You are on page 1of 14

Rediscovering the source

Author(s): Kathleen Raine


Source: India International Centre Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 2/3 (SUMMER/MONSOON 1998),
pp. 37-49
Published by: India International Centre
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23005675
Accessed: 25-06-2016 05:41 UTC

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at
http://about.jstor.org/terms

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted
digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about
JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

India International Centre is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to India
International Centre Quarterly

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Kathleen Raine

Rediscovering the source

We greet the return of Temenos, nozv revived as Temenos Academy


Review, with sincere pleasure. The last and thirteenth issue had appeared
in 1992, and in the six years that ivent by, the voice of Temenos ivas
truly missed, not least among the readers of the India International
Centre Quarterly, many of whom have close personal links with
Temenos and with Dr. Kathleen Raine. We are happy, therefore, to offer
our readers this inspiring paper which appears as the Editorial of the
Temenos Academy Review, 1, Spring 1998, reproduced in substance
ivith minor amendments.
Welcome back and may we say 'thank you' with the opening line of the
Isa Upanishad:

3S> ^ii ^ I
"gSsftaT TTT ip: I I ? I I
Behold the universe in the glory of God: and all that lives and
moves on earth. (Tr. Juan Mascaro)
—Editor

poetry, painting, music, sculpture, architecture or the

We hold that theof true purpose of called


the arts—whether
humbler everyday crafts—is to give expression to a
vision the spiritual order, by Plato the Good,
the True and the Beautiful. These have been the necessary foundations
of civilizations in the past, and must be so in the future. As the
language of the Imagination (the vision of the spiritual order) the arts

37

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
38 / India International Centre Quarterly

are essential to human societies, in whose absence the soul is starved


of her proper food. 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
word of God.' Lacking the vision of this spiritual source, a
materialist civilization cannot create, but can only diminish or
demolish, since the human kingdom as such is the very spiritual
order materialism denies. A society uninspired by the vision of
higher worlds is the true metaphysical hell. A hell it remains even
when provided with every amenity and luxury, for hell is by defini
tion the absence of God.

Modern science has explored the physical universe in its greatest


and its smallest parts, gaining knowledge which has empowered
humankind with seemingly unlimited possibilities for good and ill,
for healing and destruction, for multiplying goods of all kinds or of
bringing to an end the life of our planet. But of love and wisdom, joy
and sorrow, all those values and meanings of which the world's great
civilizations have been the flower, science can tell us nothing. For all
our material power we are a spiritually destitute and imaginatively
illiterate society. Spiritual realities are not seen as essential knowledge,
but as an optional extra to science, the popular orthodoxy of our time.
Yet the impressive structure of science rests on a premise which is itself
an act of faith—the belief that a material universe outside mind and

thought is the ground of 'reality'. Other civilizations have had other


premises. The Oriental philosophies—which to this day continue in
many forms to inspire multitudes—hold, on the contrary, that this
ground is mind, spirit, life itself—described in Sanskrit as Sat-Chit
Ananda, Being-Consciousness-Bliss. The European Platonic tradition
and Christendom also held, until undermined by the materialist
ideologies of the last three centuries, that man is a spiritual being; and
our one national prophet, William Blake, calls the body 'the garment,
not the man'. 'The true man', according to Plato, is intellect; according
to Blake, 'Imagination', the 'Divine Humanity'—the 'God within' and
'inner light' of the Quakers and other Protestant mystics. This view is
at one with the Vedic teaching of a divine Self, present in all and
throughout the universe. Material science describes only the
phenomenal world, and in claiming that this world is the whole of
reality disregards infinite regions of immeasurable being; for science
knows only the measurable.
No wonder if our society is sick, not least in the most 'advanced'
and affluent country in the world, the USA. A profession unknown to

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Kathleen Raine / 39

our ancestors flourishes: psychotherapy, an attempt to cure souls


whose malady is the values and beliefs of our civilization itself. And
as those values and beliefs overspread the world, so does the malady
Laurens van der Post has told us how the most primitive people in the
world, the Bushmen of Africa, felt themselves at home and secure in
their world without property They were aware at all times of a living
Presence by which they were known and upheld. Of meanings and
values they could have told us more than the most prestigious scien
tific institutes of the civilization that has destroyed them.
Yet the 'perennial philosophy', as the ageless tradition of spiritual
knowledge has come to be called, may have become buried or
obscured but has never been quite extinguished. In Europe, the
Platonic mainstream, flowing at times within, at times outside Chris
tendom, has been the nourishment of architects, poets, painters and
musicians. At times the current has flowed underground, through
such esoteric groups as the Rosicrucians, Freemasons and other
theosophical fellowships, sending up springs and fountains which
have nourished the imaginative life of the Italian Renaissance,
Elizabethan England, the Romantic poets, the American Transcenden
talists, and the Irish 'renaissance' of this century. It seems fitting that
Temenos should pay tribute to those through whom the knowledge has
come to us. If I speak for myself, it is as a child of my time, speaking
also for my contemporaries, influenced by ideas and ideologies, per
sons and events, shared by my generation. The details must vary, but
in retrospect can we not see an irresistible current of change, from the
unquestioned materialism of the first half of this century to the
spiritual rediscovery which is manifesting itself in many forms today?
We may have felt ourselves alone, but in reality have formed part of a
historic change, a necessary reversal of the premises of a civilization
that has no more light to give. It was my own experiences and spiritual
wanderings as part of these momentous changes that led me to believe
that a Review dedicated to perennial values (and later an Academy
that taught these values) was something to be worked and fought for.
Out of these wanderings Temenos was born.
I see my life as a series of doors opening, through which I have
passed, or through which others have entered. Incredibly rich has been
my life's journey in learning and unlearning alike, as I have wound in
that 'golden string' that leads us all by different routes to the place
Blake called 'Heaven's Gate', the place of arrival of every pilgrimage,

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
40 / India International Centre Quarterly

however devious the way we have followed. For the laws of the
spiritual worlds are no less immutable than the 'laws of nature' (which
is in reality the world of change and impermanence) and to these every
spiritual tradition has borne witness. In terms of history, the word
'tradition' signifies a process in time, by which the memories of the
generations are conserved and studied and passed on; but as under
stood in terms of spiritual knowledge, 'tradition' is timeless, an ever
present reality to which generations have borne witness in the world's
sacred scriptures, in all 'inspired' works from the cave-paintings of
Altamira to those of Ajanta, from Fra Angelico to the Chinese
landscape painters of the Sung dynasty, to Samuel Palmer and to my
contemporaries Cecil Collins and David Jones. All tell of Imaginative
vision, seen in terms of their own here-and-now in the ever-moving
present in which we live. To the living and to the dead, known and
unknown, who have borne witness to the vision of 'eternal things
displayed', I owe the inexhaustible treasures I have inherited.
First (as for us all) my parents. My father's Christian faith was for
him living truth, inherited from his Methodist forebears. Though to
me the services I attended on Wednesday evenings and twice on
Sundays were irksome, yet in retrospect I am grateful because the
words of the Jewish Bible , and the Christian New Testament, became
familiar to me in the King James version— one of England's national
treasures, now being thoughtlessly thrown away. To my mother I owe
beauty, in nature and in poetry. Her memory was stored with Milton
and Shelley and the ballads of Scotland—her inheritance—to which
she herself had added Poe and Tagore's Gitanjali, Gibran's The Prophet,
De la Mare, and Yeats's early poems. And my mother had, as a girl at
college in Newcastle, learned of 'theosophy' from a wonderful fellow
student from Ceylon: a secret she never shared with my father but
imparted to me—a seed sown from my mother's desire for a richer
knowledge which the circumstances of her life never enabled her to
realize.

As a student of Natural Sciences at Cambridge in the twenties I


found myself in the mainstream of my time. I gleefully discarded that
(to me) lifeless Christianity with its insistence on historical fact rather
than spiritual understanding, and embraced with zeal the atheist,
materialist orthodoxy generated by the prestigious Cavendish
Laboratory and the scientific research taking place in so many fields
at the time. Long afterwards, my contemporary and friend J.B.

