An end to darkness

20160701_210126I should have known really… the folklore, like a haddock to the face once you spot it, TELLS you!! But I wasn’t listening, and had to go the long way around… like 10 years searching up hill and down bleedin’ dale. And all along, the folklore whispered “You’re an idiot. We kept it locked, safely hidden away, in the old tales… stop walking, start listening…”

“Here the Saint stopped the advance of the plague.”

Oh. That’s nice. Christianised. Simple. Pictish. Incised cross.

Not much to look at. Could trip over it and not notice… (don’t even ask how many times THAT happened with the old hitching post…)


HERE. The Saint stopped the advance of the plague.

The Saint stopped the coming of the Black Death.

The Saint turned back death.

Death… a veil of darkness?

Darkness was turned back!


And thanks to the power of GoogleEarth… so it would seem…

Movie shows Winter Solstice skyline from the same location as the top image. 

Whilst confident that the EXACT location of the ritual site that I was looking for is probably some distance away, in the valley below, it could be suggested that the cross marks, not so much a Saintly miracle… but a turning point in the year.

Not so clear from the video is that Lugh, tardy rising at this time of year, fails to appear in all his glory till mid-day, and, indeed, that for much of the valley, he fails to appear at all!






Posted in Landscape, Shaman tools | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Dealing with the Friday fools

So… the first time it happened…

I may have growled a little.

Not much. Just enough.

Or so I thought…


The second time it happened…


let’s just say that I may have been a little more…

…erm… forceful…?


Obviously not forceful enough…

Now I feel a complete fool.

And I’m going to have to change my shirt…




All images shamelessly stolen from google.

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Listening to the stones

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Originally posted on pondering the past:
It is an old friend, the stone. A friend to whom I infrequently pay my respects. This year, sand martins are flitting, wheeling and turning overhead as I make my short respectful pilgrimage. Admiring…

Gallery | 1 Comment

The Watcher’s dilemma

“Edge of the World”
(Found at The Fear Mythos Wiki)

I am Watcher. I’m in a high place, yet remain shadowed by brooding mountains that further darken a black sky. The gale flattens a campfire in front of me, casting all warmth to the western horizon. A tent-like structure behind me flaps urgently; in danger of being swept into the darkness. The rough blanket around my shoulders offers little comfort.

I am Watcher of Myself. I peer into the darkness. Some distance below, on a grassy promontory, I see Myself begin the calling. Raising the staff, I invite the East. Then the South. Then the West.

I am Myself. Lifting the staff to the North, I see the faint glimmer of a campfire. I am not alone in the darkness. The Watcher is near. In this, I find both strength and solace. I turn again to the East.

The Watcher sees the staff rise, and, as I begin to chant the unbidden words streaming into my consciousness, the Watcher stands. What am I doing down there? I shouldn’t have both hands on the staff. I wish I could hear above this wind. Why is the opening of the Above taking so long?

Closing My eyes, I prepare to impregnate the Mother. Only the Watcher may witness.

As I thrust the staff into the Earth, a bolt of lightning strikes the antlered head, and, through the staff, enters the Mother. In a blinding moment, first staff, then Self, turn to ash and are torn Westward by the howling gale…

Watcher stands, agape; wondering: how can he explain this to his sundered Self?

Posted in Ceremony, Healing, Self Awareness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Death of a salesman

        Hello. Is that Mr Elk?

We’ve all had them. The incessant sales calls, interspersed with the “Hello, I’m a hacker looking for easy access to your computer, erm, I mean, Steve from Microsoft…” type calls.

Now, apart from the half-assed hacker boys who I like to hold on the line for as long as possible (personal record now stands at 75 minutes before he realised I was taking the piss), I fully appreciate that these sales people, pollsters, market researchers are, like all of us, simply trying to make a living. I usually try to be polite, thank them for their time, and end the call as pleasantly as possible. This, often as not, fails to work, and I’ve been on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse on more than one occasion.

The past three months, I came to realise something. If I thought it was bad for me, with an average 5-6 of these uninvited calls per day, it is much, much worse for those vulnerable individuals who have taken time to answer their questions, or, God forbid, have actually purchased some of the tat that they hawk. It would appear that, if you give one of them any time, you are suddenly on every database as an easy mark. Staying at my mother’s house, I found myself bombarded with 15-25 of these callers every, single, day.

So I’ve managed quite a comprehensive attempt at reducing the number of unwelcome calls (down to a manageable 6-8 per day), and feel it my public duty to share some preliminary findings.

Responses that don’t work:

  • Politely requesting that they remove the number from their database.
  • Demanding that they remove the number from their database.
  • Pointing out that they have just broken the law by calling the number (she’s been signed up to the national “no sales” service for over 5 years!)
  • Threatening to track them down and insert their headphones where the sun don’t shine.
  • Asking if their mother is happy with their career choice.

The ones that partially work. (They only partially work, because they remain on the phone much longer than I’d like, but has the advantage of delaying the call to their next intended victim):

“Hello, is this Mr Elk?”
“Are you a family member?”

Only once did it get as far as: “Well, who the hell are you, then?” I was tempted to answer that I was a burglar, but felt that this individual might take it seriously, and I didn’t fancy explaining myself to the imagined police officer who may turn up.

“Hello, is this Mr Elk?”
‘No’, in deepest bass possible, ‘this is Mrs Elk. Can I take a message?’

Two things happen at this stage. The idea that Mrs Elk should have such a deep, masculine voice so repulses them that they hang up, or:

“Why, yes, Mrs Elk. We are offering 50% off our world leading widgets that you really can’t live without. This offer ends in three days, and you must act quickly to take advantage of this offer.”
‘Oh, I’m sorry. Mr Elk deals with widget purchases. Can I take your number and get him to call when he gets back? I’m sure he’d be interested in cheap widgets.’

