Saturday, 19 January 2019

Auguries of Innocence

This is one of William Blake's most famous poems. It starts with the lines everybody knows.

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Yes, these are so well-known they are now almost hackneyed. They do capture the feeling that arises in a typical peak experience or transcendental state of consciousness, but that state can come to almost anyone seemingly at random, and even be stimulated (or perhaps simulated would be a better word) by drugs, and, though it may be called spiritual, it cannot be said to represent the spiritual goal at which we should be aiming. It is perhaps the goal of pantheistic mysticism but it is not the theistic goal.

That is revealed later with the last lines of the poem. Here they are.

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

With these words Blake draws a clear distinction between two different kinds of spiritual approach, and he comes out in favour of the latter. The first approach is that of the philosopher who seeks knowledge or the Eastern mystic who wishes to dissolve his (supposedly) illusionary self into the greater Self for it there to disappear into the unmanifest ocean of light. This is a real state but to see it as our spiritual goal totally ignores the whole purpose of creation. If God is light then he is abstract and impersonal, and creation, ultimately, is unreal. Nothing is real except the state of blissful unmanifest oneness. Now, reality does have an aspect in which there is simply pure light but that is not the whole of what reality is or what God in himself is, and it is not the aspect that we were created to fall back into. For it is rather like returning to the spiritual womb before we experienced this world of creation. But we were born, and we are meant to grow into sons and daughters of God, real individuals with real creative powers who can expand creation through love.

When Blake says that God has a human form he means that God is a person.  He is saying that reality is personal and made up of beings not things, concrete not abstract. This is deeply unfashionable today but it is the truth taught by Jesus who stands for us as the human form of God, and to know it fulfils our spiritual purpose in a way that being reabsorbed by the light can never do.

Note that Blake says God is light to those who dwell in night. To say that God is light might seem to be the highest thing one can meaningfully say about him, but Blake says that this is the case only for those who live in ignorance, whose spiritual darkness tells them that God must be light. Real seekers but not yet awake. However, to those souls who have risen from their spiritual slumbers and "dwell in realms of day", God is not just light. He is a person. Reality is personal, and that means that our individuality is a real thing. A thing given by God, self-evidently, but what God gives he does not take back. God is creative and he wants us to be too since we are his children. To be creative, you must have a self.

William Blake was probably the pre-eminent prophet of Albion. If I may interject a personal note which I may have mentioned before on this blog, when I was 16 I developed a real enthusiasm for him and asked for and received the complete works of his poetry for Christmas. I was also a regular visitor to the Tate Gallery in London which had (and presumably still does have) a large collection of his paintings. To tell the truth, I was rather daunted by his longer poems and never read any of them all the way through. I certainly didn't understand what I did read. But I loved the Songs of Innocence and Experience, and found his pictures fascinating, partly, I think, because they depicted visions of a higher world of endless creative energy produced by someone who actually seemed to have seen what he was painting. Artistically, they are somewhat crude but the inspiration comes through and bursts off the paper or wood or whatever the material might be. Blake was not an orthodox Christian because his natural insight was too great to be confined by any framework of systemised thought. That doesn't mean he was right in everything he said or wrote, but he was undeniably authentic so, even when he might have been in error, I would say that was because the over-flowing abundance of his vision exceeded his mental capacity to express it.

In modern times even those who do turn to a spiritual conception of the world are often more comfortable with abstract explanations of the God is light variety. A personal God just seems too childish. We've evolved beyond that anthropomorphic way of looking at things. We are now much more intellectually aware. But the funny thing about real evolution is that we often return to where we were before, but see it this time in a deeper way. God as person is not childish. It is real in a way that philosophical approaches to God can never be. Blake's vision in the Auguries of Innocence was true.





Friday, 18 January 2019

What is Morris Dancing?


From an introduction to the three-page booklet enclosed with the 1976 LP of Plain Capers: Morris dance tunes from the Cotswolds; written by the squeeze box virtuoso John Kirkpatrick, and Neil Wayne - owner of the Free Reed magazine and record company.

Morris dancing started life as part of an ancient pagan ritual...

The comic characters who often accompany Morris Dancers - the Fool, the Moll (a man dressed as a woman), the Hobby Horse - all have their origins in primitive beliefs and practices although they seem to come straight out of a modern circus or pantomime. 

And the dancers themselves in their elaborate costumes decorated with ribbons and bells are typically English; and yet very foreign and strange, and their ancestors belong to a race that was dancing before national boundaries had any meaning...

Morris dancing is concerned with energy - the energy expended by the individual dancers, and the energy that the dance transmits to its participants. For there is no doubt that after every last step and flourish has been analysed, there is still some force at work which defies analysis...

In the dance, the sense are dulled by some greater power which transcends everyday human limitations. In the dance, men can be at one with the life-force, at one with Mother Earth...

Plain Capers is a logical progression from previous milestones in the Morris music revival; both by re-exploring the the roots of the traditional tunes... and by using traditional instruments as much as possible; played in much the way that the old lads of the Cotswolds would have danced to them; wit 'plenty of brisk', full of energy, with all the magical marvellous excitement of the Morris. 

