Youngblood Blog

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The Future is Crystal –reworking a WIP

Celestial motif at Honey Street, crop circle formation of June 26, 2011, photo Gordon Burns

When the Crop Circle season really gets going, as it did last week in mid-June this year, their mesmerizing patterns seem to reach out and grab hold of human imagination. And, if you’re a croppie they don’t let go until you’re thoroughly immersed in the ethos of their messages and their beautiful craftsmanship in the corn.

I am hooked every year: I go through the unbeliever stage in early April, when it’s a question of ‘will they–won’t they appear?’ and then when midsummer comes [this year, 2011, the main season was unimaginably late and huge doubt attended any crop appearance], I’m a convert all over again.

In winter the mind wanders to what seasonal miracles appeared and what might have been.

I wrote a whole crop circle-cum-crystal novel for a writing contest in the month of January 2010 and have yet to polish and rework, re-edit and improve it for final submission. So, it is still a work-in-progress, my current WIP. But, because we’re in mid-crop circle season right now, I am daring to share just a taste of its flavor: hope you enjoy. This is one of the middle chapters for
THE FUTURE IS CRYSTAL.

THE FUTURE IS CRYSTAL by Marian Youngblood Chapter TWENTY–ONE
Just as Mark said it would, the trail led towards the main section: the astrolabe, he called it. On the ground you couldn’t tell, but Megan had overheard Colin and Mark discussing over Mark’s laptop, the intricate way the crop circle had been laid out, complete with its new tail formation that had happened in a flash of light last night. The whole thing was beyond amazing. This time the light orbs, the crop circle creators or whatever you wanted to call them, had done something truly out of this world. And, even more miraculous, Mark had managed to capture them on film with his special Kirlian camera.
Even more miraculous, Megan had managed to get some real cool footage on her own camera. It was just a regular state-of-the-art video, but when Colin persuaded Mark to upload the results, she was thrilled to see she had actually got light orbs on screen. How cool was that.

Astrolabe crop circle from solstice, June 21st, 2009, 'phase one' at Alton Barnes

Now they followed Colin along the curved line through the ‘orbit’ he’d chanced upon first off: looked like Jupiter at the central axis, he said, but each orbit had smaller shadows leading to the largest planetary body. If they followed the Jupiter orbit all the way round they’d reach the astrolabe. From the main stem, they could see it all laid out, straight down the field into the distance — at least four football pitches — down the central axis of the tail.
 He led them carefully along the single file path, moving from the smallest circle to one slightly larger, then larger then larger as they progressed along the orbital arm.
Megan followed close behind with the others trailing a little. She paced slowly past neatly-folded wheat stalks lying exactly parallel one with the other as if a medieval monk had come and gently laid each bundle of stems in neat rows like a rush mat leading to a temple. Colin heard Megan’s breathing –- gentle and rhythmical -– measure for measure placing her footsteps where he put his. Neither of them wanted to disturb the pattern, lying so lovingly in a prearranged layout, willing them on through a series of ever larger ‘moons’ to where the orbits connected to the central solar system axis. From there, Colin was determined, from what he’d seen on Mark’s screen, that the pattern opened out and they would find a space to set down all their equipment and really get a feel for the place.

Alton Barnes Astrolabe crop circle 2009 'second phase', June 22nd

There was definitely a sensation in the air and it wasn’t only his sensing like a dowser: he could feel it: a tangible electrical charge.

‘These stems are bent at the node ever so gently, but the stem isn’t bruised or broken in any way. It’s amazing.’ Megan was right behind him.

‘I know; I was noticing that. It’s so carefully contrived.’
Colin couldn’t help himself. He was quick to launch into the scientific explanation, given any excuse. He continued to pace slowly forward, but spoke quietly over his shoulder to her.
‘You know, It’s been scientifically documented that soil samples taken from inside crop circles show changes in crystalline structure and mineral composition. Expert analysis concludes that heat of 1500ºC would be needed to create such a change.’ Megan gasped, but kept her feet on the path in front of her.

‘So the orbs we saw last night were capable of that kind of heat?’

‘Seems so.’

‘Unbelievable.’ They both continued pacing, aware that the other two were gradually catching up with them.
Mark gave a hoot, like a bird. He too must have noticed the bent nodes on the unbruised plants.

‘There’s a big one up ahead,’ Colin called out, knowing Megan was so close behind him she probably couldn’t see, but to give the others a brief guide. Even though these new generation wheat crops were agriculturally developed to grow roughly no higher than knee height, it was still pretty difficult to get any kind of vista; Colin could see a widening area, with a lot of tufted decorative clumps surrounding it like cherries on a Christmas cake. It had to be the joining of phases one and two and the start of phase three.
He decided to continue his little lecture, since Megan was probably new to the whole thing and might be interested. He’d always been quick to spot a new convert.

‘Did you know crop circles also show evidence of ultrasound? you know, the kind of frequencies that are known to hover at ancient sites like Avebury, stone circles and such like?’

‘No, I didn’t.’ She sounded interested. So he went on.

‘And like all ancient sacred sites, crop circles appear at the intersecting points of the Earth’s magnetic pathways of energy; the nodes. Therefore the size and shape of a crop circle is typically determined by the area and position of these node points at the time of their appearance.’

‘Sorry, you lost me there. I don’t quite get that. Say again.’

‘Well, this electric and magnetic energy, it’s quite common here round Avebury. The whole of Wiltshire, in fact; the Salisbury plain…’

‘Yes, I know about Stonehenge.’ She was still following devotedly, both his argument and his footsteps. He liked that.

‘Thing is, it usually happens in chalk; not so common elsewhere. There are areas where they have similar electromagnetism, parts of Oxfordshire have deep underground waterways, aquifers — and Northumbria. Northeast Scotland is pretty heavily imbued with it. But there the aquifers are in granite. It’s something they think may even have protected the ancient sites -– here especially -– from being broken up; something about it that can interact with human brainwave patterns, and because the human body is itself electromagnetic, crop circles are known to affect people’s biorhythms. Consequently, it’s not unusual for people to experience heightened states of awareness and spontaneous healings in crop circles –- a situation also common to sacred sites and holy places. That effect alone could have protected them from desecration.’

‘That’s interesting.’


Milk Hill, Alton Barnes crop circle phase three (end June, 2009), the 'tail' of the astrolabe, photo Lucy Pringle

‘So, you’ve noticed?’

‘Yes. For instance, back there, in that first little circle, I didn’t want to leave.’

‘I have to say you’re not alone in this. It’s been talked about a lot in recent years. The crowd that gathers at crop circles is usually very placid, peaceful. No rowdy demonstrations like a street crowd after a football match.’ He thought that was a pretty good analogy.

‘I wouldn’t expect that anyway. Must attract a different group, these formations.’

‘Yes.’
‘
So what were you saying about ultrasound? I thought lights were making the circles. Are you saying both sound and light?’

‘There’s no evidence to suggest…’ he stopped and looked back at her. ‘…until what your camera picked up last night. Now we’ll have to start all over.’ He laughed.

‘Well, what about the scientific evidence? You said…’

‘Yes. scientifically speaking, the plants are subjected to a short and intense burst of heat which softens the stems to bend 90º at the plant node just above the ground. They seem to re-harden into their new position without damage. They keep on growing. Research and lab tests suggest that ultrasound is capable of producing that kind of effect.’

‘But short bursts of intense LIGHT could do it, too, right?’

‘Well, with what you just provided the scientific establishment –- I mean, your great video footage -– might send them all back to the drawing board.’ He looked over his shoulder and gave her a congratulatory smile.

‘Wow. I like that. But it doesn’t explain how some of the crop lies in one direction and right next to it there it is lying at right angles; sometimes you get four different directions going in one space.’

‘True. I don’t know how they DO it. I just know that the process has been isolated to make it possible.’

