walking, between you and your brother in life.JAMES LEITH MACBETH BAINLondon
Theosophical Publishing Company
161 New Bond Street, W.
I WRITE this brief treatise for the coming of our race. This race, the first-fruits of our growth, whose rising is even now amid us, will be of a more highly electric nature than we. They will therefore be able to draw more nutriment from the sun than we. They will be children more of the sun than of the earth. With most of us it is still the other way about. As children of the sun they will possess many fine spiritual and psychic powers that are as yet either possessed, or in embryo, only by the few, or are still unknown to us. They will be at home in the air as on the land, and in the fulness of time they will possess the self-generated power of flight. They will speak to, and commune freely with the other children of the sun in our cosmos by telepathy. Surely this is the dawn of the Great Day of the coming of the Son of Man in new powers, manifesting and borne along the open sky of life in these children of the Sun, the clouds of the new heaven and the new earth wherein dwells the righteousness we yet pant after.
To the Medical Profession
I offer this little work in all good faith and kindly feeling to the profession, trusting that whether they acknowledge it or not they may learn somewhat of good through it for the use of their clients, and for the use of their own bodies. For, believe me, brother-man, I do feel for and with you. Yes, I sympathise with you as victims of a system which in your heart of hearts you disown, but through which you have to win your children’s bread. Indeed I pity you more even that your patients, and ye know even better than I how much is implied in that! There is only one other profession I pity as I pity yours, and that is the priestly. For it is not right that the healer of body or soul should have to make his living out of such sacred services. It is in the iniquity of our present social system. May the knowledge and wisdom and love of the Great Healer be given to you; and verily ye are worthy, for as a profession there is none to compare with yours for a great heroism and a self-sacrificing devotion to duty.
Indeed I have every hope for the future of the medical profession. For in these days there are sure signs, and that even in relation to our present subject, that the curative powers of Nature’s finer forces are being seriously studied and applied in the profession.
It has, you know, been generally recognised for many years now, that the germs of phthisis are destroyed by one or more hours’ exposure to the heat of the sun’s rays.
But what heliotherapy has accomplished in the cure, e.g., of all forms of internal and external tuberculosis, is better known in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and even in Russia, than in our dear old-fashioned land.
Thus, in 1911, Dr Rollier, a Swiss physician of Leysin, treated 369 cases of tuberculosis by the action of the sun’s rays. Of these 284 were healed, 48 improved, on 21 there was no change, and only 4 percent died.
The same physician exhibited, in 1912, before the Society of Physicians, at Leysin, many photos, showing how all manner of tuberculosis of the bones, fistulas, etc., has been completely cured by heliotherapy.
These facts I give in passing, by way of a hint at what is possible to the processes of healing we advocate in this brochure.
The Barefoot League
BY “barefoot” I do not necessarily mean unshod, but the baring of the foot as much as possible to the sun and the air. For there are conditions on the streets and roads in our climate when it is not well even for the more robust to go unshod.
Our League is the general fellowship of all true lovers of Liberty. There is no written roll of membership and no printed list of officials in our League. But it is none the less real for all that, and if only you are a true lover of freedom you belong to it.
For, if you are a lover of freedom, you are, prima facie, a lover of Nature, and you are certainly ready to follow Nature as your guide in all the ways of her life, as far as that is possible to your present circumstances.
Nor am I the founder of this League. But He, the good Father of our spirit, the giver of all our joy in Life, is the maker of this League.
And she, the good Mother of our earthly days, even Demeter, the rich, the bountiful, the generous nourisher or our flesh, she is our presiding Genius, watching over all out ways.
Ay, and she cares for us well, and will care for us well, if only we will allow her to do so.
THE BAREFOOT LEAGUE
THERE can be no doubt of it, the Barefoot League has a gospel of Health for the jaded men and women of our day.
I have waited long so that I might, through abundant experience, be absolutely sure of the utter goodness of what I have to give on this matter before writing a special treatise on it.
(By the way, I know of no other treatise that has been written on this subject. Do you?)
Not that I have not already written of the virtues of walking barefoot in more than one of my books, but in them I merely speak of the healthful uses and delights of the practice in a brief and passing way.
But now we are to have a quiet little talk together, as sensible, sane, truth-loving, and life-loving men and women, on this most fascinating subject, and I can promise you that your interest will not flag during our tete-a-tete.
