Olivia Robertson - The Call of Isis Ten
The Call of Isis
10. Mixing the Elements.
The most extraordinary case of divided consciousness that I encountered was that concerning Rudolph. He did not come to me for therapy, but rather to investigate reincarnation. But he had been in hospital many times, and our sessions came to include healing. His symptoms included a feeling of strangulation: especially when meeting important clients in his work: and an inability to leave the area in London in which he lived. If he went further afield, he told me, he had a sensation of horrible tension which made him run out of a restaurant or office. This stultifying trouble had continued for ten years, and no medical treatment had done any good.
Then one evening's work gave us a possible cause. That afternoon, before setting off for Rudolph's flat, I listened to the first act of 'Tannhäuser' on my transistor. I enjoyed the scenes where the hero disported himself with Venus and her followers in the medieval setting of the Venusberg. In fact I was disappointed at having to miss the next act, which I knew took place in the Hall of the Knights. I had seen the opera as a schoolgirl, and remembered the Ruler of the Kingdom had a niece called Elizabeth, a virtuous female who later became a nun. As a girl I had loved the disgraceful behaviour of Tannhäuser ... when the troubadours had sung respectable songs about love, 'Victorian' in tone, Tannhäuser had seized a lute and, having begun quietly, broke into the infamous strains of The Hymn of Venus! The scene was hazy in my mind, though I knew the music well. The whole company of knights drew their swords: and the ladies had fled from the hall, and I knew that the opera concerned itself with Tannhäuser's long pilgrimage and penitence. It is important to realise that this opera was in my mind during the afternoon, but not on my hours' journey to Rudolph's flat. Anyway, I had only heard the first act, I had forgotten it by the time I arrived, and did not mention it to him.
We began with my usual prayer to God that we might be given any vision that would be of interest and use. And now came a long and strange story from Rudolph, that gripped my attention so much that I had difficulty in remembering to take notes.
As he lay on his bed, in semi-trance state, still conscious, he described himself as standing in a medieval courtyard. It was not well kept, and had chickens pecking about, He felt his clothes were uncomfortable ... then he found that he was wearing armour! I gathered that he had been out on some foray. Now Rudolph showed signs of uneasiness. When asked what was troubling him, he said it was the presence of a lady, who was standing in a comer of the courtyard by the castle. This lady wore a high white pointed head-dress and a gown of red and yellow. He said she wanted to marry him.
He longed to escape. There was a grassy bank by the river outside the courtyard, and he avoided the lady and went there. At this point Rudolph was silent for a long time, and I felt that he was unable to enter more deeply into the scene. To involve him further, I suggested that he should look at his own reflection in the water.
'I can't see me;' he said at length. 'I am seeing somebody else. It's a boy. Some sort of peasant.'
The boy had yellow curly hair, he said, and rosy cheeks. He was averse to saying more about this boy. Instead, he described himself returning to the courtyard, and making his way into the hall.
Now I had the curious feeling that I was somewhere familiar. For Rudolph said that the knights and the ladies were here. Surely I was not being given the second act of Tannhäuser, which I had regretted missing on my transistor?
Rudolph did not like the knights nor the ladies. They were, he said, stuck-up. But clearly he wished to be accepted by them. Then he described the throne at the far end of the room. It was an empty throne, and above it was a rather shabby red canopy. At the back was the emblem of a Black Eagle. The castle and courtyard all sounded homely and medieval. Perhaps in those days chickens did peck around among armoured men in courtyards.
Then Rudolph began laughing. He said that the company were making game of a monkey that was playing around in the centre of the room. I was not particularly amused at this: but Rudolph was now totally immersed in his medieval role, and laughed in a jovial way at the little monkey. I supposed they would also have made mock of a dwarf or a hunchback.
Then Rudolph began showing signs of extreme tension. He said he was suffering a terrible feeling of strain that was going to break. I wondered what to do - whether to bring him back from trance, or let him live through the adventure.
Then he cried out loud: 'I have done it! They are backing away from me. I shouted out: 'I love the boy'.
