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Watts’ Nirvana

Watts’ Nirvana



In the Buddhist context Nirvana or moksha,  is described as the extinguishing of the fires that cause suffering. These fires are typically identified as the fires of attachment (raga), aversion (dvesha) and ignorance (moha or avidya). When the fires are extinguished, suffering (dukkha) comes to an end. The cessation of suffering is described as complete peace. Thus nirvana refers to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.
In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the divine ground of existence Brahman (Supreme Being) and the experience of blissful egolessness.

Alan Wilson Watts (1915-973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.
Watts’s fascination with the Zen developed because that tradition embodied the spiritual, interwoven with the practical, as exemplified in the subtitle of his Spirit of Zen: A Way of Life, Work, and Art in the Far East. “Work,” “life,” and “art” were not demoted due to a spiritual focus.
Watts equated mystical experience with ecological awareness, and typically emphasized whichever approach seemed best suited to the audience he was addressing.

Watts felt that absolute morality had nothing to do with the fundamental realization of one’s deep spiritual identity. He advocated social rather than personal ethics. In his writings, Watts was increasingly concerned with ethics applied to relations between humanity and the natural environment and between governments and citizens.

In several of his later publications, especially Beyond Theology and The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Watts put forward a worldview, drawing on Hinduism, Chinese philosophy, panentheism, and modern science, in which he maintains that the whole universe consists of a cosmic self playing hide-and-seek (Lila), hiding from itself (Maya) by becoming all the living and non-living things in the universe, forgetting what it really is; the upshot being that we are all IT in disguise. In this worldview, Watts asserts that our conception of ourselves as an “ego in a bag of skin” is a myth; the entities we call the separate “things” are merely processes of the whole.

Watts also argues that Eastern philosophy and religion are not necessarily spiritual and world denying. For instance, the non-dualistic interpretation of Vedanta (the philosophy of the Upanishads) implies a kind of pantheism. The divine is identical with the material universe and with each individual being. The goal of religion is the mystical experience of our oneness with the divine/cosmos. This experience may require asceticism and contemplation. But it can just as well be spontaneous and effortless. It can hit you in the marketplace, on the battlefield, or in your turnip patch.
Mahayana Buddhism, moreover, stresses the unity of samsara and nirvana. Nirvana is not blissful annihilation, but a change of attitude in this life that allows freedom and detachment in the whirl and rush of material existence.

Watts had no patience with what he called “the aching legs school of Buddhism”, whose practicioners were prideful of their long, silent sittings. When the legs start to ache, he would say slyly, I prefer to get up and dance.


DOWNLOAD A FREE PDF of
The Book On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are’ HERE 

 

Was Watts an Environmentalist? 

Some have commented that Watts concern to clear away philosophical hubris over spiritual existence negated as valueless any concern for environmental destruction at the hands of mankind.
By contrast with these views, Watts dialogue and books show how the illusion of the ego is linked with environmental destruction – in essence then if we orient our ‘selves’ rightly, that this will include caring for the Earth and co citizen species correctly.

 As a result of having a false sense of identity, we act in a way that is inappropriate to our environment, and when that inappropriate action is magnified by a very powerful technology, we swiftly begin to see the results of a profound discord between man and nature.  As is well-known, we are now in the process of destroying our environment…

It should be obvious however that the human being goes with the rest of the universe, even though we say in popular speech ‘I came into this world’.  Now it is not true that you came into this world.  You came out of it, in the same way as a flower comes out of a plant or a fruit comes out of a tree.  And as an apple tree ‘apples’, the solar system in which we live, and therefore the galaxy in which we live, and therefore the system of galaxies in which we live, that system ‘peoples’.  If people are intelligent – and I suppose we have to grant that ‘if’ – the energy which people express must also be intelligent, because one does not gather figs from thistles or grapes from thorns.

But it does not occur to the ordinary person to regard himself or herself as an expression of the whole universe.  It should be obvious that we cannot exist except in an environment of air, earth, water and solar temperature, that all these things go with us and are as important to us as our internal organs such as our heart, brain, stomach and so forth.

“Man as an organism is to the world outside like a whirlpool is to a river: man and world are a single natural process, but we are behaving as if we were invaders and plunderers in a foreign territory.

Dissarming the pseudo philosophical and religious intellectual nerosis of word play and mind games that may sound sensible but are actually meaningless, Watts empowers the receptive among us to freedom from endless obfuscation. In so doing, Watts provides a clear outline for the notion of thinking globally and taking action at a personal level, locally – in ones very orientation to life and the world around us.

