Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The imaginative archaeology of Francis Pryor

Looking like an avuncular viking...

I came across Francis Pryor - the archaeologist of 'prehistory' (stone, bronze and iron age Britain) via the wonderful TV series Time Team - and have since watched his Britain BC TV series, and read in the book of similar name, and (currently) another called 'Home' which is about prehistorical family life.

Although (as befits an Emeritus Cambridge Professor) he describes himself as an agnostic-atheist, and he is not (yet?) 'red pilled'; Pryor has a genuinely dissenting nature, and the deepest spiritual discernment of any modern archaeologist that I have encountered.

Pryor seems empathically to understand the spiritual consciousness of our remote ancestors; and is able to paint vivid word pictures of their lives.

In particular - and this is derived from the mass of direct achaeological evidence, as well as from contextual knowledge of biology, geography and anthropology - Pryor appreciates that our ancestors led primarily spiritual lives: the 'unseen' world loomed-larger for them than the mundane.

He is a prolific of material aimed-at the interested layman - and I would recommend his work to the Albion Awakening readership.

 

A rare and remarkable photograph of a Bronze Age craftsman making a log canoe at Flag Fen - Francis Pryor's famous East Anglian excavations. Coincidental background details suggest a much higher level of technological sophistication during this era than is generally recognised. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

A Call to Arms

Western civilization is clearly in decline. The signs are everywhere and range from the loss of the sense of transcendence and resultant materialism, to deterioration of the arts and sciences, to mass immigration which erodes identity (and is intended to), to greater involvement of women in the workforce and political process which (whatever you think of its rights or wrongs) has practically always marked a culture in its terminal phase*, to familial breakdown and sexual licence and so on. I am not making a judgment here. I am simply describing what is taking place and pointing out that it is what always takes place whenever a civilisation has passed its zenith and started its decline. Members of that civilisation all want to share in its bounty, bounty that has been produced by exceptional people fired by exceptional energy and creativity. But the rich and relatively stable society such people produce leads to a situation in which everyone wants a piece of the pie and demands a say in its running.  Democracy is the result of that and the result of democracy is cultural relativism which substitutes quantity for quality. This is where we are now.

There is a saying that hard times make strong people who make good times which make weak people who make hard times. We are weak people. Weak people prize the gentle virtues, in particular compassion and empathy. Obviously I am not arguing against compassion, but I am saying that it is a virtue that will lead to downfall if it is not balanced by wisdom and discrimination. For if unbalanced compassion has its way, everything is reduced to the same level and that level will increasingly be determined by the lowest common denominator. 

In a collapsing culture people are unable to distinguish between what bestows spiritual benefit and what material, particularly when the two conflict as they often do. This means that the increase of pleasant feelings and reduction of unpleasant ones is all that is deemed to matter. Reality is defined in terms of personal happiness and suffering, pleasure and pain, and subjective feelings become more important than objective truth. This leads to a vicious circle or downward spiral in which mistaken attitudes breed further errors which, in turn, lead to deeper illusion.

The true spiritual way demands repentance and inner transformation. One must literally turn one's life around and redirect one's mind to new paths. Compassion without wisdom says we are all good as we are now. No sacrifice, no renunciation, no repentance is necessary. Just love everyone for who they are. This is a damnable lie for no man is good in and of himself. We are all, as traditional Christian teaching correctly affirms, sinners. That means we are all out of proper harmony with spiritual reality. What the modern world has forgotten is that the way to heaven is always through the crucifixion. Any form of spirituality that ignores this is just self-help and that is basically disguised egotism^.

Given this diagnosis of the modern world as one in decline, how can one say that human consciousness is evolving? But I do say it. After all, this is why the Christianity of the past is no longer adequate for many modern people who have the distinction, due to a more developed intellect and sense of self, to need to know things for themselves. But there is no reason why both assessments of the present time cannot be true. They are not necessarily contradictory. On the one hand, the old civilisation is dying for reasons of exhaustion and because of a decadence that is the result of a loss of spiritual energy and capitulation to material forces. On the other, there is a development of consciousness which sees a much greater and more widespread mental awareness of reality and positive engagement with it. 

Perhaps the fact that this is widespread gives us a clue. In the past, there was a relatively small spiritual and intellectual elite who drove the cultural agenda, and they worked from within a spiritual framework, or one that was heavily influenced by such.  The vast majority of humanity was purely passive. Now, however, there are far more people both determining and responding to intellectual life but they do so in a philosophically materialist society. From a situation in which very few people really thought, we have moved into one in which more and more men and women are becoming intellectually active, but the quantitative increase is not reflected qualitatively. It's a classic example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing but probably inevitable at the earlier phase of a new cycle.

The question is, can humanity progress from this current state of awakening intelligence to a deeper awareness before it destroys itself spiritually? To put it at its simplest, can we move on from a state in which knowledge is our chief aspiration and focus to one of wisdom? In a state of ignorance, the majority of the populace could be guided by traditional religion. In essence, they did as they were told. Now, as we leave our spiritual childhood we are learning to think for ourselves, but knowledge without wisdom has led to our corruption because, although we have begun to think for ourselves, we are not yet capable of thinking very deeply.

These are the two problems that confront us and to which we must find a solution. Our civilisation has reached the end of the line and is in the process of dismantling itself in various ways but which can often be reduced to preferring equality to quality. And then our newly developed mental powers have given us the ability to engage with reality to a greater extent than before, and even force it to our will to a degree, but we are restricted in this to the material plane. We must start to sow the seeds of a new spiritual civilisation or we face destruction.

* See The Fate of Empires by Sir John Glubb 

^ I'm not saying that the attempt to improve oneself is egotism, just the attempt to do so without reference to a real (i.e. not abstract) transcendent source beyond the self.





Saturday, 2 February 2019

More Brexit

EU remainers like to point to a common European culture, one represented by Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe and the like, and claim that leavers are rejecting this noble heritage for an insular little Britain attitude. Maybe some people are like that, maybe even a lot are since it can't be denied that the attitude exists and leave voters are a mixed bunch which is probably both their strength (in that they won) and their weakness (in that they may not have that much common ground). But the point is the EU is not Europe. Its long term purpose is and always has been to create a Federal Republic of Europe with all power centralised in a heavily bureaucratic transnational body while national parliaments exist merely as administrative branch offices, little better than local government.

The EU is fundamentally materialistic which is shown by two things, one obvious and one symbolic. The real unifying force of Europe was Christianity, a shared spiritual identity and transcendental belief. A religion.That is not part of modern EU ideology at all since it is based on Enlightenment values which, it could be reasonably said, actually trashed many real traditional European beliefs. I am not rejecting the Enlightenment which was a valuable, indeed essential, step forward, but it should have been built on religion not used to push the latter aside which is what happened, and is the attitude behind EU ideology. After all, most of the great men of European history were not only believers in God but that belief inspired their work.

To my mind, the EU flag reveals something fundamental about the project. It has no centre. And that means it has no heart. This is precisely because the EU is an atheist project. It likes to pretend it stands for intelligence and culture but what sort of intelligence and what sort of culture? I would say that it is actually a technocrat's dream and what is the important thing for technocrats? It is efficiency. A technocratic society must be one that is highly ordered and tightly controlled to bring about maximum efficiency. It has no place for anything that cannot be measured. Outwardly humanitarian, it actually rejects much of what it really means to be human because its concept of humanity is a shrivelled little thing without a soul.

Now, I know that most people who voted to leave the EU were unlikely to have framed their reasons in this way. They were concerned about mass immigration and its effects on their jobs, schools, housing etc. Or they didn't like being told what to do by foreigners. Or sundry other reasons. But perhaps in many cases behind these tangible outer reasons there was a sense that this country was slipping away from them, and they were deeply uncomfortable with that. Their identity was being stripped away. The EU offers nothing in this regard because it has no identity of its own. It is a hollow thing whose purpose is only functional. But man cannot live by bread alone.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

England's national dress (for men)





These are pictures from the parts of England where I have lived and which I know best: the North East coalfield, Northumberland, Somerset and Devon - and the common feature is the Flat Cap.

The flat cap has always been standard dress for the adult male in the indigenous populations of these parts; and I have been wearing a flat cap, or had one folded/ rolled in my pocket, since I turned eighteen and inherited a couple from my recently deceased Grandfather.

There isn't much to be said about this unpretentious garment except that, without much fuss; English men have been wearing them for a long time - at least six generations, probably more.

Unlike most national dress, which has been invented by revivalists or contrived mainly for tourists, this is just what men actually use day by day; to keep a bit warmer and a bit dryer and to shade the eyes; from agricultural rustics and toffs everywhere, to Northern townees and all manner of workers in heavy industry.

