Tuesday, 2 December 2014
I have created a video inspired by The Grail Epoch section of Mysterium Artorius.
Here we have the music and visions of Hildegard of Bingen combined with images of Abbot Suger's Gothic Cathedral prototype at St Denis in Paris, King Arthur, Troubadours, and the Grail Romances. Arthur became a European superstar during the twelfth century. Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain had appeared around 1135 and been a huge success. The text generally accepted as the earliest Grail Romance, the Perceval of Chretien de Troyes arrived circa 1180.
I featured this subject, with an extensive extract from Mysterium Artorius, back in 2009. It could be profitably approached again in combination with the new video.
Sunday, 19 October 2014
Most of the recent Visible College Glastonbury conference is now online and tickets can be purchased for you to watch at your leisure. There are some decent extras, for example the slideshow for my lecture is included as a pdf.
I consider it to be a rather fine programme of entertainment for the discerning viewer.
Check out the link.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
I have created a 10 minute video that combines images drawn from Glastonbury's history and mythology with the music of Thomas Tallis.
The snow photos were taken by me and I was listening to the Tallis music on headphones at the time. All of the rest have been drawn from Google images so I hope none of the photographers get upset about copyright issues.
I'm not necessarily a believer in the historical reality of the Glastonbury myths concerning Joseph of Arimathea and Arthur but I do feel that, in combination with the genius loci, they are a thing of great beauty, of soul poetry at the very least, and to enter into their mood can lead to profound exaltation.
Spem in Alium is one of the truly great treasures of British Music. It was composed around 1570 for performance by 40 voices.
- Spem in alium nunquam habui
- Praeter in te, Deus Israel
- I have never put my hope in any other
- but in You, O God of Israel
'One piece of music has established itself for me as an ultimate soundtrack for a Glastonbury Abbey dream, in the process activating further my mysterious affinity for the idea of perpetual choir. It was Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis (who had provided Vaughan Williams with such magnificent inspiration), a composition for forty voices. Tallis was writing during the aftermath of the dissolution of the monasteries and his work seems full of a poignant nostalgia for a lost paradise. I have cultivated the feeling that an eternal form of Glastonbury Abbey exists on some other realm of perception. There, the monks continue their daily services. A celestial choir perpetually intones sacred prayers amidst this magnificent scene, as Grail light shines through the stained glass windows, infusing the place with supernal blessings. Spem in Alium completely catches the feeling of how I believe such a choir would sound. It was like the chanting of angels. I know that the liturgical recitations of the medieval monks would not have sounded the same. It doesn’t matter. Tallis takes me into a realm of unbearable beauty.'
Thursday, 9 October 2014
|Photo courtesy Wholly Books|
I was very fortunate during the late eighties and early nineties to attend a number of conferences that provided a template for all round excellence and how I would come to feel such gatherings should function.
A conference featuring occult, mystical, and paranormal themes, should obviously first and foremost provide great presentations from notable interesting people. Ideally they should not just be dry and academic. Such subject matter can be alive and full of voltage, having strong and varied effects on those that are exposed to it.
The early Fellowship of Isis conventions were extraordinary gatherings. They would feature eclectic ceremonials presided over by diverse, inspired, powerful, knowledgeable, experienced individuals, sometimes brought together for some unique episode. These ritual procedures could be tangibly felt to be creating a non-ordinary space. The later experiences of those present, stretching out months into the future, involving dreams, visions, synchronicities, new or enhanced interests, spoke eloquently of the potency present. There were straight-forward lectures as well but their topics were such as to gel with the total effect and likewise provide stimulus for the aspirant. I consider that the FOI was an effective Inner Plane Mystery School in those days and to attend the conventions was to cross a threshold and for that step to be somehow registered. More could easily follow.
I used the term aspirant instead of attendee or delegate. People who go to such events are unlikely to be just passive consumers, information nerds. They are bringing something in themselves that is actively seeking to interact with what’s on offer in some way. They don’t want to leave as exactly the same person they were when they arrived.
Andrew Collins Psychic Questing conferences often led some of those present to plug into the lecture material and have visions and dreams of their own relating to it. More than a few over the years had most unusual experiences whilst the presentations were occurring right in front of them. The most notable example was when the story of the discovery of some of the fabled Meonia swords set off a vison that ultimately led to the location of another sword.
During the same period of time that I was experiencing those great events, I was also increasingly under the influence of the Glastonbury effect. This is fully expounded in my Avalonian Aeon. Suffice it to say here that the archetype of pilgrimage, of the transformational journey to sacred places, still functions in the modern world, still serves a deep need, and the mystical capital of Britain is a magnet for many. I have long said that the place is not just a museum, a relic of the past. That which gave the place its allure is still functioning today with considerable multi-faceted power.
It’s an obvious idea to try and combine all of this, to have an inner plane inferno of a conference in Glastonbury featuring a vibey combo of unique talents. The allure of a visit to the place would be amplified considerably.
Over the last few years this process has begun. There has been a regular sequence of conferences, at some of which I’ve spoken myself, where the cast of characters, and that includes the presenters and audience together, have increasingly gelled. Momentum was established.
The organisers have changed and now the Visible College, steered by the energetic networking of Sef Salem, are presiding. My personal experiences at the recent Autumn Session have convinced me that escape velocity has now been attained. The checklist from my remembrance of conferences past got thoroughly ticked. The convergence was like something out of my Avalonian Aeon.
The date of my lecture, October 5th, was not set by me but it happened to be the very halfway point of my personal year as my birthday is April 5th, so that was initially a pleasing indication of a decent day.
I lectured on the connections between Crowley’s Book of the Law and Jung’s Seven Sermons to the Dead. It’s a topic featured in my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus. I’ve spoken on it before on a number of occasions, including Blog Talk Radio. When I heard it was going to be filmed for subsequent internet viewing I felt it was worthwhile to get a good powerpoint presentation together and this led to me giving it a lot of attention.
