Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Mysterious St Expedite






I live in Glastonbury. It’s a place full of traditions concerning saints and historical figures whose details can be considered downright dubious if not entirely false. Joseph of Arimathea and King Arthur are the prime examples. We can add saints Patrick, Bridget, and Benignus. There is something about the atmosphere surrounding these people here that is nonetheless compelling and beautiful. An attitude of devotion seems to bear fruit. 

Coming from such a background has probably helped me to appreciate the profoundly mysterious Saint Expedite, revered as a great worker of miracles concerning money and luck, despite all manner of problems in establishing his historical credentials.

We have a modest biographical story that is not entirely dissimilar to that of a number of other saints. Expedite was a Roman soldier from Armenia, who made the decision to convert to Christianity. The Devil appeared to him either in the form of a crow or a snake and tried to persuade him to wait until the following day to finalise his decision. Expedite slew the animal immediately, affirming that he would be a Christian that very day. This part of his story is depicted in standard images of him where he has one foot standing on the dying crow holding a ribbon in its beak with the word Cras written on it, which means tomorrow, and has the Latin word Hodie, meaning today,  written on a cross he is holding up. Expedite is thereby connected with procrastination-busting and fast solutions to problems. In 303AD, during the time of a persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian, Expedite was one of the victims of a mass beheading. April 19th is honoured as the date of this. 

The source material for his story is minimal. The fifth century Martyrology of Jerome lists saints and martyrs with the dates of their feast days. That this source contains difficulties is obvious in the case of Expedite who is listed for two consecutive days, April 18th and 19th, suggesting that the compiler was a tad slipshod. He has no official relics. It’s difficult to find traces of devotion to him until recent times. Back in the sixties, the Second Vatican Council included him among a number of saints whose status was revoked. Nonetheless, his devotion in some parts of the world has not just persisted but intensified.

His very name is problematical. The details of the development of his devotion are full of punning and word play that don’t seem suggestive of historical veracity. A great example of the peculiarities involved in dealing with him can be found in a number of essentially identical stories found in France, Brazil, Haiti, and New Orleans. A crate containing the bones of a saint is delivered to a religious community with a word such as Spedito written on it. This suggests its delivery was marked as urgent but the recipients take it to refer to the name of the saint as no other documentation indicates the identity. 

His greatest popularity is probably in New Orleans, where he has been considered to be a kind of patron saint of the city. A variant of the crate story supposedly dating from around 1900 has Spanish priests ordering a statue of the Virgin Mary and two crates being received. The second contained a statue of a male dressed as a Roman soldier and was simply labelled Espedito. Another version extends back a century and features French nuns. In both versions the statue becomes venerated and attracts increasing attention due to apparent rapid answering of prayers. This rapidity is clearly connected with the name Expedite. There are many cases where the attributes of saints, the kind of things one might prayer to them for, are developed from their names due to the paucity of information about them. These are the kinds of figures who might endure in folk traditions.

New Orleans is a legendary cultural mix. The veneration of saints crosses over from Catholicism into Voodoo and Hoodoo. Devotion blends with magic. Expedite is petitioned more on certain days. He is associated with colours of candles and so on. There is a particular way of arranging an altar when a request is being made. Novenas and general prayers accompany this. He has become best known not just for procrastination busting but for rapid solutions that usually involve money to otherwise intractable life problems. There is a protocol for thanking him when it is felt he has intervened. Flowers are offered. Cakes. He is publicly saluted. In the modern age of social media that might involve a Facebook or Twitter post. 

Veneration of St Expedite in such a manner could not persist without the innumerable accounts  of those feeling that they have had definite results from their prayers.

This post itself fulfills a promise made to Saint Expedite. 

I am indebted to The Conjurer’s Guide to St Expedite by Denise M Alvarado for a wealth of obscure information and details on how to approach the saint. 




Glory be to St Expedite.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Star of Ishtar Video Presentation








Here is a video of my first public presentation of 2017 for Glastonbury Positive Living Group


I'm currently writing a book entitled Atargatis. This is a major project, tacking a wide subject range, that attempts to do justice to one of the great adventures of my life. Long-term readers of this blog might recall the summary of the story I have republished here that was originally written in 1993.




The book includes an important section concerning how, in 1992, in the midst of a Babylonian past-life saga and the energy blast of initiation into Reiki and Osho Sannyas, I experienced a coming together of all my interests in time and synchronicity into a system of knowledge based on the eightfold wheel of the year that gave me a glimpse of a higher-dimensional form in which the mystery of my true identity resides, the 'Star of Ishtar'. This is a presentation of that material, full of typical tales, expanding on ideas from previous lectures, which contains many actionable takeaways potentially of use to anyone.



