The Ashridge Estate Walks

Following on from a theme brought about by two people I am in contact with I have been taken back to 2008 and my early morning walks at the National Trust Ashridge Estate, near Tring. These walks were carried out in the woods shown here usually not long after dawn when there was nobody about. Typically I saw first human, usually plus dog, as I was returning to car.

As an aside I used to go off the beaten path and there I had a number encounters with a magnificient stag. It was this chap who inspired many of my mentions of Hern or Herne in some of my poetry.

I had been doing the Master in the Heart, Arcane School, meditation for a number of months and had constructed a stable Antahkarana.

During the week the wife commuted into town around the M25 so it was her custom to get up very early. I did this too and often after she had left I would head up to the National Trust property near Tring for a contemplative walk. Prior to this I had started noting smells of incence in and around the house. I use incence but this was not my kind of incence.

One morning when I was walking peacfully along the ridge, I noted a prescence at the peripherpy of my conciousness in my “mind” for want of a better word. This prescence told me that He and I had worked togther in my previous life around 200 or so years ago. He said that he had been keeping an eye on me of late and that he was going to introduce me to two of his friends and colleagues. This he did and I now had three of them “in my mind’s eye”. Two were from the second ray ashrams and the other from the seventh ray one.

They told me that this is my very last incarnation here on earth and that I would not be coming back, ever.

Needless to say I have researched this topic with all the thoroughness of a science academic. If this is indeed the case then that makes me a anāgāmin and I am most likely according to Theravada Buddhism heading off for the world of:

Devas not Falling Away (Aviha deva): The world of the “not falling” devas, perhaps the most common destination for reborn Anāgāmins.”

That is quite a lot to take in and bear in mind I do not behave like a Buddhist monk!! So, should this snippet be true then there is probably a bit more significance to it than a retired university teacher wandering around some woods in the English countryside.

Or I have lost my marbles and I am several cards short of a full deck.

They told me that I was in for a tough time and that whatever it took I should stay alive. They would send protectors. Sure enough, two crows “Russell and Sheryl” nested directly above our back door. The building to the right is the old village school and we were renting the teacher’s cottage. There is a little opening in the wall to the left of the big window.

I went back to my car a little non plussed. It was very real to me.  

I had several more encounters of this nature. One in which they told me of my five immediate previous lives which was kind of like putting the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle. They were Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Buddhist, Christian and then Dandy. If four of these lives I was associated with what might be called the priesthood. The seventh ray presence said that I had become way too pious and needed rounding off with a little more riot. They told me that I had been very close to Siddhartha in my first Buddhist life. I later had a dream pointing at a named individual.

Quite a number of strange things happened that year.

What then transpired was that I would read up on some things, say from the blue books and ask questions as I walked through the woods. This changed to me making statements and then getting minor tweaks.

They told me that I had deliberately incarnated blind to all of my knowledge.

The revelations about the previous lives made sense, particularly the Buddhist ones. You try teaching Chemical Kinetics to about 100 people when you are getting flashbacks to a previous life!! It is difficult to maintain control. Imagine getting on the tube and feeling a Sanskrit tattoo on your forearms, feeling the weight of a monk’s robe.

It was there at National Trust Ashridge Estate that these things started to happen to me.

It is snowing on and off here now and unless I am mistaken there is first otter sign. There are pieces of what looks like ripped off toad skin in the pond. I am not 100% certain but the path up from the river is wet and no sign of Coypu poo, so it could be the otter(s)….

Destiny Swims

Ahh, but the dice cannot read their own spots.

Bijaz the Dwarf {Frank Herbert}


What ligatures of destiny,

And tendons of fate

Pull me yet, this day?


What autobahns of future,

And roads so present

Lead direct, into nowhere?


Which vast oceans of time,

And foreign seas of seconds

Still tumble sandy down?


Where do cosmic spaces

And claustrophobic cupboards

Meet at the crossroads?


Which rennet remnants

And milky memories

Make mouse-hole cheeses?


What deaf blind days

And myopic Mondays

Make weak the weeks ahead?


Which magnum chilled on ice

And bucketed at table

Will uncork a purpose?


Will the spiral dog teeth

And tousled fly swats

Ever end this cycle tale?


Which shepherd warning sun

And blood red dawn

Will open portal wide?


What rabbit-run cave of fern

And delicate deer path

Click the shutter up?


Which limpid forest pool,

And sublime mirror calm

Suck me, vortex in?


What saucy void of starts

And magnetic mass

Draw me salmon home?


Which dulcet voice demanding

And whispering my ear

Will conch call me on?


What un-inked fanfares

And clefts of Soul

Will treble again my strokes?



What ligatures of destiny,

And tendons of fate

Pull me yet, this day?

Feral “Haiku”

here in the forest

an eternity chimes

watching dragon flies


red blood on the snow

here a rabbit meets Charon

and a cat, rows the boat


a Peregrine of pedigree

hovers above the hedges

its gaze, pierces


by St Agnes’ fountain

gathering wood and

gnarled by the winter wind


in the furrows of a field

the wrinkles in a brow;

a sage contemplates


fresh bulbs penetrate

yearning satisfaction,

vibrant yellow soon, dazzles


the massive aged oak

holds out its spinnaker

despite all the gales


life and death

measure all the scales

softly shed from heaven


fresh spoor on a path

and a broken twig,

Hern the hunter, calls


The Hooded Man

hunting echoes

in a canyon

with a ceremonial



wearing an overcoat

of shadows

belonging to

someone else


seeking a river’s tears

under a willow tree

being coy with carp

and an egret


wobbling with

the newborn deer

in ignorance grass

on poppy meadows


where remembering

brings no opium

not for ghosts

or djinns


counting cherry stones

piled in perfect balance

a heap of Sakurai

in the making


a sandwich of Satori

rice paper fine

and as delicate

as dew


the dawn chases away

echoes and shadows

and walks daisies,

petal footsteps in the stream


tickling toes between

washing scales

as the sunlight



the mists yawn

the trees sway

dancing mirror ponds

shimmer sequins


the stars stretch

their cosmic arms

teasing the hair

of night’s sky


and now even echoes

chime no more

Pie Jesu in the snow

as a lamb sings


frolicking with buttercups

and dents-de-lions

shorn of shadow coats

and now naked


no more soul

to clothe him

not now

not ever


the land of shadows

fades misty fast

without meals

or succour


and diamond eyed,

glinting galaxies,

he pulls up his cowl

the hooded man


… … hunts no more

Silent Forest

Turning left off the beaten path

following a deer run

through the ochre ferns

legs whiplash washed in passing


Voices and barks fade

as the hush starts to envelop

dripping wringing cloth damp

the mossy beards contemplate


The very time drop of tears


Squirrels scratch chalk boards

scurrying heaven wards

away from the intruder


Sat now oaken stumped

clearing the clarified butter

of thoughts to spread

upon the loaven slices of, silence


Freshly baked aromas


Cobweb calm and pine

amongst the scented rugs

laid wall to wall

and coned off from the world


Hern the hunter, pauses

proud and watchful

over the portal to Annwn

his domain


His eyes a quiver of questions


In the silent forest

the heartbeat slows largo down

breath bewitches a mist

on the cool canvas here


Sitting ancient hours long

the forest watches

its newest son

waiting for his belonging


Time stands statue still


Hern gives his knowing nod

and again, the forest lives

He is welcome here

He is home….