There was a personal Glastonbury story that I intended to add. It involved myself and Andrew Collins putting an Abraxas figurine on the altar in the Mary chapel in Glastonbury Abbey and me reciting some of Jung’s words from the Seven Sermons. It was a strongly heretical action that could easily have caused offence although none was intended. It led into my discovery of Jung’s little-known visit to Glastonbury.
In the weeks leading up to the conference, whilst I was preparing my visuals, my attention was also energised by some news from the Abbey. An event was set up in October featuring a Henry VIII impersonator. I felt that this to be in dubious taste considering the fate of the Abbey, and particularly its last Abbot, who was horribly murdered on the Tor by Henry’s hit-squad. I wrote to our local paper expressing my disquiet.
With only a few days to go before the conference, Sef discovered that the venue was double-booked. He was extremely fortunate to be able to get the George and Pilgrim function room. I immediately knew what this meant. The building dates back to the last days of the Abbey. Its function room sports a large portrait of Henry VIII.
On the Thursday before the conference, the Central Somerset Gazette featured the Henry controversy, quoting extensively from the letter I had written. In nearly twenty years of living here, after perhaps two-hundred public presentations and three books written and published here, this was the most visible I have ever been in this town.
So, on the exact halfway point of my year, watched very closely by Henry VIII (his portrait was barely six feet away from me), I spoke, last person on a two-day event, of my terrible Abbey Abraxas heresies whilst being simultaneously the defender of the Abbey’s history and heritage. A wonderful Jungian coincidence of opposites. The timing and convergence of events was remarkable and clearly a manifestation of my mysterious True Will, the star that I truly am.
That such spectacularly weird shit can manifest in a Glastonbury occult conference I take to be a very good sign indeed. The machine is switched on. The whole damn gathering was outstanding. All the presenters shone. We have a film record to prove it. All of this clearly psyches us up nicely for the next one. I’m going to be following through on my Gnostic revival theme by lecturing on another old favorite of mine, the Babalon Working. I look forward to next March and another equinoctial tide.
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
After meaning to get round to it for far too long, I have finally got one of my complete lectures recorded (thank you Ezra) and up on You Tube.
This material is primarily taken from the chapter Loch Ness Leviathan and the Boleskine Kiblah in my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus.
It's a very simple format and future efforts will improve but I like to think the contents are rather interesting and serve as a fine indication of the depth of material in the book.
Monday, 22 September 2014
As a Glastonbury Abbey season-ticket holder, I am on the mailing list for news on upcoming events. I recently received notification of an upcoming Audience with Henry VIII in the Abbey Museum in October. A notable Henry impersonator will provide a "very amusing and interesting talk".
Anyone with even a modest knowledge of the Abbey history would probably do a double-take on this. I was moved to a Facebook rant. "I would really like to chill with the fuckpig responsible for the ruination of the place who sent his hit squad to brutally murder the old man in charge in an atrocity redolent of some dark sacrifice that still resonates centuries later". I'd like to expand that a bit here to enhance the expression of my disbelief that anyone could think this event was a good idea, full of scope for humour.
Here is an extract from my Mysterium Artorius that covers Henry's role in Abbey history.
In November 1539 onetime Renaissance wunderkind Henry VIII perpetrated perhaps the greatest British cultural atrocity. His dissolution of the monasteries was carried out in a needlessly wanton manner.
What happened at Glastonbury was the worst example of the entire process. The elderly abbot, Richard Whiting, was set up on a blatantly false charge of treason.
Along with two colleagues, he was sentenced to death.
The King’s Einsatz Kommando hit-squad stretched and tied the old man on a hurdle. This was dragged by a horse through the town, past the Abbey, and up to the summit of the Tor, where gallows had been erected.
There the three men were executed. Whiting’s head was removed and placed above the Abbey gate. The rest of his body was cut into four pieces that were displayed in nearby towns.
Geoffrey Ashe raised some disturbing points about the ghastly scenario in King Arthur’s Avalon. It would require considerable effort, in wet and muddy November, for a horse to drag a man tied to a hurdle up to the top of the Tor. The construction of the gallows there was no easy task either. The summit is renowned for the strong winds that often blow across it. If the sole purpose of the deed was to instil fear in the population then why not choose the front of the abbey, in the middle of the town, where everyone could potentially see it? There’s an unsettling hint of impractical stranger motives amongst the executioners. The three bodies strung up on a hill suggest a blasphemous parody of the crucifixion and archaic sacrificial rites.
The Abbey library was trashed. Pages of priceless manuscripts were found as litter in the streets. The bones displayed as Arthur and Guenevere’s were lost. Who knows what modern forensic science could have told us if they were still available? The monks were dispersed. Before long the majestic edifice of the building was pillaged for raw material. One of its later owners used explosives to blow great holes in the walls to satisfy his materialistic priorities. The Grail chalice of British Christendom disappeared, leaving a wasteland behind.
I find it more than passing strange that the History section of the Abbey website spectacularly evades mention of the horrors of 1539. The Whiting murder is completely ignored! This is all it says.
"In 1536, during the 27th year of the reign of Henry VIII, there were over 800 monasteries, nunneries and friaries in Britain. By 1541, there were none. More than 10,000 monks and nuns had been dispersed and the buildings had been seized by the Crown to be sold off or leased to new lay occupiers. Glastonbury Abbey was one of principal victims of this action by the King, during the social and religious upheaval known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries."
It should be a really fun evening in October. Glastonbury Abbey has a Facebook page. I posted a comment on there. If the event seems a tad grotesque to you, maybe you might like to do likewise.