The above is a typical example of the nineteen seventies spiritual revival to which I have often referred - its context being a relatively small scale but mainstream record release; and John Kirpatrick especially was somewhat nationally famous at the time, joining Steeleye Span the following year.

What I notice is how explicit and unapologetic this note is in its mystical assertions. But also that they are rather vague; and based-on an essentially fictive, idealised, modernised, and incomplete understanding of paganism (typical of the anything-but-Christianity spirituality that developed in England from the late 1800s with neo-paganism, theosophy and many other movements).

I did not see any other so explicit links between Morris dancing and paganism in the music of that time, but it was certainly implied - not least in the art work, and the feel. Perhaps its spirit was most obvious in the precursor of Plain Capers: the electric folk album of Morris On, which is musically more successful than Plain Capers, indeed a classic album of its genre:


Notice the (jokingly modernised) archetypal Morris characters - left to right: Robin Hood, the Moll, Chimney Sweep, a normal Morris Dancer, and a Hobby Horse based on the iconic 'Chopper' bicycle...
 

 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Brexit balls-up is going well...

Just a topic update on the Brexit process.

I am very happy with the way that things are going - with the defeat of a fake-Brexit bill in parliament; and a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister (as if anybody in the world had 'confidence' in Teresa May!)

Because, to recapitulate, it would not have been helpful if Brexit had simply gone-through swiftly and completely using the normal democratic procedures. That would have created the illusion that the Establishment are capable of learning, and doing what needs to be done.

Whereas the sustained shambles of the Brexit 'negotiations' has been a revelation of the real nature of the British Establishment and the European Union's real intentions.

The Brexit Balls-up has been - in a word - a dose of reality; repeatedly and aggressively shoved in the faces of ordinary British people by the mass media and official communications.

The bigger the balls-up, the longer it goes on - the better!


Sunday, 13 January 2019

Consequences of Atheism

Atheism is currently regarded as the intelligent person's response to the universe as we understand it, but actually, as has long been known by the really intelligent, it is the fool who says in his heart there is no God.

Why? Because no God means no meaning.  Rejecting God is rejecting meaning. In fact, it is worse than that. It is rejecting reality for unless there is some underlying, objective, absolute truth, there is nothing. Your thoughts, your feelings, even you, are nothing, just bits of dust floating in the air. Without God, the world is nothing. And a cosmic life force, whatever that might be, is no use either. This is just a face-saving device for those unwilling to admit that unless the basis of the universe is personal, that reality is beings not things, it is just an abstraction with no true centre, and therefore no proper meaning or truth or goodness to it.

Atheism, the rejection of God, leads inexorably to collapse, as it is now doing. With no centre, everything flies apart, and that is what is taking place today.

Once we have satisfied the basic needs of food and shelter, the most important things for human beings in their quest for fulfilment are love and beauty, but see what is happening to these. Love is increasingly reduced to sex. Perhaps love is just sex but in that case sex means something far more than the diminished thing we call by that name today. For sex is not just the physical aspect of love but the union of heart, soul, mind and body, each on its own level. If it is reduced to just the last one of these four, which it will be in an atheistic society, that being the only one that is real, then it becomes a means of disassociating yourself from your real being. It's a vicious circle (or cycle) with the consequence becoming the cause of a deeper level of the initial malaise, and on it goes.

A society's art reflects its inner state. Modern art is obsessed with sex (physically understood), death and destruction. It pretends it is peering more deeply into reality but it is actually just peering more deeply into its own emptiness, the emptiness of atheism. This is much so-called high art. Popular art has lost its innocence and sense of joy and, in line with the view of the human being as little more than an animated body, descends further and further into crudeness and physicality without any sense of higher things to soften and humanise that. Again, the consequence of a wrong idea becomes a means of entrenching those who respond to it more and more deeply in the false way of being that gave rise to it in the first place.

When you deny God, you have to create something to take his place, whether that be in politics, art, science or whatever. Modern man made a religion out of science but when he practises science without the sense of something higher behind the physical world, he has made it into an idol and himself into an idol worshipper.

The politics of atheism is leftism which, when you strip away its veneer of humanitarianism and actually see it for what it is and what it results in, is the politics of destruction. This is because anything that supplants God with Man will end in disaster. Leftism must destroy the world that was built on the sense of God and replace that with a world built on Man, but what Man is always changes in its eyes. The nature of the leftist mentality is to bring down what is on top and replace it by what is below. This carries on until all established order is destroyed, and the result will be chaos, possibly even the collapse of society.

When I hear a leftist say he loves his country, I wonder what he means by that since the policies he supports, by reducing freedom and increasing control and bureaucracy, inevitably destroy a country's individual character and homogenise it to a universal norm. The leftist has either denied God or reduced him to a secondary character who must be seen in the light of Man as he is on this earth. His politics is therefore his religion.

This is a polemical piece and I am not interested here in going into detail or trying to justify each point I make in the face of possible objections. I am setting out the bigger picture, the overall result of a certain mentality, and, as far as I am concerned, stating self-evident facts. No doubt, one could qualify some of these facts but when the house is on fire, that is what needs to be addressed. Perhaps the fire is doing some good, in that it is getting rid of junk that has lain in the basement for years, but it is also burning the place down.

