Monday, June 30, 2008

Thou shalt not...

Lochnagar Crater at end of WWI

Despite the date at the top of this post, it is July 1 where I live & as such it is the Memorial Day for the Battle of the Somme. There will be ceremonies at Lochnagar, Thiepval et al on this day to reanimate the energies from 92 years ago.

It was Lochnagar I was thinking of this morning - that open wound in the body of France that will that be surrounded by remembrance rituals today. It seems likely that the bodies of German soldiers lie within it. The remains of a British soldier was found in the land just behind the crater in 1998.

Because the 'dates' of events seem so important, I feel it may do some good to send a little soothing energy to areas caught in the glare of their ritual days. So this 1st July please feel free to send some kindness to this area in France.

I played around with some ideas this morning until I came upon the one that was right for me - how did I know itwas right- because it made me laugh out loud. I imagined that this mine was never detonated, what made me laugh was the image that then popped into my head of a load of squirrels removing all the explosive to make the land & the men safe.

One of the things that got left out of the second edition of my last article was mention of the enforced SILENCE & sombreness that envelops all these memorials. Two minutes silence - what is that about? What is the silence for?

This reads "Let silent contemplation be your offering" - the same words appear at the ANZAC Memorial in Sydney

I believe there is some kind of magic in our words, perhaps silence is needed because we might say something that would break a spell. It was the 'word' that was there in the beginning we are told. Remembering the power of names, I wonder whether our words - spoken from the heart - could help to break this spell that we are under.

I have also wondered what might happen if someone laughed within the walls of the Douaumont Ossuary. I have a friend in England who has a magnificent laugh, a great booming 'Basil Brush' affair - I love it, makes me feel good. Have you noticed how little laughter there is today & how few real comedians there are?

So my offering for healing today is a little gentle humour & the words "laughter & peace to all"

Additional: Ben from HPANWO posted this on his blog today - somehow feels relevant to the whole feel of my musing as to a 'hundred years war' (in last article) against humanity - perhaps I should have gone back to 1908!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The light fantastic

We may be 'down under' in NZ, but last week we must have looked pretty spectacular from space. I knew we'd had a lot of lightning, far more than normal, but eavesdropping on a conversation at work today, I discovered that last Wednesday we had over 20,000 lightning strikes in one day.

Must be that climate change caused by all our flatulent sheep.

I was wondering if one of the reasons for this fuc, I mean mucking with the weather is just the marketing of the climate change theory - providing proof for believers & raising the middle finger to those who question.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The harvest of fools (the sacrifice - part 3)

My tarot deck and I have been good friends for many years. I don't use them much these days, but they sit in my room more than happy to kick around a few ideas should the need arise.

The use of the word 'fool' in this article comes from the image in this tarot deck & as I've been told that a picture paints a thousand words, I set before you an image of a lively, inexperienced youth setting out on the path of adventure. The baby shows us that there is much to learn. The image of the woman has become for me, symbolic of the part that women have played in life thus far - removed from the path of adventure & tending to the needs of others. Now don't run away, I'm not dragging up the fantastical ruse of the battle of the sexes, but this tarot card had a quiet word to me & made me think that had we not been mis-led down that path so completely, perhaps millions of fools would not have died.

(I re-iterate that the use of the word 'fool' in this article is used with respect, to indicate youthful & inexperienced boys or those who believed their commitment was valued & as a sneaky little device to trick your mind briefly out of it's programmed belief in 'heroic soldiers & sacrifice'.)

Figures vary, but going by wiki, twenty million people died in 'The Great War' of 1914-1918. That's five times the number of people who live in NZ or one third of the population of the UK - either way my brain can't comprehend it. Of these, over 9 million were fools - young, inexperienced, adventurous or trusting.

It may seem like a long time ago, a thing dead & buried, & indeed until my attention was drawn there I thought so too. British military historian Lyn MacDonald referred to 1915 as the 'Death of Innocence' & indeed the list of atrocities that bombarded the human psyche that year are something we cannot comprehend. A toxicity grasped the world & squeezed the innocence out of it. I believe that war was a ritual of initiation for the events that are unfolding so rapidly today, & that both the human psyche & that of this planet were in some way shattered or fractured back then. We are the descendants of that generation, their stories flow through our veins.

These articles which I have grouped together under the heading of the Sacrifice have taken on a life force of their own. The initial impetus came from being revolted by a statue called 'the Sacrifice' in the ANZAC memorial in Sydney. Over the last few weeks I felt a strong tug to look at war memorials of WWI. Before I go further I must say at times I feel like I've bitten off more that I can chew on this theme & there's only so much I can point out, so please feel free to go browsing yourself.

My intuition says that there's more to war memorials than we have been herded into believing. Prior to WWI, memorials to the 'military dead' were very rare indeed. Military successes were sometimes recorded (as in Arc de Triomphe or Nelson's Column) but the dead fools of war were simply shovelled en mass into unmarked graves.

I'm told told that war memorials were 'called for' after the war, but I've been wondering if this was not as it was supposed to be. Looking at the colossal size & scope of some of these memorials leads me to feelings of hypocrisy. One of the ways that today's media likes to induce guilt, is by labelling us as a throw-away society - well excuse me but... never in human existence was this more truly so than on the the battlefields of WWI, where human beings were today's equivalent of paper towels - tear off, mop up & throw away. If we were to follow this analogy what is the likelihood in the future that we will build vast monuments to 'the Great Kitchen Towel'.

Mention WWI & most people have a vague knowledge of trench warfare, poppies & names like Flanders & the Somme. Historians talk 'knowledgeably' (& endlessly) of battles & tactics - for myself I can only give my humble intuitive opinion that it's all a mighty load of bollocks. I would call the stupidity of that war criminal, if there didn't come a sense of 'planned bungling', a sense of something drawn out, prolonged, 'set up'. I got this feeling when I looked at Gallipoli & it turns up again on the 'Western Front'.

