Tag Archives: meaning

Annus Tumulus – Tomb of the Year…

HM15 691

‘Well almost…quite loosely speaking.’

‘Very loosely speaking.’

‘And no, it’s not a new quiz show. And nor are there any prizes. A tumulus is an artificial mound.’

‘And a natural mound is what?’

‘One that isn’t man made.’

‘Has it anything to do with tummies?’

‘Possibly… Not.’

‘Oh!’

‘Six tombs in one week isn’t half bad though. We’ll  be getting a reputation for morbidity.’

‘And on the seventh day…’

HM15 698

‘On that day once, somebody quite famous said that if the ruins of Ancient Greece weren’t ruined no one would pay them much heed…’

‘The notion of being ‘quite famous’ tickles me. Like bragging about having once seen the Pope in order to ‘prove’ your spirituality.’

‘ …I sometimes feel exactly the same about our tombs.’

‘A lot depends on whether or not they’ve been opened…’

‘Ah, but the Gates of Pluto must never be unlocked, Little Grub.’

‘Why ever not?’

‘Because within those subterranean halls, dwell a people of dreams.’

HM15 717

‘…East Kennet long barrow being a case in point.’

‘And it also depends upon whether the field in which they are situated happens to be navigable or not.’

‘I’d go and lie on East Kennet long barrow if we could get up to it.’

‘Well, maybe we can…’

‘East Kennet long barrow in the sun is a pleasing prospect.’

‘Mounds, artificial or otherwise, though especially tumuli, make pretty good viewing platforms too.’

‘Platforms for viewing what?’

‘Platforms for viewing the stars.’

‘The idea of East Kennet long barrow under the moon I like, possibly, even more than the prospect of sunshine…’

HM15 696

‘Those three ‘Monstrous Mamas’ though, don’t look much like they belong to the rest of the monument.’

‘They were put there quite a bit earlier and were originally covered by earth.’

‘In fact, the recumbent looks vaguely Arbor Low-ish.’

‘More than vaguely, it could have been transported there from Arbor Low.’

‘Or it could have made its own way…’

‘Oh, don’t start that again.’

‘They still don’t know how the Blue Stones got from the mountains of Cymru to the lowlands of Stonehenge.’

‘They are, though, fairly certain that they didn’t get there under their own steam.’

HM15 788

‘No, no, no… movement by steam came much, much later.’

‘…It’s the Cap-Stone presumably, or at least, part of it. How about volition, if you’re not happy with steam?’

‘Volition, I like. They have will these stones?’

‘One can probably wish on them to good effect… Propulsion?’

‘One can almost certainly wish upon them, to good or ill effect more than likely and something undoubtedly propelled them but what?’

‘…It is so frustrating not to know.’

‘It is frustrating.’

HM15 697

‘The recumbent resembles a land mass…

An island of rock in a sea of grass.’

‘The Calf of Man?’

‘Part of a larger map we now no longer possess.’

‘Would it have bridged or spanned the gap in the uprights?’

‘Possibly, or does it represent an internal organ…’

‘Like an exhumed liver from a body we no longer recognise.’

‘A field of hearts.

The lungs of the earth.’

‘No, the lungs of the earth are trees…

…are forests.’

HM15 824

‘Did the fall split it?’

‘Did the fall split the stones at Arbor Low…?’

‘Did the stones at Arbor Low ever fall?’

‘…Running Elk didn’t seem to think so.’

HM15 702

‘So what does it say to us now?’

‘What, as it is?’

‘Yeah, just as it is, in all its decrepit, pock-marked, mysterious magnificence.’

‘Denuded of its earth covering, it speaks very forcibly of the vertical and of the horizontal.

Both are separated allowing for ingress and egress.

The one, in and out, the other, up and down.’

‘So, put them together and what have you got?’

HM15 688

‘A three dimensional portal…’

‘But a portal to where…?’

‘…To wherever you like.’

‘If you please, I would quite like to move from Salisbury plain to Preseli…’

‘Oh, bravo Little Grub, bravo!’

*

The Celebration of Mister Fox: bestial cluster…

HM15 444

*

Bear and Wolf,

And Dog and Fox are all closely related.

It is tempting to imagine a common ancestor;

Bigger than Wolf but smaller than Bear.

*

HM15 385

*

But the official line has something

Much less rapacious originally slink down from the trees.

To replace what?

The Dinosaurs whose more agile brethren had taken to the air.

I wonder what Linnaeus would make of the Mister Fox procession,

As it snakes its way through the alleys and walkways

Of the Saturday night revelers, encouraging all to join its wake.

*

HM15 354

*

“We saw Foxes!” says my companion.

Well, yes and no…

We saw something less

And something more than Foxes…

*

Playing Place…

*

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?

*

The Rock of Brentor…

*

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

*

“St Michael de Rupe?”

“St Michael the Rock.”

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

*

*

“The rock referred to here, is volcanic.”

“Nice.”

*

*

“Though you would never know it now…”

*

*

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

*

*

“Curioser and curioser…”

“Wait till we get inside, Alice.”

*

 

 

 

The Marsh King’s Daughter II…

 

P1180179

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

*

…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…

*

The Marsh King’s Daughter…

 

P1180148

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

*

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…

*

Baby Bear…

 

HM15 947Carreg Coetan Arthur

*

 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…

*

HM15 948*

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.

*

HM15 949*

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…

*

HM15 946*

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.

*

Solution…

‘Setting riddles is much easier than solving them.’

scotland trip jan 15 035

… “What a strange planet. Where I come from people solve three riddles every morning before sitting down to first breakfast.”

The ‘High School’ Solution…

The clue in the poem is that the poem as a whole does not make sense. The individual lines make sense but the sense of the individual lines is not picked up by successive lines and does not follow through to the end of the poem.

Also, we may notice that two of the lines are identical.

The lines alone then are significant and as students of calligraphy will be aware initial words and especially letters are often deemed to be most important because the start of anything inevitably colours its conclusion.

The first words of each line then with letters emboldened.

Dark… About… Lost… Great… Ever… Traversing… Yonder

Back… After… Yonder.

Dalgety Bay is in Scotland, or as we prefer North Albion.

The story of our sojourn there is told in, Lands of Exile: But ‘n’ Ben.

*

scotland trip jan 15 056

‘Aye’ of the day’s eye…

*

Approaching Avebury in this way we got to side-step the crowds.

*

*

Most of whom had been unceremoniously penned into the Red Lion.

*

*

But it is not about meticulous planning.

*

*

It is about listening.

*

*

And following ‘directives’…

*

*