Menorah?…

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Menorah as Chalice

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… The Book of Revelation can be described

as a book of arcane symbolism.

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It seems to me astonishing that such a work should have been

accepted into the recommended canon when so many

other far less controversial texts are regarded as apocryphal –

this word which now has connotations of spuriousness or falsity

is derived from the Greek word for ‘hidden’ –

Apocryphal works, then, can be regarded

as those books which possess hidden wisdom.

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It will be useful to consider the opening few paragraphs

of Revelation and compare them to Daniel’s vision of Michael

which we looked at in earlier posts

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“It was on the island of Patmos.

I was meditating on the seventh day

when I heard behind me a voice as of many waters,

“I am the beginning and end, first and the last.”

I turned to see who it was that spoke,

and I saw a figure resembling the Son of Man.

He was standing in the middle of seven golden candlesticks.

His beard and his hair were like white wool.

His eyes were flames of fire.

His countenance was bright, as the sun when it shines at its height.

He was clothed in a long white robe.

About his breast went a golden girdle.

In his right hand he held seven stars.

His words rang out of his mouth clearly

with the poignancy of a double-edged sword:

“I am he that lives and was dead.

I possess the keys to death and hell.

I shall live forever more.”

I fell down at his feet and they were like fine-brass forged in a furnace.

He laid his hands upon me, “You must write down all you see in a book,

and send it to the Seven Churches of Asia.

Let all the churches know that I am he who searches

the reins of the heart and gives to every one, according to their works.

Tell them to remember from whence they have fallen,

to return to their first love lest I come upon them like a thief

and remove their candlestick from its place,

thus speaks the ‘Amen’: ‘I know your works, I know that you have a name,

I know that you live, and yet, you are as the dead!'”

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It might be difficult for St Michael to be described as the,

‘one who is living but was dead’, but

he could certainly lay claim to being regarded as

‘the first and the last’ and also as possessing,

‘the keys to death and hell’…

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In the Book of Daniel, we may recall,

St Michael was described as a Great Prince,

as a Chief Prince, and as Daniel’s Prince.

‘War in Heaven’…

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… We have to wait until the final book of the ‘New Dispensation’ before we

encounter a Dragon.

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“And there was war in heaven:

Michael and his angels fought against the dragon…”

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The Dragon in question, though, is red and, “… has seven heads,

and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads…”

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This being the Book of Revelation we may well wonder about the symbolism…

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Unusually for this text we do not have to wonder for very long for we are told,

“… and the Great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan…

he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

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At which point we realise that although the book purportedly deals with ‘last things’,

this particular vision has to do with ‘first things’, the Third Day of Creation to be precise,

and the expulsion from Heaven of Lucifer, and the Fallen Angels…

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Why this Dragon should have seven heads is an interesting question made all the

more interesting by the fact that few if any of the depictions of St Michael

show him in combat with a seven headed Dragon or accompanied by any other angels!

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Also worth consideration is the attempt to visualise ten horns on seven heads…

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It can be done thus: the two ‘end-heads’ and the ‘central-head’ have two horns each,

and the other four heads have only one horn each.

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In this context the phrase, ‘for a time, times, and half-a-time,’

which was first brought to our attention

in the Book of Daniel, and is again utilised

later in this Chapter of Revelation, springs to mind.

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It is possible that the Seven Headed Dragon is a symbol of time.

Satan is earlier described as the one, “…which deceives the whole world.”

A description which could also serve for time…

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The Creation, in this schemata, takes seven days to complete,

and seven is the basis for a number of natural rhythms and cosmic cycles,

and is the symbolic number used throughout the text of Revelation…

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Obviously, we still, in some part, retain this rhythm

by following a seven day week.

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For the ‘Old Dispensation’, Friday, Saturday and Tuesday,

which is Venus, Saturn and Mars would represent, ‘times’,

whilst Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday,

that is, Sun, Moon, Mercury and Jupiter would be, ‘half-times’.

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And for the ‘New Dispensation’, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday,

and their corresponding Planetary Cycles would be considered, ‘times’,

whilst Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and their

corresponding Planetary Cycles would be the ‘half-times’.

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But does any of this really matter?

Over such things, traditionally, are wars fought

and countless lives lost…

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With regard to this particular stained glass window we might wonder

why Michael needs to be armoured, with a hand resting on the

pommel of his sword, in order to weigh

the souls of the dead?

