2014 History Corner
Just a little history to while away New Year hours, before the daily round catches us unawares… It seems increasing one’s awareness of our more ancient roots has the added pleasure of making us more compassionate towards other struggles of NOW. Plus, Pictish history is my favorite indulgence, because the Scots tried to sweep it under the carpet, and the English taught only their own version in all schools.
So, for dipping in, or future delectation: here are the REAL heroes of pre-Celtic Scotland: Alba—Dubh: Home of the White Race with the Black Hair
Reblogged from Devorguilablog: View from the Pictish Citadel
Even as late as the Letter by the Barons of Scotland to Pope John XXII (otherwise known as the ‘Declaration of Arbroath‘) in 1320, it was felt necessary to explain to the holy father how ancient was their ancestry and how famous was the nation of Scots–‘having expelled the Britons and entirely rooted out the Picts’.
Recent scholarship by remarkable historians, however– Marjorie O Anderson, David N Dumville and others–have added light to the darkness and within a relative framework of intermarriage between the reigning houses of neighbouring states at the time, a tentative list emerges.
A longer page with more detailed background can be found at Devorguila-page here.
As research and new knowledge produce results, these lists will be updated and revised. They are offered in the spirit of true academic thirst for knowledge and we hope that they will be received in the same light.
KINGS OF PICTS
While it is known that the journeys of Columba brought him to the fortress of Bridei son of Maelchon, king of the Picts, ‘near Inverness’, the extent of his dominion is not known. It may be that he ruled over the ‘Northern Picts’–as several annals from that time refer to the kingdom of the Picts as being divided by the range of the Mounth into northern and southern kingdoms.
On several occasions kings are referred to as ruling on ‘this’ side of the Mounth or on the ‘other’ side of the Mounth. Depending on where the Chronicle is being written at the time (either northern monastery at Fyvie or Kineddar or Deer– or southern monastery associated with Forteviot, Iona or St Andrews: Because no ‘original’ Chronicle of the Picts now survives–only 12thC copies–it is difficult to know which location is implied.Bridei is known to have died c. AD585.
617-633 Edwin King of Northumbria [Oswald, Eanfrith, Oswiu exiled in Pictland]
634-641 Oswald returned from exile, reigned as King of Northumbria
641-670 Oswiu reigned in Bernicia and from 655 over Northumbria
653-657 Talorgan son of Eanfrith (Northumbria) king of Picts
670-685 Ecgfrith king of Northumbria [672 Picts deposed Drust from kingship]
[672 Pictish army slaughtered by Ecgfrith]
672-693 Bridei son of Bili king of Picts [Adomnan became 9th abbot of Iona in 679]
681 Siege of Dunnottar (Kincardine)
682 Bridei laid waste the Orkneys
683 Siege of Dunadd and Dundurn (Perthshire)
685 Battle of Dunnichen Moss, called ‘Nechtansmere’; Bridei/Pictish army killed Ecgfrith, king of Northumbria
[Adomnan wrote his Law of Innocents and made visits to Pictish king in 697, d.704]
697 Tarachin (sic), Talorcan, king of Picts expelled from his kingdom
706-724 Nechtan son of Derile king of Picts (N and S)
711 Picts slaughtered by Northumbrians on ‘plain of Manaw’ (Clackmannan).
711 Nechtan requests Northumbrian architectural expertise in building a church ‘in the manner of Rome’, dedicated to Saint Peter–probable first church at Restenneth
717 Nechtan requests Columban ‘familia‘ return to Iona, leaving Pictish kingship in control of the Pictish Church
724 – 734 Nechtan retired to monastic life at Derile (Darley, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire); Drust ruled as successor
727 Oengus defeated Drust in three battles
728 Oengus defeated Alpin; Nechtan came out of retirement, defeated Alpin
729 Oengus defeated Nechtan who again retired, d. 734
729-761 Oengus I, son of Fergus, king of Picts
[735 death of historian Bede]
Oengus as overlord in Dál Riata, d.761
739 Oengus had Talorgan son of Drust drowned
750-752 Teudubr (?) son of Bili, king of Strathclyde, overlord of Picts
752 Battle of Asreth in Circenn (Mearns) between Picts; Bridei son of Maelchon died.
782 Dubh Talorc, king of the Picts on ‘this side of the Mounth’ died
789 Battle among Picts where Conall, son of Tadc escaped; Constantine victorious
802-806 Devastation of Iona by Vikings
811-820 Constantine, son of Fergus, king of Picts and of Dál Riata; founded Dunkeld–he is Pictish king commemorated on Dupplin Cross:Custatin filius Forcus
820-834 Oengus II, son of Fergus, king of Picts and of Dál Riata; founded Saint Andrews, buried in sarcophagus there
839 major victory by Vikings over Picts; death of Eoganan (Euan) son of Oengus–opportunity used by macAlpin for his takeover
c.840 Kenneth macAlpin king of Dál Riata
c.847 Kenneth macAlpin king of Scots and Picts – called himself King of Alba
KINGS OF SCOTS
858-862 Domnall (Donald I) king of Alba, brother of Kenneth
interregnum 862-880Constantin, son of Kenneth, king of Alba
ditto Aedth, brother of Constantin, king of Alba
880-889 Giric/Grig, brother of Donald mac Dunstan, king of Picts & Alba d. 889
because of his Pictish lineage, Giric/Grig ruled from Northern Pictland (St Cyrus in Mearns named after him)
He is founder of the Harbour of Aberdeen
900-943 Constantine II, son of Aedth, king of Scots
[937 after treaties negotiated with Northumbria, Constantine defeated at Brunanburh by Athelstan]
939 death of Athelstan
943-952 Constantine II retired to seclusion of St Andrews
943-954 Malcolm I, son of Donald mac Dunstan, king of Scots
954-962 Indulf son of Constantine II, king of Scots
[962-967 Culen macIndulf and Constantin macCulen interregnum with Dubh son of Malcolm and his
brother Kenneth II son of Malcolm 971-995]
967 Culen died at Cullen, Banffshire
966-1005 descendants of Constantine I excluded descendants of Aedth (son of macAlpin) from
Historical Kings of Scots
997-1005 Kenneth III, son of Dubh and his son Girc joint rule
1005-1034 Malcolm II king of Scots
1034-1040 Duncan I, grandson of Malcolm II through eldest daughter Bethoc. It was through his grandfather Malcolm II’s line via Malcolm’s second daughter Doada that Macbeth claimed kingship in 1040
1040-1057 Macbeth, grandson of Malcolm II, king of Scots
1057-58 (6 months) Lulach, son of Gruoch, lady Macbeth, by Gillecomgan, king (died at Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire)
1058-1093 Malcolm III Canmore, son of Duncan I, king of Scots
The Pictish Symbol Stones of Scotland (RCAHMS) ed. Iain Fraser 2008
Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD80-1000 by Alfred P. Smyth 1989
The Sculptured Stones of Scotland (2 vols) John Stuart, 1856
The early Christian monuments of Scotland: a classified illustrated descriptive list of the monuments with an analysis of their symbolism and ornamentation. JR Allen and J Anderson, 1903
©1998-2012 Friends of Grampian Stones, Editor: Marian Youngblood
Reblogged from Devorguilablog: View from the Pictish Citadel
500 Days until 12:XII:TWELVEHumanity loves prophecies: our histories are full of them.
According to several ancient cultures, we are entering a new phase in human development, human consciousness, earth-consciousness, union with the Divine.
Astrology was to the ancestral mind a gift from the future, the heavenly bodies’ allowing the human race a glimpse of time’s far shore, a beacon through uncharted waters –literally steering the human vessel by the stars. And –however skeptical you may be– all ancient cultures had their oracle, allowed themselves to be guided by astrological readings based on ever-changing celestial movement and planetary alignments and collisions.
Many have become dissociated from the daily rhythms of the Earth, forget to look nightly at the stars and their feelings seem divorced from reality –whatever that is. The thought of one’s emotions actively being influenced by the electromagnetic and orbital changes of planets in the solar system — let alone the distant stars — is often ridiculed as being naïve, even ignorant.But our ancestors were not ignorant. Unlike us, they were daily in touch with the earth, aware of her ‘forcefield’ — for want of a better word– her seismic and electromagnetic fluctuations which altered weather patterns, brought bounty and drought, changed seasons. They were so aware of such regular rhythmical cycles that they devised stone circles to measure and signal points in that cosmic compass, hours/days in that solar and lunar calendar. From modern scientific data collected at some stone circles, it is thought likely that our ancestors knew where and when risings of the sun and moon affected rings of stone to produce increased ‘flow’ — a power not unlike electricity as we know it.
The calendar of the ancient Maya has become significant in recent times as a wayshower to help us navigate through the choppy waters of group consciousness. In Mayan calculation, their ancient Long Count calendar — a measure of Man’s rising to meet the gods — is beginning to wind down. We are approaching the End Times, the Moment of Cosmic All-change, the point on the ecliptic where the Sun (and the Earth in orbit around it) comes into conjunction with the center of our Galaxy at 11:11 on December solstice 2012.
There are 500 days from Lammas this year to the 10-day prelude to solstitial union with galactic center: on 12:12:12 we shall either have completed planetary ascension or we will know our work has been in vain. I prefer to think we shall complete the program — that we as a species are destined to rise to the challenge facing us.
New Age philosophy and astrology support a path to ascension required of its vision-keepers, lightworkers (through meditation and right living) as a process of uniting these two conflicting polarities, emphasizing the need to bring harmony to the male-female yin-yang, left and right brain hemispheres which must operate before the Earth may return to a balanced state of wholeness and oneness.Crop circles this month have featured both the yin-yang (Louth, July 20), several spirals (July 13 Avebury) and an elaborate serpent motif (Inkpen, July 29), the symbol of all life, as well as orbiting bodies reminiscent of the inner solar system. See Siderealview blog for more detail.
The serpent, symbolic of Life, seen in the snaking of equinox sunset light down the pyramid of Chichen Itza, is common to many archaic worlds: medical science’s caduceus, Hermes the messenger to the gods, and the Garden of Eden would not be the same without him.
According to the ancient Maya, he rises through the world Ages, culminating with the flowering of human consciousness — NOW. To the Maya in their Long Count calendar, the Cosmos consists of Nine Underworlds or levels of development that complete in 2012. So important to their cosmological measurements were the numbers Nine (levels), Twenty (days, katun) and Thirteen (moons) that these powerful digits were expressed in their most significant monument construction. Mayan pyramids all have nine tiers or platforms.
The twenty-year (katun)cycle is intrinsic in all their calculation.
The longest tun-based time cycle was called the hablatun, each totalling 460,800.000,000 days = 1.26 billion years. Thirteen hablatuns made up the first Underworld (the initial creation cycle, beginning 3114BC) giving a total duration of 13 x 1.26 MM days or 16.4 billion years. This time period of 16.4 billion years is very close to current scientific estimates for the formation of matter from light at the birth of creation, or the ‘Big Bang’.
