Fate of the Lir-Brood IX…

Stuart France

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“…know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into his death?

Therefore are we buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life…”

 – Epistle to the Romans

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…Upon reaching the hermitage of Kemoc-the-Holy, king Largnen again requested that the Holy-Man release the four white swans into his charge.

And Kemoc again refused saying, “it is not within my power to so discharge these creatures.”

The king marched to the crude altar of stone at the centre of Kermoc’s cell on which the swans were resting, and grabbed the two slender silver-chains which linked them.

Tugging them from the rock towards the door of the cell, the silver-chains snapped, turning the head of the king…

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The Wyrm and the Wyrd: A life in pictures

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

When we had finished looking at the Saxon crosses and the yew trees, we headed into the little Church of the Holy Cross. Even the doorway looked promising, especially as the porch was home to a nest of swallows, darting in and out to feed their young. Even after all this time and the number of ancient churches we have visited, there is still a thrill when you put your hand to the handle. Will it be open or locked? And if it yields to our touch, what will you find? Simplicity or ostentation? There is always history, but sometimes it is just interesting… sometimes it is spectacular. It does not seem to bear any relation to the size of the church, but the older its origins, the more disappointed you are when the past has been erased. Either way, you never know until the door opens.

In this case…

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Fate of the Lir-Brood IV…Stuart France

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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Come, brothers three, accost the coast

And welcome Lir’s resplendent host

Such woeful welcome from a fateful morn

Will never bring to him bright morrow

Unhappy sire, doomed, forlorn

Left ever to mourn in hopeless sorrow.

*

…Eva arrived at the House of Red-Bove and said, “Lir no longer loves you. He will not entrust his children to you lest you harm them.”

Red-Bove did not believe her.

He sent messengers to Sidhe Finnaha and when they arrived and explained their errand Lir was startled.

He felt sure that Eva had destroyed his children and set off for Red-Lake with a heavy heart.

Lir and his attendants travelled swiftly until they reached the shore of Lake Devra.

The four white swans which swam there saw the cavalcade approaching and drew close to the shore.

*

Continue reading: Fate of the Lir-Brood IV…

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The Wyrm and the Wyrd: Caught on the Edge

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Wales llandudno, alderley, mines, 269

We had almost stopped there on our way to Wales. The suggestion had been made, but for some reason I had been reluctant to turn aside from our road west, for what might be no more than a walk in the woods. Not that we ever expected it to be that simple, but the mind goes its own way when looking for excuses. Especially when the inner voice is silently and inexplicably putting its foot down.

Wales llandudno, alderley, mines, 273

Consciousness dons blinkers, failing to see things that should be obvious, but which cannot become clear until the story has unravelled. It was as if some guiding spark of intent was aware of a chain of events spanning time, a sequence that had already begun, but had not yet reached a point where we could be allowed to see. And if that sounds confusing to read, imagine what it feels like to be caught…

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Bright in the dark: endeavour and the lighthouse (3)

SE Lighthouse from sea gates4AA

Something had happened when we decided to approach the strange village by walking along the beach and coming to it via the old but grand harbour, with its mighty blocks and sea-gates. It was only later that we realised that what we had, inadvertently, photographed in the far distance was the focus of the whole story.

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You could relate it to one of my favourite Gurdjieffian pastimes: stopping the world. This technique requires a degree of stealth and an ability not to be embarrassed by the unusual – and your part in it! Stuart and I once caused such a moment of presence by each turning around from our table (shared with a very amused Sue) in a cafe and facing the opposite way (outwards). We were not trying to be irritating, just to do something unusual. The people we were sharing the cafe with took it in good part and assumed we were doing something humorous, possibly for a bet.

On that day we had stopped after a few seconds; we had no desire to prolong it, simply to create the experience, good-naturedly, as an extension of the serious conversation we were having.