Whilst Watts discouraged the chasing of philosophical devils because as he saw it the excercise is fundamentally futile, in terms of protecting the environment, I would say that he was one of its key facilitators.  

Watts provided a holisitc ‘eco-spiritual framework’ which enabled many to understand our place in life, an explanation of how the environment and human existence are not seperate items, but coexistant expressions of the infinite and incomprehensible cosmos. 

To destroy our own home, the life support system of our environment – is not simply to rob ‘our world’ of its is incomparable beauty, rather that it is to destroy our very selves.

Some of my favourite Watts’ quotes
“The special branch of science which studies the relation of living beings to their environments – ecology – shows beyond doubt that the individual organism and its environment are a continuous stream, or field, of energy. To draw a new moral from the bees and the flowers: the two organisms are very different, for one is rooted in the ground and broadcasts perfume, while the other moves freely in the air and buzzes. But because they cannot exist without each other, it makes real sense to say that they are in fact two aspects of a single organism. Our heads are very different in appearance from our feet, but we recognize them as belonging to one individual because they are obviously connected by skin and bones. But less obvious connections are no less real…”


Civilized human beings are alarmingly ignorant of the fact that they are continuous with their natural surroundings. It is as necessary to have air, water, plants, insects, birds, fish, and mammals as it is to have brains, hearts, lungs, and stomachs. The former are our external organs in the same way that the latter are our internal organs. (…) The sun, the earth, and the forests are just as much features of your own body as your brain. Erosion of the soil is as much a personal disease as leprosy, and many ‘growing communities’ are as disastrous as cancer. That we do not feel this to be obvious is the result of centuries of habituation to the idea that oneself is only the envelope of skin and its contents, the inside but not the outside. The extreme folly of this notion becomes clear as soon as you try to imagine an inside with no outside, or an outside with no inside.” 

“Civilization, as we have worked it out, is a system of screens which conceal the connections between events. (…) Bacon, as found packaged in the supermarket, gives no intimation of pig, and steaks appear as if they were entities like apples, having no relation to the slicing of dead cattle. To remove such screens is held to be as offensive and vulgar as to relieve one’s bowels in the gutter of a public street.” 
Alan Watts; Does It Matter? Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality.

“We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”


At the risk of sounding strangely self serving then, 
Blessed Be Every Body ~

 

 

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The Legend of Two Wolves

The Legend of the Two Wolves

Cherokee tale Adapted and Narrated by  C. Mikkal Smith.

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This is an old Cherokee story used for initiating youth and healers. It is not well known outside of Cherokee folklore, but its message is profound and universal. It is called the Legend of Two Wolves.

I will tell this story from the point of view of  the contemporary world — adapting it to our time and place, as any living myth should be,

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The story begins with an old man, an Elder, and his Grandson who have been walking in the woods.
Nightfall is approaching and a sliver of moonlight and the evening star are already shining above.
The old man and boy come back into the village, where a fire is burning outside.The old man approaches ahead of the boy and carefully places a couple of logs on the fire.He puts a little tobacco on the fire. He calls out,
“Grandson come here, there is something I want to I want to tell you.”

He walks up and sits down, waiting in the silence.
The old man speaks.
“Grandson, …there is a terrible war going on inside myself, … the time has come to tell you about it because this is a battle that goes on not only inside me, but inside you, and every human in the world.”

“What kind of war is this?” Grandfather?

“There are two wolves fighting for control. A Blue Wolf and a Red Wolf…. One of the wolves, the Blue Wolf, is full of fear. It is needy and greedy and it is always wanting something, but it doesn’t know what. Its mind is filled with Judgment and competition. In time the Blue Wolf has grown big. He becomes angry and filled with envy, wanting what others have. It does not walk lightly on the Earth.”

“The Red Wolf is quite different. It is beautiful and walks gently on the Earth It is filled with reverence and love for life. It lives in the moment and takes delight in the simple pleasures of being alive. It is generous, kind and respectful of all life, its own, and the life of others, the green grasses, the insect peoples, and all the animals.

The grandson sat quietly gazing into the fire, contemplating the story that grandfather told him for awhile in silence. The grandfather add another log and offers some more tobacco and sweet grass.
Then the grandson looks at his grandfather and asks
“But who will win this war, Grandfather?”

The grandfather shifted his position and leaned forward saying softly and directly:
“It depends upon which one You feed!”

