Archive for September, 2009

Sines, Sigils & Suchlike *%~….

Whilst ‘God’ may have ‘said’ ‘in the beginning was the Word”…
the concept of words as signs and how they are employed is fraught with complexity,
as the studies of such linguists as Saussure & Noam Chomsky would probably agree.

About signs themselves, they are the pre-linguistic and pictorial origins of words, as may be deduced from the pictography of many ancient messages, and the modern chinese text with its origins in the Oracular Dragon Bones of the Shang Dynasty 1300 BC – 1046 BC (thought by some to shamanically echo the cracks in bones from the fire.)..
As such ancient vessels of meaning, such signs reach past our cognitive mind and straight into the heart of our all seeing sub-conscious selves.

To be more exact, as Carl.Jung has helpfully noted in his Symbols of Transformation text (pp124)
“In neither case should they (signs) be taken literally….
A symbol is an indefinite expression with many meanings, pointing to something not easily defined and therefore not fully known.
But the sign always has a fixed meaning, because it is a conventional abbreviation for, or a commonly accepted indication of, something know.”
Symbols by contrast to signs he alleges are more fluid in meaning then.

All wonderful background for an understanding that language is formed of symbols that we have ascribed definitive meaning to, and thats the point here, it is we who have assigned the meaning to the signs and symbols that we make,
a point not lost on our famous Bard, William. Shakespeare who is believed to have ‘coined’ thousands of words and phrases

To bring this slow background swiftly forward into my topic…
Symbols, also known as Sigils when referring to matters of mystery or spiritual ‘power’
Have a long tradition of deriving their forms from Nature, as it was about nature and natural powers that they ‘spoke’.
For example, the tree, which has been employed variously as a symbol of life & regeneration in respect of the shelter, fruits, fuel and tools that it provided, as well as a centre of sacred knowledge, as in the Garden of Eden.
In this context, that the tree evolved as one of the earliest symbols of reverence is not surprising.

More specifically, about Symbols, Sigils and their ‘power’…
Whilst many cultures have employed various signifiers to represent diverse forms & forces,
and whilst they DO take on some mantle of those meanings in so far as we accord with received opinion over these ….
I make the point that they are then,
Both
Real to the extent that we {unwittingly} empower them as described,
& also Unreal as mere aspects of the nomenclature with which we clothe the world around us.
Our perception of the world then,
Is an imagined apprehension of reality dressed in make believe symbols of power.

Considering Druid~ery Roles & ness ness


All these thoughts of Nature and of the ‘Old Ways’ has led me to reflect on the roles that Druids held in days of yore.
Therefore I now lay out the general roles and orders of Druids as lived in ancient times….

Both Male & Female, the equally balanced gender power relations of the Druids was one of the main reasons that the might of Rome sought to destroy them as this undermined their own patriarchal military societal structures.

Whilst the tradition of Hedge~Druidry wherein they travelled unattached to any land or court, did exist across ancient Europe, the extent to which such practitioners were self taught or only partly schooled is not certain.
But to carry any information or skills of worth it is likely that they had collected sufficient insight and learning to make their way from community to community mutually rewarding, and so may be a moot point.

The Druid more formally underwent various training periods at differing levels in dedicated universities, to learn the content, meaning and practice of augury &divination, of ceremony & ritual, lasting anywhere from 6 to 20 years, plus…..
and whilst Julius Caesar has stated that the training of a Druid took 20 years, it would be reasonable to assume that the work was ongoing as layer upon lore was added to the tales and the teachings..

They were then as now organized into three groups with specific functions and training.
Of the Druidic organizations that exist today there may be many variations on the themes laid out below.

The Bard
The Bards were the first level of training and kept the oral tradition by remembering hundreds of stories, histories and epic poems and songs that were used to teach the people.
This Bard also learned the skills of music too, as this communicative tool would be readily understandable by all even the uneducated, and was likely also important in aspects of ritual that they might need to practice later in their training.
They also studied Already Ancient (and it is believed, world wide) philosophies, bringing these skills to their counseling.