‘Ah. So you don’t really know either. We’re all still guessing when it comes to the magical quality and the designs they come up with, right?’

‘Right.’ Colin thought he’d need a whole lot more time back at the drawing board to convince this new audience. He changed the subject. ‘Clearing coming up.’

‘OK.’ Megan glanced back. The other two had caught up and were right behind her. ‘Could you see anything as you came along? I’ve been a little in the shadow of the expert, here. Dogging his footsteps.’ She burst out laughing and Jane joined in.

‘Yes. He CAN get to be a little pedantic.’ Colin did not react. He’d apparently heard it all before. He stepped into the new space, stopped and laid his bags down gently on the matted ground.
The others joined him and paused to survey their new surroundings.

The vista was breathtaking. It did have a magical feel and it spread out in a swirling pattern that looked phenomenal. Like all the smaller circles, growing in size as they progressed round the curve, as well as the padded path by which they entered, the whole quadrant they stood in was matted at a level less than an inch above the ground and folded criss–cross over and back like a woven blanket. Only where the pattern reached the circle’s central point, did the direction and flow of the lay change, going the opposite way.
They were standing in an ellipse, rather than a pure circle; more the shape of a facial oval. There were four quadrants each with a separate directional lay. This gave the pattern a three – dimensional effect, foreshortening the optical distance, so the far edge of the ellipse seemed closer that it actually was. From their perspective, the complete formation must have stretched as much as thirty feet across and forty feet from side to side. They’d come in on a lateral arm of what appeared to be a graphical rendition of the sun, round which the planets with their little moons –- the spaces they’d walked through were Jupiter’s moons –- clung on one arm.
‘See how those two sides are like an ellipse stretched into points of a compass. Two points: left and straight across, forming a geometric outline. That leads to the sextant instrument, I’m sure of it. It’s acting like a compass needle for the astrolabe itself.’ The other three were silent, in awe of the formation. They let Colin speak. A third arm, to their right didn’t actually project, but led the eye all the way down the field, stretching to where they had parked the car. It had to be fully 800 feet long. 
Mark immediately dug out the laptop from his bag and dropped everything else on the ground.

‘I want to see how it compares: now that we have a kind of aerial shot, thanks to Megan and her camera last night, we can see exactly how it connects from here. The ground falls away from us to where the car is parked. Can you see?’ He pointed to nobody in particular. He was joined immediately by the two girls.
Colin started setting up his dowsing rods next to where he’d dropped his baggage on the forgiving wheat. He turned to Jane, who was starting to gesture if she should help.

‘No, you go ahead. It’s a great video. You should really see what it’s like, so you get an idea of our position here -– makes sense. Super idea, Mark.’ He left them in full chatter, and got back to hooking up his equipment.
Mark was already revving up. He had a rapt audience. He started pointing and gesticulating, fully absorbed.


Immaculate central 'lay' of the June 18th 2011 formation at Cow Drove Hill, Kings Somborne, Hampshire

‘See. We’re in the oval here, sort of the ‘face’ of the Sun and from here the full extent of all three phases are visible: not as brilliantly as Megan’s shots, but…’ He keyed up the passage in the footage where the final tail was completely formed, connecting the other two phases, but before it started standing on its tail like a 3D mirage. ‘Now, watch this.’ He went back a couple of minutes to where the orbs were actually forming the tail with its elusive coded symbols.
‘See how they do it? You’ve got the pattern with its teardrop-shaped center – that’s us here… then there’s the configuration of four connected circles on one side and five more circles of increasing diameters on arcs tethered back to the teardrop center. This is the one we came in on. That’s the bit these light guys’ buddies made last week. Phase one the astrolabe; phase two the planets in orbital arcs. The orbits, the little moons we walked through -– they’re just that bit more complex than the first. They happened overnight, too. Then five days later Megan and I get to see a third addition. And see…’ He traced with his finger on the screen the path the orbs had made. ‘See how they just etch and move, etch another line and move. It appears in seconds.’

‘Awesome.’ Both girls spoke together.
‘Kinda like Maya symbols or something from the early Mid–East –- scripts: you know, cuneiform.’

‘Wow. You’re right, Megan. Hear that, Colin? Megan says like Sumerian cuneiform or Egyptian hieratic. It is, you know.’

‘Problem is deciphering.’ Colin didn’t raise his head. He was preoccupied with his rods.

‘Has to be over eight hundred feet in length from the tip of that compass point back there to the other end of the tail, don’t you think, Colin?’

‘Yeah, one thousand feet, easily.’ He was still fixing rods together.
Megan had perceived something else. She was also pointing first to the laptop screen and then out into space over the field.

‘Each of the tail lines of code or whatever they are come up and attach to the ends of each orbit arc. Do you see that, Jane? sort of like a balance like the way you hold your crystal when you’re dowsing.’
Jane peered over her shoulder with a knowing look and then out at the field.

‘You’re right. The damn thing is telling us dowsing code. Did you get that, Colin?’ she called.

But this time Colin was up and away, totally engrossed in his own world, following his rods where they led him, outward from the middle of the ellipse toward a point where the solar system took off into the imaginary world of dreams: the tale of tails, the stuff of fantasy.

‘I think you’re right there, Megan. Better get my crystals into action.’ And Jane dug her quartz out of her pocket and held it up in front of her face.
The pale transparent beauty hung completely motionless for a moment, dangling in sympathy with the still air and glinting in the sunshine at the end of its slender thread. Then, as they watched, imperceptibly at first and then with more momentum, it began a clockwise spin.

Mark went back to studying the laptop images, but Megan couldn’t. She was completely mesmerized by the gleaming orb.
@2010-2011 Marian Youngblood ‘The Future is Crystal’

Three 2011 crop circles cluster round Honey Street: Barge Inn at upper left with orb #1CC left; centre #2 Knave of Swords, July 4th; upper right #3 cuneiform script, also July 4th, photo Olivier Morel

Interestingly, in 2011, when the season started to get busy — from summer solstice on — a series of ‘orb/orbit’ crop circle images have appeared — at Kings Somborne, Hampshire and near the Barge Inn at Honey Street, Wiltshire. The Barge Inn is famous for its ‘croppie’ clientele and, without fail, the fields in its vicinity get adorned every year at this time. Last year it was the 08/08 Honey Street fractal; this year there have already been three formations: two on July 4th and the spinning space object (photo, top, June 26th, 2011).

There has been much speculation and discussion about incoming intruders from space. Least of these was the June 27th Antarctic special, a non-starter, asteroid 2011-MD, so-called asteroid-doc, which passed earth at 1700UT with 7000 miles to spare. Others include varying reports on the threat posed by comet 2010-X1 Elenin, expected to cross Earth orbit in September. All seem to feature in the rash of orbiting bodies pictured in the 2011 crop circles.

This year’s season, having started late, may still surprise us. If you like, you can take this excerpt of my novel, The Future is Crystal, as a little taster of croppie things to come.
©2011Marian Youngblood

July 4th Honey Street Crop formation #3 points North (rt): 'Milk Hill' script, cuneiform or alien code?


postscriptum: when I posted the above ‘flash fiction’ excerpt from one of my chapters, I wasn’t expecting corroboration… but the Honey Street #3 crop circle which appeared a.m. July 4th is indeed a version of cuneiform [like 1991 Milk Hill coded script] mentioned in my text. Woo-hoo! MY

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June 27, 2011 Posted by | authors, crop circles, crystalline, energy, fiction, novel, publishing, sacred sites, stone circles, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Land That Time Forgot

Dreams of the Magus takes you on your own personal quest

One of the exquisite delights of blogging is meeting and having open communication with like minds which the internet and personal ‘pages’ afford. Pete Madstone, author of the revealing personal guidebook to opening doors within – ‘Dreams of the Magus’ – says he was guided to write his Great Work after a lifetime walk through most of the world’s religions. His fascination with global spiritual and magical tradition allowed him to emerge as his own spiritual guide and his focus on non-attachment has kept him on the path – which he tries to walk with simplicity. He and his French wife Cathy are currently building their own home in the countryside of southern France.

Pete and I not only share the addiction of writing and love of the printed word, but we both submitted our books in the James Twyman competition (ongoing) to find the ‘next top spiritual author’. It appeared to us separately and together that the contest had to walk a fine line between maintaining energy levels required to bring a thousand authors into the fold – via a series of ’rounds’ – and the competitive nature of eliminating 99 percent of them. We have both completed round one (voting round), but as of today await confirmation whether or not our books have made it over the first hurdle: enough votes!

I want to thank those kind readers – both Pete’s and mine – who voted for us. Watch this space.

Meantime I invited Madstone to contribute here as a guest author in my occasional series – the Youngblood Guest Blog – and I think you will be as delighted as I am by what you read.

The Land That Time Forgot
‘These caverns are paradise to those who secretly dwell in them’ G. Peter Madstone

Today, I find myself living in the southwest of France in a place I could have never dreamed of. It abounds with life — birds, animals, insects and woodlands. There are more trees than people, and many of the inhabitants of these savage lands live just outside the arena of the physical world that we are so familiar with. In spite of the typical challenges that come with life itself, wherever any of us might live, I would have to say this place is simply “exotic.”

So, let’s begin with Webster’s definition of the word exotic

exotic
1: introduced from another country: not native to the place where found >exotic plants<
2: archaic : foreign, alien
3: strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual
4: of or relating to striptease

Let’s take this step by step –

definition 1. With this, it seems that I am the exotic one here, since I was “introduced” here from America — a member of a not-yet-extinct variety of humanity’s transitional sub-species, the evolutionary inclusionist.

definition 2. Foreign, yes — alien, likely. So this would be me, again. I am foreign and alien to this place (or at least its people), since I come from another with different ways — but from my perspective, this place is what is foreign and alien, so all things can, indeed, be seen in more than one way.

definition 3. Okay — now we’re talking, and not about the “famous” French cuisine (though the food certainly fits with this one, as well). Let me repeat this definition — strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual. If I apply this definition to this place, I would have to say that I couldn’t say it any better — it describes perfectly the environment that surrounds me. Because I cannot say things as simply as Mr. Webster, I will devote much more time and effort to describe this place that is far from south Santa Monica, the place where I cut my teeth on a surfboard. But first…

definition 4. This one is pretty much irrelevant, since the kind of place you might find exotic dancers would be in the nearest city – which for me would be a French city called Bordeaux and, like all French cities, this one is terribly intimidating. On the same note, I will mention that it is not unusual for the French female to tan her chest freely on our summer beaches, just as the males do – and so these beaches could certainly be considered “exotic” in this context, but I don’t live on the beach.

I would now discuss just what is strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual about this place, for this is what I really have to share with you.

It is not that what I will be discussing was never available to me in the variety of other places I have lived; it is just that never have these certain exotic flavors been so apparent to me — so evident, tangible or real. Maybe it is me who has changed, but I would have to surmise that it is my environment that has changed me — this exotic environment.

The Path to Never-Never Land

I live on a half-acre of land, 500 meters (3 “city” blocks) from a medieval village in, as I said, the southwest of France. The road to my house is unpaved and few cars pass by on their way to some scattered homes beyond my own. Splitting off this small road by the gate to my land is an entrance to an old path which is used by the occasional equestrian, hiker or nearby resident of the village on an evening stroll. A couple of winters ago, I was walking this path more than anyone, for I had made a discovery that was reliant upon one condition for this peculiarity, or phenomenon, to be witnessed most easily — I had to be present at a certain place accessed by this path at the time of the “crack between the worlds,” the quarter-hour just before and just after sunset.

So it was out my gate just about every evening, and down this path around 500 meters in the opposite direction from the village into a little tree-lined pasture. On the path were two old oak trees that became a vortex, or portal of sorts for me, for every time I walked past these two trees, everything became silent — there was a definite shift. Far away traffic, birds, insects, and the general buzz of life all stopped here. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was passing into a different time, and a different place — into a land that time forgot.

There, at the far end of this grassy field where three hedgerows join is a small copse closing in an otherwise invisible corner of the field. Directly at the entrance of this little secluded corner is an old water well — a well covered and overgrown by years of non-use and neglect. This is certainly a forgotten place.

The first few times I’d gone to this place, I would feel eyes upon me — many, many eyes from behind and in the trees and branches of overgrowth surrounding me — always blinking off and on, twinkling like bright little stars in a woods bereft of foliage. There was something here, and I certainly felt right at home. It didn’t take me long to begin doing sunset rituals of communion wand-less, and without any of the typical tools, talismans or regalia of the trade. There was certainly a bustle in these hedgerows, and well before the time of the May Queen.

My simple but raw ceremonies became a standard for me, weather permitting.

Upon arriving, I would stop to take in the energy and air of this ancient place, and center myself in the open space defined by the leafless trees. Then I began
walking my circles, and defining my pentagrams, hexagrams and sphere of influence/reality. Salutations would be done, followed by invocations of the cardinal’s overseers. Then, simply stillness and release. It wasn’t a few days before I began sitting at the mouth of the old well after performing my ritual. I wanted just to be with the land and its wild life, curious about the abundance of those shy and reluctant, but always blinking eyes. From the first time I sat at the opening of this well, I could sense the presence of our local Undines working in the watery realms directly below me — however, these were not the ones with the eyes in the woods.

These others, I found quickly, were of the earth realm: beings who never ventured into the light of day unless absolutely necessary (invoked), or simply overwhelmed with curiosity or craftiness — these were the Gnomes, working the same caverns below me that the Undines travelled. These caverns and tunnels are abundant in this region of France, with many of them open to the surface, and all of them are crystalline in some way.

All these caverns are paradise to those who secretly dwell in them.

It's not a hat I wear. It's just my head.

So it was at some point just after the winter solstice that I met this local group of Gnomes — builders they are, if you don’t already know this — and here I was getting ready to build a house. Every evening I was there, they would begin to crowd around me, these little Gnomes. Small they may be, but certainly strong and stout they are, for they are rock workers. Masons they are, Stonemasons, the prototypical Freemasons, and the earth they work is their temple.

So, I decided to ask for one of these earth-dwellers to help me with the building of my house, which had been at a standstill for 2 years. I specifically stated my requirements (I thought) that were as follows —

  • The house needed to be done in 1 year,
  • and I needed funds, materials, support from friends as yet unmade, with the actual physical work,
  • plus support from one of the Gnomes who was considered highly skilled at this work they did so well.
  • Of course, it slipped my mind that these beings were best at rock-work, and other than the rock foundation, the house was to be of wood frame/strawbale construction — but Gnomes are builders, and the best in the world, so why would this matter?

    One of the Gnomes did come for me, knowing it wouldn’t be a full-time job. He would only come around when I was actually working, and besides the other events he was to oversee, he still had his own personal time, and life. He was an A-BAR — this is the title of a Master Rocker, and his name was “Ephrana -yam.” He prefered to be called A-bar, or simply Eff.

    A year passed as agreed, and the rock foundation was done.

    So what of the house? Well, it was far from finished, but at least I did have a floor to build the house upon. Apparently, one year was not enough time for me to build a house, even when partnered with a specialist in rock-work. I still had wood frames to bring up, roofing to do, and everything else up to and past the kitchen sink.

    Of course, A-bar did exactly as he understood — it was I who was somehow vague or a little unfocused/misdirected in my desires. So for my little Gnome friend, a year is what it took to complete his part of the job — a year for the foundation.

    Of course, the funding too did arrive for the project within that time, from an unexpected place, and I could not have continued without that, anyway. So Eff did do his job, as requested, and did it to a Tee.

    So what of this exotic nature of the place that I call home (for now)?