A long silence follows as they both gaze into the fire.
Then grandfather speaks:
“So now I have a question: If you have these two wolves within you, Who are You?”

The boy paused for a moment and said
“Perhaps I am both grandfather, sometimes I am one more than the other.”

The grandfather replies sharply,
“No! This is not the answer.” Take some more time with my question.”

The grandfather walked away from the fire for awhile, leaving the grandson alone. When he comes back he offers another log and offers more tobacco. After a period of silence he asks:
“Have you found the answer to my question?”

The boy replied,
“Yes, . . . I am the feeder of wolves.”

The grandfather sat in silence, satisfied the grandson now had understood.

* * * *

Cherokee tale Adapted and Narrated by C. Mikkal Smith Phd Director of Crows Nest Wilderness Retreat and Conference Center, Dowagiac, Michigan, Director of Crows Nest Centers for Shamanic Studies International in France and Belgium, currently teaching in Paris and Payzac; Captetown, South Africa, and Iquitos, Peru. ( Crows Nest Center for Shamanic Studies )

* * * *    * * * *    * * * *    * * * *

The tale of Two Wolves is a powerful psychological and spiritual medicine to initiate the listener into life-wisdom.
The form of this  ‘medicine story’ is a sacred “fire talk”, a heart-to-heart talk around a sacred fire with the aim of transmitting heart-centered and earth-honoring wisdom for living as a whole person.

For Native Americans, “Grandfathers” (or Grandmothers) is a title of respect for the spiritual powers, and for ritual elders and healers. The terms “Grandson” may have originally been a corresponding symbol for the youth or shamanic apprentice.

The focal point of the story is the awakening of the individual to personal responsibility for their life, the outcome of their choices. It presupposes a spiritual being inside, an “I Am” that is free, creative, and can feed its attention and thoughts in ways that result in life enhancement and growth towards fulfillment (Red Wolf), or in ways that thwart and cause the growth of suffering for self and others (Blue Wolf). In the Native American medicine ways to be a fully human means that you are living in a heart-centered and earth-honoring way, and that you are honoring You. To honor you is to honor your own desires, feelings, and vision of things, and to protect all that against the opinions and judgments of others, and especially, protect it against the Blue Wolf energies in your own mind. To be alive and healthy in this way means that you have reduced the size of the Blue Wolf in your life to the point where there are no major obstacles to your being you, living the life you really want and are meant to live. This is folk psychology at its best.

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Priniciples for Feeding the Red Wolf:
1. Commit to honoring yourself without question.
2. Don’t give your power away. Honor your inner teachers and protect what they give you.
3. Trust your own inner sense of heart knowing (heart-NGS, felt-sense, intuition, sprit guides), Initially you may need an outer human teacher to guide you to find and consistently follow your inner teachers (what Fire Talks do).
4. Don’t accept the opinions or wishes of others for you without running it by your heart first.
5. Avoid praise and blame. Know your on value and protect.
6. Don’t let fear stop you. Follow your heart/NGS in spite of fear.
7. Drop victim thinking.
8. Muster the courage to look within and see what you find. Be honest and see warts and all, Blue Wolf habits, so you can go to work reducing these. But also see your unique wood-grained individuality.
9. Take control of your life be removing the Blue wolf energies, and reclaiming lost parts of yourself (soul recovering). Get all of you on line.
10. Get in your flow by living faithfully from your heart and honoring your unique individuality. You will know you are in your flow by the synchronicities, feedback, and NGS.
11. Be pragmatic and use those beliefs and strategies and choices that get results you want and that feel right in your heart, in your bones! Judge the value of your beliefs and choices by the results you get, and not based on the beliefs and opinions of others, or on what external authorities told you.

Are you living from your heart? Is your heart open and generous? How much sunshine is there in your heart? There can’t be much sunshine if you are not living your true life, if you are not strong enough to hold your ground, express your voice in the community, open yourself to the point of view of other people and other creatures. Anything that gets in the way of the life giving sunshine (Blue Wolf-energies) needs some good medicine to remove it and to help you cultivate the life-energies and joy you really want and need.

* * * *

Footnote on the Sacred Nature of Wolves;
Both Celestial Elf and Mikkal would like to make clear that the Wolves in this tale are purely symbolic of human energies and that along with  the Cherokee and many other people, we have the greatest respect for Wolves.

