Into Spirit…

Sue Vincent

14th September 1958 – 29th March 2021

R.I.P

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Free as a bird

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All, I have to say, is not right with the world. At least in terms of weather. Granted, it tends to behave beautifully when I really need it to…it is obligingly suited to purpose most of the time. Even the heavy northern rain at the end of Saturday evening only left me laughing… and dripping somewhat… as we ran through the city streets in search of transport. I haven’t done that in more years than I care to remember…

But this morning it was warm and sunny… an August day… short sleeves weather… Summer. I woke with my legs… which had evidently escaped the warmth of the duvet overnight in search of cooler climes…duly and comprehensively mosquito –bitten. This only happens in summer in England

Therefore… wearing the scarlet lumps on my legs as seasonal confirmation…I should not be covered in shivering gooseflesh so early in the evening, thinking in terms of hot baths and fluffy dressing gowns. A thought, I admit, I have already surrendered to. Mainly on the principle that there are few amphibious mosquitoes. They were welcome to try… nor would I have begrudged being supper for anything prepared to brave the hot, steamy depths of my bathtub. The gown now covers most of my otherwise exposed and apparently palatable flesh… well, at least to invertebrates… and Ani is valiantly chasing anything that flies, from mosquito to magpie.

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Including the hot air balloon. Again. She just doesn’t understand them…

But mainly birds.

It is every time she has been to stay with her friends .. as soon as she comes home she becomes even more defensive of her territory… especially her airspace… than ever. She protests vociferously at every intrusion, making little distinction between butterfly and buzzard.  Although the doves and pigeons, who don’t seem to take the slightest notice of her, are the worst offenders in her eyes. She bounces in circles. Climbs fences. Goes, one could say, nuts.

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It is all about the boundaries. And as far as Ani is concerned, what she can see from her garden is hers

I don’t suppose we are that much different really. We look out on ‘our’ world with proprietary eyes. We think of the things we own, the place we live, especially, perhaps, the people we love as ‘ours’. Yet so little of what we think of as ours is actually truly that. We just have things for a while. Nor do we … can we…own those we love.

Maybe we are afraid that if we lose control of ‘our’ worlds we will somehow lose ourselves in losing those things that we think define us? Perhaps we feel safer within our ‘walls’.. our roles stable.. our vision of self fixed and reassuringly familiar… constantly reinforced by the material and intangible mirror of the possessions, situations and people that frame the picture of self we have painted?

We can put up boundaries to keep the world out, or to keep our worlds ‘safe’ from the inside… we can even bark at intruders…but maybe all we are really doing is shutting ourselves in with an illusion, away from all the possibilities that life can hold outside those boundary walls.

I think the birds must look down on Ani’s antics with amusement from their perch on the roof. They can see so much further in flight than she can from the ground… they see the hedgerows and walls that map our lives while they, themselves are bounded only by the sky and how far their wings and the winds can carry them.

Maybe they have a point…

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Rowan berries

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It started with a sleepless night. I was late to bed, as I couldn’t seem to relax. I wandered back downstairs a scant hour and a half after snuggling down with every intention of staying there for a long, leisurely while.  I woke, however, and after tossing and turning in frustration gave up and got up. Even Ani, dangling head first off the end of the sofa, merely opened one eye, gave me one of those looks that say, “Yeah, right….” And went back to sleep. I couldn’t blame her.

I couldn’t settle to much, not even research, so ended up cleaning files on the computer… it was that bad…drinking hot milk and listening to the whine of a lone mosquito. I threw in the towel after a couple of hours and went back to bed to try again.

This seemed far more promising… I composed myself and began to drift….

Nebulous images form on the threshold of dream, flitting across the inner screen like vague ghosts, tantalising and intriguing…

Aware, at some level of residual wakefulness that the conscious mind was running the events of the day, the worries and concerns that nestle there, the images created by emotions and reactions, I did not pursue them. It is best, I find, to simply relax and go with the flow. So I let them happen… watched them arise from the mists and fade into nothingness… waiting for that final step over the threshold into slumber…

Some unguessable time later sees me frantically scribbling notes in the black- clad journal that lies beside the bed. It is a dreamcatcher of sorts… deployed in theoretical readiness to crystallise those magnificent thoughts that seem to meander through the mind between sleep and waking. I say ‘theoretical’ as I can seldom rouse myself from that state enough to catch them… and usually find they have dissolved into a sepia mockery of memory while I dangle over the edge of the bed scrabbling hopelessly for the pencil…

Last night, however, the moonlight provided enough illumination for the elusive prey to be pinned in an illegible scrawl to the pristine pages.  But that doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever we can translate into words from those ephemeral images seems to become fixed in accessible recall. There was no magnificence… no profound philosophies were revealed, no inspirational lights switched on.

Instead there was the story of a place and a moment in time. It had been haunting me since the weekend. It is one of those high places where you can see for miles in every direction. A place of rowan berries and melted stone, where the sky seems low enough to touch and the past rises from the ground, touching you through the veils of legend across time, space and realities.

It is a place that evokes sadness. The green silence should be simply beautiful and peaceful, yet for some reason it held a deep sorrow and sitting at its centre the past touched the heart with ghostly fingers. Snippets of a story surfaced in response to emotion and were lost to the winds.

Last night the story played out on the screen of images that marks the borderland between waking and dreaming, bringing once again that sense of place. Writing it up this afternoon I could barely see the keyboard for the tears. Yet the words themselves are nothing but words.

Does it have a basis in truth? Certainly it fits within the little known from the archaeology… but there is nothing to say it is factual. Many scenarios would fit and most of the ‘facts’ are speculation. Is it a glimpse beyond time, or simply the attempt of the mind to understand the essence of the place? How can we know? And does it really matter?

It is true that the emotions match the place, true that through them there is a sense of familiarity and kinship with those who walked there thousands of years before… and through their story, glimpsed or imagined, a deeper understanding of human lives, our connection to each other and our roots in the land we walk.

Somehow, I think that matters more than proving the reality of a dream.

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Heart of Albion – Stuart France & Sue Vincent

 

 

 

 

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Stepping stones

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I was thinking about one of my favourite places today, and while for me it is the high moors, there are other things to see in Ilkley. As a child I used to love stepping off the train into the old station, knowing there would be perhaps the visit to the church with the Roman altar to Verbeia. Or maybe we would walk down to the river and skim pebbles on the water. Or visit the stepping stones.

Most of the time, though, we would walk up through the little garden that borders the stream, popping the ripe seed heads of the balsam and watching the tiny projectiles fire incredible distances. Even then it felt wrong to make them pop. They had to be ready to explode at a mere touch.

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As the hill rose higher, so did the Victorian mansions beside the road, until, with a final burst of pride, they gave way to the green and gold of the moors.

The next adventure was to choose which way. Go right and there was the long walk to the pool above Heber’s Ghyll, not quite big enough to swim, but enough to bathe in the cold, clear water. Beyond that stood the Swastika Stone, with its strange fire symbol, overhanging the moor edge.

We could go straight up.. there was White Wells and the old pool there, steeped, for a child in mystery. And once upon a time a café with a wooden veranda where we would get frothy Horlicks and share a table with the wandering sheep. Then we could go higher up the moor to the lonelier areas away from the tourists, where prehistoric petroglyphs were waiting to be found once more, barrows lie quiet and stone circles lie unnoticed in the heather.

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Or we could go left, maybe up through the Giant’s Skirtful, past the hidden altar and beyond the Cow and Calf to my special place by the Haystack with its hidden, double circle of stones and the Giant’s head watching over the valley below.

And, of course, it didn’t matter. There was, perhaps, a pang of regret for a moment as we set off in one direction when I had hoped to go in another, but all the pathways led to wonders over a land I love. For me the whole area is magical and alive with legends.

But the land does not end at the edge of the moors, nor do the wonders. Many paths lead down from the high places, Like the rays of a star taking many directions towards a myriad destinations. The roads, paths and lanes are all joined somehow, as if there is only one road through the entire landscape, a labyrinth inviting the footsteps of the traveller, and all the roads lead to where the heart longs to be.

Life, it seems, does the same thing. Wherever we start, no matter what roads we take, we always end up where we are going. We may take a circuitous route or a straight one, we may change our minds along the way and think we have taken a different road, but really, they are all One, and all roads lead Home in the end.

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DOOMSDAY

The Aetheling Thing     Dark Sage   Scions of Albion

All books available via Amazon in Paperback and for Kindle

Don and Wen, following the breadcrumb trail of arcane lore and ancient knowledge, scattered across the landscape of time, turn their attention to the myths and legends of Old Albion. They delve into the tales of King Arthur, asking some very strange questions about biblical family trees and exploring the many stories that abound in the very landscape of Avalon. Meanwhile, in Derbyshire, the voices of the past still whisper from the stones, opening a passage through time, place and memory to another world…

Doomsday: The Ætheling Thing

How is it possible to hide such a story… the hidden history of Christianity in Britain? Oh, there are legends of course… old tales… Yet what if there was truth in them? What was it that gave these blessed isles such a special place in the minds of our forefathers? There are some things you are not taught in Sunday School. From the stone circles of the north to the Isle of Avalon, Don and Wen follow the breadcrumbs of history and forgotten lore to uncover a secret veiled in plain sight.

 


Doomsday: Dark Sage
…. something was spawned up on the moor… something black that flew on dark wings. It heeds not time or place… but it seems to have developed a penchant for the travels of Don and Wen….
“Are those two still at it?”
“Apparently….”

 

 


Doomsday: Scions of Albion

Things are getting serious…

Exactly what is Wen doing with that crowbar and why is she wearing a balaclava?

All will be revealed…or will it?

 

Follow the story begun in The Initiate and the Triad of Albion, as Don and Wen explore the ancient land.

