Cologero has drawn attention to the Path of Flowers as the way of the ancestors; during my time at the “Spengler Forum”, D. Goldman remarked that Novalis had something of an obsession with the Blue Flower.
I came back to this remark after hearing Gornahoor’s explication of the Path of Flowers (here is a Yoruba inspired effort): might not Novalis have instinctively reached for the Blue Flower to indicate to himself the path he was choosing? He was certainly of a mystical turn. What about doing something more practical, for those who are asking?
For those more interested in concrete ways to do such things (and there have been complaints in the past for “action”), one might for instance try treating human spiritual imbalance with Bach Flower Remedies. This may be “New Age” territory, but it doesn’t belong to the New Age crowd, anymore than Jesus hanging on the cross belongs primarily to Jesus Freaks or Zionist evangelicals. On a personal note, I can tell you (having made my own) that pine oil and daisy essence both affected my spirituality in a positive manner; go experiment. Strangely enough, I read Cologero’s post on the flower path about the same time I had started noticing & thinking about those crosses on the highway ditches – marking the graves of victims of the automobile (this essay is worth reading for those unconvinced that we aren’t fetishistic about our technology). Coincidence? Only if you believe in it.
I would like to connect this with the medieval world through Bede’s story of Saint Dryghthelm, who used to bathe in ice water to bring to mind the memory of his “nightmare”, in which he foresaw spiritual states to come. There is no shame for someone who finds that he or she is called (for now) to follow the ancestral path rather than the path of the gods. If this is suitable for their soul, the rest (including graduation in the gymnasium of the Universe to higher grades) will follow. Origen and Clement of Alexandria taught that the world was a vale of soul-making (as did John Keats), in which the soul was exercised for virtue as in a gymnasium. This exercise was preparation for “higher grades”. Since I can’t personally say I have graduated, I can only follow the teachings of those who are farther along, and who decree that the Law bids us follow the path set before us now. This is the justification for larger-scale religion, if it is done properly and with a God-fearing spirit. Those who carry their rebellion against God over into other traditions by leaving Christianity in a huff will find what they seek – the Anti-Christ. For those who “branch out” or deepen their own tradition, and strive to relentlessly self-examine themselves first of all, these other traditions will only add to what they already possess.
Seek & you will find. This is the message of esoteric Christianity, coupled with an insistence that the seeker predispose themselves through metaphysical Love, as Tomberg advises in Meditations. Julian Lee has remarks along these lines: if your heart is pure, the world becomes peopled with saints and heroes and old magic become new again. Fasting, prayer, meditation…not very popular these days. But simple and easy to practice, producing rapid results if done in the proper frame of spiritual mindfulness. It doesn’t take much to get “God” to notice. And what one learns “there” one carries back into the world when the fast is over. I don’t fast for long periods, but even short ones are helpful. One day, maybe I’ll accomplish a very long fast; like most Westerners who inhabit our spiritual desert, I’ll probably have to “work up to it“.
We close with another excerpt from von Humboldt:
You ask me what I mean by ideas when I say that they are the only permanent thing in man and that they alone deserve one’s lifetime attention. The question is not easily answered, but I shall try to make myself plain. Ideas are first of all opposed to ephemeral external things and to the sensations, desires, and passions directly referring to them. Everything which aims at selfish intent and momentary pleasure fights ideas by its very nature and can never be transformed into them. But many higher and nobler things as well, such as doing good, providing for one’s family, all sorts of other actions, deserving thought they be, are not to be counted as ideas. They many occupy a person whose life rests on ideas, but only insofar as they are something he does; other than this they do not concern him. They could of course themselves be founded on an idea, and in an idea-oriented and organized person they always are. This idea would be the one of universal good will, accompanied by a feeling that the lack of good will is a disharmony or an obstacle which makes it impossible to join the order of higher, more perfect spirits, the benevolent sense which infuses all nature. Such actions may also spring from a feeling of duty; and duty, if it originates in a pure feeling of “ought” without the least consideration for preference of divine reward, is one of the loftiest of ideas. One must also separate from ideas what is mere knowledge of the intellect and of the memory. This may lead to ideas but does not itself deserve the name. You can begin to see now that “idea” aims at something infinite, at an ultimate relatedness, at something which would still enrich the soul if it were free of all earthbound connections. All great and essential truths are ideas in this sense. But there are very many things which cannot wholly be grasped or measured by thoughts and which nonetheless are true. This is where the artist’s creative imagination enters the picture. For this faculty has the gift of representing the sensuous and the finite – physical beauty for example, even aside from beauty of countenance and its soulful expression – in such a way that it seems to pertain to the infinite. Art, including poetry, is therefore a means of transforming much into ideas that originally and in itself could not be placed there. Even truth, though it lies primarily in the realm of thought, needs such an addition in order to reach its consummation. Thus far we have looked at ideas from the point of view of their objective content; we may also describe them in accordance with the psychological mood they call for. Just as, measured by their objective content, they are an ultimate relatedness, so they demand, in order to be grasped, a wholeness of psychological attunement, i.e., a united effectiveness on the part of all psychic capacities. Thought and feeling must unite intimately and since feeling, even if its object is the soul itself, always carries something of materiality, it is only the artist’s creative imagination which is capable of effecting feeling’s union with thought as without this intervention thought objects to the admixture of materiality. Whoever has no sense for art, or no genuine feeling for music or poetry, will find it very difficult to grasp an idea and feel its intrinsic substance. Such a difference between people is founded in their original psychic constitutions. Education avails nothing here. It may add something, but it cannot create what isn’t there, and there are hundreds of artistically and technically knowing and trained people who plainly demonstrate with every word they say that their natural receptivity towards ideas doesn’t exist – which is to say, they lack everything that is needed. The great value of ideas is primarily recognized in this way: man leaves behind him everything when he departs this earth, everything, that is, which does not belong wholly, exclusively, and independently to his soul disconnected from all earthly relationships. But that is just what his ideas are, nothing else besides his ideas, and that is their genuine mark. Whatever doesn’t have the right to occupy the soul during those moments when it of necessity renounces all earthly things, cannot be counted as ideas, either. But to reach that moment, enriched by purified ideas, is a beautiful aim and end, worthy of our hearts and souls. In this connection, and for this reason, I called ideas the only permanent things because nothing else can grow when earth itself vanishes…of friendship, this should be quite clear…what I call love is something totally different (from friendship). It appears in life but once; it does not delude, and it is never deluded. It rests totally and utterly upon ideas.”