I am convinced that the denial of God leads to a kind of insanity. If spirituality doesn't exist then everything is opinion. Nothing matters. Morality is expediency and love is just a physical reaction in which the beloved is an object that exists merely for self-gratification. This is the truth. Is it really what we want? Is our civilisation and culture merely just an attempt to cover the gaping horror of nothingness? Because, make no mistake, if spirituality doesn't exist then that is all there is.

But while we should constantly condemn the denial of God, we should be more circumspect in singling out individuals for condemnation. After all, we live in a culture that rejects God and it can be hard to overcome that. Give people every opportunity to find their way to spiritual truth. That will be made harder if those who believe in God and insist on his reality appear hard-hearted and unforgiving. Don't step down the attack on evil, but the traditional Christian injunction to hate the sin but love the sinner is a sound one, albeit difficult to live up to sometimes. But God resides within each one of us, however sunken in sin and illusion we are. When we fight against the evil in the world we must always remember that.

As I said before, this is an unashamedly polemical piece in which no attempt is made to be balanced. Sometimes such an approach is intemperate, dogmatic, bigoted and inflammatory. Sometimes, when the situation demands it, as it does now, it is just what is needed.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

(This continues with the theme of my previous post here).

If ever the truth of the title of this essay was proved, it is in our own time. Over the course of the last few centuries humanity has moved from an understanding of the world founded on divine authority to one based on its own theorising. The fact that this was probably meant to happen, because we had to move forward into a more adult way of being which included being more self-reliant, does not take away from the disastrous outcome. Perhaps if we had shown greater humility and common sense, and not been so unimaginative and arrogant, we could have balanced faith with reason better. But that has not, unfortunately, been the case, and it's only getting worse. Year by year, it's getting worse with ideas that would have been accepted by only a few extremists not so long ago now entering the mainstream and becoming accepted wisdom.

In the past, instinct told us certain basic truths which are now denied because we subject everything to the analysis of reason or what we think of as reason. I define it like that because our reason is calamitously incomplete as it is based on very limited information. It derives from what is immediately accessible to the senses or what can be proved mathematically, and, as a result, it is woefully unable to include in its processing facts that are inaccessible to its limited sphere of operation. It is restricted to the phenomenal or material world, quite failing to see that this is just the tip of the iceberg and derives all its being from what is beneath or, in the case of spiritual reality, better conceived of as above it.

Reason now appears to confirm that human beings evolved from animals, that men and women are fundamentally no different from one another, that all we perceive came into being by chance, that there is no real higher or lower and so on and so forth. In the light of materialistic reason, first principles are all questioned. Actually, it's worse than that. They are undermined and then denied. If something cannot be confirmed by reason in the very truncated form we know it, then it is just rejected.

Until recently most people knew that reason could go so far but no further. There were certain basic facts that existed on a plane beyond reason, and that was not because of their tenuous connection to truth but because they were profoundly truthful. Reason could not approach them because they existed before it did. They belonged to the class of things that are just known. But we cannot accept such a class now and have chiselled away at the concept for so long that it has been shattered and lies in pieces at our feet. However, we could easily regain that primal knowledge of things if we recognised that reason was not the highest way of knowing and that, while it should never be denied and always be taken into account, it should equally never be allowed exclusive rights.

As a matter of fact, a rightly ordered reason would recognise its own limits. It is only disordered reason that usurps the position of intuitive knowledge. What lies behind this gross error? It is what it has always been ever since the Fall. Egotism and the rejection of God. There is an element of the human soul that wants complete autonomy for itself. It wants this not because it would make it happier or wiser or better in any respect but because there is something in the self that wants to be God. Now, this is actually a true and proper desire because we are sons and daughters of God and his intention is that we become like him, but it can be corrupted. Instead of becoming like God within God we want to become like God independently of God because we wish to usurp his throne and sit on it ourselves. The corrupted self resents its dependence on a Creator instead of rejoicing in it and seeing it as the source of love.

The funny thing is that God does actually want us to be free and independent. That's why he created individual souls. But this freedom exists within the context of participation in the whole of life not a separating out of one part (ourself) and exalting that over the rest. This is not even possible really though the illusion of it is and we can pursue that illusion for as long as we like. However, there will be consequences of that decision and these will be an increased breakdown of first spiritual and then material order. The first has already happened and the second is beginning to. This is just an inevitable result of our wrong decisions.

I say our and we are all involved in this simply by virtue of the fact that we are alive now. But we can always try to put ourselves right with our Maker by returning to the ways of truth and goodness, spiritually considered. This is a matter of knowledge but, more, it is a matter of love. It is an irony that we 21st century humans think we are compassionate because we wish to treat everyone equally and banish suffering for all, but we have become completely divorced from the real source of love. We are not compassionate so much as sentimental which means we identify with our personal feelings and make them the focus of our being. Real love is attuned to reality and seeks the advancement of the soul. It acknowledges the ground from which it takes its rise which is God. Of course, it is directed to fellow men and women but it sees them as spiritual before material beings and responds according to that point of view. To respond to ourselves and others as material before spiritual does not come from love but ignorance and, at best, sentimentality or surface emotion with a large component of self-indulgence.