Each of the nine levels represented a different Underworld — expressed horizontally in the pyramids’ construction. Just as the levels of the pyramids are seen to become progressively smaller as they tier towards the top, so too the amount of time in each Underworld becomes shorter in duration as they progress hierarchically through the calculation.
It is interesting in a lunar calendrical context that this weekend –July 31-August 1– marks the Leo New Moon: a powerful coming-together of celestial forces following on from the Mayan Day-out-of-time, Monday 25 July 2011. And on August 1st we, the human race, walk through the dimensional wormhole and enter the Fifth Day of the Ninth and final Underworld of the Mayan Longcount.
This coincides with Lammas, Celtic quarter day, fire festival of the ancient Britons which was celebrated at the height of Nature’s season of bounty, the middle of the fruiting year when Earth empties her cornucopia into the laps of an unsuspecting world. As the midpoint (in all calendars ancient and modern) between summer solstice, June 21st, and autumn equinox, Septmember 23rd, Lammas —Lughnasad, the festival of light god, Lugh, revered in indigenous harvesting communities in the Old World– marks the point in the celestial sphere where the Sun culminates, arriving at 15 Leo on August 7th, a week from now.
Ancient Brittonic communities marked Lammas as the most joyous of all fire festivals, often feasting and dancing, sharing and giving for three weeks before LAMMAS and three weeks after. During the Neolithic, stone circles were used for such fire festivals, the central floor marked by successive generations of fire-burning, heavily pounding feet which revellers flattened like a remarkably sophisticated dance arena.
Now, in the 21stC, we are greeted with the mystical equivalent for our time — crop circles, created electromagnetically — and capable, through the miracle of late age images and electronic media, of stimulating our primeval alert system, piqueing our human pineal gland into producing natural mellowing melatonin and driving our dormant DNA into revving up to a higher gear. We are entering the brief Mayan Fifth Day — a portal of opportunity which completes on August 17th.
Video of West Woodhay Down, Inkpen crop circle July 29th 2011,
thanks to Shumnyabai (Joan Wheaton): Divine Serpent with Neptunian forked tongue and rattler tail reflecting Maya god Kukulkan (Quetzalcoatl), the divine feathered serpent who gives life.
We should use it.
HUMANITY HEALING alert
Humanity Healing Community acts as one of the new world’s wayshowers in suggesting that the arrival of the Lammas/New Moon/Fifth Day is even more potent because as a point in consciousness — it encourages us to choose actively how we want our new world to be.
‘What do you Want?
The Universe is asking and waiting for your answer.
The cosmic force of Creation needs you to focus the lens, to get clear on your vision, your dreams, your intent. You can take a giant step forward with whatever you want this weekend when three energetic gateways converge.
There is both an opportunity and a responsibility in this.’
Humanity Healing: A call to focus
Thoughts, intent, actions, emotions are intensified — go quantum — at a time like this. The energetic portal is more than an opportunity given us by our overlighting Presence — Humanity’s Oversoul — it is an instruction. We can each make a difference, add a contribution to the fate of the human race.
This may sound rather dramatic. Actually, it is. This is a time, unprecedented in human history. On the esoteric level, we are told we asked to come and to be here –incarnate– at this time. On the psychic level, we are sensing a coming-together of many traditions, a meeting of minds from many populations and backgrounds. Many spiritual leaders of the world’s diverse faiths are encouraging us –willing us to take the plunge.
Planetary transformation. It’s what Carl Sagan would have called our stepping up to take on the mantle of a Level I civilization. He and Kardashev would have been proud.
Prophecies of indigenous people everywhere point to the times we are going through now as a period of intense purification, a transition from our current cycle to whatever comes next.
“So then, what is the message I bring to you today? Is it our common future? It seems to me that we are living in a time of prophecy, a time of definitions and decisions. We are the generation with the responsibilities and the option to choose the the path of life for the future of our children, or the life and path which defies the Laws of Regeneration. Even though you and I are in different boats –you in your boat and we in our canoe — we share the same River of Life: what befalls me, befalls you. And downstream, downstream in this River of Life, our children will pay for our selfishness, for our greed, and for our lack of vision.
“500 years ago, you came to our pristine lands of great forests, rolling plains, crystal clear lakes and streams and rivers. And we have suffered in your quest for God, for Glory, for Gold. But, we have survived. Can we survive another 500 years of ‘sustainable development?’ I don’t think so. Not in the definitions they put ‘sustainable’ in today. I don’t think so. So, reality and the natural law will prevail: The Law of the Seed and Regeneration.
“We can still alter our course. It is NOT too late. We still have options. We need the courage to change our values to the regeneration of our families, the life that surrounds us. Given this opportunity, we can raise ourselves. We must join hands with the rest of Creation and speak of Common Sense, Responsibility, Brotherhood, and PEACE. We must understand that The Law *is* the Seed and only as True Partners can we survive.”
Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, and a Chief of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs
All the Prophets said this moment would come. The Hopi say we are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the Bird Tribes, circling and massing, congregating for our shared flight through cyberspace, to reach consciousness, nay, communion with that all-pervasive force of the Universe, call it what you will. We have five hundred days to go. So, are we ready?
Coincidental with the 500-day look ahead, Father Time is presenting us with a seven-day energy window in present time for us to focus our intent. From Ramadan/new moon through Mayan 5 I’x (Gregorian August 3rd,2011 –this week) until August 5th–still to come– we would do well to use this cosmic energetic helper: 5 I’X was to the Maya symbolic of the Force of the Universe and the day of commemoration of the World.
As a springboard from which we step off and project ourselves into the new, Culture has not prepared us for what comes next. No avid scanning of ancient texts, no guru, no world leader, no reincarnation of the Spirit of Delphi or channeled message from Arcturus can prepare us any better than we can ourselves for what may greet us on the other side of this Portal in contemporary Time.
The Human Race has reached the Finish Line. We have to step forward and claim our prize, some call it our birthright, gird our loins and step into the blue yonder.
The energy window is OPEN. Let’s fly together.
What a trip.
©2011 Marian Youngblood
Last year, 2010, spring in Britain was ‘late’, as it followed the previous winter’s heavy freeze; so the first crop circle to emerge did not occur in the month of April, but on May 5th (Old Beltane), in alignment with an ancient sacred stronghold (and site of the first Salisbury cathedral) at Old Sarum. Its appearance was eagerly awaited by the crop circle community because the earliest farming crop to start into flower –oil seed rape, canola– was only just out of the ‘green’ stage. Previous years had brought early ripening and, by comparison, the 2010 season had a lot to make up for.
So, it seems, does the summer of 2011. A repeat winter freeze, (human) standstill and a gradual earth-warm-up and then, bam, an April ‘heatwave’. Easter Sunday, April 24th, was the warmest April day in Britain since 1949: the month of April the warmest since records began 100 years ago. Last week, the British geared up for the Royal Wedding and the weather was playing along nicely. So, it might seem, is the sense of humour of the crop circlemakers: Prince William (Wales and Windsor) married on Friday, while one week previously, on Good Friday, the first canola circle appeared in South Wales.
Canola is a plant of the brassica family which often signals the start of the crop circle season, because in Britain nothing else (barley, wheat, maize) is anywhere near its ripening stage at the end of April.
There have been exceptions. Unusually, in 2010 a Somerset bean crop was used on June 7th at Stony Littleton longbarrow near Bath to showcase the double spiral of a traditional clock mechanism, as if perhaps to highlight the concept –or urgency– of time.Then, lo and behold, the first Dutch formation –on Easter Sunday morning– at Bosschenhoofd, 22 miles South of Rotterdam, appeared in grass.
April dates that heralded the start of a British season in three previous years had already passed–April 15, 19 and 17 for years 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. The weather in England has been heating up fast, however, so it was a relief when the first crop circle of this season appeared over the Easter weekend –not in Wiltshire amid the sacred landscape of ancient Saxon heritage– but in an even older landscape with genuine Brittonic origins: Gwent, where this most ancient race has left evidence of human settlement since Mesolithic times.
Coincidentally–the Circlemakers are great on synchronicity–the tight little formation appeared at Innage farm near Chepstow, a stone’s throw across the Severn Bridge from the Oldbury nuclear power plant which featured in a crop image last July and which (with less publicity) vented radioactive steam one month ago, frightening already anxious residents on both sides of the river. Public concern was quelled by nuclear authority spokesmen after locals were understandably alarmed at the announcement of new ‘works’ planned for the nuclear facility, despite the awful and uncontrollable meltdown continuing in Fukushima, Japan after last month’s earthquake and tsunami.
The new Welsh design, in a field of oil seed rape, lies only seven miles southwest of the spectre of last season’s remarkable formation –the July 18th ‘quake-vibration’ crop circle at Woolaston Grange, Gloucestershire. While lying on the same (Welsh) side of the Severn, the 2010 ‘ghost’ technically lies in England, but it also faces diagonally across the river to the nuclear plant. Between the two lies the ancient stronghold of Caes-Gwent, ‘castle of Gwent’, modern Chepstow.In an historical context, Chepstow’s Welsh name, Caes Gwent, castle of Venta, Roman ‘market place’, shows how ancient are its roots and how significant is its position on the confluence of the river Wye (over which the 11thC Castle of Gwent still towers) with the Severn –that great tidal estuary which eventually flows into the Bristol Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. This is the southern heartland of the ancient (pre-Celtic) Brythonic kingdom, where ancient Britons spoke a dialect understood by other Britons of Prydein –Roman Britannia. Their language was understood over the water-bridge in Brittany, throughout Cornwall, Isle of Man, Rheged (ancient Cumbria), Dumbarton and Strathclyde (Dun-Britton), Brigantia (Yorkshire and Northumberland) and northern Pictland (Prydein). Their ancient monuments, aligned with the movements of the heavens and dedicated to their ancestral dead, were generations older than Stonehenge. Avebury’s great circle is their nearest relative in design and in time.
Once again, bang on time, the crop circle phenomenon has drawn to our attention an ancient landscape–full of sacred detail and priceless earthbound wisdom– almost totally forgotten in the 21st century.
But the Circlemakers display yet more layers to enlighten us.Another coincidence can be seen in the Chepstow design’s similarity to the four-petalled lotus of the Muladhara, the red-hued base chakra design which kicked off the 2011 January season in Sleman, Yogyakarta, Java. At that time, a statement from the Sultanate warned the Javanese–the world’s most populous Muslim country, already steeped in shared knowledge of kundalini and the significance of chakras in the energy body, borrowed from Hindu belief–that the appearance of the ‘base chakra’ presaged
“Nature’s selections (i.e. acts of God) in this country shortly”
HRH Prince Karyonagoro (Kandjeng Pangeran) January 2011.
In Vedic Kundalini the red base chakra is the lowest, most physically-driven, of the body’s energy centres. In recent years many crop circles and spiritual groups have been emphasizing the need for us, the human race, to rise above physicality and elevate ourselves at least through the second and third to the level of the (green) fourth heart-chakra, in order to prepare ourselves for our anticipated move –along with the planet Earth– into fifth-dimensional reality, nirvana, a permanent state of bliss or Ascension.