Historian Lyn MacDonald "If the German command had been able to choose a single stretch of their five-hundred mile front on which to beat an Allied offensive, they would have chosen to meet it on the Somme where their line was virtually impregnable."

If WWI was a ritual of initiation or sacrifice on a worldwide scale then it needed to be brutal, prolonged & savage enough to carve a deep wedge into both the human psyche & that of the land. After the war what better way to keep that wedge open than with huge monuments placed on the sites of horrific bloodshed, their sheer size & magnitude an ongoing thorn in a raw wound.

The Great War saw the advent of 'technology' on the battlefield - machine guns, devastating fire power & poison gas, enough to mop up (kitchen towel analogy) thousands of fools in minutes & decimate the land. The fields of Belgium & France were force fed a diet of the blood & bones.

A belief found in many societies throughout history, is that the soul of a person remains in their bones after death. They were considered sacred & believed to have great power -
"Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet."

The care & tending of bones was of great concern;
"8:1 At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:
8:2 And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth."

Wandering around the internet firther I found mention of Assyrian Kings who would hold the bones of their enemies up to sunlight as the worst possible punishment that could be inflicted on them. From earliest times bones have been used as amulets & charms & for magic.

So I have been wondering if our ancestors understood bones a lot better than we do, & if the soul really could reside within them. Matthew Delooze's latest article boldly questions the afterlife & who's to say that we do actually shuffle off this mortal coil, perhaps we sleep within our bones & merely dream of bright lights, tunnels & pearly gates...

I think the blood & in particular the bones of a generation of fools impregnate the lands where they died, with vibrations of fear, hate & anguish. So is it by accident that a great portion of these are embedded in Belgium which houses the seat of both the European Union and NATO. Indeed Belgium has been called the Cockpit of Europe because more battles have been fought there than any other country - there is perhaps a great deal more to this are than we currently understand. It is interesting how often Belgium seems to be the butt of jokes as a boring country, could this be to keep attention away from this little hot spot?

So lets take a look at some WWI memorials that we have taught to honour.

This little beauty (I'm joking) is the Douaumont Ossuary in France. A memorial that contains the bones of 130,000 unidentified French & German fools who died on the battlefield during the Battle of Verdun. The erection in the centre is huge. Click on link for another image.

The Battle of Verdun lasted for 300 days during 1916. It was considered the greatest & lengthiest battle in the history of the world, fought on an area less of than ten square kilometres & causing over 700,000 causalities (dead, wounded, missing) - that's a lot of kitchen towels.

"Through small windows [in the ossuary], the remains of unidentified soldiers can actually be seen filling small, windowed alcoves around the edge of the building...The tower is 46 meters high and has a panoramic view of the battlefields. The cloister is 137 meters long and contains 42 alcoves. The tower contains a death-bell, 'Bourdon de la Victoire', which is sounded at official ceremonies and the lantern of the death (WTF) which shines on the battlefields" (wiki). Does this perchance sound a little ritualistic - I know I would not wish a the skeleton of a fool I had loved, to lie in this closet.

Did you know that war memorials are big business now, there are companies who specialise in tours 'a la sacrifice'... please note the only charge for this trip is a mind that is willing to wonder. I myself, may simply have an over-active imagination - you must locate & use your own gut feelings.

That said, everybody back on board, bloody hell there's always someone in the toilet...

Our next stop is the British Menin Gate Memorial located at the eastern exit of the town of Ypres (now called Ieper).

Ypres interested me. The town was decimated. In truth I think it deserves a whole article on it's own, but for now this must suffice. I wondered about this town being expunged from the face of the earth. Something about the the Cloth Hall cried out for attention.

"Over 5000 years ago the Egyptians named it [linen] "woven moonlight", due to its very singular beauty... grown in Egypt as early as the 4th millennium BC. Art works from that time depict the progression from the harvesting to the treating of flax, to retting, hackling etc as a sequence of ceremonial actions. Linen was considered to be a symbol of purity."

"In Ovid’s "Metamorphoses" the Egyptian goddess Isis is addressed as dea linigera which means the Linen Goddess. The linigeri (wearers of linen) were the priests belonging to the Isis cult in Rome. Full article here if interested."

"The truly gigantic Cloth Hall overlooks the Market Square, the political and economic heart of Ypres.

So we could perhaps say that the Cloth Hall was the goddess heart of Ypres. I think the land itself in Belgium & Northern France is somehow very important.
There were three Battles of Ypres, and as any good little follower of fairy tales knows, three is the magic number - the hero/heroine is the third offspring & must overcome three obstacles to achieve their destiny. The third Battle of Ypres is also known as Passchendaele, perhaps re-callingto mind the Passion of Christ (& echoing his threefold temptation by Satan & his thrice denial by mate, Peter).

from wiki: "At 125 meters in breadth, with a 70-meter-high belfry tower, the Cloth Hall recalls the importance and wealth of the medieval trade city...The belfry, capped with four turrets and a spire, houses a carilon with 49 bells. From a pole atop the spire a gilded dragon overlooks the city. In less enlightened times, cats, then associated in some way with black magic, were thrown off the belfry for reasons that are not clearly understood. Today, a jester commemorates this act by tossing stuffed toy felines from the tower during the triennial Cat Festival."

Across the blogosphere as I was working on this I came across an interesting snippet at Thuther Thoughts "Friday the 13th is not about Templars. The templars want you to believe that. Don't. It is actually the High Holy day of the goddess Frigga. She is the goddess of Love. On Friday the 13th she came down and gave a coven of 12 Northern Witches a cat so their coven would total 13". View whole article here.

Happy to chariot this little synch & see where it led, I took up my surfboard & headed for the net & a little game of word association. The first synch wave blew me away - from the book 'Unholy Alliance -A history of Nazi Involvement with the Occult' by Peter Levenda. Try this on for size

"And Frigga, Isis, Mary are merely names
Transient veils of the hallowed womb

The aforementioned womb being the one that renewed the Fatherland (Germany) in the succeeding war when they dropped back uninvited on Belgium & other European neighbours.