The Lover of Freedom
Well, now, as you will guess, I have always been a lover of freedom, a lover of the wild woods and the great hills, their rushing streams and hidden pools and all the tameless children thereof.
By good luck, let us say, through verily it is more than luck, I was born in the very heart of the Highlands of Scotland, close by the Pass of Killiecrankie, which beautiful spot is indeed the geographical centre of Scotland.
And here all the children were barefoot for about five months in the year. I still feel the weight of those heavy boots when cold winds at last counselled their use, for we had to put off this evil day as long as we were allowed to do so.
And so it is with all children. I have, e.g., got the children at the Vegetarian Home for Destitute Children in Liverpool to go through their dances barefoot, and their first question to me on such occasions generally is: May we go barefoot? And this even in the coldest days of winter, when, however, our caution, whether rightly or wrongly, would not always concede to them the desire of their young blood.
Now, when I grew up to manhood I did not give up the practice. I loved the touch of the earth, and I used every opportunity to satisfy this love. Thus, when I lived among the armailli of the Mountains of the Gruyere, I seldom, during these years, had a shoe on my foot during the summer.
What the delights of climbing these grassy slopes, whose steeps run up thousands of feet, clothed with flowers whose scent and colour can be perceived miles away, or of climbing along the sides of the warm rocks barefoot, I cannot tell you. This theme alone would demand a whole poem.
And here I would give a very valuable hint to all mountain- climbers: the bare foot so clings to the dry rock, provided it is dry, that a man can thus go quite easily over surfaces where the mountain goat cannot follow him. (This I proved over and over again to be true, for these sure-footed creatures used to follow me wherever they could, carrying, by the way, a nice supply of sweet warm milk for me, which gentle kindliness I certainly had not the heart to refuse!)
Thus have I so carried the practice on through my youth and manhood, that, even during these mature years, when I go out to take my morning ramble to meet the dawn among the gentle valley or to climb a mountain, I never think of taking even a sandal out with me, and, I vouch for it, I never feel the want of them.
But Not on the Hills Alone
But not on the hills alone and not on the high road only, and not only at the hour when mankind is yet asleep, do I venture thus forth in so unconventional a way. Verily no.
For some years past I have tasted the delight and realised fully the energy of the joy of drinking in the sun’s heat by walking on the hot pavements of London and other cities, and even Edinburgh, the Athens of all good taste! This I have done for miles on end, and instead of feeling tired at the finish, my body was simply aglow with radiant energy.
I may say here that usually no inconvenient notice is taken of me. Yet I would not have you understand that I now suggest that it would be well for you to follow me in this particular detail. That is a matter for your discretion. And I have found in my own experience that there are times when I can do so with ease and real pleasure, and there are times when I do not care to do so. I simple give these facts as my due to you, so that you may draw your own conclusions from them.
The Good Use of Example
Now there are no end of good people who are ready for this practice, and who only want the support of one fellow in order to carry it out. They are not yet free from the dominion of Madam Grundy,* and they are still ruled by the false god “on dit.”
This is our world-god without question, and only the one here and there is as yet emancipated in any degree from her many petty and paltry and insane tyrannies. She is the one power that any pioneer of a new blessing for mankind has to reckon with. And if he has not conquered and slain her in his own heart, he is not yet fit to be a pioneer of any good to man.
The good use of example for such earnest lovers and would-be followers of liberty has been over and over again forced on my observation.
I first saw it at the Vegetarian Summer School at Rhos-on-Sea, where Bertram Theobald — the bold and gallant wight — and I, introduced the practice of walking abroad barefoot, even along the promenade of Colwyn Bay.
Soon we had not a few followers, who first, Nicodemus-like — and of whom our dear Albert Broadbent, of beautiful memory, was the notable one — followed us under cover of the grounds, but soon ventured forth under the very eye of the British philistines at home, i.e., by the seaside!
The same thing happened both at last year’s and at this year’s Summer School at Brighton, so well planned, and generously, by Mr Massingham. Very soon I had a body of followers, young men and women, including French and German, whose delight it was to walk from one end of Brighton Promenade to the other, barefoot, thus setting the lesson of the great liberty of Life, i.e., of the Spirit of God, before those blase’ crowds. And you will agree with me that, as pioneers of a fuller way of life, they had begun their ministry even where the old enemy hath her seat. Doubtless they felt this to be so, and it only whetted their ardour of propagand. For my part, I had nothing to do with the prompting of this raid into the high preserves of the British philistine. It was entirely of spontaneous growth.
