Friday, 29 December 2017

Geoffrey of Monmouth's lost book of Albion

Geoffrey of Monmouth as depicted in the BBC TV Merlin series - 2008-12

Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the King's of Britain - published (in Latin) in the middle 1100s - is surely one of the greatest books of Albion: certainly none can match its influence, since this is the single main source of the stories of both Arthur and Merlin (although not the best source about Merlin - since Geoffrey later provided us with his much-fuller Life of Merlin).

In his introduction, Geoffrey tells us that his book is based on three main sources: Gildas, Bede and a book written in the Welsh-like tongue of the Ancient Britons.

Whilst occupied on many and various studies, I happened to light upon the History of the Kings of Britain, and wondered that in the account which Gildas and Bede, their elegant treatises, had given of them, I found nothing said of those kings who lived here before the Incarnation of Christ, nor of Arthur, and many others who succeeded after the Incarnation; though their actions both deserved immortal fame, and were also celebrated by many people in a pleasant manner and by heart, as if they had been written. Whilst I was intent upon these and such like thoughts, Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, a man of great eloquence, and learned in foreign histories, offered me a very ancient book in the British tongue, which, in a continued regular story and elegant style, related the actions of them all, from Brutus the first king of the Britons, down to Cadwallader the son of Cadwallo. At his request, therefore, though I had not made fine language my study, by collecting florid expressions from other authors, yet contented with my own homely style, I undertook the translation of that book into Latin.

This book is now unknown - and this introduction, and its implicit influence on the text of Kings of Britain, is our only direct knowledge of it (although serious and imaginative scholars including Flinders Petrie have suggested its identity).

It is entirely typical of the worst aspects of 'modern scholarship' that the academic 'consensus' has been that this lost book did not exist; but was instead either invented entirely, or else was used to represent some other less-prestiguious sources: 

Geoffrey claims in his dedication that the book is a translation of an "ancient book in the British language that told in orderly fashion the deeds of all the kings of Britain", given to him by Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford. Modern historians have dismissed this claim. It is, however, likely that the Archdeacon furnished Geoffrey with some materials in the Welsh language that helped inspire his work, as Geoffrey's position and acquaintance with the Archdeacon would not have afforded him the luxury of fabricating such a claim outright.

Yet, as with the modern scholarly consensus that the grave of Arthur and Guinevere found by the monks of Glastonbury Abbey in 1191 was dishonestly fabricated as a money-making fraud, this rejection of Geoffrey's account of a lost history in Ancient British is based wholly on cynical prejudice. I see no reason to doubt Geoffrey; and would therefore regard Geoffrey's History as a genuine example of history - rather than 'a literary work of national myth'.

And since it is our only source for much of the early history of the island of Albion, we should regard this source seriously and with respect - trying, as best we may, to understand and recover in our own hearts the spirit with which History of British Kings was written.

It was, after all, accepted as an essentially-true account of history for many centuries, up to and including Holinshead's chronicles used by Shakespeare more than four hundred years later.

I would therefore recommend Geoffrey of Monmouth to all true Albionites as worthy of most care-full reading!


Thursday, 28 December 2017

A Bad Bargain - Our Spiritual Destruction

The Western world is having the spiritual life sucked out of it. The rest of the world follows in the wake of the West. Our minds have been deconstructed and are in the process of being reassembled to reflect a false reality, but we are so deluded that we regard this as progress. We have rejected truth and eagerly embraced a soul-destroying (quite literally so) lie. We are becoming shadows of real human beings.

Sometimes it seems to me that the dark powers that were behind the Nazis were quite happy to lose the Second World War. If they had won that war there would have been resistance and, faced with an obvious totalitarian suppression, the human desire for freedom would have reasserted itself. A Nazi victory could not have been sustained. But the allied victory came at a great cost. Traditional values, long under attack, were swept away in the aftermath of war, and new ideas were quickly introduced which seemed to promise a bright new future. In some respects they did, but the baby was thrown away with the bath water and the new liberal world that appeared rejected spiritual truth, especially Christianity except in a spiritually sterilised form.

