Interview prepared at the request of the Institute of Public Education of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs
1999 Advent

Ilma Hendi is at home in several countries. She lives in Switzerland and France as a Swedish citizen, yet also has a phone number in Budapest. Is this "multi-home nature" an inspiration to you as a writer?

My poems contained in the volumes Cosmic Heat and Rose Hour and my book of prose Path, Radiant Path as well as my dramas The Diary of Selma Lagerlöf and Citadel Amongst Cedars bear witness to this. I was born in Transylvania of Székely descent. Therefore I am the heir of both the finest, exquisitely subtle Lajos Áprily and the gravely ethereal Áron Tamási, through the path of stars, which I take literally. Yet allow me to point out other facts, since one isn't merely influenced by living in multiple countries in itself. I was inspired and touched by the landscape; after Transylvania itself, I was particularly moved by the Sweden of Selma Lagerlöf, the first female writer to win a Nobel Prize in literature; Olaf Palme, the genuine and idealist head of state; and the mystic Dag Hammarskjöld. Stockholm, the world's prettiest "mountain lake" is the dream come true of the fabulously honourable and well-meaning Viking people incarnated in Scandinavia. I am bound to it with eternal gratitude and love and I call Göteborg my home, where my 2000 square meter land awaits me, even after I gave it away. Or at least I tried to. Yet the heavens had something else in mind; I surmise that they still tie me to the North with a mental umbilical cord, just as I am bound to Earth, this bloody and wonderful planet, which I KNOW (forgive me!) to be the Star of Christ and which is also the current stage of our lives in the development of humanity. Yes, Earth too has its own karma and fate, not just individuals and peoples. My prose, diaries of quotes and anthologies also bear witness to the Swiss homeland of William Tell, Nicolaus von Flue and Henri-Frédéric Amiel. The Swiss poet Albert Steffen had the following to say in the 2nd volume - entitled "To Grant Warmth as Luminance" - of a five-part series: "The body is also a form of writing." This is followed by Flaubert's words on page 49: "The greatness of character is a gift rarer than talent." Voilá, we have now entered the realm of France. What can we say of the young people of France longing for light? The magnificent land of Jeanne D'Arc, the Virgin of Orleans, Napoleon and Antoine de Saint Exupéry? Home to the stout peaks of the Alps where my guardian angel - literally - led me. I share my three-hectare land with swallows, squirrels, deer, boars and foxes, yet beyond the staggeringly beautiful landscape, my real fortune lies "merely" in poetry and spiritual life. And we mustn't forget about my spiritual visitors and allies. All of my works, over 30 published books and translations, are devoted to them. (With the exception of only very few of these, I published them myself, giving away 97% of them as gifts.) My allies are entirely realistically "otherworldly" in nature, including the ties and inspiration beyond death. I speak of men, before and after their deaths, and beings of a higher order with humility, yet urgent emphasis in order to dissipate this ungainly and imbecile, and by now openly demonic darkness, this frantically offensive, debasing and degrading anti-life and anti-human "culture". Inspiration? Well, it "works" like this as well; let me provide you with a simple example. According to a French proverb, "There's no Sunday for the honest man." This led me to the following saying in Hungarian: "Work is the Sunday for the most honest ones". Let me and Amiel share something with you from the hidden secrets of Switzerland, which has never been written down before in Hungarian: "Man is what his heart is". And: "Everything contains everything."

We know from your biography that your encounter with the Christ-centred spiritual science was a turning point in your life. Did this event define your poetry?