Our School was at Preston Park, and it was out regular habit to walk thence to the sea every night — a distance of over a mile — and back, barefoot, through the busiest parts of Brighton; and more than one scholar did we convoy to the station, giving them probably the first barefoot escort in the history of Brighton.
One day we walked to the Downs and back, a distance altogether about seven miles. And when you consider that some of these walkers were most delicately nurtured women, who had probably never before their visit to this School walked outside their own bedroom barefoot, and that they declared themselves to be fresher at the end of the walk than at the beginning, you will agree with me that it looks all right. Indeed, one of these had come to the School purposely to be treated by me for diabetes! And, to see that bonnie young woman step out so lightly over those miles of warm asphalt, one would say that surely she said good-bye to all disease!
What struck me most in my observation of these walkers was the marvellous change in the colour of the skin and the expression of the eye, and the quickness of this change. After one or two days of this vie de joie, the skin would become clear and clean and alive in the loveliness of the fine pink of health, and the eye would become deeply intense in its peculiar colourings and lights.
Why this Practice is a Sure Beautifier of the Body
The reason for this is, of course, that through the soles of the feet, which are the best absorbers of the finest of solar energy, these young bodies had been drinking in the very strength of our sun’s body while his heat was being radiated from the asphalt or Downs, which were simply charged with it. And so it came to pass that very soon their bodies were charged through and through with the most potent of all physical vivifiers; every call was alive with its virtue, and, through the intensity and swiftness of these vibrations, the activity of the whole economy of their nature was so heightened that really wondrous effects in the beauty of health were soon evident to all who had seeing eyes.
“Oh, the joy of touching the earth! Oh, the delight to feel your tread, your grip of earth!” was the invariable utterance of every initiate after the first assay.
And so it truly is, for the earth loves the tread of the human foot, and the foot loves the contact of the earth. For here, I feel, there is a very serious service of Love. Ay, every tread of the bare foot of man or beast is to the body of Demeter, our good Mother-Earth, as a kiss of filial love, and is grateful to her. And through this tread we give to her of our human virtues or magnetisms and she, in return, gives us of her virtues even in her kiss.
For she loves those who love her body. Ay, she loves and blesses them well. And she gives them all the choicest good they are able to receive from her rich bounty. And they are blessed indeed.
Thus do we receive through the bare foot, not only the finest of the sun’s energy, but also the virtues of the body of our earth in all its manifold richness and power. Much would I now say concerning this were I qualified. But I am no physicist in the ordinary sense of the schools, and I leave it to those who are qualified to do so. But the physicist who can so discourse must be, first, a free lover of Nature, and, also, an open- minded student of the finer forces of her life, both occult and manifest. To such I can surely promise in this realm an inexhaustible wealth of beauty whose sane sweetness will never cease to fascinate and satisfy.
Such are the rewards Truth offers to her lovers. And only such lovers are worthy of the name of Scientist.
I have, as a matter of course, always encouraged the habit of going bare-headed and of wearing the hair according to the mode of Nature’s beautiful toilette, and many have I got to do so; for this also is in the way of beauty, and that is, unfailingly, of health also.
I am very sure that we men lose much through cropping our hair, not only in beauty, but also in health. For the hair is the natural collector of the finger magnetisms of our air for the service of this body, and the weight of a full poll of hair is one of Nature’s means for preserving the poise of the body by causing us to hold the head erect. This latter idea I heard first expressed by Philip Oyler. To him, the worthy apostle of our fuller health, I owe it to say so.
But all cannot be said for the wearing of no head-covering that can be said for the Barefoot League. For it is possible that the sun’s rays, when very intense, may hurt the brain, especially that of the more finely evolved of our race, whose skull is often very thin. And, even though there be no sun- stroke, a hurtful consuming of the fine magnetism may well be the result of too much exposure of the head to the intense rays of the sun. Now the lovers of nature and her freedom of life are invariable of his more highly evolved order. And so in this matter there is reason for care.
Yet I have never found that there is any such risk in the most free use and exposure of the feet to the solar energy. Certainly I do not think it could be so in our country, and I do not speak of the conditions in other lands.