The liberal, or pseudo-liberal, totalitarianism we have today is not recognised as such by most people because we are told that it is good and healthy and progressive. It is none of these things. It is profoundly destructive because it denies both the individual (egalitarianism necessarily does this) and freedom,  real freedom being the ability to do willingly what is right. But if you make this point to anybody indoctrinated by the modernist lie you are instantly reminded of the imperfections of the past. That is irrelevant. The past was full of imperfections, obviously. We live in a fallen world and there will not be perfection until Christ returns. However, at least in the past the basic spiritual truths were not denied. They were understood imperfectly but they were understood. Now they are completely denied and false ideas are promoted that lead human beings not to the promised brighter future but to probable spiritual destruction. And we cannot see it because we are too wrapped up in our shallow, superficial, selfish existences.

The whole ethos of modernism is based on the exchange of the soul for the world. Most of us have eagerly made this exchange. What a bargain, we think. We get rid of oppressive old-fashioned ideologies and, in return, receive freedom. But freedom for what? There is no freedom in the modern world. There is only the illusion of it. We are all slaves to materialism which is a life-denying doctrine. Freedom lies only in truth, and truth is only in God. Deny God and there is no freedom. There is no truth and there is no love. Of course, there are the semblances of these things because the human being must believe that love, truth and freedom exist. They are the basis of life. But I repeat, if you deny God then you deny all these things because they only exist in him.

The world must awaken to the reality of its situation. It needs everyone who sees even a glimmer of the truth to proclaim it and not fear the consequences. Not fear ridicule or even hatred. The dark powers work by lies and denial. They will seek to undermine anyone or anything that stands in their way. We are in the middle of a war, one that is all the worse for not being recognised. The dark powers will call for unity and peace, and say that anyone who seeks to disrupt this is a bad person. But a unity and a peace based on the rejection of the true God is evil. A conquered nation can be unified and at peace, but what good is that? There is unity and peace in death. What good is that? Now is the time for all men and women who see the wrong turning that the world has taken over the last 50 or so years to point out the spiritual destruction that is being wrought.  To reject the soul-destroying atheism of our time and all the political doctrines that arise from that. We must turn back to God.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Sleeping Lord


The content of this post is taken from an excellent 1997 essay by Brad. N. Haas called David Jones: The Poet's Place and the Sleeping Lord. The essay can be read in full at www.flashpointmag.com.

David Jones (1895-1974) was an Anglo-Welsh poet and artist, who I hope to discuss in more detail in a future post. The Sleeping Lord was published shortly before his death in 1974.

'The concept of the sleeping hero, ' Haas explains, 'common among many cultures, is a belief that some great leader will come again to help a culture or a nation when it is in need. For example, British legend says King Arthur will return to save the British people should they be in peril. Christ himself is a type of sleeping lord, a messiah who will return and purge the world of evil. Furthermore, the sleeping lord, upon his return, will usher in a new 'golden age', very similar to his previous mythical reign.'

Here is an extract from the poem:

Do the small black horses
                                     grass on the hunch of his shoulders?
are the hills his couch
                                     or is he the couchant hills?
Are the slumbering valleys
                                     him in slumber
                                     are the still undulations
the still limbs of him sleeping?
Is the configuration of the land
                                     the furrowed body of the lord
are the scarred ridges
                                     his dented greaves
do the trickling gullies
                                     yet drain his hog-wounds?
Does the land wait the sleeping lord
                                     or is the wasted land
the very lord who sleeps?

Haas concludes - 'The romanticism of Jones's poetry is tempered with pessimism. He wants to be hopeful, but the modern era, for Jones, seems to reject redemption. In a large fragment, The Roman Quarry, a Roman legionary, reflecting on his own time prophesies ours: 'O man, this is but a beginning - we. who reckon we suffer so late in urbs-time, who come late in time, when times have gone to the bad, are but at the initiation days of megalopolitan time - Caesar but a pallid prototype of what shall be, and what is shall pale for what is to come.' This statement forces the consideration of the inherent flaws and gradual decay of Imperial Rome - wasted and unable to redeem itself. Likewise, in The Sleeping Lord, we see our own situation, but cannot foresee our fate - are we a second Rome? or will the sleeping lord wake? By ending The Sleeping Lord in a series of questions, Jones avoids commitment to a view of the future - he becomes, not a prophet, but a poet of possibilities.'