    There is something about it that is so pure, untouched — unqualified even. In the history of man, very little has been done to corrupt, or even direct the energy here, and so it can be a little difficult to work with. It is very still and unmoving and it is used to being still — it is an uncertain energy. It is tentative, having had little experience with outside direction or foreign influence.

    But we can both learn — both me and this energy. Some have said the energy is flat here, but to me, its potential is remarkable, for it has been unused for millennia, maybe since the beginning of time.

    I still have to wonder, though – is this a place that time forgot, or just a place that man forgot?

    ©2010 G. Peter Madstone
    Pete Madstone is author of the spiritual handbook to uncovering one’s own consciousness and inner magic, ‘Dreams of the Magus: where Angels Fear to Tread’. In addition to regular ritual reconnection with his earth paradise, he is publisher at Madstone Mystery Labs.

    May 4, 2010 Posted by | ancient rites, authors, crystalline, elemental, energy, nature, ritual, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

    Space Weather 30-year Storm: Earth fights back

    Frozen in mid surge

    I need hardly remind residents of Scotland that we have only just weathered the thirty-year storm. Most households living through four solid weeks of sub-zero temperatures in an Atlantic weather zone (even with the miracle of central heating) will remember this winter (and last month especially) for many years to come.

    Fortunately our civilization has advanced enough so that we experienced minimum electrical ‘outages’, despite heavy snow, icicles and ice on power lines. There were, however, multiple power ‘surges’ and computers countrywide were frozen in mid surge. Mac and pc-owners and related computer businesses are still counting the cost. Curry’s have been doing a roaring trade in replacement laptops!

    It seems to have hit a lot of young ones harder than they might have thought: not that closing schools and cancelling bus and train services are a hazard; more time to make snowmen, play and enjoy winter sports, you might think. Lack of reliable public transportation, however – counting on any public services, in fact – four weeks without refuse collection borders on neglect, were commuters’ and householders’ concerns. Abandonment, remoteness and surprise at being cut off suddenly are what hit the teens hardest, I think because they are unaccustomed to having their social life curtailed by ‘weather’ and few had experienced conditions such as these in their young lives.

    Some of us older oldies remember the winter of 1981/2 with shivering empathy; electrical failure, power cuts, snow drifts higher than houses; evacuating and rescuing neighbours, birds frozen overnight in trees. But that was back in the Thatcherite era, before the internet, when we didn’t EXPECT everything to run on time, snow ploughs to get through, petrol in cars not to freeze.

    Human culture has changed in nearly 30 years: Even in the modern backwater of Aberdeenshire, the County of no motorways, the self-styled Oil Capital of Europe.

    Tea Clipper Thermopylae was built in Aberdeen by Walter Hood for the White Star Line

    For those unfamiliar with our ways, this corner of Scotland – the Northeast triangle between Rivers Don and Dee and the balmy Moray Firth – has always flourished, but more than that, it looks after its own. Rather, I suppose, like Geordies idolizing their working-class heroes that went ‘down the pits’ or Scousers joking ‘don’t bomb Iraq; nuke Manchester’. Parochial in the extreme.

    Unlike some other lesser-urban metropolises, however, (Dundee, Perth, Stranraer), Aberdeen has always pulled through its hardest times: Dundee used to be known (an age ago, when the world was young) for its Jute, Jam and Journalism. Now it is home to none of these; but it has Robert Scott’s ‘Discovery‘, the Tay Bridge and it’s on the way to St. Andrews, which every golfer in the world has heard of; i.e. it participates peripherally in tourism, but some of its poorer districts are in appalling shape.

    Perth floods every year and millions of national money poured in to rescue low-level housing has been a nightmare. Stranraer we won’t go into. It’s no longer on the way to anywhere.

    Then there’s Aberdeen.

    Perched on the westernmost limb of the North Sea’s mild Gulf Stream current, its dry climate (usually, rain from the west is captured by the Grampian mountains before it reaches the plain) and its remarkable latitude (57ºN2ºW ), akin to central Alaska, give it a climatic anomaly. Its farming hinterland was rich in Neolithic times and has grown richer.

    Tall Ships Race reenacts 19thC sailing contest in the Clipper tea trade


    A century and a half ago the city was hub to a thriving fishing industry; its harbours built, housed and skippered trawlers, tall clipper ships, deep sea schooners and whaling vessels. Thermopylae and Elissa were built here. Names like Alexander Hall & Sons, John Lewis and Sons, the Devanha Fishing Company sprang from everyone’s lips. As a merchant marine capital it was second only to Glasgow in Scotland and Liverpool south of the border.

    Aberdeen, however, was never one to have only one egg in one basket: it was also the sole exporter of granite to needy growing urban centres: London streets were indeed paved with (Aberdeen granite) gold. Craigenlow quarry at Dunecht supplied the English capital with tons of its ‘cassies’ or granite sets – hand-cut granite blocks the size of a gingerbread loaf – to meet the demands of a city experiencing growing Victorian traffic problems. If they had but known…

    At the height of Georgian expansion, Aberdeen city burghers were so wealthy, their coffers overflowing from the ocean tea trade, the Baltic route, their fishing ports supplying Europe’s tables (nowadays it’s the other way around), their granite exported the world over; that they chose to beautify: and the mile-long boulevard known as Union Street was built in 1801-05. This grandiose gesture – a feat of engineering which levelled St. Catherine’s Hill and carried the extra-wide thoroughfare across arches built over the previous lower Denburn and ancient market Green – almost bankcrupted the burghers, but brought the city fame to add to its already growing fortune.

    Danzig Willie's Craigievar

    As early as the mid-18th century, Aberdeenshire’s famous Baltic merchants continued to bring their fortunes back home; so the county continually thrived, regardless of the ups and downs of a world economy. Robert Gordon (1688-1731), founder of the Robert Gordon Hospital, now RGU, was famous for lending money made in the Danzig trade to Aberdeen businessmen who needed large working capital at even larger rates of interest. ‘Danzig Willie’ Forbes ploughed his fortune from the Baltic trade into the building of exquisite Donside château Craigievar between 1610-1625 on the family estate of Corse, when he was already landowner of Menie estate on the Belhelvie coast north of Aberdeen. John Ramsay, an Aberdeen merchant in 1758 built his palladian mansion at Straloch. Others followed suit. The county is today littered with stately Renaissance piles and Georgian mansions more appropriate to the valley of the Loire, the home counties or the wilds of Gloucestershire.

    Within this mix stir a couple of ancient universities – one founded in 1495, the other in 1593, both fostered and supported through the centuries by Aberdonian merchant success.

    The world joke about the Aberdonian who watches his pennies is not entirely untrue. And the tradition goes back farther than the fifteenth century.

    Aberdeen Harbour shipping with ice floes in the 1920s

    Even more relevant to the characterization, perhaps, is the fact that Aberdeen Harbour (presently run by the independent entity Aberdeen Harbour Board) is in fact the oldest running business enterprise in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, having been founded by charter signed by King David I in 1136. The business head of the kingdom resides on the edge of the North Sea.

    But the bell tolled. The fishing industry worldwide killed its own small fry: when container ships and tankers beheaded sailing vessels, similarly Icelandic and Norwegian refrigerated freighters signalled the death knell for trawlers and owner-operated fishing boats; and Aberdeen’s shipbuilding days were over.

    In the early 1970s, Britain was experiencing the three-day-week, unemployment stats for the country were the highest then known, and even the granite industry declined. Its clients metamorphosed from those who appreciated polished stone to faceless ‘councils’ and ‘road departments’ which required the precious quartz and gneiss resource to be ground into dust-like fragments which could be mixed with tar and spread in increasing quantities on the nation’s arteries.

    It looked as if Aberdeen, like every other Scots city, might founder on the rocks of history.

