Syncing without Trace, but Czeching

I wish I could trace them – the tracks of my synchronicities.

Sometimes they feel like cross-hairs gradually coming together, to home in on the target, but it’s far more complex than that.  There are many strands and they cross and recross, ricocheting off one another in an apparently random mess, until gradually and subtly they begin building up a pattern.  Finally, with no clear idea how I got here, I find myself standing at the centre of an amazing piece of sacred geometry and the whole thing is laid out clearly for me to see, like those transit patterns the planets make with each other.

(Is that how astrology fits in?  Is it sacred geometry working out at a macro level??  Maybe Pluto or Uranus are not ‘influencing’ us – they’re just making the patterns of the synchronicity working through our lives visible.  Sorry: digression.)

So once I’ve had the ‘Aha!’ moment, I can try to work back to how I got there.  What was it that pushed me to open this file or buy that book?  I think – if I were the kind of person who could create such things – a diagram or flow chart would work better.  Alas, all I have at my disposal are strings of words, so they must suffice.  The process is not linear, but this attempt to unravel it will be, since that’s the way writing works.

  • Phone, Communication, ConnectionI publish a post on here which includes this image.
  • Someone comments on it and directs me to an interview with Stan Grof.
  • I become intrigued and read a book referred to in the interview.  At this point the lines of synchronicity are shooting off in multiple directions; one even points at synchronicity!
  • Grof intrigues me and, like my grandfather, he is a Czech emigrant.
  • The book tells of psychiatric regressions, with patients picking up ancestral stories from their bloodline, which were later authenticated.
  • In a quite different part of my life, I am buying a piece of Moldavite for a friend’s birthday.  I don’t know why.  I simply have a very strong feeling that this person needs Moldavite, now.
  • Intrigued again (being intrigued is a very strong indicator for synchronicities at work, I’ve found) I begin researching Moldavite.  I discover it comes from the site of a meteor impact, many centuries ago, and is only found at this one place on Earth –  in The Czech Republic.  ‘There it is again,’ I think. (Repetition/dêja vu is another indicator of synchronicity.)
  • While I’m musing on that, I start exploring that country, trying one more time to locate the village my grandfather came from.  I’ve tried on many occasions.  I knew its name from the postmarks in his stamp collection, which I inherited, but the German language forms of many border towns’ names were eradicated after WWII and I didn’t know the Czech equivalent.
  • This time, though, I find it.  I’m delighted and make a mental note to explore some more when I have time.
  • After an exhausting and rather frustrating day, I decide to have a quiet evening watching TV.  I select a film called The Secret Life of Bees, a rather sugary tale of life, death and the civil rights struggles in the American deep south in the sixties.
  • Incomprehensibly, I find myself weeping uncontrollably throughout the entire movie.  I’m identifying so strongly with every aspect of the story line and characters.  It feels personal.  It feels as if I’ve been there and experienced that and the pain is still unbearably raw.  Yet I haven’t.
  • By the end of the film, I’m a red-eyed, snivelling wreck, with a mountain of soggy tissues beside me.  ‘It’s just been a hard day,’  I tell myself.  I need to go and do something enjoyable.
  • I head for the computer and go back to researching the Czech connection.
  • I find the village my grandfather came from on Google Map.  I wander through its streets and peer across the mountains he grew up in.  I even find the post office where my ancestral relatives sent the letters whose stamps now lie, old and yellowing, in his album.
  • I read other sites, with histories of the area.  They tell how this once prosperous mining town, with rich seams of silver and agate crystals was ravaged by the Thirty Years War, fell into decline, was subsumed by the Austro-Hungarian empire and the native Bohemians persecuted and viciously suppressed.  This continued for decades.  The young men faced compulsory 10 year military service in their oppressors’ army.
  • So that was why my grandfather fled to England!  He died when I was a young child.  My father was embarrassed to talk about his origins while I was growing up.  Bohemia had become part of Czechoslovakia by then and was part of the feared Eastern Bloc during those Cold War days, so Dad pretended he came from Austria.
  • Finally, I feel I understand my heritage.  I know why the Bees film affected me so deeply.  I accept that ancestral memory still travels through my consciousness.  I see why dissolving prejudice has been such a huge part of my life.
  • I turn away from the computer – and stare straight into the eyes of my grandfather, whose pastel portrait hangs on the living room wall.  I pass it a hundred times a day, but at this point I really see it.
  • And he is smiling slightly.
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Stone on Stone