Proper love is essential but we do need more knowledge too, the knowledge that leads to wider vision and the ability to see the whole picture. At the moment, our little knowledge just allows us to make more mistakes. A little knowledge surely is a dangerous thing.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Fr Gregory Celier SSPX on the implications of the current mass immigration

From the perspective of a traditionalist Roman Catholic priest (of the breakaway Latin Mass group The Society of Saint Pius X), this is an honest and insightful analysis of the internal causes of the current destruction of Albion by population replacement; and, at the end, a clear recognition that the only possible solution is first a Christian awakening.

The question of immigration is certainly a political question. But it is pre-eminently a philosophical question touching on the purpose of life. Do our people still have a zest for life? Are they ready to make efforts in proportion to the end? As I see it, it is only a renewed Christianity which can restore to our nation a taste for eternal life, and then, for life on earth.

Angelus Press: Today, the real problem is illegal immigration.

Fr. Celier: To approach this difficult question, let’s try to understand better the reasons for emigration and immigration. The principal cause of emigration, as we have said, is poverty, misery. Now what are the causes of immigration, that is, the choice to enter one country rather than another? For starters, there are two obvious reasons. First, immigration is desired by the host country to obtain workers to fill the jobs that the citizens don’t do (hard work, paltry pay, difficulties, etc.). Second, immigration is chosen by the immigrant based on the peace and prosperity of the host country.

But then, there are two less obvious reasons. Politics is the art of what can be done based on what is. The first reality to take into account is the “biological” reality. A country whose population is stagnating, diminishing, or aging, creates a vacuum for younger, more active, poorer peoples.

The second reason is a corollary of the first. A country that no longer has children is a country that has lost confidence in itself, its culture, its history and its values. It is plagued with “cosmopolitanism” meaning, not so much a generous welcome of others, but rather the stagnation which preludes death. The immigrants sense that, in this depressed country, they can keep their own customs while benefiting from the local wealth, for the natives no longer have a zest for life and camouflage this death wish beneath a false notion of welcome and sharing.

Angelus Press: Your vision, if realistic, is hardly optimistic.

Fr. Celier: For me, when a prosperous country suffers from a real and persistent problem of immigration, the causes are more internal than external. The earth is huge. So, why would immigrants choose a particular country if they were not sure of finding a niche for their family? A strong country, proud of its values, young mentally and demographically, whose citizens are ready to make themselves respected, will know how to regulate immigration. A country aging mentally and demographically, because of its refusal to give life and to believe in itself, is an easy prey for the uncontrolled migratory masses.

Angelus Press: Why are the current European governments so ineffectual against the phenomenon of immigration?

Fr. Celier: Each one is the guardian of its laws. A people that no longer wants to do hard work will be invaded by the immigrants who offer their hands. A nation which no longer wants to have children will be invaded by prolific immigrants. A nation that no longer wants to defend itself will have an army of immigrants. Such is the hard law of life: old nations have no seat at the banquet of humanity.

Angelus Press: Is there a solution?

Fr. Celier: Solutions resembling palliative care have seen the day, trying to limit immigration. But the solution is the rebirth of our nations. And this happens only by demographic growth, by a taste for work, by the love of one’s own values, by fidelity towards our history. And, this should come along with an effective political policy of co-development to enable the poor populations to stay at home in peace.

The question of immigration is certainly a political question. But it is pre-eminently a philosophical question touching on the purpose of life. Do our people still have a zest for life? Are they ready to make efforts in proportion to the end? As I see it, it is only a renewed Christianity which can restore to our nation a taste for eternal life, and then, for life on earth.

Friday, 4 January 2019

When Britain Fell


Dear Albion Awakening Readers,

This, as I wrote last Sunday, is my final post for this blog. And I'm writing it from the future - 7.15 am on Wednesday November 20th 2019. A lot has happened since that last Sunday of 2018. Britain has fallen for a start. It was conquered a month ago and officially ceased to exist last week. French, Russian and American forces occupy vast tracts of the country. The areas outside their control (including my current location on the North Wales coast) are wild and lawless, but also abuzz with a sense of possibility and renewal which did not, it has to be said, exist anywhere in the former UK before the upheavals of September and October.

No-one saw it coming. We were preoccupied all summer long with Brexit and King Charles's coronation. Rumour has it that Charles insisted on a quick investiture so he could take charge of Brexit and bring an end to the uncertainty and division that had so weakened the body politic. Speculation abounded as to his intentions but instantly became yesterday's news when Russia and Turkey attacked Europe on September 3rd in a pincer movement that caught us all cold.

The Russians, as far as I can tell with the internet being so unreliable, have borne the brunt of the fighting thus far. They swept through the Baltic states in seven days but had a torrid time in Poland in a three week campaign that has cost something like 20,000 Polish and Russian lives. Even now, the country is far from subdued, but the Kremlin's goal was simply to reach Germany - nothing more than that. Once the Russians set foot on German soil, Berlin surrendered straightaway, as Vladimir Putin had hoped, and now his forces are massing on the French border. Two weeks ago Russian troops occupied Scandinavia, and last week news came through that Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic had also fallen. So things are going very well for President Putin. It only remains to be seen whether he'll choose to consolidate his gains or press on towards Paris.

