A Bibliomantic Tale VI…

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A Prisoner of Portmeirion?

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Resistance

“Pages Two-Five-One and Two-Five-Two”

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No 8 (Light)

‘The sexual origin of the lingam is, of course, obvious, but this only brings out the extraordinary depth of understanding in ancient India. Sex was always regarded as something ‘holy’ – I think it still is, except where the Indian spirit has been corrupted by the West. The lingam was therefore a natural symbol of the sacred ‘source of life’… The natural reaction of a European is to think that this is something ‘obscene’; but to me it seemed a touching expression of the sense of the sacred, the awareness of the essential holiness of nature and of faith in her generative powers.’

– Bede Griffiths

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It would be easy to be distracted by the Candy-House allure of Clough Williams-Ellis’s nothing-is-quite-what-it-seems creation.

But soon enough the false facade’s and painted-on windows lead one to the inescapable conclusion that not only was this an architect with a wicked, if anti-authoritarian, sense of humour but also that he was one with a complete mastery of ‘living-space’.

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There is not one unpleasing angle for the photographer and the prospects and backdrops work precisely as intended to integrate man-made structures with their natural surroundings.

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That there should be a ‘Japanese Water Garden’, then, now seems entirely appropriate.

What is nurtured here, is an ‘Eastern Ethic’.

As ‘Portmeirion Village’ begins to fill up with its western holiday makers it is difficult not to be reminded of the inhabitants of McGoohan’s village. Prisoners all of both State and a self imposed state of mind. We prepare to take our leave.

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No 9 (Dark)

‘Perhaps this is the deepest impression left by life in India, the sense of the sacred as something pervading the whole order of nature. Every hill, tree and river is holy, and the simplest human acts of eating and drinking, still more of birth and marriage, have all retained their sacred character…In the West everything has become ‘profane’; it has been deliberately emptied of all religious meaning… it is here that the West needs to learn from the East the sense of ‘holy’, of a transcendent mystery which is immanent in everything and which gives ultimate meaning to life…

The Western world must recover this ancient vision of the three dimensions of reality. Then everything is sacred. That is what one finds in India; everything is sacred – eating, drinking or taking a bath; in any of the normal events of life there is always a sacred action… We have lost that awareness… This sacramentality of the universe. The whole creation is pervaded by God.’

– Bede Griffiths

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Perhaps, that is what the readings are trying to tell us?

Cherish the past.

Adorn the present.

Construct the future.

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to be continued…

 

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