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Kathleen Raine / 41

Bronowski gave a popular television series, 'The Ascent of Man', in


which I recognized unchanged the voice of that long-ago Cambridge
which I had by then left so far behind me. A.K. Coomaraswamy used
to say 'It takes four years to acquire the best University education, but
it takes forty to get over it.' Yet I am grateful to have received the full
impact of an ideology which I have been able to outgrow only because
I acquired it in the first place. I am grateful too for having in some
measure been privileged to see into the awe-inspiring wonders of the
natural world as these reveal themselves through microscope and
telescope, and in the beautiful panorama of living forms. But the
atheist materialism that science generated was a cold and loveless
world, offering no place for the values of the heart, these being
irrelevant to the detachment proper to scientific observation and
experiment.
Freud opened the next door (I speak still as a child of my time).
A materialist, Freud nevertheless changed and widened the conscious
ness of a generation by revealing regions beyond the common daily
mind. Then came C.G. Jung: the title of a book we all read, Modem Man
in Search of a Soul, brought home to us our predicament: we had
somewhere in all this lost our souls. Were we really in search of
something science had convinced us was superfluous? The lesson was
driven home by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, a poem in which my
generation for the first time recognized the world into which we had
come. It was later that Jung, in a television interview, when asked, 'Dr.
Jung, do you believe in God?' gave a reply which seems to sum up our
century as Descartes' cogito ergo sum did the 'enlightened' eighteenth:
Jung's reply was 'I don't believe; I know'. Belief, so long—perhaps
still—the basis of Christian faith, means little to spiritual seekers today,
who demand not creeds but living experience. D.H. Lawrence's words
remain with me: 'Knowledge is an experience, not a formula.'
Another tributary was Teilhard de Chardin, whose work The
Phenomenon of Man transformed the Darwinian theory, by the intro
duction of the divine principle and purpose into the process of evolu
tion from Alpha to Omega, 'the first and the last': a door opening from
a lifeless to a living universe.
Although my work on Blake has been my special field of study,
Blake too is a voice heard for the first time by many of my generation.
Before the publication of Geoffrey Keynes's Nonesuch edition of
Blake's complete works in 1925, his long Prophetic Books remained

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
42 / India International Centre Quarterly

unpublished, but for John Sampson's Oxford edition of the Poetical


works in 1905 and the Quaritch edition of 1892, edited by Edwin J. Ellis
and the young W.B. Yeats. Maynard and Geoffrey Keynes were figures
at the heart of the Cambridge of my time, and Blake was also much
read by many who would have rejected his spiritual message but for
his revolutionary politics, at a time when Marxism was making its first
inroads. J.B. Bronowski, for example, wrote a book on Blake in the
context of the Industrial Revolution from which his much more sub
versive refutations of materialism are altogether absent. In reality none
of us had any conception of the traditional knowledge to which Blake
gave such luminous new expression; few knew Plato, fewer Plotinus
and the Neoplatonists, still less Swedenborg and Jacob Boehme or the
Hermetica. Most of us (myself included) were unaware that such a
tradition of 'excluded knowledge' even existed, still less that this was
the context in which Blake is to be understood.
However, there was clearly something here which challenged our
understanding. I was not alone in reading Blake's obscure mythology
in the light of Jung's account of the structure of the human psyche with
its four 'functions', the anima, and the oracular world of dreams which
he made accessible to the modern world. In the enthusiasm of my
youthful ignorance I decided to write a book 'explaining' Blake in
terms of Jungian psychology. Several such books have since been
written, nor was I the first to perceive the relationship. I was en
couraged by that most generous of men to young poets and artists,
Herbert Read, who was himself interested in Jungian psychology and
who was the English representative of the Bollingen Foundation,
endowed by Paul and Mary Mellon in gratitude to Jung for the door
he had opened for them. Through Herbert Read I was awarded a
Bollingen Fellowship to pursue my work on Blake.
But the book I wrote was not the work I had proposed.
My friend the poet Ruthven Todd, at that time working with
Geoffrey Keynes, had written an excellent work of scholarship, Tracks
in the Snoiu, which includes a chapter on books Blake was known to
have read. The common view at the time was that Blake was an

