Where do we go when all the stories fail?
All the stories are failing. Fewer and fewer want to go and sit in big, draughty buildings with high ceilings – no matter how beautifully fan-vaulted – to hear them anymore. The picture below shows the purpose-made wooden pews of the 12th century church of St John the Baptist in Glastonbury, Somerset. Last week, they went to auction to be sold off to the highest bidder.
To the Druids, long before Christianity, Christmas was about the Birth of the Faery Babe, or Radiant Child. This is the story that I see being played out what other people call the Glastonbury Zodiac on the Somerset Levels, a 10-mile wide circular landscape temple where the “stars have fallen to the Earth” to create 13 giant earthworks – as the map shows below:
Tonight, we enter the Winter Solstice in the sign of Capricorn. To me, this is such a beautiful time when there are unique energies at play from the “Christmas spirits” that can heal the emotional despair and suffering accrued during the previous thirteen moons, and send rejuvenation, fresh hope and inspiration for the coming turn of the calendrical Wheel.
In Earth alchemy and Arthurian legend, the longest night of midwinter, caused by the Sun reaching its furthest point away from the Earth and then returning three days later, on Christmas Day, is symbolised by the death of the Old Wounded Fisher King and the birth of the new King, otherwise known as the Radiant Child. This bursting forth into joyful and victorious rebirth was symbolised by alchemists as the Peacock’s Tail, for which, I think, the aurora borealis is the perfect sky metaphor.
Who was Merlin really? It’s a question I often get asked.
Well, we have to go back to the 12th century, when a school of scribes was appointed by the Norman conquest to win the hearts and minds of the unruly Celts, and they reinvented Merlin from an already-existing native, mythological shaman called Myrddin Wylt.
I’ve been doing some research on Dunstan for my new book, Stories in the Land. Dunstan was abbot at Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, England, in the 10th century, and went on to assume the mantle of the Archbishoprics of London and Canterbury. I’m quite fascinated by this painting of his, within which he has written:
With the New Moon in Sagittarius today, you may be wondering about the occult meaning of the Centaur Bowman? Continue reading
The Roman Catholic Church has spent a lot of time arguing over whether Mary Magdalene really was a prostitute. I can tell them that she was, but that her mythic character was developed from the honoured tradition of the sacred whore whose role is vital in producing the avatar of the age.
Unfortunately, though, because this occult understanding has been hidden from the masses, in my view it has given rise to the Madonna/Whore complex, which some men suffer from when they are rooted in base consciousness, and cannot see both the the Madonna (Virgin Mary) and Sacred Whore (Mary Magdalene) in the same woman and therefore need different partners to serve those different needs.