David Jones, Capell-y-finn, 1925

Friday, 22 December 2017

More strange things in Albion... Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


For the past forty-something years I have read a bit of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight before Christmas, especially the beginning, which is set during a Christmas feast at Arthur's court - I have pasted the first three verses below.

I particularly love the references to Britain/ Albion:

Felix Brutus establishes Britain joyfully on many broad banks, where war and waste and wonders by turns have since dwelt, and many a swift interchange of bliss and woe.... More strange things have happened in this land since these days than in any other that I know.

On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez
wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi syþez hatz wont þerinne,
And oft boþe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne...

Mo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oft
Þen in any oþer þat I wot, syn þat ilk tyme.

And the pentangle symbol:

Then they showed him the shield, that was of sheer gules, with the pentangle painted in pure gold. He took it by the baldric and cast it about his neck; and it became the hero passing fair. And why the pentangle pertains to that noble prince I mean to tell you, though it should delay me. It is a sign that Solomon set formerly as a token of truth, by its own right, for it is a figure that holds five points, and each line overlaps and locks in another; and throughout it is endless; and the English call it everywhere, as I hear, the endless knot. Therefore it suits this knight and his clear arms, forever faithful in five things, and in each of them five ways. Gawain was known for good and as refined gold, devoid of every villainy, adorned with virtues. Therefore, the new pentangle he bore on shield and coat, as the man most true of speech, and the knight gentlest of behaviour.

Then þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goule3,
Wyth þe pentangel de-paynt of pure golde hwe3;
He brayde3 hit by þe baude-ryk, aboute þe hals kestes,
Þat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayre.
& quy þe pentangel apende3 to þat prynce noble,
I am in tent yow to telle, þof tary hyt me schulde;
Hit is a syngne þat Salamon set sum-quyle,
In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbe3,
For hit is a figure þat halde3 fyue poynte3,
& vche lyne vmbe-lappe3 & louke3 in oþer,
& ay quere hit is endele3,& Englych hit callen
Ouer-al, as I here, þe endeles knot.
For-þy hit acorde3 to þis kny3t, & to his cler arme3,
For ay faythful in fyue & sere fyue syþe3,
Gawan wat3 for gode knawen, & as golde pured,
Voyded of vche vylany, wyth vertue3 ennourned
in mote;
For-þy þe pen-tangel nwe
He ber in schelde & cote,
As tulk of tale most trwe,
& gentylest kny3t of lote.


FYTTE THE FIRST

After the siege and the assault had ceased at Troy, the city been destroyed and burned to brands and ashes, the warrior who wrought there the trains of treason was tried for his treachery, the truest on earth.

This was Aeneas the noble; he and his high kindred afterwards conquered provinces, and became patrons of well nigh all the wealth in the West Isles. As soon as rich Romulus turns him to Rome, with great pride he at once builds that city, and names it with his own name, which it now has; Ticius turns to Tuscany and founds dwellings; Longobard raises homes in Lombardy; and, far over the French flood, Felix Brutus establishes Britain joyfully on many broad banks, where war and waste and wonders by turns have since dwelt, and many a swift interchange of bliss and woe.

And when this Britain was founded by this great hero, bold men loving strife bred therein, and many a time they wrought destruction. More strange things have happened in this land since these days than in any other that I know, but of all the British kings that built here, Arthur was ever the most courteous, as I have heard tell. Therefore, I mean to tell of an adventure in the world, which some count strange and extraordinary even among the wonders of Arthur. If ye will listen to this lay but a little while, I will tell it forthright as I heard it told in town, as it is set down in story that cannot be changed, long written in the land in true words.

This King lay royally at Camelot at Christmas tide with many fine lords, the best of men, all the rich brethren of the Round Table, with right rich revel and careless mirth. There full many heroes tourneyed betimes, jousted full gaily; then returned these gentle knights to the court to make carols. For there the feast was held full fifteen days alike with all the meat and the mirth that men could devise. Such a merry tumult, glorious to hear; joyful din by day, dancing at night. All was high joy in halls and chambers with lords and ladies as pleased them best. With all the weal in the world they dwelt there together, the most famous knights save only Christ, the loveliest ladies that ever had life, and he, the comeliest of kings, who holds the court. For all this fair company were in their prime in the hall, the happiest troop under heaven with the proudest of kings. Truly it would be hard to name anywhere so brave a band.

Translated by WE Neilson 


        1
SIÞEN þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe bor3 brittened and brent to brondez and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wro3t
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erþe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welne3e of al þe wele in þe west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyþe,
With gret bobbaunce þat bur3e he biges vpon fyrst,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer þe French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez
wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi syþez hatz wont þerinne,
And oft boþe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.

          
Ande quen þis Bretayn watz bigged bi þis burn rych,
Bolde bredden þerinne, baret þat lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene þat wro3ten.
Mo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oft
Þen in any oþer þat I wot, syn þat ilk tyme.
Bot of alle þat here bult, of Bretaygne kynges,
Ay watz Arthur þe hendest, as I haf herde telle.
Forþi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,
Þat a selly in si3t summe men hit holden,
And an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez.
If 3e wyl lysten þis laye bot on littel quile,
I schal telle hit as-tit, as I in toun herde,
with tonge,
As hit is stad and stoken
In stori stif and stronge,
With lel letteres loken,
In londe so hatz ben longe.

          
Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse
With mony luflych lorde, ledez of þe best,
Rekenly of þe Rounde Table alle þo rich breþer,
With rych reuel ory3t and rechles merþes.
Þer tournayed tulkes by tymez ful mony,
Justed ful jolilé þise gentyle kni3tes,
Syþen kayred to þe court caroles to make.
For þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes,
With alle þe mete and þe mirþe þat men couþe avyse;
Such glaum ande gle glorious to here,
Dere dyn vpon day, daunsyng on ny3tes,
Al watz hap vpon he3e in hallez and chambrez
With lordez and ladies, as leuest him þo3t.
With all þe wele of þe worlde þay woned þer samen,
Þe most kyd kny3tez vnder Krystes seluen,
And þe louelokkest ladies þat euer lif haden,
And he þe comlokest kyng þat þe court haldes;
For al watz þis fayre folk in her first age,
on sille,
Þe hapnest vnder heuen,
Kyng hy3est mon of wylle;
Hit were now gret nye to neuen
So hardy a here on hille.

 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

2017... Normal Service resumed

2016, it can now be seen, was not an Awakening for Albion; because in 2017 the wound that the pro-Brexit vote inflicted on the Establishment has been healed; and 'normal service' has now resumed - it is business as usual in the corruption and damnation of England.

2016 now looks like a merely negative popular reaction against aspects of the unfolding-plan of the demonic elites - probably mainly directed against the plan for population re-placement and implementation of a chronic situation of (containable, but serious) racial, ethnic and religious civil war.

But the people of Albion remain metaphysically-unconscious and passively-rejecting of the spiritual and Christian; thus trapped by short-termist, hedonic materialism - and as such they cannot escape the existential doom that has been prepared for them.

I continue to be hope-full; but recognise that everything is still to-do.


Monday, 18 December 2017

Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!


Conservatives, in my experience, are seldom admirers of D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930). They dismiss him for his sexual liberalism, while often failing to perceive the depth of his critique of technology and the modern dichotomy between mind and body, both contributory factors to the expansion of what Bruce Charlton has recently called the 'iron cage' of Western bureaucracy. There is also a fine mystical sensibility at work in his oeuvre, as evidenced in this poem, Song of a Man Who Has Come Through:

Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the direction of Time.
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a winged gift!
If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am borrowed
By the fine, fine wind that takes its course through the chaos of the world
Like a fine, an exquisite chisel, a wedge-blade inserted;
If only I am keen and hard like the sheer tip of a wedge
Driven by invisible blows,
The rock will split, we shall come at the wonder, we shall find the Hesperides.

Oh, for the wonder that bubbles into my soul,
I would be a good fountain, a good well-head,
Would blur no whisper, spoil no expression.

What is the knocking?
What is the knocking at the door in the night?
It is somebody wants to do us harm.

No, no, it is the three strange angels.
Admit them, admit them.

'The wind bloweth where it listeth', says St. John's Gospel, while the Holy Spirit is often compared in Christian literature to a wind. With good reason too, as it was the cleansing, life-affirming gale of the Evangelium that blew apart the iron cages of Jewish legalism, Greek logic and Roman bureaucracy in the early centuries of the Church's life. So while much has been made, over the years, of Lawrence's antipathy to Christianity, I find in this poem, and elsewhere in his work, a pronounced religious yearning. Who, after all, are the 'three strange angels'? Do they not call to mind the three mysterious visitors received by Abraham at the Oak of Mamre, so memorably depicted in Andrei Rublev's icon of the Holy Trinity?


D.H. Lawrence was a passionate, brooding, firebrand of a man, in open revolt against what he saw as the stifling, soulless, bourgeois Christianity of his day. It's a style of religion which remains with us ninety years on, unfortunately. As Timothy O'Malley of Notre Dame University has recently written in The Church Life Journal:

Our parishes are too safe. They gather together like-minded citizens whose children go to the same schools, whose parents root for the same football team and work in similar fields. We form insider communities that sing music praising not the triune God who comes to interrupt history through the power of the cross, but music reminding the Creator of the Universe how lucky God is to have people like us as his own. The Church's liturgy in these instances functions not as a counter-polis but as a replication of social structures that reduce the reign of God to a country club.

Lawrence raged hard all his life against such embedded mediocrity. He demanded more from himself, more from his fellow men and women, more from life, and more from God. A flesh and blood religion was what he longed for, imbued with imagination, beauty and depth - wild, fierce and compelling. Like Jacob, he wrestled with the Angel, and that, I'm convinced, is the deep and true meaning of the famous passage from Women in Love (in Chapter XX, Gladiatorial) quoted below. It is a quest for meaning - 'an unfinished meaning', as Lawrence notes at the end.

But let's be plain about one thing. Twenty-first century Christianity - in its witness, preaching and sacramental life - will have to match and go beyond the electricity and intensity of Lawrence's prose here if it is to have any chance of re-engaging with hearts and minds in the increasingly disenchanted, blandly secular milieu of the contemporary West. There has to be a bit of ferocity in what we do - an element of mystery, a certain strangeness - otherwise our faith is as flat and one-dimensional as the culture (if it can be called that) which surrounds us. As O'Malley concludes:

Advent, if we take it seriously, restores an apocalyptic posture among us. The Church is not meant to be a country club for the powerful and wealthy with pleasant music, nice art, and entertaining preaching that gets us through another week. The Church is the space where salvation is happening. Where light shines in darkness.

Here is the extract. See what you think. Please note as well the recurrence of the knocking motif and the restorative, almost salvific, note it sounds. The three strange angels can't be far away ...

*******

... So the two men began to struggle together. They were very dissimilar. Birkin was tall and narrow, his bones were very thin and fine. Gerald was much heavier and more plastic. His bones were strong and round, his limbs were rounded, all his contours were beautifully and fully moulded. He seemed to stand with a proper, rich weight on the face of the earth, whilst Birkin seemed to have the centre of gravitation in his own middle. And Gerald had a rich, frictional kind of strength, rather mechanical, but sudden and invincible, whereas Birkin was was abstract as to be almost intangible. He impinged invisibly upon the other man, scarcely seeming to touch him, like a garment, and then suddenly piercing in a tense fine grip that seemed to penetrate into the very quick of Gerald's being.

They stopped, they discussed methods, they practiced grips and throws, they became accustomed to each other's rhythm, they got a kind of mutual physical understanding. And then again they had a real struggle. They seemed to drive their white flesh deeper and deeper against each other, as if they would break into a oneness. Birkin had a great subtle energy, that would press upon the other man with an uncanny force, weigh him like a spell put upon him. Then it would pass, and Gerald would heave free with white, heaving, dazzling movements.

So the two men entwined and wrestled with each other, working nearer and nearer. Both were white and clear, but Gerald flushed smart red when he was touched, and Birkin remained white and tense. He seemed to penetrate into Gerald's more solid, more diffuse bulk, to interfuse his body through the body of the other, as if to subtly bring it into subjection, always seizing with some rapid necromantic fore-knowledge every motion of the other flesh, converting and counteracting it, playing upon the limbs and trunk of Gerald like some hard wind. It was as if Birkin's whole physical intelligence interpenetrated into Gerald's body, as if his fine sublimated energy entered into the flesh of the fuller man, like some potency, casting a fine net, a prison, through the muscles into the very depths of Gerald's physical being.

So they wrestled swiftly, rapturously, intent and mindless at last, two essential white figures working into a tighter closer oneness of struggle, with a strange, octopus-like knotting and flashing of limbs in the subdued light of the room; a tense white knot of flesh gripped in silence between the walls of old brown books. Now and again came a sharp gasp of breath, or a sound like a sigh, then the rapid thudding of movement on the thickly-carpeted floor, then the strange sound of flesh escaping under flesh. Often, in the white interlaced knot of violent living being that swayed silently, there was no head to be seen, only the swift, tight limbs, the solid white backs, the physical junction of the two bodies clinched into oneness. Then would appear the gleaming, ruffled head of Gerald, as the struggle changed, then for a moment the dun-coloured, shadow-like head of the other man would lift up from the conflict, the eyes wide and dreadful and sightless.

At length Gerald lay back inert on the carpet, his breast rising in great slow panting, whilst Birkin kneeled over him, almost unconscious. Birkin was much more exhausted. He caught little, short breaks, he could scarcely breathe any more. The earth seemed to tilt and sway, and a complete darkness was coming over his mind. He did not know what happened. He slid forward quite unconscious, over Gerald, and Gerald did not notice. Then he was half-conscious again, aware only of he strange tilting and sliding of the world. The world was sliding, everything was sliding off into the darkness. And he was sliding, endlessly, endlessly, away.

He came to consciousness again, hearing an immense knocking outside. What could be happening, what was it, the great hammer-stroke resounding through the house? He did not know. And then it came to him that it was his own heart beating. But that seemed impossible, the noise was outside. No, it was outside himself, it was his own heart. And the beating was painful, so strained, surcharged. He wondered if Gerald heard it. He did not know whether he were standing or lying or falling.

When he realised that he had fallen prostrate upon Gerald's body he wondered, he was surprised. But he sat up, steadying himself with his hand and waiting for his heart to become stiller and less painful. It hurt very much, and took away his consciousness.

Gerald however was still less conscious than Birkin. They waited dimly, in a sort of not-being, for many uncounted, unknown minutes.

'Of course - ' panted Gerald, 'I didn't have to be rough - with you - I had to keep back - my force - .'

Birkin heard the sound as if his own spirit stood behind him, outside him, and listened to it. His body was in a trance of exhaustion, his spirit heard thinly. His body could not answer. Only he knew his heart was getting quieter. He was divided entirely between his spirit, which stood outside, and knew, and his body, that was a plunging, unconscious stroke of blood.

'I could have thrown you - using violence - ' panted Gerald. 'But you beat me right enough.'

'Yes,' said Birkin, hardening his throat and producing the words in the tension there, 'you're much stronger than I - you could beat me - easily.'

Then he relaxed again to the terrible plunging of his heart and his blood.

'It surprised me, ' panted Gerald, 'what strength you've got. Almost supernatural.'

'For a moment,' said Birkin.

He still heard as if it was his own disembodied spirit spirit hearing, standing at some distance behind him. It drew nearer however, his spirit. And the violent striking of blood in his chest was sinking quieter, allowing his mind to come back. He realised that he was leaning with all his weight on the soft body of the other man. It startled him, because he thought he had withdrawn. He recovered himself, and sat up. But he was still vague and unestablished. He put out his hand to steady himself. It touched the hand of Gerald, that was lying out on the floor. As Gerald's hand closed warm and sudden over Birkin's, they remained exhausted and breathless, the one hand clasped closely over the other. It was Birkin whose hand, in swift response, had closed in a strong, warm clasp over the hand of the other. Gerald's clasp had been sudden and momentous.

The normal consciousness however was returning, ebbing back. Birkin could breathe almost naturally again. Gerald's hand slowly withdrew. Birkin slowly, dazedly rose to his feet and went towards the table. He poured out a whisky and soda. Gerald also came for a drink.

'It was a real set-to, wasn't it?' said Birkin, looking at Gerald with darkened eyes. 

'God, yes,' said Gerald. He looked at the delicate body of the other man, and added: 'It wasn't too much for you, was it?'

'No. One ought to wrestle and strive and be physically close. It makes one sane.'

'You do think so?'

'I do. Don't you?'

'Yes,' said Gerald.

Their were long spaces of silence between their words. The wrestling had some deep meaning to them - an unfinished meaning.


Jacob and the Angel by Eugéne Delacroix


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Albion Awakening Book List

I'm down with a bit of flu at the moment with a brain like a rice pudding that's been left out in the rain overnight. Hence I'm not really up to writing anything requiring much effort. But it occurred to me that it might be an interesting idea to compile a list of books relevant to the theme of Albion Awakening. I hoped that if I started it off then others might come in with their own suggestions. In that way we could have a broad spectrum of works. I'll make a start with the obvious ones.

My two first choices should be uncontroversial. They are C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. In the latter's case the books, of course, are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien wanted to create a British mythology (English really, I believe) and he did so more successfully than anyone could have dreamed possible. His stories have sunk into the national, and, more than that, anglophone, consciousness. These books have so much spiritual authority that one cannot doubt they were inspired from above. I mean, one really cannot doubt that. I'm not speaking loosely. Tolkien had a spiritual mission and he fulfilled it magnificently. Just consider the arid intellectual field in the mid 20th century at the time he was working. He was going completely against prevailing cultural winds. But he ploughed his own course, sustained by his religion, the power of his imagination and, very probably, his dogged stubbornness.

With Lewis, the choice of books is more difficult because he wrote so many. But I think I would start off with the so called Space Trilogy, especially the last one, That Hideous Strength, which really is about Albion awakening. A cultural and political situation not a million miles away from the one we have now is squeezing the spiritual life out of the country. It is orchestrated by demons who Lewis wittily calls 'macrobes', aided by their human dupes and accomplices, most of whom are not aware of the existence of the macrobes but who can be used because of their own character defects which should be a lesson to us all. A small band of people faithful to spiritual truth hold out against them, and these, in turn, are supported by angelic powers, though only from afar which I think reflects reality. Human beings can be helped and inspired but we must work out our own destiny. Interestingly, one of this band is an atheist. Another is a bear but that's probably not an essential detail. The point perhaps is, though, that in times of great spiritual darkness if even just a few souls stay true to God, or simply, as in the atheist's case, common decency, that can be enough to eventually turn the tide.

Then there are the Narnia stories and any of Lewis's many books of Christian apologetics, Mere Christianity to begin with.

Geoffrey Ashe is an author we have spoken of before on this blog. His Camelot and the Vision of Albion was a ground breaking work that delved into the British myth as expressed principally through the legend of King Arthur. See here for some more on that.

Dion Fortune was an English occultist who wrote a book called Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart which is well worth reading in this context. There's a post about it here.

Finally on my brief preliminary list, there's a book called The Light in Britain by Grace and Ivan Cooke. This may not be to all tastes since it purports to be a clairvoyant investigation into the prehistoric past of some on the ancient sites of the British Isles, notably Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury Hill.  One doesn't have to give it uncritical assent but it certainly stimulates the imagination and that, surely, is what any book on the Albion Awakening theme should do.

So there we are. I've started the list off, admittedly with some easy choices. Please feel free to add some more of your own.