ignorant engraver who was 'inspired' but had little knowledge of a


formal kind; a view given credence by Eliot, who compared Blake's
meagre learning to what he called 'odds and ends about the house'
from which Blake had constructed a 'system'. Before beginning my
imagined book explaining Blake from the structure of that

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Kathleen Raine / 43

'unconscious' of which he was more than usually aware, I realized that


I must read the supposedly few books he was known to have read.
This for me was the turning-point at which I at last discovered the
great body of excluded knowledge (excluded, that is, from the educa
tion I had received) of whose very existence I had been ignorant, but
which proved to be nothing less than the canon of what I have since
called 'the learning of the Imagination'.
Blake's reading comprised, I discovered, Plato and Plotinus
together with the entire corpus of the Neoplatonic writings; the Her
metica; the mythologies of the world (as then available) from
Zoroaster to the Eddas, Stukeley's work on Avebury and Stonehenge,
Jacob Bryant's New System of Mythology, from the Kabbalah to Moore's
Hindoo Pantheon and the Bhagavad Gita, besides the writings of
Swedenborg, Boehme and Paracelsus. Here was the mainstream of
civilization from which English culture of the last three centuries had
been cut off. I was beginning to discover the extent of my ignorance
and to set out on my long journey of discovery of that perennial
wisdom which is 'coeval', in the words of Thomas Taylor the Platonist
(an early friend of Blake's), 'with the Universe itself'. Taylor was the
first translator into English of the complete works of Plato, Aristotle
and his Neoplatonic followers. Not psychology, I was to discover, but
that 'unanimous and universal tradition', of which Platonism is the
European mainstream, was the key to unlock the final door. Much
work and many discoveries followed.
In 1961 I was invited to give the Andrew Mellon lectures in
Washington DC. I was still exploring a world strange to me but I did
expect my work to be welcomed by scholars. On the contrary, I found
myself on a battlefield with bullets whizzing past me, and realized that
I had challenged the very premises of university orthodoxy, as Blake
had done, and Thomas Taylor, and all those predecessors. From this
time my task was clear: I enlisted 'under the banner of Plotinus', to
which Thomas Taylor summoned the 'young men of the new age' in
the year 1789, and realized that nothing less was at stake than the
turning of the tide of a materialist civilization in the name of another
universe of knowledge, another view of man and the nature of reality.
Others among my contemporaries have reached the same rever
sal of premises by other routes—although to many Blake has been (as
he was to me) not a 'subject' but a 'master'. And at some stage on the
way, how many of my generation found themselves entering by the

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
44 / India International Centre Quarterly