 

SEE: October Zoom Cyber Room…

Photograph – courtesy, the estate of Sue Vincent

(All Tarot Card Images – Rider-Waite Deck)

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The Silent Eye’s October Explorations Zoom Talk

The Thousandth Face – breaking through from the ordinary

Jospeh Campbell’s book, ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, sold over a million copies.

In it, using his knowledge of philosophy and psychology, Campbell describes how all human myths share a common fundamental structure, which he called the Monomyth.

Essentially ‘the hero’s adventure’ is summarised as:

The hero ventures forth from the world of the common day into a region of supernatural wonder. Fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory won. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow good fortune on his fellow man.

The ‘Mono-Myth’ describes a number of key stages or steps along the way:

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The hero’s adventure begins in the ordinary world with a call to adventure…

The Hobbit – Bilbo seated outside his Hobbit Hole smoking a pipe in the morning light.

The Matrix – Neo’s mundane job in a tech company.

The Arthurian Mythos – The Knights seated around the Round Table in the hall of Camelot

Tarot Card – The Devil, In this instance,

represents the Egoic Nature.

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…The hero sometimes refuses the call to adventure…

The Hobbit – Bilbo Refuses to have anything to do with adventures when first invited and then tells Gandalf that he ‘has got the wrong hobbit.

The Matrix – Neo follows the white rabbit but when following Morpheus’ instructions to avoid the Agents he fails to cross the abyss of the skyscraper and is captured.

The Biblical Myth of Jonah – The call from God in this instance is flatly refused by Jonah who tries to flee onboard a ship. After a number of negative events which the crew ascribe to Jonah he is thrown overboard to save the ship from further mishaps and swallowed by a whale which regurgitates him alive back at Ninevah.

Tarot Card – The Blasted Tower: The Egoic Nature

is penetrated by Higher Forces.

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…He/she leaves the ordinary world after accepting the call to adventure…

The Hobbit – Bilbo’s empathy and compassion for the Dwarves, who have lost their home, prompts him to embark on the adventure.

The Matrix – When Neo contemplates running from Trinity she says ‘You’ve been down that road a hundred times before and it doesn’t lead anywhere.’ (paraphrase)

The Arthurian Mythos – The Knights follow the White Stag into the Enchanted Forest.

Tarot Card – The Fool: Penetrated Egoic Nature results in a ‘reckless fool’.

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…With the help of a mentor, the hero will cross a guarded threshold, leading him to a supernatural world, where the familiar laws of the ordinary world no longer apply…

The Hobbit – Gandalf. The Matrix – Morpheus. The Bible Myths – God. The Arthurian Mythos – Merlin. Celtic Irish Myth – Mananan mac Lir.

Tarot Card – The Hermit: In a high place, which may well be interior,

holds aloft a light.

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…There, the hero will embark upon a road of trials, tests, or temptations…

Indiana Jones – Take your pick! 

The Irish Hero CuChulain – The Sword Bridge. 

The Arthurian Mythos – Perilous Seat, Grail Questions. Combative Knights.

The Hobbit – Golem’s Riddles…

Myth of Christ – Jesus in the wilderness tested by Satan.

Tarot Card – Strength: An unarmed,

feminine character closes the mouth of the Lion.

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…Mysterious allies sometimes assist…

In the Welsh myth of Culwch and Olwen, the hero Culwch is aided in his quest to find Olwen by a number of aged, wise animals.

Stag… Raven… Owl… Salmon…

These animals talk, guiding the hero to the next in turn until he is finally transported to the Other-World where his treasure awaits.

Tarot Card – The Star: The feminine figure

represents the planetary being of the earth.

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…As the hero faces the ordeal, they encounter the greatest challenge of the journey…

The Hobbit – Slaying the Dragon…

The Matrix – Overcoming The Agents…

Culwch and Olwen – outwitting Olwen’s father, Ysbaddaden.

The Arthurian Mythos – The Green Knight.

Tarot Card – Death: although the ground is strewn with body parts a glorious sun rises on the horizon.

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…Upon rising to this challenge, the hero receives a reward, or boon…

The Hobbit – The Trolls Treasure.

The Matrix – Freedom within the Matrix.

Culwch – marries Olwen, or is united with his Soul.

Arthurian Mythos – The Grail is achieved.

Tarot Card – The Chariot: The balanced psyche

moves forward without hindrance in the world.

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…He/she returns to the ordinary world, empowered to act in a higher way…

Tarot Card – The Lovers: ‘open up and get out of the way.’