The Wolf is a powerful motif in the foundational mythologies and cosmologies of peoples throughout Eurasia and North America (corresponding to the historical extent of the habitat of the gray wolf). The obvious attribute of the wolf is its nature of a predator, and correspondingly in western mythologies it has generally been associated with danger and destruction.
However as a more Earth centered spirituality – awareness of the lives and energies of other creatures, develops in the modern world, both conservation efforts and  positive symbolism of the wolf are gaining ground.
Positive meanings of the Wolf as a  power animal symbolic of freedom emphasize a deep connection with your intuition and instincts. On the negative side, the wolf could represent perception of a threat or a lack of trust in someone or your own feelings or actions. This spirit animal also reflects sharp intelligence in dealing with important matters.
If you have the wolf as a spirit animal, it could be an expression of your sharp intelligence and strong instincts perceiving and understanding the world around you.

Whether the wolf appears in physical form or in a dream or meditation, it may reveal that you’re using your instincts and intuition to grasp a situation well. The fact that your wolf animal spirit guide shows up could also be a call to use this capacity to deal with a recent challenge you’ve experienced in your life.

When a wolf manifests its presence as a guide in your life, it could be a call to live your life more freely, to bring the intensity of passion in your everyday endeavors, it could be an invitation to look at what supports your authentic self and the true expression of yourself. ( http://bit.ly/1jQFJas )

Wolves became extinct in Scotland and Ireland in the 1700s and sometime before that in England, persecuted by Man. Today, their European strongholds include Russia, eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
Reintroducing the Wolf to Scotland was first proposed in the late 1960s, but the idea only started to gain wider publicity and support following the reintroductions of the red wolf to the south-eastern United States in 1989, and the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park in 1995. More information here( http://bit.ly/1jQGmAN ).

Tu Kuy ~

A Christmas Carol

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To share a slightly different outlook on the Christmas Festival I wrote a short song modeled after Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol but inspired by the earlier Pagan traditions of the Season.

According to historian Ronald Hutton, the current state of observance of Christmas is largely the result of a mid-Victorian revival of the holiday spearheaded by Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Hutton argues that Dickens reconstructed Christmas as a family-centered festival… in contrast to the earlier community (and church)-based observations which had dwindled during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Most of our actual British Christmas customs the tree, the turkey, the stocking, the cards and Santa Claus have only appeared since 1840.

This season was always however a time for community, charity and sharing, as the poorest, oldest and feeblest members of a community would become physically vulnerable to hunger and cold. Their morale would take a further dent if they saw their neighbors making merry all round them and were unable to share in any of it. If they then died, this would not be good for the consciences of their survivors; if they lived, they could bear nasty grudges. Hence, from the time that evidence survives, midwinter was a great time for the giving of food, drink or money to the less fortunate. In the Middle Ages people known as Hogglers or Hognels would often volunteer to collect and distribute them. In addition, poor women and children would go from door to door asking for such gifts, a custom known, according to your region, as Thomasing, Gooding or Mumping. The fitter men from the poorer families would visit their wealthier neighbours with plays, dances or songs, and earn the goodies in return; that is why customs such as mummers’ plays, sword dances and carols are so important at this time. So when your doorbell rings and you find a choir yelling ‘Good King Wenceslas’ outside while a collector holds out a tin for a good cause, you are sharing in (a tradition)… thousands of years old.
(Ronald Hutton, Stations Of The Sun)

Whilst the trappings of the modern Christmas are relatively recent, this festive season has been celebrated since history began.
In Ancient Northern Europe the mid-winter Solstice (between 20th/23rd of December) was called ‘Modranicht’ or ‘Earth Mother’s Night’ and as the shortest day of the year it effectively represents the turning point of the season.
In Northern Europe the winter festival was called the Yule (Juul). As the people thought the Sun stood still for twelve days in the midwinter, plunging Mother Earth and all her growing things into the dark, coldness of death, it was thought that spring could not come without their celebration of midwinter.
More on the Yuletide here.

Of Father Christmas, mythologist Helene Adeline Guerber suggests the Northern traditions indicate Santa as the Norse god Thor. Contrastingly from Iceland the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda poems
describe Odin as riding an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir (Santa originally had eight reindeer, Rudolph was nine) .
More on the origins of Santa Claus here.

Further, that the three greatest Neolithic monuments of Ireland, Scotland and England the massive tombs of Newgrange and Maes Howe, and Stonehenge itself are all aligned on the midwinter sunrise or sunset, shows how important this festival was even in the Stone Age.

With an eye to current world affairs and the rise of Global Corporatism, I have included a protestors scene, with a call to Occupy Christmas as an opportunity to reconsider what the festival may mean now.


✻ ✼ ❄ ❅ ❆ ❇ ❈ ❉ Occupy Christmas ✻ ✼ ❄ ❅ ❆ ❇ ❈ ❉
to learn about the causes of Occupy I recommend Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine
.
I replaced Dickens’ Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future with a mischievous Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws who finally gets his Christmas mission right, after a fashion), and instead of the more usual three visits through time in the life of Ebeneezer Scrooge, my character ‘Scourge’ is given 3 visions instead, to the Three Realms of Celtic mythology;

The Celtic view of the Otherworld consisted of three distinct realms, these being Sea, Land and Sky, their counterparts being Underworld, Earth and Otherworld.

Tir Andomain, Realm of The Underworld and the Sea.
This is the realm of the Ancestors and Gods and Goddesses responsible for the cycle of life, death and rebirth, the realm of the past.

The Meath, Realm of the Land (Earth) represents the present and the physical. We are beings of this realm that we share with the animals and the nature spirits.
Here we see the poverty of Dickens’ London as families live in sheds and children carol sing not for pocket money or treats but for essential foods.

The Magh Mor, Realm of Sky and the Otherworld.
This is where most of the Gods and Goddesses dwell, the realm of the future and the place that grants inspiration, creativity and wisdom. The realm of sky is the pathway of the Sun, Moon and constellations, as well as the wind and weather. Many Gods and Goddesses have influence in all three realms, just as the Land has it’s influence on the other two realms; caves, burial mounds, wells and springs are entrances to the underworld, while trees which exist in our realm are viewed as linking all three together. Represented here as a Celtic Afterlife peopled by Four Elemental Spirits of Air, Fire, Earth and Water.

As Air; Dian Cecht, Psychic Guardian and Healer of the Tuatha Dé Danann ~ The Hawthorn was a symbol of psychic protection due to its sharp thorns. Spirits were believed to dwell in Hawthorn hedges, which were planted as protective shrubs around fields, houses and churchyards. The Goddess Brighid was also associated with the Hawthorn, which is one tree which has managed to breach the divide between Paganism and Christianity and Dian Cecht was Brigid’s male counterpart.Hawthorn individuals are represented by a Masculine polarity and the color purple.

As Fire; Aibheaog is an Irish deity who represented fire, and yet she had a magical well which promoted healing. She is associated with wells and the number 5. Rules Over: Healing, Midsummer well rituals.

As Earth; Cernunnos. Although Cernunnos is a Gaulish horned god, his worship was widespread in the Celtic era, and he was venerated over the channel in Britain in various similar forms.
In appearance he had stag antlers sprouting from his head, wore a torc around his neck, and was depicted with a ram headed serpent. He may have been seen as lord of the animals, and the spirit of the woods, a powerful archetypal nature spirit and male partner of the earth mother. Later, in Christian times his image was transposed on to that of the Devil, who also appeared with horns.

As Water; Coventina, a Celtic river goddess known for healing, also associated with renewal, abundance, new beginnings, life cycles, inspiration, childbirth, wishes and prophecy. In worship to her coins and other objects were tossed into the wells as offerings for sympathetic magick. These wells represent the earth womb, where the Celts felt her power could be most strongly felt. Her symbols are the cauldron, cup, water, coins, broaches and wells. From Scotland comes her association with the underworld, where she was the Goddess of featherless flying creatures which could pass to the Otherworld. Being a river goddess she is connected the ebb and flow of time.

With a hope that this film may remind us to think of more than just family gatherings and presents, that it may be a magical time to think with our hearts and consider the wider picture.
To focus upon the whole rather than any portion, to live more meaningful lives, we may honor these the Three Realms and each-other throughout our daily lives.

A Yuletide Carol by celestialelff

Tis the Modranhit of Midwinter,
To the Three Realms we will go,
Through the portal to Tir Andomain,
Through the Silence beneath the Snow.

Deep within the center,
With the Ancestors in the past,
See the Joy of their Yuletide,
Beyond Time’s Oceans Vast.

The Rising of the Sun,
The Running of the Year,
The Setting of the Sacred Moon,
And the Circle is ever clear.

And look now upon the Earth Realm,
To the Meath beneath the Sky,
See the people in their families,
From their community awry.

Hear the Thomasing and the Gooding,
And the Mumping of the Children,
Both Ignorance and Want do Cry Out,
No more Cup Of Memory here….