That’s pretty much when they hang up. No widget salesman worth their salt has time to accept incoming calls!

The ones that always work:

“Hello, is this Mr Elk?”
‘No, this is Penge; the butler. May I ask who is calling, for Mr Elk?’

Normally, they hang up immediately they find out you are the butler.

“Hello, is this Mr Elk?”
‘I’m afraid you have the wrong number. There is no-one here of that name.’

Mostly you will get a simple hang up, but may receive an apology of that automatic type that we blurt out when we do the same ourselves. Only once turned abusive with a, “do you mean to tell me that the national phone company would get this wrong?”. Responding with ‘No – you obviously dialled the wrong number’, apparently warrants a “F**% you!” before the line goes dead.

“Hello, this is Tracy from XXResearch. May I have a few minutes of your time to answer some questions?”
‘Why yes, it is. My normal charges for answering questions is £40 per minute, how would you like to pay?’

Line usually goes dead before I can ask how they would like to pay!

Possibly my favourites, but only use these with the automatic dialler ones, where the line appears to be dead for a few seconds before they speak.

‘Congratulations, you are through to Hairy Harry’s S&M Chat. Calls cost 96 pence per minute, plus your normal network charge…’

For some reason, they really don’t want to talk to Harry, or are averse to dabbling in anything bondage related, and very few hang around long enough to learn the cost…

‘Target location successfully logged. Launch sequence begins in 30minutes. To abort launch sequence, press 1.’

Now, call me old fashioned, but, if it were me, I’d quite like to abort whatever launch is about to send some unknown ordnance my way. Only once has someone retained a healthy sense of self preservation and pressed a button. Follow up with:

‘Please enter your six digit security code to abort launch sequence.’

“Shit”, gasped the poor chap before hanging up. I have an image of him crashing over desks to reach the exit, and hot footing it up the main street in the hope of finding a place of safety. Watches way too many spy movies, if you ask me…

Of course, the national phone company could easily enough stop these calls, by simply barring anything which appears to be a valid UK number but originates from a call centre in India, the Congo, or Milton Keynes… but profit has to come before safeguarding customers, so I won’t hold my breath for any imminent change.

Hairy Harry
MI6 strike launch operative

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A funny thing happened on the way home.

It was an oddly euphoric moment of complete clarity.

The sun, low, casting great shadows across the landscape; highlighting features normally hidden from view. The first flowers of Spring, punctuating in yellow, the intense verdant of the season.

The sky, uncluttered blue, held aloft lazy seabirds surfing the cliff drawn breeze. Darker, the sea, unflecked and still, etched a clear horizon against a distant fog.

In the midst of all this, an instrumental started playing on the radio. I couldn’t quite place it, but the arrangement conjures growth, nurturing, the mother. The cadence seems to mirror the rise, fall, and turns in the road; the mood reflects the landscape as it reveals itself around each corner.

A couple of verses in I realise it’s Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”, and I’m humming along, trying to remember the words:

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything, take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath, every hour has come to this

That’s when I knew, beyond every reasonable knowing. Immersed in the fullness of a perfect Spring day – everything is exactly as it should be…

Posted in Landscape, Self Awareness | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Shell shock

A moment of comfort.
Source: U.S. Army, Korea Media Center: official Korean War online video archive

Sometimes, dreams come simply; any symbolic element of relevance bubbling readily to the surface. Some wake you laughing; with ludicrous images arising from apparently disassociated elements and ideas.

Yesterday morning’s was neither.

Myself and a stranger are somewhere in a muddy field, decanting plastic crates from the back of a Land Rover. There are a bunch of African kids crowding around us, eager to assist carry the contents of the crates into a nondescript building of some vintage.

The stranger has an enormous grin, as he notes how great it is that the village has found this resource so useful. “It’s really helping the people understand what they need to do…” I have no idea what he is talking about.

I’m looking down at the content of the crates. Old VHS tapes, really grotty looking, thick with dust and grime, and much the worse for wear. They all appear to have been used time and time again, with multiple labels, some stripped off, and without anything to indicate what might be on them. I pick through them, wondering to myself just how much use they can possibly be; the technology is so obsolete, and what we have here seems pretty far gone.

Under the tapes, there are odd mechanical parts. I have no idea what the purpose of these might be.

Just off to the right, a large group of men have gathered. They have their backs to us. There appears to be a bit of a party atmosphere in the group. As we carry on unloading the crates, I idly wonder what the celebration might be.

Fire crackers are let off. The noise is deafening.

My colleague hits the ground in a quivering ball. He has his hands over his head, and is anxiously whimpering. I kneel down, grasp his hand, and gently comfort him. “They are only fire-crackers. It’s all right.” He is inconsolable, and we remain, cowering behind the vehicle, until the last fire-cracker fizzles out.

It takes some time, but I finally manage to convince him that it is all over. That it is safe. He withdraws his hand and wipes away tears and snot, before uncurling, stretching, and slowly standing up.

As I help him rise, “Are you OK, now?”, I ask.

I feel the rubberised elastic of the waistband on his waterproofs. I can smell the cordite. The heat is oppressive. A bead of sweat.

“Yes, thank you. Thank you for staying,” he replies, before turning and walking over in the direction of the crowd of now dancing men.

Whilst the individual elements, can be extracted, viewed in isolation, turned over, and catalogued, the entirety of the meaning, might never be understood.

Except… somewhere… deep down… I must already know…

Posted in dreams, Shaman tools | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments