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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Wooden posts...

Britain has a history of Wooden deities:
The Ballachulish figure is a roughly life-sized figure of a girl or goddess, carved from a single piece of alder, with pebbles for eyes. It was found during building work in November 1880, under deep peat. It was lying face down on the gravel of an old raised beach, around 120 metres from the shore of Loch Leven. It might originally have stood beside a pool. The figure has been radiocarbon-dated to around 600 BC
This figure...


...was found in 1880 in the Broddenberg Fen, near Viborg; he has no arms, only one and a bit legs. What matters, he has in abundance. He is oak and he has been shaped to enhance his masculinity.

He was found amongst a heap of stones in a bog, surrounded by pottery vessels which confirmed the date of his burial as Early Iron Age.

Sometimes a male and female figure are found, such as at Braak in Holstein.

Sometimes the figure is simplified to a massive cock.



In 1961 Harold Anderson investigated three sacrificial sites at Foerlev Nymolle. In each he found stones, potsherds and worked wood. In one of the sites he found stones gathered into a heap, and under them he found a cloven oak branch 9 ft in length. Her resting place had been marked by a bunch of flax placed on the heap of stones under which she was preserved by the bog water when not needed for feasts and rituals.

Around her were the bones of an ox, goat, sheep, dog, horse and hare, and a badly damaged human shoulder blade

Her gender was emphasised by a strong incision where the fork began, and the roundness of the hips was emphasised by cutting back the upper part of the legs.

Another goddess figure was revealed in 1946, found in a little bog near Rebild Skovhuse.

She was found wrapped in a large cloth, woven to protect her when she was not needed to represent the goddess herself.




The Great Below.

In 1971 P.V.Glob wrote: The Bog People, and describes why he believes highly ritualized murders, complex death and burial, is connected with the Goddess of The Great Below.

Tollund man, Grauballe man, Queen Gunhild...The young girl from Windeby bog, the man from Osterby whose hair was tied in a Swabian knot.

We have their clothes, we know what they ate, the decapitated girl from Roum, the Huldre woman from Ramten; there are many more bodies to be found.



The Swabian knot.
According to Germania by Tacitus, the Suebian warriors combed their hair back or sideways and tied it into a knot, allegedly with the purpose of appearing taller and more awe-inspiring on the battlefield. Tacitus also reports that the fashion had spread to neighbouring Germanic tribes among the younger warriors, while among the Suebians, the knot was sported even by old men as a status symbol, which "distinguishes the freeman from the slave", with the most artful knots worn by the most wealthy nobles.

In most cases it is reasonable to believe that the people who were sent to The Great Below, were high status people. Sacrifice could be the price a lord had to pay for kingship.

It is also possible that it was the king's son or daughter who paid the price.





All the bodies P.V Glob describes were violently killed- over kill! and met their terrible end during 'The Iron Age'.

It was still happening in 1360 AD.

Recently a bog body was found on Bord na Móna land in Co Laois in 2011. It is probable that he met the same kind of fate, as the Iron Age bog bodies, but during the Bronze age- 4.000 years ago.



Found in a bog. Dated to 500 BC.



Iron Age Goddess figures.

Neolithic Goddess figures.
P.V.Glob sees the twisted torq and the rope used to strangle the sacrifice, as representing the same thing.
Dedication to the Goddess.



Sunday, 29 December 2013

Closing the circle.

The coughing man on the London tube did not cover his mouth.
My son brought the chest infection home
One after one, the members of my family have suffered a tickley cough and a blocked nose.

Last night as we ate, there was a sudden loud bang, upstairs.
The bag that contains my compass and equipment for finding the lines at The Sanctuary had fallen from the shelf.


At that point I was already heading down into ill.
The bang and sense of fear it engendered in me reminded me there was still work to be done. And that I had known, when I chose to 'open' the older Sanctuary, that I would need to close it.

As my temperature rose and I began to shiver, as the pain began, I knew that the time had come. I was scared, but I know myself to be protected. I had known that part of the bargain was to enter this dark place, and to tell its story.

To thank the guardian of the place...I allowed the illness to take me down.

And so, to that end I welcomed the poison, I would use it to purify the poison of that place. Let it burn through me in a myriad tentacles of hurt. The guardian needed recognition, her hurt, her fear ran through me.

I held the visulisation until the early hours of the morning. I let the wooden posts of the Neolithic Sanctuary fall and replaced them, I pulled the fractured stones from the ground. I lay with the body as her life blood ran into the soil. I shared her pain and loved her.

Then my mind fell into stupid repetitions of annoying rubbish.

I took the pain killers and let myself sleep.

http://www.deborahravetz.org/gallery/
I do not believe in hidden codes or secrets encoded in prehistoric structures.

I don't believe in mystical structures placed to focus healing energy. Stonehenge has changed through recent use, but I feel the ashes, tears and murders it contains.

The Sanctuary never felt pleasant.
Just powerful.

The arrows and the burial, the evidence that the people of The Bronze Age would send a person to The Great Below...it is hard for me to respect this.

But respect was always a part of the bargain.

Now I'm swimming back to this world, eating oranges, drinking tea, letting myself sleep.

It is done.
---
Some hours latter.
A sense of wings- Apollo's swans- and of gold.
The sense of blessing...

I long to drink rose lemonade! Continue...

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Last trip...


Back to The Sanctuary!

First to Avebury where I bought presents for my daughters from the shop.
Woollen gloves and rose lemonade.

Then a conversation with a man who had made his living from his 'alternative' beliefs.

I tell myself that basically people who believe in Atlantis are preferable to people who believe in 'war against terror'.

Though one belief does not preclude the other..

I just don't like Madam Blavatski's curious reinterpretation of Tibetan stuff. The idea of 'the hidden masters' though harmless, was a symptom of the madness that griped Europe..

The Golden Ones
Axial Age..
Aryans.


On a positive note....Madame Blavatsky, who claimed to be in contact with a Great White Lodge of Himalayan Adepts did at least inspire David Lynch.

He tells me..
The gong playing man of Avebury.
Not Mr Lynch..
That the large stone at West Kennet wasn't used to block the tomb. He says that at the equinox a shaft of sunlight is directed by this stone to shine on a single red block at the end of the barrow. I ask him if he has seen this?

He hasn't
Latter I find the probable source: Bob Trubshaw.
Of all the alignments and solar events, this is one of the easiest to check.

But I have a feeling that when the tomb was reconstructed, the large stone was placed further back, to allow people to enter.

I doubt that the large stone is truly in its original place.



Anyway, off I go to The Sanctuary to lay out its paths for the last time.







In the basement...

John Soane had a house or three. He filled them with things. Precious things. He lit the house from a skylight and bounced the light around his houses with mirrors.

The houses were a row.

The multi-house is a labyrinth

It was getting dark
No lights were on

I kept meeting myself coming back/ my own reflection.
I was going round in circles!

The walls are covered in plaster casts and gargoyles
Paintings and prints.

I took the stair down

In the basement I found
The Book of Gates!

Now of all the things I expected to find; statues from Greek temples, Mesopotamian artefacts and stained glass...I did not expect to see The Book
anywhere...

Ever.

Unless I got on a plane and flew to Cairo
Even then...
I didn't expect...

The Book of Gates is carved onto the sarcophagus of King Seti 1, he who made the peace treaty with the Hittites following the battle of Kadesh (1306 BC)...

It is similar to, and younger than The Twelve Gates (The Amduat)..

Maaaan, you could have knocked me down with a feather!
I'm amazed that it was just there...

The most famous of such books- the travel guides for those about to enter the Underworld- is The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Bardo Thodol. Technically, the Bardo Thodol should be read to the newly deceased as his or her mind dissolves in death.

O child of a good family, listen. Now you are experiencing the Radiance of the Clear Light of Pure Reality. Recognise it. O nobly-born, your intellectual mind is in real nature void, not formed into anything as regards characteristics or colour, naturally void it is the very Reality, the All-Good....

You don''t have to be dead.
'It' being 'pure view'...

