Tag Archives: esoteric

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…

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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The Marsh King’s Daughter III…

 

barbrook III (14)

Hi-ho the Carrion Crow, bow and bend to me…

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…There usually is.

Perhaps one reason for the tale’s obscurity these days is its perceived, overtly, Christian message.

This takes the form of a priest who is captured and tortured by Helga’s Viking fosterers, provokes in her the first stirrings of love and compassion and affords the young girl opportunity to embrace the process which results in the fusing of her day/night time personalities and her achievement of wholeness in mind and form.

However, the culmination of this process is complicated somewhat by the priest’s death at the hands of robbers and his subsequent appearance in a dream vision and by the denouement of the tale which sees the Changeling Child whisked away to heaven by the priest only to return a short time later and find her original home now long lost to the ravishes of time.

The Rip Van Winkle like nature of the priest’s ‘heaven’ may give inkling  to the original story source for this episode, as might his appearance on horse-back wielding his cross much like a knight would wield his sword.

As an other-world component of the story the Christian priest is perhaps less dramatically successful than he might be as a ‘Fairy King’ or ‘Lord of Light’ but still gives us pause for thought and contemplation as to the precise mode of consciousness his figure represents.

That’s almost all, folks…

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 ‘What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet;

long live the weeds and the wildness yet.’

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All photos – Sue Vincent.

All epithets – The Grateful Dead, ‘Mountains of the Moon’.

Epitaph -‘Inversnaid’, Gerard Manly Hopkins.

The Marsh King’s Daughter II…

 

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‘…The Earth will see you on through this time…’

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…There always is.

The Marsh King sinks back beneath the waters with the unnamed Egyptian Princess in his thrall.

Some time later a green shoot with a water-lily bud appears above the slime.

The bud unfurls to reveal a small girl-child.

The child is spotted by a watching Stork and is taken to a barren Viking couple who, quite naturally, are enthralled with the gift and immediately besotted with the child.

Children normally display both the physical and temperamental characteristics of their ancestors, predominantly their parents, and usually in more or less equal measure.

Here, these tendencies are pronounced.

Helga, for this is the name the Viking couple choose for her, is a beautiful girl-child during the day, albeit displaying a strong blood-thirsty streak, whilst as the sun sets she turns into a compassionate, toad-like monster!

Is the name significant?

How important is it that Helga is the only named character in the story?

Could any device be better chosen to make us consider the diurnal polarity of Day and Night and their profound affects upon our consciousness and its natural tendencies?

Cold mountain…

Warm earth…

If we are in any doubt as to what we are to make of these devices we are introduced to the somnambulistic nature of both Denmark and the nether regions of Marsh-Land later in the tale.

To make matters worse, Helga’s apparent beauty beguiles all those who gaze upon her and blinds them to the reality of her brutish day-time nature.

It is only her adoptive Viking mother who witnesses and begins to see and realise the true nature of the problem presented to both her, and by extension us, in the form and expressions displayed via the mysterious Marsh King’s Daughter.

There is more…

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The Marsh King’s Daughter…

 

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‘…Hi-ho the Carrion Crow, Fol-de-rol-de riddle…’

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Although the second longest of Anderson’s Fairy Tales, The Marsh King’s Daughter is relatively little known and perhaps, even, considered to be one of his ‘lesser’ tales.

It is a huge, sprawling epic of a yarn, which like most of his stories draws liberally from the ancient sagas, legends and folk tales which Hans imbibed in his youth.

Unlike some story tellers, although Anderson approaches the traditional devices with free reign, he never loses sight of their psychological and spiritual import and consequently, whilst sometimes apparently piling device upon device in wild profusion, there is always a satisfying, not to say, profound pay off to his seemingly more fantastical meanderings.

In these posts then, rather than retell the story, we intend to focus on aspects of the tale in order to investigate and elucidate the psychological and spiritual components of the story as a whole.

The Marsh King himself, though central to the plot, plays a comparatively minor role in the story, appearing just once, initially disguised as a tree stump.

It is a cunning disguise which gives the foul fellow the opportunity to drag an unsuspecting princess to her apparent doom beneath the marshes.

But wait, how did such a delicate, pretty one find herself on the edge of a marsh in Denmark?

She was sent from Egypt by her dying father to look for the antidote to his wasting disease.

And how did she get there?

She donned a feathered cloak and flew there as a swan.

Then, why didn’t she simply re-don the cloak and fly away when the Swamp Man revealed himself to her?

Because her jealous sisters, who had flown with her, stole her cloak and destroyed it…

Spatially, the construct is no less dazzling.

Here, as in most traditional stories the horizontal polarity of Egypt and Denmark constitutes a world and its other-realm.

The Outer, wasteland, can only be re-invigorated from the Inner depths which appear to be somewhat murky.

The healing herb reputedly grows in a bog, the domain of the Marsh King.

Already, the mix of natural metaphor and deep psychological insight  begins to weave its ancient magic.

But there is more…

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Hackpen Hill…

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Even our ‘elusive barrow’ was bigger than we expected.

We couldn’t help being reminded of the Fairy Mine.

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And we would have got a lot closer still

but for the seven-foot-tall stinging nettles.

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“We were pressed for time the last time we visited Hackpen Hill.”

“Ilkley wasn’t it by way of Marlborough to pick up the staves?”

“Staffs not staves.”

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“That’s the ‘fella’.”

“The fellow with half a face?”

“Sounds like the title of something.”

“It doubtless is.”

“Or should be.”

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“Strange, how patterns in the landscape,

figures of speech,

modes of mind,

attract some people…”

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“Yet not others.”

 

 

Fringe Benefits…

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Another one of those ‘green-worm-holes’ presented itself.

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And we were hardly likely to refuse.

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A decision with consequences which we both found quite pleasing.

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A couple of small stones caught our attention.

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But upon closer inspection they turned out to be rather large stones.

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But then, this was Avebury after all…

 

Infinite Regress…

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THE INFINITE HIGHWAY

If one always returns to where one came from,

then one’s destination is halfway between where

one came from and where one is going to.

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HALFWAY TO INFINITY

Every step along the infinite highway is simultaneously

an equal distance between an infinite future

and an infinite past, that is, it is halfway to and from infinity.

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EQUAL PARTS OF INFINITY

To find the halfway point of any distance,

one first splits the distance into equal parts then,

when the number of equal parts remaining is equal

to those that have passed one has one’s halfway point.

The equal parts of infinity, however, are all infinite.

Infinity is the only thing that can be split into… infinities.

This is known as counting the for evers of forever.

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FOREVER YOURS

Reflecting upon all this it appears…

‘The Ancient of Days’

Is a good poetic name for infinity.

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THE INFINITE HOTEL

A Traveller approaches the Infinite Hotel and asks The Ancient of Days for a room.

Now, there are an infinite number of rooms in the Infinite Hotel, however, the Traveller is informed by the Ancient of Days that all the rooms in the Infinite Hotel are taken.

Q: How does the Traveller get a room in the Infinite Hotel ?

A: The Ancient of Days asks the occupants of Room 1 to move into Room 2 and the occupants of Room 2 to move into Room 3…and so on… and on… Infinitely, thus making room for the Traveller.

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INFINITE EXPANSE

At any one time in the Infinite Hotel then, there will be any number of people on the corridors moving from one room to the next, and this number will be dependent on how many Travellers are seeking a room in the Infinite Hotel…

Consider this…

All the rooms in the Infinite Hotel have a name…

All the rooms in the Infinite Hotel have the same name…

The name of all the rooms in the Infinite Hotel is ‘After-Life’.

Consider this…

All the corridors in the Infinite Hotel have a name…

All the corridors in the Infinite Hotel have the same name…

The name of all the corridors in the Infinite Hotel is ‘Life’.

By extension…

The occupants of each room in the Infinite Hotel have names…

The occupants in the room before yours are called ‘Parents’

The occupants in the room after yours are called ‘Children.’

The act of moving from room to corridor is called ‘Birth’.

The act of moving from corridor to room is called ‘Death’.

‘Life Duration’ in the Infinite Hotel can be defined as,

the amount of time spent in the corridor

 before moving into the next room…

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IN FIN…

Once one

Never none

Forever one.

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Mother Bear…

HM15 884Carreg Samson

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With a total disregard for tradition we tackled our ‘just right bowl of porridge’ first .

It is strange to say, perhaps, but this particular conglomeration of, once covered but now exposed, structured stone did not, initially, feel particularly motherly.

For one thing there seemed to be a general reluctance for people to step inside.

Was this fear, awe, reverence… ?

Perhaps it was a commingling of all three emotions…

The structure does cast an illusion of wanton precariousness.

Those undressed slabs of rock together comprise an impressive sight and tonnage.

The bones of our ancestors were once interred here.

More recently it has served as a sheep shelter.

Whatever it was it was soon dispelled as we got ‘down and dirty’ in the chamber in order to read a contemporary ‘Druid Prayer’.

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There is a theory about male and female standing stones.

The broader, squatter, shorter stones being deemed female whilst the taller, thinner, longer stones are deemed male.

It struck me that if the Cap-Stone were upright it would probably be regarded as a male stone.

According to another theory the Cap-Stone would definitely be male, irrespective of whether or not it is standing, for it has seams of white-quartz running through it.

From this angle though the Cap-Stone, in its present state, looks like nothing so much as a bird skull.

Which notion may cause pause for further thought…

Was there a deeper level of symbolism at play than the familiar Womb-Tomb equation?

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There is talk in the official literature of a possible second chamber and certainly from this angle the Cap-Stone looks quite badly broken.

It would also explain the curiously lonely looking ‘stone figure’ to the right.

Whichever way one approaches the structure it is hard to shake the resemblance to a modern day coffin with pall bearers…

Except, perhaps, this one…

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The Cap-Stone possesses contours which closely resemble a distant Head-Land.

This is best seen in image one.

When the structure was covered in earth and grass this resemblance would, presumably, be even more accurate, especially if seen from a distance.

The portal ‘looks out’ across an ocean which has an island in it.

It is from this Isle, legend tells us, that St Samson flicked the stones to land and take up their present position.

So, St Samson must, at some stage in his story, have been a giant.

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Pieman…

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When Pieman was very young,

and living at the beginnings of time,

he often slept with the Cave Bear Clan during stormy weather.

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Over the course of many such nights,

Big Brown Bear who was also very old,

taught Pieman the nature of his belly-roar.

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To this day,

Pieman makes use of his roar in dreams,

but only to pacify strangers and to quiet the rowdy,

and those of us who have difficulty understanding the Ancient Tales.