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‘There were a few outstanding questions, including whether Campbell focused on the masculine and, if so, what would the feminine hero’s journey look like if it were different.

We were left with four leading questions to ponder:

What is being described?

How does each part of the Mono-Myth relate to one’s own story?

How do we know that the Quest has begun?

Why would we want to undertake this Journey?

An open invitation was extended to the group to join ‘The Hero’s Journey’, the Silent Eye’s next landscape workshop, at Castlerigg Stone Circle and its environs, Cumbria, UK, May 6-8, 2022.

This will be a personal journey related to each individual as the hero of their own life, shared in a communal environment with meals at local hostelries…’ – Recorder

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Crucible of the Sun

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…For three days Gwythyr-the-Bright journeyed

in the gullet of the Black Salmon of the Lake of Light.

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On the third night, he came to a river valley

whose edges were forested with tall trees.

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From root to crown, one half of the trees

in that forest were aflame while the other

half were green with leaves.

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There were level meadows on both sides of the

river and on one bank grazed a flock of black

sheep with on the other a flock of white sheep.

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When a white sheep bleated a black sheep would cross

the river and turn white and when a black sheep bleated

a white sheep would cross the river and turn black…

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Crucible of the Sun: The Mabinogion Retold

By Stuart France

“I will dazzle like fire, hard and high, will flame the breaths of my desire; chief revealer of that which is uttered and that which is asked, tonight I make naked the word.”

Once upon a time we gathered around the flames of the hearth and listened to tales of long ago and far away. The stories grew in the telling, weaving ancient lore whose origins lie somewhere in a misty past with tales of high adventure, battles, magic and love. In Crucible of the Sun, this oral tradition is echoed in a unique and lyrical interpretation of tales from the Mabinogion, a collection of stories whose roots reach back into the depths of time, spanning the world and reflecting universal themes of myth and legend.

These tales capture a narrative deeply entwined through the history of the Celtic peoples of the British Isles, drawing on roots that are embedded in the heart of the land. In Crucible of the Sun the author retells these timeless stories in his own inimitable and eminently readable style. The author’s deep exploration of the human condition and the transitions between the inner worlds illuminate this retelling, casting a unique light on the symbolism hidden beyond the words, unravelling the complex skein of imagery and weaving a rich tapestry of magic.

‘The author’s creative and scholarly engagement with the material and enthusiasm for the original tales is evident throughout.’ The Welsh Books Council

‘I found it very inspiring!’ Philip Carr-Gomm, former Chosen Chief, Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (O.B.O.D.)

Available worldwide via Amazon, in paperback and for Kindle.

 

The Big-Bold-Blue of Beyond…

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… When Brother-Warrior entered the chamber of the princess, because of his Cloak-of-Darkness, she thought she was enjoying converse and congress with a spirit.

So too, did all her hand-maids but before departing he took off his cloak and left them with the fleeting vision of a ‘Fairy Warrior’.

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After Brother-Wizard and Brother-Warrior had left for the wooded isle, Brother-Smith wasted no time in fomenting the populace who were missing the usual round of the wondrous cow.

He walked to each home-stead in turn crying “no milk today, the King of Castle-Hill has stolen your cow.”

In this way they were left in no doubt as to who was to blame for their loss of sustenance and the King of Castle-Hill spent the next nine months touring his lands putting down local revolt after local revolt without the use of his baleful eye.

The king had no opportunity to visit his daughter, as promised, and indeed, as few knew of the island’s existence, and the magic halter, and the wondrous cow were still kept there, it would have been foolish for him to do so.

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“It is time to collect the magic halter,” said Brother-Wizard to Brother- Warrior after a time.

Together, the two of them, again, set out for the wooded isle in the coracle and once they reached the tower and the nine home-steads they collected not only the magic halter, which the king’s daughter freely gave to them but also the ‘fruits’ of Brother-Warrior’s last visit.

The nine children of the hand-maids were given together in a blanket fastened by a thorn which Brother-Wizard carried on his back whilst the grandson of the king was kept in a separate cloth which Brother-Warrior kept slung upon his breast.

As they made their way back to the mainland the thorn holding the blanket broke and the nine children of the hand-maids fell into the sea and were turned into seals, by Brother-Wizard, so they would not drown.

Brother-Warrior brought the grandson of the king safely ashore…

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A Wooded-Isle…

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Brother-Wizard and Brother-Warrior immediately set out for the sea-shore.

There, moored at the mouth of a natural cave in the cliffs, bobbed a coracle.

