Category Archives: alchemy

Given III…

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“The problem with ‘religious art’ is that whenever you start to enthuse about it people put you down as ‘God Squad’.”

“And then impose their own conception of ‘God’ on you.”

“Which is usually a hideously naive one.”

“I’d be happier with ‘Spirit Squad’.”

“‘The spirit moves where it listeth’.”

“And cannot be tied down by any religious organisation.”

“Saint Michael isn’t a particularly Christain saint, he has his origin in Hebraic magic as an archangel.”

“The notion of sanctifiying an already holy entity is a curious one. Sanctification would normally only be appropriate for a human being.”

“It’s what might be termed an unholy error of hubris, perhaps, and has for it’s champion the ‘Vox populi’.”

“Which in itself is no bad thing.”

“It is not, though, the only mistake people make. They continually objectify when they should subjectify.”

“And they continually subjectify when they should objectify.”

“The depiction of Saint Michael subduing a dragon does not actually refer to any future or past time ‘out there’, but to an inner state which can be achieved by any and all. When it is achieved the ‘out there’ becomes irreversibly changed, for the better.”

“Which might even be described as something of a revelation.”

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The Rock of Brentor…

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‘…A church, full bleak, and weather beaten, all alone, as it were forsaken…’

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“St Michael de Rupe?”

“St Michael the Rock.”

“I thought St Peter was supposed to be the ‘Rock’?”

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“The rock referred to here, is volcanic.”

“Nice.”

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“Though you would never know it now…”

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“…The church-tower can still serve as a beacon.”

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“Curioser and curioser…”

“Wait till we get inside, Alice.”

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A Day’s walk?…

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…”The why, is always the same.”

“In order to connect, or to make whole?”

“And in order to then participate in that wholeness.”

“Which is connection.”

“They call Glastonbury England’s ‘holiest erthe’.”

“Perhaps that is why?”

“Today, we look up to the night sky, and wonder, and dream of perfection.”

“Or, at least, some of us do.”

“Perhaps, there was a time when, at certain junctures in the sacred year, to participate in that perfection was just a days walk away?”

Adoration of the One?…

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“It is a curious attribute of the Chain of Being, that it allowed every class to excel, ‘after its own heart’.”

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“Stones may be considered ‘lowly’ but they ‘trump’ the class above them, plants, in both strength and durability.”

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“Plants, in their turn, though regarded as without ‘sense’, excel all other classes in their ability to harness and store, for nourishment, the energy of the sun.

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“The ‘brute beasts’ possess greater physical strength than man and a ‘purer desire of the heart’, and man himself, being imperfect in the realms of knowledge, excels even the angels in his aptitude for learning.”

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Only the angels, by virtue of their own special gift, the faculty of devotion, can never claim to go beyond the ‘class of being’ that stands above them.

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Something fishy in Glastonbury…

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‘It doesn’t feel like we’re in England. It feels like we’re in France or something.’

No idea why France in particular except, perhaps, that my memories of that country shimmer with light and heat, and the sun was beating down that day.

Such days, in an English summer, are still rare and may be that, to my mind, made the place suitably ‘other’?

How habitual it is to rationalise.

Almost second nature, as if one nature were not more than enough!

We were in Glastonbury for a symposium, a weekend of alternative lectures and radical thinking…

We ‘knew nothing’ of the vesica then even though we had read Michell’s ‘…View…’ some years before.

‘It’s like any book. Some things stick. Some things don’t.’

We knew, though, that we would be returning to Glastonbury and there was no rationalising that away.

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‘In the landscape round Glastonbury Abbey can be found a clear exposition of the former practice of sacred geometry…

A circle with radius one furlong passes through the Old Market Cross, the Abbey fish pond and the town’s Catholic church and defines with its circumference the outer limits of St John’s church and the old Abbey house.

Another similar circle centred on the Catholic church encloses the church of St Benedict and also passes through the Market Cross and the fish pond.

The two parish churches, 1000 feet apart, are now placed symmetrically within the two circles. The centre of the vesica thus formed by these two circles falls on the Abbey Almonry, the centre of charity, and one of its sides can be seen to mark the building line of houses in Magdalene Street.

Thus, the town of Glastonbury lies below the interlinked circles of a vesica piscis, the basic figure of sacred geometry.’

John Michell – The View over Atlantis

 

The Mirror Man…

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If it were possible to achieve objectivity for a space…

We could reflect on what it might mean for man.

Yet, even the most spotless surface,

would only hold its image reversed.

And since we have now out grown

the perfect symmetry

of our own form…

that we might come

to yearn our other halves…

The halves we thought we knew

when sumberged as subject.

Like serfs striving to serve an ideal…

We could not help but see ourselves exposed.

But would such exposure lead to selflessness?

 

 

Fairy Thorn…

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… Just then there is a flurry of wings, and squawks and screeches overhead and we turn our attention skyward in time to see an enormous buzzard chasing off two ravens from the precincts of Uffington Castle.

“Oh, Don look!”Cries Wen, “the hawk of the morning has chased the shadows of the night away.”

As if on cue a sky lark flies up from the ‘fairy thorn’ with as an incongruous a cacophony of song as you are ever likely to hear in such a setting…

As the ravens fly into black specks and disappear in the mist another buzzard glides into view and we watch the two mighty birds soar on the up-draught for awhile as if spiralling around some unseen cone of power.

It certainly feels like we have been accepted into something although I am not quite sure what.

I make a mental note to look up the origins of the phrase, ‘…the Heart of Albion’…

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The acrid smoke hung heavy in the night air.

They would feast tonight.

But for now she plaited the strands of horsehair from the white mane.

A gift from the gods she would treasure…

A blessing as she shared the meat roasting in the pit on the plateau.

The flames cast a dull glow across the faces of the clans.

They were expectant, eager yet solemn.

They were waiting…

 

Dragon’s Eye…

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… The hollow of Dragon Hill affords a stunning vista of the Manger and the Giant’s Stairs.

From this vantage the sheer scale of the site starts to impinge upon my consciousness.

I concur with Wen that the laity would have congregated in the bowl or chalice of the hill where we now stand, shaped as it is it forms a natural amphitheatre and the scoured grass beneath our feet which according to tradition is the spot where St. George ‘loosed the Dragon’s blood’ is clearly as anything a missing piece off the horse on the hill opposite.

I am minded of the myth of Isis and Osiris and the search of the Goddess for her brother’s dismembered body…

The other disconcerting thing, from our point of view, is that the figure is not wholly visible from this elevation.

One would need to be a lot higher up or further back to make out the entire shape.

It is though, nevertheless, a highly dramatic landscape.

We have crossed to the opposite hill now and stand contemplating the eye of the dragon…

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Signatures…

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Back in the low slung car I stare into the gloom.

A quiet has descended with the mist.

It is the silence that preludes any portentous event.

The car lurches and veers suddenly and we bounce up a dirt track and skid to a halt at the foot of Dragon Hill.

“You didn’t mean to come this way did you?”

“This way, that way…what does it matter?”

“Who knows?”

It is my turn to look mysterious as we set off up the hillock.

The chill snags my breath as we climb and the mist swirls and eddies, clinging to our legs and arms like star stuff.

I nearly lose my balance a number of times for no apparent reason, a sure sign if one were needed that we are approaching the numinous…

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