With the exception of the ‘message’ Crop designs at Crabwood Farm August 2002, Circlemakers do not usually leave us specific directions. They use hints, fractals, energy mosaics, pointers and clues to a mystery which we –in wracking our braincells and stirring up our DNA– seem to delight in trying to solve.
Gwent seems to be hinting…
It is interesting to note that the combination Muslim-Hindu population of Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland) has doubled in ten years, from 1.5million in 2001 to around 3 million in 2011; and outside of Leicester and Harrow, the predominant residential city-satellites for Hindu and Muslim peoples with Indian subcontinent roots (within commuting distance of London on M4 and M48) include Cardiff and Chepstow-on-Wye.
As the Circlemakers are known for their sense of humour, they might just be saying that we, the people of the British Isles, despite introduced Vedic wisdom and several seasons of implicit teachings and clues from crop circle mentors, are–in consciousness–still psychically hanging out around our own base chakra, i.e. our heads are still up our kundalini tail.
Judging by recent seasons, May 1st (Beltane) appears to be the seasonal cut-off date. Beltane means earth festival bigtime for the Circlemakers. Buddhist Wesak celebrates the Buddha’s birth on the first full moon of the Taurus cycle (this year May 17th). But May also means the Baal fire ritual of the Ancients. Once again we are being reminded (implicitly) how our ancient Brittonic ancestors valued –nay, worshipped– the sacred return of Light in the full blossoming of May Day, Beltane, with the Earth’s rise in fertility, the blossoming of trees and flowers, the Earth Mother’s return to full growth and potency. Beltane was more than just a fire festival at 15ºTaurus, the mid-point of the growth season; it was a celebration of renewal and a belief for all Mankind that the Earth was capable once again of overcoming death, dying, winter, moving through budding of new growth into full-blown summer and supreme joy of life.
It is this ancient practice, once a sacred belief system held by our pre-Christian Brittonic ancestors–kept alive in some Druidic and Wiccan traditions so often ridiculed by modern skeptics–that the crop circles seek to remind us: Life is not dead. We and the Earth are alive.Looking back, it is easy to spot this recurring theme. The decade of the 1990s had marked a gradual trend towards an earlier start to the season in April; remarkably, 1999 began on April 3rd! But by contrast, the first half of the ‘noughties was marked by late beginnings–mid-May (2001, 2005), even early June (2002, 2003, 2004 & 2006). 2009 began on time (first crop circle on The Ridgway near Avebury/West Overton on April 17th. In 2008, April 19th marked the beginning with a six-armed spiral at Waden Hill, Avebury. It was also the year of the bee (at Honey Street, no less) on July 27th; the first year crop circles were confirmed in the USA and Brazil; and, with synchronicity we are coming to expect, the famous ‘Eight’/Infinity formation which on 08-08-08 graced Milk Hill, Alton Barnes. Circles arrived even earlier in 2007, with the Oliver’s Castle seven-arcs on April 15th. 2007 was famous for its ‘Om’ design of 07-07-07–at East Field. This remarkable formation began a trend in croppie thinking of assigning special meaning to specific numerical sequences: a simple form of numerology or gematria. That said, 2006 was a disappointment to many who waited until 21st May for the first sign in East Sussex. According to crop-prophet Freddy Silva, that year was atypical because it was jinxed by a high number of ‘hoax’ cropcircles. By contrast, it was famous for its first-time 3D-special effects formations. They have been entrancing us ever since.
The world’s first 3D design at Wayland’s Smithy, Oxfordshire, left, –combination skyscraper-overhead, 12-towers and Florence Nightingale’s Rose Diagram–appeared July 8th 2006: 06-07-08. Its proximity to Wayland’s Smithy neolithic burial chamber is not accidental, as it implies a connection between the ancient Saxon god of metalworking and the future of the human race being forged now. The British–as mythologist Barbara Clow has stated bluntly–are not exactly known for their knowledge of their own sacred beginnings. She implies (the reality of) America as a God-fearing race; while the British have no tolerance for the sacred. Many of the most emphatic crop markings of recent years have emphasized this lack of sensitivity to our ancient wisdom and essence of the sacred. Designs have increasingly been sited in close proximity to primeval sacred sites or places of ancient wisdom whose meaning and context have, in general, been studiously ignored.
“The Measure of a Man and of an Angel will be the same in the New Jerusalem”
Revelation of John 21: 17
The Twelve Towers, as the Waylands formation became known, has been likened by crop circle veteran Joseph Mason to the final reckoning of the New Jerusalem in the Revelation of John: Jerusalem was said to measure 12×12=144 cubits, a sacred number meaning ‘Light’, often represented by the cube. His exposition is worth reading for its incisive content and extreme intuition. Wayland’s inate spiraling form has reappeared many times since that year, as a kind of reminder of its End-of-Days message. One also sees in it the ‘Rose Diagram’ of Florence Nightingale–the first time a woman effectively cured an epidemic by alerting the medical community (and the world) to iatrogenic deaths in foul hospital conditions in the Crimea. She made her presentation via a diagram her superiors could visualize, and her visual method changed the way humanity looked at health. In that sense the crop circle message may be our own health warning, an alert that our world may now be in imminent danger, as a result of our own pollution of earth’s fragile systems.
2006 may have been an odd year — no crop circle 06-06-06; a short season that ended abruptly on August 14th. But it did deliver some amazing pieces of inter-dimensional wonder. And from that year onwards, the world croppie audience began sitting up and paying attention.
