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WB Yeats: he first saw the fairies as a young child—they came down to him in a moonbeam; but when he tried to approach them they retreated away. It’s the same as my experience at the Rollright Stones, where the lights at the end of the field, like Christmas tree lights, vanished as I approached them. The fairies are shy like that—they like to live in the hedgerows; and, if you put on horns like a stag, they will appear to you (the bishops banned that a long time ago, because they are against fun).


Keith Woods has seen the fairies too, being an Irishman—they appeared to him in the snow under a lamppost (just like Narnia). The Irish understand these things—like that Irish woman I met last time I was up Hartsfell who hailed me as “Merlin” (she talked about the fairies too—she had the sparkle in her eye).


Yeats met a friend at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin called George Russell—a painter. Russell went up into the deserted mountains outside Dublin where he saw visions of “unknown and beautiful beings” and painted them. These are the same as the gods—the fairies and dryads—I saw at Hartsfell, the Minions, and the Rollright Stones. As the biography of Yeats relates as regards the “visions” of Russell: “He never questioned their existence and his fellow students did not question his seeing them.” It is the way with fairy folk, it is hard to speak about (though everyone knows, really).


Yeats saw these visions himself. He spoke about “blue manifestations in the Dublin hills” to which his more sceptical and older friends in a debating society said, “Great God in heaven, Mr Yeats, what do you mean?”. But, already, Yeats had begun to move about in very adult circles—debating circles. In such places people are too clever for “fairies” or “blue visions”—or the divine light.


Remember, it is the same as the “mystic fire” that Pindar saw burning on the hills so long ago—followed by a vision of the goddess. It is the same as the “mystic light of Dionysius” spoken about in Frazer’s Golden Bough that appeared, when the harvest was ripe, in a temple. The gods have always been with us—they have only been forgotten, suppressed.


Pindar said: “Neither by land nor by sea will you find the way to the Hyperboreans.” Nietzsche took that up as a battle cry, but he did not understand it—his Hyperboreans were just super-men made from eugenics. But the Hyperboreans are a literal reality—and Nietzsche never saw the mystic light, he was too rational. He declared himself “AntiChrist”—the Christ is “the anointed” but also “the mask”; to be “AntiChrist” is to reject all religion, all divine masks, and that is why, at the magical level, Nietzsche went insane (he identified with the Devil, Satan).


No, no—Hyperborea is a literal reality. The divine fires still burn on the hills—the gods are real, the fairies are real, the dryads are real. To access Hyperborea you must be like Pindar—it is as Serrano said, “My message is not wholly understood; only poets understand it.” Perhaps it is that only poets and painters can see—Muhammad was a great poet (he banned every other poet in Mecca to make sure he was the greatest, then rehired them as propagandists for his message—yet still, I am a greater poet than Muhammad).


Perhaps it has always been that the poets are the “unacknowledged Legislators of the World” because you can only see through poetry, you can only see Hyperborea that way—perhaps it is because poetry is done from the soul, from the heart. Everybody says “it’s useless”—they aren’t interested. They think the poets are mad. They can’t make money from it, they can’t dominate people with it, they can’t look good from it—so it’s worthless. But perhaps the dirty penny in the gutter is the entry price to heaven.


Still, the gods flee from us—still the fairies move away. They leave behind the smell of sulphur—they leave behind the mystery. The mystery is the unexplained, but it is also the initiation—it is that about which we must remain silent. There is nothing to say about it, and yet it is everything. We can only raise a finger to our lips, as I find myself doing with such frequency these days—for all about me people talk, talk about themselves, when they should really remain silent (and talk about nothing).


Yeats is my favourite poet—Yeats understood the Golden Dawn. His image is the gyre—“turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart, the centre cannot hold—mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”. It is a quote from memory, it is not exact—just good enough. He saw what would come in the 20th century—age of materialism and of blood.


The gyre—it is the spiral, the spiral ascent, the helix. It is the Hermetic caduceus of initiation—it is the staff of Mercury, it is the ladder to the stars. It is the pole of initiation—the helical rising. The gyre—it is an infinity spiral. The falcon turns upwards—like Horus, towards the sun. Soon it will be so high it cannot hear the falconer’s call on the ground—that is what it means to know Hyperborea.


When Yeats says, “Those I fight I do not hate, those I guard I do not love,” he is correct. The excess of passion is without reality—what exists is its own justification. There is only reality—and reality is beautiful. People do not see the beauty because they are lost in the foam of ego. I saw a dead Palestinian under a rug—he had decayed so that only his skull and red sinews remained. I thought, “It is beautiful”. And it is.


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