Maybe something was up? …
I mean, really up? But it wasn’t until…
We bumped into an ‘old friend’ that we got the full story…
“…all the great thinkers recognise the importance of rational thought but they also recognise the importance of getting beyond the rational and that is where the myths and fairy stories come in… Plato spends the greater part of his master work ‘The Republic’ berating the poets and story-tellers for telling lies in their myths and then he ends his opus with… a myth.”
“Well, to err is human… But no one’s going to read a book in which all the characters are Giants.”
“Yet we all live in a world dictated by them… but perhaps you’re right… they have become something of an obsession… the more self-remembering I do… the more giant-like my body and everyone else’s body seems to become… and they do make an appearance in all the mythological traditions… the Titans… the Jotunn… the Asuras… the Fomoire… as opponents of the ‘gods’ usually, which have to be overcome and subdued…and then kept at bay lest the heaven world be breached… and fall.”
Wen becomes pensive for a time, “we need to go to Cerne Abbas…”
“Possibly…and then there’s the Long Man of Wilmington…whose ‘long man’ is no longer visible, and of course, Gogmagog…”
“…At a girl! I’m thinking these are all chalk figures…”
“They were all hill figures once though Gogmagog no longer exists…but he was also a rock…and was later split in two and represented in the stonework of Cathedrals…and other media…wicker-work figures carried at the Lord Mayor’s show for one…the ‘gianting’ traditions of our country and others in Europe for that matter are still very much alive and kicking and that’s even before we start to consider the biblical references…”
“The Giants are right up our street then…so to speak…or a street nearby… when do we start?”
“We do,” smiles Wen, “and I think we already have… you know the Long Man of Wilmington is an Opener…at least, that’s one interpretation of his stance, but the ‘door jambs’ could also be staves…or sight-lines…”
“In which case the Long-Man… is a Dod-Man…and responsible for marking out the Leys…”
“We still don’t really know what those energies actually are…”
“On the contrary my dearest Wendolina… I know…precisely… what those energies are.”
“Can you wait while I swallow this mouthful of food before telling me?”
“Your faith in me… is most reassuring…but you will like this…ready now?”
“The Ley-Lines are Cause-Ways…”
“…You’re right… I do like that… where’s it from?”
“It’s from the Myth of the Green Harper…”
…”I don’t get it.”
“In Geometry, before one can draw a human eye, one has to draw a cat’s eye.”
“I still don’t get it.”
“It’s a process.”
“And in any process things have to happen in a certain order…”
“You said that without using your brain.”
“…First one thing, and then another.”
“But what thing and what other?”
“Ah ha! In this case, Night and Day.”
“Cat’s-Eye and Human Eye!”
“There’s more to it than that though.”
“In what sense more?”
“In a magical sense.”
“Well, it would have to be, very old magic.”
…It happened that one day Pryderi’s doorkeeper, Conan Duffy,
was sunning himself at the portal, along with his cat,
and he saw two beautiful youths
heading towards him over the game plain…
…When they reached the enrtrance to the Dun
the two youths saluted him, and he saluted them back.
“And who might you be?” Said Conan looking the
two of them up and down, “and what is your business?”
“Why, I might be Maech,” said one of them.
“And I might be Amech,” said the other, and she smiled…
Just then a loud groan issued from the fair mound, it was
Pryderi, Lord of Underhill, at pains with his arm again.
“…And we are both physicians,” said Maech and he smiled too.
“Well, if you are both physicians,” said Conan, “you’ll have
no problem putting a new eye where my old one used to be,
now will you?”
And he veered up close to show them his scar.
Amech looked at the cat sunning itself by Conan’s side and said,
“we could put one of the eyes from that there cat, where your old eye used to be.”
“You could?” asked Conan.
“We could,” said Maech and with that the two of them swiftly
seized the cat, which is no easy thing if a cat does not want to
be siezed, and they did what had to be done, until one of the cat’s
eyes sat, as pretty as you please, in the head of Conan Duffy.
Conan blinked increduously and ran off into the fair mound…
“And the Geometry?”
“For the Geometry, you’ll just have to wait.”
SPOILS OF THE ABYSS
When Pryderi, Lord of Underhill, was treated for the
injury done to his arm by Tyrnonos, Thunder-of-Water,
his leech, Nudd, found that he was unable to save the limb; so
he hacked it down to a stump and put a silver hand on Pryderi which
was so cunningly crafted that it had all the movement of a natural hand.
Yet still Pryderi had no end of pain and trouble with the arm
and he was forever lying sick in his bed from the grief of it…
“Not a particularly auspicious start, and no sign of our ‘Eye-Guy’.”
“Give it time.” …
“Did they have ‘bionic’ hands in those days then?”
“A ha… I don’t know, did they have ‘bionic’ hands in those days?”
“I think not.”
“We are dealing with the Crafty Folk here, remember?”
“I still think not.”
“So, to what can the silver hand or arm refer?”
“It would be useful to know which we are dealing with, actually.”
“Some sources specify hand, some specify arm, and this lack of precision may itself be the clue to our non literal interpretation. You’d think they’d know!”
“Let’s settle on limb, then. To what can the silver-limb refer?”
“If it’s silver it could have something to do with the moon?”
“I think that’s a very auspicious start.”
“Or a tree?”
“Even better, what sort of tree?”
“A birch tree.”
“Now, I know that is an incredibly auspicious start.”
“But what does it mean, I mean, why insist upon this sort of ‘Geometric Embedding’?”
“There may be several reasons, but one is certainly preservative.”
“Coding may be another…”
“…And quit possibly, keying.”
“Keying sounds interesting?”
“Keying is still problematic, highly problematic…”
“…Not the concept, that’s sound enough.”
“We only have to consider ‘…Lir-Brood’ to know the difference possessing the correct key makes.”
“I know, I read through ‘…Turenn-Brood’ the other night…”
“Without a key?”
“…Nothing. Flat… Anyway, then they wouldn’t let me sleep until I’d amended one of the books and after I’d made the changes they… erm… dropped a little morsel.”
“A little morsel?”
“Well, a trail of crumbs, really…”
“Well, go on then!”
“The geometries are all at the start…”
“I’d realised that. And also that it is not without good reason that a certain spiritual teacher, who shall remain nameless, refers to geometries as ‘angels’.”
“Angels as in Heralds.”
“Trumpet blasts… that would fit.”
“We’ve been looking for the way, remember?”
“The way in?”
“If you like… The eye-guy, Conan, in ‘Crucible…’, what’s his role?”
“He’s a look-out.”
“And by extension…”
“A Door-Keeper! But we’ve not done the eye-guy yet?”
“Not properly, no, but it’s in that story…”
“The way in?”
“The way in.”
A very early version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, perhaps, yet there is much more here than merely a cautionary tale.
Or is this the ‘first entrance’ of our much vaunted king Arthur?
Apple for Avalon and Yew for an ‘evergreen death’…
The emphasis on topography and the singularly macabre content mark this as a druidic teaching story.
Refreshing also to note the pivotal use of simulacra. Not only is this phenomenon recognised in the tale, it also appears to have been given a very specific meaning which is indisputably linked to the spirit. This is a very different concept to anything modern science teaches us.
The main thrust of the argument is concerned with division and unity which in this instance also appears to be linked to use of the Ogham script, ‘woods and trees’ and the ethics of the poetical endeavour more generally. Forests here, then, would not be concieved so much as catherdral’s, perhaps, but as universities, or still playing on our theme of wisdom… schools!
…Many years later, in the reign of Art-mac-Conn, at the festival of Samhuin, the Master Poets came to the feast, as was their custom, and they brought their tablets of poetry with them.
When king Art saw the tablets of Yew and Apple he asked for them and they were brought to him.
The king was holding the tablets in each hand, face to face, admiring their craftsmanship, when the two sprang together and would not from that time on be separated.
Like woodbine around a twig were they and so they were preserved with all the other wondrous jewels in the Treasury of Tara…
Bally ‘sweet-speech’ the renowned story teller
secretly arranged to tryst with Elaine, daughter of king Fergus.
The one from Ulster, the other from Leinster…
Both set out to meet at Ross-na-Ree on the south side of the river Boyne.
Bally and his troupe had reached Dundalk
before fatigue overtook them and they rested awhile.
Heading towards them from the south, along the shore, came a hideous spectre.
Vehement his step and rapid his progress.
He sped over the earth as a hawk falling on prey.
“From where do you hail, and to where are you heading in so swift a manner?” called Bally to the man, if man he was.
“Why, to the mouth of the river Bann, I am heading,” said the uncanny one, “back north from Leinster Mount.”
“What news from the south?” said Bally.
“No news that is good news,” said the traveller, “Elaine, daughter of Fergus, has died by forcible detention of the Leinster-Men.”
On so saying the spectre darted away from the company like a blast of wind over green sea.
When Bally heard this he fell dead on the spot.
His company raised a ‘rath’ and through it a Yew tree grew.
Its canopy took the form and shape of Bally’s face and features…
“You know of what I speak, Gandalf.
A great eye, lidless, wreathed in flame.”
I recall struggling to formulate this image when first reading Tolkien’s masterpiece.
Even with the help of the cover illustrations it seemed to me then an incredibly ‘difficult’ adversary to picture.
Subsequent artists and filmakers have done a pretty decent job of making the image real and sufficiently menacing.
But what of the symbolism?
What can it mean that Sauron only ever appears as an eye?
“I see you.
You cannot escape.”
From a psychological perspective the Eye of Sauron can be regarded as signifying the Super Ego.
The Super Ego is a manifestation of all those ideals and authority figures that the Ego seeks to impress in order to justify its existence, and look and feel good about itself, but is ever doomed to fail to impress because those ideals are as empty and groundless as the Ego itself, being ultimately, themselves, projections of that Ego.
“What news from Mordor, my Lord?
What does the Eye command?”
The over-bearing demands of the Super Ego and the futile attempts of the Ego to satisfy those demands recall the sweet maid in the rhyme, ‘Soldier Soldier…’
What the Ego needs to do, instead of trying to obey the Super Ego, is to listen to, and act upon, the promptings of the Id.
The Id is the inner child of wisdom which the Ego initially develops to protect.
Once fully developed the Ego conveniently forgets the reason for its development.
Perhaps that is also why Tolkien chose Hobbits as his heroes?
“They would only be small.
Like children to your eyes.”
The Eyes of Horus are not the Eye of Sauron.
They recognise only the Id-entity…