Seasons come and go and we are learning to expect bigger and more explicit messages. What surfaces above all is the sense of wonder they impart, to thousands who have never actually sat in one or experienced the sense of ‘community’ they intuitively bring to the fields. Many have only seen them from above: the photographic message, shared so willingly and selflessly by dedicated crop circle pilots and photographers and website volunteers. In a gentle, unobtrusive way, it seems that the symbols in the fields are encouraging us to reconnect with our own sense of community–and our own sacred selves.
Vibration and Frequency and Form
All matter is in essence a group of particles vibrating at a common frequency, (a current scientific theory) and it is understandable that we human beings, made up of particles vibrating at a certain frequency, are affected by other vibrating particles–positive or negative–depending on the interaction.
This is inkeeping with current spiritual group ethos: raise your vibration to create your own mastery. The idea resonates well with the crop circles. Some see them as ‘temporary temples‘ for a modern age that has lost its sense of the Sacred. As huge, geometric temples, they seem to inspire our psyche towards wonder, a higher sense of reality and awareness. It is documented that many people feel compelled to enter formations in the fields from quite a distance away, and afterwards describe feelings of peace and wellbeing while inside the ‘sacred’ space. Many attest to lives profoundly changed in some capacity–psychologically or spiritually– by the experience.Over the years it has become commonplace for circle visitors to experience an energetic ‘flow’ within its precinct. Video cameras malfunction, batteries suddenly go dead, compasses fluctuate wildly. The electromagnetic field which circles produce has been likened by some dowsers, empaths and sensitives to the static they feel inside the oldest stone circles. Again, it seems synchronistic that the crop circles and the stone circles of Wiltshire and North Britain share a mystical connection in location, effect on ground water and subsoil. Samples taken for scientific analysis by non-profit agencies such as BLT Research confirm this. In 1980 the Dragon Project measured a miraculous surge of radiation within the precinct of Rollright Stones, Oxon at the moment of sunrise. Stonehenge visitors (for midsummer sunrise) confirm similar rises in energy. Both these stone circles are reasonably complete in construction. By contrast, dowsers who have visited ‘restored’ stone circles –a notorious one in Aberdeenshire at Strichen–experience sickness and have to leave because of the disruptive energy fields created by misaligned or substituted stones of the ‘wrong’ geological composition. It seems our Neolithic ancestors had a sense of ‘knowing’ where to place stone circles on the earth’s electromagnetic nodes–and within widely electrically-conductive aquifers of chalk or limestone– it worked like a dream.
In the magical situation created by an overnight crop sensation arriving via light, heat and sound in a ripening field, the essence of electromagnetic currents seem to be retained by the very bounds of the design’s circumference. According to BLT’s research, only gradually over a period of days–probably with traffic generated by visitors along paths leading in and out–does the energy level dissipate. There are some field formations where the energy appears so potent that its influence lingers not only through the winter after harvest, but, remarkably, for several subsequent seasons.
… as a ghostly reminder of what once was…
These are the famous crop circle ‘ghosts’.
It is not just their physical form which has a remarkable effect on the humans attracted to enter crop circles. Their ghosts do as well. And, seen from the air –as we are now treated to, courtesy of the generosity of volunteers like Olivier Morel, above– crop circles are making their mark on the civilized world.
It may still be considered an ‘alternative’ world, a ‘loopy fringe’ by some, but even the media is coming around to the idea that the human race is jointly heading for some kind of quantum leap –either this year or next.
We are being treated to something in accelerated time: a reminder by Spirit of the Sacred which many of us seem to have forgotten. It is something quite wonderful, infinitely fulfilling and much needed, in order to bring our lives back into some kind of perspective. Because it is a little beyond our grasp, there is a thrill associated with this achievement. And it is well overdue.
©2011 Marian Youngblood
The second crop circle (January 25th) lies in the Bantul district of Yogyakarta, 6km south of the center (and the Kraton Palace) in a rural district which suffered severe structural damage and loss of life in May 27th 2006 when a 6.2 magnitude earthquake tore through the village. Bantul is known internationally as an important artist’s colony which produces posters using a technique called cukil, daren kidul and Dono Kerto Turi.Crop circle followers worldwide are struck by the synchronicity of the crop circle sightings — these are unique in Indonesia; the first time crop circles have appeared — with their closeness in date, design and proximity to Mount Merapi’s seismic field. Even local Indonesians are contemplating the coincidence of the two designs’ choice of location as a warning of further earth changes in this volatile region. Within days, thousands of visitors lined up to walk through the rice fields to experience the phenomenon first-hand.
Many had never heard of crop circles nor read of the phenomenon and several reports described the marks in the fields as the ‘imprint of landing UFOs‘.In a statement from the Yogyakarta Sultanate by Java’s spiritual counsellor, HRH Prince Karyonagoro (Kandjeng Pangeran) the Sultan’s family is ‘taking these appearances seriously’.
However the design of the circles has struck him as very interesting as it appears to replicate the form of the Javanese Muladhara, or the base chakra of the kundalini.
“From the standpoint of ‘Merging with the One philosophy’, the appearance of the crop circle phenomenon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, in the form of Muladhara symbol means that there will be Nature’s selections in this country shortly, because the symbol is related to the genetical mapping when microcosm synergized with macrocosm waiting for a birth in the third dimensional place and time. I hope my brothers and sisters will be all right in welcoming this pending event. Stay alert!…”
HRH Prince Karyonagoro
Several spiritual groups in the city have indicated they believe the appearances are reminiscent of omens predicting an imminent natural disaster.Yogyakarta, once the capital of Indonesia during the National Revolution (1945-1949), is known for its strong Javanese traditions in art, culture, theater and the crafts of shadow puppetry, batik and sublime dance movement originating in the royal Court. Having gained independence in the 18th Century from the colonial Dutch, Yogyakarta has maintained historical architecture from both its colonial past and its Javanese heritage. It is home to Indonesia’s most prestigious state unversity, the Gadjah Mada University, as well as several other private universities which make their home in the region. Yogyakarta is the only province in the country with Special Administrative Region status (SAR) and is alone in being headed by a monarchy. The prince is also head of the spiritual welfare of the people and for this reason a statement on crop circles from the Sultanate is taken to be of great importance. The Bantul crop circle of January 25th (6km S of the city center) also appeared in rice, prompting a rash of local media and news reports linking the appearance to a massive 6.2 magnitude earthquake in the same district on May 27tth, 2006 when much of the village was destroyed and over 1000 people lost their lives.
Bantul is known to international art collectors as the home of an artists’ colony which produces unique poster designs called cukil, daren kidul and Dono Kerto Turi.
As much of the population in Yogyakarta are resident students attending universities in the city, the crop circle phenomenon has been a popular diversion, with much international discussion being generated and shared with the international crop circle community on Facebook and other social networks. The appearances in rice come at a time when the northern hemisphere — in the winter doldrums between the end of the 2010 (English) season and the beginning of the next, around April 2011 — did not expect to be surprised. The appearances in rice — along with similar anomalous layering of crop and gentle folding and tufting seen in Wiltshire crop circles — have triggered much interest worldwide.
Some suggest the timing and synchronous appearance of the designs as presaging seismic activity or earth changes within the next two weeks. Other fears suggest that it presages world shortages in the food supply, specifically rice.Given recent (European) seasonal pointers to sacred places and ancient pyramid structures, along with inter-faith meetings and ‘convergences’, it is tempting to connect the designs with the 8th/9thC Buddhist temple set on its 10-layer step pyramid at Borobudur, 40k NW of Yogyakarta on the other side of Mount Merapi. The temple’s magnificent ornately-carved 8thC structure was for centuries buried under (Merapi) volcanic ash and only rediscovered in 1814. From above, the pyramid takes the form of a Mandala symbolically depicting the path of the bodhisattva (novice aspiring to enlightenment) from samsara to nirvana. The ten steps of the pyramid signify ten levels of ascension. Compare this with the Sultanate’s statement likening the ‘mandala’ of the crop circles to Muladhara, the base, or primary of the seven chakras in Hindu Tantrism,
‘relating to the Earth, the densest of the seven grades of manifestation.’
The temple’s design is thought to be a recreation of Mount Meru, mythical home of the Hindu gods, called Sumeru i.e the “Great Meru” and a sacred mountain in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cosmology, considered to be the center of all physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. It is also the abode of Lord Brahma and the Demi-Gods (Devas).
“Crop Circles are telling you, in a universal language, of coming events, and we are speaking here not only of physical events, such as the pending pole shift, but spiritual as well. In the past, these simple but eloquent messages were left, with increasing frequency and urgency, leading up to the shift.”
A further —third crop circle— has appeared since this post in the Magelang district which draws the other two into geometric alignment not just with Mount Merapi, but also with Mount Tidar, the mountain known as the ‘Nail of Java’. According to myth, If the Nail does not hold, the Island will blow apart.*
These ideas are sparking a following on several continents.. We will be following volcanic activity in the vicinity of Mount Merapi, (Central Java) and Mount Bromo (East Java) which has also been threatening activity lately.
On the seismic and croppie scene, we shall keep you posted.
Sine umbra nihilMIDWinter 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.!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.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.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.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.
Crop circles are not new. The phenomenon is centuries-old, embedded in folklore in South Africa and China, achieving sparse comment from English academics in the 1600s; noted in police records and farming journals in 1890; by military and ‘classified’ sources through the 1950s and ’60s.
It was not until 1980, however, that the general populace began to notice them. Since 1990 size and intricacy have developed, mimicking computer fractals, fourth dimensional reality, esoterica known only to quantum physicists. Nearly 30 years after that Thatcherite time, discussion favours excitement over fear, anticipation rather than suppression, belief more than ridicule. The appearance of upwards of 10,000 reported ‘genuine’ crop circles in twenty-nine countries worldwide has brought the subject into the mainstream. It has become ‘cool’ to talk about what they might mean.
In the English countryside since 2005, designs have become so complex, it is natural to speak of codes and mathematical sequences and quantum physics and astronomical numbers. As simple ellipses expanded into trailing solar flares, hypercubes, calendrical geometry and astrophysical complexity, we became mesmerized by beauty in the summer landscape, breathless with anticipation of what would come next.
In 2009 the pick of the crop finished at the end of August. Fields in September were conspicuous by their absence.
They’ve got us where they want us: on the edge of our seats.
In a lull between September’s close and next year’s crop of never-before-seen designs, what have we learned? Why are we being gifted such inspiration?
What associative ideas do they generate? What emotions do they trigger? Where do they mostly appear?
Many delving, however briefly, into this phenomenon would associate the random appearance of crop circles with that other kind of circle: the ancient and sacred stone circle. That the majority of designs in England has focused on the hallowed precincts of great sacred sites like Avebury and Sillbury Hill, Wiltshire, Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire and within sight of ancient burial mounds of Hampshire is no coincidence. The same is true for appearances near ancient ancestral sites in other countries: Holland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Latvia; even the Serpent Mound, east of Cincinnati, Ohio. In all this exotica, it is easy to miss one particular circle of great simplicity but infinite importance in the farmland of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which appeared at the end of Lammas, 1995.
A little patience and we can find a context, a common link.
First off, like the siting of ancient stone circles, crop circle placement is not random.
