Tag Archives: symbolism

In Hack-Pen Hedge…

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Animism
1. Doctrine that the soul is the vital principle of organic development.
2. Attribution of conscious life or spirits to nature or natural phenomena.
3. Belief in the existence of spirits separable from bodies.

“There’s a large stone in that hedge…”
“Correction, there’s a large head in that hedge.”
“A pity then that hedge derives from edge and not from head.”

It is a recurring question and one which crops up every time we visit ‘circles’ of stone.
Are the forms which we ‘see’ in them in us or in the stone?
Are they merely subjective projections or do they inhere in the stones themselves?

From experience we know that different people see different things.
From experience also we know that these forms change, constantly.
Among other things they are affected by;
1. Distance.
2. Angle of approach.
3. Atmospheric conditions.

Would that the flickering blaze of flame
In the moonlight
again illuminate these forms…

The beat of a drum
A flare from the sun
When will they in unity thrum?

They deal then with perception and perceptions.

If all one sees are silly things
Is one a silly person or merely being silly?

Is it likely that stones would be chosen for their similarity to animals or beings which have never shared their environment?

Do we know for certain which fauna shared their environment?

Context too is important.

If we have an idea of what these sites were for,
then we may be able to find a correlation in the images in the stones.

Or is that simply more projection
and hence an even greater error of interpretation?

The ‘new circles’ can be instructive.
Apart from the obvious fact that for the most part they are not situated correctly, and thus do not feel ‘right’ or indeed feel ‘wrong’ and do not function at all on an energetic level, the choice of stones also leaves a lot to be desired.
These stones are ‘dead’.
Individually they appear too regular and too square to hold any forms,
not that a square or regular stone could not hold such a form, mind.
Collectively they do not ‘speak’ to each other, or as a whole.

Whatever else the people responsible for ‘Our Stones Circles’ were or were not, they were certainly artists of an exceptionally high degree of accomplishment, as well as consummate surveyors and engineers.
And that is not to mention, supreme organisers and masters of matter in motion.
These skills were probably not compartmentalised or regarded as separate.

One possible function of this artistry and science could have been in order to facilitate ancestral contact.

I just wish I’d moved the grasses away from the other side of the stone and taken a peek…

And then gone into the adjacent field and done likewise.

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Free Day III …

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… Our-Father, Lady, Countess-Grae passed light and demure across the softly shifting shades of a turquoise beach.

Formless as beauty likened to the morning mist, her presence cleansed and refreshed the air as she danced; flitting capriciously between the stark but numerous clumps of white seaweed which lay sprawled like bleached and dying spiders: upturned and struggling in the yet cool but rapidly warming, morn-time sun.

They straddled the beach like shredded robes with their puckered strands wafting playful death throes in the sea breeze and as robes which had been wrenched, torn and wildly flung to lie forgotten upon the rising mounds of the blue dunes they appeared to have been discarded and scattered amid the sea’s insatiable passion for the sand.

And in her innocence, in her uncertain, whimsical passing Our-Father, Lady, Countess-Grae’s ruby feet caressed that same dry and now sullied sand: with all its succulence spent and with its surface baked-dry in the aftermath of the sea’s relief.

Yet cajoled and enticed by the arch of her feet and the spring in her step as she ran, the sand was compressed and spilled forth a deeper moistness; the dark clammy grains of which clumped and clung in a rich blue pulp and which squashed and squelched between the niches of her toes; cold, and invigorating as the new day which dawned all around.

A girl again, her laughter bubbled between short gasps, gurgled, giddy and pure as she moved; her reckless spirit sprightly and unabashed, flowing swifter and swifter, until, exhausted from running but still in playful mood she succumbed, collapsing onto the blue-green terrain beside a large vermilion boulder which squatted upon the lip of a small rock pool: its shade only vaguely unsettling her as she fell, splaying out her pale, slender limbs in limp, abject surrender to her surroundings.

As she gradually began to recover and her breath grew more even, her fingers scratched and gently scraped at the purple moss that spread like speculative boredom in dark, sporadic patches across the rock’s hunched and brooding form.

But she remained unmindful of the delicate intricacies and patterns which she so idly created for she was lost in the emerald-green sky and there she bathed her resting soul in the lushness of its translucence…

Earl Grae slumbered sardonically in his shell.

“…Still on your mind then?”

“Is what still on my mind?”

“Samuel.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The ‘he’ look, behind you.”

The etchings which she had scratched in the moss spelled Samuel.
“I still don’t understand.”
“The ‘He’, that is his name.

That is what he is ‘called’. That is what he is ‘known as’ or ‘goes by’.

That is his title; ‘hearkened unto’, or ‘requested by, the Lords’.

“Oh!” She read the name pronouncing each letter “… Who decided?”

“You did.”

“I did?”

“Just then…”

“Oh!”

“…When you were bathing…”

“Sa-M-U-El… mmm, I like that.”

“I like it too. A commendable choice…”

“Why, thank you, it was nothing… but, does Sam-U-El struggle, does Samu- El hurt?”

“Yes, of course he does but he loves it to death.”

“Oh death, Samuel has touched death then?”

“Grasped dear, grasped.”

“Sorry, grasped. How do you know?”

“I read it somewhere…

Here, tell me what you think.”…

The Aetheling Thing

Black and White…

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…Mother said, “The spiral patterns on the gate don’t mean anything, dear, they’re just decoration.”
If life is a search for meaning then it would be as well to point out from the start that there is none to be had, that way more people would be able to relax and appreciate their surroundings.
The gate of number eight Teesgrove Road did not mean anything but at least it now existed for me in some sort of meaningful way. Those spiral-line pieces of metal made me think that they were a pretty beautiful and elaborate way of saying absolutely nothing…
In fact those spiral-line pieces of metal made me wonder just where the gate of number eight Teesgrove Road stood in relation to the other gates in the street and the very short answer to that question was that the gate of number eight Teesgrove Road was unique.
The Urban and Suburban Town Planners sit around tables drawing up each new uniform vision of the future and the people they have designed the latest uniform homes for move in and immediately start turning meticulously planned dreams into their own personalised versions of heaven or hell.
At some point in time between the construction of number eight Teesgrove Road and our arrival in the street, the previous owner must have flicked through brochures, or paraded around showrooms, ‘hummed and ahhed’, and eventually plumped for the intricate, metalwork, spiral-line design which was, years later, to become a source of such wonder.
People, I have heard it said have no grasp of what they do.
The metal work spiral-line design on the gate of number eight Teesgrove Road did not mean anything to mother but it must have been having some sort of an effect on her reasoning because when she finally got around to transforming the stairs and hallway of number eight Teesgrove Road the metal work supports she chose to adorn the newly scraped, sanded and varnished wooden banister rail comprised a spiral-line design.
“Ooh look,” I said when I first saw it, “the banister rail now matches the garden gate.”
“Oh yes,” said mother, “so it does, I hadn’t realised.”
The spiral-line metal work design of the supports for the newly scraped, sanded and varnished wooden banister rail were black but of the twisted metalwork slats which were to alternate between them and which had come through the post at the same time, some were black and some were white.
Someone at the Mail Order Firm had made a mistake.
“Tutt… look at this,” said mother “they’ve sent the wrong ones… I ordered black… Damn and Blast it… Now what am I going to do? They’ll have to go back, it’s no use… They’ll have to go back… I’m not having ‘em… Flaming Marvellous… it’s not damn difficult is it… I mean, black is black isn’t it? It’s definitely not… blasted white…And I wanted to get it done this weekend…”
I started laughing.
Mother started laughing too, “it’s not damn funny” she said and then her laugh started to turn into a sob…
“Try it anyway,” I suggested “the skirting board and the picture rails are still white, you never know, it might look okay.”…
The Mail Order Firm had sent ten twisted black slats, five twisted white slats and ten black spiral-line designs which we arranged in a three to one ratio, starting at the bottom of the stairs with two twisted black slats, a spiral-line design followed by a twisted white slat and proceeding in like manner until we finished with a twisted white slat at the top of the stairs.
Now when mother was vacuuming and I huddled into the corner of the dog-leg two thirds the way up the stairs so as to feel the full effect of the vibrations rattling the floor-boards and juddering the stair-well, I could also trace the spiral-line design with my eyes… and amid all that noise, with cold shivers traversing the length of my spine…
I could think of black…
and then think of white…

A Cellular Life

 

Sweet Terror…

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…I first noticed the spirals on the gate of number eight Teesgrove Road when I was turning the soil and tidying the litter from the strip of earth which separated its grounds from those of number ten Teesgrove Road.
I started at the bottom of the garden under the gate post because a lot of litter and dead leaves had collected under the bush which stood in front of the gatepost.
Up and until that point in time the gate of number eight Teesgrove Road had been simply that, a gate, but as I worked, this gate started to impose something of it’s own making, something peculiar and of its very own sweet terror… which, after several long hard stares, it eventually transpired, consisted in a pattern of iron worked spirals.
Inanimate objects do not talk, they do not have a voice but when the Amerindian advises you to listen to trees he is not necessarily imploring you to use your ears.
Once I had taken the time to actually look at the pattern of spirals on the gate they were pretty easy to work out and I began running my finger tips along the inside edge, into the centre and back out again…
First the top two spirals, and then the bottom two…
The arched back of each of the two spirals were welded together in the middle and the zenith and nadir of each of the outside edges of the four spirals had been soldered to cross slats which ran the breadth of the gate.
But for the cross slats I’d have been able to trace my fingers around the whole of each pattern without a break but when my fingers got jammed I started using my eyes instead which was a lot quicker but which made me feel dizzy.
It was at this point that I started wondering what the spirals meant and why anyone would bother to spend time working them into the design on a gate and it was at this point that I remembered that in spring time the leaves on the bush played host to fat, hairy, yellow and black caterpillars which transformed themselves into pale green butterflies.
It struck me that if the pattern of spirals was turned on its side it would look just like a butterfly and it also struck me that the pattern of spirals the craftsman had used to crown the gate – Two huge spirals meeting and tailing away left and right to small inverse spirals – looked almost like the raised middle section of the arched back of a caterpillar, inching its way along a leaf, but after these pointless thoughts I gave up trying to work out what the patterns meant, determined to ask mother and returned to the chore in hand…

A Cellular Life

Turnings II…

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… Now she was out in space my Soul had turned astronomical on me. I decided to give her free reign, as much rope as she wanted. Enough for a thousand and one hangings…

“The Water Maiden has sacrificed her heavenly wings and impregnable habit for a dip in the river. She is naked as the morn and splashing about like a new born pup in the wending, silver white … She is carefree and happy…
…Radiant as a flying fish or a sated frog. The trees along the river bank transform their branch tips into shimmering leaves, leaves which dance about fruit ripening into bright stars… in a sigh… arching resplendently into the blazing heavens…”

She swayed up close, parted my lips, and entered my mouth…

“The eighth and final star to accost the sky is a misfit, stark and black as the cold dark space her Pilgrim has spent his whole life traversing… The birds quiver from their nests, with a croak, as the hours relinquish his body: a sheaf of dead skin shivering away in a twisting spiral of rainbow tails which surge and bubble: kiss gurgling fingers made shiny little fish, gulping protest against the air, silvering into the freedom of the current…”

I was glad to hear from her, of course I was… but she was going too fast…

“Hi – Ho – He rises… Old Nick rejuvenated, borne aloft on Neptune’s scaly shoulders… Tumbling back down to earth with a dull thud…
…As an acorn nestles firmly into the sandy bank.”

“What about memories?” I asked… confused.

“The heart of love is a dove enmeshed in memory.
Her wing-tips are sticky with life.
Your heart-beat is bodily proof of your own yearning to fly.”

Without waiting for a response she flitted off again.
I just caught sight of her tail disappearing into a cloud…

 A Cellular Life

Mantle of Time…

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…”All those keepsakes: photographs, trinkets, letters, cards, little knick-knacks which tug at the heart-strings in quiet moments,” said Bill as he paced my room with his meticulously measured tread.

“When girls die they get to take these things with them,” said Bill’s friend doing like wise but in the other direction, “you can see them if you look hard enough, “he motioned to the window which arched across the top of my room,” there they go… forever lugging their load along the in-transitory roads and pathways of the dead.”

“Depending upon their preponderance, it can take an eternity but they never let go,” said Bill.

“If they ever get to heaven they arrange their haul neatly on the mantelpiece of a room, the door of which bears their name and dates,” said Bill’s friend.

“A room of memories in the house of death preserved for the rest of time. There’s no escaping it!” said Bill. He smiled.

Bill’s friend smiled too, “You can try any of the doors you pass. The glimpse you get of the mantle-piece from the doorway if the door opens is a memory test that grades your success in the life to come.”

“The line moves terribly slowly…” said Bill.

“Three steps a century,” said Bill’s friend…

” If you’re fortunate, ” added Bill and smiled again, “those souls wily enough to have developed an ear for Grand Themes while they were lounging in front of the fire between lives, are capable of picking out divine processes in the most commonplace occurrences of their next existence,” said Bill’s friend.

“A game of snooker in the dilapidated tap room of the Lion’s Den becomes the birth, the life, and death of a star-system on the periphery of Venus Sixty Nine…” said Bill.

“The molecules of plastic combined to form yellow, reds and blue… dissolved into interstellar dust before we were born,” said Bill’s friend.

 A Cellular Life

God-Man…

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…“But the Angles were a British tribe, right? And the Saxons were German?”

We are back in Wen’s study after the half triumph of the first of our Glastonbury talks, which aside from a few timing problems, went as well as could have been expected in view of the weather and the somewhat intricate complications of the run up.

“No, that’s not right either; both the Saxons and the Angles were Germanic tribes.”

“Our country is now named after a Germanic tribe! I think we need to know more about the Anglo-Saxons and the original Britons who could, perhaps, be more or less synonymous with what we now like to call the Celts.”

“As you may have already surmised my sense of history is somewhat sketchy at the best of times but in relation to the Anglo-Saxons and what went before it is practically non-existent.”

“That’s hardly surprising. Much of their contribution to these lands was conveniently forgotten after 1066, for obvious reasons.”

“Well, they certainly seem to have got the proportions of their churches spot on at least for the smaller sites. There is an Irish reference to the coming of Christ in one of the Conchobar stories, something about a ball being shaken loose from his head and killing him. He was also regarded as a sort of giant if memory serves. I had always assumed that the story, or at least that particular aspect of it, was merely a monkish interpolation.”

Wen is checking something in the Dictionary, “Get this… ‘Ætheling from O.E . . . . Æpling, ‘son of a king, man of royal blood, nobleman, chief, prince, king, Christ, God-Man, Hero, Saint…’

“Wait a minute… wait a minute… give me that last bit again.”

“…Christ, God-Man, Hero, Saint…”

“Didn’t we call our Arthur, Aeth in, ‘The Heart of Albion’?”

“We did.”

“And didn’t we set his story in Mercia?”

“We did.”

“And didn’t Mercia grow to become the largest and most powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Albion at one point in its history?”

“It did indeed.”

“Well that’s it then…The Anglo Saxon kings were claiming divine descent.”

“…Along with most other European kings at that time no doubt.”

“That’s true, but the Anglo-Saxon kings’ descent wasn’t from God it was from Christ.”

“And how did they get there?”

“They got there from their very own High One who also hung from a tree with a spear in his side… shrieking.”

“Odin!”

“They evidently regarded Christ as an avatar of Odin.”

“Blimey, you’ll not read that in any history book!”

“Just as well we’re not writing a history then isn’t it?”

The Aetheling Thing

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…

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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

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Free Time…

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‘…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

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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!

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