But this we would say, lest any ardent soul might be inclined to overdo even this good, and no doubt even that is possible: always be guided in this practice, as in all other physical practices, by the word of the Genius of your body’s health. For, not my word but the word of this Holy one, must be your final guide and appeal.
And of this be sure: It will always speak well and true of your health, if only you listen quietly to Its hidden voice.
Furthermore, I would say that I can quite imagine a state of the nerval body so fine or delicate that a supernormal sensitiveness would render it unfit to endure the strength or speed of these intense solar vibrations. And in such a state it would be most unwise to persist in a course of radiant nutrition which the body in normal health can alone endure.
Finally, for those who would run as few risks as possible in these exercise, a very safe rule is: Bare feet in summer, bare head in winter.
We must Defy Madam Grundy
Now, if we would walk in this way of freedom and of health we must defy the conventional world. If we would go in for this heroic mode of living we must be heroic. There is no other way.
For it does require true heroism on the part of sensitive people — and only sensitive people will or can respond to this call — to be the evangelists of our holy Mother’s sweet life to the benighted heathen of Mayfair, to the feeble, blase’, overfed loafers of Hyde Park, to the death-bound, unhappy prisoners and slaves of our social wonts and ways who swarm out fashionable promenades, or to the debased hooligans of our slums in country as well as in town.
Ay, that’s where the preaching of this sweet gospel of a fuller life has to be done, for there is most needed, and not in the highland glen, the lonely shore, or the mountain slope.
And only they who have been ordained of her, and have been empowered of her blessed Love, can be the missionaries of her will of Life to these her needy and unhappy children. But truly wondrous is the strength of will that comes to you as the sent of Nature, if only you persist in doing this most holy service in the sweet spirit of service, i.e., in the will of the Great Love, and not in the personal will.
Do you not then feel that all those to whom you thus preach by object-lesson the gospel of the fuller and freer life are indeed as poor, little, weary children, victims of many a great wrong, and do you not actually see them as such? Yes, you do. And so, by and by, you get that you do not care a straw what these ignorant little people may say or think of you.
And this is indeed something to have attained to, and it is well.
No one seeing me walking comfortably through Hyde Park’s crowd barefoot would believe what I suffered, ay, for years, from this natural shyness and sensitiveness to people’s remarks. Why, I would make a long detours in those days rather than pass any man or woman whatsoever. For I was foolishly sensitive in this respect. And it was only by getting to realise that these people are, in truth, only grown-up children that I became as I am towards them today.
True, the attitude of the crowd towards one has greatly altered within the past few years. This I attribute to the same rationalising, sweetening, softening and enlightening power that is manifesting in our day through all manner of humanitarianism and liberating democratic movements, first and root of all which is the great movement of our womanhood for the emancipation of her powers of Life from the bonds of the hoary night of a barbaric past.
Certain Hints to our Neophytes
Certainly I would advise beginners to wear sandals on their bare feet when going into the public ways. For they have yet to consider the gaze of many eyes, and to a sensitive the may, in accumulative flood, be most trying and even hurtful. Now the wearing of sandals greatly softens this gaze.
Indeed, if the sandal is becoming, the foot well formed, and the gait light and graceful, the general attitude will be one of approval and, not infrequently, envy in hot weather. How often has the postman, and even “the bobbie,” toiling along in the regulation heavy iron-shod boots and warm blue coat, said to me by their eyes, if not actually by their lips: “I wish I could do as you!” Tramway conductors and other municipal officials, and employees in great houses of business where I am well known, have so often, when I have remarked: “Don’t you envy me?” replied eagerly: “Yes, we would that we could do as you!” Just imagine this testimony from the stolid-faced employees of such high places of conventionality as the Army and Navy Stores, and yet it has been a commonplace in my experience!
The sandal that looks best on the bare foot is the open black-leather sandal with the thong between the great and other toe, and here it is important to produce the best appearance possible.
I would also advise out neophytes, especially ladies, not to venture out alone in the public ways; for alas, our noble British youth still considers it his right to give specially kindly attentions to women when he safely may. And such attentions are not to be courted by delicately bred and sensitive women. Let them find a fellow to go with them. Fellowship means strength.
Also, let them avoid holidays or such times as the mob are at leisure, especially Sunday, when the demon of English respectability and high religiosity flaunts its unloveliness everywhere, unabashed even by its own hideousness.
