Wish you were here…

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In Olden Times,

Holidays were originally just that…

Holy Days.

The whole community would lay aside their workday duties and together engage in deeply or intrinsically symbolic activities that related to the situation that they all found themselves in.

For example…

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Cheese Rolling…

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May Polling…

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…and Beating-the-Bounds.

Wayland: The White Horse…

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But according to some, Wayland has far more onerous

responsibilities than shoeing the horses of passing way farers…

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A group of local lads were enjoying a drink

one evening at the White Horse Inn, Woolstone,

when an unknown man wearing old fashioned garb

entered and ordered a pint of the local beverage.

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He wore a leather apron, a tall hat,

and he took his drink and sat

to one side of the ale-house by himself…

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After awhile the sound of a horn rang out

and could be heard

echoing eerily through the vale…

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Startled from his reverie by the horn,

the stranger leapt to his feet and hobbled

out into the night, his pint unfinished.

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As the uncanny sound faded over the downs

the locals looked out and up to the hillside

to find that the White Horse was gone!

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When dawn broke the following day

more than a few of the previous night’s imbibers

looked out of their windows

and up at the hill with some trepidation…

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Only to see the White Horse

back where it should be on the green hillside

but with feet-tips

that seemed to shine in the morning sun light.

 

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Wayland: The Blessed Isles…

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The tone of the tale once Britain is reached,

becomes very different…

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Alighting on Berkshire’s High Downs,

Wayland came upon an ancient chambered tomb,

and made it his home.

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Tradition now has it,

that if ever you are riding the Ridgeway,

and your horse loses a shoe,

you need only tether it nearby,

 leave a silver-sixpence on the uppermost stone of the tomb,

and on your return your horse will be shod and your money gone…

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Wayland, it seems, never works while being observed.

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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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Fulcanelli: Mysteries…

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To round off our brief but succinct survey of the Alchemists,

we shall give some examples from the works

of those savants that we have so far considered.

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First up, Fulcanelli…

“…For us, gothic art (fr: art gotique) is only a spelling distortion of the word argotique (slang), whose assonance is perfect in accordance with the phonetic law that governs in all languages and without taking into account spelling, the traditional cabal.

The cathedral is a work of Gothic Art or argot, that is, slang.

However, dictionaries define argot as ‘a language particular to all individuals who have an interest in communicating their thoughts to each other without being understood by those around them’ in other words, a spoken cabala.

The argoters, those who use this language, are hermetic descendants of the argonauts, who climbed aboard the Argo, spoke the argot language, which is our green language (fr: langue verte) – and sailed towards the rich shores of Colchis to conquer the famous Golden Fleece.

They still say today of a very intelligent, but also a very cunning man; he knows everything, he understands the argot, both the vagrant of the Court of Miracles – the poet Villon at their head – and the Freemasons of the Middle Ages, ‘members of the Lodge of God’ who built the argotique masterpieces that we admire today. They themselves, these builders, knew the road to the Garden of the Hesperides…”

The Mystery of the Cathedrals

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They knew also, presumably, these savants, the way from the Tower of Babel!

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The Alchemists: Isaac Newton…

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727).jpg

Portrait of Isaac Newton aged forty-six years by Godfrey Kneller.

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‘Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the Sumerians…

The last great mind which looked out on the visible world with the same eyes

as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance ten thousand years ago.’

‘Newton the Man’, J.M. Keynes.

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Isaac Newton was born on Christmas day, 1642. At first his genius seemed more mechanical than intellectual. He constructed water works, windmills, kites and sun dials, but nurtured by the King’s School at Grantham his intellectual prowess and prodigious powers of concentration gradually became apparent. A maternal uncle intervened and had him prepared for Cambridge, to which seat of learning, young Isaac went up in 1661.

Stimulated by the Cartesian ferment in physics, philosophy and mathematics, by Kepler’s optics and laws of planetary motion, and by Galileo’s mechanics, the young Newton soon tackled and solved many of the physical and mathematical questions of his contemporaries. In January 1665 Newton took his Bachelor of Arts Degree but in the summer of that year he was compelled to retire to his home at Woolsthorpe as the University was closed due to an outbreak of the plague. It did not reopen again until 1667 but rather than hinder Newton’s progress, this enforced confinement at his mother’s manor proved to be his making. During this time he invented calculus, discovered that white light comprised all the colours of the spectrum, and found out a mathematical law for gravity.

Rather than trumpet these discoveries in 1667 he returned to Cambridge, quietly proceeded to his Master of Arts, was elected to a College Fellowship and settled down. In 1672 Newton disclosed some of his optical discoveries to the Royal Society and was immediately elected a Fellow of that illustrious company but it was not until 1684 that the full extent of his gravitational studies came to light. At the insistence of Edmund Halley, Newton returned to his proofs for the planetary motions and worked them up into a volume which eventually became his masterwork, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Now, commonly referred to as, The Principles, this work is, by some, still held to be the greatest work of science ever published.

Newton’s life of retiring scholarsip ended in 1696 with his appointment to Warden of the Mint. He had already been engaged in the re-organisation of the nation’s finances, establishing the Bank of England and founding the national debt to finance international wars. In 1699 he was promoted to Master of the Mint which post he held until his death.

Honours accumulated for the ageing Newton. In 1703 he became President of the Royal Society and he was knighted in 1705.

The Newtonian world-view, developed almost wholly on the basis of his success in mathematics and the physical sciences is apt to confuse and occlude. His studies in astronomy and optics occupied only a small portion of his time. Most of his great powers were poured out upon church history, theology, the chronology of ancient kingdoms, prophecy, and alchemy.

‘Why do I call him a magician? Because he looked on the universe as a riddle,

a secret that could be read, a cryptogram set by the Almighty…’

‘Newton the Man’, J.M.Keynes

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Hunting the Green Lion

All hail the Noble Company,

True students in Holy Alchemy,

Whose ardent practise does them teach,

To veil their secrets in ‘misty speech’.

It may please you dilecticians

To hear my protestations

For that practise which I have seen,

 A hunting of the Lion Green.

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Whose colour doubtless is not so,

And surely that, your wisdoms know,

For no man lives that has ever seen,

Upon four feet a lion the colour green.

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Green he is called for his unripeness,

And yet so quickly can he run,

To soon outstrip the sun…

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It brings to him more perfection,

Than ever he had by nature’s direction.

Vicar of Malden

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Green Lion Alchemy Poster | Zazzle.co.uk

 

 

 

 

The Laidley Wyrm…

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I weird you a Laidly Worm,

Until the end-of-days,

And freed ne’er shall you be,

Until the king’s successor,

Approach the Heugh,

And give you kisses three…

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Before a legend ‘goes national’ it will first have been local.

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There are lots of ‘merlins’ and ‘arthurs’ in the land of Britain,

although not all of them are known by those names or titles.

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There are too, lots of dragon slayers,

few of which are called George.

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Before George became our Patron Saint,

our Patron Saint was called Edmund.

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Edmund was shot full of arrows then decapitated,

and his decapitated head was stolen, by a wolf…

Which is, perhaps, not very heroic.

Not heroic enough for some, certainly.

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Before George became our Patron Saint

there was a ‘dragon slayer’ in Northumbria,

here is his tale…

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“And so to Bamburgh castle, the king a new wife did bring.

But his queen took an instant dislike to her husband’s daughter, Margaret,

And transformed her into a Laidly Wyrm which coiled itself about a Great Stone,

And laid waste the land for seven miles around.

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Daily, the milk of seven cows was brought the Wyrm but all to no avail,

For the enchantment could only be lifted by Childy Wynd,

Margaret’s brother, but he lived far away over the sea.

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Word of the dark doings in his homeland eventually reached Childy,

Who built a ship with a rowan-tree mast and silken sails,

And set out to rid Bamburgh of its blight.

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The queen, she spied the ship and sent out ‘witch-wives’ to sink it,

But they were powerless ‘gainst the magical mast.

As the ship came into land, the Wyrm leapt up,

The Wyrm leapt down, and plaiting ’round the stane,

Banged it out to sea again.

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Undaunted, Childy put in on Budle Sand and waded ashore.

Finally encountering the Wyrm, Childy laid his sword upon its head,

Yet gave it kisses three,

And though it crept back into its hole a Wyrm,

It stepped out, a Lady.

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Together, brother and sister returned to Bamburgh,

To be greeted by their joyful father, the king.

The queen was transformed, by Childy, into a toad,

Which to this day spits venom on young girls out walking.”

Duncan Frasier  AD 1270

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Gorgeous Georgius…

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

St George ‘cradling’ or ‘choking’ a baby dragon?

(Nuremberg Chronicle 1493)

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… Like Michael, the St George we know today is something of a construct.

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Historically, George appears to have been a third century greek conscript in the Roman army,

who, having converted to Christianity, was martyred, that is, put to death for his religious beliefs.

His execution, by decapitation, reputedly took place outside Nicodemia’s city wall

sometime between 290 and 305 AD, on the 23rd day of April,

which subsequently became his Christian Feast Day.

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It does seem odd how the day of this event is clearly

and accurately recorded for posterity yet the year is not!

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St George’s cult initially developed in the Eastern Mediterranean.

There is a shrine dedicated to him in Abyssinia

and another in the village of Al-Khudr in Palestine.

Al-Khidr, after whom the village is named, is also venerated there.

The Mohammedans identify Al-Khidr as the Bilblical Elijah

whilst Christians regard him as an ‘avatar’ of St George.

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Al-Kidhr’s Feast Day of 26th April is known as

‘The Feast of Spring which makes everything green’.

Al-Khidr means the green, or verdant, one, or alternatively,

‘the-ever-living-one’.

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The multifarious carvings of leaf disgorging heads

which, to this day, adorn many a church, and cathedral column or cranny

in ecclesiastical buildings the length and breadth of the British Isles,

are believed by some to be representations of Al-Khidr, the green one.

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Here, then, is one, if not two candidates,

for the mantle of that mysterious Green Man

so beloved of the pagan fraternity worldwide.

There are, though, lots of others…

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In Mediaeval times, tales of St George the dragon slayer began to circulate.

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According to some of these stories George was born in Coventry

even though many of his exploits took place in the east.

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His first encounter with a dragon occurred in Egypt…