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.

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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.

 

 

The Flow of Language

Homilies d'Organyà: First manuscript in Catalan Language is slippery.   It drifts and eddies through time and space, toying gently with syntax and vocabulary. Scholars and leaders may try to tame and subjugate it, but language – the true living vulgar language of the people, the ‘langue des oisons’ – resists. No sooner is it caught and caged in learned texts, than it laughs gently and, like some mythical sorceress, shape-shifts before the eyes of its captors and flies free once more.

I live on an island, one whose shores were, for millennia, invaded and settled by tribes from North, South and East. Each left their marks upon our languages: Celtic and Gallic, Latin and Norman, Angle, Saxon and Norse. The river of language swallowed up or skirted around new words and concepts and flowed along regardless. When The Conqueror’s men, with swords and the mediaeval equivalent of clipboards, arrived to question their subjects about the places they newly owned, language was of limited use.   The rational Normans were categorists.   There had to be a name for everything.

“What is its name?” they would demand of locals, pointing, perhaps, at a river.

“River,” the bemused peasants would answer, for why should it need a name?

English: River Piddle Behind Affpuddle Church

River Piddle  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In their tongue, the word for river was ‘afon’.  Thus the unsuspecting Normans duly wrote ‘River River’ on their maps – and England is littered with River Avons. If there were two rivers close by, of course, it might have been useful for the locals to have some linguistic means of differentiating between them.   One might be fast-flowing, for example, while another less so. It takes little imagination, then, to understand why the River Piddle in Dorset is so named.

The fluidity of the vulgar language allows for local diversity.  Where I grew up, in the south east of the land, we’d trot along the twitten to school. My children, born in East Anglia, would have used a folly.  Elsewhere these are snickets, alleys, cuts, twitches and footpaths. This gives each area – each neighbourhood, even – a private way of conversing, one which excludes outsiders.   Doubtless there have been many times in the history of this land when the ability to chat thus,  beneath the radar of the highborn and oppressors with their Norman French, Latin or King’s/Queen’s English, has been of considerable value in preserving customs, secrets and even lives.

English: The Mediterranean Sea in Banyalbufar,...

A recent visit to the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea revealed a similar linguistic heritage.  Theirs too is a history of occupation and assimilation: the mysterious ‘Sea People’, Spanish, Moors, Romans, Knights Templar and others have come and gone.  The current place names are a glorious mix of Arabic, Spanish and, most commonly, the two native languages of the island – Catalan (the island’s official language) and Mallorquin.

I was unaware of the existence of this latter tongue until I arrived there.  When spoken, it sounds like no language I’ve ever heard, although there are elements of French and Spanish lurking within.  Mallorquin is truly a ‘vulgar’ language – a language of the people.  Its words and cadences vary from village to village, town to town.  It’s not a language of books and scripts, but of concealed local gossip, heritage, history and legend – belonging to and confined within the island.  Its fluidity and rusticity are its salvation.  Outsiders will shrug and leave it well alone.  That way, it will flow and flourish.