Image result for John Aubrey

John Aubrey, courtesy of Wiki

I have ‘Rosie’ (author of the brilliant La Tour Abolie site) to thank for introducing me to Ruth Scurr’s wonderful biography of John Aubrey.  It is, as Philip Pullman says on the cover, ‘Irresistible’.  I’m quite certain that if we hadn’t inconveniently lived 350 years apart, Mr Aubrey and myself would have found many common interests to converse about.

We share – across time – a keen interest in antiquities.  His discovery of the Aubrey holes at Stonehenge, his insistence that this structure was NOT a council chamber built by the Danes but dated back much further and his devotion to preserving what was left of Avebury before local residents could demolish any more of it to build their homes and walls are well known.  His jottings, meticulously collected and compiled by Scurr, though, tell so much more of this indefatigable gentleman.

He was not a meticulous diarist like Pepys.  He charted the English civil war, the rule of Cromwell, the Great Fire of London and other major events almost in passing.  There is a brief account of the Restoration of King Charles II, for example, but at that time, Aubrey had something more pressing on his mind.

In March 1660, you see, he acquired a ring containing ‘a curious Turkey, or turquoise stone’.  This stone fascinates him for years.  When the ring breaks, he decides not to have the stone remounted, in case the heat should cause damage to the crystal.  Why the fascination?  Well this is where the story – and time itself – become rather fuzzy…

As synchronicity would have it, I too acquired a curious crystal – in March of this year.  It’s the one I found mysteriously sitting on a path in my garden.  Three hundred and fifty-seven years apart, both Mr Aubrey and myself found ourselves pondering our respective stones with much interest and surprise.  We both noticed that areas of the stones which had been cloudy became inexplicably clear, while other areas clouded.  Our ponderings continued independently of each other until I reached the point in the book where he had made this discovery: a day or two after mine appeared.

Strange, I thought.

In the July, Aubrey records:

My turquoise ring has changed again.  Now the cloudy spot in the north of the ring has vanished entirely and the one in the south has lessened.

By October:

(It) has become cloudy again in the north and a little speck has appeared in the middle.

The following February he finds a halo has formed around the northern cloudy spot and determines to take it to Mr Robert Boyle, no less, who has an interest in ‘movement within stones’.  Sadly, there does not seem to be an account of this meeting, if it ever took place.  I’d love to have known Mr Boyle’s opinion.

So now, not only did I have my own curious stone to watch and contemplate, but Mr Aubrey’s turquoise to consider as well.  How could these solid objects go through such obvious changes?  Were we imagining it?  Was it simply dependent upon the light in which we viewed our respective stones?  And if it WAS happening… why?

Bubbles!

Then, last Friday morning, I woke to find the most amazing transformation in my stone.  There is a face, roughly the shape of a parallelogram, which had been a diffuse, swirling, misty purple.  Overnight, though, it had transformed to contain countless tiny, and very clear, bubbles.  Almost all of them contained a central tiny circle or dot, several of these being a deep red colour.  Some seemed near the surface while other appeared as if deep under water.  It resembled a clump of frogspawn, and gave me the distinct but illogical sense of new life forming.

It continues to change.  The ‘bubbles’ are still visible, but are gradually fading into the mists again.  I wonder what its next trick will be.

At the weekend I asked my friend Will to try a remote viewing of the crystal, asking him to search within it and hunt for impressions beyond the physical.  As he focused on it, he didn’t see the stone at all, but gained some clear impressions of shapes, colours and a landscape – a vast desert with hills or mountains in the far distance.  He also commented that time, and especially the future, felt relevant.

So what do you make of all that, dear reader?  Comments would be most welcome.

I’ve long felt that the distinction between living and non-living is wrong.  I subscribe to Seth’s view that all matter contains consciousness.  When I consider the enormous discoveries made by the late Masaru Emoto about memory in water, I wonder if we are on the brink of discovering similar properties in crystal.