The Rising of the Sun,
The Running of the Year,
The Setting of the Sacred Moon,
And the Circle now Draws Near….

Come beyond now to the Magh Mor,
Beyond the graveyard in the Sky,
To the Afterlife of the Otherworld,
Once again the Joy does fly…

Be Blessed then by this Vision,
Of the Three Realms you have made,
Join the Circle of your past life,
To your Future, Present saved…..

The Rising of the Sun,
The Running of the Year,
The Setting of the Sacred Moon,
And the Circle has come Here.

c Celestial Elf 2011.

Merry Christmas!

The Song Of Amergin, A Samhain Story


King Arthur having recovered Bran The Blessed’s  talking Head, will bring this head to a Samhain gathering where Bran will recite The Song of Amergin to the assembled gathering.

On The Song of Amergin, 
The Song of Amergin is an ancient Celtic poem
which speaks of the origin of the Universe, the nature of the Gods and the path to Wisdom.
Taken from The Irish Book of Invasions first written down in the early medieval period, this poem is attributed to Amergin (Irish;Amhairghin) chief Bard and Druid of the Milesians.


Long after the magical Tuatha Dé Danann, the Faerie Clan who were considered as Gods, had established their kingdom in ancient Ireland or Éire, a new
invasion took place and the first
Gaelic people arrived.
The Tuatha Dé Danann’s High King, The Dagda, invoked his powers to repel the strangers, he sank their ships and prayed to the winds to keep them out.
They landed however and Amergin sang a poem of thanks, aligning himself with the powers of the Land. Through his Awen (poetic inspiration) he became the elements and the Cosmos, charging them with his flowing spirit and limitless understanding, he overcame all obstacles and his people took guardianship of the Land.

& How Graves Reveals A Dolmen Stone Alphabet;
Robert Graves has said that ‘English poetic education should really begin not with Canterbury Tales, not with the Odyssey, not even with Genesis, but with the Song of Amergin
By answering a series of  riddles in an ancient Welsh ‘Book of Taliesin‘, Robert Graves first uncovered ‘The Battle of the Trees’. This was a poetic ‘battle’ apparently charged with the purpose of preserving the hidden Druidic knowledge of a secret tree alphabet or Ogham, from the uninitiated during a time of cultural upheaval as the newly arrived Christianity sought to replace the earlier pagan and Druid traditions.
Then considering its Irish poetic counterpart ‘The Song of Amergin’, Graves discovered the use of a similar alphabet that also operated as an ancient Celtic calendar.  

By strictly adhering to the poem’s structure, Graves worked out the proper sequence of the Irish alphabet, which was then comprised of 13 consonants and five vowels. (It is only later that it grew to 15 consonants).
The clue to the arrangement of this alphabet is found in Amergin’s reference to the dolmen,’ says Graves. “It is an alphabet that bests explains itself when built up as a dolmen of consonants with a threshold of vowels.

Dec 24-Jan. 20 B
I am a stag of the seven tines, (Birch/Beth) 

Jan. 21—Feb. 17 L
I am a wide flood on a plain, (Rowan/Luis)

Feb. 18—Mar. 17 N
I am a wind on the deep waters, (Ash/Nion)

Mar. 18-Apr. 14 F
I am a shining tear of the sun, (Alder/Fearn)


Apr. 15-May 12 S sun,
I am a hawk on a cliff, (Willow/Saille)

May 13-Jun. 9 H
I am fair among flowers, (Hawthorn/Uath)

Jun. 10-July 7 D
I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke, (Oak/Duir)

July 8-Aug. 4 T
I am a battle-waging spear, (Holly/Tinne)

Aug. 5-Sept 1 C
I am a salmon in the pool, (Hazel/Coll)

Sept. 2-Sept. 29 M
I am a hill of poetry, (Vine/Muin)

Sept. 30-Oct. 27 G
I am a ruthless boar, (Ivy/Gort)

Oct. 28-Nov. 24 NG
I am a threatening noise of the sea, (Reed/Ngetal)

Nov. 25-Dec. 22 R
I am a wave of the sea, (Elder/Ruis)

Dec. 23
Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?