They both clambered aboard…

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…The King of Castle-Hill took the magic halter to the cell of the tower on his wooded isle and presented it as a gift to appease his imprisoned daughter.

“Of what use to me is a magic halter,” sobbed the princess, “if all my days are to be spent cooped up here seeing none but my hand-maids.”

“With the halter comes a wondrous cow, my child, its inexhaustible supply of milk will sustain you,” soothed the king, “and I shall bring your food everyday and relate the comings and goings of the kingdom. Far better a sequestered life than one without a father.”

As the King of Castle-Hill left the tower to attend to his duties, the magic halter cascaded against the back of the cell door…

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Brother-Warrior and Brother-Wizard landed at the wooded isle in their coracle.

“The magic halter is with the king’s daughter,” said Brother-Wizard.”

“And where is the king’s daughter?” said Brother-Warrior.

“The king’s daughter, is in a tower in the centre of the wood which is surrounded by nine home-steads,” said Brother-Wizard, “you must enter the tower and sleep with her.”

“And what’s in the nine home-steads?”said Brother-Warrior.

“You’ll see,” said Brother-Wizard. He gave his brother a Cloak-of-Darkness and put a spell on his hands so that whatever door he came to would open for him.

“Wish me luck, brother,” said the warrior, turning to leave.

“One more thing,” said the wizard, “be sure to leave the magic halter with the princess, we will return for it another day.”

“I thought…” began Brother-Warrior but a withering look from the wizard stayed that thought and sent him swiftly on his way into the wood.

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A Red-Haired Boy…

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… The king immediately ordered a tower be built on a densely wooded isle off the coast of his lands and had his daughter put in the tower away from all danger.

Nine home-steads about the foot of the tower and nine hand-maids, one for each home-stead, to ensure that none but the king himself could enter the tower and see the princess.

Once completely satisfied that such a defence could not be breached, without his knowledge, the king set about planning the procurement of the magic halter.

After much deliberation he transformed himself into a red-haired boy and set off for the abode by the sea that housed the three brothers.

The disguised king arrived in the nick of time.

Brother-Smith was busy in the forge making weapons while Brother-Wizard stood alongside casting spells on those weapons.

Brother-Warrior was outside the forge holding the magic halter.

The wondrous cow grazed sedately in a field alongside the forge.

A dispute between Brother-Smith and Brother-Wizard had just arisen, over the tempering of the blades, and Brother-Warrior was summoned to settle the matter.

“Just look after this for awhile will you,” said Brother-Warrior to a red-haired boy who was passing by, “I won’t be a moment,” he handed the magic halter to the boy and entered the forge.

When Brother-Warrior re-emerged from the forge the red-haired boy, the magic halter, and the wondrous cow were gone.

He set up a shout and the smith and the wizard came running out.

“It can only be the King of Castle-Hill,” said Brother-Wizard looking into the far distance, “long has he coveted our wondrous cow.”

“You will have to get the magic halter back,” said Brother-Smith.

“I’ll need your help,” said Brother-Warrior disturbing the wizard’s reverie.

“Yes, yes, of course,” said Brother-Wizard, his eyes narrowing darkly…

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The King of Castle Hill…

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…There once was a king who lived in a castle on a hill.

He was lord and master of all he surveyed.

One daughter he had sired but his wife had died in giving the child life.

His daughter was very beautiful and the king looked forward to the day when she would come into her own.

By a cunning device of his mother the King of Castle-Hill had been made invulnerable and was possessed of a baleful eye which was capable of blighting all that it gazed upon.

The eye was normally kept covered by five leather patches.

The King of Castle-Hill was also a great wizard in his own right, well versed in the magical arts, and nothing happened in his kingdom without his knowledge of it.

There was little that the King of Castle-Hill wanted save for a wondrous cow which was looked after by three brothers who lived by the sea.

One of the brothers was a blacksmith, clever and skilful.

One of the brothers was a wizard, cunning and resourceful.

One of the brothers was a warrior, strong and fair.

The wondrous cow was possessed of an inexhaustible supply of milk and it daily traversed the kingdom supplying the people with nourishment.

The wondrous cow was governed by a magic halter.

Wherever the halter went, there too went the wondrous cow.

The King of Castle-Hill determined to acquire the wondrous cow and realised that if he could somehow get the magic halter then the object of his desire would follow.

About the same time as the king determined upon a plan to acquire the wondrous cow it came to his attention that certain prophesies were doing the rounds of his kingdom.

The prophecies spoke of the king’s demise.