The Turks have played a smaller but no less significant role. They annexed a handful of Greek islands and used them as bases to attack Italy, seizing on the country's political and economic woes and fully occupying the peninsula after a month's pretty straightforward fighting. They too are now threatening France, and the world is currently holding its breath, watching for President Macron's next step.

I say 'next step' because Macron's first step astounded everyone. Rather than meet the threat head on as the Poles had done or seek immediate terms like the Germans, Macron had withdrawn France's military presence in Africa, then invaded Britain, capturing London in just three weeks. He is now busy integrating the former UK's armed forces into his new EU Army and acquiring ownership of our nuclear arsenal.

It's been a shocking defeat. Stunning and brutal. We were outclassed, outgunned and outmanoeuvred in every department. Years of spending cuts and political correctness had clearly knocked the stuffing out of Britain's military capability far more than anyone, apart from a few professional Cassandras, had imagined. The French, as a character points out in Michel Houellebecq's Submission (2015), have never made that mistake. No matter which President occupies the Élysée Palace, they have never compromised or cut corners on their armed forces. And that, in the last analysis, was the difference between the two nations in the Second Battle of Britain.

The Royal Family had declined President Trump's offer of refuge and had been taken captive by the French. They're being held, it's said, in a château just outside Grenoble. So at least we've some idea of where they are, unlike Pope Francis, who similarly refused to leave Rome and was dragged off by the Turks. No-one knows where he is or whether he's alive or dead. As a Catholic, that's been the most disquieting thing for me in all this. I'm fortunate, however, in that I don't have immediate family to worry about. My wife and children are safe in Australia, while my Mum - who lives in Manchester - is in the American Zone, which is probably the best (or least worst) place to be right now.

There's a Russian Zone as well, and all these spheres of rival influence have come about since the fall of London. The French have little authority as yet outside the South East. In the Midlands and the North a motley crew of gangsters, madmen, religious fundamentalists and self-styled warlords have scrambled to fill the vacuum. An opportunistic Russian flotilla recently took advantage of the chaos, sailing up the Humber and occupying Hull, York and Leeds. And that's what's finally goaded President Trump into action. Within days Ireland had become an American protectorate and shortly afterwards both Liverpool and Manchester were swarming with GIs.

It's a dreadful situation in short and it's been well-nigh impossible to know what to do and where to turn. But I'm here in Bangor at Neuadd William Blake (William Blake House) because of one name that's kept cropping up for me these past few weeks. Not a name you'd expect to hear in this context. Not a name you'd associate with resistance or national revival. I'm talking about Simon Hennessy, the ex-footballer. Let me fill you in on his cv if you're unfamiliar with the name.

In a peripatetic career, Hennessy decorated the midfield for Aston Villa, Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Burnley, Bournemouth and Sunderland. He had a few other clubs as well and only stopped playing ten years ago when he was 41. He was a gifted, mercurial playmaker, with the vision of Glenn Hoddle, so they said, and the touch of Paul Scholes. He was a fine header of the ball too, I remember, but like many before him he squandered the best of himself in bookies, bars and sub-standard nightclubs. He had a fair old temper too and collected more than a few red cards on his Odyssey through English football.

I never held any of that against him though. I always liked Hennessy, as a player and a man. He was moody and intense, for sure, but football for him was an art and his post-match interviews made wonderful watching - for his passion, sincerity, poetic flourishes, and the personal warmth he exuded. I had the distinct sense of a man of depth and sensitivity looking in the wrong places for a meaning and significance which he desperately wanted and needed but which for some reason had so far eluded him.

It's fair to say, given all this, that Hennessy never became the player he could have been. He only played for England twice, for instance, but he enjoyed a memorable career nonetheless. He was hardly ever injured, played over 800 league games, and was widely respected for his thought-provoking insights into the game. He was studying for his UEFA coaching badges when he had some kind of religious experience on St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall. I forget the details now but the papers were full of it at the time, around 2010/11. They called him the 'new David Icke', but the story quickly faded as Hennessy gave up football altogether and trained to become a Catholic priest. But that had gone wrong too, just a few months ago, in a blazing row with the Bishop of Salford over Hennessy's insistence on quoting from Dion Fortune's The Magical Battle of Britain in his sermons. In typical Hennessy fashion things had escalated very quickly as he turned the air blue in front of the Bishop and found himself banished, at least temporarily, from the priesthood.

Such was the character and history of the man who people, for some reason, kept talking to me about. 'Hennessy's the only one with any style', muttered the woman rooting for food in the bins. 'Hennessy has to take over', said the old man walking his dog on the beach. 'Hennessy can set this whole bloody country right,' roared the beggar with the red hair and beard in Conwy. 'He's got balls, he's got soul. If he gets enough followers he'll turn the whole f****** shambles on its head.'

So that's how I came to be here. I'm due to fly to Australia in a couple of weeks and I've been looking forward to it, but I couldn't possibly leave without seeing what all the fuss is about. I'm lucky too that Hennessy's base - overlooking Anglesey and the Menai Straits - is very close to where I live. So yes, here I am. I heard him speak yesterday evening, stayed the night, and am writing this over coffee the next morning. I've no idea what I'm going to do next - whether I'll stay or go - but let me at least 'set my lands in order' as Eliot says in The Wasteland and make a start on the future, whatever that may be, by telling you what transpired last night and this morning.


Neuadd William Blake is an ivy-clad Victorian mansion perched high on a hill above a spectacularly rocky cliff-face. It was almost dark when I got here, but lights blazed in the windows and I had a good feeling about the place straightaway. I hadn't intended to stay over, I could happily have slept in the car, but Hennessy's staff offered me a room 'on the house' and for as long as I wanted, and I was so taken aback that I immediately accepted. His workers, both men and women, wore royal blue shirts and trousers with white collars and cuffs. Leicester City colours, I thought, and that was fitting as Leicester was Hennessy's home town and it was there that he enjoyed his finest years as a player in the mid-90s.

The house has a calm, contemplative feel. The carpet is orange and the wallpaper a soft, subtle silver. There are lots of icons on the walls - images of saints, kings and queens. All the saints I've seen so far have been British or Irish, such as Cuthbert, Bridgid, Hilda and Kevin. There are several monarchs I'm familiar with too - Alfred the Great, Athelstan, Harold, Charles I, etc - but also many others I've never heard of - Mark V, Joseph the Noble, Sophia I, and more.

The house feels much bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside. The corridors are long, with numerous staircases leading up and down at various points, and a wealth of spacious, lamp-lit chambers lined with tapestries and books. Hennessy addressed us in the Great Hall. There were about forty or fifty of us present. Ordinary working men and women mainly. A couple of professorial types. A smattering of teenagers. One or two old punks. A log fire leapt and crackled in the hearth. After supper (roast turkey with veg), Hennessy's staff took the tables away and we gathered our chairs in a loose horseshoe shape around a candlelit table draped with cloth of gold.

Hennessy stood between the table and the hearth. Behind him, on the wall, stretched a huge banner - a red dragon on a gold background.

The long haired will o' the wisp of football yore, by the way, is long gone now. Hennessy has filled out considerably and has short brown hair and a stubbly grey-flecked beard. Last night, interestingly, he was wearing the same blue and white uniform as his staff. I also saw a look of firmness and resolve in those famous green eyes that made me wonder if his spat with the Bishop had been less a case of him throwing his toys out of the pram and more to do with a reluctance to suffer fools gladly.

He spoke for about an hour. Gestures were minimal but there was eye contact aplenty. His tone was warm and eager. It felt like he was addressing me personally, but I'm sure we all felt like that. I remember every word he said. I don't have space or time to record it all here, but I'll do my best to paraphrase. What he said went something like this:

"When the Angel of this Island appeared to me on St. Michael's Mount he showed me all these disasters which have now befallen our land. But I also saw - like a spark of gold on a field of black - how this selfsame ignominy can and will become the seedbed for a radical transformation which will restore the holy realm of Logres and rouse and inspire the world.

"For it was from Great Britain that the darkness grew and spread and engulfed the whole Earth. Four centuries of mercantilism and shrunken vision have banished God, the saints and angels and the whole supernatural order from our lives. We no longer feel or sense the presence of a spiritually-charged universe. We have traded the deep and holy mystery of the human person to those who hate the numinous and fight against profundity - economists, sociologists, media men and bureaucrats. Our imaginations have wound down to nought and we are paying the price now for our spiritual blindness. It is right and just that we do so.

"That is only half the story, however, and not the most important half at that. Because the truth, brothers and sisters, is that Logres never disappeared, it was just that our eyes became too obtuse to see it. For there have been many kings and queens of Logres since that dark day at Camlann - an unbroken chain - some names known to history and others not. Once established by Arthur and Merlin, the Holy Kingdom could never cease to exist, and now that the wheel of involution has run its course, men and women will start to perceive it again. From Albion's shores it will shine out like flame, in compensation for the centuries of constriction, and restore all that is high, noble and pure in all corners of the Earth.

"The word, my friends, is spreading about the seeds we are planting here at Neuadd William Blake. Personnel and equipment are arriving every night, but that again is not the most important element. The most tremendous fact, as most of you know, is that right beneath our feet, at the bottom of this very house, Arthur and his Companions lie sleeping, waiting for the signal to rise and retake the land.

"This Great Hall, it seems to me looking about, is around a quarter full tonight. When the British start to really see, when they feel drawn to this place, when there is standing room only in this room, that is when Arthur and his men will rise up and the radiant dawn of renewal shine forth upon this land. That day, brethren, is close at hand. Until then, apart from those who have arrived tonight, please continue in your roles, some remaining here to prepare, others going into the world to announce the good news of liberation - a liberation which will be so much more than the expulsion of foreign powers, a liberation to unchain and unleash those aspects of our national life which have been kept captive so long - emotional, mental, imaginative, spiritual - everything that William Blake, the patron of this house, fought for in his words, pictures and deeds."


