Pakatan Rakyat - and every time there was a minor misunderstanding between PKR, DAP or PAS officials, the BN-controlled media would magnify it a hundred times, thereby creating the illusion that the Pakatan Rakyat was on the verge of disintegrating.

Even as spiritual leader of PAS Tok Guru Nik Aziz's health deteriorated, his deputy Abdul Hadi Awang began to push his personal agenda of elbowing out the progressives (who unanimously endorsed Anwar Ibrahim's candidacy as PM-in-waiting) and strengthening his own power base among the rural constituents by renewing the Hudud agenda. Shortly after Nik Aziz died, Hadi Awang's true colors were exposed; he threw out all the progressive leaders in PAS and went all out on Hudud  (with Umno's apparent support). This inevitably led to the break-up of the promising opposition coalition called Pakatan Rakyat - the only hope Malaysians had of booting out the utterly corrupt and reactionary Barisan Nazional.

In the last few years the situation has further deteriorated with the onset of the annual smog caused by oil palm plantations (mostly owned by Malaysian tycoons and their cronies in Umno/BN). I myself have had to make a conscious effort to maintain my emotional equilibrium against a strong tendency towards general irritability, alternating with bouts of despair as I see the forces of darkness and injustice regain ground within the national psyche.

Abu Kassim Mohamed, present MACC chief 
The fact that ever since the obscene Perak power grab people have mostly given up on the Malay rulers as bastions of justice and wisdom doesn't help either. Look around and you will notice that every public institution has been corrupted beyond redemption: first on the list, of course, would be the Polis Di Raja Malaysia, closely followed by the gestapo-like Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Judiciary (especially the so-called higher courts), and even the Malaysian Medical Council whose director-general, Ismail Merican, has shamelessly revealed himself as a political pawn of the ruling party, particularly over the controversial Saiful and Kugan cases.

Things came to a head in mid-July 2009 with the grotesque death-in-custody of Teoh Beng Hock, a fresh-faced young political secretary with the Democratic Action Party, who was hauled in for "questioning" by the MACC - and never left their premises alive. The inquest is ongoing, albeit at snail's pace.

Police Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar
One can easily conclude that the entire nation is now being mismanaged by black magic, just as Haiti was with the entry of the Duvalier family - or Uganda under Idi Amin and Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe.

What can we do to neutralize this extreme negativity?

The most effective method would be to pay close attention to our own personal integrity. Rid your hard drive of corrupted and useless files; uninstall programs you never use; and clear your computer system of any spyware that might have embedded itself in your root directory. In short, cleanse yourself of useless fears, prejudices, and antiquated beliefs.

If you fall ill, look upon it as the body's way of cleansing itself of toxins. I allowed the sores on my legs to run their course in order to rid my body of all the bacteria that had infiltrated my defences. I chose to view it as a special service I was performing for the residents of Eagle's Nest, helping them clear the space for healing.

Awaken the shamanic potential in yourself. Each of us is endowed with a certain amount of psychic sensitivity and the ability to heal ourselves. Now more than ever, these natural gifts are urgently needed - if we are to free ourselves and our beloved land of malignant and vicious parasites that have fattened themselves off our vital energy for generations.

[Originally posted on this blog 13 August 2009; reposted 19 August 2014 & again because of its specific relevance to the present situation]

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Notes from an exhibition of Orang Asli wood sculptures I co-curated in 2000

Introduction to Animism

“A myth is a projection of an aspect of a culture’s soul. In its complex but revealing symbolism, a myth is to a culture what a dream is to an individual.” ~ David Adams Leeming, A Dictionary of Creation Myths (1994)

Perumal by Jah Hut artist Hassan
What is animism all about? What exactly does a pagan believe? Animism derives from anima, the Greek word for soul. Orang Asli believe that the world was created when Universal Spirit – the One Primordial Soul (Tuhan) – split into many souls. These lesser souls or spirits began to explore different dimensional possibilities, each identifying a unique form to inhabit and, in the process, devolving from the subtle (halus) to the dense (kasar). Human beings (manusia) operate midway between these extremes – acting as conscious or unconscious intermediaries between the Seen and Unseen Realms, between the material and spiritual domains.

The animist views the landscape as the manifestation of Universal Spirit. However, certain forms – whether mineral, vegetable, tree, animal, bird, fish, river, or rock – are more aware of their spiritual pedigree and are thus considered sacred (keramat). Whilst others, turning their figurative backs on their divine source, constitute the malefic and ruffianly ranks of predatory ghosts, imps, and vampires (hantu, jin, langsuir).

Ebrahil by Jah Hut artist Mat Idris
Because the animist perspective is essentially multidimensional and holistic, time is experienced more as a spiral than as a linear progression. Unlike the modern outlook, there is no assumption that the new is inherently superior to the old, that the future is somehow more valuable than the past. To be called “primitive” is therefore quite meaningless to the Orang Asli, even though the obtuse offensiveness of such a label may be acutely felt – especially when they live in close proximity to other communities that have wholeheartedly embraced consumerism and all its attendant foibles.

Indeed, many Orang Asli elders are inclined towards the opinion that modern man has fallen from grace; that we now find ourselves collectively living in a paradise lost. Our remote ancestors, they say, lived in a far richer reality, with access to a much wider range of the electromagnetic spectrum. There are legends that speak of the spiral stairway between heaven and earth being shut down by the gods to stop humans from infecting other worlds with pestilential greed and ruthless ambition.

As with many other cosmologies – for instance the Mayan and the Hindu – the indigenous cultures view our much-vaunted Age of Reason and Scientific Materialism as a long, spooky trip through the Galactic Night (Kali yuga or the Nine Hells) before our re-emergence into a New Evolutionary Dawn wherein humanity shall once again live in cooperative harmony with Nature.

Jah Hut artistry on display

Orang Asli society, while mostly egalitarian, recognizes hierarchical status according to an individual’s mastery of knowledge (ilmu) – be it esoteric or exoteric. Traditionally the tribal chief (batin) was also a shaman who guided the community’s inner life; but in recent days the choice of a batin largely depends on the candidate’s ability to read and write and effectively function as an intermediary between community and state.

In animist cultures the shaman (bomoh, dukun, pawang) is a master of many arts, and all art derives from magical ritual. Ceremonial songs, weavings, dances, carvings and masks were originally a means to link up with the spirit realms – not ornaments for barter or sale in the market.

