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Monday, 27 September 2010

The Garden...

This task is truly a garden of forking paths.
I had thought that the beginning would be easy. I asked: where in England would I find Persephone's grave?

I was coming from a Jungian point of view -that myths are a kind of graphic interface between the real, embodied experience of life and what we believe about those experiences.

Persephone's meaning has changed through out the centuries but, regardless of whether she is a creation of the hunters, or the farmers, or the city-dwellers she is always the missing girl. The girl who is abducted or rather subducted...Britain has several prehistoric places that fit the description of her grave very well.

My first thought was Woodhenge, but then I learnt about The Sanctuary.

Of course Persephone is a mythic character whose story is interpreted as an anthropomorphic explanation for the changing seasons. But the missing girl has a long history, and the Greek story as given to us by Ovid, is the bowdlerised version...


I was reading John North's splendid book -Stonehenge- this afternoon. I remain unconvinced that people were as obsessed by alignments on stars and planets as his detailed research makes out.

Mainly because...

Because the only culture I know of who required such knowledge were the Egyptians. In Britain we did not need to know when the river was about to inundate, Britain is not Egypt.

The solstice and equinox tell us all we need to know, though I admit Venus and Mars, Jupiter and the constellation of Orion would draw my attention if I was charged with watching the sky.

But curious solar/lunar events would I believe matter very much in a sky-scape un-dimmed by street lamps. A few weeks ago; it was in the first week of September, about 8:30 in the morning, I was walking down a street with the sun rising behind me and the moon directly before me.

I was reminded of the interweaving of worlds (now expressed as the quantum physics notion of the multiverse) as the path of the sun and moon opened between, leading into the void. The alchemical symbolism of the conjunction between sol and lunar, too, hung in the sky as I walked. There are many ways to read or to see, or interpret or to feel about what I saw. Nevertheless, if I had turned I could have reached out to both sun and moon, and found myself balanced in between.

"O my uncle! by God if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this course, until God has made me victorious, or I perish therein, I would not abandon it."LINK..
But a new thought (new to me anyway!) came from this afternoon's reading.

A henge or a Timber circle (starburst) specifically The Sanctuary, could be seen as a symbolic round barrow. I have never thought about how barrows were made before this afternoon, but if it is true that some barrows contained wooden posts, and that the mound itself came from a ditch dug around the barrow...well if I wished to symbolize a round barrow, wouldn't it be psychologically impressive to create the core structures of wood and ditch, but to leave the symbolic barrow open to the sky?

I think that the Bluestone's pulled from their home in Wales (or collected from closer to home -if Aubrey Burl is right) were our Lapis Lazuli.

It is tempting to suppose (from Sumerian mythology) that the The Gates of Lapis Lazuli lead to the House of Darkness, Irkalla.

But that's as logical as saying that the people of Woodhenge considered the Dog Star to be significant...