La Chapelle Verte…

*

All stands hidden

Out-of-sight

At the heart of the cavernous world.

*

All lies sequestered

Black but comely

In the cavernous heart of man.

*

The unseen green within grey rock

Wielder of Psyche’s Axe

Looser of her emotional block.

*

Our animal soul crowns the summit

Inanimate intimacies call

‘Drink deep – Drink deep’…

*

Don’t merely dip a doltish finger-tip

Like felt for freely-gifted gold

or spawn of devil’s bloodied-blot.

*

Not sentiment nor sediment

Can satisfy

Such cavernous yawning.

*

Drink deep of night

And wake

To day’s dawning.

*

All lies hidden

Out-of-sight

At the heart of a cavernous world.

*

Green man cover finalfront

*

The Red, the White, the Green…

Some things have to be believed

Before they can be seen…

*

Available on Amazon worldwide

in Paperback and for Kindle.

Nice weather for ducks

Hellebore

It has been raining yet again. So much for getting anything done outside today. Walking the dog will be enough. The camera is getting used to it by now. Though not designed as waterproof, it has been out in all weathers, tucked under coats and shawls. It is seldom that I move without it. A road trip, where I know that all I will get to do is drive, still sees it tucked up on the back seat of the car, looking at me as hopefully as Ani when it is time for her walk. You just never know what you will find, or where you may be able to pull over.

magpie strutting

One recent, rainy day saw me drenched and with squelching feet, wandering around a west London park. My son was there on business, and I was there on taxi duty. While he was dealing with the sharp end, I wandered off for a while and was glad I did, in spite of the fact that the little lace slippers were rather less than appropriate. That too, seems to be something of a feature.

mallard

“Nice weather… for ducks!” grunted an elderly gentleman sheltering under a big old tree. The ducks may well have been appreciative. Other birds were less so, though the rain did not appear to have dampened the amorous ardour of at least one determined suitor. It is, after all, spring, and, in spite of the drenching they were getting, or perhaps because of it, the trees and flowers were making the most of the season.

pigeons

I think it is the contrast between freshly washed petals and rain-darkened bark and earth that does it. While sunshine shows the playful gaiety of spring, rain seems to highlight the details on every leaf and petal, throwing textures into relief and marking a sharp contrast in the colours. The sparkling drops add an extra dimension that links earth and sky in a very intimate manner.

blossom

Thinking about it, I realised that our instinct is still to think of the sky as being ‘up’… like the blue strip a child paints across the top of a picture. Yet the sky and the earth embrace, their meeting as close as it can be as every contour of the earth and sea, every grain of sand, every leaf and blade is touched by the sky, without any possible separation. As are we.

wet thrush

Yet we imagine a separateness; simply accepting that the sky is above us. The poets tell us so with their starry heavens… yet those heavens are here on earth too, all around us. How could I have missed that, all these years? What logic knows lacks a soul until understanding illuminates it. We are not children of earth, but creatures of earth and sky.

flowers bike 032

I remembered my younger son, drinking the water dripping from a rock face half way up Ben Nevis one day. He had asked where the water came from, so high up… “So, I am drinking clouds, then?” he had said. The child’s logic too was poetry to me and I realised that by extension of the same thought, I was myself poised between heaven and earth, breathing in the sky. I wondered about that; an analogy could be made there… how many other things do we live and breathe and know without Knowing?

magpie

Thinking about that as the rain fell changed the feeling of the day from simply soggy to glorious. The all-pervading damp was no longer a chill imposition but the kiss of the sky upon my brow. The little plumes of steam that rose from both me and the sheltering creatures more than just a drying out… it was a reaching up, an answering embrace, like a child stretching their arms to a father.

water bird with big feet

A little clumsily, still learning to find our feet in the world, unsure of quite who or what we are, we walk through life in unconscious wonder. We may focus our gaze upon the earth and its rewards, or we may look up to a distant sky and reach for diamond stars. Yet perhaps we do not need to strive so hard to reach the apparently unattainable; perhaps the beauty we seek was right here with us all along.

magnolia

Hidden Avebury…

*

… And from Needles of Stone,

to Avenues,

or at least,

what remains of one…

*

The ‘Mary Line’ which we had been following from Cornwall

runs right through the two ‘small’ stones

that had ‘called’ to us from the roadside,

and would once have been ushered, by these same avenue stones,

all the way into the Avebury Ring…

*

*

Not so small, then…

No, not small at all.

 

Mistletoe

Bare winter fingers Unveil the treasure hidden By summer's mantle

This picture was taken in early spring last year, just as the world began to warm itself in the pale sunlight. The place was Pilton, a little village near Glastonbury with a legendary history as big as a heart. It is here, the stories tell us, that Joseph of Arimathea landed on a trading visit to the Isles of Tin, bringing with him a boy… his nephew, say some… whose name was Jesus.

None know the truth of that story, though historically it is possible. There is ample evidence for the trade and it is not the only such legend in Albion. It gives credence to the other legend of Joseph that says that after the crucifixion, he brought the story of the resurrection to these Isles, landing, once again, in the shadow of the Tor… bringing word and a Vessel to Avalon.

I hover between a natural scepticism and a desire to accept. So many of the most ancient tales were bent to serve Christianity in its early days, turning the sacred knowledge of the old gods into the hagiographies of fictitious saints or tying their miracles to the hills of the Fae and the healing wells of the goddess, robbing them of their true lineage. I am not a Christian in the orthodox sense; I belong to no church but serve what I conceive of being perhaps better termed the Cosmic Christ. Yet I am also a child of these Isles and rooted in the land, and there is a warmth and simplicity in these old tales of the Child whose feet walked these blessed shores that makes me choose to believe that there is something in them; something that speaks to the heart rather than to the logical mind. As such, perhaps subjective truth is a matter of choice or faith.

Looking down the valley in the photograph towards the Tor, you can trace the ancient waterway, now no more than a stream, that once brought ships to safe harbour at Pilton. The channel remains, deep and wide and the eye of the mind can trace the outlines of moorings and see the bustle of a small trading port. Seeing the land open itself in this way somehow permits belief.

The trees were bare of everything but the balls of mistletoe that would soon be hidden by exuberant spring. The brilliant young green would cover them, hiding from view the ancient orbs, sacred to those who walked the earth long before Christianity reached our shores. The mistletoe lives upon the branches, its seeds rooting and drawing sustenance and life from roots other than its own so that it may flower, fruit and set future seeds, colonising the trees. Not unlike the story that was brought to these shores so long ago.

The mistletoe is hidden for most of the year, covered by the leaves of its host. You only get occasional glimpses of its presence… and only if you are looking. Yet, when the world is bleak and cold and the branches raise skeletal fingers to the sun, it is there… a plant that has been sacred since time immemorial, and which has come to be a symbol of peace.

Here too I find an echo of a faith that is seldom broadcast, perhaps, but which is there in the darkest of times. It does not belong to any particular denomination or religion…it may not even have a name… it is the faith of the heart that turns towards something greater when the shadows fall. In those moments seeds are planted in the soul that may find a place to grow. It does not need logic, facts or explanations. It does not need dogma or teachings… those are for the exoteric world. The heart knows no logic and faith is not rooted in religion… it is an unruly and invasive tendril that winds through the soul. And when it is free to grow wild, then it is beautiful.

The Great Mystery: Dreaming…

*

The mystery conspires with the

animal world whose souls so resemble

the purity and innocence of a human child.

*

It recognises the miracle of life

in both seed and egg

and the wonder of a harvest which

springs from an ear of corn.

*

This solitary communion with the unseen

can be rendered, a mysterious feeling,

and it has been called, ‘the dreaming’,

although it may be better understood as divine consciousness.

– Ohiyesa

*

The Great Mystery: Crowds

*

The mystery needs no

shrines or temples

save those that nature provides.

*

It may be met in the shadowy

heights and aisles of a primeval forest,

on the sunlit expanse of virgin prairie,

the dizzy spires and pinnacles of naked rock,

and beyond, in the speckled vault of the star-lit sky.

*

All who live a lot out of doors

know the magnetic force

that accumulates in solitude

swiftly flees when confronted

by the faceless vagaries of a crowd.

