At different times of my life I have been under spell of various periods of history, literature or art – but always associated with one particular place. In my twenties it was Paris and its times of greatness: the era of Modigliani, then the literary period of the 1920s with cafes and Hemingway, then the 1950s with Sartre and Beauvoir and more cafes. That was nothing new to me. But in mid-2005 I fell under a different spell, one less literary value and more of historical value. I began questioning and refitting the concept of spirituality while investigating the early centuries of the Common Era, finding in ancient sources alternative descriptions of that great drama of early Christianity which has so influenced our collective perceptions of sexuality, spirituality and life in general.
I submerged myself in the alternative interpretations of these stories written by ‘heretics’ – those heroic figures of spiritual rebellion against dogma and control. Throughout this time in my life I gave (or at least tried to give) priority to researching these topics; I wrote and published works about them, gave public talks around Australia on the theme for various organisations such as the Sofia Network, the Carl Jung Societies, Theosophical Societies, as well as in ashrams.
I also went through an intense spiritual journey myself with my own spiritual teacher: I saw his teachings grow, then witnessed him go through a struggle of his own. I chose to stay close to him out of gratitude for what I had learned from him: a new perspective on life and the tools that no earthly school can give us.
My writing changed as well. I danced a strange dance between literary, scholarly and spiritual worlds. I learned how divided these worlds were: the literary did not want anything spiritual, the spiritual did not want to look at the hidden, ‘darker’ parts of our psyche, and the scholarly gave me the research skills and financial support to pursue it all. I persisted, not out of determination but out of the sheer force of inner passion. I was on fire and was not going to be quiet about it.
As you can see, I am not a very ‘strategic’ person. I move from passion to passion and let them lead me into strange places with an inquisitiveness and intensity that drove those around me slightly dizzy. I guess this was required for the two books I wrote at the time. I was playing the spiritual detective, asking: ‘What is going on?‘, ‘What is hidden from us?’, ‘Where is the place for sexuality in our lives?’ and ‘What have these once-banned or secret spiritual traditions had to say on the topic?’ If this sounds intense, well it was.
So here I am at what feels like the end of that journey, closing one door and opening another – not certain what I will find.
I will start with a long walk on the beach.