Heaven

Jacques is telling it…

I flee the sabbat and run down Devil’s Ditch. The moon still beckons but I have lost my power of flight. Crossing the meadow, I head for home where the ancient wood still shimmers with faerie-fire. The purgation of flesh has detached me from things of sense; yet within The Garden of Earthly Delights, I sense more, feel more, become more. The green sward is permeated with a divine intelligence that throbs with life – a transcendent order that glistens like manifold jewels. And as I behold each perfect blade of grass, I become aware of the many errors in which I dwelt: the vast distance between myself and the One true reality. Within this realm everything is perfect and indestructible. Winter is transformed to Spring. I walk in wonder, for my footsteps leave no trace, and the flowers spring up immaculate as before. Everything grows with Love. This enchanted garden is beyond the earthly realm, for ’tis infused with the presence of Eternity, and an abiding perfection that transcends all temporal change. Yet even the whole of Nature, with all its cycles of death and decay, can only be the work of Supernature – that holy force which abides unchanged, and permeates every atom of the world.

How shall I tell the beauty of the flowers? The colours are beyond description, the myriad hues brighter, and more subtle than anything on earth. My mind swims in florid corollas and petals of shimmering flame; and each blossom chants a note – a rainbow madrigal! You might devote your entire life to the intellectual analysis of the Divine Mysteries, but when confronted with the ineffable reality of God, as far as it is revealed to human consciousness, all logic fails.

I behold Grazide floating on the pond, her luminous body glittering with refulgent rays. Her orb is full of sentient Light but She remains obscure. What great truths are hidden even from the holy, who believe themselves enlightened! Her will is a great mystery, yet the source of all sanctity. She is infallible and incontestable, but what emanates from her centre remains an enigma. She is the first cause of existence and her miracles are multiplied to infinity. She is the only thing necessary to Life, and what she does not grant is useless dross.

This illumination is crowned by a miraculous change of state. For as I tread the marsh, the orchids lick my legs with dewy tongues. But these legs are svelte and slender, with small ankles and dainty feet. I stop to drink it all in. My form is perfect, dressed in a gossamer gown that flows like quicksilver. I fumble my face with delicate hands. This is the point of my conversion: the interpenetration of all essence. Whilst in this state my soul is exposed to the One Eternal Source. Then I behold my spirit body in entirety. The very stars seem to open their hearts and pour down rays of glory. I am conscious of a deep bliss that swells in my breast and every chanting flower: “Glory be to God”. My thinking is clear and flows like water. I cannot express the rapture, nor communicate my transport. But I know I have been lifted from a dark dungeon into a body of Light. I float with seraphim in heavenly beams. That discord of flesh, with all its terrors and inhibitive powers, has been washed away. All my slag is transformed to gold – the divine substance – the corpus glorificatum. This is her holy secret, her transubstantiation. I weep at the fineness, the subtlety, the brilliance, which suffuses my soul in sparkling streams. Everything is correct and in its place. This is no fleeting ecstatic vision but an omnipresent perception of unutterable splendour – of my spirit body, immanent in the world. What spangled beauty! What harmony of form and soul, cast into one fine mould! I care for neither Heaven nor Hell, but only to stay like this forever.

What I experience in this interval is more precious than all the earthly pleasures of my life. The Light which sustains me is lustrous, smooth and soft, and whatever I was before, is naught in comparison. The brightness which is inestimable, does not hurt my sight but rather sharpens it, so that I behold all things, reflected in many radiant facets. And as I peer into spiral realms, I become the very earth, the trees, the mountains and the stars. Yet I cannot transcribe this in foolish words, for the mortal mind cannot conceive it.

How can I relate the rapture of the Light which stretches out in all directions, permeating every fibre of my being? It bestows great insight of the spheres and I glean secrets of the stars – orbs which gyre on a celestial dome, at once inverted, so that I am both locus and every point on the perimeter – like a bubble expanding on the breath God. I come from God, I belong to God, and I am destined for God.(i) I repeat these words for aeons. At times I am just a tenuous membrane of oily film, then all at once a fiery blob of molten glass, enfolding and wholly inter-penetrating itself: an ouroboros swallowing its tail; a mercurial phoenix in chasms of crystal fire. I am Absolute. And if I could give you one atom, once second, one grain of this rapturous bliss, you would trade your whole life, nay the whole world, to keep it.

The hawk moth calls my name, and I chase his fluttering wings, delivered from my affliction and the burdens of the world. My flesh was just a parable of separation from God; but now ’tis all dust in the balance…

Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2006.

i. Saint Ignatius.