Extract from an unpublished manuscript called 'SAROS!' By Harry Patel, carried in the Saros Summer 1997 Newsletter
The Dragon King is waiting,
The Dragon King is waiting,
The Dragon King is waiting in the silence and the dark.
He is patient and alone (so terribly alone),
seated on his mystic throne,
whilst the world misunderstands
his nature and his plans.
Extract from The Crimson Lattice
The more I studied that old yellowing manuscript called 'An Appointment with Knowledge' the more I became convinced that it was a key not just to my understanding of the Constructors but to the origins of Saros itself. I spent hours in the library at the Buxton Saros Centre copying it out by hand (photocopying was not allowed) and then returned home and at the first opportunity showed it to Jan. Jan studied it carefully then asked me if I understood what being 'awake' meant. This took me by surprise for it was a term used and worked on constantly in the first year of the Group. I talked about my attempts at awareness in daily life, of how we are asleep most of the time (that is simply reacting to situations in a programmed way) and the constant battle to keep conscious. But she seemed rather dissatisfied with this explanation.
"Let me ask you a question" she said. "What are you trying to awaken?" I had never really considered this at all and mumbled something about the 'Real Self'. She dismissed this out of hand as an immature will-o-the-wisp. She tapped the manuscript aggressively, "these people were trying to awaken Knowledge which is an utterly heroic thing to do, and perhaps they even succeeded."
"Please Jan, tell me about it," I asked.
"I don't know everything about it but I do know how two of them awoke Knowledge against all the odds by allowing their greatest weakness to become their greatest strength.
" Let me set the scene for you as far as I understand it. For three months six people lived in an isolated cottage on the Island of Anglesey in North Wales. You know that one of them was The Crystal Boy, whose identity you discovered. I want to tell you the role two others played in that game of power. These two were The Spider Woman Darkly and The October Prince and it was the great animosity between them, that in the end enabled the work of the six to be completed."
The telephone rang and while Jan talked I opened my copy of 'An Appointment with Knowledge'. In the first part, each of the six had stated their view of the Work, and I quote from the section by The October Prince.
"I see our problem as twofold. Firstly, although we know what we want to achieve, do we have sufficient wisdom to know the precise moments to act and the moments when there should be inaction. After all, a clever man knows what to say but a wise man knows when to say it. We are not interested in cleverness for its own sake, the world is full of clever people. Wisdom is about timing, but not timing in the sense of 'planning'. I believe that to evoke wisdom requires a particular kind of sensitivity and an alignment with the great God Necessity.
"Our second problem is power. Have we sufficient power to make our work effective? We are here because we know that individually we cannot generate enough, but trying to combine our power has its own problems. Do we have the discipline, trust and courage to be effective together?"
I next turned to the section by the Spider Woman Darkly which rambled on for some length. It was quite badly written, almost incoherent yet I could not deny its effect on me. I will quote a small section here-
"I get my Knowledge from the deepest darkest places. I go in and in and in until I unbind the bindings of the universe and there I find the ruthless truth that can never be contradicted. It purifies the gold and lets the dross fall away. My way is the way of sadness and certainty and I have no patience with fools."
Jan continued, "You must realize that these six people were special. Special because they each came from a different tradition of Knowledge. For example The Crystal Boy was a Sufi, The October Prince part of a western esoteric Order and The Spider Woman Darkly was trained in Buddhism. However, they had, one way or another seen that the future required a new reformulation of Knowledge and they were prepared to undergo the painful process of leaving aside the attachments they naturally had to their old ways of working. They called it 'murdering their babies'."
"What was it exactly they were trying to achieve?" I asked.
"By 'murdering their babies' and developing a new way in both theory and practice, an approach based on the needs of the time, they hoped that the creative power released would enable them to literally have an 'Appointment with Knowledge' which would, they felt, be the ultimate test of the value of their work.
"I know a little about the background of The spider Woman Darkly. She was raised, if raised is the right word, in the Gorbals district of Glasgow. The Gorbals at the time was without a doubt the toughest part of Britain. For example the standard weapon of the street gangs was a machete. By the age of seventeen she was living on the streets, a heroin addict and a prostitute. Eventually she drifted down to Hull, a seaport on the East coast of Yorkshire, where she serviced the seamen.
"One dreary night she accosted an old man, who said not a word but his gaze sliced her heart. It was a look of utter contempt and compassion.. He walked off but she followed him and camped outside his house. Something in her felt that this was her last chance; her last chance at what she did not understand. In the following weeks he tried to get rid of her. He was rude and abusive and eventually threatened her with the police, but she would not leave him alone. So he took her in. He was clever enough to see that it was not his job to break down her shell, but that her ruthlessness was her greatest strength and had to be properly strengthened rather than tempered. Five years later he died, and that was the last time she shed a tear."
"The October Prince was tall, dark and charismatic, he was well educated and came from an old English family. I know little else about his background. He claimed that he sought freedom above everything yet took on the most unyielding, refined and rigid discipline of all, that is the mastery of ritual through an organization called The Order of Sentinels."
