Monthly Archives: August 2018

Time Wise…

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…I turn the gwid-byll over in my fingers.
It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
It is a sphere of worked and lined stone which shadows forth in raised nodules indicative of the triad. It is heavy too, far heavier than it should be for its size. It is a sky-stone say the stories and though the stories cannot always be trusted it is hard to think of a more fitting origin for the gwid-byll.
I place it carefully and reverentially back into the pouch around my neck.

The Thunder-Stone looms out of the crossed-tracks showing pitch-black against the lightening glow of the earth-rim.
He will be here soon.
He will walk out of the sun like the dream said and he will tell the stone glyphs of the Thunder-Stone like only he is able.
I run my fingers over the shaft of the stone feeling the uneven shapes unknowable in the dark, meaningless in the light.
A shadow flits through the bushes which skirt the mound.
There should be no others.
The dream spoke of none.
My exposed toe stubs against cold stone at the foot of the shaft and catches an edge.
I forget the shadow and start to push back the moss from the edge that my toe has inadvertently uncovered.
My fingers find more depressions in the stone and even in this light I can see that they are regular and form a pattern of threes!
There are three up and three across.
My mind jumps to the gwid-byll and I scrabble to again draw it from its pouch.
This is not in the dream either but I know where the gwid-byll goes.
I place it in the central depression of stone and it fits perfectly.

Suddenly I am held firmly from behind. I struggle but to no avail.
The arms that hold my own are slight and sinewy but strong: strong as an ox.
A thin cackle sounds above me.

“Don’t struggle, little one, we have a game to play.”

I nod warily and the grip on my arms is released slightly so that I am able to turn slowly and face my attacker.
A mere boy, little older than myself stands before me, he grins crookedly and throws worked bones in the air where they spin momentarily and fall back into his grasp.

“You weren’t in the dream,” I hiss.
“Neither were you,” he hisses back.
“He will be here soon,” I say.
“But who will come,” says the boy, “Shadow or Sun?”
“I’ll cast you for it,” say I, recalling the bones.

The boy’s eyes dance like fire as he hands me the bones.

I shake and spit and cast…

Six…Five…Six

‘Can only be beaten by one,’ I think handing back the bones.

Almost immediately they fly through the air and land in the grit.

We run to read them…

Six…Six…Six

‘Damnation!’

A low keen sounds overhead.

I look up and around.

A form emerges from the now risen sun, dark on the earth-rim moving towards the Thunder-Stone.

The boy is gone.

So is the gwid-byll…

*

In-and-Out of Time…

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*

‘Joseph of Arimathea a wealthy Metal Merchant first traded here for lead and copper from Priddy and Greenore in the Mendips, and for tin from Cornwall.

The two former would ship from Pilton’s Harbour which was situated just below where the present Manor House stands and on the way out to sea, he would pass Glastonbury, then an island south-west of Pylle Bay.

After our Lord’s ascension and Pentecost, Joseph would naturally return to preach the Gospel to his old friends here and at Glastonbury and to build a wattle church at each place.

Here, he built a chapel on the side of the hill above the harbour, where probably he baptised his first converts.’

Traditional History of Pilton Church.

“Does the Pope know about this,” says Wen, her eyes alight, “I can’t believe it’s so brazenly presented and on an information board as well.”
“We may be able to do even better than that,” say I contemplating the church banner with some interest.
“How so?” says Wen.
“Well if the line of the Tor depicted here is correct, it shouldn’t be too difficult to locate the precise spot where they first touched down.”
“No,” says Wen suddenly collapsing into fits of laughter. “No it can’t be that accurate can it? It is probably done by the local kids. And how would they know anyway?”
“It wasn’t done by the local kids.”
“How do you know?”
“I know because the colour symbolism is too precise.”
“You may have to qualify that last statement Mr Sams,” says Wen with something of a crooked grin.
“Not hard,” say I. “The figure in the prow of the vessel adorned by a golden halo, which for arguments sake we will call ‘Jesus,’ is wearing a purple robe.”
“He is,” says Wen.
“The older child who is steering the boat is wearing a purple tunic.”
“He is too. Do we have a name for him?” says Wen.
“I could quite easily give him a name if you would like me to?”
“I am sure you could but that is not quite the same thing. What does the tradition call him?”
“The tradition doesn’t call him anything but if I had to have a wild stab in the dark at what it would call him if asked, I’d say it would call him ‘John’.
“Oh you would, would you? Isn’t he a bit too old for John?”
“We’ve already established that John was at least two years older than Jesus.”
“Okay… and the older figure of course we know only too well from the tradition?”
“And Our Joseph just happens to be wearing a purple head-dress?”

