The Three Gates

 

The main reason I think up of why I’m a Faelatrist (of a sort) is that fairy tales provide the best language by which I can express my numinous experiences. At least, the fairy tales I’ve read.

Despite being the best symbolic-spiritual “language” though, I’ve still had to wrangle with the language as in…the words.

And I still have trouble anchoring some prominent concepts in available symbolic metaphors: metals, music, monarchy, and many other objects or practices that actually don’t begin with the letter M.

This one is the latest.

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I cannot explain the architecture of the gates yet, because even just calling them gates makes an image out of them that they are not. It’s a shift into a new state of mind, and it opens up to a different space. There is no movement, and there is no space.

The first is Craven’s Gate, which is ironically named because it takes a lot of courage to approach it. It also takes honesty to enter, and love to survive a questant’s stay there. Within the gate is, mostly, suffering: the truths that hurt, but are no less true; the debts unpaid, the pains unhealed. The gate alone sets these notions apart, but there is never room to contain them, and yet it is never empty. You can keep this gate shut, if you must, and many do; but it is an injury to conscience and it will make itself manifest.

The second is Maven’s Gate, by which willpower aligns with effective action and is therefore aptly named. I’ve only just been edging into this, myself. Perhaps this gate represents the notion that we must own our biases, as nobody is an objective observer, and is a call to (borrowing from Joseph Campbell) follow our bliss. This is not only what we are, but what we make.

The third is Haven’s Gate, which is only theoretical to me. It opens upon the alignment of the other two gates, the inner world, the shared world, and the world beyond that. It is everything that exists and is “meant to” be, although I wonder if it’s exactly the same as Craven’s Gate reframed by the consideration that there is no inner world except that which we grant because it’s a natural concept to form in the mind, immutable, but still only a concept. Whether it’s the unknown and unknowable chaos of the inner or outer world, Haven’s is the gate of Fate, or it would be.

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At first, I thought that Craven’s Gate had to be the first stop. Without confronting the contents of that, any approach to Maven’s Gate would be shallow delusion, self-defeating, repressive and oppressive. It might even be that Maven’s Gate is the philosophical enemy to Craven’s Gate because it’s for the sake of approaching Maven’s Gate that anything craven (that would make a craven out of us, anything unwanted but real and right in its place in our lives) is shed.

But the courage and compassion required to approach Craven’s Gate is a manufactured truth, not one discovered. Of the three gates, Maven’s is most purposeful a boundary-setter, and boundaries are healthy. But perhaps what grants people everything needed to approach Craven’s gate is Haven’s doing, as the provider of every notion and thing that is.

Or perhaps I’m wrong because I make of all this up.

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