How I wish I could chat this through with Mr Aubrey.  But then, who is to say I’m not doing so already, at some level of consciousness?  After all, I’m unable to account for how this pristine crystal appeared in the middle of my garden.  Maybe it was sent to me, or left by a passing etheric gentleman on horseback…

 

 

What Price?

Money, Dollars, Success, BusinessThis has been puzzling me.  Maybe you can help me work it out….

I’m not even going to touch on the conspiracy theories or give any opinion on the character or behaviour of either of the protagonists here, because that’s not what interests me.  What I want to figure out is the part money plays in the story.  (Also I know it is far more complicated than I’m making it.  I just want to solve my puzzle.)

Once upon a time there were two men (as I understand the story) who were developing electricity in amazing new ways, so that it would be available to all.

Thomas Alva Edison, Inventor, 1922One was called Thomas Edison.  He was a smart, hard-headed businessman as well as a brilliant innovator.  He needed investors in order to develop his amazing stuff.

The other was called Nikola Tesla.  He was clueless with money and no good at working with people but also a brilliant innovator.  He too needed investors, for exactly the same reason.

Edison wanted to develop a business empire, selling electricity and electrical products to people.

Tesla wanted to develop free electricity, so that no one would have to buy it ever again.  He’d worked out a way of doing that.

So let’s imagine you were an astute investor, back then, with lots of money in your pocket.  Which of these men would you invest in?

It’s not a hard choice to make, is it?  Edison wins hands down, because his investors will get great returns as everyone clamours to buy his products.  Tesla doesn’t stand a chance.  You invest in his company and you get free electricity forever – but so do all the other people: the ones who didn’t invest anything.  There’s no profit to be had in something that is free.

That means the world is stuck with power stations that run on fossil fuels or nuclear power, and we are all still having to pay for our power – as is the planet.

Flash, Tesla Coil, ExperimentNow let’s imagine an alternative universe in which the investors all went for Tesla’s ideas.

No one owns electricity.  It’s as free as the air we breathe, even in places where people struggle to survive.  There are no bunkers full of nuclear waste that can’t be safely disposed of, no pollution in the seas around Japan, no coal or oil-fired power stations belching out fumes.  Suddenly electricity is not a commodity. It isn’t bought and sold.  You can’t own shares in it.   You can’t wage wars over the fossil fuels to power it or build pipelines where you shouldn’t.  It’s simply energy, like a thunderstorm or a forest fire.

We live in different times now.  What if crowdfunding had existed back then?  Ordinary people hand over their money to pay for some kid’s operation or to refurbish a hostel they will never see.  In my tiny country £46.6 million was raised in one night last week for Children In Need.  Billionaire stars turn philanthropist and give away their fortunes.

If Tesla were here now, asking for investors, would he find them?

Light Bulb, Idea, Light, Dim, Bright, OnSo this is my puzzle:

Have we changed, in those few short years since Edison won his battle?

Is the pursuit of money, ever so slightly, losing it’s grip?

Are we treating it more, now, like energy, allowing it to flow freely rather than stockpiling it and having to make a profit from it?   And if we use it that way, how might our world change?

 

 

On the Shoulders of Giants?

Quick trawl through the internet to find the derivation of that idea:

English: Coat of arms of Sir Isaac Newton Espa...

Coat of arms of Sir Isaac Newton

Well Isaac Newton, yes.  I knew that one.  With typical modesty he wrote of his work to Robert Hooke in 1676, saying, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Not original though.  Newton apparently found the metaphor in the writings of one John of Salisbury – a twelfth century author and theologian who rose from Anglo Saxon roots (not easy in Norman-dominated England in the early 1100’s) to become Bishop of Chartres.

Impressive.

Still not original, though, for John was quoting Bernard, a colleague of his at Chartres, who was the chancellor of the cathedral school there in 1124.

Chartres Cathedral; Fresneau worked at the cho...

Chartres Cathedral(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here, via John, via Wikipedia, is Bernard’s idea:

Bernard of Chartres used to say that we [the Moderns] are like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants [the Ancients], and thus we are able to see more and farther than the latter. And this is not at all because of the acuteness of our sight or the stature of our body, but because we are carried aloft and elevated by the magnitude of the giants.

At this point I could easily waffle off into an appreciation of said Bernard.  Hadn’t come across him before, but I was rather taken by some of his philosophical ideas.  I’ll resist the urge for now, though.  I want to get back to those giants.

Let me start by making it plain that the ones Bernard was referring to were almost certainly classical philosophers – Neo-Platonists by the look of it.  The ‘magnitude’ he spoke of was intellectual rather than physical.

The giants I’d like to meet have left a more cryptic legacy.  Sadly, Wikipedia won’t be able to help me to reach them.

Popular culture has two very different views of our far-distant ancestors.  Firstly there is ‘Stone Age Man’ – and Woman, obviously.  Anthropologists will lead us back through fossilised bones, carefully carbon-dated, belonging to African ancestors clutching lumps of stone and animal bone, and beyond them back to tree-dwelling ape-like beings.  Wind the clock back still further and our ancestors are seen crawling from the seas and originating in a potent slime on a planet poised to bring forth life.

The second concept of the Ancients, though, is as different from the above as could be imagined.  Instead of our modern, technologically advanced society being viewed as the pinnacle of an evolutionary process, we look back to the Giants – the ancestors who held knowledge and yes, even technology which would put ours to shame.

Topographic/bathymetric map of the Indian Ocea...

They could be another, now-extinct species whose flowering ceased in one of those cataclysms caused by comets, say, or volcanoes, leaving only tantalising remnants – physical giants with huge bones or strangely elongated skulls, hidden away in museum vaults by those who fear spoiling the story.

Perhaps they are our own ancestors – people like us who evolved to reach a golden age in Mu or Atlantis before sinking, almost without trace…

They could be incomers from other stars, other dimensions: the gods perhaps – worshipped and depicted by our ancestors as they swooped down from high Olympus or interstellar craft to intervene in human affairs and perhaps human genetics before flying off and leaving us to find our own paths.  I have to admit to a personal preference for this story.  It seems to fit, and channelled sources are supporting it.  See, for example, this comment in answer to a recent query I put to the Guides who wish to be known as Higgins in Cheryl Jensen’s Ask Higgins blog:

There was a time when the race that created mankind lived alongside you and they taught your predecessors how to utilize the positive and negative energy of the Earth’s magnetic field

Whoever they were, their presence in our folk memory and mythology is persistent.  They are a very real part of our heritage.

We stand on their shoulders – you and I, Isaac, John, Bernard, his Greek philosophers and whoever inspired them…  Do we see further than they did, or are we elevating ourselves too high?

Should we climb down and search more carefully amongst the clues they left for us – the carvings and structures, folk tales and mythology, or trust that access to their knowledge lies within us all, if only we have the confidence to reach for it?

 

 

 

Of Giants, Archaeologists and Magicians (2)

If you haven’t read my first post on this subject, you may want to check it here to find the context for this one.

IMG_20151113_084431 (1)Kate and I decided to utilise the idea pictured here (on my favourite tea towel, as it happens) to explore some of Mallorca’s most magical and ancient places.  ‘All things’ includes us, of course, as well as those who constructed and used these sacred places.  Therefore we decided to lightly look with the most delicate of our senses.  We used hunches and intuition, synchronicities, words and thoughts that appeared unbidden in our minds, dowsing and channelling, remote viewing (thanks to our friend William back in England) and meditation.

I could argue that this is far, far from simple guesswork, and some of you would believe me, while others would scoff.  That’s fine.  I’ll just report our findings and let you draw what conclusions you will.

 

The photos below show what remains of one of Mallorca’s many talayots.  Notice the huge stones compared to the far smaller ones used in habitation construction shown in my previous post on this subject.

IMG_20151107_151827 (1)IMG_20151107_151700IMG_20150414_145652

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance leads to this winding passageway, built into the wall of the structure.  The archway (visible behind the huge stone on the right) opens with a steep step down into an open circular space.  Due to the thickness of the walls, this inner area is only 3 or 4 metres across.

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This photo shows the massive column in the centre of the talayot’s inner space.  Like so many of the stones used in the ancient sites, it is riddled with veins of quartz crystal and there is a palpable energy around it.  Our minds can’t know what the original purpose of this structure was, but perhaps our subtle senses can …

From London, Will was able to tune in at once.  He remotely viewed a structure that appeared to rise suddenly out of the ground like a cliff.  He defined it as a ruin with steps and an archway.  He sensed the roundness and saw (invisible to us) writing or symbols that seemed to involve triangles.  He felt an energy signature which linked to animals.  These were not, he insisted, the sheep whose bells tinkled in the surrounding fields or passing birds or wildlife, but something connected to the original function of the place.

Kate used her dowsing rods to pick up energy lines within the talayot and beyond its walls, particularly to the left of the entrance.  She felt that this could show the extent of a nearby settlement.  A Mallorcan lady who accompanied us – one who routinely dowses her land for water sources – was able to find a much wider band of energy in the surrounding field.

We used my pendulum to reach guidance from those who were able and willing to share knowledge with us.  We were told that the talayots attached to villages were not for everyday use.  They were places of magic.  An elite group of shamanic elders travelled the island, performing ceremonies within the talayots, healing the sick and the land, observing the sun and moon’s progress through the skies, watching stars and comets, and using the structures as ‘libraries’ – repositories for knowledge handed down through the ages.  There was a connection to birds.  The idea of the shamanic ‘bird-man’ – able to shape-shift or link to the spirits of the black falcons who circle above – was a fleeting yet persistent image.

By synchronicity, I had been reading a passage from Seth Speaks on the journey out.  Seth had been describing ‘co-ordination points’ – locations where different dimensions intersected.  In these, he claimed, gravity is slightly different and anything built in such places lasts far longer than might be expected.  He cited the example of the Egyptian pyramids.  A Mallorcan man told me that there persists on the island a feng shui type belief that certain directions and positions can be found which are more auspicious for building than others…

As for the construction, in meditation I was shown the difference between attempting to lift a person as a dead weight, and one who is willing to be moved.  The latter is, of course, many times easier.  I sensed the rock as a conscious living substance – as alive and buzzing with atoms and molecules as we are; it is something sentient in its own right.  I felt the ancestors connecting their will – their energy – to that of the stone.  I felt a tremendous co-creative synergy between the people and the rock, allowing vast megaliths to be quarried, moved and placed into position.  There are woodcutters, still, who will speak to trees – explaining why they are to be cut, what their timber will become and enlisting their co-operation in what will be a joint enterprise.  I believe the ancient master masons had this connection to the stone, and their great works, constructed with care and awe on Seth’s co-ordination points, endure.

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Kate dowsing beside a talayot, November 2015

Perhaps, by putting reasoning and logic aside, we were able to move through time as easily as William’s thoughts moved through space, to approach something of the origins of these sacred and ancient places.

 

 

Kate hopes to organise another tour of the sacred places of Mallorca in April 2016.  Let me know if you’d like me to put you in touch with her.

Listening to Llull

IMG_20150417_161121This wasn’t the post I was intending to write this week, but the Friday 13th events in Paris, and the Western governments’ entirely predictable responses have prompted me to insert a few thoughts on someone who for me is a new-found hero: a man who lived many centuries ago, but perhaps has something to teach us all today.

Ramon Llull was born to courtiers of Jaume the Conqueror – a mediaeval Spanish king responsible for taking Mallorca, among other places, from the Arabs.  Ramon became a page at court and later tutor to Jaume’s son.

Bear in mind that this was the time of the crusades.  Bitter wars between Christians and Muslims had been raging for well over a century when Ramon was born.  The divisions between the two cultures could not have been greater.  Hatred and distrust of all things Arab would have been endemic in his world.

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gardens of Arab baths, Palma

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Arab baths, Palma

Perhaps, as a young man, he wandered amongst the beautiful Arab buildings in his home city of Palma.  He certainly thought deeply and studied hard.

Leaving his family, Llull went to live on a mountain in the centre of the island, taking with him an Arab servant, from whom he learned to speak Arabic.

Certainly, like every Christian of his day (and many in our own) he believed that his religion was the one true way and that Jews, Muslims and anyone who didn’t share these beliefs should convert.  Unlike his contemporaries, though, he did not believe this should happen at the point of a sword.  He proposed the use of logic – philosophical argument – to convince others.

IMG_20151104_143724He produced intricate diagrams and many books which he was sure would convince anyone of the veracity of his beliefs.

He travelled tirelessly to visit heads of state across Europe and the Middle East, offering them his works and begging them to engage in dialogue rather than warfare.

Miramar, the site of one of Llull's universities, on Mallorca's north coast

Miramar, the site of one of Llull’s universities, on Mallorca’s north coast

He set up a series of universities, where young monks could learn Arabic and other less-studied languages, the better to engage in discourse with those of other faiths.

Ramon Llull had discovered a great truth.  He had realised, centuries before Einstein would turn it into a sound-bite, that the definition of insanity is

doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

He was blazing a new trail and trying to move humanity on from endless, pointless bloodshed; he was proposing respectful, open dialogue and discussion at a time when the divisions were apparently intractable.

We have to start somewhere – why not with ourselves?  Might it be time to listen to his ideas?

 

 

 

Of Giants, Archaeologists and Magicians (1)

Sattelite image of Majorca

For the last two weeks (such a pitifully short time, but all I could afford for now) I’ve been immersed in explorations of some of our world’s oldest buildings.

Guided by Kate, a great friend whose intimate knowledge of the tiny Mediterranean island of Mallorca and keen sense of what is sacred and worthy of note have proved invaluable, I’ve walked in and amongst elaborately carved caves, megaliths, settlements and mysterious ‘talayots’ – towers found only on Mallorca and Menorca with walls so thick they make Norman castles look like plasterboard, tiny entrance ways and huge columns rising from the centre of the internal space.

IMG_20151029_123436Faced with a structure like the one in this photo, fitted together with jigsaw precision and formed in antiquity of huge stones, there are – to my mind – three ways of explaining how they came to be constructed.

The first was dominant for most of the last 2000 years.  People would stare in awe at these ancient places and pronounce that they had been made by gods, giants or the devil.  Elaborate stories often grew up around them: stone hurling contests between rival giants, perhaps, or cauldrons and punch bowls created magically for the devil’s personal use.  Even on my recent trip, a local visitor to one of the talayots was heard to pronounce, “Well that wasn’t made by humans!  My family do plenty of building and that just wouldn’t be possible.”

The second form of explanation is more recent, but has become almost universally accepted.  Visit almost any prehistoric structure and you will probably encounter a carefully illustrated information board with drawings of hairy men in even hairier underwear hauling on ropes and log rollers to move gigantic stones into position.  Grubby children run with pigs and goats while women crouch beside cooking pots to complete the scene.  It’s comfortable, seemingly logical and familiar.  We can identify with these ancestors and imagine their primitive, simple lives.

IMG_20151106_111553IMG_20151106_112020Strange and incomprehensible items, such as the grave goods shown here, will be explained away with labels suggesting:

Probably for ritual use

Careful archaeology, a database of similar sites and finds around the world and a general agreement on how ‘primitive’ societies function feed into this bank of information.  As tourists, we tend to blindly accept the word of these experts.

IMG_20151030_113250Kate and I, though, wanted to delve a little deeper.  We could accept the historians’ explanations of the domestic settlements, with their wells, hearths and doorways, peer at museum displays of grey pots and animal bones, admire the skills of the dry stone wall builders, whose works had stood the test of time.  Here we had human-scale homes where people lived, worked, reared the children, tended their livestock, picked figs, olives, lemons and pomegranates from the surrounding trees and generally lived a good life.

There was more, though – far more.

Dotted around these comfortable villages and elsewhere on the island were structures of a very different kind: the talayots with their huge building blocks and walls several metres thick; the strange caves and chambers with niches, ledges and benches carved out of the rock; the standing stones and the plethora of channels and square, rectangular and circular holes cut deep into the bedrock.

IMG_20151111_110717The descriptions offered for these by the experts didn’t seem as convincing.  Some of their attempts to forge logical explanations appeared little short of vandalism.  On one site – a natural stage rising above the island’s central plain – had been found thirteen standing stones.  An initial drawing (see right) of their positions remains.  IMG_20151031_151136However the archaeologist who worked the site decided there had been an aisled building here and the magnificent, quartz-veined stones were roof supports.  He took it upon himself to have twelve of the megaliths moved, drilled through so that steel rods could be inserted and replaced in neat rows, each two stones high, in order to fit his hypothesis.