But aesthetic or magical values are not necessarily destroyed by commercial considerations. Almost all art today is influenced to a degree by economic factors. The test of good art is that it transcends the monetary value attached to it. That it retains the innocence and spontaneity of a creative act inspired by the unschooled imagination.

Good art stimulates not only the external senses but also the remembrance of other lives and other worlds. Good art reconnects us with our indigenous roots, our primeval selves. It feeds our yearning for the mysterious and the numinous.

ASLI ~ An Exhibition of Wood Sculptures from the Anthony Ratos Collection @ Galeri Petronas, April-May 2000

Curator’s Statement

“Indigenous art is essentially governed by religious beliefs and ceremonial rituals. For inspiration, the artist looks to his surroundings. His creation is not purely aesthetic. It is a greater expression of the living social reality in which he resides. Gods, spirits, landscapes, natural phenomena, animals, and even fellow human beings provide him with the material to invoke a world where the mundane meets the mystical, where the simple meets the complex. It is a world where art and artist merge as one.” ~ Anthony Ratos, The Orang Asli of Malaya (1999)

Mah Meri artist on Carey Island
ASLI brings to you a rich collection of wood carvings produced by members of the Jah Hut and Mah Meri tribes in response to the active encouragement of Anthony Ratos, former art teacher and deputy director of the Orang Asli Affairs, and a well-known promoter of their cultural traditions.

For Anthony Ratos, an initial encounter with Orang Asli at the tender age of 12 led to a lifelong love affair with these simple, fascinating, jungle folk. 

Indeed, the term “Orang Asli” was first used in 1952 by Ratos, in a thesis he wrote while at Kirkby Teachers’ College in Liverpool. As a teacher in Maxwell Secondary School, Kuala Lumpur, Mr Ratos coordinated a two-year field study of Orang Asli culture by the senior students, which yielded a book and an exhibition.

In 1958, while seconded to the Pahang Orang Asli Affairs Department, Anthony Ratos saw Batin Hitam, headman of the Jah Hut tribe, carving a wooden doll from pulai wood to replace his 5-year-old daughter’s broken plastic plaything. Batin Hitam was using a crude rattan-cutting knife with such obvious skill that Mr Ratos decided to provide him with proper carving tools and a commission to depict the tribal pantheon in wood. This, according to Anthony Ratos, was the genesis of the Jah Hut wood carving tradition.

In the course of his visits to the Mah Meri settlement on Carey Island, Mr Ratos persuaded a few villagers to try their hand at wood sculpture. The results were astounding. Within a year enough carvings had been produced by the Jah Hut and Mah Meri to merit an exhibition of 82 pieces at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. This was followed by a second exhibition two years later. Since then Jah Hut and Mah Meri wood carvings have been exhibited in Germany, Australia, and India.

Mr Ratos himself is an avid collector of these spirit-charged wood sculptures and masks, and over the decades he has acquired nearly 600 exquisite examples of Orang Asli artistry.

The Anthony Ratos collection of Jah Hut and Mah Meri wood carvings is truly a national heritage of immeasurable worth. As we enter a new millennium, it is fitting that this unique artistic, cultural, and anthropological treasure be shared with the widest possible audience.

Exhibition Curator

The Anthony Ratos Collection

Who is Anthony Ratos?

Datuk Anthony Ratos
The son of a silent movie musician from Bombay who migrated to Kuala Lumpur, Anthony Ratos was born in Bukit Nanas on November 2nd, 1932. During the war years (1942-1945) young Ratos enjoyed fishing in the Gombak River to supplement the family’s meager diet. This was where he first met the Orang Asli, who gladly shared with him their fishing and foraging secrets.

In 1952, as a trainee teacher at Kirkby College, U.K., Anthony Ratos chose to write his thesis on the aboriginal peoples of Malaya. He described them as “Orang Asli” (original people). This was subsequently adopted as the generic term for all indigenous tribes in Peninsular Malaysia. His interest in and personal involvement with the Orang Asli did not end there. As an art teacher at Maxwell Secondary School, Kuala Lumpur, Ratos coordinated a two-year student project which yielded a book and a special exhibition on Orang Asli culture.

Genesis of a Wood Carving Tradition

A Jah Hut elder
From 1958 to 1963 Ratos served as deputy commissioner of Orang Asli Affairs in Pahang, where he discovered the latent wood carving skills of a few members of the Jah Hut tribe. Before long Ratos was encouraging members of the Mah Meri tribe on Carey Island to experiment with wood carving tools. The results were astonishing. And little wonder, as both tribes are said to originate from the Celebes Islands where totem-carving is an ancient tradition. The Mah Meri wood carving and ritual styles are, in fact, very similar to that of the Balinese.

Anthony Ratos kept buying finished wood sculptures from the Jah Hut. He offered his early collection for an exhibition at the National Art Gallery in 1960, followed by another two years later which showcased a few Mah Meri sculptures and masks. This is how the modern tradition of wood carving began among the Jah Hut and Mah Meri tribes.

Meanwhile, Ratos had become a successful entrepreneur, pioneering the latex glove industry in Malaysia and helping to establish a thriving medical franchise. A man of wide and varied interests, Anthony Ratos also collects peafowl and artifacts from little-known cultures. Over the decades he has written numerous newspaper articles and books on his lifelong love affair with the Orang Asli. Indeed, many of his weekends are still spent visiting Orang Asli friends in remote areas in his Frontera 4X4.

Mah Meri master wood carver
The Anthony Ratos Collection Seeks a Permanent Home

Today the Anthony Ratos collection of Jah Hut and Mah Meri sculptures and masks is worth literally millions. But its true worth as an artistic, cultural and anthropological legacy is immeasurable. 

Mr Ratos has indicated his desire to hand the entire collection to any institution that can guarantee future generations the opportunity to be acquainted with these superb examples of Orang Asli artistry and provide a decent, permanent home for them.

NOTE: One would think the National Art Gallery would be delighted to inherit the Anthony Ratos collection. The reality on the ground is disturbing indeed. Our cultural bureaucrats are extremely timid when it comes to embracing Orang Asli culture, mainly because it is rooted in what they consider paganism (which isn’t part of “Malay culture” in their books).