Indeed, if you would walk thus on the busy streets of any city, the best time to choose is undoubtedly the hours of business, when men are too busy to notice you. But to those of our League to may venture thus abroad and alone, I could counsel, in the case of any undesirable attention being paid them, a quiet, serious demeanour of gait and countenance — a looking neither to the right hand nor the left, and no recognition whatsoever of the attention paid, for “entre nous,” in our smileless land a smileless countenance is a real asset! Just let these poor little children whistle or shout as much as they like. Heed it not, and they will soon tire of aiming at a target they cannot hit. Here I have used the word English and not British with intent. For I have always found that such gentle attentions are lavished more in England than in Scotland or Ireland or Wales. Need I assure you that I say so under the bias of no national prejudice? I have also found the Germans more generous in this kindness than the French or Italians, who are far too courteous to notice even what to them may be outre’.
A Curious Position
I shall never forget the expression on the face of a very finely groomed Irish Captain of the King’s body-guard, whom I had frequently met at his dinner-table or in his salon, where we always fraternised most cordially.
I was speeding like the wind on a hot day, barefooted and bareheaded, with my coat over my arm, across St. James’s Park, when he appeared bolt before me. Really, one hardly knew what to do to relieve his embarrassment. His look so plainly said: What shall I do? What ought I to do? What can I do?
But I am usually very ready in resource, so I just gave him a kindly wink and passed on.
This knowing wink is a times invaluable. When I first began this unconventional practice on the streets of London, the police could not but take note, and this notice might have assumed proportions rather embarrassing to me were it not for this friendly wink. It is as much as to say: “As long as a man can wink he is all there!” Without any question, it said so to the bobbies. Yes, there is a good use in the wink!
The enthusiast is always inclined to overdo a good thing. And for those who are on in years before they have begun this exercise, there may be a risk of overdoing it at first, overcharging, as it were, the body with this fine but most potent energy, and so drawing hurt from a source that should only yield good. And I would therefore caution such to watch in this appetite of the body, and to be guided by this sure guide.
But what we have to watch against above all else is not to let the feet get chilled, and this can easily be done by walking on any damp or clammy cold surface. For young warm blood there is not so much danger here, of course, but for us maturer bodies we may take it that it is well to avoid damp as much as we can, for we have in our island already so much of this good even in the air we breathe.
And it is just here that I am compelled to differ from the Abbe Kneipp treatment in causing people of mature years to walk barefoot on wet flagstones; for such a practice, I have been told, was in his regime.
And, what I say of damp cold flagstone, I say of any cold surface. Generally speaking, it is not wise for people who have passed forty to allow too much of their heat to be absorbed by any cold surface, however dry it is. The heat of the body is its life. Let us not waste it foolishly even in this delightful exercise. And here again the good genius of our body’s health will surely guide us well if we but listen to its word of comfort. For, I repeat, her ways are ways of pleasantness, and it is comfortable to walk in them.
Some Very Evident Advantages and Comforting Advantages of Going Barefoot
To those who suffer from cold feet I would say: Go barefoot, and you will soon cease to suffer.
Even when my body is so depleted through my vital work that the chill of death seems to hold it through and through, I do not suffer from “cold feet.” In this practice there is also a sure prevention as well as a cure for corns.
If your nerves feel chaotic, and you can’t gather your wits together, the quiet, barefoot walk will bring the body into a state of gentle poise and a sure feeling of confidence in life and a self-reliant strength, sooner and more effectively than any exercise I know.
Its Service in Beautifying the Feet
Wonderful is the effect of this service on the form of the foot. If it has been warped, deformed, and made unsightly — as most feet, I should say, that walk our promenades have been through the blessings of civilisation — it will soon reform itself.
For Nature is a very indulgent mother and gracious withal. As soon as we seek to turn from the error of our ways she works with us and places all the forces she can at the service of our health. And, as the genius of our life, she works in this exercise through every cell of our body, and the whole physique soon assumes a finer, more lithe, ay more beautiful form. For the whole nerval system is now intensely alive. You feel the strength of it all in the brain, the spine, in every nerve and organ of the body. The very lineaments of your face soon become more clearly set and more firmly and intensely delineated. The skin of your body, even to your own touch, is more living, and there is a new and fresh sweetness in the feel of it, even as that of a healthy young body.