My entire poetry, every phrase I set down, every word was conceived in this love. Love of the fact that I could be a burning ember and that this is the reason for my incarnation on Earth. To show and convey the light of inSIGHT, to bear witness to Christ: of eternal Life, His light and gilded nature and not the flashy ore that glitters, but rather the rose of innocence. This is the most monumental event ever: the secret which traces God's 33 year-long, blood-soaked earthly journey and namely the holy cause (or mystery) of his SECOND COMING, which I can say here and now in my fully temperate sense of responsibility: this is the most essential issue of the 20th century - and all the other, previous nineteen centuries. EVERYTHING revolves around this matter and all that we know and call Life depends on it. This is the "secret" to our spiritual awakening and development, or progress. Just look at the manipulated, worldly churches which have forsaken their faith (save for the exceptional few which have not). Rudolf Steiner's doctrine of Christ, the foundation of all his teachings, and his spiritual school taught me - how to re-learn - clairvoyance and the ability to differentiate amongst things. Meditating and without drinking a drop of alcohol for the past 18 years, I am a disciple of Steiner (as an anthroposophist or Goetheanist). The anthroposophical spiritual science is the evolutionary science of Rudolf Steiner, the great Austrian visionary, which focuses on the development of man and the cosmos, based on specific and genuine spiritual research. All across the world, heads of state, ministers and high-ranking priests have profited from the results of Steiner's research into the future. We have no time to elaborate on those who deny these teachings out of fear or who were turned against him, still based on the diabolic "divide and rule" principle. I began writing poetry after a number of other, previous spiritual experiences, at Áprily's metaphysical or otherworldly initiative. Or more precisely, I began to transcribe the poems, since they contained expressions which were unknown even to me at the time. Yet naturally, we cannot say that my poems aren't my own. The attacks were unspeakably gruelling... And there came poems inspired by the heavens, for example, "Why Care": It's a different story./ About how appearances remain/ Appearances,/ And everything that happens/ comes with a price./ Why?/ Ask yourself,/ Why do you care of physics,/ The electromagnetic current of the world?/ See, everything has repercussions,/ Let me go on, for what I say is the truth:/ It's not merely your actions,/ But thought itself/ Which takes effect, as a magnet,/ And impacts on yourself. - or "For as long as you wish": Based on empirical evidence/ The result of consciousness and mental evolution/ I shall say it for as long as You wish/ If it takes 100 years until they comprehend/ I don't believe/ I don't merely hunger it/ Knowledge, experience/ Personal encounter/ With You my Lord/ Who speaks through me.

Despite the tangible matters present in your poems, they still show a high degree of abstraction and this often hinders their approach, since the reader must experience the situation in which the poem was written. Are you apprehensive of the ivory tower syndrome of poetry?

Would you forgive me if I said this makes me smile? My poetry and all of my works - erudition cannot be realized without true pieces of work, which includes the cultivation of ourselves and our lives or even the cultivation of the earth, is not possible without the greatness of works - is a perilously daring practice of speaking the truth. What could I possibly be afraid of after all that I've been through? However, there are far more "towers" that I would truly like to witness, not of ivory, but rather ones which can see far into the distance, to observe and care, and beacons which could allow us to become acquainted with the godly depths of the world sea - so we could make the "situation" of our sons, daughters and disciples better than the drunken or drug-using fodder. The poems of your volume entitled Rose Hour are listed alphabetically. What editing principle led you to organise the works in such an order?

It was a spontaneous notion with the desire for simplicity at its core.

Apart from your activities as a poet, you also translate works from Swedish, German and French languages, compiling scripts and "mosaic rhymes". Were these rhymes compiled into a book through your spiritual adventures?

Translation is humility and benediction, a delicate and demanding form of loyalty. For me, it is both a boon and adoration. You can sense this, can't you? And surely you don't doubt it? I live with them and through them, intimately loving them, knowing that they are alive; this is how I expanded spiritually, far beyond the boundaries of the Milky Way, in the company of Europeans: Steiner, Goethe, Schiller, Bettina von Arnim, Novalis, Morgenstern, and the Swedes and... and Supervielle, Saint Éxupéry, Joseph Joubert and Amiel from Geneva, with lines from Uppsala... The list is far from exhaustive, since it lacks Angelus Silesius and the bishop of Geneva: Francis de Sales and many, many more. The subject of translation reminds me of László Németh's essential views on par with those of Shakespeare: "To serve or not to serve, that is the question." And how true was his dream of Hungary as a garden, which was falsified and defamed! He was a healer, teacher and prophet all in one, just as all truly inspired artist should be - which is what Sándor Reményik prayed for: for people not to become separated from one another so they could be intimidated, depraved and fooled with ease. How many were akin to him, in possession of powers, such as the likes of Csokonai's prophetic, shamanistic power that described so precisely: "I write for the 20th or 21st century, the age in which Hungarians will truly come into their own or sink into nothingness." Now that we're at the subject of translation - how can it be that people with a high school graduation certificate have never translated any works? Not one, nothing, not a soul? Languages shouldn't be taught without it! "Oh teachers, educators, you must become artists!" Such was the dream of Steiner. To inspire dispositions, encouraging and instilling good cheer which leads to good intensions and eventually to a country with a language taught by individual teachers..

You mention Lajos Áprily on multiple occasions throughout your works, whom you seem to venerate as a kind of godfather. He surely had a significant effect on your art, as shown in the following lines: "He who gave birth to my poems,/ Giving bloom to their earthly existence."