door of Watkins' Bookshop in Cecil Court, at that time a veritable


university of that excluded knowledge not taught in our schools and
universities. John M. Watkins had opened that door under the auspices
of H.P. Blavatsky, whose photograph in the back room, where books
were not for sale except to those deemed worthy of possessing them,
scrutinized us thoughtfully. There, as Michael Robartes told his adepti
in A Vision, was the place to look for Yeats. And to 'young Mr
Watkins'—Nigel Watkins—I am indebted for my most treasured
books and for much re-education. Few of his buyers were academics.
In those days there was an intelligent reading public who read the
books of the world's wisdom in order to learn 'from', not 'about',
Plotinus, Porphyry, the Hermetica and the rest: members of esoteric
societies; committed followers of some Oriental or theosophical
school; members of religious Orders; seekers for wisdom who wished
'to know in order to serve'. And in this too I am surely like all other
travellers on the Way of spiritual knowledge, indebted more to people
than to books. A friend to whom I owe much more than I appreciated
at the time was Gay Taylor, a mystic, who after a stormy youth,
following the advice of a Chinese sage to 'keep your life hidden', lived,
poor and obscure, in a rich inner world. She had not been to any
university, but was learned in both Christian and Oriental mystical
literature by way of the reading room of the British Museum. She was
also an astrologer, adept with the Tarot cards, curious in the findings
of spiritualism, and all those branches of knowledge that earned Yeats
such ridicule from his ignorant contemporaries. Above all she saw her
task as prayer, true fountain of all sacred traditions, a form of
knowledge meaningless in terms of materialist values.
That golden string Blake puts into our hands with words of such
deceptive simplicity—'Only wind it into a ball'—is, as many have
discovered, an exceedingly long one. At the same time it is without
breaks, for spiritual knowledge is one and universal, as if the work of
a single mind working through many minds. Whereas the recorded
facts of history have to be learned anew for every period, the language
of the perennial wisdom is (with variations of dialect) common to all
who learn its basic principles. These are to be found in all mythologies
and symbolic systems. There are also symbolic images which are
universal—light and darkness, sun, moon and stars, clouds and
mountains, lion and lamb, eagle and dove and swan, together with
many human artefacts, cup and sword, well and fountain, lamp and

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Kathleen Raine / 45

ring and tower and bridge and many more. Yeats, beyond question
the most learned in this universal cosmic language of any initiate in
this century, incurred the ridicule of his younger contemporaries
because of his esoteric studies. As a member of the Magical Order of
the Golden Dawn, he studied Kabbalah, Astrology, and the symbolic
emblems, the twenty-two Trumps of the Tarot, besides mental exer
cises to extend the range of memory and little used powers of the mind.
Yeats was also long and actively engaged in psychical research.
Through all these studies, then (and probably now) confidently dis
missed as 'hocus-pocus' (the word is George Orwell's), Yeats and his
fellow-adepti —understood that symbols are a language of the 'deeps
of the mind' which concern poets above all and are the instruments of
their art. I discovered that my work on Blake had inevitably led me to
the study of his first editor and greatest disciple, Yeats; and at the same
time I had studied with a Society itself a successor of the Golden Dawn.
I soon discovered that of the two ways of learning—by amassing
information or by extending the range of perception—the second is
much the more difficult. I also participated in psychical research at the
College of Psychic Science; for whatever these phenomena prove or
do not prove, their reality is not to be denied. All these are the aspects
of mental realties of our universe, not indeed the highest spiritual
realities, but the landscape, so to say, of our inner worlds. Yeats, in the
course of his lifetime, scanned the entire horizon of these mental
worlds and the knowledge then available of which he has left a record
in A Vision.

Meanwhile my friend Philip Sherrard (one of the four co


founders of Temenos) had come by a different path to a clear under
standing of sacred tradition through the writings of the French
metaphysician Rene Guenon. In his journal Etudes Traditionelles and
in his books appearing during four decades from the twenties to the
fifties, Guenon radically challenged the values of Western materialism
which (in the title of one of his books) he called The Reign of Quantity.
What in terms of materialism was held to be an onward and upward
'progress' towards Utopia, Guenon, in clear and abrasive tones,
showed to be, from the spiritual standpoint, quite the reverse. Many
of Guenon's works, and those of his successor Frithjof Schuon, were
translated into English by the Tibetan traveller and Buddhist Marco
Pallis, to whom Philip introduced me. For the followers of this
'Traditional' school I have much respect—but my own journey was by