Poem by Amergin, Translation From The White Goddess, by Robert Graves.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F24924435  The Song Of Amergin by celestialelff

Graves maintains that the architectural structure of the Dolmen with its horizontal capstone resting above two upright stone pillars, served as teaching tool for Druid priests on which the Irish alphabet was superimposed in sequential form on three separate slabs.
So for example starting upwards from the bottom left of the first stone are the letters B, L, N, and F. On the capstone from left to rights are the letters S, H, D, T and C. Descending downwards on the right pillar are the remaining consonants, M, G, NG, and R. Hidden below this stone formation thus reflecting the Celtic belief, ‘As above, so below,’ are placed the threshold of vowels, A, O, U, E and I.

Thus this alphabet Dolmen may serve as a calendar, with one post for Spring, another for Autumn, the lintel for Summer, the threshold for New Year’s Day.    
                                           

                                                                                   

                                     

                                                                             

                                                                                 

Of Graves Dolmen Ogham, Merlin and Stonehenge;
Graves’ revelation of the dolmen being used as teaching model for the Irish alphabet makes the myth of Merlin transporting the stones of Stonehenge from Ireland to Salisbury enormously intriguing.
Perhaps the stones he ferried were more of a stone alphabet like runes. If so, there is a strong possibility of a similar alphabet in use at Stonehenge and this might also explain the legend of Merlin’s alleged role in its construction..

William Blake. Jersualem.

                                                                                                        
Taking Grave’s analysis of the Song of Amergin a step further, the final riddle, ‘Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?’ raises questions about whether Stonehenge could be ‘read’ like a book.
Graves suggests that much like Braille, the dolmen’s dimples, indented grooves and angles are an essential part of reading the alphabet and hence the stone.

example 1. Ogham stone.

example 2. Ogham text.

                                                                    
”If one Dolmen can be used as a teaching tool on which the Irish alphabet was placed, could not an entire circle of stones tell a tale?
If it were possible, we can surmise that it could be a revelatory, almighty epic”. ( Munya Andrews )

                                                                     

                                                                         
Of Bran The Blessed;
Brân the Blessed (Bendigeidfran, the ‘Blessed Raven’) was a central figure in The Mabinogion, counted as Britain’s greatest champion before King Arthur and one of the ‘Three Blessed Kings of Britain’ according to the ancient Triads.
He was also Guardian of a magical Cauldron of Knowledge and Rebirth from the Goddess Cerridwen.
There is an ancient Celtic tradition about Cauldrons of rebirth, into which wounded, dead or dying soldiers were plunged, and came out healed and reborn.

Several scholars have also noted similarities between Brân and the Arthurian character of the Fisher King, keeper of the Holy Grail which also bestowed health, healing of wounds and disease upon its bearers. Further conjecture suggests that Cerridwen’s cauldron is in in fact the Holy Grail for which King Arthur spent his life searching as noted in Taliesin’ poem, the ‘Spoils of the Annwfn
                                                                               
                              
Following a conflict over Bran’s sister Branwen,(the White Raven) after her wedding to the Irish King Matholwch (the Bear), Bran offers him reconciliation in the form of his Cauldron. However Matholwch mistreats Branwen in Ireland and she sends word for Bran to rescue her. On their arrival the Irish offer peace but actually plot treachery and a vicious battle breaks out.

The result of the battle was very catastrophic, every Irish citizen but five pregnant women lay dead, and of the mighty armies of Bran, only seven men survived.

                                                                            
These men were instructed by the mortally wounded Bran to decapitate him and bear his head to Caer-Lundein (London) to bury it at Gwynfryn, the ‘White Mount’ (where the Tower of London now stands) to protect the Isle.
On their return voyage the men chanced to enter the Otherworld and for seven years the seven survivors (symbolic of the seven planets that regularly descend into the Underworld and then rise from it) stayed in Harlech, entertained by Bran’s head which taught them everything he had learned from the Goddess’ Cauldron, passing on his wisdom for all future generations.
That Bran, the Raven’s severed head was also capable of prophecy connects him with the ancient Celtic practice of augury, divination through bird flight.

The group set off again and land to spend a further 80 years outside of time, in a castle on Ynys Gwales, Grassholm Island off Dyfed, where they feasted in blissful forgetfulness and joy.
Eventually they take the head to the Gwynfryn, the ‘White Mount’ thought to be the location where the Tower of London now stands, and buried it facing France to ward off invasion.

According to the Welsh Triads, as long as Bran’s head remained in The White Tower facing France to ward off Saxon invasion, Britain would be safe from invasion, which it was for many generations before it was dug up by the pious King Arthur. ‘Arthur disclosed the head of Bran the Blessed from the White Hill since he did not desire that this island should be guarded by anyone’s strength but his own’ – Welsh Triads.

