Tag Archives: photography

The Celebration of Mister Fox…

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I never knew Holmfirth in the days of mill workers and clogs.

I really got to know her in the Post Industrial gloom,

Of swish Cafe Bars,

And cosy restaurants,

All day drinking parties frequented by the nouveau riche…

Who leap from still moving taxis,

Done up to the nines,  dressed to kill,

While up on the hill,

Something feral is stirring…

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Something ancient and unsought…

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So, as the lazy cars slow crawl,

Through tight-cobbled streets,

Held up by roaming party-goers,

Soft parading their unsteady path from the park…

And boozers sing boldly in the late afternoon heat

With rabid mouths, foaming,

Never quite finding the beat…

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A beast is preparing,

to be unleashed,

In the dark…

France and Vincent… Finding Don and Wen

France & Vincent

img_3570Photograph by Helen Jones

It served me right for kidnapping a genius with one foot in several other worlds and eyes fixed firmly beyond any horizon I had ever seen. And I only kidnapped him a little bit. And he didn’t seem to mind too much….

We knew each other anyway, through the Work, but had never really had much time to talk so the meeting was just asking for trouble, really. We spent almost the entire night, wine in hand, talking about almost everything under the sun and then moved the conversation  outside to watch the stars.

When the meeting had concluded next day, I offered to run him to the station… we never got there, but did have a wonderful day exploring the Yorkshire Dales, cold as it was. It had snowed a little and in spite of the sunshine, small patches remained on the low ground while…

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Father Bear…

HM15 970Pentre Ifan

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Which translates, ‘Ivan’s Village’ but was also formerly known as, ‘Arthur’s Quoit’.

Another ‘quoit’, and only a few miles away from the last one.

This seems, if anything, a little unimaginative.

Or, alternatively, it could signal a connection between the two sites.

The more obvious visual parallels though are with our first site, Carreg Samson.

Seen from one angle Pentre Ifan now frames the distant peak of Carningli (Hill of Angels) and like St Samson’s stone the upper ridge of its Cap follows closely the contours of the terrain which has always dominated its horizon.

We have been moving deeper into the country on our three-fold quest and the sites have become increasingly populace.

We met no one at the first site but at the second, we were hurried on our way by a couple of visitors as though we were holding up play on a golf course.

Here, we pass an entourage on the way in and on our way out we are replaced by another one.

The conveyor belt effect…

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True to the form in which we have cast these sketches we are over heating by this point in the proceedings.

Still, we have just come from a long climb up a big hill on a very hot day and the surrounding recumbents prove more than a tad adequate as baking stones.

It is perhaps just as well.

By paying too much attention to the stones one can start to become  a trifle uncomfortable in quite a different sense.

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For one thing, it becomes abundantly apparent that the central stone is not a support stone at all.

Not a support stone?

Quite definitely not.

But if it is not a support stone then what is it doing there, what is it, and why does it have claws?

Stone claws, or perhaps talons, which are firmly rooted in, not to say sprouting from, the earth?

Well, that is true, but even so…

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Maybe, whatever it is, is pointing the way.

Pointing the way to what and where?

To Ivan’s Village.

Whatever that means?

Ivan is Ian… is Jan, and Janus, the god-form of portals, is two-faced and looks both ways. In and out, up and down, before and after, here and there.

Ivan’s Village is Janus’ place!

Well, it is one aspect of Janus’ face, or Jane’s, certainly.

All of which means, we are still no nearer to an answer…

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…Not necessarily…

The symbolic preoccupation of all these structures seems to be with Headlands, (end of the land and start of the sea) or Mountain peaks (end of the land and start of the sky). And by extension with islands which is land situated in the sea, and also with birds which are beings that fly in the sky.

In other words the builders of these structures are concerned with thresholds and what lies beyond those thresholds in the domains which they bound. The analogy always involves the natural environment which is then related to their, and hence to our, own experience.

So, it is not so much from here to eternity but rather from here to our apparently limited horizons and then on beyond them…

Which may very well be an eternity or if not, then at least, an endless round.

Simple.

Eloquent.

Profound.

And that is just the formal symbolism of the structures, without consideration of the precise geometries of their situation…

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Despite the conveyor belt effect we still get time enough to do what is needed.

And we conclude our ‘…Prayer’ with a little chanting.

Impromptu.

Because that’s the way…

we like it.

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You think that will have gone unnoticed?

Quite possibly not.

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Baby Bear…

 

HM15 947Carreg Coetan Arthur

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 Otherwise, ‘Arthur’s Quoit.’

Of which there are a goodly number dotted about our Blessed Isles.

Which makes me wonder…

It is hard not to regard this Arthur as a giant too.

And indeed the folk record cares little whether it be a giant, or a king, or a saint who is responsible for placing the stones, only that their provenance be marked, and their links not forgotten.

The link at our previous site was with an isle and maybe if one were to sail from the isle to the mainland it would be useful to keep the stones, or the mound in sight. And if they couldn’t be seen it might have been unwise to set out at all…

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The link at this one  is with the setting sun on the now obscured horizon.

Now, a quoit is a ring thrown over an upright in the game which, like a lot of games, employs distinctly coital symbolism.

It would be easy to re-construct the ring, perhaps, the earthen mound covering the chamber would only need to have been circular in shape.

But the ‘upright’ might be more difficult…

Unless it were a beam of light?

Such a notion is certainly counter intuitive but it may widen our notions of being up-standing.

We begin to wish we had paid more attention to the ray diagrams of our youth and those interminable physics lessons.

Fortunately, someone else has already done the maths, although quite how is still something of a mystery, to us at least.

According to the estimable Mr Robin Heath, the midsummer sun set of 2800 BC would cast its light through the ‘v’ at what he calls the back of the monument but which we may want to call the front.

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One  has to wonder about a culture concerned enough about its environs to construct such a burial chamber.

A crucible for the last rays of the summer sun.

May it be that the structure was a calendrical instrument long before it was a tomb and that the bones eventually placed in its midst were once those of people connected to its construction and or continued employment?

When appropriate we still sometimes bury the tools of someone’s life long trade, or rather service, with ‘them’.

Such notions have  wide ranging ramifications for recent theories of psychological crystallisation, but that is another story…

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This being such a small portal there was little enough room for the reader so the Companions gathered around the periphery for another recital of the ‘…Prayer’.

The reading caused shivers which, given the designation we had somewhat irreverently foisted upon the structure, seemed curiously apt.

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Why Myth?…

The Silent Eye

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‘…history became legend, legend became myth…’

What a pleasant conceit, to suppose that this process produces myth. Whilst undoubtedly true for many legends the process can also work the other way. Many legends for example have produced history. Pre-eminently in this respect, at least for Britain, is ‘King Arthur’ whose story the scholars do indeed now refer to as a mythos.

But what is really going on here?

It is probably more accurate to regard all these forms as stories. We are not supposed to regard History as a story but as ‘recorded fact’ and also ‘true’, but well, really, the clue is in the name. So why do we set such store by stories? The clue is in the question.
The truth of stories lies in a realm other than the literal. And what is ‘the literal’ anyway’?

‘The literal is something that actually happened.’

‘And what do…

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North-easterly VII: A final grace

The Silent Eye

“…Manifest thy light for my regeneration, and let the breadth, height, fullness and crown
of the solar radiance appear, and may the light within shine forth!”

Abbe de Villars, ‘The Comte de Gabalis’

“We’ve just got to the top of the slope by the castle,” said the voice on the phone, in answer to my query. We had been a few minutes late arriving on Holy Island, and our companions had begun to stroll out towards the medieval castle that dominates the island landscape. Having failed to find them in any of the three cafés where we had looked, we had located them by phone and, putting on a bit of a spurt, finally caught up with them. From here we could look back at the beginning of our journey, over the water to Bamburgh Castle, just as the spiritual pilgrim looks back on his inner journey and sees with…

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…Everlasting to Everlasting…

The Silent Eye

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Euhemerism: an ideology that humanises the gods…?

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Euhemerus of Messene was a widely travelled man. He wrote a travel book in which he described his visit to an island called Panchaia in the Indian Ocean. In the island’s Temple of Zeus, he said, there was a golden pillar on which Zeus himself had written his autobiography as the king of Panchaia. Zeus had also written the biography of his father, Cronos, on the pillar, and Hermes had then added the biographies of Artemis and Apollo. Unfortunately, Euhemerus’s book does not survive, and no one else has ever found the island Panchaia, so later writers accused Euhemerus of inventing the whole thing.

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The most sympathetic account of Euhemerus’s work is contained in Diodorus Siculus’s, ‘World History’, where Diodorus explains that even supposing one accepts Euhemerus’s story it does not necessarily follow that the gods he described were…

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