Welcome to our Summer Review: I hope you like what we have put together. There are some great new voices and a couple of great familiar ones. Two of the contributors are ordinary (or not so ordinary!) Cygnus members: we genuinely welcome contributions from all of you, both in print and on the Cygnus blog. I am also pleased that Watkins is publishing the Seed SistAs’ book The Sensory Herbal Handbook and that we can feature it here. Their message is vitally important to all life on this planet, and it’s one I find personally very comforting and inspiring.
Most of our full-page contributors are women and I think a majority of the books we feature here are by women. Cygnus isn’t Political (with a big P) but I think what we do has always been inclined towards the feminine. We didn’t do so in order to fit in with the current climate: instead we have always known subliminally (or even consciously) that the feminine current is the most important one in the spiritual world. And feminine doesn’t correlate precisely with female. Whatever our gender we can work with energy that is classified as either masculine or feminine.
I don’t mean to boast too much (or maybe I do!) but I think all of us have realized by now that the rest of the world is slowly catching up with us, that Cygnus is a trailblazing community and that – although we feel like outsiders much of the time – we are actually on to something. Physics in particular is now generating theories that sound like they originated in Vedic cosmology. Then there’s mindfulness – a current media obsession, but Thich Nhat Hanh’s Miracle of Mindfulness was first published in 1975 and Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts in 1979. These ideas have been in circulation and we have been discussing them for a very long time.
What I mean is that this can be a solitary path and it might be quite hard to talk about our beliefs with a lot, if not most, of our friends and relatives, but we are in service, we are quietly creating the trail and in the end we will be there for people. Again maybe that sounds like boasting but there’s no glory in it – we are just doing it because it’s right. That’s all that matters and that’s all we need: to know that it’s the right thing and that it’s serving all life on this planet. Every day more people are turning back towards the spiritual life, and I hope that we can help give them directions.
I could say this every time I contribute to the Review, but it’s a tremendous honour to be able to do this for Cygnus and to be a part of Cygnus, which is bigger than any of us individuals. As the outside world gets crazier, Cygnus stands for inclusivity and kindness. The books here will I hope give us the tools to speak up and to serve in a constructive way. As the blossom flowers and the birds sing in the trees, I can get away from the craziness that might overwhelm me and feel like I am on the right track. Maybe then I can trust a bit more that, as Julian of Norwich wrote, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well”.
Sadly our much valued colleague Jordan moved on at the end of January. We miss him already, especially his calm and unflappability. After Geoff Napier sold Cygnus, Jordan stayed on and became the last outward link to Wales. However, even though I sit at a desk in London, I still see our spiritual home as that corner of West Wales where I used to go and visit Geoff and Ann when I saw Cygnus from the other side, from that of the book publisher.
My new colleague Alexandra Schmidt now helps to put the Cygnus Review together, as well as answering the phone and contributing in countless other ways. She is a great asset and her involvement has meant that we are now able to do more online and in terms of communicating with members outside the quarterly Review cycle.
Adam Gordon is the Editor of the Cygnus Review. This letter was published in the Summer 2019 Cygnus Review.