The Ovate
Ovates, being he second degree of study, took the philosophic role to greater heights as the Shaman interpreters of The Mysteries of death and the key Druidic tenet of rebirth.
They divined the future and consulted with the dead, developing an Oracular relationship with Nature and working outside of time itself, which has fed into many of the Druids otherworld & fairyland associations.
Supporting this relationship with Nature, they studied tree lore & herbalism and were also known as magical healers.

The Druid
Finally, acting as ‘High Priests’ and philosophers for the whole culture,
the Druid would synthesize both disciplines of Bard and Ovate.
Fulfilling the elevated social roles of judiciary, teachers, healers and ritual leaders,
they were Guardians of the knowledge & the Gatekeepers of the Other-world/realms & the Divine Order.

Additional Thoughts on Ancient v Post-Modern/Quantumn ‘Time’


As to Time,
they take no note of it in Fairy Land.
The dwellers in Fairy Land have no cares about chronology.
With them there is no past or future, life is lived in an endless ever wondrous present.

Such Fairy Lands of Once Upon a Time are based on idealized myths and traditional morality tales
{see Bruno Bethleheim’s informative Study “The Uses Of Enchantment”}.
That they are set in an ethereal Nowness where anything may happen, is in fact a direct expression of Ancient Time perspectives, which, without modern mechanical chrono-meters involved a deeper openness to the unpredictable and unexplained in daily life.
Following the Sun yes, and the seasons, but also following the Heart and Intuition….

It is the same in the legends of the mysterious East, as old as the beginning of life and predating ‘formal’ religion;
The same in the glowing South, in the cathartic and anthropomorphic myths of ancient Greece;
the same in the fierce and frozen North, in the deep forests of Northern Europe and the Endless Steppes Central Eurasia
Myths and Fairy Tales are set in a time out of reach, an endless ever presence just beyond the boundaries of sight….

On the ‘surface’ we might think ‘modern’ “time” to be twice removed from such nebulous ephemera…
Now that we have established our security with Atomic Clocks and Immutable Measurements of Time.

But,
We also have the Ourubous of modernities scientific method, the unlikely offspring of applied reason, the sword too sharp for itself, the Remarkable insights of ‘Quantum Theory’
& suddenly ‘Randomnity’ seems quite respectable….

In quantum mechanics, time plays a role unlike any other observable.
We find that measuring whether an event happened, and measuring when an event happened are fundamentally different – the two measurements do not correspond to compatible observables and interfere with each other.
The temporal order of events is also an ambiguous concept in quantum mechanics. It is not always possible to determine whether one event lies in the future or past of another event.
One cannot measure whether one particle arrives to a particular location before or after another particle.”
(http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/jono/thesis.html)

This irregularity and the Particle Wave aspects of Time/Space as described by String Theory,
are more clearly understood by the Thought Experiment of Schroedingers Cat….
Schroedingers Cat You Tube Here
The essence of these discoveries results in a curious and curiouser cyclical rediscovery….
That ‘events only have their ‘reality’ based on the action of their observer,
Put another way,
We Create What We Observe By The Act Of Observing It…..
( i think the tree still booms when it falls in a forest tho, wether anyone is there or not haha, this passage refers to interactions in matter at a sub molecular-energistic level)
And Hey Presto,
though the work a day week may still be managed by clocks and news casts etc….
We are nevertheless launched with the blessings of High Science,
into The Inner Worlds, where Time really IS subjective,
and Anything really IS possible.

Blessed Be

_/\_

Samhain & New Beginnings……..

Samhain, & New Beginnings……

Had a fascinating weekend,
initially congratulating the Autumn Equinox Poetry Competition winners in Celestial Elf poetry group (2nd life)
and then configuring the Samhain/Halloween Poetry competition….
Which gave me occasion to consider the meaning of ‘Samhain’ and by extension, the Ancient Festivals in general….


The Cycle of Seasons
To the Celts, time was circular, not linear – reflected in their starting each day, and therefore each festival, at dusk (as one day ends, the next begins). It was measured by the changing seasons, which represented the faces fo the goddess of the land.

The Celtic view of the circularity of time is also reflected in the Celtic year, beginning with Samhain at the end of October, when nature appears to be dying down, but could also be seen as preparing for a new life. Tellingly the first month of the Celtic year is Samonios: “Seed-fall”: in other words, life and light emerge from death and darkness.