Many of my poems are addressed to Áprily, as I can never get enough of him. I am his godchild, poetically speaking. My performance entitled "The Golden Cup" - Homage to Lajos Áprily is one which is filled with joy. I don't really think someone could be considered an educated Hungarian person who doesn't own and read any books from him. To expand on the idea of my "godfather", he brings me back to Transylvania. My strikingly delicate and still beautiful godmother is a woman (over eighty years of age) graced with meaningful visions. I now know that the godparents play a far greater "role" than what the misled, godless and egotistical people of the current age would care to believe. I managed to address this in more detail in my volume Citadel Amongst Cedars.

One of your works deals with the significance of numbers ("How many tears spring from such mourning"). Do you truly attribute such importance to the mystery of numbers?

The secret of numbers is a puzzle of a divinatory nature. I always loved mathematics. Once the turn of the millennia wipes away this concrete-gray, merciless era, humanity - those who remain - will finally comprehend and appreciate the secret of the ONE (our Father!) and why the trinity is holy. Why those born on the 9th experience the aspect of love with suffering (with the exception of a very few), and why souls born under the sign of 4 are endowed with prophetic faculties. I published Arman Sahihi's "Ancient Persian Numerology" in '97. Let me quietly add: it's a fine masterpiece, clean-cut, straightforward and brilliantly polished. Deep within the teachings of the wise numbers which gaze into the future, resides - as an eternal fact-item - the secret of the equation-balance of Fate: the law of karma, according to which ALL good and evil, even of the slightest degree, returns to us, irrevocably and unavoidably. There was a time when I wanted my husband to study astronomy (after his Hungarian law and Swedish engineering degrees). However, he didn't journey to Dornach and stayed on with the UN's Telecommunication Union, insisting that: "This is also high mathematics, to a certain degree". If I look up at the stars, as I often do - rather soberly, I dare add - the Lotus, the Swan, the Plough and all the other wonderful formulas are a manifestation of a divine, spiritual geometry. Goethe's friend, Bettina von Arnim said: "If man would have a better understanding of what the stars convey to us, he could develop at breakneck speed..." Isn't it amazing how much precious knowledge AWAITS us above?!

You husband, Péter Hendi, is also a writer and a member of the Swedish Writer's Union. How can two artists co-exist in the same family? Are you critics of one another?

While my father-in-law, János Hendlein was still alive, there were three of us. I hardly knew anyone with such refined humour as his. He was a charming man and practiced art as a way of life. Yet Chronos sues against Time. As far as his son, Péter Hendi is concerned, after 30 years of marriage, I still uphold every line I wrote about and for him, even if he is no longer willing to assist me, even as a critic. Can I illustrate this with a few excerpts of poetry? "To want the impossible? Only that is worthwhile. To spare these almonds eyes from bitterness. (67) To know him, someone so singular. He never had the need to peddle flattery. (65) His toughest critic. Decent to a fault and an exceptional writer. It's not his writings which are exceptional, but rather his honour. (66)

What this means in this age when people are so fiendishly unscrupulous? A school of life of the highest order and the powers of Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Neptune. To be aware of all of this: an enormous burden and responsibility - of the awfully far-ranging type...

In his civilian life, Péter Hendi is a computer engineer and a candidate of philosophy. When he's writing, he departs from his own self?

Allow me to clarify: the Swedish title of cand. phil. is merely a university certification, nothing more. When Hendi begins a narrative, he "submerges in the strata of the soul"; those were the lines of Lenke Gráf from 24 years ago. "The spine is the string of Apollo," this is how I could describe his sensitivity. His tenderness is nothing more than a resemblance of his mind, which is coupled with the trait of inherent talent: he is never sentimental. His shyness is virtue and masculinity. In one of his previous incarnations, he was a world-renowned, brilliant mathematician and astrologist of the royal court. Without a doubt. Yet he was also a greater lord than that, and surely much more. All his novels were published in Swedish; one of his shorter works written in French was performed in seven different cities in Switzerland, which I suspect is mainly due to some higher form of intervention... Yet I don't want to get too caught up in my response, so let's end with a poem of confession, entitled You Guided Me: As Bluebeard's dear friend,/ Who meant everything to me,/ How should I call you?/ Emeralds pale to your colour,/ and the sea,/ The lush green of life: your eyes/ Fish given freely,/ From which the fostering flows./ The onset of my future,/ Harmony, harmony, harmony/ That guided me to salvation.