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
46 / India International Centre Quarterly

another path, through Blake and the Romantic poets, Thomas Taylor
the Platonist, Yeats and India, through Jung and Henry Corbin, the
great Ismaeli scholar. The difference, as I see it, is that the Traditional
school insists on adherence to one or other of the 'revealed' religions.
Marco was a Buddhist, Guenon and Schuon and Martin Lings fol
lowers of Islam, Philip a Greek Orthodox Christian. My own path has
been that of poetry, of the living Imagination of which both Blake and
Corbin were exponents. Corbin coined the word 'imaginal' to signify
knowledge of the Imagination which, far from being 'imaginary' in
the sense of unreal or fictitious, is a perception of higher worlds
reflected in the human psyche, the imaginatio vera. I had the privilege
of meeting Henry Corbin at two of the Eranos Conferences in which I
participated, and he confirmed my understanding of Blake's Imagina
tion as corresponding to the Sufi alam al mithal, the imaginatio vera.
There was no connection between Guenon and Corbin; but the aes
thetician of the Traditional school, A.K. Coomaraswamy, associated
with Guenon, was also an early friend of Yeats.
In the mingling and interweaving of currents and cross-currents,
it happened that A.K. Coomaraswamy was the uncle of my first
publisher, M.J. Tambimuttu. So far I have made no mention of poetry,
still less of my own involvement in the writing of verse. Yet one more
tributary of that great mainstream was 'Tambi', much loved Dionysiac
publisher of the review Poetry London during and after the Second
World War. Tambi came to London from Ceylon with the dream of
conquering the London poetry world, and was known to the rout of
poets who were his followers as the 'Prince of Fitzrovia'. ('The Fitzroy'
was a pub in Soho frequented by this devotee of the sacred intoxica
tion.) While the Oxford poets—Auden and Spender and their group—
were committing themselves to left-wing politics, Tambi looked for
only one thing— Imagination. What Tambi was in fact contributing to
my ignorant generation was a first experience of India. His one sig
nificant poem is an 'Ode to Saraswati', goddess of music and wisdom,
of the divine vina. I remember his words (he used to dance the dance
of the Lord Shiva at those great parties, dense with cigarette smoke,
that he loved to 'throw'); 'I love ecstasy'. Ananda is for the Vedic
tradition an aspect of Being itself. No ecstasy in social realism!
Another door that stood open and through which a number of
my friends passed—notably David Gascoyne—was Surrealism, a
French contribution to the exploration of hitherto unvisited regions of

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Kathleen Raine / 47

the mind. Surrealism was a product of the irrational, with no


knowledge of the higher regions of imaginatio vera. Its declaring itself
au service de la revolution, and its flirtation with Stalin, in a vain attempt
to win the official approval of the Communist Party, was discreditable.
As a school of art it has run into the sand. But it was an intoxicating,
a magical way of living, by an expectant imagination ready to find
symbolic meanings and messages in every encounter in daily life:
Andre Breton would stroll in Paris giving roses to beautiful chance
comers. Surrealism surely changed our lifeless way of receiving the
world, if only briefly, besides opening the mind to the unexpected
illuminations produced by automatic writing and the 'irrational'
generation of images and words. David Gascoyne was expelled by the
Surrealists because in his poem Ecce Homo he had portrayed Jesus as
'Christ of revolution and of poetry': religion was banned from the
movement.

Such were some of the doors of initiation that opened my way;


and I believe that, with variations and detours, these were significant
influences experienced by my generation. I was a slow learner, and
had much to unlearn, yet I believe I was a part of—and have played
my part in—the turning of the tide of materialist ignorance which has
characterized Western culture for so long. Of this reversal we are now
seeing many manifestations, of which Temenos is one.
If I were to name all the friends who have travelled through the
world with me, to whom I am indebted for love and for wisdom, the
list would be long; and yet it is from people more than from books that
we learn and to whom we pass on what we ourselves have learned
and experienced. To name only fellow-artists who have expressed this
vision, Winifred Nicholson and Cecil Collins, Edwin and Willa Muir,
David Jones, David Gascoyne and Vernon Watkins, and from long-ago
Cambridge Humphrey Jennings who used to declaim from Blake's
Jerusalem the passage which begins, 'I beheld London, a Human Awful
Wonder of God!' I pay homage to Malcolm Lowry, supreme novelist
of the Imagination. In the last war Janet and Michael Roberts rescued
me and my children, inviting me to share a house with them in
Penrith—a return to the beloved North of my Northumbrian
childhood only a few miles away. Through them I was to meet Helen
Sutherland, patron of the arts and of artists. At her house at Cockley
Moor I met, besides David Jones and Winifred Nicholson, Hubert
Howard, whose guest I was later to be on many occasions in Italy,

