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17th May 2009
Long forgotten words of light
by Mike Scott

I'm reading a very obscure book, The Avatars, by A.E., the Irish mystic of the early 20th century. It's a book long out of print, purchased a fortnight ago for €65 in Cathach Books, the Antiquarian shop just off Grafton Street in the centre of Dublin.

The Avatars is sub-titled "A Futurist Fantasy" and it's a strange tale - at least so far; I'm a third of the way through - about a poet, a youthful seeker and an older wise man, and their visions.

As I read through I keep noting wonderful quotes full of spiritual energy. I have the feeling these are perhaps more understandable now than they were in A.E.'s day, due to the cultural and scientific advances, and increased spiritual freedoms, of the past century. I mark each of them in pencil for future reference. I may want simply to remember them, or I may want to co-opt them into a song or piece of writing (source acknowledged of course), or I may want to quote them.

Or I might just want to share them with you.

So here, for your pleasure and inspiration, are Scott's choice cuttings, culled from the pages of A.E.'s The Avatars:

"There was a spirit in the wild people who lived among the hills which was not in the people of the cities. They belonged, however remotely, to some mystic empire. The dullest peasant might break silence with a phrase in which the mountains seemed to speak rather than a man."

"As he brooded on the picture he felt a quickening of the imagination. His fingers began to quiver as if what he had imagined had run from head to hand."

"To the ancients, Earth was a living being. We who walk upon it know no more of the magnificence within it than a gnat alighting on the head of Dante might know of the furnace of passion and imagination beneath."

"The soul of Earth is our lost Eden."

"The real betrayal of Jesus was not by Judas, but by the other apostles who would not speak of the laughter of Jesus."

"I want to wear cap and bells before the Throne, to clash cymbals and dance, not abase myself before the Lord with my nose in the dust and my hinder parts pointing to the heavens like crawling saints in religious pictures."

"The majesty which held constellations and galaxies, suns, stars and moons inflexibly in their paths, could yet throw itself into infinite, minute and delicate forms of loveliness with no less joy, and he knew that the tiny grass might whisper its love to an omnipotence that was tender towards it."

"Everything, little pimpernel, is hurrying godwards, and you will get there, changing from flower to star on the way."

"Atoms are the creation of the infinite and bear signs of the majestic ancestry."

"The final gift of the infinite to its children will be itself."

I'll post more as I progress through the book.