If You Want

by Dorothy Walters


Original Language English

If you want to feel
the sweet light
flow over your body,
then give yourself to light.

If you want
to taste the secret honey,
you must allow your throat
to open.

Moth to candle,
straw to flame,
you are nothing but
materials for burning.

-- from The Ley Lines of the Soul: Poems of Ecstasy and Ascension, by Dorothy Walters

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/ Photo by Jeff Hunter /


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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Dorothy Walters is always a favorite with the Poetry Chaikhana. Like honey, this brief poem of ecstasy restores and satisfies, all with a sweet golden touch. Her new book Ley Lines of the Soul is a collection of "poems of ecstasy" by one who has lived for years with the sacred Kundalini experience. Rich material to explore here...

These images, light and honey, appear so often in the poetry and writing of mystics...

If you want to feel
the sweet light
flow over your body,
then give yourself to light.


Light imagery is used so often in sacred writings that it is easy to assume it is just one more airy spiritual metaphor, but there is a reason all traditions speak of light. Often, mystics in ecstatic states describe an awareness of light that is brighter than a sunny afternoon. This light is perceived as being a living radiance that permeates everything, everywhere, always. This light is immediately understood to be the true source of all things, the foundation on which the physicality of the material world is built.

This light is not merely a visual phenomenon, either; it is tactile, permeating, embracing, profoundly soothing, revitalizing, healing. Many experience the sense of being bathed in this light, feeling it "flow over your body."

But how do we come to experience it? It is not something we acquire. It is not something we hold. It is not even something, properly speaking, that we "experience." It is much too big to be contained by the individual. We can, however, participate in its radiance. We give ourselves to the light.

If you want
to taste the secret honey,
you must allow your throat
to open.


Sweetness too is often used in language of mystics. Not merely sweetness, but a sweet, vivifying liquid: honey, wine, milk, nectar... Again, this is not merely poetic metaphor; it is real. A subtle, though tangible, flowing substance is experienced as an ethereal sweetness upon the palette and in the back of the throat during some states of deep ecstasy.

In India this is often called amrita, in the Mediterranean mystery traditions it was called ambrosia.

But how do we taste this sweet nectar? We must open to our capacity for sweetness.

Moth to candle,
straw to flame,
you are nothing but
materials for burning.


These final lines can be troubling or supremely reassuring. They seem to evoke an image of self-sacrifice; worse: wanton self-destruction. So why then do we instinctively breathe easier reading these lines? The poem, up to this point, has been reminding us that we don't get the greatest gifts, we give ourselves to them instead. There is a terrible burden in constantly trying to buttress the petty self with experiences and acquisitions, when what we so want in our heart of hearts is to yield and open to our true radiant nature. The myriad ways we've learned to define and insulate ourselves, they do serve a purpose, however -- as fuel for that holy fire of self-liberation.



Recommended Books: Dorothy Walters

Marrow of Flame : Poems of the Spiritual Journey The Ley Lines of the Soul: Poems of Ecstasy and Ascension Unmasking the Rose: A Record of a Kundalini Initiation A Cloth of Fine Gold: Poems of the Inner Journey Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening
More Books >>





If You Want