The Bado Thodol is an alchemical book, made famous by the Beat poets as a book of liberation.

Liberation from suffering in the after-life is easily confused with ending suffering now! This fault line is key to understanding the terrifying things that happened during the Reformation; when the dead were removed from the living and those who led prayer for them, re-branded as parasitical tricksters, selling blessings and fake passes to the foolish and gullible.

I wish it was untrue but the cult of Liberation has probably got more people killed, maimed and murdered, than any other ideology...more than any religion.

A tectonic catastrophe building under ground.

Oh Holy Dionysos, please take care of your people.


The Book of Gates:
... is the principal guidebook to the netherworld found in 19th and part of the 20th Dynasty tombs of the New Kingdom, though it makes its first appearance to us with the last king of the 18th Dynasty. It was meant to allow the dead pharaoh to navigate his way along the netherworld route together with the sun god, so that his resurrection could be affected. It emphasizes gates with guardian deities who's names must be known in order to pass them. This is actually a very old tradition dating to at least the Book of the Two Ways in the Coffin Texts, where there are seven gates with three keepers at each. Continue...
King Seti had painted on his tomb walls The Book of the Heavenly Cow.
So I would very much have liked to talk to him and asked him as I asked the guardian of the sarcophagus, how much 'in your opinion' was Egyptian mythology and iconography informed by 'Mesopotamian' ideas?

The guardian, an Egyptology used the term 'Sumerians' when he spoke to me...and 'language' when he meant writing.

That made me feel a little sad and sorry that a university education may not be as efficient as reading as many ancient texts as one can find, reading history and looking at maps.

Ultimately The Books: The Twelve Gates and The Book of Gates describe liberation from the mire and darkness of death, through the presence of the divine. The Twelve Gates describes the hell that waits for those who have not followed the correct rules; the rules of right conduct, the rules of right burial. For them await lakes of flame, dismemberment...In the great, primal mound the Green God Osirus brings regeneration to the king

As the ship of the sun navigates the twelve hours of night, the king brings life to the dead as the sun in our world wakes the sleeping from their dreams...

Directions to the house.




Thursday, 19 December 2013

Recumbent stones, arrows and no moon.

Through the gate to the Sanctuary.
I see the catch no longer works, but there are never any animals in this field.

Except moles.
I see at least two arrow heads in the mole-mound, sticking out of the mud.

I turn the flints over with my boot, but I don't bend to pick them up. I would want to keep them. There must be so many arrows here.

The last arrow I found was slightly chisel ended, probably Neolithic. Chisel ended means that the tip was knocked off to make a blunt arrow.

You can tell the difference between a bit of flint and an arrow by the tiny, regular dents on the edges, where someone has spent time carefully chipping at it.


The reason why arrows were made blunt is hard to understand without reference to other cultures. The Egyptians used chisel-ended arrows; there is a painting on the north wall of the tomb of Antefoker vizier of Sesostris 1, showing such arrows being fired at a 'heap' of animals trapped in a net.

Perhaps such arrows were used to stun rather than to kill?

In Finland up until the nineteenth century, blunt arrows were used so that the pelts of small animals such as squirrel would not be damaged. Birds in particular could have been captured in this way, especially if their feathers were valued to fletch the arrows; attached to the shaft of the arrow to make it fly.

Or if birds had to be captured for some other reason.

Sometimes swans are linked to Silbury, but Silbury is quite a long walk from here....The Kennet flows some distance away.

Perhaps swans used to come up to the Sanctuary?
I freely admit to knowing nothing at all about swans.

What is the link between Apollo and swans?

...Apollo flew on the back of a swan to the land of the Hyperboreans, where he would spend the winter months among them.

Hyperborea was identified with Britain first by Hecataeus of Abdera in the 4th century BC, as in a preserved fragment by Diodorus Siculus:
In the regions beyond the land of the Celts there lies in the ocean an island no smaller than Sicily. This island, the account continues, is situated in the north and is inhabited by the Hyperboreans, who are called by that name because their home is beyond the point whence the north wind (Boreas) blows; and the island is both fertile and productive of every crop, and has an unusually temperate climate.
The star Cygnus flies in the river of stars, the Milky Way, and Apollo left his arrows for me to find, for sure...


