Dear Wen: Greater Things…

Dear Wen,

Graves’s Greek Myths I am familiar with. It was one of my ‘bibles of old’. Many a happy hour has been spent chasing the reference notes through the leaves of that classic. He does have his biases, bless him, as do we all, but the discipline instilled all those years ago, may have been partly responsible for my mind’s penchant to traverse, shall we say, circuitous routes.

In colour terms, we are only really lacking Green. Does the screenplay of our film being written by Greene count, I wonder? If anyone doubts the veracity of a psychological approach to the interpretation of this film we are bound to point out that both Freud and Jung lived and worked in Vienna, which could therefore be called the home of psychology. It is certainly the home of the psychoanalytic method. There are also a number of stills from the film which were used for promotion purposes which have been, ‘doctored’ to show, Holly and Anna casting Harry’s shadow. Check it out!

‘What can I do, I’m dead aren’t I?’ Gives a new perspective to the term carte blanche, perhaps.

In the film, Harry, the ‘eternal child’ who even dresses in black, like a shadow, does get raised, or rather elevated. He takes a ride on the Big Wheel, but he does so at his own instigation, and not Holly’s. Holly has arranged to meet him there, simply to be out in the open, and safe! Has he worked out that Harry murdered the Porter and the Medical Orderly we wonder? Quite possibly. In the event, Holly almost gets shot and thrown out of the cabin of the wheel when it has reached its zenith. Only the fact that the police have dug up Harry’s coffin saves him… Etruscan Architectural Traditions: Local Creativity or Outside Influence? – Brewminate

Well, as the Romans (Acch phut) habitually stole their Gods and Goddesses from the Greeks, gave them different names and tried to convince themselves that they had in fact invented them, I am wondering about the Greek original for Cloacina? Ah, she turns out to have been an Etruscan deity, and the Etruscans, were in mythological terms, heavily influenced by both the Phoenicians and the… Greeks! You begin to see the advantages of circuitous thinking, I trust?

…In defence of his flagrant racketeering Harry compares himself to the state authorities. They have their five-year plans and so does he. They refer to the proletariat, he to the mugs and suckers. It is hardly a convincing argument but recent events may have revealed it to have more truth than, perhaps, was previously thought…

Continue reading at France & Vincent…

Going West: Pentre Ifan…

Wales 117

It is a magical place. You are in no doubt of that as you walk along the path to the site. Hoary stones nestle in the hedgerow. Bluebells, those delicate woodland flowers that bloom only in spring, are blooming on the hillside at midsummer, scattered through the grass as if giving warning that here, time holds no sway and to step into the enclosure is to step out of this world’s realm and into another.

Wales 159

Your first sight of Pentre Ifan takes your breath away. I saw it first many years ago, on a day that invited no other visitors… we had the place to ourselves for hours and time to get a feel for this sacred space. And, although many things here may be debated and pondered upon by minds scientific or spiritually inclined, there is no doubt about the sanctity of the site.

Wales 118

It is the gigantic head of a bird that greets you, its beak held aloft by stone as insubstantial as a feather, looking out over the valley. It is not just the stones that ‘get’ you, it is the place itself. Little wonder, when there are so many tales of the Fair Folk being sighted here, especially as the moon rises on a summer night.

Wales 135

Some tales tell that they are red-capped and resemble small soldiers. Others, less forthcoming but more believable, speak of insubstantial beings, impossible to capture but who converse with those rare few who can see them.

Wales 146

Pentre Ifan was built around six thousand years ago and is the oldest of the tombs we visited on this trip. The site sits within its enclosure still; even though the perimeter stones are largely lost within the edges of the oak wood and the hedgerows, the shape of the space can still be traced. There are all the usual debates over the purpose and construction of the site, but it is always referred to as a tomb. Here, I can see that, though not because of the archaeology. Very few artefacts have been discovered here and no finds to show that it was ever a burial chamber, which, in itself, seems a little odd for a tomb. I wonder if the stones were part of the death rites, rather than a final resting place? Or perhaps the death was more symbolic… a ritual initiation… a re-beginning for the shamans.

Wales 134

One legend about the place says that it was a druidic college. Pentre Ifan was not always its name either… it was once known as Arthur’s Quoit, Coetan Arthur, like the first site we had visited. But Arthur, as a legend, is a mere babe compared to the age of these stones, and I wonder why the warrior-king who sought the Grail was so often associated with them. Perhaps folk memory remembered something we have now lost and saw in these stones a portal to a different mode of being.

Continue reading at France & Vincent

Dear Don: Art and Soul…

Dear Don,

You might be interested in having a read through my ‘Greek Myths’ by Robert Graves… two hefty volumes, but a nice edition, with the red and black cover. I still have a fondness for Bullfinch myself, as a basic reference, even though you can guarantee I’ll grumble my way through almost every telling…

Black and red, black and white… there is something in the polarity of extremes that speaks to us wordlessly, even when we don’t consciously notice. I suppose the glitter of ‘fool’s gold’ is another such extreme contrast to the mundane grey of many lives.  But the hand that grasps finds itself shackled by its own desire, while the hand open to what is offered finds itself filled with riches…

I would watch the film but I don’t want to skim through it. I want to give it the attention it deserves… and at the moment, things are a tad manic around here. It is odd, though, how much of a mark it left on me, even as a child. I can still remember watching it on my grandfather’s television, more years ago than I care to count… and having him explain a story I was too young to understand.

As to Cloacina… a cloak, or a veil?

Rejecting ‘base matter’ never seems to get you very far, while accepting the beauty and precision of its design and interdependence, and recognising their part in the spiritual journey, could justly be called passing the first Veil of the Temple.

Cloacina, the goddess of the sewers, was also seen as Venus Cloacina, goddess of purity and protectress of marital relations. Back to extremes again… at least in as far as human perception tends to go…

Continue reading at France & Vincent…

Weather!…

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Getting to the Hurlers proved easy enough…

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Clustered, as they were, around the extremities of Bodmin Moor…

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But the weather closed in…

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Almost as soon as we set foot to turf…

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Which made the prospect of a climb up to the Cheesewring, and Stowe’s Pound, a decidely unlikely event…

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We walked as far as we could before caution proved the better part of valour…

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And then, the sun came out…

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Somebody, somewhere, muttered something about stones and humour.

Playing Place…

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Well, it didn’t take us long to get there did it?

But let’s ponder a moment

what this structure could mean…

We could call the two flanking uprights,

Summer and Winter,

or Night and Day,

or Them and Us,

and it would not really matter which was which.

If we did that though, what would we call the holed stone?

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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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Circle of Stone…

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If ever there was a monument that ought to be regarded as fake.

This is surely it.

So far as we know it is unique,

although there are many holed stones.

The others are usually uprights, stand alone, and have much smaller holes.

But if it is authentic, and we have never come across

any suggestion that it is not,

then it is an indication that the ancients

ritualised, and that they thought symbolically.

This should not come as a surprise.

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