Wen looks from figure to figure and back to me and then moves up close to scrutinise the line and angle of the Tor depicted in the background.

“It’s worth a go,” she says, and swiftly raises her camera…

– Extract from ‘Dark Sage

*

Free Time…

earthwalker

*

‘…all the great thinkers recognise the importance of rational thought and also the importance of getting beyond the rational and that’s where the myths and fairy stories come in…’   – The Heart of Albion

*

Ancient terms of measurement are fascinating not least because many of them successfully encompass the apparently yawning gulf between the microcosm of the human body and the macrocosm of the universal…

It is quite possible that the humble barley seed, or kush,  whilst representative of one second in time was also the basis for the staple of our first civilisation.

They have the ‘ring’ of authenticity about them these terms which must once have stood at the pinnacle of the human endeavour to comprehend.

To ‘fathom’ means to measure but also to understand and is roughly equal to the length of a ‘grown man’s’ outstretched arms.

Six Feet.

Finger tip to finger tip…

Something which is ‘fathomless’ then means something too big for you to get to grips with, quite literally.

It is also the preferred length measurement for sounding depths.

Why?

Perhaps, because the outstretched arms span the heart?

There is an inherent value judgement here which must be very old.

Depth is harder to understand than length and harder to measure.

So it must be worth more in terms of expended effort.

The vertical carries more weight than the horizontal.

A yard is not quite so hard to compass.

Three Feet.

Finger tip to heart…

Because of the nature of league tables we had always assumed that leagues were a depth measurement but apparently not, they too refer to length.

Three miles.

But what of ‘Seven League Boots’?

Sensibly, they should allow a stride of twenty-one miles or perhaps a jump of forty-two but they do neither.

In the Folk Record they are used to keep pace  with Giant’s who step from hill to hill or from site to site which map out the lay of the land.

In real time such sites appear to mark the natural thresholds of eye-sight, and the daily trek on foot…

In other words they make the step up from feet to miles.

The distance they cover then is far vaster and their ramifications even more so but not without possible compass for the finely tuned mind to consider.

*

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*

‘…The Demon Lord Bali had overcome Indra, Lord of the Gods and was enjoying the Empire of the Three Worlds.

The assembly of the Gods, distressed with fear, went to the Hermitage of the Perfect where Vishnu was engaged in contemplation:

‘Bali, the son of Virocana,’ they said, ‘is performing a sacrifice, what benefit for the gods is there in this?’

Thus petitioned, Vishnu adopted a Dwarvish form approached the Demon Lord and begged from him the boon of three small paces which were granted him.

With the first step Vishnu re-assumed his normal aspect and occupied the Whole Earth, with the second step he broached the Eternal Atmosphere, and with the third, the Everlasting Sky… He made Bali, the son of Virocana a Dweller in the Underworld and gave the Empire of the Three Worlds back to Indra…’

If anyone does ever come across a pair of Seven League Boots, we’d be grateful were you to let us know!

*

Geometries 135

*

Space Time…

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*

‘…You may as well know now you are far more likely to see the spiritual than you are to read it. The spirit came first and we learned to see before we learned to read. It is nigh on impossible to alter the ramifications of all that and no one really wants to but it is easy to forget. You can look at something for years without seeing it…’  – The Initiate

*

In the West we are accustomed to regarding pictures as illustrations of the words used to tell stories. Our earliest reading is accompanied by pictures which frame, direct or manipulate the ideas contained within the words we have just read and our judgements about the skills of the illustrator are formed by and depend on just how closely the depicted image comes to how we have envisaged the related story in our minds eye…

But it was not always this way.