As I walk through the rings over to the recumbent stone there is little evidence of birds at the Sanctuary; no significant heaps of bird bones have been found.

Oh, hang on, in the records of excavation of the post holes, all is recorded in the phrase 'small animal bones' and there is no way to know what that even meant!

The sun was over the recumbent stone when I arrived. Two crows had been watching me earlier, but they were now long gone.

The sun was beginning to sink...
The cloud rolling in.
The occasional helicopter...




I lay out the string -in the film- to show the corridors, yellow- in the image.




At the Sanctuary, a recumbent stone faces south west at an azimuth of around 210 degrees, or rather, it used to. Clearly the sun isn't going to be seen to set directly over it, from a view pointr at the centre of the ring..Nor would the full moon set over it- just before sun rise, at an azimuth of 302 or around 318 when the moon is at the other end of its 'lunistice' period.

At the Sanctuary I have only a concrete post...nor can I find the measurements of the hole.

The records of the first excavation also miss out the quantities of arrows latter excavations found. Nevertheless, hats off to Maud Cunnington for all her work, without her we would not have the Sanctuary or Woodhenge.

Maud Cunnington.
Clive Ruggles notes that recumbent stones in Scottish stone circles were usually oriented SSE.

The one I satnd by is in the SSW quadrant.

The Scottish stones, still in place, were positioned so that the top was flat and only a few degrees off the horizon...I have no way of knowing how big this one was.

In Scotland recumbent stone circles are placed on well drained, fertile soil, in a conspicuous position and often on the south eastern side of hill tops... likewise at the Sanctuary.

Clive Ruggles suggest that the midsummer full moon may be significant here, just shining its light into the circles over the recumbent stone.

Meanwhile the Irish stone circles with a recumbent stone (found in Cork and Kerry) have a single recumbent stone facing SSW. Aubrey Burl has suggested that the Irish circles represent a forgetting of the Scottish tradition; in other words, the people couldn't remember exactly why the recumbent stone was in the south..

I'm tempted to suggest that as the direction is south south west, it could be the sunset crescent moon at midwinter, and perhaps Venus too...



So much cloud.

Too much rain!



Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas...

has begun.
A text on Sunday from my eldest daughter (she is 28) saying that she is a disappointment to everyone.

A text this dinner time from my eldest son (he is 19) saying that he has only £10 left before buying his train ticket (from London, to home)...

I let the disappointment txt hang there...

Even beginning to address it feels like I'm acknowledging the possibility that it matters if you or I or anyone feels as if you, I or anyone is a disappointment.

Of course feeling that way is terrible.
No one should feel that way.

But it plain does not compute.
Disappointment!
Honestly!

The txt from my son was easier
Did the maths
Christmas food and drink- £150
If I don't buy anyone any presents...
I sent him £100.

Good!
Am I free now to get on with my plans?

Well winter solstice is a bad time to go to Wessex...police and road blocks...
I'm thinking December 23rd as my day to lay out the light sticks at the Sanctuary.

Tomorrow is the 'solstice' full moon:




Moon
7:46 am azimuth 58 set
4:33 pm azimuth 302 rise
--

Sun
8:08 am azimuth 128 rise
3:58 pm azimuth 232 set

No rain forecast, clear skies all the way?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

December already..

So I've been spiralling around the subject of just one myth since July, 2010. I really didn't think I'd taken so much time..but ok, the reason for that is we do not have the resources to get us to anywhere directly associated with the Persephone myth, such as Greece or Sicily..

That left me with Britain.
...England
...just Wessex!

Because I had to start somewhere.

I soon found that comparing just two sites was too difficult for me, and focused on one:
The Sanctuary.





Hours walking around with string, joining dots.
Trying to work out the internal structure.


And stars...
And sun...
And moon...



Leaving aside the theories as to why the internal corridors do not line up with the sun, let alone any theories about why they should...