There is something about the silence generated that tells you you've got it right. It doesn't have to be in public, but there's something about that arena that generates a feeling that something else is watching…

As we walked – the wrong way – through the harbour gates and into the strange village of Hynish, I had that same feeling…

The name 'Stevenson' was on a plaque by the harbour wall. It rang a bell. I remembered a Robert Louis Stevenson as the author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped; and had the idea that he might also have written The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; but I didn't think he built harbours…

What I didn't know was that the name Stevenson was that of a family of gifted and determined eighteenth century Scottish engineers, and that the uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson the author was a man named Alan Stevenson, and that what he and his father – Robert Stevenson – accomplished was the reason for the strange village of other-worldly buildings on this remote corner of the Scottish island of Tiree.

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The view from the harbour was of a set of what looked like cottages, with a tower to their left.

The tower was related to that view out to sea; the cottages were the modern home of the Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum, which had been established by the Hebridean Trust and lovingly restored and re-established over the past ten years to protect a vital piece of Scotland's history.

Scotland's past

To understand the importance of Hynish and Tiree to Scotland's past you need to understand the way Glasgow developed in the 18th century. From a purely personal perspective, Glasgow has always been my favourite city, north of the border, because I have family there and it was the scene of many happy holidays in my teens – one of them involving my first long motorbike ride (in the pouring rain!). To find, all those years later, that Glasgow's early success as an international city had justified what happened at Hynish was a thrilling discovery.

Following the Act of Union in 1707, Scotland was free to trade, on equal terms with England, with the New World. Lucrative cargos of rice, tobacco, cotton, sugar and rum could now be imported to the Union via the deep estuary of the River Clyde. James Watt's 1760s invention of the steam engine also made Glasgow the most important exporter of manufactured good to the colonies. However, Between 1790 and 1844 more than thirty ships were known to have been wrecked in the area off the western edge of the inner Hebrides, as they fought the seas to enter and leave the Clyde.

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In 1814 an Act of Parliament was established to survey and fund the construction of an offshore lighthouse on the obstructing and deadly skerry.

The Skerryvore rocks, located just off the bottom left edge of the map, above, were ten miles west of Hynish and the father and son team appointed to survey, design and build this enormous undertaking was Robert and Alan Stevenson. Work began on the construction of the lighthouse in 1738.

Our cycle ride had stumbled on the Shore Station that was built to support the construction of the Skerryvore Lighthouse – ten miles offshore. Later, a more makeshift station on the Skerryvore rocks, themselves, was constructed. As an indication of the severity of the weather, the latter, comprising a three storey structure for supplies, managers and thirty workers, was completely destroyed by a storm in November 1838. It was redesigned and built again in time for the following spring – the workers having agreed to stay and work on the rock through the winter!

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The most complex part of the lighthouse was its clockwork revolving light, which, incredibly, amplified the wicks of only four oil 'lamps' and projected them across the deadly darkness. The key to this optical power was the use of the latest Fresnel multi-part lenses, which Alan Stevenson commissioned from the French Fresnel brothers in 1840. The eight lenses were (and are) only the size of dinner plates, but could project a bright beam over thirty miles!

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The lighthouse went operational in 1844 and the Shore Station was converted for use as living quarters for the shift of lighthouse keepers and their families.

Today the lighthouse is automatic, and it is controlled remotely from Edinburgh. The entire structure of Stevenson's design has remained in near-continuous operation since its commissioning.

Without the museum you would never know that the line of waves breaking far offshore, marks one of the world's engineering marvels, nor the reason for the existence of this strange and haunting place where so much happened, but which is no so quiet…

Despite the weather, our  day had brightened. We wondered if we dared hope for a continuation of our good fortune?

To be continued..

An aside…

I was very moved by our visit to Skerryvore and wrote a poem for my personal blog Sun in Gemini. It is reproduced, here.

