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Reach Out Beyond The Pyre

As the storylines developed and were woven together I was drawn deeper into the historical fabric of this carefully researched book. The strongly drawn characters, shades of fantasy and dramatic action overlaying the real history of the Cathars made for an enjoyable and interesting read. David Berkshire (Amazon.co.uk)

I thought the characters were brilliant, and I loved the link between the different centuries, as well as the switch between perspectives and the interesting use of setting. Eleanor Jones

Direct from the publisher, Austin Macauley or Amazon and your local book store, this exciting new novel moves seamlessly between the 13th and 21st centuries. An absorbing read and the second novel from author, Steve Costello. Steve is nearing completion of a third novel, set in very ancient times and the present. Exploring our timeless position in the universe while following some of the BTP characters.

Beyond The Pyre is set in the south of France and within the human mind. Two young lovers reach out to their future selves. Their task; to help protect an ancient secret that humankind must never see. Two quintessentially evil characters stand out but there are hundreds of others with a different motivation. Some seek to destroy everything; others only want the power of the secret. The flame of the human spirit leads characters living across the centuries down many paths. Find out if their spirits truly connect or was it wishful thinking brought about by hope and fear motivating creative ways to survive.

From the darkness beyond the pyre,

two young lovers reach out to the future.

A malevolent force lurks in the shadows,

seeking to destroy them

and expose their closely guarded secret.

 

Published by Austin Macauley, Beyond The Pyre is available in Digital, Hardback and Paperback formats.

In this exciting new novel . . .

. . .  past, present and future collide. Things the characters never thought about come to life. Pulling them into startling events set in the 13th and 21st centuries. BTP isn’t a ghost story. It is as real as the words you are reading now.

In 13th century France during the time of the crusades against the Cathars, two young lovers call out to the 21st century from Beyond The Pyre. Catharine, an adept spiritual traveller hears the call and realises her connection with Elionor, a 13th century noblewoman. There is a treasure that must survive the centuries and stay out of the human domain. The women are central to the survival of the treasure and they must keep it out of the hands of Les Deux, servants of a dark master.

Historical fact merges with fiction which merges with Spirit and mysticism. This story is as much about the Steve’s spiritual journey as it is a gripping story about survival. BTP is about new relationships, loss of loved ones and the tenacity of the human race to make sense from chaos.

Order a copy from . . .

Amazon

Smashwords 

Barnes & Noble

Waterstones (UK)

Don’t forget your local bookstore. If they don’t have it in stock, they can order for you.

I Changed My Name

The old man sat on a low wall at the edge of a pine forest, staring into the trees, apparently searching.

“Don’t worry about me, my young friend. Tell your story, I’m listening.”

The younger man didn’t look so sure. Such was the look of concentration on his old friends’ face. Still, he joined him on the wall and told his story.

“Pre-teens, I thought my childhood was no different to my peers. But it was, and I didn’t realize until my teenage years; why would I? Yes, a few things showed during our childhood but nothing of great note, at least nothing I understood. All that changed as I matured. My parents were not so careful with their words and I saw things myself. It’s a pity that the version of events around me originated on supposition, hearsay and even the church people followed. My inherited world view was not right, and I set about fixing it with limited tools.

My best childhood friend and his siblings lived in the dark, to thrive or not. Mum gave them no attention I ever saw, only orders to leave the house, “go out and play.” Dad was never there, he worked at British Aerospace. a respectable and well-paid place of employment. They split up and mum moved away with the children. My best friend disappeared from my life. It hurt.

I saw him again ten years later. Stood at a bar drinking alone. I didn’t recognize him at first. When I did, he had little to say except, “I’m a bin man, I collect the garbage.” I think that was true in more ways than his employment situation. He had an older sister by exactly one year. They shared the same birthday on the last day of October. Estranged from his younger brother who I remembered as the kid who always yearned for kindness. He put his arm in a wasp nest to get our attention one day. A few years later he took his life.

Where was my friend? He was the one with joy and hope in his heart. Not there at that bar with a beer in his hand. That was somebody else.

A few years earlier and a rare occasion, he invited me to dinner. We had sausages and chips. I think I was seven or eight. That meal was the best, and I was excited to tell my family all about it when I got home. Mum and nana were not impressed. I was a catholic and had eaten meat on a Friday. I sinned and would have to go to confession the next day. I didn’t understand why my friend, a protestant could eat meat and I couldn’t. That’s just the way it was.

Filled with dread at attending confession, and petrified of priests and nuns. They could sentence me to hell if they chose. “Thou shalt not, thou shalt not,” still echoes through my mind when I think about them.

Christmas day was a time of great joy. Home was like a toy store. At least until we turned thirteen when toys became new clothes. The time for play stopped, and the focus turned to the future. “What will you be when you grow up? British Aerospace pays well, and it’s a great place to work. You should aim for that. It won’t be difficult to get a mortgage on the wages they pay.”

I didn’t much like the sound of that, but I did what they said and got the dream job. I didn’t like it and after five years, I quit to go travelling. I planned to leave on the first of September and found myself homeless and living in a spare room at a friend of a friend’s house two months before the planned start of my new life. Nobody at home would speak; they said I had let them down. That was a tough pill to swallow.

A few short years before I bought the plane ticket to my freedom, late in my final year at school, I watched as a man, dead from a heart attack was carried off the train I waited to board. I can’t explain why I experienced such a wonderful explosion of light and joy as I watched. Then there was a switch. Listening to other people gossiping about how sad the situation was, I heard somebody say the mans’ name was Stephen. He was fifty years old and had worked at British Aerospace.

Following that, I insisted people called me Steve and vowed that my fate would not follow Stephen’s. No disrespect intended.

I became a volunteer youth worker. OK, I was only sixteen so, I worked with pre-teens. I loved that work and knew it would play a huge part in my future. Excited about this, I took the idea I should go to college to my parents. To prepare for a university degree. They said, “no.” I had a job at Aerospace and I would take it.

The trade union rescued me a year after I started when I became the youngest ever representative. Responsible for looking after protecting the rights of my colleagues. That didn’t go so well with the management. I was ‘advised’ to quit voluntary youth work and the union if I wanted to realise a bright future with the company.

I left to travel after my twenty-first birthday and couldn’t believe the well wishes, gifts and tears given openly by my colleagues. It still brings a lump to my throat when I think about it. What happened during my travels is another story and you know my friend that I went to university. I became a qualified community and youth worker and the first in my family to get a university degree. Even though it was not supposed to be for the likes of us.”

The old man pulled his attention away from the forest and a beautiful bright smile beamed.

“You challenged many familial models of reality that had passed through the generations and paved the way for others to follow similar paths. Look at you now, you did what people thought impossible. You have grown beyond recognition and all because you had the courage and conviction to follow your heart.

Don’t be complacent though. You never know when one of those outdated models of reality will come back into your life. Be vigilant my young friend and always follow your intuition. It knows where you need to go.

Modern Appliances

“Do you remember that scene in the kitchen at your home when you were seven years old?”

“Funny you should mention that my friend. It came in a dream a few days ago. I had forgotten it until then. Now I remember it as though it were yesterday; fifty years ago yesterday.”

“Don’t keep me waiting my young friend.”

The younger man laughed and looked back into his past to the scene featuring his mother and younger sisters. Just tall enough to lean on the ‘twin-tub’ washing machine. He stared out of the window at the blue sky and sunshine reflecting from the windows of the houses on the new estate. Mother was laying down rules, rules that would become integral to his being.

“I can’t remember those rules, but I know they are in here somewhere.” He tapped his chest. “The problem is, the world has changed and most of those rules have become obsolete. They became so many years ago and I know I deleted a few because doing so brought about conflict and ill-feeling. Mother, I’m afraid, took things personally, she didn’t see the big picture that became my life and the path I had to follow.”

“Such as?”

“Oh, my belief going to confession was an unnecessary ritual. I used to invent sins I’d committed, so I had something to offer the priest. Also, I objected going to High Mass on a Sunday. Delivered in Latin, I didn’t understand a word.”

“So, you didn’t like the church?”

“It wasn’t as simple as that. The priests and nuns frightened me; they wielded terrible power to strike me down to the depths of hell for my blasphemous thoughts. Thoughts that left an indelible stain on my soul.”

“Do you still feel that way?”

The young man laughed again, with much humour.

“No, no, far from it. I see every place of worship as a sanctuary where we can reach out to our higher selves. I know my childhood thoughts have left no permanent marks on my soul. I am as I am.”

“What are these other rules you mentioned?”

“There lies a problem. I remember adult discussions about work that no longer hold true. Debate about how life should run. You know? Get a good education, work for a local employer, get married, have children, work more, retire, die.

People still live this way because they don’t want to question the status quo. It’s not how we’re supposed to live. There is no individual blueprint globally available.”

“That’s a bold statement.”

“Perhaps, but only for those who follow the path of another rather than the path of their soul.”

“Please continue my young friend.”

“Sorry, I’m looking forward to getting back to my work. Later perhaps.

The young man walked through the light, whistling a joyful tune, sending waves of love and gratitude in his wake.

A Wonderful Place

Vishen Lakhiani, the man who founded Mindvalley came up with a great word to describe rules that can be bent, changed or even completely discarded. That word is Brules and defined as B*** S*** rules. So, with that in mind, I make no apologies for not editing this story and ignoring some basic grammatical Brules. Hope that doesn’t stop you from reading 🙂 S

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Looking out across the savanna, the young man could see giraffes and marveled at their incredible grace and beauty. Far away to his left, the trail of dust left by a herd of wildebeest and zebra drifted and settled in new places. A pair of warthogs splashed in the ever-decreasing water hole after several elephants enjoyed an evening shower before going back to graze in the nearby bush. A flock of starlings appeared to fly into the setting sun.

“You’ve discovered a wonderful place to share a few moments my young friend. What brought you here?”

Before sitting, the older man tested the dead tree by the waterside. Satisfied it would take his weight, he made himself comfortable and indicated a place for his friend.

“Giraffes are on the endangered list for the first time. At least that’s what I read somewhere. But look at them; they seem blissfully unaware of any danger.”

“Humankind is their only real enemy; but I sense you aren’t here to discuss the possible extinction of another beautiful species.”

“You’re right, though concerned, I simply chose this as a place to think and reflect on the day I stepped into the sun.”

“Not literally I hope.”

The young man laughed.

“No, far from it. I suppose I should’ve said, stepped into the light. Yes, that’s a better fit.

Back in the summer of 1995 I was working and living far from the land of my birth. Married with no children, few friends and no life to speak of outside work.

When my workday finished at 10.00 pm on Friday 11 August, I was excited because the car was loaded for a road-trip and two weeks of Psychology seminars at a university in England. After five minutes at the wheel, I crossed from Germany into The Netherlands and noticed a subtle shift in my mood. Difficult to describe except to say that I started feeling light.

The further away from base I drove, the lighter I felt. Interesting too that although I’d given myself more time than I needed for the trip; I had very few breaks, no sleep and didn’t once review the information I had about the Psychology seminars; despite my intention. Whatever had me, made everything seem irrelevant. The feeling was wonderful.

It was early morning, a little after dawn when I decided to take the scenic coastal route from Dover to Brighton. I knew most of the route but had forgotten how beautiful it was. I felt like a child seeing the ocean for the first time.

Still before 8.00 a.m. I turned off the route to an area of dunes and a traffic free space to park, lay out my sleeping bag and take in the clean air. The feeling of light didn’t leave me for an instant; it was so persistent that as tired as my body should’ve been, the thought of sleeping didn’t occur.

Even after arriving at the university, I couldn’t sleep despite having until 6.00 pm to do as I pleased. So, I walked, got to know the block world that was to be my home for the next two weeks and completely forgot to find out where the campus restaurant was.

Fortunately, the man in distress was rescued by a beautiful woman who escorted me to the restaurant and although she had eaten, she offered to keep me company. It was like sitting in a very bright room with the sun in my eyes. I could see her but everybody else was shadowlike.

We found a bench outside afterwards and shared the trivia of our lives before she dug deeper for the things that mattered. I went along happily and not one pause to wonder why until the sides of our hands touched and a dynamic spark exploded through my body.

Not sexual at first but incredibly lustful. Something took hold of me and it wasn’t ever going to let me drift back to the darkness I came from. Somehow, I knew that.

Later that evening, we sat on a hill between the concrete blocks watching the stars and were gifted with the most amazing display of shooting stars either of us had ever seen. Our vibrations were up there with the stars and stayed there throughout the following week.

Something deep inside of me awoke and there was no way I was going to turn my back on it.

Eight months later, she and her amazing one-year old daughter were living with me. Shooting stars never stopped and five-months later, she was pregnant, and our son was born in the following summer, five days after my birthday. What an amazing gift.

I gave up the free accommodation that came with my job and we moved to the nearby Netherlands where we made so many true friends it still brings a tear when I think about their outstanding generosity and friendship.

In March 1999 I crashed. Quite literally; I didn’t notice a small dent on the cycle track as I headed home on my rollerblades at dusk. Falling backwards, I kicked my left knee with my right skate and fractured the top of my tibia.

I’d had a few sporting injuries before that and I was slightly happy with this one because my work paid me to recover at home with my partner and our two amazing children.

Then darkness began to fall. I didn’t recover as expected and by the time our second son was born seventeen months later, I was sitting in a wheelchair. A doctor told us to expect that I wouldn’t recover, and only strong opiates would manage the pain.

My family shared their unconditional love our friends rallied, and I knew the doctor was not going to be right on this occasion. Nevertheless, many dark days followed, my pay went to half and after twelve months down to zero and we were forced back to the UK. The most painful decision we ever had to make and even though we also had a second daughter by this time, the world felt like a very dark place.

I loved my partner and our children but had no love whatsoever for myself. On the scale of 0 to 1000, I think I vibrated below 100.

Positive distractions fell into our laps and learning took place. I recognised fifteen years ago where I need to be today, but minor health setbacks kept popping up. Each time they did, new learning took place and I grew. The light beckoned once more; it had only asked that I consider a few things; including what it felt like to be told that I had MS which was later disproved.

I have always been drawn to writing, speaking, enabling and today, the light is very, very bright and I am drawn and guided to the place I am meant to be.

In his book *Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, a psychotherapist called John Welwood summed up where I am today,

“Spiritual work focuses more on what is intrinsically right: how we have infinite resources at the core of our nature that we can cultivate to live more expansively. If psychological work thins the clouds, spiritual work invokes the sun.”

I was in darkness was shown the light and despite clouds cast over my life, that light never leaves. It’s where I and all of us are meant to be. The learning didn’t follow a curve, rather a series of vertical leaps and the hands of the universe never left my back.

So, if I am to sum up three things you might take away from my beautiful and continuing journey; they are these:

As dark as it may get, the light is always there. The Universe has your back

If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anybody. Reach out for love or above.

Trust your intuition (Divine Wise-Self); it knows what you need. Be patient and listen.”

The young man took a breath and absently wiped away a tear as he turned to his friend; who had gone. He left with the sunset which reminded the young man that the sun would rise again the next day.

So many questions

Listening to Lyre Le Temps on a loop is a great way to connect. It’s wonderful swing music that at the right volume you can find a partner or a few and dance the night or day away. Reduce the volume just a little, put on a good set of headphones, write and be amazed at how the ideas flow and your fingers dance across the keyboard. You think I’m joking? Try it and find out for yourself.

That said, I’d better give you something that matters otherwise you might think I’m a fraud. Fact is, I’m a lot like you. We are beings of planet earth living in the twenty first century and it’s way past time we stood up and made a difference. You see there are amazing things going on in our world. Sadly though, there’s other stuff we may not approve of. But who are you or I to judge? How much attention are you paying to your own life? Is it right to judge? Are our judgments self-reflections? So many questions.

Well, I have a few too, but you’re not necessarily going to like them. Do you know somebody who judges? Guilty as charged, I’ve caught myself judging him too. My guess is that I have something he wants, and he has a little of something I want. How often do we catch ourselves envying somebody else because they own a flash car while you don’t? More time to party while we must work?

This stuff is rife through our societies and all the way to what we call the top. Presidents threatening leaders of other countries with nuclear weapons. “I’m bigger than you and I could blow you to pieces if I felt like it.” Ouch Mr President, what about the families who would do away with guns and arms in a heart-beat if it were up to them? Would you really obliterate innocent people who have a tough enough time feeding their families, never mind putting up with a regime they might not like?

Playground threats make none of us better than the next kid. We are all learning and growing in our own connected ways. Yes, connected, like it or not. It’s the way of things so there’s no point beating me up about it. Switch off your ego for five minutes, open your heart; you’ll see what I mean. But don’t forget to leave your baggage at the door. It’ll be there when you get back, I promise. You may find a new perspective on how to deal with things though.

No, I’m not talking about Zen meditation or a course that will cost next months food allowance. Ten minutes each day (twenty if you can spare the time from Social Media) spent in a relaxed state of perspective shifting meditation and no fees involved. Come on, give it a go. Somebody might thank you. Your Higher Self would applaud your efforts and celebrate.

There is plenty of meditational material around on The Internet, free guided meditations, instructions, relaxing music to accompany your own meditations. Give it a go; it makes a huge difference. If you can wait a few days until I get the technical elements sorted out, I will share one of my own daily meditations with you.

Send an email to authorstevecostello@gmail.com and I’ll send you the link as soon as it’s ready.

With Love, Peace and Light,

Steve

 

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