Was this the climax? Could he now return? But Rudolph, so far from feeling better at this outburst, seemed to be in still worse mental state. He could not return from trance in this condition. Finally I asked him: 'What is happening?'
He said: 'The Lady has had her revenge. She informed on us to the King. The soldiers took the boy away in a wooden cage ... They burnt him as a witch.'
This seemed horrible enough. But still Rudolph had more to undergo. I waited: then again asked him what was happening. He seemed to be suffering acutely. He replied; 'I hanged myself.'
When I brought Rudolph back, we discussed the experience. I told him of the correlation with 'Tannhäuser'; but he did not accept this suggestion that he had tapped my subconscious mind. He said that the whole story was symbolic and confirmed entirely his own theory regarding the elements of consciousness. The Lady in red and yellow, he said, with her white pointed head-dress, represented the air-fire elements of mind and will. So also did the court, the throne and the Black Eagle. The monkey was a symbol for the suffering beast that is man. As for water and grass and yellow haired boy, these all, he said, represented the elements of water and earth. The climax of the story illustrated the total suppression of the emotions by the intellect and will.
But this did not entirely satisfy me. Could there be any reincarnation link? When I returned home, I had another look at the Tannhäuser legend. I made up my own theory. Perhaps there really had been a princely ruler whose emblem was a Black Eagle. He may have had the anything but pleasant niece or daughter, whose jealousy led to her lover's death. What had Tannhäuser been doing, anyway?
I remembered that the boy had been burnt for being a witch. The Venusberg, in this case, could have been a pagan site in a cavern, up some rocky mountain in Middle Europe. Tannhäuser and others, then, were in a coven that gathered in that remote place. They practised old fertility rites as had their ancestors, and so mingled with the peasantry. It had been the custom, I had read, for men and women to exchange clothes. I could well imagine the fury of the pious Lady on discovering this. Why did she act as she did? Obviously the aim was to kill the boy, not her lover. But the lover committed suicide. In grief - like the heroine in the Wagner opera, she took the veil, and spent the rest of her life praying for her lover's soul.
In this story one doubt remained. I could not quite see this particular 'Tannhäuser' hanging him self for the sake of the boy. He had not the depth of feeling. Then I remembered reading that 'the devil' used to hang witches with a rope in their cells, to save his votaries from the stake: but in reality the local squire or some such important person could have been implicated in witchcraft. So what really happened was that the witch who had been imprisoned was strangled by a coven member, before he could implicate his fellows while under torture.
Somehow I didn't particularly like the feel of the Princely Ruler with his black eagle. Perhaps he was high-priest, up there in the Venusberg, and had worn the mask of the Horned God. To avert scandal, Tannhäuser, as well as the boy, had to be sacrificed. And, in my romantic version, Rudolph had been a reincarnation of the unfortunate knight. I wondered would he ever meet the lady who betrayed him, and take an inexplicable dislike to her.
One of the interesting facts that struck me during these sessions, thirteen in all, was the development of 'Vril' in accordance with Rudolph's state of mind. I began each session with contact healing. Rudolph's head and throat centres were totally unawakened. But he responded strongly to healing in his lower centres. Here, I reflected, was the reverse of the Anglican Priest, the Priest's head had been psychically developed: but his body had been slowly atrophying. This man on the other hand was alive up to his waist; but not vital in head and throat. And each man's character and beliefs corresponded to the state of their etheric centres. The priest had died from paralysis. Rudolph, burning with an inner fire, might get another sort of sickness: heart disease - something like that. The Priest had followed the right-hand path of the mind: Rudolph, the left-hand path of the subconscious.
Corresponding with his psychic vision of the Castle of the Knights, Rudolph during our sessions began to awaken in his throat centre. This came about through my giving direct contact power through the throat and to the head. Then, while he was in semi-trance, I asked him to feel this Power flow in a healthy way, according to his needs. On the evening that the Power was raised from the base of his spine to break the barrier at waist and throat, Rudolph had a vision of the sea. He was lying by the shore. He saw a vision of Aphrodite. As this happened - he felt Power like a spray of water loosen tension in his neck. Then the flow entered his head. I noticed that the heart centre was not as yet responding.
I thought that there might be some chord in the 'Vril' octave of the etheric body. One line of power seemed to stem from the base of the spine, work itself to the solar plexus, from there to throat. This chord seemed to me to affect men particularly, giving strength to legs and back and neck. The other chord in the etheric body appeared to run from the sex centre to the heart, and from there to 'the Third Eye'. This chord appeared to be the gentler minor key for woman, giving power to bear children, and brought compassionate feelings, and the soft luminous eye of the dreamer. But both chords finalized themselves in unity at the top of the head. Or, as some say, just above the head, focus of Spirit.
So Rudolph was activated by a masculine chord, He had, anyway, a very strong, almost over-developed solar plexus and neck. His further advancement, then, could be to develop his 'feminine' chord of feeling and vision.
But this further evolution of one's unrealized potential, I guessed, usually came from outside. As I thought about Rudolph, I remembered that his visions used to end with a gold wedding ring. This was his unrealised desire. But where was the lady?
The Lady of his medieval visions I saw in my mind's eye as a nun-like creature: tall, with slanting pale grey eyes and long pale lips - an aristocratic German type, like a Cranach painting. In that case she would be the exact opposite of the rubicond portly Rudolph. And how he hated her! Amused, I thought that suggested a possible polarity. When people express a violent hate against someone, it frequently means that they are secretly attracted by 'the enemy', and are bent on suppressing the fact.
For a moment I speculated on the Boy as polarity. No. He was too much like Rudolph. The two of them were like naughty children, refusing to use their brains. Besides, Rudolph rather despised the boy, and would be likely to bully him. He had a hankering to be part of the court and of the Order of Knights.
Anyway, whatever the interpretation of Rudolph's experience, whether psychological, symbolical, or occult, it proved good. When I returned to Ireland, I received a cheerful letter from him, which I still have. He said that since our sessions he never had any symptoms of strangulation. Not only that, he was now able to go where he liked, and was no longer restricted to a small area around his flat. So his pilgrim's staff had flowered. He was ready now to meet the lady if he wished it.
So the uniting of the elements of consciousness within oneself led to uniting with someone outside oneself. This fitted in with my experience as amateur palmist. I had never met anyone who did not, when I read their palms, demand their Beloved! I remember being asked to read the palm of a silvery-haired lady whom I thought well past any such dreams. But she was indignant when I said I could not see a marriage! And if some turn aside from the loves of men, they' embrace rather the immortal love of a God. They choose the spiritual rather than the physical form of polarity. For the spiritual far exceeds the physical in beauty. For here all the centres are activated, and link with the divine network itself,
So I hoped that Rudolph might meet his Lady when the time was ripe. Before that time they might well meet - and hate each other.
I came to the conclusion, then, that contact healing and the uniting of the elements of fire and water, heart and head, led to the inter-linking of the separated human consciousness with all other humans, and finally with all nature. Each heart must then be linked with all other hearts; and this was not a sentimental platitude but actuality. And so all minds were linked with all other minds. But one should be protected from too great a flow of feeling and thoughts for others. One was surely guarded by one's individual will and choice. For who would wish to lose his own mind and feelings in an unindividual cosmic soup?
Once, in the wilderness beyond the yew walk, I saw the heart of a tree. I saw it with my eyes open, and watched it for some time. The tree was one of a circle of conifers that formed a natural outside temple. This was the focal tree in the East. Its heart was about four feet from the ground. In colour it was crimson and, curiously enough, 'heart-shaped'. It was surrounded by a ring of gold light like a halo.
I was pleased and honoured at seeing this. It was only later that I realized that I was able to observe this heart, because my own had been in resonance. So it is with us all. What we like intuitively turns out to be true and real. And this encourages us to continue on our quest.
Back to The Call of Isis
Text presented on this site as it appears in the 1975 edition.