How very interesting then to also find the the patron of Ypres is Our Lady (Mary) of Thuyne (a thuyne being a sort of palisade fort) - bringing Mary, together with Isis & Frigga in the town of Ypres.

To return to the Menin Gate Memorial, we find it is a triumphal arch built at the eastern exit of the town of Ypres which marks the starting point for one of the main roads to the front line. It was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, built by the British Govt & opened in 1927. It's inner walls are encrusted with the names of over 50,000 missing fools. Atop the memorial sprawls an unconcerned lion representing, we are told the the Lion of England & Flanders, for it seems that region is also symbolised by this ubiquitous beastie.

On completion, we are told, the Menin Gate was found to be too small to contain all the names of the missing & an “arbitrary cut-off point of 15 August 1917” was chosen. Because I no longer believe everything I read I checked out that date & was so not surprised to find that it is the feast day of the Assumption of Mary - Our Lady of Thuyne/Isis/Frigga.

Every evening at 8.00pm since 1928 (apart from the German Occupation during WWII) traffic is stopped & buglers play the Last Post. Apparently the suggestion was made by the Superintendant of the Ypres Police (I’ve gotten a bit cynical lately & tend to see the word ‘Mason’ these days instead of ‘Police).

Here we have the absolute 'must have' for all Rememberance services - the blood red poppy, see here floating through the roof of Menin Gate - did they fall or were they pushed?

In a great article on Rememberance Day, Matthew Delooze looked at it's symbolism "the poppy is really symbolic of the ancient gods and represents hypnosis, sleep and dreams."

The Menin Gate is only one of many memorials whose walls contain the names of tens of thousands of fools whose broken bodies were never found - but I wonder how much that matters symbolically. In Romeo & Juliet, the fated heroine learns that there is a lot more to a name than she originally thought - a name does matter.

In the annals of yesteryear our ancestors were very much wiser than we are allowed to be today. There were many societies who believed that to know the name of someone was to have power over them, ‘to know something intimate about them’. For this reason people often had two names, one they were known by & a sacred name they kept to themselves.

Because names are oft repeated - how many people do you know called say Tom, Dick (I think that one is probably dying out) or Harry, likewise with surnames - Smith, Jones, Robinson - so it's quite likely that one or both of your names are recorded on memorial walls somewhere in the world. I can't help but wonder how much the energy of our names are hijacked or used as just one more method of control - & who made up these names in the first place. To check the power of a name just notice what happens when you hear someone call out your name, even if they are not referring to you, you still stop & turn, your actions are affected in a very real way and think also of those lovely bills that appear with increasing regularity in your mailbox - those companies don't know you, but they have your name & that is enough.

See here for how Isis found the secret name of Re

Ok everyone back on board & lets head to Vimy Ridge Twin Towers oops I mean the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, sorry don't know what came over me.

This vast memorial inscription commemorates 60,000 fools who did not return to their homes at the end of the war ( in actual fact the figure is 66,000). The Battle of Vimy Ridge began on 9th April, 1917 which was Easter Monday & in true Easter timing it ran for 3 days. It was a military offensive against the German Sixth Army.

The names of 11,285 fools whose bodies were never recovered are carved into the walls & the same number of Canadian trees & shrubs are planted in the 250 acres of land that surrounds the monument. It took 11 years to build. It rests on 11,000 tonnes of concrete. The towering pylons & twice life-size statues contain almost 6,000 tonnes of limestone which took one year to transport from an abandonned Roman quarry near Split in present-day Croatia. The pylons are each 30 metres high.

Behind all those interesting numbers lies a strange dream by the Canadian sculptor Walter Seymour Allward - "he dreamed the Great Memorial well before the government competition was announced. He saw the huge twin pillars commemorating those who spoke French and those who spoke English, the allegorical figures with downcast or uplifted faces, and in the valley beneath the work of art, the flesh and bones and blood of the dead stirring in the mud. And then the dead themselves emerged like terrible naked flowers, pleading for a memorial to the disappeared, the vanished ones... those who were unrecognizable and unsung. The ones earth had eaten, as if her appetite were insatiable; as if benign nature had developed a carnal hunger, a yawning mouth, a sinkhole capable of swallowing, forever, one-third of those who had fallen. A messy burial without a funeral, without even a pause in the frantic slaughter."

In one of the innumerable books I've browsed through over the last few weeks I found a strange statue of a half naked women in an unusual pose.

I was rather surprised because of the amount of holier than thou material I'd waded through regarding sacrifice. I found it hard to link this image with that. Further browsing leads to these images, this one is France apparently...

while this lady who is "Canada Mourning" is so deeply upset she fails to notice the downward drift of her nightdress. "It has been suggested that the statue is a reference to traditional images of Mater Dolorosa (theVirgin Mary in mourning)" (wiki) - I'm not sure what the Pope would say, but then again now that he is a big star he may look to give the royal holy family a re-vamp.

I think the likliehood of a woman mourning like these images is pretty slim, about the same as a guy getting his tackle out a a funeral. For me it reinforces the idea that these memorials are so 'sacred' that no one even thinks to question what might be behind them.

I do hope I don't sound like a prude, & I'm sure there are many who would inform me that this is art, but these statues make me uncomfortable. I'm sure that had they lived, the majority of the 66,000 fools, would have thoroughly enjoyed these statues. But this is about sacrifice & gruesome death & as I'm looking at memorials from a slightly different angle I have to wonder what the sum of grief, guilt (inspired by memorials) & sexual arousal might be. What energies might it attract?

You may recognise this visitor from 2nd June, 1940

Interesting little read here

That ends the voyeristic part of the tour. We head now to the Somme for the last leg of this journey.