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Dark Fantasy…

 

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First a formless mass of light,

then the firmament of stars,

then sun and moon,

then sea and land,

then reptiles, and birds,

then beasts, and man,

and then, contemplation…

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If the ‘candlestick vision’ which opens the Book of Revelation,

is an allusion to the Menorah,

then the central figure of that vision

stands for the earth-sphere and all of those who dwell in that realm.

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Genesis posits two earthly creation models, the first is based

on the Babylonian planetary scheme which the Hebrews

reformulated as the Elohim and symbolised by the Menorah.

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This takes seven days, or one week and occurs in Spring.

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The second is based on a Canaanite model in which

darkness gradually assimilates light, and takes one day,

or twenty-four hours, and occurs in Autumn.

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There is nothing at all primitive about creation models

which recognise a world established by

days, weeks, seasons, and years, which are natural rhythms,

quite the contrary.

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The Old Dispensation grants Heaven

to ‘Lucifer’ and Earth to Adam,

but after the Fall, Man and Fallen-Angel

vie for ascendancy of the earth-sphere,

until Noah and the Flood when the

earth-sphere is redeemed for all time.

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The New Dispensation

projects the contention for the earth-sphere

into eternity but substitutes ‘Eve’ for Adam.

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If we detect in the above an over-plus of polarity,

then we might wish to attend to that.

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A contemplation:

The formless mass of light lasts from 12am to 3am.

The firmament of stars is formed from 3am to 6am.

The sun and moon hold sway from 6am to 9am.

The sea and land emerge between 9am and 12pm.

Reptiles and birds arrive between 12pm and 3pm.

Beasts and man turn up between 3pm and 6pm.

From 6pm until 9pm is a time set aside for contemplation.

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Which leaves just three hours.

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Three days is the traditional period of time for transition

from one state of being to another during initiation ceremonies.

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But this leaves no time for sleep?

The awakened are not asleep…

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SPENDYKE

1022, a fugitive from planet Spendyke holes up in the bowels of the Rubicon library.
There he discovers ancient accounts of the reasons for his planet’s current plight.
Further research uncovers practical solutions to the dire world situation in the prevailing views of State Philosopher Hux.
As the global government crumbles around him the fugitive embarks upon a journey into his own past in order to pull Spendyke back from the brink.
But will he be successful?

Front and Back Cover artwork by Sue Vincent

Available now in Amazon Paperback

 

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Coming Soon…

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A DARK FANTASY…

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Sheela’s Mystery Solved?

County Meath, Sunday, 31st July 2022…

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Perhaps, like the ‘tomb raiders’ at Dowth,

we are looking for treasures

of the wrong kind, in the wrong place?

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She’s at the base of the stone on the right!

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There is a famous

Sheela-na-Gig

on one of the stones at Tara…

Continue reading at France&Vincent

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Of kings and stone…

County Meath, Sunday, 31st July 2022…

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All roads lead to Tara

as they say.

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Or at least

all the roads in Ireland.

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But like so much else

that we have considered

on this trip

what remains to us is

not even half of the story.

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The ‘king stone’

about which so much is made

these days no longer stands

in its original position.

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It originally stood in front

of the mound now named

for Niall’s Hostages

and acted as a gnomon for

the sunlight entering the mound

as we have seen with the monuments

so recently left in our wake back at the Boyne Valley…

Continue reading at France&Vincent

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Dowth…

County Meath, Sunday, 31st July 2022…

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The dowdiest of the three Boyne Monuments

but, in some ways, the friendliest.

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No time restrictions,

no imminent threat

of film-show dread,

no waiting bus,

full of chattering strangers…

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Just the site itself

and Ireland’s wild, wild nature.

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The mythology for this site tells of a druid

and his sister spelling the sun to shine

while all the men of Ireland

were engaged in its construction.

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When the two magicians slept together

the spell was broken, and darkness descended.

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Coitus and these sites,

it seems, are inextricably linked…

Continue reading at France&Vincent

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Kells…

County Meath, Saturday, 30th July 2022…

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“Three’s are important,” she said.

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And they are, so we can take it that ‘ol’ stubby’

from Killinaboy does not count

in our tally of round towers.

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The brick work whilst, perhaps,

not quite polygonal

is not all that far off?…

Continue reading at France&Vincent

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Art and Function…

County Meath, Saturday, 30th July 2022…

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The eastern entrance stone and the two

standing stones in front of it

are instrumental in recording the equinox.

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No one knows what the ovoid shaped stone to the left is for,

perhaps it represents the ‘egg of the sun’?

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The respective shadows of the stones cast

from the setting equinox sun

fall on the entrance stone,

directly across the inscribed vertical line,

and one of the sun and spiral decorated kerb-stones alongside.

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As if to prove this is no fluke

the same trick is played on the western

side of the mound.

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The shadow casting standing stone can just be seen

on the far right edge of the photograph, above.

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It begins to look like, for these megalithic temple builders,

the equinoxes were symbolically masculine

whilst the solstices were symbolically feminine?…

Continue reading at France&Vincent

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