And the foot, which is really a very beautiful member, and one that the true artist loves to study in its native beauty, becomes more and more beautiful in appearance. Not only does the skin recover the bonnie pink of its health, but the form becomes more and more graceful and finely muscular. The instep becomes more arched and curved and rounded, the toes lie easily and well, and, really, you never feel ashamed now of any eye’s scrutiny; and that is more than all my fair readers can truthfully say of their feet!
The soles become so tough, not necessarily hard, that you can walk over stones, thorns, and other broken surfaces with impunity and even with pleasure. Yes, it is a positive pleasure for me to walk over a roadway of crushed rock, the gritty feeling being just as a delicious spice to the appetite of the foot. Why, as children, we could run over the dry channel-stones of the bed of the river Tummel, and even now I walk as comfortably on the gravel of the Brighton beach as on the paved street.
Now this is saying much, is it not? And surely a hardihood, a sweet health of body, soul, and mind, is something worth possessing.
We Need Hardihood
Yes, we need hardihood, sweet, strong, sane, chaste, noble hardihood. Ay, we sorely need it even now, hardihood of nerve and muscle, of flesh and blood, of heart and brain, ay, more hardihood of mind and soul, of will and desire, even hardihood of our whole nature, animal, human, and divine.
And that this great and holy hardihood is very greatly increased and intensified in us through barefoot walking must be so evident to all who have had this chat with me, that I need not now tell you why is should be so.
The Manifold Nutriments Obtained for the Body through Barefoot Walking
All the parts of the earth’s surface on which we tread will fulfil a particular service of life for the health of the body. Thus if we walk on the young and living grass we shall receive of its fresh and living, yet soothing, virtue. If we walk on the mountain turf, hot in the sun’s rays, we shall receive of the very strength of the mountain, ay, of the power of its soul or genius and of the sweetness of the airs of the mountain side. And, if we only have the incorruptible, deathless vitality in us so that our flesh fail not, we can, by walking even in the deep of winter over the dry, grassy braes, swept by the north wind, win from Boreas his hidden and potent heat.
If we walk in a pine wood, an oak wood, a birch or a larch wood, we shall surely receive of the peculiar virtues of these fragrant creatures of Life; and we may become so sensitive that we may taste the difference to the tread of the foot in each of these woods. If we walk on the sands of the sea we shall, in like manner, taste the various qualities of the virtues of the salts therein. Thus, if we walk on dry clay or mud, we shall at once recognise that the nutrition thus imparted to our nerval body is finer or more comforting than that conveyed through rough sand or fine shingle. And I would say here that I know of no finer physical exercise for the toning of the jaded nerve than quiet and deliberate walking on dry sea mud or sand if we are in the hot days. If you walk on the mountain’s rocky sides you will absorb of her various elementary virtues, and they will nourish your finer body. If you walk in a hill-burn you will taste the life of the trout of the hill-burn; and what taste is more exquisite? It is only to be compared to that of the mountain lamb, whose joy you will taste over the grassy braes. And I you wish to know even for once the fine intoxication of the radiant energy of the sun, you will soon get it by walking over the sun-baked pavements of any city, how grimy soever it be. Wondrous is the bounty of Nature! And these are the ways by which we can taste the fine sweetness of the life of her children. Surely such ways are preferable to killing them!
Now I do not profess to give here the innermost rationale of this most subtle process of reinvigoration, and a hint at it must now suffice. I believe that what is known to the occult physiologist as the etheric body is affected, being both quickened and nourished by or through the finger energy of the sun’s heat. But, as this theme would lead us into a realm with which I have no need or desire to familiarize myself at present to any special degree, I shall not ask you to follow me into its mysterious ways, even did I feel qualified to guide you therein, which I cannot say I do. Yet shall we say what we do know to be fact.
The Curative Powers of the Sun’s Heat
And now for a few words on the curative powers of the sun’s heat. Of these I have already written more than once, but it may well be repeated here that there is no regime, so far as I know, for the cure of ordinary rheumatism to compare with the absorption of the solar energy by the soles of the feet.
The heat of the sun is the drier up of all damps, ay, often psychic damp as well as physical damp!
For does it not then stand to reason that a prolonged flooding of the fine cells and tissues of the body with the radiant stream will assuredly dry these acrid damps out of the tissues and cells? For the virus of rheumatism may well be spoken of as an acrid damp. Of this I feel sure, though I am no physiologist; and I have learned from much experience.