Many of the oldest stories, by which we mean the myths, are tales told to elucidate sacred icons and while it is undoubtedly the case that a picture paints a thousand words it may not be possible for a single word to paint a thousand pictures.

This means that many of our oldest stories are in fact no more than interpretations, which is as it should be and really can only ever be, but it also means that in the absence of the icon to which these interpretations refer there is something missing.

The picture itself!

But the picture itself is not the whole story either because even with the icon and the interpretative story or indeed a number of different interpretative stories and their attendant glosses… there is still something missing and that something is known as context and, what is more, that context can only come from individual lookers and listeners which means… you, but only if you do indeed take care to look and to listen.

To listen properly involves being silent.

To look properly involves using more than the eyes.

This ‘set up’ and its corresponding ‘state of affairs’ really is fundamental to most of what passes for our experience here on earth and one of the gravest errors it is possible to make is to let another person define our experience for us.

All the sacred texts teach this by leaving room for interpretation and by using icons or pictures as the sources of their inspiration.

After all one may spend a lifetime considering the arguments of a thousand and one savants on the likelihood or otherwise of, let’s say… reincarnation without ever being convinced one way or the other and yet, alternatively, one may also be lucky enough to catch the merest glimpse of a series of temple panels which taken together accurately depict the same concept… and instantly know it to be true.

But don’t take our word for it… go out and discover it for yourself!

*

Time Frame…

 

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‘The concept of ‘darkness’ was revealing.
It is where light ends. But I also realised that darkness is not the absence of light but the antithesis of light. In other words, they are aspects of each other. Light and dark are not only metaphors but the means by which we perceive and understand.’
– Vittorio Storaro

*

“He says he wants to investigate my vision.”
“Who does?”
“You haven’t been listening to a word I’ve been saying.”
“Oh Ned, you mean…well, what you have to ask yourself is, do you really want your vision investigating?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Or even, does your vision want your vision investigating?”
“I’m not sure I even know what he means by my vision.”
“Presumably he’s referring to all those stories you make up.”
“But he hasn’t read any of those stories and I don’t make them up,” says Wen, reaching for her Gazetteer of Mysterious Britain and brandishing it.
“I know you don’t, dear, I’m just teasing. Vee has read them though and she’s probably told him all about it, or at least enough to get him interested and you were dancing with him in Oxford last May Day.”
“Yeah, that’s true I was dancing with him, him and about thirty other people also. I think he thinks I’m still working in Buckinghamshire.”
“He’s in for a nasty surprise then…”
“If he does agree to come up here do we take him to Devil’s Drop?”
“We could, it would certainly make for an interesting experiment but we would have to give him some sort of warning if we did.”

Devil’s Drop is our new name for Gib-Rock.

Wen has been doing some more research on the story and I have to say, our theories on legend notwithstanding, the bare facts of this one alone are rapidly approaching mythological proportions.

Get this…

On the way to the gibbet the cart carrying the body got lost and had to pass over the territory now known to us fondly as Chat. Now, at that time there was not actually a thoroughfare over the land, but passage to the dead has to be given when requested.

“Why does passage to the dead have to be given when requested?”
“It’s an Old English Custom.”
“It becomes a law simply because people are accustomed to doing it?”
“Don’t you just love it?”
“It’s utterly bonkers but beautiful!”
“It’s nothing less than a road of the dead.”
“The road that passes through Chat is a Corpse Road.”
“I mean this is quite recent, yeah, within living memory?”
“It was in the Eighteenth century, so almost within living memory.”
“I think that’s part of an older tale that has got mixed up with an actual occurrence. It could only happen in Derbyshire.”
“Is that also why huge standing stones as big as any you’ve ever seen also go missing there?”

