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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Most of the time I feel as if I'm wondering about in the dark with this project which is a warning sign I think, meaning that I'm trying to conflate too many disparate things; trying to weave together smoke and steam to make something substantial!

Most of the time all I read (main subject at the moment is the British Neolithic and early Bronze Age) reminds me that the reason why it is easy to find byzantine explanations of astronomical alignments linked to ancient monuments (but not so easy to understand as to find...) is because to understand a monument a person needs to live with it. It is much easier to survey it, or read someone else's work and to make complicated diagrams than hang around in the damp, looking up at a cloudy sky! I'm reminded of Margaret Curtis and Callanish, of how spending time attending to the whole picture is the only way to see, hear and feel what is there. Surveying a monument and making a model will recreate something, but never the whole. Even excavating seems unnecessarily brutal and equally confusing, until one has spent time listening.

I was reading Aubrey Burl's book about astronomical alignments. It includes a map of early Neolithic tombs and their orientation from which one may deduce many things, but mainly that North East (in the broadest sense) is the most common orientation, but there is a wide variation on that particular theme. Aubrey mentions the southern most moon as a 'significant' alignment for some circles. This is the kind of moon that skims the hills of Callanish at the autumn equinox [Gerald Ponting's account of the Southerly moon at Callanish]

When looking at alignments between the earth and sky, when comparing mythology and folklore, in the process of weaving a narrative that feels right, does it matter how much is fact and how much fantasy?

The moon and hills united by the stones of Callanish is demonstrably true but the original meanings are lost, but for a while in this culture of ours (Western and lost?!) the idea of the moon rising from the moon's belly spoke of an alternative sky made better for the absence of the angry, judgemental and absent god, the one who watched his son die on the stony cross of Callanish (or before the cruciform chambers -at the heart of a long barrow). The sky god: a lightning bolt wielding Tarhut (of the Hitites) or Ninurta the 'black sun' Nergal (of the Summerians and Akkadians respectively). No wonder it feels better to displaced him from the 20th century, replacing him with a silver child of pure light.

Be gone gods of war, be gone 'the seven' plague gods!

The world of Modern Matriarchal Studies, is a faith in non-violent social order, in the possibility of a world in which all living creatures are respected, and a trust that life is possible without the exploitation of humans, animals or nature. It has been around for decades.

It is a religion and I don't believe in it for an instance.

It's mythology helped to create the crumbling concrete masterpiece of Knossos, and it sells books. Both phenomena are interesting.

I see the Persephone myth as a consequence of a 'Patriarchal' world. Girls are given away to men, still. The motif of Helen of Troy's abduction was not confined to the Trojan war; the abduction of women folk was a common excuse for war, possibly it still is. Women used to be(?) still are(!) given away at marriage by their fathers. All this is considered bad by a culture that values individuality and constant change, but an agrarian society sees things in a different way...

In a Matriarchal world daughters would not be abducted by abusive uncles or given away by fathers to brothers. The men simply wouldn't dare. The Persephone myth requires a modern interpretation to fit it into a matriarchal society in which the rape of Persephone illustrates the wrong men do to the earth by greedily taking what they want. Demeter's rage symbolising the famine that will follow.

The curious thing for me is that the only mythology I know of that has a strong 'Queen of Heaven' gives her the joy of both war and prostitution.

But back to me and my question to myself about what should I do regards Woodhenge and The Sanctuary? Well the psychogeographers provide me with the the most useful strategies, I think.

What niggles me most though is not being able to be there, to see how a place 'works'.