The Lean Wolf

approaches
with a little bit
of Chernobyl
in its deadly
stride.

A big black bell
is ringing inside it.

Its face is a man’s.

There is nothing
behind it.

I wrote this poem following a dream of which I remember little but the vivid image of a lean menacing wolf with a man’s face and the knowing because I’d seen it, been its presence, I was going to die.

I’ve had a handful of dreams in which I’ve had this gnosis. In one I was a captured soldier awaiting execution and Gwyn prepared me for death by telling me I must go into the hazel, and the beetle, and something I can’t recall. In another I was a clawed creature clinging to a lift descending to the abyss. And in another I was and was not a dark magician, who in a magical battle against mechanical forces, was cut into a thousand pieces by whirling blades and resurrected as a vampiric woman.

Through these dreams I know I have lived many lives, died many deaths, in Thisworld and in Annwn, and perhaps in worlds beyond. That a part of me, which I call my soul, carries these memories.

When I was talking to my dad about his funeral plans I was surprised to hear that he, like me a philosophy graduate, had never thought about whether he had a soul or what would happen when he died. He might have theorised about it but had never really contemplated what would happen to him.

Such questions have been on my mind as long as I can remember. Like my dad I theorised about them, attempting to find answers through philosophy, until I met Gwyn and he taught me to journey to Annwn. Until he and his father, the dream-god Nudd/Nodens, helped me to sleep and listen to my dreams.

For the first time since the Second World War people in Britain are suddenly facing death, due to the threat of the coronavirus. This is a complete unknown for people of my mum and dad’s generation, for mine, and the next generation, who might have included my children, if I’d had them.

I understand that one of the reasons Gwyn appeared in my life and taught me to journey was to help me prepare for death. I know a small handful of others who have had similar experiences with him and different gods, and of those who have gained their own understanding without experience of deity.

In contrast to the advice I’ve seen in various places to focus only on the positives, I believe at this time, when so many of us have so much extra time, there is no better time to contemplate the lean wolf.

Strange Stars

I’m in the midst of a dream, a very normal dream. I’m on the bus to Leyland. Realising I don’t want to go to Leyland at all, knowing I need to be somewhere else, I head for the doors and ask to get off.

Suddenly I’m whisked away by Gwyn (who has a habit of doing this on occasions when he wants to show me something) to a scene of tall, green, mountainous hills. I know they’re in northern Britain, but can’t place them. They’re not quite the Howgills, or in Bowland, or the Lakes, or the Yorkshire Dales.

Above is an ominous grey sky. The wind is gathering at my back. Overhead I see four stars converging on a fifth star. It disappears, obliterated, without a trace, without a sound. I intuit the strange stars are four war planes shooting down a fifth and know with certitude this is happening NOW.

When I awake I question the reality of the dream. Was a war plane really shot down over our northern hills last night? Or were the strange stars something else? And, in the dream world, when is NOW?

Strange Stars