King Arthur had declared that he needed no talisman to protect his own country and dug up Bran’s head as proof that he could perform the requirements himself.
Sadly, he did not succeed and internal political conflict led to his death and to the increase of Saxon settlements in Britain.

King Arthur Pendragon. 2011.

More recently and following the ancient prophecies and the Celtic belief in reincarnation, the returned King Arthur has reburied a symbolic Ravens skull at The White Mount, Tower Of London, in an effort to resurrect the protective power of Bran in these troubled times.

                                                                               

                                                                          

A footnote upon Samhain;
The night of Samhain (pr; SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) marks one of the two great gates of the year; Beltane and
Samhain being the doorways that divide the year into Light and Dark.
Samhain  itself is a Gaelic word signifying the end of summer and begins at sunset October 31.
This is believed by many to be a magical time when the boundaries between the worlds of the living and dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between them.

Traditionally, Samhain was a time to take stock of the herds and grain
supplies, to decide which animals would be slaughtered
for the people and livestock to survive the winter. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down
through the last several centuries, and villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle on the flames hence the name ‘bone fires’, some say these bones should then be ‘read’ for their prophetic powers.
With the community bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires.
Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus
bonding the families of the village together.
The pagan Romans also identified Samhain with their own feast of the
dead, the Lemuria,(observed in the days leading up to May 13).With Christianization, the festival in November (not the Roman
festival in May) became All Hallows’ Day on November 1 followed by All
Souls’ Day, on November 2.
Over time, the night of October 31
came to be called All Hallow’s Eve, and the remnants festival dedicated
to the dead eventually morphed into the secular holiday known as
Halloween.

                                                                                  
However, historian and author Ronald Hutton points out that while medieval Irish authors do attribute a historical pagan significance to the Beltane
festival, they are silent in this respect in regard to Samhain,
apparently because no evidence of pagan ritual as a Northern European festival of the dead had survived into the
Christian period. According to Hutton, most of the popular myths about the origins of Halloween can be traced
back to two nineteenth century British authors: Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer (The Golden Bough) who speculated about connections between Halloween and
pagan Celtic rituals, but provided no valid evidence to back up their
claims. At the time they were writing, modern folk customs were
typically seen as remnants of prehistoric religious rituals which
survived among the common, uneducated country folk long after their
original purpose had died out.

Whilst historian Nicholas Rogers notes
that ‘some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman
feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, by contrast Mr. Hutton claims it is more typically linked to and derived from the Catholic holidays of All Saints and All Souls Day. This festival began on All Hallows Eve (hallow is an archaic English word for
‘saint’) the last night of October, included a Church mass for the dead, torchlight processions and bonfires.
Objectively, Mr. Hutton does include the evidence for both of these latter in the earlier festivals.
Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britian, Oxford University Press, 1996 (See the following
chapters: 35. Samhain, 36. Saints and Souls, 37. The Modern
Hallowe’en)


The ‘Surviving’ Samhain and Halloween Tradition;
Conjecture over other aspects of this festival and following extrapolations from Beltane, the other great turning point in the Celtic world, supports many peoples views that a commemoration of the deceased could indeed have been an ancient tradition as the people saw nature fall to decay so thoughts naturally turned to loved ones also passed away. Many customs were also established, such as the approaching time of darkness being regarded with suspicion and a need for protection by bonefires and charms. Gatherings were held and still are, feasts and gifts were shared, blessings were given and invoked and the presence of spirits traveling between worlds is felt, these traditions inform our belief and practice today.

In such a view, offerings may be made to welcome specific ancestors and a community’s beloved dead home, songs, poetry and dances can performed to entertain them.

The opening of door or window to the west lit with a candle or lamp is thought to aid their passage home and conversely candle lanterns carved with fearsome faces are placed in windows to ward off any unwelcome evil spirits abroad on this otherworldly night.

The custom of wearing costumes and masks, fancy dress or disguise has developed at this time and been considered an attempt to copy the spirits or to placate them. Such ‘Guising’ has been a part of Christmas and New Years Eve customs in Britain and
other parts of Europe since medieval times. By the nineteenth century
the practice had also become a feature of Halloween in Scotland and Ireland.
The practice of Trick-or-treating apparently originates in the late medieval practice of ‘Souling‘, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls’ Day.

Sacred Samhain and Happy Hallowmas,
By Stone and Star
Celestial Elf ~

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