Albion merch @ Senlak




I have recently bought a couple of small lapel badges of the flags of England (St George) and Northumberland - and I came across a supplier of patriotic English merchandise that may be of interest - especially for those who regard the Anglo-Saxon invasion of AD449 as the key event.

The Anglo-Saxo-maniac (and which of us isn't one of these - to some extent?) is catered-for by clothing etc. with logo's of that date, the White Dragon, and the word Englisc...

The organisation seems broadly secular; but on their list of eminent English the Venerable Bede comes first! 


Sunday, 27 January 2019

Brexit

I thought I might give a personal response to the post Bruce recently put up here on Andy Thomas and his Brexit talk because I don't believe I've written about this subject before which might seem strange given the nature of this blog and the fact that no one seems to talk about anything else nowadays.

I didn't vote in the referendum. That was partly because I don't vote at all, regarding the whole process as flawed, particularly in the modern world when all parties are corrupt and all political ideologies completely separated from any kind of spiritual truth. People say you should at least participate and vote for the least bad option but I've tried that in the past and always feel as though I've betrayed my principles in some way, pompous and self-regarding as that might sound. But I believe the only honest option for me, as things stand today anyway, is to remove myself from the whole process. I am not recommending this for everyone. We all have to follow our conscience in these matters, and I am not saying that anyone who feels they should participate in the democratic process is wrong. But I know what I personally feel about the matter and that is paramount as far as I am concerned. It's not the same thing as not voting because you can't be bothered to or don't care. I just don't want to join in something I regard as corrupt and probably deceitful. The system is broken but that's because we human beings are broken. I know of no solution to this other than the old-fashioned one of spiritual repentance.

I said I didn't vote partly because I don't vote anyway. So that was not the whole reason. The thing is even if I had been willing to join in the referendum, I would have been torn. Not because I don't believe that Britain should leave the European Union. I do. I think the EU is one of those things, whited sepulchres, that have been designed to look fair on the outside but inside are spiritually rotten. It stands for liberal humanitarianism, social equality and all the sorts of things that sound pleasant to the modern mind, but is really an organisation that is gearing up for a totalitarian control of the whole of Europe, no doubt with the eventual aim of joining a world body dedicated to global control. Typical conspiracy theory nonsense, you might say. Maybe, but I believe that the demonic forces, whose manipulating behind the scene activities should surely be ever more obvious in this world, used it after World War Two, trading on the naive idealism of politicians of the time and their earnest hopes that such a war would never be repeated, and instigated a body that would override national identity, supposedly for progressive reasons but actually for totalitarian ones.

So, from that point of view, Britain should clearly leave. However, our economic and cultural lives, particularly the former, have been so closely woven into the fabric of the EU that leaving is probably going to cause hardship. In the short to medium term, people, especially poorer people, are going to suffer. Thus, there are two aspects of the matter to take into account. There is the economic side, together with a certain sort of sophisticated cultural side, liberal, outward looking, progressive in the sense that word is usually understood today. But then there is the matter of principles. What is the right thing to do, regardless of how we will be affected?

Britain is part of Europe. It always has been and it always will be. Leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe even if that were possible. Our whole life has been bound up with the continent for our entire history. Our culture is a European one, unthinkable without huge influences from mainland Europe which have enriched us enormously. And yet we are an island. Materialists will consider this completely irrelevant. But people who believe in God and think that he has a reason for things being as they are will pause for thought. We have been set apart. Yes, that can lead to an attitude of arrogant self-satisfaction but then beauty can lead to vanity. It doesn't mean that beauty is a bad thing. We have been set apart and many of us sense that we do indeed have a special mission, hinted at in our traditions and legends. What that mission may be, no one is completely sure but it has risen to the surface occasionally. It did so at the time of the Spanish Armada. If Phillip II had succeeded in the invasion of England, Spain would have dominated Europe and I don't think that English notions of freedom and individuality would have spread as they did. Perhaps the scientific revolution would not have taken off as it did. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the British would have colonised America to the extent they did and the whole history of the United States would have been completely different. Speculation, of course, but not without some basis to it.

Then Britain freed Europe from Napoleon. Napoleon was a great man but he had become a tyrant and was imposing his regime throughout the continent. Britain defended freedom. Not alone, of course, but she was the principal agent. Britain's contribution to the defeat of Hitler is clearly another time when her mission manifested itself.