The next best solution, one would think, would be the new Orang Asli Museum (reportedly constructed at a staggering cost of RM33 million and officially opened in June 2000) located miles from the city center in Gombak, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. On closer look, however, it soon becomes evident that the ones entrusted with the responsibility of documenting and preserving Orang Asli culture are, in fact, embarrassed by and often antagonistic to it. Which may explain why the museum is almost inaccessible to the casual visitor, located as it is in an area where public transport is scarce.

Sophisticated "primitivism"
In private conversation, Anthony Ratos expressed to me that he did not trust the Orang Asli Affairs Department (renamed Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli or JAKOA in 2010) because it is now run by bureaucrats with absolutely no interest in or passion for all things Orang Asli. Indeed, the fact the agency was renamed the Orang Asli Development Department suggests that the Malaysian government would like the Orang Asli to assimilate into mainstream Malay culture, thus strengthening the Malays’ claim to indigenousness.

Colin Nicholas, director of the Center for Orang Asli Concerns, once remarked to me that JAKOA shows scant interest in educating the Orang Asli about their own traditions. The fact that a librarian assigned to the Orang Asli museum (ironically renamed Museum JAKOA in 2013) was a school dropout who never studied beyond Primary Six vividly illustrates their cavalier attitude towards Orang Asli affairs.

A British tourist expresses disappointment
[Most of the photos were taken from Google Images. If you happen to know the photographers, kindly leave a comment here & I shall duly include credits. First posted 5 May 2014]

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Around midnight we were cruising down Imbi Road, headed for my usual tea stall.

The roti pan was still sizzling but empty and the small heap of unsold nasi lemak indicated that we had arrived ahead of the late night movie crowd.

“What will you have?” I positioned myself where I could keep an eye on the street life. The man came over with a damp rag to wipe the tea rings off our table.

“Boss, teh tarik dua, kurang manis.” I ordered two teas with sweet milk, pulled to aerate and cool the steaming brew.

I looked at her, probing to see if she felt comfortable here. She smiled, then leaned forward solemnly: “You know, I really enjoy talking to you.”

Our drinks arrived. I grinned and ritually raised my glass to her. “Cheers! The best conversations are held over tea.”

“I’m bored to death with my job,” she said. “The other girls are quite friendly, really. But they’re strictly lunchtime, you know what I mean? The guys there are corporate jerks. Well, most of them. David’s okay, he comes over to my desk every day and chats. He’s the only one who’s relaxed, who can be himself...”

“It’s the same everywhere,” I offered.

“Well, my pay will be reviewed next month, if I am confirmed. Another three months and I’ll have saved enough to move into my own place. God, I can hardly wait! No more explanations and excuses, no more nagging. Mother will probably turn on dad and drive him up the wall. Oh, I just wish working life wasn’t such a pain.”

“Look at it this way, you could have been born a Rohingya.” (My latest all-purpose consolation.) “Besides, you’re not exactly dumb. You’d do well in any job. Anyway, even geniuses have to put up with occasional employment. Take my situation, for instance.”

She giggled. “That’s another thing I like about you... you’re modest!" Her tone was teasing but I could tell she was sympathetic towards self-styled aristocrats-in-exile.

"One thing I know... you can't become a genius if you succumb to boredom," I added with a wink.

“My, my... I guess I don’t qualify as a genius yet. I felt bored, even more so, when I wasn’t working.”

“Maybe boredom’s not such a bad state. Billions of civilians find comfort and security in it. People like complaining, that’s all.”

“Oh well, if you’re going to be bored you might as well get paid for it!” She finished her tea with a flourish.

A few yards away on the kerb, two painted ladies were waiting for a taxi. Pointing with my chin, I remarked: “Look, there’s two people on their way to work who probably couldn’t agree with you more.”

“You’re terrible” She kicked me in the shin (but not too hard).

“More tea, madam?”

“Hmm.... okay.”

I decided to investigate the nasi lemak. “Want one?”

“No thanks. You know, it’s really ironic.”

“What? The nasi lemak?”

“No! I mean life. Life’s pretty ironic.”

I chuckled heartily. “That’s because so many people are still living in the Iron Age. Although, personally, I prefer to call it the Age of Irony.”

“Hey, I’m serious.”

“Sorry, carry on...”

For a few moments she absently watched me unwrap my packet of cold rice and I pinched myself mentally for having interrupted her so flippantly. “I’m listening,” I said.

“Well, take my parents. They’ve worked their butts off to be comfortable, so their kids could have all the advantages, you know. They’ve worked and worked and worked and now they’ve made so much money they don’t know what to do with it. They’re very generous with their children. I could ask them for anything and they’d give it to me. But there’s always a string attached, you know what I mean? That’s why I decided to get a job. The only reason I can find for working in a office is just so I can get away from my parents. Isn’t that ridiculous?”

“You’re lucky. Some people have to work to support their parents. At least, you can quit anytime you want and you won’t starve.”

“I know... but what bothers me is that I really don’t need a job. My family’s well off enough to support the next few generations in style and here I am, taking on a job just so that I can enjoy a little independence. Well, that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s what I’m working towards. I mean, sometimes I can’t help feeling guilty about depriving someone else of a job - someone who might really, really need the money. It’s no problem for me to get employed. My dad has all kinds of connections.”

I nodded sympathetically. “You know, this nasi isn’t bad at all. Sure you won’t try some?”

“Positive. Well?” She refused to let me off the hook. She insisted on some kind of response.

“Supposing you give up your job. Do you have any idea what you’d do with your time and energy?”

She rested her chin on the back of one hand and pondered my question with mock profundity. Then she broke into an impish smile: “Well, for a start, I’d sit around and read and think and dream and meditate until I become a genius. Then I’d write a book or an opera or make an amazing film or just go about inventing wonderful things. What do you think of that?”

“You want an honest opinion?”

“Of course!” she frowned.

“Now what’s a genius? I think the whole concept is vastly overrated. Do you know where the word 'genius' comes from?”

“Uh-uh. Pray, tell me.”

“Okay, since you asked. It comes from the Arabic word jinn, as in 'genie' - remember the story of Aladdin and his lamp? Right, the ancients were convinced that everyone has a Guardian Angel or Muse, some spirit guide or guides, that can bestow gifts of inspiration. See, even the word 'inspiration' contains the word 'spirit.' This belief is just as strong today. People still go into trances, speak in tongues, and they ask for all kinds of favors. Some actually try and bribe the spirits. I’m not kidding! They do - and sometimes they get results (but corruption breeds further corruption and they end up paying in full). Anyway, there’s a hidden teaching the in the Aladdin story. The magic is always waiting within the lamp, you only have to rub it and the genie appears to grant your wishes. Well, the lamp represents your mind. Rubbing, however is open to interpretation.”

“Mmmmmm... sounds like a good practice!”

“Indeed! Anytime you need some inspiration, sister - just come over and I’ll gladly give your lamp a rub.”

“ it habit forming?” she asked, feigning wide-eyed innocence,

I managed to maintain a serious expression. “Let’s just say there are good habits and bad habits. If you keep your lamp well rubbed - in other words, if you keep your channels open – you’ll receive a steady flow of inspiration and turn into a genius. As more people understand this simple trick, geniuses will become a dime a dozen.”

“Are you trying to tell me you don’t think being a genius really means very much?”

“Right. There’s a difference between getting inspired and actually putting it to some use. For example, you might suddenly get a flash, say, a really grand vision - but if you don’t have the energy or the skill to put it on paper and actualize it, the vision simply evaporates. Follow through is what they call it. And believe me, it’s just as important as inspiration. A lot of people find it easier to turn into village idiots or they just stay employed.”

“All right, I get the point. Deeds not words, or something like that. So how does one begin?”

There was a brief commotion at the next table: a fresh group of customers, shifting chairs noisily about on the uneven ground. And to punctuate the interruption, the hideous high-pitched whine of a toy bike hell-bent for Puchong or Salak South.

My answer was a grimace, by the time the din subsided at least 15 seconds had ticked by. I glanced at my watch and said: “Now, we could easily spend the next 10 minutes venting our displeasure at traffic noise in general and attention seeking hell-riders in particular... and work ourselves into a foul mood, saying somebody ought to do something about it... and, of course nobody will. Which means we suffer a 10-minute energy loss. Or we could spend the time discussing something pleasant and beneficial which would give us a 10-minute energy gain. What I’m trying to say is that it’s possible - in fact, I believe it’s necessary - for us to get into the habit of making conscious choices about how we use our time and energy, how we interpret and respond to environmental stimuli. For instance, you can finish your cup of tea and see nothing but tea leaves, and all you can say is 'Ugh!' But you can also choose to study the dregs and catch a glimpse of the future. Do you get what I mean?”

She peered cautiously over the rim of her empty glass and squinted moronically. “Yes.....yes.... I think I see it now!” she hissed. “The future will consist of .... more tea! No, I think I’m about ready to switch to coffee, how about you?”

“Excellent idea. Eh, boss... kopi dua!”

“Don’t complain. That’s what you mean, right?” she beamed at me like the brightest girl in the class.

“Right! But let me qualify that. Sometimes, rather than just complain to no one in particular, you can try and present it as feedback - and, when you feed information back into the system, it usually does some good because it can help increase awareness and coherence within the system.”

“Hey, don’t get technical on me!”

“Aren’t you in the IT department?"

"I'm still a trainee," she explained.

"Well, okay, but let me give you a little background to what we’re discussing. Not far from here, actually just a few yards behind you (no, don’t bother turning around, you won’t see anything), up in one of those shophouses, lives an extraordinary man I called the Wizened Metaphysician. His friends called him George and quite a few regard him as their guru.”

She couldn’t resist looking around, as though expecting George to materialize behind her. However, when she turned back towards me, our coffees were steaming on the table.

“Is he a real guru... do you know him personally?”

“Well, I’ve chatted with him a few times – and I’ve picked up some valuable ideas through him, so I guess he qualifies. But he doesn't have a white beard down to here or a fluorescent halo. His hair is getting somewhat silvery and sometimes I notice he looks a little more ... er, radiant than you’d expect to find in the average coffeeshop clientele. The most extraordinary thing about him is how ordinary his life appears. By day, he repairs video recorders, gets nagged by his wife, and enjoys freestyle discussions on metaphysics. He smokes a lot and washes it down with Chinese tea. I think he’s also a massage therapist and a renegade Jesuit. He seems to know an incredible range of philosophies from Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin to Gurdjieff and Tibetan tantra.”

“Good who? The first two I’ve heard of, but who’s Good Jeff?”

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
“Goorr-chi-eff, Gurdjieff. Can’t spell his name offhand. A Greek-Armenian born in Russia, I think...” (I began to realize the enormity of her question.) Who’s Gurdjieff? Er... let me think. Well... I believe he was engaged in the smuggling of Sufi notions across the borders of Western Paranoia. Something like that.”

“I see,” she sniffed. “Very enlightening.”

“Look, I don’t even know how to begin telling you about Gurdjieff. Labels don’t seem to stick on him. You could say he was a mystery man, a magus – a student of life and limb, as another friend of mine would describe him – a shamanistic metapsychologist (hmm I like the sound of that!). At any rate, Gurdjieff attracted a small but influential following of aristocrats and intellectuals interested in the esoteric. They spent a lot of time devising techniques and terminologies to enhance and understand awareness. Some people dismissed him as a trickster but I think his work will prove very important in the near future. He died in 1949.”

“Where on earth do you pick up all this weird information?”

“Huh? Oh, it’s just like mushrooms, I suppose.” (I smiled at a private joke.) “As soon as you show an interest in them, they simply pop up all over the place.”

“This Goody-Chef fellow sounds intriguing. Has he written any books or something?”

“Remind me to dig in my library for something about him. But I was telling you about George, our friendly neighborhood metaphysian.”

“Oh, yes. Please do carry on.”

I looked at her, grinning. “Yes, I do carry on, don’t I?”

“No, no, I’m not bored at all. Bum’s a bit sore, that’s all.”

“By the way, Gurdjieff’s first name also happens to be George - but so what, right? Well, it was George, our George, who transmitted this very useful attitude to me: why complain? That’s really stayed with me and helped me emerge from the primal pits countless times. Now, don’t think it’s at all easy. Like everything else, you’ll find there’s a sort of learning curve where it gets harder and harder till, finally, you master it - then suddenly life becomes fun again!”

“Hmm... ‘why complain?’ You think it works for everyone?”

“Anyone who’s complained so much he’s sick of hearing himself moan should give it a go. Of course, you need to apply the correct visualization when you use this formula. You have to put yourself in the position of the pauper prince - do you know the story by Mark Twain? You have to be inwardly secure and insufferably superior, totally above it all. Be an extraterrestrial on a secret mission, a messenger from God disguised as an ordinary taxpayer, whatever. Okay, so the going is getting rough but why complain? You lined up to buy the ticket, you went on the tour, you wanted excitement, adventure, a blast of raw reality, so here you are... on Planet Earth! Am I making sense?”

“You’re making me feel tired! Must we always be forging on, chin up and all that ... can’t we be allowed to just throw a tantrum once in a while? You must have been a headmaster in a past life!”

“Oh, dear... I was just getting to the good part. A little trick George taught me. How to get yourself recharged directly from the Sun and redistribute the healing energy to your environment... never mind, let’s save it for another day, okay? It must be the coffee.”

It was her turn to chuckle. “You’re not exactly romantic - but I like your intensity.”

“I know. I get so intense I tend to overload people’s circuits.”

“Well, right now my circuits aren’t the only thing that’s overloaded. My bladder’s ready to burst!”

I wagged my finger at the empty glasses on the table. “That’s what tea does to you! It’s a dangerous substance - I ‘m about to explode myself. Let’s pay up and rush back to my place. You can do it in the loo while I pee on a tree.”

She giggled and then winced. “Ouch” she said. “It hurts when I laugh!”

“Patience and fortitude!” I cried, directing my thoughts immediately to more pressing affairs.

26 March 1985

[With thanks to Margret Voon, who kindly retyped the yellowing photocopied original and sent it to me so I could dedicate this to her father's memory. First posted 31 July 2013]

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Question of 'Daulat' ~ and the Truth shall set you free! (repost)

M. Bakri Musa
M. Bakri Musa recently posted the first part of an in-depth review of a very significant book by Zaid Ibrahim which candidly and lucidly discusses the tradition of royalty (and the quasi-religious mystique surrounding it) vis-a-vis the Malaysian Constitution.

Zaid's book is titled Ampun Tuanku: A Brief Guide to Constitutional Government and it was published on 25 June 2012 under his own imprint, ZI Publications. Interestingly, the work is 256 pages long, coinciding with its launch date of 25th June. Is there a numerological significance here?

For a start, 2+5+6 = 13 and 13 symbolizes death and rebirth in the Tarot. The Mayan calendar favors the female 13-moon cycle (women menstruate 13 times a year). But before I get carried away on a tangent, let's quote a section of Bakri Musa's latest blogpost, pointedly headlined "The Sultans' Daulat is a Myth":

As a youngster in 1960 I had secured for myself a commanding view high atop a coconut tree to watch the funeral procession of the first King, Tuanku Abdul Rahman. My smug demonstration of my perched position drew the attention of the village elders below. They were none too pleased and immediately ordered me down. “Sultans have daulat,” they admonished, “you cannot be above them.” Apparently even dead sultans maintained their daulat. I did not dare challenge my elders as to what would happen once the king was buried; then we all would be above him.

To put things in perspective, this attribution of special or divine powers to rulers is not unique to Malay culture. The ancient Chinese Emperors too had their Tianming, Mandate from Heaven. That however, was not enough to protect them.

Zaid Ibrahim
Even though it has deep roots in Malay society, this daulat thing is a myth. The Japanese, despite their own “Sun Goddess” tradition, had no difficulty disabusing Malay rajas and their subjects of this myth. The surprise was not how quickly the sultans lost their power and prestige, or how quickly they adapted to their new plebeian status during the Japanese Occupation, rather how quickly the Malay masses accepted this new reality of their rajas being ordinary mortals sans daulat.

Only days before the Japanese landed, any Malay peasant who perchance made eye contact with his sultan, may Allah have mercy on him for the sultan certainly would not. When the Japanese took over, those rajas had to scramble with the other villagers for what few fish there were in the river and what scarce mushrooms they could scrape in the jungle. Nobody was bothered with or took heed of the daulat thing. So much for it being deeply entrenched in our culture!

To pursue my point, had the Malayan Union succeeded, our sultans today would have been all tanjak (ceremonial weapon) and desta (headgear); they would have as much status and power as the Sultan of Sulu. 

Across the Strait of Malacca, hitherto Malay sultans are now reduced to ordinary citizens. They and their society are none the worse for that.

[Read the rest here.]

Thinkers like Zaid Ibrahim and Bakri Musa represent the cutting edge of the evolving Malay psyche. Having broken free from the totem and taboo of their own upbringing - their cultural and social tempurungs, as it were - they are poised to articulate a rational, more enlightened perspective, thus showing the way forward for their less liberated compatriots.

In effect, Zaid's latest book - and Bakri Musa's learned commentary on it - are valiant attempts to demystify what has long been shrouded in quasi-religious or mystical ritualism, in effect, a residual form of superstitious awe surrounding the concept of royalty itself. They are among a handful of well-educated, clear-headed, eloquent writers who have done the unthinkable by sneaking a peek behind the stage curtains and exposing the elaborate machinery installed by wily wizards to reinforce a deeply entrenched tribal belief that God rules on earth through the ancient institution of monarchy.

For that is literally how monarchs came to be revered and even worshiped in every culture you find on earth. It begins with a visionary leader - it could be a wizard or warlord or both - proclaiming that God rules through him (or, more rarely, her). Over time, this sentiment is restated as "I rule on God's behalf." Fast-forward a few generations, and it is reduced to, simply: "I rule!"

In historical times, the ruler is often confronted with the frightening prospect of being assassinated (as in the case of Julius Caesar and many other emperors), in which event his successor (especially if young and inexperienced) is turned into a puppet king, controlled by grand viziers, senior courtiers and palace officials.

What Mahathir accomplished with his constitutional amendments of 1983 and 1993 was to effectively castrate the monarchy in Malaysia, making it essentially a ceremonial institution - purely symbolic and without political clout. To appease the Sultans, they were encouraged to engage in busyness and offered lucrative contracts which they could then farm out to professional contractors - in the process earning fat commissions to support their extravagant lifestyles. Every so often they would be put on public display as living symbols of national unity; but, over time, their roles were further reduced to "defenders of the faith" and, by extension, emblems of tribal supremacy.

In classifying the Sultans' daulat as "a myth," what Bakri implies is that their hereditary power is not grounded in reality - existing only as an idea in the popular mind. This again suggests that Zaid Ibrahim and Bakri Musa are contemporary thinkers well-versed in logical deduction, analysis, and empiricism. To such minds the word "myth" carries negative connotations: anything mythical, as such, bears greater resemblance to fiction rather than fact.

From the cosmomythological viewpoint, cold facts and bare figures serve only as a reference, as a navigational tool; they are no substitute for the multidimensional complexity of life itself, and the myriad stories that constitute the life of each nation.

It is akin to proclaiming that the divinity of Jesus is a myth. Those who have been raised in a religious tradition that deifies the personality of Jesus the Christ will, most likely, feel offended, if not threatened.

My own take on the question of royalty - in general terms, without limiting the discussion to the constitutional monarchy in Malaysia - is that it certainly helps to zoom out and view the advent of monarchism in a wider historical and mythological framework.

This doesn't take us very far back in time - at most six or seven thousand years. From the Sumerian creation epic Enuma Elish (meaning, literally, "when the gods walked the earth"), we learn that the first monarchs were actually the hybrid offspring of theogamous affairs between gods and human priestesses. Over time, even goddesses were tempted by the heady appeal of mortal flesh: the goddess Ninsun, consort of Lugalbanda, had a fling with an Adapa (a human high priest) named Kullab - and thus Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, was born two-thirds divine and one-third mortal.

But were the Sumerian gods and goddesses truly "divine"? Or were they, in fact, representatives of a more advanced civilization - one among many that had mastered interstellar space and non-linear time - and were embarked on the systematic colonization of remote life-supporting ecosystems?

Even so, what constitutes "divinity" remains unanswered. The word "divine" has its etymology in the Old French (12th century) word devin and perhaps the older Latin term divus - and its origins can be traced to the earlier Sanskrit (1700 BCE) deva (male) and devi (female) - meaning deity. However, in the Buddhist teachings, a deva is defined as "one of many different types of non-human beings who share the characteristics of being more powerful, longer-lived, and, in general, living more contentedly than the average human being."

Jesus and Krishna (courtesy of Arjuna Zbycho)

Most esoteric teachings hint at the distinct possibility that as humans evolve spiritually, they gain access to a vaster range of frequencies. As each soul attains self-mastery. it becomes reintegrated with multidimensional aspects of itself, ultimately attaining to Wholeness (or Holiness). Such Master Souls are said to occasionally volunteer their services in dense, benighted zones wherein they may be perceived as devas and devis offering inspiration and guidance from a safe distance - or else they may opt to physically incarnate as mortals, bravely and voluntarily taking on the trials and tribulations of fleshly existence.

As "heavenly emissaries" or avatars, it is only too easy to succumb to temporary amnesia and begin to get addicted to the euphoria of mass adulation. One doesn't need to incarnate as a god or goddess - even as a pop star or movie queen like Michael Jackson or Marilyn Monroe, the pressures of massive popularity and excessive fame can weigh heavily on the most evolved souls.

Arrogance and, ultimately, contempt for the Great Unwashed inevitably sets in - and even the best of intentions will not insulate us from spiritual entropy - turning dark from despair and succumbing to destructive tendencies. Hence the Fallen Angel metaphor which can be applied to anyone of noble birth who gets ensnared by the density and dimness of the manifest world, and becomes feral, turning predator instead of liberator, tormentor instead of mentor.

Tennyson's classic poem, The Lotos-Eaters, graphically describes a major occupational hazard of adventurism and the empire-building impulse. In Australia this phenomenon is known as "going troppo"... succumbing to the tropical heat and behaving erratically, even self-destructively. One easily gives in to spiritual lassitude and decadence - and this is more or less what happened to the remote descendants of the original Anunnaki bloodlines - those with claim to a bigger proportion of superhuman DNA, inherited from the Sky Gods.

Many of the royal houses in Malaysia (particularly those with Minangkabau roots) claim descent from Alexander the Great (whom they call Iskandar Zulkarnain). Who knows if this is true, but Alexander himself was the offspring of the Macedonian King Philip II and his fourth wife Olympias. His birth was preceded by omens, suggesting that his true father was Zeus, the supreme Olympian god.

My contention is simply this: enlightenment, illumination, nobility, divinity are words that describe software upgrades.

In the very early stages of planetary colonization, the extraterrestrial bloodlines took great pains to maintain genetic purity - and that's why incest was prescribed among those of exalted genealogy. Among ancient Egyptian royals, brother-sister marriages were common; and in more than one instance, mothers were known to marry their own sons, giving rise to the vulgar expression "motherfucker"). Only much later did incest become proscribed, when the "divine" gene pool got too diluted, resulting in too many deformities.

At some juncture, it became apparent that superior intellect and physical prowess were not transmitted exclusively through the chromosomes; that a powerful influence - for example, a new belief system or school of thought - could also replicate itself through empathetic resonance.

In effect, the genetic offspring of an aristocratic marriage will not always inherit the desired traits; often, especially among overly incestuous bloodlines, a dramatic degeneracy occurs. The child of a peasant, if exposed to uplifting influences - say, he or she hears an inspiring story retold by an itinerant troubadour at a tender age - can mutate unpredictably and lay claim to an entirely unexpected destiny, that of a cult hero, perhaps.

In other words, ideas are akin to free-floating cultural memes - and anyone who happens to be paying attention can download these ideas and experience a radical software upgrade. This is completely borne out by the paradigm-shifting discoveries of the late great mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot - who presented the world with fractal geometry, which in turn led to cutting-edge speculation about the holographic nature of all reality.

What this ultimately means is: the traditional notion of hierarchy is entirely illusory. No single entity can legitimately claim to be superior or inferior to any other entity. Each entity is simultaneously unique and universal - just as no two snowflakes or sets of fingerprints are identical.

Indeed, every single one of us is an integral component of the whole in an electromagnetic spectrum of infinite possibilities. The caste system, for instance, was unfairly favorable to an elite Brahmin priesthood - and it was purely in their own self-interest that they conspired to propagate this erroneous view of reality down the generations, effectively exploiting and enslaving billions.

Anyone can, as I did many years ago, stumble upon the realization that each of us has the sacred duty to reclaim our individual sovereignty, dignity, integrity, royalty and divinity. By so doing we attain to self-mastery - which means we regain control of our own destiny as autonomous, free entities in a beautifully and perfectly anarchic universe. (Anarchic actually means "free of judgment and external rules" because the word Archon refers to a judge or ruler).

The true Master is master only of himself or herself - not of other sovereign entities. When this definition of Master is reinstated within our everyday consciousness, the concept of Slavery will be limited to the domain of electrical engineering, wherein the master-slave configuration applies only to current regulation.

Bakri Musa concludes his essay with this bold declaration:

"In a democracy, daulat (sovereignty) resides with the people, not the rajas. Our constitution is clear on that point, as Zaid repeatedly reminds us. We must constantly defend this principle lest it be eroded."

I am in wholehearted agreement, even though we approach the subject from wildly different perspectives.



[First posted 30 August 2012. Reposted 29 November 2014]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989

Robert Graves
PRECISELY WHEN IT ALL STARTED is worth putting on the record. It was around 0320 hours Kuala Lumpur time, 10th November, 1989. In Berlin it would have been approximately 2020 hours, November 9th. Just about the time The Wall was being dismantled.

What happened to me and my friend Mary Maguire at that particular time could be called a transdimensional breakthrough. I know it sounds rather pompous,  considering how silly the entire exercise might appear to certain people.

What were we doing? Fooling around with a what? A ouija board. And who did you say contacted you? Robert Graves. Which Robert Graves? The famous poet, scholar and author? The man who wrote The White Goddess and I, Claudius and Claudius the God?

Ha ha, nice try.

Look, I'm not in the habit of attending seances, reading tea leaves, or playing with ouija boards. And until this thing happened I didn't even know who Robert Graves was. Nor had I read any of his books or poems, believe it or not.


Arthur Koestler
That's a perfectly understandable response. This is the Age of the Mighty Microchip. We don’t burn witches anymore. The Ghost In The Machine? Isn't that the name of a Police album? Well, it's also the title of an Arthur Koestler book I never got round to reading. But I always liked the image it conjured. As a young man I was greatly stimulated by Koestler. When he turned, in his later years, to parapsychological research I was pleased. Here was an intellect of undeniable probity and precision lending itself to serious investigation of the more mystical areas of metaphysics. It could only signal one thing: that the mind of contemporary man was undergoing a shift from the red end of the energy spectrum to the blue. In Koestler's own terms: from the Commissar back to the Yogi.

Events in Europe since November 1989 have borne out this spectrum shift. Witness the dramatic transfiguration of the sociopolitical status quo in what used to be called the Soviet bloc. For humanity as a whole, however, the blue-shift toward spiritual reintegration has not been progressing smoothly. The collective consciousness of most industrial nations remains stubbornly mired in the intellectual materialism that has engendered varying degrees of concealed totalitarianism. In far too many instances the primitive hostility and obscurantism which springs from Fear still rules the imaginations of influential men and women who rule the hearts and minds of entire populations.

Now you may ask: what has this to do with ouija boards and posthumous dialogues with famous poets?

I have long been convinced that all brutishness, greed, malice and deceit stem from assorted fears - and all fears ultimately arise from Fear of the Unknown. And the Ultimate Unknown is Death.

The “Godfearing" fear God's punishment: everlasting death. In view of this I have - like any civilized soul - assiduously practised the overcoming of my own thanatophobia. My fear of death, in other words.

But it is one thing to confront the evident inevitability of physical death on a purely conceptual level - and quite another to find yourself enjoying a cup of tea and a friendly chat with someone who allegedly expired several years ago. Anyone who has experienced something like this stands a good chance of acquiring fearlessness.

Let me try and explain how these transdimensional dialogues with "Robert Graves"* came about. When "Robert" broke through on the ouija board he seemed to have been drawn to the scene by Mary's presence. Before the session with the board Mary had been reclining on a couch. "Robert" mentioned that she had reminded him of someone he used to know, someone named Eddie: a pensive and languid lad of 19 who - heartbroken with jealousy - had drowned himself in a pond.

"Robert" also reported that he was attracted to my thought-field which he described as "friendly." After about an hour of conversing via the board (with astonishing fluency, I must add) I intuited that Mary and "Robert" were sufficiently attuned to one another's mental frequency for her to attempt direct channeling with pen and paper.

Robert Graves with his muse in Deya, Mallorca 
Mary had had no prior experience with the process called automatic writing (I personally prefer the term spontaneous writing) – but she took to it with remarkable ease. Looking over her shoulder as she worked, I was struck by her aura of secretarial efficiency. The erratic spelling and non-existent punctuation were all hers - but the substance and syntax were clearly emanating from a mysterious source. Whenever I wanted to comment on something or ask a question, I would verbalize it as if addressing a presence in the room. I also tried directing questions at "Robert" telepathically - but the results were unpredictable and inconsistent. Later, as I developed the ability to "channel" I found it unnecessary to vocalize my thoughts and questions.

My own initial attempts at channeling were a little "choppy" till I managed to relax completely and suspend all disbelief. The flow became smoother as I lost my self-consciousness and stopped wondering how much of it was "me." It's interesting to note that after "Robert" made the transition to an expanded frequency range I gradually took on Mary's role of "scribe"`and began to perform spontaneous writing exercises with greater regularity, to keep my neural pathways open.

Spontaneous writing is not unlike keeping a diary - but here the emphasis is on one's inner life. The act of opening the notebook and uncapping my pen seems to trigger a special circuit that plugs me into Inspiration at its source.

Perhaps it's a way of transmuting the contents of the sub- and superconscious into everyday Consciousness. In any case the process of letting "strange” signals flow through my brain and onto paper teaches me not to take the limits of my egoic existence too seriously.

I must include three other observations: (i) a degree of skill with translating thought into language definitely helps and both Mary and myself can lay claim to being writers of one species or another; (ii) both of us have dabbled in theater and might therefore be described as empathetic by temperament; (iii) during the first encounter with "Robert" we had both been psychically primed by a few cups of strong tea laced with the juice of psilocybin mushrooms.**

Our experience of euphoria and heightened awareness lasted several weeks beyond the initial contact with "Robert". I first began to feel the gravity of mundane reality again after witnessing newsreels of the carnage in Romania on Christmas Eve.