    North Sea Oil baled Aberdeen out on the death of shipbuilding and fishing

    Then, lo and behold, along came oil. Bubbling up from below the North Sea in 1971, another industry was born. And the ‘silver city with the golden sands’ was perched on the shoreline, ready to receive it.

    It is said that because of its very geographic isolation the county learned to take care of itself. And its humour has a lot to do with its character.

    Now that there is talk of worldwide recession and dwindling of the oil resource, the current Aberdonian humorous response is ‘oil goes out, Donald Trump comes in’. This refers to the New York entrepreneur’s £1 billion golf course resort where sand dune reinforcing work has just begun on the very landholdings of Menie once owned by Danzig Willie. Aberdeenshire is not averse to turning full circle. It has so far weathered many storms through centuries of change.

    So how did we fare in this last Great Storm? How did the planet fare?

    Greece had 100ºF temperatures at Christmas and Abu Dhabi and Dubai had HAIL the day before the launch of the 2,717-feet Burj Khalifa tower in the first week of January.

    Scotland and Aberdeenshire in particular were at the time experiencing the grip of an Arctic winter, with traffic on all roads down to minimum and gritting and snow-ploughing said by Council spokesmen to be ‘impossible’. While they reported worries that supplies of salt from the Cheshire salt mine might be exhausted, citrus orchards throughout the state of Florida were hit by snow and frost lingered long enough to decimate their total citrus crop for 2010.

    At the same time Mount Nyamulagira in a sparsely populated area of the Democratic Republic of Congo erupted, threatening an enclave of rare chimpanzees.

    Eureka and Haiti had 6.5 and 7.2 Richter earthquakes respectively, while inland Northern California and Southern Oregon, usually inundated with snow, received not one drop. States of emergency were declared for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Francisco and Siskiyou counties and as the rainstorm headed east, floods swamped the Arizona desert, threatening homes and killing migrant birds. Las Vegas, Nevada had more rain in two days than for the total year of 2009 (1.69 inches). Alligators in the Everglades froze to death.

    France’s Mistral blew early this year, wreaking havoc and damage to vines and vineyards in southern départements of Lyon and Provence; the Riviera harbours of St Tropez and Marseille suffered damage to private yachts.

    Since the snowmelt arrived in Scotland in mid January, it is superfluous to mention that the resulting floods have routed gutters and drains in cities and country towns and overflowed ditches in outlying country areas. Perth (again) and Inverurie, Huntly and Kintore were unable to cope with the deluge. These levels of precipitation bring Aberdeen’s rainfall statistics for the year 2009 to mid January 2010 to 101.23 inches, for a county normally experiencing 33.6 inches per annum.

    The Earth doesn’t like what we’ve been doing to her in the last thirty years. She’s beginning to fight back.

    January 26, 2010 Posted by | crystalline, environment, gardening, history, nature, organic husbandry, seasonal, weather, winter | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

    Midwinter Solstice: Return of the light

    Sine umbra nihil

    Burning the Clavie at Burghead, Moray

    MIDWinter Fire festivals were ancient man’s most fervent prayer to the Universe to return the light to the earth after the shortest day.

    At 57º North latitude in Scotland, the equivalent in North America of the parallel of Juneau, Alaska, there aren’t a lot of hours of light in December and January. By the time solstice – the day the sun appears to stand still – December 21st – arrives, ancient man was getting to the point where it was going to get dark forever, unless something was done to propitiate the spirit world.

    In the earliest known Calendars devised by Arabian astronomers, even the balmy latitudes of the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas saw a dwindling of the light. And so when Neolithic man erected stone circles and sacred precincts of stone leading the eye to the horizon to a point where the sun set on midwinter’s day, he did it for a most urgent purpose: to ask the Light of the Universe, the Sacred Fire, to return.

    What better way to kindle the blessing of the gods of light and fire than with fire itself?

    In Northeast Scotland, where recumbent stone circles abound, the recumbent or ‘resting’ stone lies in the southwestern quadrant of the circle, flanked by two carefully chosen pillars of stone (quartz, quartzite, granite with inclusions to reflect the light), creating a window on the horizon where the midwinter sun goes down. At 4:00 p.m.!

    Aberdeenshire's recumbent stone circles' window on the horizon

    It is more than seventeen hours before it rises again. Seventeen hours must have created an enormous hiatus of doubt and disbelief in the minds of ancient communities whose shaman or holy man might be the only one who knew the light would return. But did they? It is no wonder that oral tradition handed down tales of the supernatural abilities of such knowledgeable men.

    We have no record of how such workers of celestial magic were named in the time of the first farmers, the Neolithic communities who raised the megaliths of Aberdeenshire.

    But by the time of Roman historians, like Tacitus and Ptolemy, who wrote of ancient Britons’ ‘great powers’, Roman respect for the Celtic peoples of Europe and the Druids of the Britannia was great. Ptolemy and Caesar record phenomenal belief by the people in their magicians, their Druids, their ‘keepers of knowledge’ and rightly so. The Celtic traditions known to the Gauls owed their origins to the British druidic élite. Much veneration and respect was paid in Gaul to this small group of islands lying in Ultima Thule, or in Roman slang ‘off the map’ on the edge of the Roman Empire.

    Sun and moon markers embedded in stone

    Certainly by the time of our Pictish ancestors – those whom the Romans called the Caledonians – stone circles were in constant use for fire festivals and seasonal rites of propitiation for the welfare of the community. The Picts also had their own druidic priest class like those of Wales and other Brittonic peoples. And their power to be seen to command the elements of fire, water, wind and earth were extraordinarily great. Annals and documents from Gaul, Cornwall, Brittany and Rome confirm their hold over the people, not only to guide farming work through the annual cycle, but also to act as advisor to queens and kings.

    By the ancient Celtic calendar, known to the Romans as their equivalent of the Julian method of calculation, there were ten months in the year and thirteen moons. Man moved according to the sun for daily light and warmth, but owed allegiance to the moon for rhythms of planting and harvest, the female menstrual cycle and hence the cycle of birth and death. The Julian calendar was a ruling force for fifteen hundred years, until it started to lose time.

    By then the Church, mathematicians and enlightened astronomers had stepped in to alter the rhythm to run more closely with human time. Most nations changed over to the new calendar after it was decreed law by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. But the Orthodox Greek and Russian Churches refused to change. Other nations remained staunchly in favour of the older calculation. Among these were Ethiopia and Russia, who did not accept European calendar reckoning until 1750. Ethiopia still does not.

    And Burghead in Moray.

    In Burghead they burn the clavie to celebrate the return of the light of a dying sun. An ancient rite practised on the night of solstice in pre-Christian times, to propitiate and ask the dying sun to return, its confused calendrical transposition to January 11th can only be slightly rationalized by calendar change. Nevertheless, it is on this date that Burghead has through oral tradition and in living memory rekindled and paraded its torch of blazing fire.

    It’s a little more complex than merely holding to the old calendar. Well-wishing for a new year is what we do in the Northeast of Scotland when the calendar points to January. It’s called Hogmanay. It was always so. Or was it?

    In Gregorian, we count this as 2009; about to go 2010. It is already 5770 Jewish time. The month of February 2010 opens the Chinese year of the Tiger; on February 22 Islam moves into 1431. For Sikhs, new year (542) comes just before vernal equinox when Hindus (2067) and Persians (1389) celebrate, just as we used to before the Julian calendar adjusted new year from March to January.

    Clavie Crew hoist the burning barrel and parade it round the town

    This is no surprise to the Clavie Crew of Burghead on the Moray coast. They still run on Julian time.

    When Scotland changed calendars in 1660, there was much misunderstanding in country districts – the loss of 11 days was seen as someone in a position of power having robbed them of important events. This was also a period of change in parishes because of the implementation of new church doctrines introduced at the Reformation. Calendars in Church records added to the confusion by writing numbers in ‘Old Style’ and ‘New Style’. It caused so much concern that Old Parish Records (OPR) had to show both systems. Births in the OPR are recorded for several years in both Old and New Time.