It seems that one of the things Britain can do is save Europe from itself. The British always used to have the particular virtue of mistrusting ideologies and preferring common sense to clever theories. That can lead to the nation of shopkeepers jibe (which is not always an unfair one) but it can also mean that we are not seduced by fancy words and cleverly spun lies. That used to be the case anyway. How much it is now, I'm not so sure but perhaps the Brexit vote shows that the attribute still exists.

If Britain was a nation of shopkeepers, it was also home to some of the greatest poets the world has known, and many of these made a mighty contribution to the expansion of consciousness that became known as the Romantic Movement. This might be another side of its mission. Here on this island are supposed to be some of the most sacred sites in the world.  These act like spiritual power sources that can inspire and regenerate, even today when their power is low. But they are there and the energy can be tapped. They feed into the national psyche and give those in the nation who can respond, which may not be the majority but is a reasonable minority, a connection to deeper realities. The revival of esoteric spirituality in the 20th century, which admittedly often took strange forms, was frequently lead by people from these isles.

Britain has been set apart physically and it has been spiritually too, for better or worse. This is not a cause for an inflated egotism but it means that we in this country have a responsibility. I would say that we have not been true to it for at least 50 years. We have not kept the faith just as Israel, in a different context, did not always keep the faith in Old Testament times. According to Wellesley Tudor Pole, a prominent English mystic of the last century (see here), it was a mistake to join the Common Market, as the EU was known then, and would delay our mission. I would say he has been proved correct. Whether the mission, whatever it might be, has been delayed or thwarted completely remains to be seen.

Most people who voted to remain in the EU did so for solid intellectual reasons, which is not to deny that emotions and fear were involved too. But they regarded themselves as primarily responding rationally. They were convinced that economically and culturally our future lies within a wider body, and regarded the partial sacrifice of national identity and integrity as a trivial thing. On the other hand, it seems clear that many leave voters voted with their hearts, and that is why it is easy to caricature them as ignorant. There will very likely be economic hardship if we do ever succeed in leaving, though, goodness knows, the powers that be seem hell-bent on preventing it. But leave voters may have been reacting at an intuitive level to the knowledge that Great Britain has a destiny that cannot be fulfilled within the EU This is a spiritual reason that can't be justified in a book of accounts or fitted into a globalist, progressive narrative. But if you want to caricature leave voters as ignorant then you can equally well accuse remainers of having no feeling for the mystique of this country, and of being spiritually rootless people who see a country as only somewhere they happen to live, with no deeper involvement, loyalty or connection.

The fact that the establishment is so determined to stop Britain leaving tells us two things. One, they are responding to demonic impulse. That is who they work for whether they know it or not (and the vast majority of them don't know it and would laugh themselves silly if they were presented with such an idea). The second thing is that Britain does have a spiritual mission and it is important. It is worth a lot of effort (apparently) to hinder or even stop it.

The spiritual way is often the apparently less attractive way. That is because it demands sacrifice and strips us of the falsehoods we cover ourselves up with. The fair path often leads to a foul end. This is something we should remember in the coming months.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Michael Green (1927-2018) - a favourite English humourist


I was introduced to the work of Michael Green as a teenager by my best friend - who had a copy of The Art of Coarse Acting; relevant because we had both recently begun performing in school plays. In trying to read bits aloud to each other, we found Coarse Acting so extremely funny that we became unable to speak, cried tears of laughter, and were intermittently unable to remain standing.

I have since gifted or lent this volume to many other amateur, and amateur-ish, actors - and it still commands a small but intense cult following. There are several other 'Art of coarse...' books, but this has always been my favourite. I would rate it as one of the genial classics of English humour - a rank below the likes of Diary of a Nobody, or Three Men in a Boat - but well worthwhile.

It comes from a lost era and an almost obliterated class - the post-war austerity days and the lower middle class of grammar school kids who did not go to university; served as NCOs in the second world war; worked in semi-professions such as Civil Service offices, as journalist, school teachers and the like; and who had a very active and communal social life in hobbies and sports - forming rugby and cricket teams, and putting on plays (even Shakespeare!) with their workmates. 

Michael Green had an easy writing style, a likeable authorial personality, and an accessible kind of exaggerated-anecdotal humour.

Among his other books I best liked Squire Haggard's Journal, which was a a tremendously energetic and fluent pastiche dairy of an (imaginary) lecherous and drunken 18th century country gentlemen (of the kind to be found in Henry Fielding's novels).

And his two volumes of autobiography The boy who shot down an airship (about childhood), and Nobody hurt in small earthquake (about young adulthood - especially as a journalist) - which are  charming, honest and well observed - as well as often amusing.