Left me asking; what did the people who buried a fourteen year old beside a standing stone, here, believe? Left me asking what the people who visit this place believe, left me puzzled by the culture I live within.


There is such an emphasis on scientific fact that people will believe any old rubbish about a place; handing over responsibility for the narrative, ignoring how they themselves fit into a landscape.

Pour a libation of finest ale...


Mostly though, I felt as if I had forged a connection with the monument as it is and as it was. Arising from this sense, comes the question: what should I do next with the Sanctuary?

We had quite a few light sticks, so I tried to make the paths (after pouring the ale)...








Not enough sticks!




 I bought more lights sticks, I will mark out the paths as glowing lines on the earth, and it scares me to think of doing this.

Which brings me back to that Hittite sentence..
To Hittite mythology
To Indo-European mythology.
To Proto-Indo-European contact with 'Babylon' at the time of Hammerabi..

To Persephone herself as Ereshkigal.
Queen of the Great Earth.

To her Hittite counterpart, Lelwani..


Iron, chariots and horses...
But the body curled up with a beaker, by the stone had already been dead for at least five hundred years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaker_culture
So why don't I just stick with Marija Gimbutas's theories about the beliefs and symbols used by the late Mesolithic, and Neolithic people?

Everything fits...
Even down to frog bones in one post hole...

Do I have a better theory?
No...

It's just that there were a lot of arrows at the Sanctuary.
And why align it pretty close to the solar or lunar paths?

Did it tether the sun, catch the moon?
Fill with light?

Why the arrows?
I'd love to think of the Sanctuary as dedicated to Dark Apollo, with his plague arrows...

But yet again Apollo-Nergal- is a Mesoptamian myth.

Unless I'm getting things back to front?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_hat







If the Hittites were the Trojans, and the idea of a cthonic solar god who descended to the Underworld to take the throne from its queen was already in Europe (cthonic Apollo as a Hittite god)  before it was in Mesopotamia?

Possible I suppose.

At the Sanctuary I found an arrow head.
5000 years old, edge carefully tapped to a serrated line.

The magic arrow...


Friday, 6 December 2013

Now eat bread...

A Hittite cuneiform script from Bogazkoy/ Hattusas reads:

nu ninda en e-iz-za-te-ni
wa-a-tar-ma e-ku-ut-te-ni

ninda is a sumerogram, which reads as bread in what ever language one uses.

wa-a-tar is a phonetic translation from cuneiform.

The Anatolian (Hittite) word wa-a-ter dates to around 1500 BC.
The English word, water is harder to date.

e-iz is quite close to eats..
nu is a lot like now.

The Romans of AD 43 were not very interested in what post 'Iron Age' Brits had to say...which is a shame.

The sentence:
Now eat bread and drink water in Welsh is:
bellach yn bwyta bara ac yfed dŵr
In Basque:
orain jan ogia eta ura edan

In Catalan:
Ara coma pa i begui aigua
In Irish:
anois itheann arán agus uisce a ól

We are taught that at the time of Ceaser's invasion the entire population of Britain spoke Celtic, but to be honest there really isn't much correspondence between Celtic and English now; which either indicates that the British were relieved of their language, or the Roman's killed so many people that no one was left on the mainland who remembered how to speak it.

Years latter this was attempted in the  'The Act of Union of 1536. Passed by King Henry VIII. which outlawed the Welsh language, only in recent years has Welsh been taught to the Welsh!

English is mainly Germanic, Norman or medieval Latin. So an English speaker can recognise French and Spanish words, and bits of Norse.

Gildas (6th century AD) and Bede (7th century) tell of Saxons and Angles invading over the 5th and 6th centuries. Gildas, in particular, tells tales of murder and mayhem, of "rivers of blood". To be sure there are long ditches cut in the land,  indicating fortifications and trouble; the Wansdyke for instance, and a Saxon burial sites (over the road from The Sanctuary- at the start of the Ridgeway). There was war, there was plenty of blood.

But all the remaining Celtic speakers killed by the Saxons?
I don't think so.