Celtic Festivals
Celtic peoples preserved a sense of rhythm and continuity in their lives through the seasonal festivals. Many of these survive in some form today, the most notable relating to May Day and Halloween.

SAMHAIN
Pronounced “sauwain” was celebrated with ritual bonfires and is the origin of Halloween.
The Celtic year began with Samhain at the end of October, a time of deliberate misrule and contrariness.
It was also thought to be a time when the dead could return to warm themselves at the fires of the living, and when poets were able to enter the Otherworld.
Cattle were brought in for the winter, and in Ireland the warrior elite gave up war until Beltain (May Day).

IMBOLC
Coming at lambing time, around the end of January, Imbolc celebrated the beginning of the end of winter.
A dish made from the docked tails of lambs were eaten. Women met to celebrate the return of the goddess in her maiden aspect.
This survived into Christian times as the Feast of Brigid, this saint being a version of the daughter of Dagda.

BELTAIN
Beltain, celebrated around May 1, was sacred to the god Belenos.
In fact, the word “Beltain” derives from “Bel-tinne” – “fires of Bel”.
Beltain was an exuberant fire festival celebrating and encouraging fertility. Cattle were let out of winter quarters and driven between two fires in a cleansing ritual that may have had practical benefits, too.

LUGHNASADH
A summer festival lasting for as long as two weeks around the beginning of August
(neatly coinciding with Glastonbury festival haha ).
It takes its name from the god Lugh, who is said to have introduced it to Ireland.
Since Lugh was multiskilled, this festival was celebrated with competitions of skill, including horse-racing.

Anyway,
the end result of burning all this midnight oil in refresher researching,
was that i was inspired to completely redesign my website
http://www.celestialelf.co.uk
as well as this Blogger, my YouTube and other networks….

I am always inclined to follow Nature’s lead and in this traditional time of change it seemed seasonal and seemly to take stock & renew , to celebrate and share the strength and joys of this year in every available medium.

We are as we think, says the maxim, and i choose to think green.

_/\_

Auguries of Infinity…….

Auguries of Innocence

William Blake

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.

A dove-house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro’ all its regions.
A dog starv’d at his master’s gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.

A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.

A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm’d for fight
Does the rising sun affright.

Every wolf’s and lion’s howl
Raises from hell a human soul.

The wild deer, wand’ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus’d breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher’s knife.

The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won’t believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever’s fright.

He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov’d by men.
He who the ox to wrath has mov’d
Shall never be by woman lov’d.

The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider’s enmity.
He who torments the chafer’s sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.

The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother’s grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgement draweth nigh.

He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar’s dog and widow’s cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.

The gnat that sings his summer’s song
Poison gets from slander’s tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy’s foot.

The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist’s jealousy.

The prince’s robes and beggar’s rags
Are toadstools on the miser’s bags.
A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.

It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro’ the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;

This is caught by females bright,
And return’d to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven’s shore.

The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar’s rags, fluttering in air,
Does to rags the heavens tear.

The soldier, arm’d with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer’s sun.
The poor man’s farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric’s shore.

One mite wrung from the lab’rer’s hands
Shall buy and sell the miser’s lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.

He who mocks the infant’s faith
Shall be mock’d in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.

He who respects the infant’s faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child’s toys and the old man’s reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.

The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.

The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar’s laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour’s iron brace.

When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket’s cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.

The emmet’s inch and eagle’s mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.

If the sun and moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.

The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation’s fate.
The harlot’s cry from street to street
Shall weave old England’s winding-sheet.

The winner’s shout, the loser’s curse,
Dance before dead England’s hearse.

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

William Blake

Very Beautiful Druidic Vow of friendship

Autumn Equinox approaches….

As Autumn Calls
And Gold leaf Falls,
Our eyes Now Wide
That Stars donot Hide.

And SummersSun,
Has been and Gone
Left Flowers and Fruit
The Sacred Truth.

Of Cyclic Life
And Death And Change
And Endlessness
Of Natures Range.

And Now We Dance
Together All
Now Standing Bright
And Sharing All.

With Thanks For Thee & Thee & Thee
Our Dance We Call Eternity
And As Our Cycles Rise and Fall
With Joy We Cherish Infinity.

_/\_

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