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:
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.
When I first tried to read Katharine Maltwood’s A Guide to Glastonbury ‘s Temple of Stars, I ended up with a terrible headache. Even though I’d studied mythology and archaeology for decades, this 1920s identifier of the Somerset circular landscape temple seemed so ‘other’ to me, and her ideas far too dense, like an overpoweringly and sickeningly rich scented pot pourri from another time. However, now – several years later – I’m picking up her books again and reading them with ease and joy. It’s almost as if she’s talking to me personally at times – as if she’d written for an age when we would have more knowledge about our ancestors and thus be more able to pick up her quiet nudges and gentle allusions which are threaded throughout her writing like delicate and refined gold knotwork. Continue reading
In the days of old, far back into the mists of time, roaming storytellers would turn up at villages with rolled up mats which they would unfurl and spread under a huge and rambling tree, as if to announce their arrival. Long before cinema, television and even writing, let alone the printing press, news that the storyteller had set up his mat would spread fast and wide, and a ripple of excitement would be on the breeze in anticipation of rivetting entertainment to come. Continue reading
The huge 2012 industry came to a head a couple of years ago with countless books and films about the meaning of the Winter Solstice that year ~ December 21 2012 was the end of an important astronomical cycle to the Mayans. But all this media has been produced by non-Mayans (usually Americans and Brits) while few actually bothered to listen to the Mayans themselves or make an effort to understand their culture, of which the Mayan calendar is a key part… but only a part. In order to understand the Mayan calendar, we have to understand how the Mayans think, and few were bothering to ask them. Continue reading