I have to say that the last remark was a little below the belt…

Dark Sage

Time After Time…

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*

… “Ah, you’ve left the matrix in this time, that’s good,” says Ben, he pauses, “Why sages?”
“You would regard Christ as a sage would you not?”
“I would indeed.”
“Christ is often pictured in a Vesica.”
“It is meant to represent the perfected aura I believe, or at least the aura of the perfected man.”
“So if we have ‘seats’ and we have ‘sages’ which in the text we assuredly do, then the vesicas are, as like as not, the sages…”
“These vesicas though aren’t at all Christ-like.”
“No, the Christ vesica is formed by the intersection of two circles. These on the other hand are formed by three. Sage leaves are also shaped like this as are many exploded seed pods.”
“Okay,” says Ben, “that’s very interesting, and the teaching?” …

*

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*

…“The teaching is to open up and get out of the way like a directional cross of four chalices which point, or empty, into the centre.”
“Haven’t I seen that somewhere before?” says Ben.
“It’s a device which runs along the bottom of the stained glass window in the West Wing of ORC,” say I.
“Ooh, I like the notion of a West Wing to ORC,” says Wen rejoining the fray.
“But that is not the teaching in the text is it?” says Ben.
“No, but when you do the elemental, directional thing with the teaching in the text you get to the centre anyway…” say I.
“Let’s have a look now,” says Ben, “A plentiful sowing…A dutiful flowing…A beautiful glowing…An artful knowing…”

*

“What sows?” says Wen.
“Wind sows,” say I.
“What flows?” says Wen.
“Water flows,” say I.
“What glows?” says Wen.
“Fire glows,” say I.
“What knows?” says Wen.
“Mind knows,” says Ben…

*
…“What knows?” say I.
“Body knows,” says Wen.
“What flows?” say I.
“Feeling flows,” says Wen.
“What glows?” say I.
“Face glows,” says Wen.
“What sows?” say I.
“Hand sows,” says Ben…

*

“What sows?” say I.
“Water sows,” says Ben.
“What glows?” say I.
“Earth glows,” says Ben.
“What flows?” say I.
“Air flows,” says Ben.
“What knows?” say I.
“Heart knows,” says Wen…

*

…“What knows?” says Ben.
“Spirit knows,” says Wen.
“What flows?” say I.
“Spirit flows,” says Ben.
“What glows?” says Wen.
“Spirit glows,” say I.
“What sows?” say Wen, Ben and I in unison.
“Spirit sows,” say Ben, Wen and I…

*

Morgana, who has been observing our performance with increasing incredulity, laughs out loud and claps her hands together, “If you can reproduce that in the talks,” she says, “we’ve cracked it!”

– The Aetheling Thing.

Time Before Time…

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*

ALL-HAIL EVE

Anu’s Folk
studied in
the North-Isles.

Four seats there
And four sages
who taught them;

A plentiful sowing…
A dutiful flowing…
A beautiful glowing…
An artful knowing…

*

Wen catches a brief sight of the poem I have been showing Ben before he has time to hastily secrete it about his person.
“You’re obsessed with that dog!”
Which as anyone who has read any of our books well knows is utter nonsense…

*

…The girls are back outside on another ‘fag’ break and Ben is considering the somewhat crude geometry which accompanies my poem. He grins and twinkles mischievously, “Why are the North Isles depicted as black?”
“The quaternary, or four directions, are governed by the sun. Do I need to go on?”
Ben nods, “But of course you need to go on.”
“…In the Occident the sun appears to rise in the east and set in the west. Its zenith symbolically conceived as the point of maximum light is in the south so the north is the point of maximum darkness and hence depicted as black.”
“So far so good,” says Ben, “but why are we starting in the north rather than the east and the rising sun?”
“There are a number of magical traditions which regard the darkness of the unknown as the basis for generation. Metaphorically it corresponds to the seed of light nestled in the depths of the earth. The tradition of eve’s in our country reflects this, especially All Hallows… Esoterically speaking then the day stretches from Noon to Noon rather than from sunrise to sunset.”
Ben nods again but more slowly this time, “Interesting.”
“Even Genesis has a chasm and chaos before the breath of the word.”
“…Eve’n Genesis.”