In an incident reminiscent of our celebrations kicked off with a fireworks extravaganza, the Battle of the Somme was ushered in at 7.28am on 1st July, 1916 by what was at the time, the two biggest manmade explosions in history. One of these, Lochnagar crater was created by 60,000 lbs of Ammonal explosive -

"The whole earth heaved and flashed, a tremendous and magnificent column rose up in the sky. There was an ear-splitting roar drowning all the guns, flinging the machine sideways in the repercussing air. The earth column rose higher and higher to almost 4,000 feet. There it hung, or seemed to hang, for a moment in the air, like the silhouette of some great cypress tree, then fell away in a widening cone of dust and debris." - 2nd Lieutenant C.A.Lewis

Lochnagar Crater
is one of the few remaining visible wounds to the land. It is a massive 300 feet wide & 90 feet deep. It was purchased by Richard Dunning in 1978, who feared it would be filled in & now attracts 300,000 visitors a year.

I find this image disturbing - just what energy is being 're-called'

The last & largest Memorial to the Missing on this tour, is Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. It is a massive arched structure that dominates the local countryside. Made from bricks & stone in a colour combination I seem to be finding with more & more frequency - red & white.

Unveiled in 1932. Actually I wonder what that is about - this concept of unveiling, & if we should not perhaps read that in the opposite way - a symbol of the wool being pulled over our eyes, not lifted. Sorry got side-tracked.

Being ignorant of architecture, I must defer to the more knowledgable who seem to agree that it is an amazing structure - from Gavin Stamp's book The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme "When viewed on one of the principal axes, the Thiepval Memorial can be appreciated as a composition of open arches, yet when seen from an angle, up close, it seems intimidatingly solid, with cubic masses of masonry building up on alternate axes to create a vast, pyramid-like structure" - in other words a ziggurat.

Thiepval's walls hold the names/souls of around 73,000 fools whose bodies were never found. In front of the Memorial lie 600 graves -300 crosses for French fools & 300 gravestones for the English. It was opened on the 31st July 1932 -the same date that saw the grand opening of Passcehndaele in 1917. This is the 212nd day of the year & the death/feast day of St Ignatius Loyola. Having a slight rainman ability when it comes to numbers, I recalled that I'd recently spotted 212 elsewhere - sure enough June 2nd, the day that Herr Hitler visited The Vimy Memorial is the 153rd day of the year with 212 days remaining.

One thing that bothers me about these memorials is the time, planning & expense that went into them, when the lives of millions of fools were throw-away - since using the paper towel analogy earlier in this article, I have not been able to use them without thinking of the 'liberally sacrificed' - I now think that would be a very good way to remember, IF re-membering is a good thing.

The whole 'memorial thing' began, I'm told with a man with a long name - Major General Sir Fabian Arthur Goulstone Ware, KCVO, KBE, CB, CMB founder of the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC) to record the whereabouts of graves. From wiki "As the war continued, Ware became concerned about the fate of the graves after the war. With the help of the (then) Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1917, he submitted a memorandum on the subject to the Imperial War Conference. On 21 May 1917, the Imperial War Graves Commission was created by a Royal Charter, with the Prince of Wales as its President and Ware as its Vice-Chairman, a role that Ware held until his retirement in 1948

The IWGC recruited three of the most eminent archtiects of the day to design it memorials & cemetries - Sir Edwin Lutyens (Thiepval, The Cenotaph at Whitehall), Sir Reginald Blomfield (Menin Gate) & Sir Herbert Baker.

I believe that knighting confers upon royalty, an ownership of that person & their achievements, thus the war memorials are the property of the crown, so where does that leave the names or bones of the fools? These men created huge memorials & a standard form of military cemetery. The rectangular headstones so well known these days were the creation of Lutyens. He also envisioned the altar-like 'Stone of Rememberance' (found in Commonwealth cemetries with 1000 or more burials) in rather biblical proportions "that it shall take the form of one great fair stone of fine proportions, twelve feet in length, lying raised upon three steps, of which the first and third shall be twice the length of the second; and that each stone shall bear in indelible lettering, some fine thought or words of dedication" (from the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme-Gavin Stamp).

There was an outcry against the cruelty of not letting families having a say in the burials of their loved ones, indeed the exhumation of bodies from foreign lands was prohibited. A heated parliamentary debate in May 1920 crushed all opposition when it was decided that once a man had enlisted, his body, alive or dead, belonged to the King.

The Cross of Sacrifice was designed to add an apparent Christian element to what was perceived by some as rather pagan memorials & cemetries. It to has an interesting design, consisting of an octagonal stepped base, supporting a tall stone cross upon whose face is fixed a bronze sword.

If you've made it thus far thanks for sticking with me.

I first got interested in War Memorials when I saw the Sacrifice at the ANZAC memorial in Sydney last year. Then Ellis Taylor posted a letter re memorials in Auckland -

I started looking there but my attention drew me to these sites instead. There are some things in this world that have been painted so 'sacred' that we see them only as we are told. While I was growing up the Catholic religion was one of these for me. Well now I've opened my eyes to look at memorials & what they symbolise & why they're there. It's really a huge topic & I can only touch on a few right now without wearing out my keyboard & your goodwill.

We have learned our history lessons well, a convincing thread has been woven through the last hundred years & tied with a bloody bow. We are told of man's inhumanity to man & we've been given memorials to remind us 'lest we forget'. Our neighbours are forever a threat to us, the savage nature of the human simmers just below the surface. I believe the only answer to this is here

We've also been told that it was the World Wars that allowed women new freedoms & responsibilites - I'm going to suggest differently. Long before WWI, women were starting to open their eyes & seek a needed freedom. The women's sufrage movement began around the mid 1800's. Now because men & women belong to the same human race, an awakening in one sex would surely have coincided with some change in the other. It is my suggestion that WWI & its partner WWII were at least partly created to delay & warp the partnership of the sexes which is striving to manifest in these times.

War memorials carry the masculine energy of hundreds of thousands of fools - could it be that they are energetically plugged into the 'earth mother' to keep open a wound male v female that needs to heal?

In the book Divine Beauty by John O'Donohue, he sugges that the landscape, the first beauty of the earth 'has been waiting for centuries for the recognition & witness of the human eye'. He quotes Rilke

Perhaps we are here in order to say: house
bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window...
To say them more intensely than the Things themselves
Ever dreamed of existing.

O'Donohue continues "How can we ever know the difference we make to the soul of the earth? Where the infinite stillness of the earth meets the passion of the human eye, invisible depths strain towards the mirror of the name. In the word, the earth breaks silence. It has waited a long time for the word. Concealed beneath familiarity & silence, the earth holds back & it never occurs to us to wonder how the earth sees us. Is it possible that a place could have a huge affection for those who dwell there?...We tend to think of death as a return to clay, a victory for nature. But maybe it is the converse: that when you die your native place will fill with sorrow."

Are these not beautiful thoughts. If O'Donohue is right I would surmise that the architects of war & suffering understand these ideas all too well, & that partnership of land & human (just as with human & human) must be repelled at all costs in order to retain their bloody control.

Last week I lost half of this article after pouring a great deal of hard work & energy into it - it left me literally shocked. I know that you who are reading this will have suffered far greater traumatic shocks in your life, somewhere I have read that shocks cause lesions in the brain - you know how it feels & you know the importance of recovering from it. What would four years of incalculable shocks have done to our great grandparents & the earth they lived in?

World War I is really outside the awareness of most of us who are alive now. It has been transformed via movies, historic 'fact' & the industry of Rememberance into an heroic myth. Coincidentally (yeah right) other great changes happened at the same time. 1917 saw the Russian Revolution, another radical destruction & rebirth & the US became a new focal point of the world... and last but not least one of the greatest inventions for the control of humanity was taking it's baby steps towards meglomania - the movie industry.

I really don't know whether 2012 is worth the hype, but certainly control is the game now & there is the feeling of a rush towards a final showdown - if this is the case then I think the titles WWI & WWII are a tad misleading and in fact what we've been experiencing is more like a 'hundred years war' that began in 1914.

I leave you with thought from Divine Beauty "Fashioned from clay, we carry the memory of the earth. Ancient, forgotten things stir within our hearts, memories from the time before the mind was born. Within us are depths that keep watch."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The test of time

A bit of tooing & froing via email with a man I greatly admire led to a comment this morning that he thought the 14 year old he had once been would probably have approved of who he'd become.

I really liked the sentiment & tried it out on myself. Hmm ...yep not too bad, now that I've come out of the closet & chosen to question the questionable. Then I went one step further - a 14 year old is heading toward 'grownupsville' - the drive has been somewhat curtailed. So... what would my 7 year old self have to say - that was different - oh f**k, hang my head in shame. Ok well not all bad because at least I got off my sleeping ass & went to Hawaii, Sydney & Japan - but now what - 7 year olds don't settle for what you've done in the past they want to know what are we going to do now, and a whining "I haven't got enough money" is just not going to cut any mustard.

My 7 year old self would be inventing new locations, drawing pictures, playing games, using make-believe to create many worlds - she would be horrified to think that I no longer do that -inconceivable that I should forget how to play.

All too often we spend our time trying to impress others, in truth I never stopped before to think if who I have become would have impressed the full on little person I used to be.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In memoriam

Just a brief note in memory of the latter half of my new article which accidentally got flushed down the delete button today.

Police are making enquiries about the suspicious activities of the spell check button just prior to the accident. No arrests have been made, although there are reports of the author making loud noises in her car on the way purchase a restorative coffee.

Hopes are high that the article will be up & running in a few days.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spectacular poultry

Yesterday, tired & shagged out after a long squawk (sorry that’s Monty Python), I mean a long day at work I visited my local decompression chamber aka the library, in search of a book with the ‘aha’ factor.

I found one on fantasy art which looked interesting, and then settled a little reluctantly for a book on shipwrecks, as there are a few more I want to look into.
It was Thursday, which for my son & I has been TV/computer free day for the last six years or so. Sometimes if I find an interesting book I will read out tidbits while he creates extraordinary things with Lego, infact that is how I came to be interested in the Lusitania.

I was turning slightly disheartened towards the checkout, when my gaze fell upon the ‘aha’ book my soul was seeking – we recognized each other in an instant. Without further ado I stepped forward to claim my prize, returned the shipwrecks to the murky depths of the shelf & made my way merrily to the counter.

So what was this extraordinary book you may ask why Extra Extraordinary Chickens of course.
I have been working hard on a new article & it’s not a light hearted affair & I’ve been tired at work where good conversation is in short supply & what I needed was delight & laughter.

I took this gorgeous book home whereupon my son & I roared with laughter & exclaimed with delight over the amazing world of 'show chickens’ – I kid you not.

Now I know how tiring it is staying awake & ’hearty’ in this era of concocted drudge & gloom so I thought I would bring some of the delights of the chicken world to you.

Be excellent to each other & party on dudes.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Food for the soul

An excellent mind-freeing article by Ellis Taylor

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bonding with a Time Lord

I have always had a fondness for murder mysteries - brings out the sleuth in me. Last night I watched the last of a series called Mrs Bradley Mysteries which came out in the late 1990s. The series was set in the 1920's and starred Diana Rigg aka Mrs Peel from The Avengers.

A dark & nasty little story it was indeed, called the Worsted Viper, involving ritual murder with symbolism encrusted throughout.

A vicar's daughter called 'Chastity' is found murdered with a worsted viper (a kind of yarn made into a snake shape with a snakes head at one end) wrapped three times around her neck and her hair cut off. Seems the murderer is copycat of the late Black Jack Briggs who liked his female sacrifices as virgins. I must admit I fell asleep for part of this, storyline was pretty crap - a ritual methinks now, dressed up in a weak story line.

The villain is revealed as none other than Inspector Christmas who has been in two previous episodes acting with the utmost propriety - but number three that always seems to stir things up, does it not. He starts ranting some nasty stuff about dark energy which felt an awful lot like an incantation - it repulsed me, which is why I'm not going back to look it up - it doesn't belong.