    Also at the Reformation pre-Christian festivals, such as clavie-burning and fire festivals at Beltane, Hallowe’en and harvest too, were frowned on. On the other hand, local tradition was strong: it was commonplace to mark the return of the light after midwinter in all northern communities and northeastern ports. Such pagan celebrations as ‘fire leaping’ and dancing round the fire within the precinct of stone circles was still known in 1710 and harvest fire festivals continued unabated until the year 1942. Gradually, however, other celebrations and farming fire festivals started to die out.

    When the other northern ports stopped their Clavie burning in winter after the first World War, Burghead held on. After the second War, it continued to celebrate as it had always done. It has continued to do so ever since, except for two of the years during the 1939-45 European War.

    Now only two villages hold to the ancient tradition: a pre-Christian ritual of celebrating the closing of one seasonal door and the opening of another.

    Stonehaven in Kincardineshire celebrates with a street festival of fireball-swingers. Both festivities are awe-inspiring, if marginally dangerous to watch. It must be awesomely perilous for those involved. On Hogmanay night Steenhivers have a street party to end all street parties. Whereas Burghead only spills combustible materials over the shoulders of Clavie-bearers, Stonehaven delights in spinning fire in clumps into an unwary crowd.

    Stonehaven has conceded to the newer calendar, swinging its crazy fire balls on Hogmanay; yet it is celebrating the same midwinter seasonal hinge as the Clavie Crew of Burghead: The end of the Old Year; Old Yule: Aul’ ‘Eel.

    Burghead is more precisely still counting its eleven lost days.

    In Burghead, lighting the eternal fire and carrying it round the town reenacts the celebration of the return of new light after the longest night in the Northern hemisphere – the dark of the Latin quotation often found on sundials: ‘without shadow there is nothing’. Implied, naturally, is the fact that the all-important entity which creates shade in the first place, is the Sun.

    To the Clavie King and his torch-bearers of Burghead, this is Aul’ ’Eel, pre-Christian Yule or winter solstice. Yule becomes interchangeable with Christmas south of the border but Scotland has held to its pagan festival of Hogmanay, itself a testimony to and turning point in that Roman calendar.

    Fire for the clavie is ritually kindled from a peat ember – no match is used. This is in respect for the spirit of fire itself which is eternal.

    The Clavie itself is an old whisky barrel full of broken up staves ritually nailed together by a clavie (Latin, clavus, nail). One of the casks is split into two parts of different sizes, and an important item of the ceremony is to join these parts together with the huge nail made for the purpose. The Chambers’ Book of Days (1869) minutely describes the ceremony, suggesting that it is a relic of Druid worship, but it seems also to be connected with a 2000-year-old Roman ceremony observed on the 13th September, called the clavus annalis. Two divisions of the cask in the Burghead ritual symbolize the hinges of the old and the new year, which are joined together by a nail. The two parts are unequal, because the part of the new year joined on to the old is very small by comparison with the old year which is departing.

    Burning the Clavie at Burghead

    Clavie King, Dan Ralph and his Clavie Crew heave the Clavie into position

    Clavie King Dan Ralph has carried out his duty for twenty years. He gathers together his Clavie Crew and they help each other take turns carrying the man-sized torch: a tar-barrel stoked with oak staves soaked in combustible fluid. It is a feat of human endurance alone to lift what must weigh more than a man, not to mention avoiding flaming drops of leaking fuel. They stagger in unison round the town, dispensing luck as they go: flaming brands from the burning tar-barrel are presented as tokens of abundance to important burghers, including the publican. The bearers keep changing; circling the town sunwise, stopping only to refuel or change carriers. A final free-for-all happens after the clavie arrives at the fire-altar hill, on a rib of the old Pictish ramparted stronghold, which juts out into the Moray Firth. There it is fixed to its fire-altar, the doorie.

    More tar, petrol, any source of incendiary fuel is added until the flames reach for the heavens. Then both fire and wooden vessel, the fast-distintegrating clavie, and its lethal blazing contents are left to die.

    Happy New Year. Julian indeed.

    December 6, 2009 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, crystalline, culture, nature, Prehistory, ritual, sacred sites, stone circles, sun | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

    NaNo makes one bold: my WIP

    The setting was superb. Nothing would spoil the wedding breakfast.

    NaNo: November being writing month, all stops are out, all bets are off. I’m writing again. I can say that with a feeling of relief, a feeling of awe that the Muse is still sitting somewhere in my corner and that some days She is actually enjoying coming and whispering in my ear.

    One of the rules of NaNo is that one writes and DOES NOT EDIT until the required minimum wordcount of 50,000 words (or end of novel, if that adds up to more) is reached. But for your sake, dear Reader, I have edited a little. Corrected spelling and typos. Otherwise it is open to revision and redoing in December

    This, therefore, for good or for ill, is an excerpt from my work-in-progress: or NaNo WIP.
    I hope you enjoy. It’s a miracle to witness the continuing flow, I can tell you.

    All had been made ready for the guests. The bride waited at the head of the stairs

    ‘Be Still in the Candlelight’

    Horses and carriages stood at the gates, a long line of opulence and conspicuous wealth, each waiting its turn to process down the shady lime avenue which heralded the last mile of approach to the house.

    Not a family in Aberdeenshire had been ignored. Invitations sent in January by messenger, hand delivered to Clubs and castles throughout the shire ensured that the assembled gathering would be the greatest affair in the social calendar for a generation. John Ramsay Irvine was going to make sure his daughter’s marriage was witnessed by them all. Grooms and stablehands were lined up at the curved façade to help ladies down awkward steps as consorts and cousins and brothers assisted with the finery, petticoats and layers of taffeta and veils billowing in the slight breeze.

    The day was glorious: mid June brilliance with a scent of abundance in the air.

    A phalanx of footmen ushered ladies into the house to powder noses, while gentlemen were escorted to the gigantic marquée set on the lawn, hands charged with a glass of champagne immediately they stepped under the awning. Butlers and footmen manfully shouldered silver trays groaning under the weight of crystal brimming with bubbles. Chatter was loud but festive. The ladies would join them in a moment. For now the tent was dominated by menfolk catching up with colleagues, discussing the week’s affairs, arrangements for the shooting season in late summer, and whose house-party already had its quota of family and summertime guests.

    When the first of the ladies emerged from downstairs boudoirs and stepped into the light of the terrace, a hush descended on the crowd. Every one of them, matron, maid, young miss was adorned in finery, as if they individually were to be the bride: tiaras appeared glinting in the sun: getting a summer airing from safes and velvet boxes they’d nestled in since Christmas or for parties at Hogmanay. Pearls and rubies shone and sapphire necklaces extracted from bank vaults for this special occasion reflected blue light from the lake.

    Brother Hugh stood alone, apart from the jostling crowd, waiting for a signal from his mother’s window that Catherine would soon be ready to take his arm; for him to proceed with her to the little chapel across the lawn to the glade of trees down by the lake. But carriages were still appearing, stopping at the great entrance to unload more adorned maidens with doting brothers or fiancés, and trundling slowly off to the Home Farm where grooms and drivers would wait to be summoned again after it was all over. A long procession still stretched down the lime avenue as far as Hugh could see. There was no rush yet to summon Catherine and her maids.

    In the upstairs chamber with its four-poster usually reserved for her mother, Catherine stood radiant. She was to wear Great-grandfather’s South Seas pearls and the ruby necklace brought with him from Russia when he was a successful merchant plying Baltic waters to Danzig. It was now family tradition that these, the first glittering evidence of John Ramsay’s fortune, should be worn by every bride since 1758, the year that the adventurer purchased the Straloch estate from the famous cartographer, Robert Gordon of Straloch. It had been Ramsay’s fortune which built the grand mansion in its grounds.