"These two protagonists were quite aware of the importance of discipline and how their animosity must not interfere with the work at hand or it could ruin everything."
"Meanwhile, the work of the six proceeded well; the ground rules were laid which eventually coalesced into the six Saros rules of discipline. Each of them was an experienced meditation teacher and all forms of meditation known to them were meticulously examined and the results assessed. They enacted beautiful ceremonies, not for their own sake, but to discover the why and how of ritual. They wrote a whole series of teaching stories and much else, but most importantly and in embryonic form, a theoretical structure was formulated which they called 'The Ambrosia of the Mind'".
"But after the second month the work was not going well. The threads were not coming together, a certain creative spark was missing and the atmosphere was flat. They carefully examined the cause which was by then obvious to all of them. It was the antagonism between The October Prince and The Spider Woman Darkly, although the two of them had tried to keep their personal feelings towards one another separate from the task at hand. They knew that if they couldn't resolve the problem thereby allowing the necessary flow of power, they would have failed."
Something about the way Jan was telling me this story made me feel uncomfortable. She was agitated yet her eyes were bright and clear. On the one hand I believed every word of what she was saying and I wondered if she was The Spider Woman Darkly, but I dared not ask. On the other hand I felt that it was all made up for my benefit, some kind of lesson about my rocky relationship with Katerina, or my vain attempts at keeping 'awake'.
"Perhaps I'll finish the story for you another time," She said, but I knew there would be no other time, so I urged her to continue.
"The October Prince and the Spider Woman Darkly formed a plan, a final and perhaps desperate plan. In the past two months they had explored the surrounding area and were especially interested in the many Mesolithic sites found in Anglesey. One place had drawn their attention for it seemed to them that it was a place of power. They took two rucksacks full of provisions and equipment including a tent. When they arrived at the prehistoric stones, they set up the tent then chained themselves together; real chains, nothing symbolic. They decided that three days would be sufficient, and during those three days they would have to do everything together. The other members of the group locked the chains with a padlock and took away the key."
"I need not go into the physical unpleasantness of the situation, you can imagine that well enough. They tried to keep their bickering and arguments to a minimum nor did they allow their closeness and the inevitable and natural polarity to ground the power build-up in any kind of physical way (the six had clearly agreed at the beginning that they would remain absolutely celibate for the duration).
"The first day and a half was spent individually reviewing, as far as possible, every thought, feeling and memory they had which concerned each other without any kind of comment, criticism or opinion whatsoever. This had to be performed in reverse order, that is starting from the present time back until the first moment they met. Each memory was written down as a special mark on a piece of paper and then each piece burnt in a fire."
"For him it was a kind of joy as the chains of a whole level of unnecessary conditioning fell away. But to her the whole exercise was as distasteful as it was necessary. And when the last piece of paper was burnt, so her memory unwound further, reliving with the same objectivity her childhood in the slums of Glasgow, with all its brutality and betrayal."
"She howled out loud and The October Prince was very afraid."
"However the problem was not resolved, although The Spider Woman Darkly now knew but The October Prince did not. Yet there was now a peculiar kind of trust between them and The October Prince allowed himself to be taken to that darkest of dark places which was her realm and there she showed him the truth of the matter, which was that in essence they were utterly different creatures like two alien beasts, and that would always be so. But he also saw that they were both human, the sole uniting factor and as such could work together but only at that level. Yet at that level, their difference could unlock a vast potential of creative power, and that is what they were now able to do."
"To them it seemed obvious what needed to be done, although to us it may seem bizarre. They determined in the few weeks left to make a Pool of Knowledge. They bickered over the dimensions (about five foot in diameter) they argued over whether it should be filled with pure rainwater or from a tap (rainwater) they fought over where it should be located (just outside the prehistoric site) they quarreled about how to align the pool to the galactic centre and squabbled over the right method for digging a hole. It took them a fortnight but it was done and it was right."
"The pool gave the six the sustenance required to join up the strands of their new system. They knew the principles were right, because it seemed to be a thing of beauty."
Jan insisted that she knew no more of the matter, or how the pool was used. I asked her if The Spider Woman Darkly and The October Prince represented two of the three fundamental motivations according to Saros Philosophy, that is Light and Dark, or Affirming or Denying. She rolled up her eyes as if to say "How can you be so stupidly prosaic." I was very tired and it became clear that Jan was not prepared to talk any further, so I left.
Jan stared out of the window and dreamed.
It was dawn and six people were standing around a pool of dark water. They had been there all night and they were cold, but now the air smelled sweet and damp. There was silence and stillness except for two birds calling to each other and midges humming across the water. Nearby were some ancient stones, invisible at night but now like silent witnesses. Then the six saw a pillar descend from the Forever, through the pool, through the Earth through endless space back to Forever. The six felt like holy beings around a temple, and the pillar became a ladder and then a pillar again. In the pillar they saw a figure, a human figure covered in a grey cloak; a grey cloak but like the stars. The figure turned and looked and turned and then was gone.
Copyright 1996 Harry Patel