The rose gardens of the outer reaches of inner space grow thick and wild. They have their manicured cousins, whose sinuous stems have been trained to accept their place and fate, pruned to keep between the lines of the beds and the boundaries of the paths, with all the blooms past their prime, deadheaded to try and renew their frothy beauty some other summer’s day.
The rose gardens of rebellion lay beyond those lands where the Mad Hatters roam. They are past the domain of the paisley princes and the lair of the Praying Mantis Queen. The gates are rusted and the metal has warped. It has rebelled against the shape it was intended to be in and instead taken a form insisted upon by nature and its own desires and failures. One hinge has cracked and the gate swings alarmingly wildly. It has gone its own way. The Garden has declined standards and expectations, it has been allowed to become gloriously messy, individual and wild. The Garden has rebelled against the Conventional Way, yet its paths are not clear, it does not welcome travelers. This garden exists for itself to see what will be without the hands pulling up new growth before that new growth has even revealed itself to be weed or willow, rose or rebellion.
Rebellion is not safe. If you have ventured beyond the reaches of the non-psychedelic mind, then you know this statement to be true. Rebellion is a tricky beast to tame. To long to look beyond the veil, past the mundane world, to travel to the gates of the Rose Garden of Rebellion, to hunt for St Stephen with his rose, to see what kind of flower you are that is planted, but to grow your own way, is a form of rebellion in itself.
Go on. Push against that creaking rusty gate and see what gives. I can’t promise that you will like what you find. I can’t promise you that the rebellion you embrace won’t get you tangled up in roses and vines. I can’t reassure you that your tripping onto the beat path won’t get you pricked by thorns. What I can bet, if I was a betting kind of traveler, is that you will experience a different quality to the light, and that instead of being a generic kind of bloom that grows in the way that it was trained to grow, and the kind of flower you were always meant to be.
Rebellion can be positive or negative. A negative rebellion is a moving away from what is good for you, away from positive growth, and challenging the old and staid. It is throwing that proverbial baby away with the bathwater. As Jimmy Dean once quipped when asked what he was rebelling against, “What ya got?” This kind of rebellion is fun, and perhaps for some is true to themselves and what they want from life and love and the experience of living, but it often ends in tears. This kind of rebellion forces up flowers fast from stony soil, and they often collapse under the weight of their blossoming. Rebellion without direction, without a goal, without hope, without positivity will get you tangled up in vines, and when that giant Goddess comes a stamping into her Garden, she will think you are just another rose that has lost its way, that has trailed too far beyond its proper place, and instead of being a rare and natural beauty, the fuel you imbibe will cut you off at the root.
This kind of rebellion is self defeating, but let’s face it, we all sometimes rebel against ourselves and our better Angels, that is why we visit the garden, to try and get some direction, to amplify the strength of the light that shines it way through the tunnels of despair, so we can see a way forward, sharp and narrow, rare and twisted, through the weeds of distraction and the choking desires of the overgrown flowers of desire of others around us that conflict with our own best interests and growth.
The other kind of rebellion, that type of mental fertilizer that lets us be who we are meant to be, true to ourselves, true to what is Right and Good and Kind, that is the kind of bravery that only the heroic seek out. If you walk into the Rose Gardens of Rebellion, take that left handed path, not the middle way, nor the lawful and restrictive ‘right-handed path’ that you are meant to take. This right handed road is the High Road of Convention that everyone else takes, that leads along the safer roads, and the prescribed paths, thinking and doing and being the things that your folks, your people, your government, your leaders, your gurus and priests say you have to be, you were destined to be. This path leads to the Hundred Acre Woods. It will steer you away from the Rose Garden, and back to safer ground. There is always an out. You never have to go deeper, no matter how much fuel you have dumped on the fire.
I’ll see you on that low road, that Left Handed Path. We will find a place to park our roots and seek some light to shine upon our leaves. I won’t tell you what to do, or where to be, or how to be you. That is for you to find out. If you take my hand I’ll try and lead you to some fertile safe spot to settle down, and then watch as you grow the way you were meant to grow, without being trained along a trellis of rules and laws and demands of others, who propose to know, but just moan and mutter about the ultimate truths contained within, certain texts and weed and gin….but never the ultimate truths contained within. For what is truth, but the random remarks of madmen, fools and those in the dark?
The Rose Gardens of Rebellion may be fraught with danger, you might grow in unexpected ways and directions. You might think you are a Rosa Full Sail with plain pale blooms and a sweet luscious scent or a conventional Rambling Adelaide D’Orleans , but given enough space, enough imagination, you might find you are a totally unique and new cultivar entirely!
Who you would have been without the risk of rebellion, without meeting me in that Rose Garden with its stifling twisted paths, overgrown and with rocky undergrowth and crumbling pathways would have been entirely good enough, but wouldn’t you want to see who you could be if only others did not nail you to the wall, twist your stems around canes, and just when you thought you had flowered and wanted to see what next, cut off your blooms to stick in a vase and show off to the world, anchored, beautiful, but dead inside. Don’t you want to grow your own way?
I took this low path, walked into the Rose Garden, early on in my journey. I have rebelled in good and bad ways. The positive rebellion helped fix some of my old aimless growth. I doused my roots in gin and vodka and let poppies stifle my better blooming. The fuel cut through some of this negative growth and let the light in. Vines had grown round my fingers and twisted them until they went blue and cold. Now I am at least three different roses before breakfast, just like any happy Alice in the Rose Garden might decide she likes to be.
The Goddess stomped along, with her shears in hand, waiting to see if I was the kind of rose that needed cutting and pruning. “You are not a rose at all!” she boomed at she stooped down to investigate what was growing in her gardens. You are just a girl after all! She pulled me up by the boot-roots and lifted me towards the light. It was then that I realized I was free after all and after all, what is positive rebellion other than freedom?
Freedom to be. Freedom to grow. Freedom to decide what is wrong and what is right and what we are going to reject and what we will embrace. Freedom from what we are told to be and do and think, and instead act alongside our better bloomings, our more intelligent flowerings, the best of our gut feelings, and the muttering of our heart. Roses and rebellion are both the outward showings of love, after all. Love for ourselves, for others, for what is right, not what is easy, and for that open road, that free growth, that possibility, of perhaps not a happy ever after, but at least being and doing the best we can to be a force for good. Perhaps it will all come up roses if we act as individuals for the good of the planet, for each other, and for freedom.
“May your rebellion always be steered by good winds!” The Goddess in the golden sandals said to me. “May your feet always find the Good Path!” She bowed her head towards the Earth…”And may the Roses of Rebellion always show their heads to you, and use their thorns to guide you!” All of a sudden I was beyond. I was further. I had gone past the Gardens of Rebellion….and I sat alone and deflowered in a dark place where all the lights had gone out. I had found the roots of evil and it was time to pluck them out.