The king summoned his soothsayer.

“It is true, my lord, words have been uttered describing your death,” said the king’s soothsayer.

“But I am invulnerable,” said the King of Castle-Hill, “I will live forever.”

“Not so,” said the soothsayer, “your grandson shall slay you by casting a spear through your baleful eye and on out of the back of your skull.”

The king fell silent in thought.

It might possibly be true, the king’s baleful eye, though a potent weapon and an effective deterrent against those who might oppose him, was also his only vulnerable spot.

“Will he indeed!” seethed the King of Castle-Hill fingering the first of the leather pouches that covered his baleful eye, “we will see about that.”…

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Whispering Woods…

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Nuremberg_chronicles_f_124v_2.jpg

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… Back in Coventry, Sir Albert’s Lady,

overcome with extreme pain, was forced to choose between

the spoil of her infant, or an end to her life.

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Placing the preservation of her child,

and benefit of her country over her own safety,

she committed her womb to be opened,

that her infant might be taken from her alive.

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This most noble Lady was cast into a dead sleep,

her womb cut up with sharp knives,

and the infant taken from the bed of its creation.

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Upon his breast nature had drawn the form of a dragon,

on his right hand a blood-red cross,

and on his left leg a golden garter.

He was assigned three wet nurses, who named him George.

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Shortly after his nativity, the fell enchantress Kalyb,

by charms and witchcrafts, stole the infant,

George, from his careless nurses.

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On Sir Albert’s return in good hope

to hear of the succesful delivery of his Lady,

and the comfort of a child,

 his wished for joy was turned to sorrow.

He found his Lady dead from her dismembered womb,

and his young son abducted.

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 Such a woeful state banished his wits:

“O Heavens!  Why cover you not the earth with everlasting night?

Why do these accursed eyes behold the sun?

O that the waves of Oceanus might end my days,

or like an outcast, give me joy in exile,

where I may warble my sorrows to the whispering woods.

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What monster has stolen my child?

O that the wind would be a messenger and bring me happy news of his abode.

If he be drenched in the deepest sea, I will dive to fetch him up.

If he be hidden in the caverns of the earth, I will dig to find him.

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Why do I thunder forth my loss in vain,

when neither earth nor sea, nor any thing under the sun

will grant me comfort but the recovery of my child.”

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Leaving his native country, Sir Albert, wandered from place to place,

in search of his son until the hairs of his head were grown white as silver,

and the beard on his chin like the thistle-down…

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  He ended his days in Bohemia,

where, from age, and excessive grief, he laid himself down

under a ruined monastery wall and died.

Considering Heaven and Earth…

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First a formless mass of light,

then the firmament of stars,

then sun and moon,

then sea and land,

then reptiles, and birds,

then beasts, and man,

and then, contemplation…

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If the ‘candlestick vision’ which opens the Book of Revelation,

is an allusion to the Menorah,

then the central figure of that vision

stands for the earth-sphere and all of those who dwell in that realm.

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Genesis posits two earthly creation models, the first is based

on the Babylonian planetary scheme which the Hebrews

reformulated as the Elohim and symbolised by the Menorah.

This takes seven days, or one week and occurs in Spring.

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The second is based on a Canaanite model in which

darkness gradually assimilates light, and takes one day,

or twenty-four hours, and occurs in Autumn.

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There is nothing at all primitive about creation models

which recognise a world established by

days, weeks, seasons, and years, which are natural rythmns,

quite the contrary.

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The Old Dispensation grants Heaven

to Lucifer and Earth to Adam,

but afer the Fall, Man and Fallen-Angel

vie for ascendancy of the earth-sphere,

until Noah and the Flood when the

earth-sphere is redeemed for all time.

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The New Dispensation

projects the contention for the earth-sphere

into eternity but substitutes ‘Eve’ for Adam.

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If we detect in the above an over-plus of polarity,

then we might wish to attend to that.

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A contemplation:

The formless mass of light lasts from 12am to 3am.

The firmament of stars is formed from 3am to 6am.

The sun and moon hold sway from 6am to 9am.

The sea and land emerge between 9am and 12pm.

Reptiles and birds arrive between 12pm and 3pm.

Beasts and man turn up between 3pm and 6pm.

From 6pm until 9pm is a time set aside for contemplation.

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Which leaves just three hours.

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Three days is the traditional period of time for transition

from one state of being to another during initiation ceremonies.

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But this leaves no time for sleep?

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The awakened are not asleep.