Monthly IWSG gets a Chill PillFirstly, may I wish all my American cousins, writerly, IWSGy or not, a stupendous Independence Day for 2012; I can’t help but notice that in the 236 years since you began this great celebration of your freedom—from the shackles of your colonial rellies—us Brits—relations between us have remarkably improved.
—Two cultures divided by a common language—
Geoerge Bernard Shaw
Although this time of the month I usually reserve for bloghopping, whispering our creative woes, or rejoicing in support of Alex J. Cavanaugh‘s regular bloghop/blast-off by insecure writers, IWSG, our fearless leader—with two sci-fi bestsellers in the bag; his third a WIP—has given us a reprieve*. Independence Day is, he believes, such a national holiday, a day of celebration, that it is worth setting aside any commitments or prior promises, and instead get out there and …er … blast off in another direction: with fireworks.
*Alex knows us writers well; technically, he gave us the option to post either today or tomorrow 🙂In Britain, ‘health-and-safety’ concerns make it illegal now to shoot fireworks, except on the anniversary of November 5th, when in 1605 Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament situated in the medieval Palace of Westminster, London. It seems in our shared nature that we like to explode spectacular visual patterns on our consciousness and feel good when we do it.
So I thought that, instead of having a monthly moan, or catching you up on my latest literary contest rejection, I would use this month’s bloghop as an excuse to have a bit of visual fun—a mini slideshow— with the new images appearing in the (mostly British) cornfields; It’s my way of contributing to the US holiday; and isn’t it interesting to explore why certain images, like going to the movies, make us feel good. It works, however much or little we understand about the phenomenon.
Catchup for Beginners
By far the most-favored fields are those in the ancient neolithic kingdom of Wessex—Stonehenge and Glastonbury come to mind. Mostly confined to a small portion of chalk—limestone—ridges and fields in central Wiltshire, whose underground aquifers measure highly as an electric/energy current conductor, crop circles have in recent years appeared to highlight their surroundings, manifesting in the vicinity of ancient sacred centers like Avebury stone circle and neolithic Silbury Hill—largest man-made mound in Europe.It is true that more people have become aware of their ancient heritage through following the cropcircle trail… And wasn’t it the Native American who advocated following the route led by Nature into the Sacred Ways of the Ancestors?
You Americans did well to burst out in your independence. We Brits are still culturally guilty of too much criticism and cynicism. Maybe the crop circles are telling us to lighten up. And it has not escaped anyone’s notice that we are now midway through the year predicted by the Ancestors as a year of ‘signs’—eclipses and Venus transit included.While previous years have focused on dimensional and coded designs, it is too early to tell which way 2012 will go—both the flower-of-life and Disneyland palace have precedents—but the season is hotting up. There were fourteen English crop circles in June, and July usually doubles that number. For a more in-depth view, read my main consciousness and crop circle blog at Siderealview.
A couple of anthropomorphic designs—’alien mother’ and her babies—have gotten people excited into anticipating a heavy ET element. The internet has much speculation on UFOs and ETs creating the circles, particularly in Mexico and Italy, where more formations have appeared this year than ever before.It is encouraging that several Facebook groups, some serious, others critical, do much to keep concensus and interpretation at a high level.
Like Alex’s wonderful IWSG initiative here, where through his intention and focus to get us together, he has built up a lovely group mind among us, encouraging us to stretch out the hand of friendship, to share, and help each other out; so, an element of cohesion or group consciousness can be seen developing in embryo form within the most dedicated groups in the croppie world.
And, besides, having fun has always been a good way to recharge our batteries. So I hope my little bit of holiday divertissement adds a cultural twist to what I’m sure has already been a roaring success on the other side of the Atlantic.
Besides, we may indeed be enjoying our way into a better future. There’s …..hope for us all.
©2012 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
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.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.
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.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.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.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.
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.