It was stupendous stuff - a speech for the ages - met with cheers and raucous applause. I appreciate, however, that for some of you reading this on a screen Hennessy's words will come over as delusional nonsense or the ramblings of one grown soft in the head through too much booze or the repeated heading of a football. You had to be there, I guess. But I was won over like the others, and I'm not easily swayed by purple prose and standing ovations. As with his TV interviews back in the day I was touched by Hennessy's warmth and sincerity, but also by his audacity - the sheer chutzpah of it - in taking this national crisis and making something deep and mythic and metaphysical out of it. The woman rooting in the bin, the old man walking his dog, and the beggar with the wild red hair and beard were all spot on, I saw. They had all seen in him the one thing needed to meet and match the crushing gravity of national collapse. Hennessy isn't trying to fight fire with fire like the Poles, you see. Nor does he want to make a quick peace like the Germans and pretend the conquest never happened. He's after something deeper and more far-reaching. What he's offering is a national rebirth - a return to the source - at the most primal, archaic levels of our being. He's a priest after all, not a politician, and a sportsman to boot, playing with the great British archetypes - Arthur, Albion and Logres - as twenty years ago I saw him ping forty yard passes around Old Trafford, silencing the crowd and seizing the game by the scruff of the neck. He's like a more creative version of Donald Trump. In a world where rational argument has disintegrated into jargon and post-modern babble, Hennessy bypasses all that and engages with the roots of British consciousness. He's connecting with hearts and minds and firing up imaginations, giving people the mythic food they need and have been starved of for so long. He's doing it in a positive and constructive manner too. Nothing dark and sinister like the Nazis. The future, my intuition tells me, could be his if he continues in this vein.

I still have one or two doubts, however. I wasn't convinced, for instance, by the background noise during his speech of vehicles parking up outside and feet stamping on gravel. It seemed a bit staged and could easily have been a recording designed to persuade us that troops are mustering at Neuadd William Blake.

I wanted to go to my room and have a good think about it, but beer and wine had appeared and people were mingling merrily in the Hall. It was all very pleasant and convivial. Reassuringly old-school in many ways. A few of the 'brethren' were smoking and Hennessy himself had a bottle of Moretti in his hand. So in some ways at least, he was still the bon viveur of old!

I didn't get chance to speak to him and I disappeared after twenty minutes and went back upstairs. I lay on the bed and began to reflect but must have fallen asleep straightaway. When I opened my eyes the room looked and felt very different and I knew that we were deep into the night, possibly not far from dawn. A bell tinkled faintly somewhere, high up and far off. I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep but it was like the bell  - quiet but insistent - wouldn't allow me. I felt compelled to find out where it was coming from. So I got up, opened the door and looked along the corridor to the right. A gentle golden light was shining on the carpet at the far end. I walked down and saw a door wide open on the left. The light shone on a spiral stone staircase leading up. The bell carried on chiming, directly above my head now.

I started to climb. The bell stopped ringing but the light grew stronger, until I stepped out a few minutes later into a small stone chapel with two thick candles burning on the altar and a large picture on the wall behind it which I couldn't see. There was a small window-niche to my right and a candle glowed there too, but even then it was still too dark for me to see the image clearly. I could make out blocks and shapes of green and white and gold, but nothing more distinct than that.

There were no pews, just little kneeling boards dotted around the floor. That was when I saw Hennessy, kneeling at the front and gazing at the altar and the painting. It was strange that I hadn't seen him before. He was certainly hard to miss, dressed in a dazzling white robe - probably the brightest thing in the room - with what looked like a golden circlet around his head. Part of me wanted to go back down and leave him to his prayers, but the atmosphere in the chapel was so still and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below so refreshing that I took one of the kneeling boards and knelt down on it at the back of the chapel.

After a while, Hennessy stood up, bowed low towards the altar, turned around and walked slowly towards me. He had a purple cross sewn onto the front of his robe, and I thought he was about to say something profound, but all he said was, 'Remember to keep the candles burning. Don't blow them out. Not even when dawn comes.'
'Yes,' I replied. 'Of course.'
'Thank you,' he said.
His eyes sparkled for a moment in the half-light, then he was past me and gone, out of the room and down the stairs.

I stayed where I was for a long time. I had a lot to think about. Purple, white and gold, I reflected, are royal colours. Hennessy clearly believes he's some kind of king - the current representative, no doubt, of that 'unbroken chain' of kings and queens of Logres he referred to last night. But how can I evaluate such a belief? What does believing such a thing signify? There are three possibilities as I see it: either Hennessy is mad, bad, or telling the truth. He's definitely not a bad man. But he could easily be mad. Almost certainly, some would say. But deep down, you know, I have to say I don't think so. I've developed quite an effective 'bullshit detector' for fantasists and would-be gurus over the years, and even though I've no empirical evidence I sense some level of truth and integrity to what's happening at Neuadd William Blake. But what if that's just wishful thinking on my part? Or symptoms of trauma triggered by the events of the past three months? Who can say? But it's important that I decide on a course of action quickly. There are people depending on me, on the other side of the world and elsewhere in the country. I haven't been given a 'role' yet either. Maybe that will become clear over breakfast. I will have to wait and see. Not long to go now.

Gradually the chapel grew brighter and the seagulls started to squawk and squabble outside. I could see the picture on the wall at last. It was an icon, a depiction of the holy women arriving at the tomb and the angel telling them that Christ has risen and gone before them into Galilee. It set me thinking about the word 'resurrection' and what that might mean in an individual and a national context. I meditated too on all those weighty words beginning with 'r' - restoration, renewal, renaissance, reanimation, rejuvenation, rebirth - which I realise I have used so often in these Albion Awakening posts these past two and a half years.

The smell of coffee roasting downstairs broke the spell. I stood up, bowed low as Hennessy had done, descended the staircase, took my IPad from my room, ordered a macchiato from the little espresso bar in the drawing room and sat down to write this piece.

And there's the bell for breakfast! Time to add my pictures, press 'publish' and walk forward into the future, knowing that Christ, as in the icon upstairs, has gone before me and before us all into Galillee, to Jerusalem and Rome, and out around the globe - in times of war and times of peace, in times of grief and times of joy - Urbi et Orbi - to the City and the World.

Thanks again and all the very best to each and every one of you for 2019 and all the years ahead,

John.




Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Truth and Ideology

Nowadays it appears that ideology has trumped common sense and natural instinct in almost every area. Why is this and how has it taken place so rapidly in that what were extreme views a decade or two ago are now not only part of the mainstream but to contest them is to be branded as one who is motivated by hatred? What has happened to human beings? 

Two things come to mind. One is the fostering of resentment and envy by various groups who identify themselves (for reasons of self-advancement) as victims. Another is sentimentalised pity and guilt by those identified as descendants and beneficiaries of the supposed oppressors.  To describe things in these terms does not mean there weren't victims and oppressors but the overall picture is considerably more complicated than that, and to reduce the past exclusively to these concepts is to radically distort it. 

So now some groups seek power because of perceptions of past injustices (ignoring the fact that the power they seek only exists as it does because of the achievements of those they seek to wrest power from), and others lack both the confidence and the substance to resist this, especially given the relentless propaganda directed towards them pointing out their faults; propaganda ultimately instigated, as I believe, by supernatural powers dedicated to the destruction of goodness and truth as these things are understood spiritually.

Which point leads me on to something else. Education. I consider that the modern education system has become one of the sharpest tools in the devil's toolbox. Today more children stay in education for longer, up to their mid-twenties in many cases, and they are more exposed to the leftist ideology with which the academic world is rife. They don't encounter the real world until they are quite old by which time their views have often become settled.

I know someone whose 17-year-old daughter told him that she didn't think she could love him anymore because he wasn't a feminist. I imagine that part of this is down to typical teenage self-importance and narrow-minded idealism, but it is still a rather terrible thing to put an ideology, indoctrinated into you by your teachers at school, above familial love. Honour thy father and mother - but only if they behave as you wish. She said that feminism meant equality and if he didn't believe in the former then he couldn't believe in the latter, the truth of which she took to be so obvious it didn't need defending. He countered that for one thing feminism was not now about equality at all but about the promotion of women at the expense of men, and that, anyway, equality was neither a real nor a desirable thing. Men and women were different, with different roles in life, and though they might have equal worth as human beings that did not translate to equality in the sense of each being equally adept as the other in all fields and circumstances. 

This was something that all previous generations just knew. The sexes were complementary. But she was having none of it. Men had oppressed women for centuries and now they were fighting back. This is the ideology she had been taught by her school teachers and she took it as authoritative truth. The fact that there had been some suppression in the past had been blown up out of all proportion and assumed to be the main factor in all male/female relationships until recently. The basis of any interaction between the sexes had been reduced to power in the good old-fashioned Marxist style. The possibility that there had been love or mutual help involved or that, until recently with the rise of liberating technology (invented by males for the most part), both sexes had had a pretty tough time of it was completely glossed over


Why are ideologies bad? It is because they replace natural perception of reality with a thought or theory about it and then everything has to fit into that. If it doesn't fit, it is just cut down or changed until it does. If the ideology is based on a false premise, such as materialism, that is even worse. Your ideology becomes the truth and nothing is allowed that does not conform to that.

People say everything is an ideology of some sort. No one knows truth. This is false.  Common sense and instinct, and even tradition tested by time and experience, can all be based on truth. Not truth intellectually formulated but actually perceived and experienced. And then you have Christianity, another ideology its enemies affirm. I admit that Christianity can certainly become an ideology when subjected to human interpretation. However, in itself and as instigated by Jesus, it is based on revelation. It is not an intellectual theory and it is not built on artificial foundations. It is actually built on love but divine love not human, the difference being that the first is reality while the second is mere feeling.

The rise in mental development of the human race has led it further from truth than it has ever been before. We have become corrupted by ideas because we are clever enough to have them but not clever enough to see through them to the truth that stands above them as the sun does above clouds. This is not meant as recommendation to abandon intelligence and return to an ignorant state. The development of the mind was a vital step in our spiritual unfoldment. Nonetheless, the mind should not be the primary organ of perception. That honour belongs to the intuition but we will only start to develop this higher faculty when we learn a little humility. Our mental powers have led to pride and the sense that we are able to understand the world and ourselves through our own abilities. Nothing could be further from the truth. We can only understand anything properly when we open ourselves up to the love of God.


At the beginning of a new year, totally false thing that it is, this is something we should reflect on deeply.