Dowsers, diviners, engineers, television cameramen and aircraft pilots can all attest to electromagnetic anomalies occurring in cleared agricultural land where Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers placed their mounds, erected their trilithons, buried their dead. Feng shui proponents, who detect minute variations in electrical body pulses, have commented on the extraordinary fluctuations of energy contained within the relatively small area concentrated on Wiltshire’s sacred sites; Alton Barnes, with its twin village Alton Priors, rank high on the electromagnetic scale. It is not surprising, therefore, that this select valley houses not only the prehistoric White Horse, but was home to Milk Hill swallow configuration (2008) and multiple coded designs in 2009: whirling dolphins, star tetrahedron and the sextant (star navigational instrument) created in three stages; contemporary appearances at Alton Priors include – in perfect timing – the exquisite eight/infinity symbol of 08/08/08 (August 8, 2008) and the swallow with coded tail of June 2009.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to watch your compass needle fluctuate wildly at Yatesbury, Wiltshire; a newly-charged car battery die on the edge of a field at Sillbury Hill, near Avebury or your camera spontaneously recharge in the centre of a newly-laid crop design at Alton Barnes. These magnetic phenomena are commonplace to students of ‘leyline’ energy meridians, with which the Wiltshire basin and Cotswold range are filled. But it is significant that Yatesbury was home to the dragonfly glyph of June 3rd and Phoenix of June 12th 2009. Sillbury Hill has always deviated instruments; its great chalk mound resisting man’s excavations to discover its secret; but it opened its fields to decoration of extraordinary complexity on August 3rd, 2009 when plain swirled circles were found to contain at their centres the intricately woven patterns reminiscent of the medieval corn-dolly craft.
According to a representative of the British Feng Shui Society, an area of Britain ranking second only to the Avebury-Yatesbury-Windmill Hill energy vortex is the largely forgotten agricultural plain of Scotland–lying between the 56th and 57thN parallel–in the counties of Angus, Aberdeenshire and Banff. World attention has focused on names like Bishops Cannings, the Roundway, and Chiselden. But how many have heard of Sunhoney, Easter Aquhorthies, Culsalmond or Old Rayne?
Among the excitement of first circles decorating Wiltshire and Oxfordshire in the 1990s, the contemporaneous appearance of a single swirled design in wheat in Aberdeenshire was overlooked. Yet their locations–within ancient sacred landscape, in proximity to prehistoric ritual sites of previously huge importance to a country population–and the time of year in which they appeared have a common link.
In ancient times, the Celtic calendar revolved round the farming year: birds start to nest at Candlemas (February 2nd), Vernal Equinox fields are prepared for sowing; Beltane (May 1st) held a huge fire festival celebrating the seeded land; fire festivals were perpetuated ritually and with deliberate intent, until well after the Reformation. Only then did Church and State combine to desecrate such ritual, relegating it to the realm of pagan superstition (pagan = L. paganus = country-dweller), implication: simple country folk knew no better. Midsummer solstice was a time of rejoicing for the bounty beginning to appear in fruit and crops; Lammas (August 1st) marked the onset of harvest, usually over by autumnal equinox; and the Celtic Year ended and began anew with the festival of Hallowe’en/All Hallows Day. Christmas was superimposed on the earlier festival of winter solstice, when the land was in almost total darkness, with farming people praying for the return of the Light.
In an abundance of festivals, the greatest for agricultural and rural families was that of Lammas. While its pivotal date was August 1st, the festival coincided in a good summer with the actual harvesting of grain. In most communities it began three weeks before and continued until three weeks after that date–ending around August 24th. Through the medieval centuries, every community in the Land had a Lammas fair dedicated to the local patron saint, a Horse Fair, a fair to compete, display wares, buy and sell food, fruit and harvested bounty.Aberdeenshire, like many of the southern counties was rich in such events. The names, if not the actual ethos of the celebration, linger in local names. Old Rayne has its Lourin’ Fair; annual Aikey Fair occurs at Aikey Brae near Old Deer. And Culsalmond had the greatest fair of them all: St Sair’s Fair. Named after one of the earliest Brittonic saints to spread Christianity in the North, St Serf was the patron of the St Sair’s Horse and Feeing Fair. Not only serving as a forum for employing (feeing) farm servants, it attracted horse and cattle fanciers from all over the kingdom. While Aikey and Lourin continue to show horses, St Sair’s Fair did not survive World War II.
The stance at Jericho on the Hill of St Sairs has dissolved into the sod of the Glens of Foudland, like the tiny chapel to St Sair which used to mark the spot. Even after such fairs were officially banned in 1660, St Sairs was going strong in 1722. Horses were being traded in 1917 on the hill. Change in farm practices and two wars were its undoing.
What is significant, however, is not that great stallions used to parade these hallowed slopes, but that St Sairs happened within a sacred enclave of ancestral ritual circles, burial mounds and avenues just like Avebury and Sillbury Hill. The Culsalmond recumbent stone circle lies buried among the gravestones of the ruinous pre-Reformation kirk; Neolithic carved stone balls were found on the farms of Jericho, St Sairs and Waulkmill, within a sacred avenue flanked by three stone circles and two burial mounds. Bronze Age urns from Colpy and Upper Jericho have, along with charred body parts and Neolithic carved stone ladles, found their way into museums in Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh and London. More than one hundred flint arrowheads and several hundred flint implements have disappeared from this ancient place–and the archaeological record.
It was here on the last day of Lammas 1995 that a crop circle sent a reminder–a simple swirled design in wheat–to trigger in this ancient landscape a memory of connection to its agricultural past and, perhaps, if we are listening, the key to our communal future.