Apr 10 2013

AE (George William Russell) – Star Teachers

Published by at 9:01 am under Poetry

Star Teachers
by AE (George William Russell)

Even as a bird sprays many-coloured fires,
The plumes of paradise, the dying light
Rays through the fevered air in misty spires
      That vanish in the heights.

These myriad eyes that look on me are mine;
Wandering beneath them I have found again
The ancient ample moment, the divine,
      The God-root within men.

For this, for this the lights innumerable
As symbols shine that we the true light win:
For every star and every deep they fill     
      Are stars and deeps within.

— from Wild Poets of Ecstasy: An Anthology of Ecstatic Verse, Edited by D. J. Moores

/ Photo by SeanC90 /

The stars spread across the night sky have fascinated humans since we first thought to look up. The illuminated night sky is the first campfire, the first kiva, the first movie theater, the first tabernacle. It is the first place of initiation and of awakening self-awareness. Since ancient days, the stars have spoken to us, conjuring stories from our psyches; thus, they teach us of our deep selves.

These myriad eyes that look on me are mine…

These eyes in the night sky that look down upon us, watching the human drama and the unfolding of the human spirit, they are our own eyes. In seeing these heavenly witnesses, we begin to see as they see. Seeing the stars spread across the immense night sky, we know ourselves better, and our minds expand to take in a wider reality.

Wandering beneath them I have found again
The ancient ample moment, the divine,
      The God-root within men.

I love that phrase — “the ancient ample moment.” In the silence beneath the stars, the mind settles, the self-centered self fades, and we enter the present moment. We discover that this moment — right now — is immense, and encompasses the whole universe and the full stretch of time from the long forgotten past to the unknown future. And it all meets here, in the present moment, centered in you. Such a profoundly peaceful meeting of all that is brings us into the awareness of the Divine, the God-root within.

For this, for this the lights innumerable
As symbols shine that we the true light win…

From the esoteric point of view, the light the eyes see, the light of the stars in the night sky, is not the real light. No matter how intensely bright and clear, it is a reflection of the eternal light of consciousness that shines just beneath the surface of all existence. The stars themselves become symbols, representatives, embodying a fragment of that “true light,” reminding the vastness of creation to look within for the real radiance.

For every star and every deep they fill     
      Are stars and deeps within.

Finding that light, we discover that we too shine like the stars within the deep mystery.

AE (George William Russell), AE (George William Russell) poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry AE (George William Russell)

Ireland (1867 – 1935) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

George William Russell was an Irish nationalist and organizer, an essayist, a poet, a painter, and a mystic.

Russell worked for many years with the Irish Agricultural Organization Society (IAOS), a farm and land co-op. He became an important organizer and spokesman for the group, helping to establish local credit unions that would work for the people they served and build local communities. The IAOS stood in opposition to the established banks that answered only to their stockholders in London.

Russell was a close friend of his contemporary, W. B. Yeats.

As with many spiritually-minded people of his era, he was a theosophist, interested in clairvoyance and Eastern mysticism.

He adopted his pen name “AE” for Aeon, to suggest the transcendent quest of the human spirit.

More poetry by AE (George William Russell)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “AE (George William Russell) – Star Teachers”

  1. marrobon 10 Apr 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Ooooh, this one’s a real treat, Ivan. I think it’s best read aloud.
    The sounds just tumble down with an elegant Celtic flourish, like
    a comet’s tail. I don’t even mind about the meaning, though, of course,
    the commentary adds insights to ponder. Maybe later. For now it’s
    enough to bounce these words aloud , share enthusiastically with
    a friend over the phone.
    …..and the breathtaking photo is a perfect match. A double treat.

  2. sobhanaon 10 Apr 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Hi Ivan,

    How are you?

    Extremely profound & very enjoyable poem to read along with your thoughts as usual; it clears a lot of mystery deep within our heavenly bodies as well as ours

    Unfortunately, Ivan modernity light pollution making our vigilant stars as if dying on us … in many areas

    By the way I like the expression of yours “Finding that light, we discover we too shine in the deep mystery”

    Thank you

  3. Therese Monaghan O.P.on 11 Apr 2013 at 7:22 am

    There is much to ponder in the morning’s poem by AE and of course your commentary. I had just finished reading St. Augustine’s meditation on: The Word was made flesh in which he speaks of the source of creation–there is nothing that is not made by God: “This Word through whom everything has been made
    has not itself been made…” So I resonated with AE’s
    phrase: “the God-root within men” I need to spend more time with this poem And I’m glad to be introduced to AE
    Thanks, Ivan

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