    Today Catherine felt like a swan gazing in her mother’s long dress-mirror at the sparkling jewels round her white neck. There was something about these new continental gowns, the low ’empire’ line made fashionable by the ladies of Napoleon’s court . The British may have defeated the dictator, but his ladies’ fashion sense lingered on. The high bosom and low neckline made her feel dizzy in the shafts of sunlight glancing through the gauze curtains. It danced and shifted, casting a pool of light at her feet. She allowed herself to peer over her sudden perky breasts at the pompom slippers of maroon silk which peeped out below the vanilla silk hem of her gown. Mother was right. This new line may be a little too daring for such a backwater as Aberdeenshire, but it was just the most beautiful creation she had ever seen and she was standing in it, allowing its long pointed sleeves to hug her delicate wrists, the tight waistband to nip her small frame even more closely than she ever would have dared at a normal party.

    ‘Everything is allowed for a wedding, my dear. Even daring narrow waists and low necklines.’ If her mother’s voice had a hint of disapproval, it was covered by laughter. Tones tinkled in pride at the sight of her daughter’s surprise.

    “We may be of merchant stock, but Grandfather knew a jewel or two. And I must say they do add a je ne sais quoi to your already fabulous beauty.’ Her mother laughed again. ‘I may not be the one to say, but it does run in the family.’

    She reached out her own silk-gloved hand to caress the folds at the rear of her daughter’s gown, smoothing an imaginary crease.

    Bridesmaids in the ante room behind the pillar giggled and, seeing Catherine’s mother smile and beckon, fell into the room in a huddle of lace and satin and pink pumps.

    ‘Careful, girls. We don’t want any accidents.’

    All four glanced at each other and then at their hostess and giggled again.

    ‘I wish it were all over. No, of course I don’t but Hugh said he’d start the procession at least by two. It must be close to three.’ Catherine’s small face crinkled in a fleeting frown, scanning her mother’s profile. One of the house maids popped her head round the door.

    ‘Carriages still coming, m’lady,’ she said, bobbing a hasty curtsey. ‘Master Hugh says another glass of champagne should settle the gentlemen. He wants to know if you would like some up here.’

    ‘Most certainly not. Thank you, Rose. Tell the Master we shall wait for his signal.’ The maid’s head disappeared again.

    ‘I can see the end of the carriages.’ A tiny gloved hand holding its regulation posy of roses dropped the long curtain at the window and one of the Burnett girls burst into a fit of giggles. Another grabbed the curtain and then she too dropped it with a guilty look. She turned to the other bridesmaids and whispered
    ‘It’ll be the bridegroom in the very last carriage.’

    ‘I heard that.’

    Catherine was nervous as a kitten. The last thing she wanted to know was news that that her darling, handsome husband-to-be was the last to arrive. She swept the thought aside. Henry was like her brother Hugh: so strong and brave. Such a pity Father was no longer well enough to sit up, far less be wheeled to the ceremony. But until she became Henry’s, Hugh would be her rock. He would more than make up for her father’s infirmity.

    Hugh had turned out like his grandfather: he’d continued the work begun by Great-grandfather in the 244 acre estate after he built the palladian mansion, just as father and grandfather had done. Nowadays there was talk in Society of how rash a move it had been, in the time of King George III, to pull down a 13th century building and put up a Georgian palace. But Great-grandfather was an innovator. He knew all the tricks and turns used by wealthy European royalty in his day and his palace was built to the scale and proportions of the great Italian architect, Palladio, whose style thereafter became the fashion.

    Straloch had been revolutionary for its time. Now in the early 19th century, It was considered ‘all the rage.’ For a wedding ceremony and breakfast attended by all the County’s best families, its size and style were totally inkeeping. It had precisely the required number of public rooms, a grand ballroom, drawing room, morning room and a dining salon that none could rival. It had outlived its ‘foreignness’ and become a style which other families copied. Burnetts and Forbeses and Irvines all had since pulled down ancient towers and put up a palladian edifice in its place: at Colpy and Keig and Pittodrie, palaces were erected where cramped medieval towers had been. The Ramsay fashion had become the norm. And in Aberdeenshire, a county renowned for its conservatism, that was saying something.

    Hugh was more like father in the way he cared for and tended the trees of the avenue, the stately park specimens getting most of his love and attention. And he had recently started a programme of planting the new fashion in trees: beech.

    If you listened to Hugh on the endless variety of beeches one could plant… he could bore anyone to tears. It was enough to make her yawn just to think of it. Some day, of course all this would be Hugh’s. Catherine was just fortunate to be able to have such a beautiful backdrop for her Big Day. And as for father’s being an invalid and not really able to know what was going on, was something one just had to be philosophical about. He seemed more himself when she’d spoken to him this morning, wanting to share with him the excitement to come, the huge numbers who would attend. He looked at her through watery eyes, propped himself up on one elbow from the cushions on his daybed and whispered:

    ‘Be still in the candlelight, Darling.’

    She had not the faintest idea what he meant, but she nodded her head and kissed him on the forehead.

    Suddenly Annie Farquharson jumped up and down at the window, her pink slippers doing ballet turns.

    ‘It’s Hugh. He’s signalling to be ready. He’s pulling out his fob watch and pointing. I think he means it’s time.’

    ‘All right, all right, girls. No need to lose our heads. Now, we all remember the order. When Hugh comes to the door, you four go first. Ahead of him. Follow Catherine’s cousin Jamie to the head of the stairs and wait. Do you hear me? Wait until I get there.’

    There came a chorus of ‘yes’.

    ‘He’s coming. He’s coming,’ Annie bobbed up and down more frantic than ever.

    ‘All right, Annie. Now into your special order, please girls. We do this as we practiced it. All right?’

    Catherine felt remarkably calm. If Hugh was ready, it meant her dear beautiful wonderful sweet loving kind fiancé Henry was already down in the woodland glade by the lake; at this very moment entering the little chapel and waiting for her. The thought made her faint with pleasure. Annie’s sister June had the presence-of-mind to prop her up. She tut-tutted her support.

    There was a knock at the door and Hugh was ushered in by a dressing maid. He whispered something in Mother’s ear and looked over at his sister:

    ‘Ready my sweet princess? I’ve never seen you more glorious than today. Really. And I’m not being brotherly. I really mean it. You could not look more perfect. I think you are right about these new styles. It’s going to be the wedding of the century.

    That’s pretty bold, she thought. This is only 1822. Surely newer fashions will one day make all this seem out of date and from a different world. Again, she brushed the unruly thought aside like a wisp of stray hair in her eye, took a step towards him and grasped his outstretched hand.

    ‘Thank you my darling Hugh. I would not be able to do this without you.’
    He smiled and led her to the door.

    Each waited her turn to descend the Great Staircase

    As instructed, the bridesmaids already stood in a clump on the landing next to Jamie, flouncing their skirts, waiting for the signal to descend the great staircase. Mother caught up with them, and took her place ahead on the top step.

    On cue, the piper at the front door thrummed up his bagpipes and began a low drone. Catherine could see outside sunlit faces turn from the awning towards the front door.

    It was beginning.

    She held Hugh’s arm in a tight grasp.

    ‘You’ll be wonderful,’ he whispered.

    She smiled up at him, wishing she could say something in return, but her eyes filled with tears and she swallowed instead.

    Six pages rushed past carrying golden candelabra from the drawing room to stand in two rows down the great staircase. As one of them came abreast of her and Hugh, he tripped and looked at her wildly as if to apologize for his clumsy nervousness. His companion bent over to help him fix one of the candles which was beginning to work itself loose from its holder, its flame still alight, but shaking. As one page righted himself, the other’s grasp on his own candlestick slipped.