Brean Down as seen from the pier at Weston-super-Mare Dec 2016.



Thanks to Chillfilms  for the recording.





Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Gurus and the Second World War video presentation.





Here is a video of my presentation for the Glastonbury Positive Living Group in September.

Although complete in itself it does sit well alongside my earlier lecture on Dion Fortune and the Occult Battle of Britain.

Primarily focused on Meher Baba, it also includes material on Narayan Maharaj, Sri Aurobindo, and the Mother.

The important second half tells personal stories of my father's experiences in India and Burma and how a mysterious destiny was gradually revealed. With this, the story opens out to contemplate the spiritual connections between Britain and India.

Thanks to  Chillfilms for the recording and to Samia and Dave of  Glastonbury Positive Living Group

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

New Book. The Michael Line, the Qabalah and the Tarot.






Having been booked to appear at the upcoming Avalon Tarot Conference to give a presentation of my classic material on the Michael Line, the Qabalah and the Tarot, a wild idea occurred to me. Could I get a book together on the subject and manifest it in time? This was on August 11th. The conference is on September 10th/11th. A month. I had to check with printer as to when they would need the work if I wanted it in time. I also needed my graphics man, the redoubtable Bernard Chandler, to be available. It turned out he was soon to go on a family holiday. I was scheduled to be working 8 hour shifts in a warehouse in the coming week. It was crazy. 

I brought together some material from my other books and some magazine articles and wrote quite a bit of new stuff. In terms of what I did, the project was completed in 7 days that included 2 where I worked 8 hours in the warehouse. This provided a surreal contrast to the ten years it took me to write Avalonian Aeon.

From the back cover.


The Michael Line,

the Qabalah & the Tarot

is a unique adventure that brings together
the Earth Mysteries, Psychic Questing, magic, art, creativity,
 history, and mythology,
 in a powerful blend that presents
 a transformative way of approaching a sacred landscape.

Includes
The Archangel Michael and his Age.
The Paths of the Dragon.
A Maltwood Mystery and the Sun and the Serpent.

The Green Stone and the Lights of Knowledge.
Ancient Egyptians in Britain. A Qabalistic path.

Albion Rising: the 1991 Michael Line Rally.
Landscape tarot and artefact retrieval.

1997. General Election Cycles of Time.
Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune.

2011. Royal Wedding Cross of St George.
Seven Barrows and the Belinus Line.


Featuring
Graham Phillips, Dion Fortune, Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller,
Rudolf Steiner, John Michell, Aleister Crowley, William Blake,
Andrew Collins, Katharine Maltwood.

80 pages. £9.99



Monday, 5 September 2016

Avalon Tarot Conference






There's a great tarot conference in Glastonbury this coming weekend.

I'm giving one of my best presentations, The Michael Line, the Qabalah and the Tarot, on the Sunday.

I will be in splendid company. Do come along if you can.



Michael Line Temperance card. Artwork Yuri Leitch.



Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Glastonbury Romance 2003: the Daemonic Genius of John Cowper Powys Video





Here is a 40 min lecture I gave to the Powys Society Conference in August 2010, not long after Avalonian Aeon was published.

Thanks to Raymond Cox of the Powys Society for permission to reproduce.

Why did it take me over ten years to write Avalonian Aeon?  There are good answers here. I always knew that the book would feature John Cowper Powys in a big way as I wanted to convey the extent of his influence and inspiration upon me. It seemed likely that I would need to re-read his thousand-page epic novel A Glastonbury Romance again. I actually ended up reading it 3 times in a 12 month period. This seems absurd but quite remarkable events occurred during that time which seem inseparable from my readings of the novel. These events were powerful and disturbing. I make my case for the artist as magician and Powys as one of the great magi of Glastonbury in that he communicated something vital about the place that none of the other luminaries of his time, Dion Fortune and Frederick Bligh Bond for example, managed to do.

So here is a complementary telling of my story of Abraxas in the Abbey also told in my Crowley and Jung lecture and the story of a terrible murder.

The contents of this lecture have since been published in my Glastonbury Psychogeography.




Saturday, 18 June 2016

Babalon Working video lecture




I'm very pleased to finally be able to post a video of a lecture I gave at the March 2015 Glastonbury Occult Conference.

The Babalon Working is an enduring interest of mine for many reasons, primarily the amazing cast of characters involved. This lecture brings together material in my book Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus and includes quite a lot of my unique take on the controversial role of L Ron Hubbard in the proceedings. Being as I'm fairly unusual in occultist writers in not having a default hate position on LRH, I feel that has enabled me to see a few interesting things others might have missed.