Tag Archives: magic

A dog called Toby?


(Francesco Botticini)


Tobias was the only child of a blind, holy man, named Tobit, and his wife, Anna.

Tobit sent his young son Tobias on an errand to a distant land to collect monies that were owed to him.

As he started on his journey Tobias was met by the angel, Raphael, disguised as a man named, Azarias.

Tobias and the angel started on their way accompanied by Tobias’ dog…

They stopped the first night by the River Tigris and as Tobias went to wash his feet a monstrous fish came up and tried to devour him.

Tobias wrestled with the fish and managed to haul it out onto the dry land.

The angel told Tobias to cut out the heart, gall and liver of the fish and preserve them.

Tobias and the angel arrived at the house of a kinsman named Raguel who had a daughter named Sara, his only child.

Sara had been married seven times and all seven husbands had been killed by the demon of lust, Asmodeus, before any of the marriages were consummated.

The angel Raphael told Tobias that he should marry Sara.

On their wedding night Raphael instructed Tobias to place the heart of the fish over the hot coals of the fire which he did.

The smoke from the fish drove the demon away.

Raphael followed in pursuit of the fleeing demon, and upon catching him, bound him…

Tobias and Sara, along with Tobias’ dog, returned to Tobit and Anna.

Tobias anointed his father’s eyes with the gall of the fish and Tobit’s sight was restored.

Tobit and Tobias discussed what wages to give Azarias.

When Tobit and Tobais approached Azarias to tell him that they wanted to give him half of all they possessed Azarias revealed himself as the angel, Raphael, and explained that he had been sent to help because Tobit was such a holy man.

Tobit lived to one hundred and two years.

After his death, Tobias and Sara and their seven sons returned to the house of Sara’s parents.

“Tobias and the Angel” was a popular theme in art from the early Renaissance.

In paintings from this time, Tobias is generally depicted carrying a fish and accompanied by his small dog and the angel, Raphael.

This depiction gradually developed into the image of the “Guardian Angel”.


Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio. Tobias and the Angel. 33x26cm. 1470-75. NG London.jpg

(Andrea del Verocchio’s workshop)


The story of Tobias is told in the Book of Tobit in the Old Testament.

The book of Tobit is part of the Catholic Old Testament but is considered apocryphal by Protestants and does not form part of the Jewish canon.

It is an ancient writing and Aramaic and Hebrew fragments of the tale where found in Cave IV in Qumran in 1955.

The Other-Side of Space…


So Cor and Fran retreated to the start of the green sward and replayed as accurately as they could remember the events that had led to Min’s mysterious disappearance.

Fran ran on ahead and when she got to the ‘marker’ she turned and shouted, “I can see it!”

Sure enough Fran, too, disappeared.

Moments later Cor followed her…


The other-side of space was vastly different from this one.

For one thing ideas and impressions, which are here only vaguely formulated, were there very real.

The huge figure which sat astride the Throne of Stones was eyeing the three interlopers with a furrowed brow.

He seemed at a loss as to what to do with them.

“You have clearly been sent here for a purpose,” he boomed at them after quite some deliberation. “What that purpose is I have yet to divine.”

Min, who had been in the Giant’s presence slightly longer than either Cor or Fran was the quickest to react.

“If we can be of any assistance in this process,” she spluttered, “please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Do you know who I am?” boomed the Giant again eyeing all three of them.

“Well, if the Guide Books are correct about the traditional name of this place,” reasoned Cor, finding her voice, “then you must be Robin Hood and this is your Stride!”

“Ha Ha Ha…” roared the Giant, “Guide Book knowledge… Hah! Now I know what it is that I have to do with you.”

“And what’s that?” asked Fran, suspiciously.

“I am going to send you back to the other-side of space with the truth about this place.”

“O Gigantic One, we thank you, we do thank you,” said Min, bowing low to the mighty man.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” said the Giant rising to his feet.

Gigantic did not really do him justice.

My name is Rob-Hob,” he said, “and this hall,” he continued with an elaborate gesture which took in the whole of his throne room, “is my pride and joy.”



A Far-Flown Arrow…


“Where did she go?”

“I dunno.”

Poor  Fran and Cor, in this day and age people are not supposed to disappear, or at least, not like that.

They still do though. Despite their understandable confusion.

Over a thousand people daily step from the trammels of their well traversed trajectories never to be seen or heard of again.

Fran and Cor, together, ran to the spot of Min’s disappearance and gazed down at the ground in silent disbelief.

There, tugged by the air, but steadfastly refusing to go anywhere, unlike Min, was her Guided Walk Itinerary.

Fran sank to to her knees and was about to pick it up.

“Leave it,” said Cor, “let it serve as a marker.”

“A marker for what? No one will ever believe us. They’ll think we killed her.”

“I know, but I have an idea.”

“It had better be good…”

“An arrow far flown,” murmured Cor.

“A what?”

“It’s a technique for finding things that are lost,” said Cor.

“Well, Min is certainly lost,” said Fran.

“If you lose a ball or an arrow or something, you throw or fire another one in roughly the same direction and then watch carefully where it lands.”

“But we didn’t throw a ball or shoot an arrow,” said Fran, her tone skirting the edges of hysteria, “this is Min we’re talking about and she is no longer here!”

“I know, but can you remember what she said?”

“What she said when?”

“Just before she disappeared?”

“I think so…”

“Good, then you can play Min, and I’ll be us.”

“A reconstruction,” said Fran, uncertainly, “it’ll never work.”

“Quite possibly not,” said Cor forlornly, “but it’s all we’ve got.”



Game of Stones…


“This must be it,” shouted Min getting excited again.

If she had been a child she would have been jumping up and down on the spot.

“The green sward, you mean?” replied Cor who was just as excited but affecting the coolness of calm deliberation.

“Find the green sward beyond Hermit Hole…” recited Fran.

“…And follow it to the Throne of Stones,” finished Min then added, “and what’s that up ahead,” as she ran some way along the sward.

“It doesn’t look much like a throne to me,” said Cor.

“Nor me,” said Fran.

“Oh do come on!…” shouted Min, moving further and further away along  the green sward. She turned on the crest of the rise and called back, “Hurry up, you two, I can see it!”

And then she disappeared…



Angels, Angels, everywhere II…


“The Angelic Worlds had been set out as early as the fifth century AD by Dionysius the Areopagite who taught that the Angelic Beings were arranged in a definitive nine-fold order according to their capacities to receive the undivided divine essence.”



“In this scheme there were three main orders. The ‘contemplative’ consisted of Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones. The ‘attitudinal’ was divided into Dominions, Virtues and Powers. While the ‘active’ was made up of Principalities, Archangels and Angels.”



“It was the lowest of these orders, the Angels, alone, that formed a medium between the Super-Being and Man.”

Angels, Angels, everywhere…


“The Elizabethans followed Medieval lines of belief with regard to the angels yet confused, omitted, or misunderstood many of the finer details.”



“They were convinced that the angels, as agents of ‘pure intellect’, acted as intermediaries between the Super-Being and Man, that like man they possessed free will, but unlike Man the angelic free will never conflicted with that of the Super-Being.”



“Angels apprehended the Super-Being not by figure or symbol, as Man, but directly, and it was by virtue of this ability that they could act as Man’s guardian.”

Linking the Chain III…


“Despite Copernicus, the educated Elizabethan inhabited a geocentric universe whose movements were directed from a fiery, light-filled heaven, situated beyond the fixed stars, by a fiery, light-filled Super-Being.”



“Between this, the ‘highest-heaven’, and the created universe was an intermediate space containing a number of ‘lesser heavens’ which took the form of spheres whose diameters increased from the moon sphere upwards.”



“Within this universe there existed a sharp distinction between all that was ‘above the moon’ and hence pure and constant, and all that was ‘beneath the moon’, impure and mutable.”



“This distinction was brought about by a different mix of Elements in the two regions. The higher, being perfectly balanced, produced a rariefied air which was known as the ether.”

Linking the Chain…


“The idea of ‘Creation’s Ladder’ as uniform and consistent must be relinquished.”



“Many aspects of it could not be compressed into such stricture.”



“The Four Elements, being inanimate, should, one might suppose, take their place in the chain on a lower level than the ‘lowest’ animate creation.”



“Yet, the operations of both lower and higher living things were alike compounded in direct relation to the Elements.”

Stones of the Night III…


…After a longer than expected climb up the steeper than anticipated side of the plateaux, you are finally within appraisal distance of the pointed stone.

Its presence, which now looms towards you, defining the false horizon, seems to demand that you stop for a space, the better to take in its form, and as you are, in any case, grateful for the pause and a breather, you do so.

‘Oh look, it’s a Raven-Stone!” you say to yourself.

Sure enough, looking right, the fault lines of the stone form a raven’s beak and an eye, and upon closer inspection there is a small indentation in the base of the stone which could be representative of a feathered shoulder.

As the possibility that this stone was deliberately placed begins to sink into your consciousness you start to look for other possible images in its apparently un-hewn surface.

Looking left there appears to be a more anthropomorphic profile and again a vaguely unsettling ramification starts to weigh upon your consciousness, ‘Stone of the Raven-God,’ says the voice that earlier you took to be your own.

‘Bran…’ comes the response which this time could very well be yours.

As if summoned, by your inner voicing, a black-form arrows towards you from out of the depths of the white sky and settles upon the point of the stone.

“Cruach… Cruach…” says Raven, preening, and hopping along the top of the stone.



Stones of the Night II…


…As the ferns thin you spy a wooden stile up ahead and descend the grassy-knoll rather too quickly for the conditions underfoot, trotting to the stile side, precariously, and resting awhile to catch your breath.

A road runs to your right quite close to the stile with a stone bridge beyond, under which you can hear water as it rushes and gurgles.

The thought of traffic impels you over the stile and into what remains of the wooded slope which has taken you this far.

As you again begin to climb towards a moorland vista, tree stumps and root systems lie exposed along either side of your path, resembling swarthy, grinning, woodland faces, which seem to claim a more intimate knowledge of your terrain than you can.

You continue your climb and leave the cover of the trees completely.

Again unsheltered you are met by another, now invigorating, blast of cold air.

Far to your left, the stone face watches serenely. Far to your right the shark-fin peak is hidden by the slopes of two hills which form a classic v-shaped valley.

Before you rises a steep sided plateaux which holds the object of your quest. You know you can go left or right to reach the top of the plateaux but a point mid-way along the false horizon draws your attention.

From  your vantage it looks like a pointed stone and leading up to it though the seasonally ravaged remnant of the bracken runs something resembling a path.

You head for the rudimentary path and set off along it towards the pointed stone…