    Catherine and Hugh could only stand and watch. In slow motion, the triple glow of golden light wrapped in cherubs and foiled bacchanalian wreaths, began a downward curve towards the staircase. Hugh grabbed his sister tightly, starting to swing her torso out of the way of the falling light. For a moment all Catherine saw was light: a small flame, so tiny it could do no harm, its glow wanting so much to add to the perfection of her day. Its fall was broken by the solid mahogany ball-and-claw knob of the bannister at the head of the stairs. Instead of cascading flame-first down the stairwell into the abyss below stairs, the dislodged candle bounced back and – oh so excruciatingly slowly – turned its menacing beam on Catherine.

    Bridesmaids leapt to left and right, each trying to avoid what must happen: the staircase was in disarray. Other candles started to shake and falter.

    ‘Hold your lights, there’. It was Hugh’s voice, so close to her ear, but it sounded a million miles away.

    Her eyes were glued to the falling candle. Why was it taking so long? It should have landed by now. By now she should be able to jump sideways and out of harm’s way. But Hugh’s arm held her tight. She was immobilized. All she could do was watch, frozen in time as the dislodged candle made a soft thump – such a simple sound – and hit the top of the staircase. Candle wax spilled in all directions, some of it sparking with a flame. One tiny spark of wax fell on the hem of her gown and she stared – her eyes wide now, her mouth open in a silent scream of terror – as flames engulfed her vanilla silk underskirts.

    One of the butlers held a tray. He stood crouching back by the open door of the room they had left a moment ago. Hugh let go her arm, made a couple of strides across the landing and grabbed two champagne glasses, throwing the contents at her. He missed and the liquid splashed her arm.

    ‘Bring me a carafe,’ he ordered, his voice sounding more like a general in Napoleon’s army than her own gentle brother.

    He grabbed another two glasses and threw. This time they hit their mark, but in the few seconds’ delay, the fire had caught hold. It was burning her silk stockings. She felt heat sear her legs. It seemed to penetrate right through to the bone. Her tears couldn’t help her. Her brother’s champagne rescue was doing a little but not enough. The candle, so small and innocent a flame, was doing its worst.

    Fire raged up the front of her skirt, smoke engulfing her face, her neck, the pearl and ruby necklace. A page stumbled towards Hugh carrying a bedroom ewer, its enormous weight of water slowing him down. Hugh grabbed the jug and poured its contents down her uncomplaining front. His left hand held her steady, in case she fell from the sudden mass of water. Nobody spoke. The other pages stood motionless, still in position lining the staircase. Of four bridesmaids, two were crying and two were holding gloved hands in anguish over their open mouths. Mother had stopped rigid in her tracks halfway down the staircase. She and the pages created a flimsy barrier between Catherine and the jostling crowd of onlookers beginning to push into the main entrance hall.

    All could see now: she was the centre of attention: this tragic apparition, her faultless coiffure still crowning a face ravaged by tears, sleeves and gloved hands soaking wet but intact.

    Rubies glittered as if they knew red was not only a colour but a flame.

    And below the waist – nothing – it was all gone. She was naked except for two charred shivering legs, a vestige of maroon slippers looking like something from the Black Death. She collapsed to the floor just as Annie rushed to cover her nakedness with her vanilla stole. The last thing she heard was her mother’s voice:

    ‘Give her some air. Let her breathe.’

    But it was father’s words which she heard in her mind:

    ‘Be still in the candlelight, Darling. Be still.’

    November 19, 2009 Posted by | authors, crystalline, culture, Muse, novel, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

    Starship 999: Critical Mass is here NOW

    The crystalline core

    The crystalline core

    Critical Mass is the point reached when more than the square root of 1% of the population come together in mind, in overmind, in consciousness, for a brief moment in time.

    Time is considered to be the Fourth Dimension and it is into the concept of Time that we are ascending.  For nine minutes we are being asked to leave our bodies behind and step into an awareness of the Divine.

    The Divine Starship.

    The Divine within, around and surrounding us.  For a brief moment of time we absorb ourselves in the flow of Divine Love washing over us, renewing us and making us again whole.  At One.  

    Tomorrow, 09 September 2009 at 9:09 PM – or today, if you are in the Orient –  we are collectively being asked to spare nine minutes of our time to embed in the fabric of the Cosmic Consciousness an intent to heal and love ourselves and the planet Earth.

    We are, as aware humans, being requested to unite in sending waves of ‘awakening and ascension’ intent throughout the globe.

    Wherever you are and whoever you think you may be, it is no matter. Your intent and nine minutes of your time is all that is needed.

     

    Meditation is a glorious thing.  It allows us, whatever way we do it, to enter into our inner Spirit and rest.  

    We lay our burden down.

    When we emerge, we have the power of creation and it is then we can move into our physical space:  Create the dream we have always longed to do; be the best we can be.   Spread our Light.  Share our creative abilities. 

    No time like the present.

    It helps to light a candle .

    If you are awake at 9a.m. do the same. If not, 9 p.m. is O.K.

    It’s all good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

    Focus on your Soul, your Inner-Self… 09:00 am till 09:09 am …

    Focus on breathing; allow thinking to fall away

    Focus on breathing; allow thinking to fall away

    Your 9 minute experience of Peace…

     

    • 1   Breathe in and out few times around 08:59 and light the candle 
    • 2   Stay still and focus your attention inwards – let go all thoughts while breathing in and out 
    •  3 For next few minutes, focus on peace, you as peaceful human BEING; think about you as LOVE and PEACE 
    •  4 Open your eyes after 9 minutes and say….
    • Thank you, Universe for giving me this life, ability to walk, talk, see, eat, breathe… 

    Repeat the same at 09:00 PM till 09:10 PM

    It is already 9/9/9 in the Orient.


    Candles

    Candles have been used for hundreds of years to ask and obtain wishes. If you would like to focus on specific intents, you can use different candles to help you, depending on the intent.

    • 1 – Silver: re-enforces any wishes supported by the power of prayer and family unity. 
    • 2 – White: Purity, Sincerity, Truth 
    • 3 – Pale/Light Blue: For exams, financial enterprises, protection. 
    • 4 – Dark Blue: To win a case, succeed in administrative matters, success in businesses, grab luck, increase strength 
    • 5 – Grey: Stops and neutralizes anything negative (against bad luck) 
    • 6 – Yellow: To bring or increase Faith, glory, strentgh of the thinking process, healing acceleration
    •  7 – Light Brown: Attract Prosperity, Financial Gain, Money (in whatever activity you are involved in or from external sources when in need) 
    • 8 – Dark Brown: To find a lost one (someone) or something lost. 
    • 9 – Black: Absorbes Evil and Dissolves it (Reverses anything Negative and vanishes it) 
    • 10 – Gold: Universal protection Candle. This one can replace all others (This is the one I am going to be using) 
    • 11 – Orange: Luck, Success, Esteem, Popularity, Fame (Good for Performing Artists) 
    • 12 – Parma or Lilas: Favours and accelerates results. Often used in Exorcisms 
    • focus awareness on inner core; allow the love to enter

      focus awareness on inner core; allow the love to enter

    • 13 – Purple or Burgundy: Power &amp; Stength. Shatters all adverse situations in our immediate entourage. 
    • 14 – Red: Passion, Courage, Sexuality, Strength/Force, defense against enemies 
    • 15 – Old Pink: Awakens tenderness and passionate Love. 
    • 16 – Pale/Light Pink: Love, Marriage related tenderness, affection, stable relationships, romantic aspects of Love. 
    • 17 – Bright Pink: To solve affection problems/issues. consolidates Love. 
    • 18 – Salmon: Increases Physical Strength, preserves great health. 
    • 19 – Violet: Favours all undertakings, physical and spiritual healing 
    • 20 – Dark or Bright Green: Smooth running of a commercial enterprise. 
    • 21 – Light Green: Commercial Success in any field.

      Every little helps.

      Emerald is the color of the heart chakra which is being activated at this time

    See many posts or google Mt. Magazine, Arkansas.

    September 8, 2009 Posted by | consciousness, crystalline, environment, nature, numerology, sacred geometry, spiritual | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments