Day follows day, they follow each other, building into weeks and then months, stretching into the distance, marking my life into stages and processes, dalliances and dreams. Gradually a year has been constructed around my travels into the far away places that lie beyond the ancient brass bound door on the upper landing of The Hallway of Beginnings. A year has etched its colored stories into my mind, and molded my thoughts and eventually my life into shapes and colors that were not there before. Many things have died, crumbled and passed into history, whilst others have been born, some painfully with screams of anguish and terror, and others with the quick breath and rush of a beating heart that tastes the first cold water of the summer seas. The warm blow of the june breeze amuses the ash trees that stand beyond the hall windows and I sit in the soft grey dawn light and ponder on the stillness that I seek. I yearn for the still point, the solstice, when time stands still… I long to hang in that place where all things are suspended… to feel the cells in my body drift, without the pull of gravity, to find the balance, a clear note on a clear day, of purity, peace and perfection.

I rouse my self from the meanderings of my mind, and stand up from the old chair that supports me, and I walk slowly, silent as a padding cat on velvet paws, up the beautiful satin stairs, sliding into the secrets that lie behind the ancient wooden door.

Confronted with the calm green watered silks of the banner of the 4 of Swords, I immediately feel at peace, and I slip through the shards of glistening colour into a wide and empty landscape of rolling hills and endless steppe that reminds me of the ancient Mongol city of Karakorum. The green grass rolls away into the infinite distance, finally climbing the far mountains and embracing the clear sky. I stand alone in this vast space, and wonder who I could ever find here, it seems so empty and pure.

As if in answer to my thoughts, I see coming towards me a Shaolin monk, with long braided grey hair and dressed in a rather ornate robe. He approaches me with steady calm and a measured step, and as he comes to stand in front of me, I ask him what he is doing here, and what information I can seek at his feet. He tells me that he has come to tell me about the school that he presides over in the city of Xian, which is situated many days travel to the east of this place. He carefully describes it to me, making out some of his meanings with pebbles on the ground and pointing out the various features. He says that the school is built in the shape of a cross around a circular central courtyard, and had been built for the training of monks like himself. Each of the four arms of the school represents a different element, and as he relays the details and descriptions in his carefully modulated tones, I gradually become aware of the building before me, arising as if by magic, a dream within a dream, perhaps within a dream.

I stand in the central courtyard and I look into the East, and see a choir of children singing, and learning about the power of the voice, the weapon of the word, the creativity and cruelty of the sword. I look into the North and see a group of children carving and fashioning the most beautiful objects from clay, metal and stone… placing their intent within the objects, giving them beauty, form and power.

In the Western quarter, children learn the healing arts, the care of others, the strength of tenderness, the renewal of faith and the magical power of love.

The children in the south are showing a demonstration of martial arts, in a tight fighting formation of Tai Chi, expressing the energy and power of faith and spiritual purity that enables feats of inhuman capabilities in the face of opposition.

The teacher tells me that it is important to live a life that is balanced in all ways, and that only then could I see all points of view, otherwise I may never understand the difficulties that arose in my life, and that their true meaning may always evade me and remain hidden, because I may never fully grasped the meaning of the 4th element. He tells me carefully that out of the wisdom of the 4 came the stability of the 1, and that then true power can evolve.

With these words, the school melted away from my vision and I was once again on the barren green hillsides of Mongolia, and the Shaolin monk was already in the middle distance, well out of earshot, striding along purposefully towards a destination that only he could see.

I gaze peacefully out into the beautiful emptiness of the landscape before me, and gradually the colours water away from my vision, melding and drifting into silver, then charcoal then black and finally grey as I open my eyes again to see the pale early sunlight filtering through the high windows of the Hallway of Beginnings.


The Four of Swords

Truce

Jupiter in Libra

The Lord of Rest from Strife

20 to 30 Degrees of Libra