Bardo Britannica: A Fairytale for People Afraid of the Dark

Dear Friends and Fellow Travellers

Thank you for joining Sybil Goodenough on her adventures in the Bardo.

Whether you are a seasoned traveller or setting sail for the first time, you may wish to begin your voyage from the beginning rather than backwards blog-style.

Here therefore is the itinerary with links to the destinations.
Please embark at any port and enjoy the journey.

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Epilogue: … Into a Sunlit Meadow

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. 

And so I awoke, my ears still ringing with celestial chimes, sweet chords imperceptibly fading, overlaid with the soothing sound of the bubbling spring. I open my eyes and find myself back in the Dark Wood, now illuminated by a ray of sunlight shining through the branches of the yew tree I am sitting under.

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Britannia’s Heaven — Part VII: Immanentize the Eschaton!

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our  life’s Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come

“We’re almost at the end of our journey together,” says Michael, my peerless guide to the celestial realms. “So this is your last chance to ask any burning questions.” I am still soaring high after the exaltation of Thrones, but my face falls as I take in his meaning. Michael beams encouragingly. “Don’t be sad, Sybil. No mortal can remain in such transcendental states for long, but Earth has its own joys and solaces, as well as many tests and challenges ahead.”

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Britannia’s Heaven Part VI: Game of Thrones

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. (William Blake)

I find myself still standing on the peak of Heaven’s mountain with my guide Michael. We are conversing on high metaphysical matters as phantasmagorias revolve around us.

“Do you have any questions?” asks Michael. “Is this as high as it gets?” I ask. “Not quite, would you like to go even higher?” “Yes, please!”

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Britannia’s Heaven – Part V: On High Table (Divertimento)

Dinner in King's College Hall

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a lavish banquet of rich food for all peoples, a feast of aged wine– the best of meats and the finest of wines.

Standing on Heaven’s mountain with my guide Michael, my ears pick up a sound that is familiar yet unexpected in this setting. “Surely I’m not hearing the clink of cutlery?”

Michael smiles ironically. As the Solar Boat dips below the horizon, all the stars switch on to light up our celestial realm … and it’s time for dinner. Of course there is no time in heaven, nor does the astral body require food, but the illusion of a daily cycle breaks up the monotony provides the comfort of familiarity.

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Britannia’s Heaven – Part IV: The Election of Lady God

The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses …
And particularly they studied the genius of each city and country, placing it under its mental deity.

William Blake

Wiping away my tears after the poignancy of my experience in Heroes’ Heaven, I look up to see my guide Michael beaming at me radiantly. “Do you have any questions?” he asks as I compose myself.

“Yes, I do. I’m delighted to see so much progress up here since the old stories were written. I’d love to hear more about how it all hangs together and who’s running the show.”

Michael smiles. “Welcome to Team Heaven! You’ve already observed that our transformation has taken root and is beginning to flower. The biggest structural change in our world is that we have moved from absolute monarchy to parliamentary democracy. Of course “Their” Word is always Supreme, but the other denizens of Heaven get to vote on important issues and their views are taken into account.”

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Britannia’s Heaven — Part III: A Heaven Fit for Heroes

Angel of Mons2

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke

Here I am, standing on the summit of Heaven’s mountain with my guide Michael. We are surveying a vast plain stretching away into the distance.

Who are all those people, looks like angels on horseback?”

These are the Heavenly Hosts in training. We are now in Heroes’ Heaven, home to all heroes from the greatest leaders to the humblest foot soldiers. Those who were warriors on Earth, by role or profession, often volunteer for the Heavenly Hosts. Our crack troops wear russet, but the rest of them weren’t giving up their fine uniforms. It’s all ceremonial nowadays so they may as well look gorgeous.” Continue reading

Britannia’s Heaven — Part II: Your Dream Home

blue remembered hills2

What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain.
A E Housman

Now, I’m sure you’d like to go on a magical mystery tour of  Britannia’s Heaven.” Michael, my new guide, is standing in front of a towering mountain in the centre of Heaven. I nod enthusiastically as he continues. “Traditionally this mountain has been known as Mount Zion, though Orpheus insists it is the spiritual peak of Mount Olympus, while other folks call it the Big Rock Candy Mountain.”

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Britannia’s Heaven — Part I: The Good Place

…a fairy story for people afraid of the dark…

Words fail me to describe the glory of the Solar Boat, apart from a general impression of beauty, majesty and rhapsody. Besides, the ascent is so dizzyingly fast that the whole journey is over in a flash of light. By the time I recover my senses we’ve been uploaded to the cloud layer, stretching ahead as far as the eye can see and illuminated with a golden glow. Dropping the last vestiges of my scientific scepticism, I peer ahead eagerly in the hope of spotting some heavenly harpists. Disappointingly, all the clouds look empty.

Ra nudges me and there it is, the perfect fluffy white cloud…

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Hella’s Realm: Dives & Dungeons — Part V: Saved by the Awesome

hell exit

It is easy to go down to hell; night and day the gates of Dark Death stand wide; but to climb back up again, to retrace one’s steps to the open air, there lies the problem, the difficult task.
Virgil

You will need a passport for your next destination,” says Morgana, my gracious guide to Hell. She hands me a familiar looking document with a gold embossed cover. “Here it is, personally issued by Sir Francis Walsingham, who decides who gets a passport.” I open it, scrutinize the flourishing Elizabethan signature admiringly and slip the passport into my pocket.

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