So forgive me if, in my next post, I throw caution and logic to the wind and investigate a third way of interpreting such magical places.  I won’t rule out the giants or the gods, the ‘meeting rooms’ or the ‘lookout towers’ suggested by others.  I’ll place them neatly to one side and attempt to link to the timeless knowing of All-That-Is, to the dreams and thoughts and intentions of the ancestors and provide an interpretation which – though perhaps fanciful – may be no less so than some of those I have described today.

 

 

Stone Mullions

2014-02-28 11.01.26A lovely word – mullions – don’t you think? And the sheer romance of having stone mullions (window frames) was one of the factors that induced me to buy LIME Cottage.

Of course they’d been painted and were yellowing and peeling when I first saw the house, but my meticulous builder and his lads cleaned the outside windows back to the original stonework, even going to the local quarry at Doulting (from where the original stone came, all those centuries ago) and bringing back stone dust to mix with the filler for any cracks that needed repair.

The results were fantastic.  I was delighted.

IMG_20150708_100309Then I began decorating the upstairs front room.  Without a thought I started removing the flaking paint on the window frame, expecting to sand it down and paint over it.  That was when I discovered that with minimal effort, I was revealing the stone on the inside too.

Exciting!

I beavered away with the paint scraper – some parts were easier than others, and had soon exposed a decent sized chunk of stone.

My Man Monday arrived the next day.  LIME Cottage and I like our Man Monday.  He’s a wonderful, intuitive odd-job man who adores old buildings and knows exactly how to treat them.  He comes on Mondays because that’s his day off from running his organic wholefood restaurant.  He was as thrilled as I was to see the stonework and agreed that it had to be cleared.  He showed me how to use various parts of a chisel to remove the paint and buff up the surface.  IMG_20150708_100316A YouTube video taught me how to re-putty the glass (surprisingly easy and fun – like playing with Plasticine) and I was happy.

I suspect the stone had remained untouched for centuries.  Then someone – probably in the 1950s, judging by the materials used, had skimmed a layer of plaster over the stone and covered it with a thick golden lacquer of some sort.  I remember the front door of my parents’ new-build house, in 1956, being covered with this same material, and my father’s deep delight and pride at having this new state-of-the-art finish applied to it.  Maybe whoever was the cottage’s custodian back in those days was equally proud of their work.

The next layer – in the sixties perhaps – was a very pretty pale turquoise – just the colour I probably would have chosen myself, had the mullions not decided it was their time to breathe again.  A few coats of ‘brilliant white’ gloss topped things off, but sun and many years of neglect had worked their magic, providing cracks and crannies for my chisel to get a hold.

IMG_20150711_172246I’ve left flecks of the earlier coats here and there.  They are, after all, part of the cottage’s rich history, as are the dents and chips in the stone.

Sometime in the future, no doubt someone will decide to cover the stone again, with some new technological breakthrough.  That’s fine, and as it should be.  History doesn’t stop.  The cottage will do as it’s always done, adapt and change with the ages.

The stone mullions will continue to look out on the road below, The camper vans and hatchbacks, delivery lorries and tankers, tourists and neo-pagans added to their store of memories.

I love to imagine black-clad puritans and straw-chewing ploughmen passing beneath them; earnest men with pitchforks and muskets rallying to Monmouth’s rebellion; gents in curly wigs, smoking long clay pipes; ladies in lace and sprigged muslin frocks; farm carts and haywains; ponies and traps; horse-drawn coaches filled with journeying Victorians, keen to view the Abbey’s ruins; Dion Fortune and her retinue heading to secret ceremonies at her house, just down the road; eager young farm boys hurrying to sign up to fight in the Great War; heartbroken parents heading to church to mourn for them; hippies with flowers in their hair off to climb the Tor…

My beautiful stone mullion windows have seen all that and more, and caked as I am in stone dust and lead paint chippings, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my intimate encounter with their story.