– Ohiyesa

*

Weland Mind-Weld…

14th September 2021…

*

‘On such a day as this two fools who laughed at death

embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime…’

*

…Today, the adventure is all but over

with just a sealing of fire

and water, inevitably, and air, and earth still to accomplish…

‘Stones for the earth,’ he said.

*

Comparisons with our first trip here together are unavoidable.

Dragon Hill looms equally unexpectedly,

and is also just as gracefully, ‘unoccupied’.

*

*

Had we known then what we now know

would things have been different?

‘About the hilt of Albion’s sword…’

Probably.

Small wonder then that it is difficult not to

lose balance when approaching this point.

Think what could have been done.

And still can…

*

*

The ash shadows the grooves of the manger.

A Dragon-Wing,

mirrored in staccato billowing…

‘Deep Breaths of the Fire-Drake.’

Obeisance turns brackish.

*

*

A raking cough greets us from the ‘forge’.

Manifest irony or iron-age humour?

Our grinning Jester emerges from the copse

with dancing dog in tow.

If more magic were required…

What once held no faces now holds hosts.

‘I’ve made a circle with the stones.’

A web-of-light where once the heat-haze rose…

*

*

The manure mounds become

a million hubs of cobbled-corn.

No birds to speak of,

only flying rabbits…

hopping bad, and a rare hare.

*

No fare at an Inn which had previously provided the finest…

The Greyhound, though, ‘salved’ the day.

‘It’s got lights on and everything!’

With an over abundance of those things most needful,

and, incredibly, Red-Kite Ale…

*

*

But what a tale!

Of shooting stars,

and ‘Old Skool’ bars.

Of skirt tails and hair trails,

to tell in the slow, slow, dawns of mourning…

Sue would have been sixty-three years old today,

‘Now, she is everywhere.’

*

Sue, and beloved Ani, at one of her favourite haunts – Photograph courtesy Alethea Kehas

*

The adventure, continues…

*

File:Reconstruction of face A of Leeds cross fragment 2c.jpg

Weland-the-Smith with Swan-Maiden

*

In the Land of the Living Heart

Brig and Weland Mind-Weld are playing fidchell…

Brig: Wen to Blakey-Topping.

Weland: She’ll never get there.

Brig: But I have a poem for her.

Weland: Which she will never receive.

A mist on Blakey-Topping.

A mist of mists on the Old-Wives-Way…

*

… BRIG’S LAY

Lay me down beneath an Iron Sky

In the centred stillness of a Dragon-Eye

And let sweet-odorous heather be my pall

On a speaking hill where angel-feathers fall

With earth beneath my skin and sky above

I shall await, in silence, the descent of love…

Heart of Albion

***

Heart of Albion – Stuart France & Sue Vincent

Wayland: The Blessed Isles…

*

The tone of the tale once Britain is reached,

becomes very different…

*

Alighting on Berkshire’s High Downs,

Wayland came upon an ancient chambered tomb,

and made it his home.

*

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…

*

Wayland, it seems, never works while being observed.

*

 

 

Wayland: Silver-Smith of Souls…

*

There are a number of intriguing aspects to the legend of Wayland Smithy…

The earliest written sources appear late and are decidedly piecemeal.

*

Wayland is the son of a God, Giant, or King of the Otherworld.

He is schooled in metallurgy by Dwarves, whom, in skill, he quickly surpasses.

He lives, hunts, and works alone in a region associated with wolves and bears.

One day he comes upon a swan-maiden bathing skin-less.

He finds her skin, appropriates it, and she lives with him for nine years.

At the end of which time she discovers her hidden skin and flies away.

*

Wayland is then taken captive by the King of Sweden,

maimed to prevent escape and set to work on an island…

Wayland surreptitiously kills the king’s sons, turns their skulls into goblets

and presents them to the king and queen.

Their teeth he turns into a brooch for the king’s daughter.

The king’s daughter has a ring of Wayland’s, stolen from him by her father,

and when it breaks she asks him to mend it.

Wayland inebriates the king’s daughter and fathers a son on her.

*

At this point, in the tale, Wayland’s swan-wife returns,

with a swan-skin for him and they fly away,

to the Blessed-Isles of Britain, together…

*