Which leaves the question, what language was spoken by those Ancient Britons left in England to be slaughtered when the legions left?

Well looking at monuments, there are large, chambered, round barrows- often with a cruciform interior- and usually part of a group of monuments in Ireland, Jersey, Anglesea and Orkney. There are long, narrow chambered tombs in Wessex and over towards the right of the country. Simplifying things massively, it looks to me as there are two similar but slightly different Neolithic traditions represented here.

The large, complex barrows (Newgrange and Meas Howe both with their midwinter alignment), the Hougue Bie in Jersey, Bryn Celli Dhu indicate a migration of people, or close ties with people, from north-east France, north-east Spain.

Tacitus reported that between Britain and Gaul "the language differs but little."

Meanwhile the find of quern stone in one of the post holes at the Sanctuary, that had originated in Germany, the probable home of the man known as 'the Amesbury Archer', and the jewelry made of amber in Bronze Age barrows, indicates that Britain had, at least by the Bronze Age, plenty of links with eastern Europe.

And then there are the horses...

Again the Sanctuary and the horse bone buried in the post hole, and miles further on, along the Ridgeway, the Uffington Horse...last dated to Bronze Age, not Iron Age.

Anyway, the problem really starts with Herodotus, who 2500 years ago said that:

 "The Nile starts at the distance from its mouth equal to the river Ister (Danube) begins from the Keltoi and the city of Pyrene and so runs that it divides Europe in the midst (now the Keltoi are outside the Pillars of Heracles and border upon the Kynesians, who dwell furthest towards the sunset of all those who have their dwelling in Europe)". 



The Pillars of Hercules is the bottom corner of Spain, and the Pyrene if he means the Pyrenees, is Spain again...

Basically it is more likely that Indo-European languages spread to Britain with agriculture, and Celtic had arrived up the coast and across the sea from Spain..

This also means that that most Celtic of all art, La Tene and Hallstat may not be Celtic at all. The Celts being in fact, from the Mediterranean regions..

Ultimately, Hittite does seem to have more in common with English than Celtic, and the main reason why this is surprising is the idea that the original language in this country was only Celtic...

Monday, 2 December 2013

No such thing as society..

In Britain we used to have things; institutions, unified and joined up services.
Railways, NHS, postal service.

Now we don't.
In theory this creates employment.

As lots of little companies are formed, blossom, bloom, collapse, waste my time and my money by being inefficient...or plain dishonest.

Yep
Private is always better.

I kid you not, on Saturday, I was walking past an old building that was being renovated. A sign pointed out that the pavement I was walking on did not belong to the town. It belonged to the people who were renovating the building into a coffee shop; in theory if they decided that anyone wearing green was to be banned from walking on their precious bit of slab, I'm guessing that the law would have to agree?

But regarding the prehistoric, here and now, I'd forgotten how important narratives are, in diagnosing the  pathology belief system of the story-teller, and as a method of spinning dreams.

Megalithic sites used to come under the guardianship of English Heritage. That is being dismantled. At best the National Trust steps in, actually the NT should run our hospitals...

This morning I read that historic and prehistoric sites in Britain are like recalcitrant teenagers, in need of encouragement to get up, out of bed, to seek employment:
"Our historic buildings are loved by everyone, and act as a magnet for tourists from all over the world. English Heritage sites like Stonehenge, Hadrian's Wall, Tintagel Castle and Battle Abbey are at the very heart of what England is all about. As such we want them to be able to give them the tools they need so as they can generate their own income." Read more...

Well you know what, it doesn't matter.
Compared to the rest of it...privatise away.


The popular megalithic structures are generally set in concrete,  the story fixed in a bronze plaque, and anyone who feels inclined to use the place to honor the ancestors risks being glared at as an antisocial miscreant. The visitor center anywhere is something I avoid unless I'm in a particularly black mood with sarcasm batteries at full strength...but if the barn at Avebury is anything to go by, and the promise that real human remains will be displayed at Stonehenge, you can bet your bottom dollar that crass and superficial will be the parts and sum of the parts.

I'm so glad that no one else cares about the places I care about!