*

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*

…Ben is again contemplating my crude geometries, “I can see that you have moved the ‘North Isles’ towards a centre point to get this pattern,” he says “but I’m not quite sure why.”
“Because Anu’s folk studied there and to study is to focus on and concentrate. A stud after all is single pointed.”
“And seats?”
“The isles are now shaped like seats. A lot of the Bishop’s chairs we have come across in our numerous ecclesiastical wanderings retain this shape as well as the choir stalls but there is a lot going on with this seat thing. The word itself is multi-valent and as I am sure you know it can be rendered siege as well as ‘caer’ which is also a Celtic stronghold or citadel and which also gives chair…positions of prominence in our universities are referred to as chairs…I could go on.”
“Please don’t,” says Ben looking bewildered. He appears relieved to see the ladies as they breeze back into our corner…
“What have you been doing to him?” asks Wen in a somewhat accusatory fashion.
“He’s missing your dog,” I reply and smile as sweetly as I am able…

– The Aetheling Thing.

*

Time Line…

*

“The peat-bog is as the raven’s coat,
the stuttering quagmire rehearses
the talk of the rushes is come;

the ocean sinks asleep into
a smooth sea and the river
which runs apace is cut down;

light swallows dart aloft;
a flock of birds settles in
the midst of a meadow.

A bright shaft has been shot
into the land, splendid is colour
now, settling on every height,
like haze on a lake of full water;

white is every fruitful wood
wherein winds a brawling stream
and the bright green fields rustle
their longing to race wild horses;

blossom covers the world,
bees murmuring no protest,
make heavy their harvest;

the rich mast buds,
and the ant, puny with
strength, carries abundant meal;

the soft white bog-down grows,
the long hair of heather is outspread,
the boughs of the wood are a thicket.

The harp
of the forest
sounds music

the corn-crake,
a strenuous bard,
discourses…

loud melody
reaches round
the hill; the lofty,
virgin waterfall
sings a welcome to
the warm pool where
fleet hordes drink and
the speckled fish leap.

The bitterness of bad weather
is past, rough winter has gone,
delightful is the season’s splendour;

perfect is each forest from top to ground;
perfect, each stately plain, and perfect the
peace, as panic startles the heart of the deer;

strong then the bound of the swift warrior,
where the ranked host is ranged round:
and when man flourishes, the maiden
buds in her fair, strong pride.

The blackbird sings a full
lay, if there be but one
slender shaft of day.

the lark trills
clear tiding;

the loud cuckoo
bids welcome;

a timorous
tiny, persistent
little fellow warbles
at the top of his voice:

‘May-Day,
season surpassing !

Season
of delicate colours…

Welcome,
splendid summer…

Summer
of joyous peace!’”

– Crucible of the Sun

Time Slip…

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…Dusk falls quickly as the mists in autumn and here in the sheltered valley the light is fading. The thin grass is wet and dew-cold as they alight from their ponies, setting them to graze and drink from the wide, slow moving stream. They leave the sheepskins over the ponies’ backs.
It will be cold tonight. The sky is clear and a smell of frost is in the air.
Those who are to remain set camp, kindling a small blaze…

…They cannot ride the last stretch of their journey,
the hill before them is steep, the path narrow
and strewn with rocks.
He looks back at his companions and smiles grimly.
They are clever, the Old Ones.
Their place is high above the valley, an island between deep gullies and tumbling streams, well protected. This is the only way…
and any who attempt it could be picked off one by one…

…But that is not their way, nor is he an attacker.
He, chieftain though he is, mighty in arms and father of many,
tonight he is a supplicant. He studies the calm, pale face of the Weaver. Tall, slender… with that faraway look in his eyes… eyes that see little of the world, yet see into Beyond. They meet his and the Chieftain looks away…he cannot hold that gaze…it sees too much. It sees his soul and the lies there…

…No matter.
Tonight would be the last time.
His was the price of Knowledge.
They start towards the hill, climbing the rugged, slippery path.
Even for him, for his men, used to the desolate moors, the way is difficult. And it is doubly hard here… on this border between the worlds. Ahead a single boulder is outlined in the faint light, blocking the path. As he approaches it moves, standing… laughing tooth-less at their fear…