The Skerryvore Light

In tiny Hynish's western shore

Where gentle waves now kiss the sand

The resting seas recall the names

Of they who built the Skerryvore

Forgotten in the passing nights

Unknown to most, of even few

Who chance on Hebridean soil

And stumble on the wreck of lights

For ears a story here in stone

Which value engineers of night

Of iron and glass and fearsome seas

That rivals any ancient tome

Not shifting sands or limestone frieze

No Pharaoh wise, nor Mayan king

Have ever dared to light the night

With giant tower upon the seas

In deep of howling winter's night

I'll sit upon my writer's keys

And 'Stevenson' will be the word

The image: glass infused with light

So come from history, taking bow

From we who sail on greatness past

We bow to you, who built our age

Forgotten on the quiet sands of now

©Stephen Tanham

Previous posts in this series:

Part One, Part Two

Steve Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye school of Consciousness. His personal blog is at stevetanham.wordpress.com

©Copyright Stephen Tanham, text and pictures. Re-use with permission.

Fanfare

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

A day bewildered
Embracing summer’s passion
Beneath stormy skies
At my feet the heather blooms
The heavens answer my tears

There is a point on my journey when, at just the right time of year, there is a first glimpse of purple hope. From this distance, it is no more than a shadow bruising the green of the high moors, as if the earth has lain sleepless in anticipation of the birth of beauty.

I look, but with little hope. It is not yet that time of year…not quite. Another month before the land wears royal robes. And yet… already it begins. Tight-furled buds are her heralds. Here and there a louder note in the jewelled fanfare. Beauty does not magically appear; in constant evolution, it grows from the heart.

For Colleen’s poetry challenge

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Pass slowly over me

Pass slowly

Pass slowly over me

 

Blue and pearl of July sky

 

Lift from this day

 

A living crown of summer’s leaves

 

And place it on my hidden head

 

As lasting ghost of sky that shone

 

 

This done, let me pass this way 

 

When days are dark and short

 

And ground is mud and slush

 

When man and dog have weary feet

 

Their homeward trek near ended 

 

To wooden fire that warms the soul

 

 

With shortened strength in darkening eve

 

Let me pause a breath, remembering

 

And reaching back, pull down that crown

 

Then, for a heartbeat, blaze within

 

Uniting dark and light in song of human tide

 

Whose role and right is seeing both.

 

 

©Stephen Tanham 

Stellar Interiori

Stuart France

‘...One becomes Two, Two becomes Three...And out of the Third comes One as the Fourth...’- Mary the Prophetess.

77 Plate One of Duvet’s Apocalypse.

The Apocalypse of St John serves as more than just a Coda for the New Testament.
Its constant cycling and re-cyclying of ‘sevens’ also re-works the creation of Genesis, subsequent Hebraic festal traditions and the calendrical speculations of the Prophets.
We give below a taste of the seven-fold structure which runs throughout the whole of the mighty work…

“It was on the island of Patmos.
I was meditating on the seventh day when I heard behind me a voice as of many waters, “I am the beginning and end, first and the last.”

I turned to see who it was that spoke and I saw a figure resembling the Son of Man.
He was standing in the middle of seven golden candlesticks.
His beard and…

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Of Time

Of Time

Of Time I do not speak
Position and duration are my nouns
Eternal transition my verbs
Consciousness my palette

The plucking of imaginary points
Is how you speak of time
Inferred and constant highway
Present only to the mind
—-
But passing time alone
Knows no such waypoints
It speaks, if at all, of watchers
Now present to changes, now not.
—-
©Stephen Tanham

On the horizon…

The Silent Eye

I always look forward to September. It is one of the most  beautiful times of year in Britain. The days are usually mild and often beautiful, the last of the heather lingers as summer slides into autumn…a perfect moment for a wander in the landscape…and what better way to spend my birthday than with friends in the ancient and sacred places that I love?

The very first September event that we ran was the Harvest of Beingin Ilkley, up on the moors that I have loved since childhood. There is nowhere else on earth that I would rather have been at that moment. It was a small informal affair, just as we like to keep these events; no crowds, just a few friends exploring the landscape and sharing our different perspectives on the spiritual journey that is mirrored by that taken by our feet. The following September we…

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