At the beginning of the episode Inspector Christmas is being honoured in a ceremony & a fancy golden mayoral type chain is placed round his neck. When the body of the girl is found he is still wearing this which I thought odd at the time, but as the actor was none other than Peter Davison, the lovable Tristan from All Creatures Great & Small, I got fooled & failed to give proper attention to the antenna which was attempting to sprout through the top of my head.

And it is Peter Davison that this little article is about.

Some early quotes about him "Fresh-faced, enthusiastic" & "With his bright, breezy manner, Peter proved a breath of fresh air"...and indeed as Tristan & then the fifth Doctor Who these qualities verily zinged through him .

My son & I have also been working our way through the recent 'Last Detective' series in which he plays a clever though under-appreciated Detective Constable known as 'Dangerous Davies', as well as the old Doctor Who series - TV got so crap some years ago that we switched to DVDs

My son made a comment some little time ago about Peter Davison with whom he is very familiar having watched 'All Creatures' & Dr Who, that he could not think of 'Dangerous' and 'Tristan/Dr Who' as the same man. When he said this I knew exactly what he meant.
Because we have watched a mix of old & new shows we regularly come across actors of the 70's & 80's turning up in modern shows, and while they've aged they are still recognisable. This is something different & I'll come back to it.

We recently watched the fourth series of the Last Detective. Due to the ending of the third series we'd both been convinced that there would be no more - a reconciliation with his wife when their separation had been an ongoing theme in the series.
The fourth series had a different feel to it, with a couple of particularly ugly & violent scenes. In the penultimate episode I was rather surprised to see a whole lotta symbolism jumping out at me -a slow panned shot across the White Knight Laundry & 'Dangerous' posing in front of the London Eye come to mind. Hello, hello I thought, but still it was 'Tristan'.

Then lo & behold the final episode (Dead Peasant's Society) centres on the murder of a Freemason Lodge member, and we find his boss is a member. We get to go inside the lodge & see a ritual, albeit through the skylight. This was the first time I've ever come across this sort of coverage & as in the final episode of the Mrs Bradley Mysteries this also felt like the story was written around a ritual.

So I return to this comment of my son's that Tristan/Dr Who & Dangerous seem like two different people, a comment which weird as it seems I have to agree with whole-heartedly. He somehow seems like a changed man. Sad as it is to let go of childhood treasured memories, I can't help but feel a change has taken place in this man. I recalled also a post by Gavin from Atlantean Times re Paul McCartney & whether or not the past & present McCartney were the same man. In looking at the pics I felt a difference in the earlier & later images - facially they seem to be the same person but I could not shift a sense of seeing a different or altered personality. I seemed to see a kind of sweetness (best word I can think of) in the earlier images that is not there in the later ones - fanciful perhaps but the conviction remains.

Last night we continued, as 'chance' would have it, the Dr Who episode Arc of Infinity which just so happens to star Peter Davison (I'd gotten two series of Dr Who this week from video shop, going on instinct I'd chosen to watch this one first).
From wiki "Shielded by a collapsed star lurks a malevolent presence, an alien consisting of pure anti-matter. Its intention? To bond with a Time Lord and so cross over into this dimension through the Arc of Infinity — the gateway to all dimensions. The chosen Time Lord is the Doctor. To avert disaster, he is recalled to Gallifrey before the collision of matter and anti-matter leads to the destruction of all dimensions" (my emphasis).

In this world where things get weirder by the day (or is it just me) I find myself looking at & allowing stranger & stranger things. I long ago accepted that 'possession' happens, & I'm sure there are many 'varieties'.

Perhaps this is all just fanciful but like my son I don't see Tristan anymore in Davison, yes it could just be the result of time, but this feels different. Had it not been for last nights episode of Mrs Bradley I would have let this lie - but I found something malevolent in that, so much so that I did my witchy or nutty practise of sprinkling salt & sage around the house before I went to bed.

On looking up Black Jack on the internet (killer from Mrs Bradley 'ritual' enacted in my lounge last night black Friday 13 June) I found this story from the US dated 12 June (9.22) "BLACK JACK, Mo. (KMOX News) -- A 15-year-old boy plucked from the bottom a swimming pool tonight -- now he's at Children's Hospital with grim prospects.Police say he was discovered at the bottom of the Whisper Lake apartments pool in Black Jack just before 7 o'clock. The boy reportedly was submerged at the bottom of the 9-foot deep-end for more than 30 minutes.
As always so many numbers, the game of Black Jack is also known as 21 - reverse this for the date 12 June.
I thought I was finished but on checking difference between Auckland & Kansas, Missouri I find the distance is 7777 miles & Missouri is 17 hours behind Auckland.

I wonder how much we underestimate the rituals enacted on our tv screens & thus in our homes on a daily basis.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'my giddy aunt'

Eileen & Mickey

Following on from my previous post, I thought of this photo & how well it fitted with the idea of teddy-daemons, I wrote of there.

This is/was my aunt who I mentioned in that article (sorry about picture quality) with her beloved toy

Many years ago I gave her this toy mouse as a gift. She instantly adored him & called him Mickey. When she & my uncle went away on holiday she would laughingly hide him so that if they were robbed he would not be stolen. She would even talk to him. She was not 'mentally challenged' but she had somehow retained much of the enthusiasm & joy of youth.

I am now working on the next installment of the Sacrifice, it's has veered off in a direction I was not expecting, but that is fine. However I feel strongly that this image of my aunt is a special link between it & my previous post - as such I declare my aunt & her energy a designated 'pin-up' for the years 1914 - 1918.

We surely have every right to re-write the past instead of swallowing down the pig swill of historical 'fact' - try pronouncing the word fact with a long 'A' sound - go on...

You get faked.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Feeding intuition

"Eat up quickly little one,
then tell me, please, what should be done"

Vassilisa the Fair (also known as 'the Brave') is a Russian fairytale featuring the fabulously named witch Baba-Yaga Bony-Legs - go on it's too good not to roll your tongue around a few times.

In the way of fairy tales, the heroine, Vassilisa is badly treated & must overcome her protagonists with determination & the help of magic. In this case she has a tiny doll which she keeps in her pocket, and when she needs help she feeds her doll & then she asks her question. The doll always comes through.

This image is the loveliest one I know for that indefinable attribute termed intuition.

I started a post a good while back called 'logic - the dark art' - actually that was as far as I got, but I think here is as good a place as any to weave in those few threads. Logic, being rational, reality call it what you will, to my mind they're blood(y) relations, & from the kind of family one may visualise as issuing from Sicily. In a semi-perfect world logic would come with the same health warnings as paint stripper or the mafia. It has been turned into a dark art that allows it's initiated wizards or wizardesses to coat this world in the supergluey substance it calls 'reality'.

We are surely at a time when we need to claim or reclaim the vitality of shouting -you weren't expecting that were you, neither was I :) - sorry I couldn't find the right word, but shouting - loud, vital, sparkling, powerful - well that works pretty well - at least it's alive.
Day in, day out I 'do' my life, following the prescribed routes of income earning & bill paying with two days off each week for good behaviour. Like most adults, in my opinion, I lead a semi-comatose existence with far too few moments of ecstatic creativity & connection.

So I've been wondering more than usual about this just lately & getting impatient. I don't think we can just sit around & wait for enlightenment or the next 'consciousness breakthrough' & I don't think we're meant to - that's working at the pace of evolution, & that's just too damn slow.

Humans are naturally creationist - every moment of every day, day in, day out. Take a look at children, they bloody well hum with activity & curiosity. If you've ever looked after them for any length of time you'll know you can't even go to the toilet without being interrupted.

So what's happened to us. God I miss the creativity of my childhood. I thought I'd come here & kick a few ideas around as much for myself as anyone who might like to join me.

From what I can see we start to shut down in teenage years, I think puberty when combined with the education system, has somehow been turned into an off switch. Gradually throughout these years the humming grows quieter until around 18 or so, hey presto, out pops a pre-packaged adult (humming not available). They still need tweaking, but for the majority, childhood has been trimmed away & a self-regulating member of society full of its desires has been created. A few years of work is usually enough to complete the transition.

It does seem that very great importance has been placed on 'growing up' in our society. The word childish is an oft used & potent control word but you know I think we've been had. The jewels & treasures of life are seen nowhere as intensely as in childhood. Just because we physically change in size & shape does that mean we are supposed to change in heart & soul.

I had an aunt who at 77 used to complain about the 'old ones' (she was Irish & pronounced it differently) who would get in her way at the supermarket. She was the youngest person I've ever known, with a charming ability to laugh at herself, & it was my pleasure to make her laugh as much as I could. There was some ungrownup, playful quality about her that was a sheer delight. She was my mother's sister & never have I seen such a contrast of characters.

I got interested in the idea of play & wondered what if would be like if we had evolved into a society where play instead of work was the top priority. I went searching on the internet for ideas about adult play - silly me, you don't type in those words without getting an eyeful back. I couldn't find anything for 'grown ups', play was all for children but... only up to a certain age - 12 years seemed to be the cut off point, after that it appears you are supposed to grow up. I've noticed as my son moves through the school system how playgrounds have disappeared, to be replaced with sports fields - flat open spaces where acceptable team sports complete with rules & regulations & judgements on performance take place. Spontaneous play becomes a 'childish' activity.

Before puberty you are a child, you will be trained to be a girl child or a boy child, but the lines are somewhat blurred. Once your hormones kick in you become, first & foremost, your sex. Following hard on it's heels is the expectation to grow up which means grow out of childish ways.

I still remember the oh no feeling I had many years ago when I realised I was growing up - I knew deep down that I was going to lose something. I remember the shutters coming down & going to a catholic girls school, the shutters came down good & hard. A mix of religion, education, society's expectations & those of my sex left bugger all room for humming. When my buzzing went out the door so did my creativity.

I'm trying to tie a few ideas together here, sorry if I'm rambling. I've been groping with them for a while now but they're slippery critters which is why I'm trying to tie them down Gulliver style on to a page (screen) so I might be able to look at them & find something I lost.

So we come to the story of the Golden Compass, which has been much in my mind lately & indeed looking to other blogs I've seen it appearing there as well. In the story each person has a daemon, an animal that is as a part of them as their breath, their soul. When I first listened to this story, I loved the idea of being able to touch & communicate with your soul - visual & tactile confirmation of greater self. (Perhaps there are other ways of looking at this story but for now I just want to use it as a backdrop for some ideas).

I got to wondering about children. Many of them develop a special attachment to a toy or blanket during their early years - this bond is extremely deep and god help you if it should be mislaid - I've heard of parents having to travel hours to recoup a 'special' toy that has been left behind. Now I've been wondering if children are not creating their own daemons, and if this was the case could we run with this thread a little longer & suggest that something is cut away at birth that they seek to recreate. This leads on to musings of the umbilical cord as a symbol of a greater connection to ..... I don't know, I forgot to make a note of it before I left . Human life does seem to feature a great sense of disconnection that the idea of daemons does much to allay.

In my family, unlike Vassilisa above, dolls were forbidden, so my teddy-daemon was a green elephant (not having Barbies golden locks I made do by rolling up his ears & tying them with a rubber band), and I still remember a certain confusion as to whether he (& he was a he, so a bit of cross-dressing did go on) was real or not. So sure was I that he was real that I cut off part of his tale to see if it would grow again. It was my sister I think who dobbed me in & suitably unimpressed my mother sewed it back on. The large white stitches proving for once & for all that she was never destined to become a plastic surgeon. To my child's mind this experiment was never successfully concluded because no time was given to allow for the new tail to grow - such was his reality for me, that I still wonder.

"ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2007) — Every parent of a young child knows how emotionally attached children can become to a soft toy or blanket that they sleep with every night. New research, published today in the international journal Cognition, suggests that this might be because children think the toy or blanket has a unique property or ‘essence’."

If we return to Vassilisa & her doll, the elements of daemon & childhood toy are woven together along with something else - magical knowledge. The doll must be fed before she can help & here indeed I think is treasure.

Along my slow & bumbling journey home I have found a few tools that have so far proved reliable. I think the greatest of these is hunger. To override a shitload of programming I have found I must have a very great appetite. There is a world of difference between yearning & hunger. We are trained to yearn, to wish for something, as in Cinderella wishing upon a star - load of bollocks - you may as well wish upon a pile of horse manure. In essence, to yearn is to 'pine' & you need go no farther than the story of Narcissus to see where that gets you.

So we pine away for love, a holiday, a new car, to win lottery or whatever your particular fancy is. The physical manifestation of yearning must surely be the sigh - that horrible little noise that can leave a mushroom cloud of despair in it's wake. The virus of yearning/despair creates paralysis.

Now I come to a little story I had no intention of mentioning here, but these articles are created word by word & idea by idea, & I follow as much as I lead.

Last year I went to Hawaii. You may think 'big deal' or 'lucky cow' depending on what flavour your yearning takes, but stick with me. I'll give you the details, but like a dream the whole story interweaves so much that there is no particular start or finish.

From 1989 - '99 I lived in England, my son was born there & I even married his father for a short time. We split up, my son's father eventually moved out of England & I was able to return to NZ with the understanding that my son would visit his father & relatives in Europe every year, plus additional holidays. Every year, sometimes twice a year I would drive my son to the airport, say good bye & sometimes not even hear from him till he returned a month later. At first it was very hard indeed. Last year I started to think how soon he would be grown up & I would never know what it was like to get on a plane & go away on holiday with him. (In order to finance trips to the UK the agreement was that I would receive no child maintenance - so money has often been tight).

The thought that time was running out started to whirr around in my head, then one day I was visiting my friend Deb & somehow we started a game of make-believe. I pretended that I had taken my son on a holiday to Easter Island & Hawaii (at the time I was very drawn to the former) & she told me about her 'trip to Paris'. The energy created that afternoon must surely have registered on some scale somewhere - we laughed uproariously & giggled & spun a web of of fantasy that was pure magic. I also had a child's sense of 'being naughty', of somehow playing with something that was supposed to be out of bounds. Such was the energy of that day that I never let it go, the following day I bought some plastic leis to put round the house & went to the travel agent to check on prices - very expensive, but the energy stayed. Any time I came across anything vaguely Hawaiian I would leap on it. Gradually events formed around this idea, Easter Island dropped away, & one night I found myself talking to another friend. Her husband is 30 years older than her, they've been together a long time. She told me how she has never put anything off because she never knew how long she would have with him - that was the last magical straw, then & there I made the decision to go to Hawaii.

The trip itself was amazing, it shook me awake. In actual fact I was nervous much of the time. I'd done bugger all for years, just work & parenting. I hired a car for three days, but Americans drive on the wrong side of the road & being severely directionally challenged (never could work out left from right) I found it very daunting. I took to following the car in front of me whenever I couldn't figure out which way to turn, my son tells me that one man kept looking nervously in his mirror as I followed him through the back streets of Waikiki one night trying to find our hotel.

Whenever I look back on this time, always, always I go back to the game I played with my friend. I have tried to understand the magic we cooked up that day, I've tried to recreate it. One thing I know, I was hungry - seven years of driving to & from the airport, seven years (not slow am I) of being left behind built a hunger in me, but in my semi-comatose state it took a long time to realise.

Realistically, rationally, logically I could not afford to go. Yearning would have seen me doing a narcissus impression over a weekly lotto ticket. Hunger & make-believe lit an explosive charge beneath my ass that propelled me across the Pacific Ocean.

Hunger seems to be a body-felt emotion, it demands feeding - the lusty cry of a hungry infant, insistent & relentless - it doesn't go away, it just gets louder. This is the quality of children, they are always hungry & I've been thinking that it is hunger that is removed or re calibrated somehow during those teenage years. This is the time when the teddy-daemons are packed away & you must to learn to stand on your own two feet. I asked my son about his teddy - strangely enough he also had an elephant, given by an almost stranger, but this was the one he chose. He said he knew that it was a toy with stuffing inside, but it was like there was a mind inside it, it was very real.

When humans give their attention to something they change it. We have a cockatiel, to anyone else he's just a bird, but to us he's a grumpy little bastard, but a grumpy bastard with a distinct personality. At present in this world it seems that much of human attention is of the pining kind, what would a good hearty appetite do for us - blow away a lot of cobwebs methinks.

I found this meaning on Celtic Rebel's site for daemon - "one that has exceptional enthusiasm, drive, or effectiveness" - this is the realm of children who I believe are driven by healthy hunger.

So what might some of the elements of hunger be? I am groping here for descriptions but how about - big curiosity, fabulous wondering, awesome humility, tremendous desire to learn, gigantic urge to experience, all-consuming desire to laugh, unrelenting demand for physical touch.

Herein lie the workings of the soul's hunger gland - when did you last get yours checked out?

I leave you with a quote that surely comes from hunger & could be addressed to the stagnant forces at work in this world, from Lizzie in Pride & Prejudice - "I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me."

Additional: two excellent reads incorporating the Golden Compass

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is that a number I see before me

I know, I know what on earth has a little country at the bottom of the world got to do with anything, but I can't let a good synch go by.

Hillary Clinton was voted for by 1919 delegates.

1919 - how many times have I come across that this year.

1919 was the year the Hillary Clinton's mighty namesake - Edmund Hillary -was born - all of 88 years ago. Two numbers that have been bouncing around like cats on a hot tin roof all year.

With 88 as the number for total control I can't help wondering if a message is to be noted, & have we really seen the last of this iron lady?
Perhaps it's simply that full ceremonial numerological significance must be maintained to the very end.