For I tell you that I have been allowed to bring about the cure of very severe rheumatism through getting the patient, after pledging him to a fleshless diet, to walk barefoot on the hot ground or grass or pavement.
Not only for ordinary rheumatism is there here a simple, safe, and pleasant cure, but also for those much more serious nerval disorders classed as neurasthenic, so manifold in their modes of expression in our day.
I consider this to be a more serious service of the sun for our health than the cure of rheumatism, for who is more to be pitied than the victim of this most subtle disorder? But this subject is too vast for me to do more than merely hint that in the judicious use of uncooked, especially fresh rain-water, fruit and other live foods, combined with this use of the sun’s heat, Nature hath put at our service the best means for the restoring of these fine nerval bodies to their normal condition of sweet life. And of all this I have spoken fully in Corpus Meum.
In short, we can well say that, for the general health of the body, nothing is more vital than that we care well for our feet, even unto the simple habit of washing them every night before we retire to rest. For in them is the physical basis for our understanding, and it is well to enter the holy place of the recreating Presence with a clean mind. And so much is implied in this that we may now close by saying: If ye would be well in your whole body, see well to your feet.
Let us Go in Peace
And now we have had our little tete-a-tete as we have walked barefoot together over this fair land of our nativity.
Literally, our shoes have been off our feet; literally, we have been in the continuous contact and gentle embrace of the good body of her love, our gracious, our beautiful Earth- mother, Demeter.
And in this constant and most vital contact we have entered into and enjoyed the most holy, most natural, most sweet, and most real communion with the Innermost o’ our cosmic Being.
Thus have we broken the Bread of Life together; thus have we eaten the Body of our God. Thus have we drunk of the one Life- stream, even in the radiant energy of our own living sun.
And this living sun is the most true and most beautiful symbol of the Holy Sun of our life, even the cosmic Presence and Nearness of the Absolute, the Incomprehensible, the Unnameable.
And this radiant energy is the most sacred symbol of the strength of the Holy One of our blessedness whom we name, for the very sweetness of the sound, the Christ of the Ages of our Race.
Thus, having eaten of the Holy Substance, we have received into our innermost the very Essence of the One. And thus have we, in the several degrees of our human nature, and in accordance therewith, become divine.
I HAVE for some time past been daily tasting the delight of working the fallow land. I have been trenching the “lye,” i.e., the grassy field in which situate “Kelmscott,” the Vegetarian Home for Destitute Children at Wallasey, by Liverpool.
I have thus been preparing the fallow land both for the growth of their vegetables and for the little gardens which I had long promised they should each have. Thus truly delightful work has given me much to ponder. And out of this reflection has arisen a desire to write a treatise on the values of all useful and productive labour for the health of our whole nature.
This truth was first brought truly home to me at the Netherlands, Redbourne, Herts, where I tilled the land for some two months in the company of my dear brother in service, William Thompson. And my present experiences have only confirmed my then conviction, that, for the fulness of our health, labour of a useful and productive kind is absolutely necessary. Specially is this so, I find, with manual labour, and of all manual labours, it is, I think, specially so with the tilling of the land.
For we are the children of Demeter, the good, the kind, the beautiful Mother of our earth-bodies. She has been, and is, gracious unto us, and we do owe her a debt of love, or, at the very least, of gratitude. And if we cultivate her beautiful body in the spirit of love or gratitude, we thus pay her our dues. And we shall assuredly find in this gentle service of love to her body the precious reward of life, life and ever more life: ay, life sweeter, finer, fuller as the years go by.
I have long time felt that the majority of our nerval and mental disorders arise from our neglect of this most sacred duty, and that they may be both prevented and cured through this holy exercise. Well, dear comrades of the Barefoot League, I promise you we shall yet talk more fully together on this most fascinating and highly significant theme, than which none is, I believe, more pregnant with power for the healing of the manifold disorders of our day. Yes, Life is sweet. God is good. Addio, Addio, Addio!
|*||The original Mrs. Grundy was a neighbor in Thomas Morton’s play “Speed The Plough,” written in 1789. She did not actually appear on stage, but the characters in the play continually asked “What will Mrs. Grundy say?” and as the personification of prudery, she has been interfering with other people’s pleasure ever since.|