…Wild hair, grey and crowned with dead heather hangs down across the pendulous, naked breasts, wrinkled as weather-worn bark.
The Old One leans on a staff…
more for effect, he feels, than necessity.
He waits…silent… for the Old One to speak.
She does not. She simply looks on…
raking each with her eyes…
reading them one after the other… until she meets those of the fey one…

…She beckons and he approaches, kneeling before her.
She takes the alabaster hands in hers, turning them over,
tracing their lines and nodding as the delicate fingers hold themselves open to her gaze.
There is something silent between them as she traces the pale cheek with a long, blackened claw…leaving the dark trail of blood behind it. He does not flinch. Accepting…
She binds the pale hands, passing the cord around his neck, haltering him like a horse.
He does not move until she jerks him to his feet. Then he waits…

…The Chieftain watches shuddering and she cackles, delighting in his fear.
There is power here.
And it is hers.
She draws herself up to her full height
and strikes the flint-shod staff
against the stone beneath her feet…
sparks fly… once…twice…three times…
An eldritch cry escapes her lips, echoing eerily through the darkened vale.
His men draw back. Only he and the bound one remain.
The Old One pulls the rope and they begin the ascent…

…The ropes bite his skin.
His hands are soft, white, unblemished…
he is neither warrior not farmer…
it is his to see and to spin the lays of learning.
His gift is other than the rest, his body made for gentleness and dreaming.
He does not sing at the feast nor amuse his Chieftain on a winter night.
He Knows… he Sees… he Weaves…the Words.
He follows the Old One…
he could escape her grip, but he submits.
He serves the clan and his life is theirs.
Tonight he is the price paid… the gift to the gods…

…His eyes watch the dirty, cracked heels of the bare feet before him
on the path, skipping up the hillside like a child, ancient and ever-young. Light flares to the south, high on a rock…a strange, susurrating whisper echoes through the valley, winding its way like a mist-wraith through the bracken. Another light appears to the north. It is a deeper sound, like a heart beating slow… and steady. The sounds join… woven in a single note like blood rushing through the veins. The lights remain. Another joins them, another still, alternating, one after another, north and south. With each flare of fire a new sound… strange ululations and whispers, cries and the call of the hawk in the morning… the first cry of a babe and the sighing of the last breath…

– Heart of Albion

Nick of Time…

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*

…On our way back through Little Kimble, we pass St. Nicks of Ellesborough.
There are banners and notices outside the churchyard proclaiming that tomorrow the church and its tower will be open to the public and that for a small fee the tower can be climbed and… refreshments will be available!
“Can you believe that?”
“Just another coincidence.”
“To add to all the other coincidences that we seem to be collecting on this particular quest.”
“Maybe we’ve finally found the key.”
“…The key to what?”
“To the doors of the St. Nicholas Churches.”
“It’s got something to do with the landscape. We had to do that today, we had to see the land like that, and now that we have, we’re ready for the next stage.”
“Two till five… we can do that after we’ve done St. Lawrence’s. That’ll be three Churches in two days that have previously been locked to us.”
We flash past the Stone crucifix that guards the gate of St. Nick’s…
“It’s odd to have two St. Nick’s… so close to each other.”
“Well that one is very evidently the Catholic version.”
“I’ve been thinking about that, about the emphasis that is placed upon the crucifixion. If you regard it purely on its own terms it loses some of its distaste.”
“Expand…”
“It is a symbol after all.”
“Okay…”
“And symbols are not supposed to refer back to historical events. That’s the big mistake that almost everyone makes….”
“You’re right of course, most people read symbols and symbolic stories literally…”
“…symbols are supposed to point to something ordinarily, and in any other way, inexpressible.”
“So, it isn’t the body of Jesus that is crucified on the cross of the world, or the tree of life, but rather, it’s  the ego of Jesus, the crucifixion symbolises the transformation of the human personality during Christ’s ministry.”
“And that though you probably do not realise it is something that is ordinarily inexpressible because most people don’t recognise themselves or anyone else as anything other than a personality.”
“It would throw a distinctly different light on the resurrection if that were the case.”
“On the whole story, actually. Try re-running it from that perspective…”

– The Initiate

*

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