Robert Graves in his 50s
THE ABILITY TO CHANNEL is a faculty inherent in everyone, though certain types of individuals seem more predisposed to developing their sensitivity as mediums. Poets, composers, dancers, writers, sculptors, painters, and orators have traditionally acknowledged their personal daemons and muses. The same gift of inspiration has also manifested itself in the lives of many scientific geniuses. Scriptures have been revealed by similar process through the agency of individuals with specialized neural pathways. What's truly surprising, therefore, is that people seem to have grown so grossly unmindful of their spiritual links to all the other dimensions of being. If heightened awareness leads to greater awakeness then a huge percentage of the human race is fast asleep. Asleep to its own divine origin and destiny, to its own true potential.

So where the hell is it all coming from?

Bearing in mind that any working model of Reality can at best be considered a tool to help us attain some conscious mastery of our lives, let's examine the arcane teaching that Human Experience is essentially a 7-dimensional affair. And to simplify things let's call these dimensions "levels" - or frequency bands.

Lower frequencies generate greater apparent mass or solidity. So we may visualize the different levels as a series of "kingdoms" of ascending sublimity: mineral, vegetable, animal, elemental, mental, archangelic, deific. The "higher" levels incorporate and complement the "lower" and vice versa. Where does the human being fit in? It varies from one individual to another. The fully realized individual functions consciously on all seven levels. The vast majority of humans, however, appear to be enmeshed in the specific dramas of Levels 3, 4 and 5.

Level 3 is the physical plane, the animal being with its amazing sensory structures. What we call 3-dimensional reality, the tangible world.

Level 4 is the elemental (or astral) plane where the sense of space does not exist (or if it does, it's highly elastic): this is where we "go" in our dreams and in states of death or deep trance. Devas, demons, and disembodied souls abound on Level 4. Thought-forms of limited volition abide in this timeless Twilight Zone that could well be an aspect of Time itself.

The realm of pure thought - Level 5 - is where the Muses live. This is where the Intellect originates, where the Imagination becomes articulate. Five is the firmament of Mind where Ideas float like clouds.

It is the sacred grove where the Poet trysts with his Beloved and is consumed by Eternity. When Mary and I first met "Robert Graves" (a well-named ghost, I had quipped) the man had been disincarnate for nearly four years, earthtime. The Poet was one at last with his White Goddess and "Robert" had himself become a full-fledged Muse.

On Level 6 the ego-personality diffuses into the perfect principle of cosmic love, compassion, and healing light. Here the concept of gender is irrelevant. Six is rightly called the archangelic realm, for it is through archangelic action that the lower kingdoms are sustained. In the myth of Lucifer/Prometheus the Archangel/Titan is erroneously said to have "fallen from Grace"; in truth the Bringer of Light voluntarily forswears Godhood in order to rescue other sentient souls trapped in the lower realms.***

Similarly, the emotive force of the Christ initiation lies in the idea of a voluntary fall, crucifixion, resurrection and return to the Godhead which, for us, is the Absolute Reality of Level 7. In effect "where the hell it's all coming from" is wholly relative to what level of awareness we’re functioning at.

Robert Graves in his 60s
"ROBERT GRAVES" developed into a splendid transdimensional conundrum for us. Having introduced himself as Mary's platonic lover from her previous life he went on to become my spirit friend from Level 5 - and eventually established contact with me on a heroic, archetypal and mythic level - playing Zeus to my Cronos, Castor to my Pollux, Romulus to my Remus, and so forth. Finally "Robert" extended his being onto Levels 6 and 7 and was transformed into the voice of our own infinite potential.

Eventually we were faced with a difficult decision: whether to go public with the material or limit it to a manageable circle of friends. "Robert" himself at one point expressed his indifference as to the outcome of our sessions. He said he trusted us with the material. We toyed with the idea of publishing anonymously or under a pseudonym. But then why mystify what's already and always mysterious? Besides (I reminded myself) all names are ultimately meaningless. Nonetheless I've always found anonymous notes, phonecalls, tracts or reviews extremely annoying. So we see-sawed between doubt and decision for a while until one day it suddenly became very clear: the "Robert" contact had restored and reinforced my sense of purpose and given Mary a whole new perspective on her life (or rather, lives) Why couldn’t it do the same for others?

Encouraged by the open-minded interest shown by many of our friends and by the outstanding example of inspired sensitives like H.P. Blavatsky, Alice A. Bailey, Jane Roberts, Dorothy Maclean and David Spangler (to name but a few) Mary and I felt we simply had to do our bit for the Aquarian Dispensation. whereupon "Robert" waxed enthusiastic and gave us his unconditional blessings.

To Mikhail S. Gorbachev we owe a very special debt of gratitude for reminding us of the virtues of glasnost and the power we hold in our own hands for perestroika on a planetary scale.

Antares (Kit Leee)
Kuala Lumpur,
Easter Sunday, 1990


* Robert’s name occurs in quotes because there has thus far been no incontrovertible proof that we were in contact with the surviving intelligence of the late great poet. However, our subsequent research into Graves' life and work has only reinforced the feeling that it was him all right. In any case all names are ultimately unimportant except as a form of "station identification."

** I have myself eaten the hallucinogenic mushroom, psilocybe, a divine ambrosia in immemorial use among the Masatec Indians of Oaxaca Province, Mexico; heard the priestess invoke Tlaloc, the Mushroom-god, and seen transcendental visions. Thus I wholeheartedly agree with R. Gordon Wasson, the American discoverer of this ancient rite, that European ideas of heaven and hell may well have derived from similar mysteries. ~ Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, 1960

*** "The Manichaean tradition knows that the Holy Ghost is the transformed Lucifer and the dove is the transformed serpent; and that the Grail was once formed from the precious stone in the crown of Lucifer and was filled with the blood of Christ who redeems Lucifer himself." ~ Trevor Ravenscroft, The Cup of Destiny


by Robert Graves

To bring the dead to life
Is no great magic.
Few are wholly dead:
Blow on a dead man's embers
And a live flame will start.

Let his forgotten griefs be now,
And now his withered hopes;
Subdue your pen to his handwriting
Until it prove as natural
To sign his name as yours.

Limp as he limped,
Swear by the oaths he swore;
If he wore black, affect the same;
If he had gouty fingers,
Be yours gouty too.

Assemble tokens intimate of him -
A seal, a cloak, a pen:
Around these elements then build
A home familiar to
The greedy revenant.

So grant him life; but reckon
That the grave which housed him
May not be empty now:
You in his spotted garments
Shall yourself lie wrapped.