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
48 / India International Centre Quarterly

following his marriage to Lela Caetani, daughter of .Marguerite,


Duchess of Sermoneta, founder-editor of two distinguished literary
journals: Commerce and later Botteghe Oscure, which she edited frorh
her palazzo in Rome. Hubert warmly believed in the value of Temenas.
and on more than one occasion contributed to the cost of publication.
Nor have I spoken of beloved France and my publisher and
translator Fran^ois-Xavier Jaujard; nor of the annual gatherings of
Henry Corbin's Universite Saint-Jean de Jerusalem; nor of my dear
friends of the Lindisfarne Association in the United States with whom

I spent several months and many later visits, rich in learning and
comedy. The inspirer of that community of scholars (at which I first
met more than one Temenos contributor) was William Irwin
Thompson, who remained undaunted by financial (or any other) ups
and downs inseparable from the planting of a new idea. Other friends
I made at the Dallas Institute of Philosophy and Culture. And through
yet other American friends I was able to spend unforgettable days with
the Hopi people of Old Oraibi. How many are the fellow-pilgrims with
whom I have travelled; how rich is the texture of life into which we
are all woven! And how happy it is to travel with my colleagues and
friends of Temenos—there is neither beginning nor end to the story. The
Atharva Veda calls history a poem 'written by God'. In that epic we all
have our parts assigned. But as to India, there is too much to tell here;
for I believe that if the West is to re-learn spiritual knowledge it can
only be from the Orient, where Buddhism, Islam, and above all the
great Vedic heritage, threatened as they are by Western materialism,
remain intact. India, a deeply wounded country, is still the mainstream
of spiritual civilization. Can India teach the West before the West has
destroyed India?
On my return, in 1978, from a prolonged stay with the Lindisfarne
Association in New York City, I found myself wondering why there
was not in England even a journal to proclaim the Sacred Tradition
with its treasuries of 'things new and old'. It then came into my mind
with the force of inspiration that we might start one, and to that end I
consulted my respected friend Philip Sherrard, who in turn brought
in Brian Keeble of the Golgonooza Press, producer of beautiful books,
author and editor of Eric Gill, Cecil Collins and others. We also invited
Keith Critchlow who had worked with the Lindisfarne Association

and whom I knew through his inspiring lectures to RILKO (Research


into Lost Knowledge Organization) founded by Jeanette Jackson, a

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Kathleen Raine / 49

living voice of traditional knowledge at a time when there were few


others.
After the third issue the editorial task fell to me. The only
publicity we ever received was an adverse review in the Times Literary
Supplement —another instance I fear of ignorance passing judgement
on knowledge. At this point Laurens van der Post came to our defence,
as he did so often over the years that followed. I had known him
through our shared admiration for Jung—we had both sat at the
famous Round Table at Ascona where so many distinguished scholars
of the Imagination sat over the years. Although Laurens never con
tributed to our Journal, he has on several occasions spoken for us at
the Temenos Academy, told us his wise and beautiful Bushman stories,
showed us his films of Africa, its people and its marvellous animals
and wilderness. It was Laurens to whom I turned in Temenos troubles
as a wise and sure defender, and when we founded the Temenos
Academy he became one of our Trustees. It was he who showed
Temenos to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales who had come by
other paths, it seems, to the field of the Great Battle for those sacred
values on which alone any enduring civilization can be established.
Laurens van der Post has left this world for whose soul's good he
did so much. His work will continue to delight future generations who
will never hear the Bushman stories under the stars of Africa, for they
too are gone from the world. I, our Academic Board, and our Trustees,
see it as our task to preserve that ancient sacred view of man as a
spiritual being. That work will continue in other hands when we too
have gone, and must continue as long as the world lasts. □

This content downloaded from 142.3.100.128 on Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:41:02 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms