Sunday, 31 January 2010
Anubis by Thomas Akawie.
I am entirely aware that from the perspective of documented history and archaeology the Glastonbury Zodiac is total baloney. Many can nonetheless attest that it seems to be generating a potent enchantment enabling some people of particular temperaments to have unusual and even life-changing experiences.
With the start of the new decade the Zodiac has quickly become a strong motif for me. My 6th January post featured some pictures from a visit to its centre on New Year’s Day. Glastonbury artist Yuri Leitch (responsible for my excellent book covers!) arranged a Glastonbury Moot on the subject on Friday 29th, featuring a group of speakers with me functioning as MC. It was a vibey evening carrying the definite feeling of something mysterious in motion.
My next book Avalonian Aeon will include an immense amount of Zodiac material so I have decided to post some extracts concerning magickal workings out in its landscape using Egyptian imagery and carrying a mood that readers of my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus might recognise. These details are a magickal companion to the recent piece on Haindl's Aeon trump and the July 2009 Isis of Avalon blog post. They all cohere together in Avalonian Aeon.
Two locations were featured. The first was the ruined church of St Michael on the hill known as Burrow Mump, a notable part of the legendary leyline and also in Glastonbury Zodiac lore the nose of a huge guardian dog figure marked out by various landscape features that serves as a useful doorway into the otherwordly zone.
Photo Stu Quigley.
Over the years I have conducted a few visualisations there using the well-known Egyptian god-form of Anubis, seen as a four-legged dog rather than dog-headed human, usually during the summer "dog-days" of Sirius as part of a larger process of bringing the energies of Sirius/Isis down into Glastonbury. I am well aware that Sirius falls elsewhere in the terrestrial zodiac. I share the brief details here as I have nonetheless found this wild imagining to be very potent and a potential doorway into a most interesting layer of the zodiac gnosis.
On one occasion a four-feet-long picture of Anubis painted by participant Chandira Hensey had been brought along rolled-up and was then fixed to the wall of the ruined church. It was twilight. The group orientated themselves. The Tor can be seen from the Mump. A fix was taken on it. The general location of the Zodiac was briefly scanned. We then visualised a transparent blue sphere encompassing us. The building faded until only barely visible. An enormous form of Anubis then arose from the ground around us. Our sphere floated in front of his face. Flaming red eyes suddenly opened. Behind him, the outline forms of the Zodiac effigies lit up across the landscape. Above the Tor, a point of light was seen in the sky.
The whole thing was very easy to visualise. The general consensus was that it was like watching something that was already happening rather than creating it through imagination.
Glastonbury Zodiac Aquarian phoenix with maze by Chandira.
Part two took place on the Tor summit itself beneath the body of Nuit. The maze pattern supposedly traced out by its terracing would be an important part of the proceedings. Philosopher Oliver Reiser had suggested that the brain-like pattern in the heart of the Aquarian phoenix effigy was ‘the morphogenetic field pattern for the embryogenesis of the world sensorium’ Very broadly speaking, the idea is that things happening there may impact on global consciousness.
We began by visualising the whole of the hill as flat. At each corner of the tower stood one of the Watchers of Avalon, the indigenous site Guardians, seen as tall dark hooded figures.
The sons of Horus.
For our purposes the guardians of the four quarters were to be the four sons of Horus. On the east of the summit was Duamutef. He had a jackal head like Anubis. In the west was the hawk-headed Quebsenuf. Ape-headed Hapy guarded the north. Imsety, with human head, false Egyptian beard and painted eyes took the south.
We started to walk slowly anti-clockwise around our circle, seeing the maze pattern lighting up from beneath the ground in a gentle golden glow, activating a vortex to bring the energy down. Mists of Avalon were visualised as rising all around us until the whole world had disappeared, apart from the flattened shining maze and Tor tower.
Cosmic Isis by Judith Page.
The four sons of Horus hovered just above the edge of the glowing maze, against the background of mist Thus prepared, the space was ready to receive the celestial energy. A small ball of light was seen in the body of Nuit, directly above us. The Isis/Sirius force came down to us in the form of a golden beam. Like lightning Hadit kundalini it downloaded into the Grail receptacle maze brain of the phoenix/11.11 bird, sending ripples of light out through the spiral pattern and beyond.
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Artwork by Adam Scott Miller
This Saturday (30th Jan) I shall be giving a lecture between 2.45 and 3.45 in a Glastonbury Mystic & Earth Spirit Fayre weekend (at the Assembly Rooms in Glastonbury High St) dealing with the mysterious episode in the Algerian desert when Timothy Leary seemed to find himself walking in the footsteps of Aleister Crowley in one of the most powerful and notorious magickal events of the Great Beast's life.
The material is largely taken from my current book and I believe expands perspective on this fascinating subject to a wider appreciation of Leary's life in general.
£5.00 entry gives access to all Glastonbury Fayre events on the day
Friday, 22 January 2010
The London launch for my new book is this Sunday 24th, between 3 and 6 in the afternoon, at Treadwells, 34 Tavistock St, WC2E 7PB (near Covent Garden).
There is no charge to attend.
Anyone who may be in the vicinity and interested is welcome.
Sunday, 17 January 2010
A few words about the Aeon trump in the Haindl tarot. It has been of tremendous significance to me over the years in the genesis of my work in progress Avalonian Aeon (from which the following is extracted)and calls strongly to me again at the start of this new decade.
To me, the Aeon trump had always been the most interesting Haindl card. The imagery combines aspects of Crowley’s ideas with the traditional Judgement. Two rivers wind across a wasteland. One contains blue water, the other, red liquid fire. They lead the eye towards a landmark at a central far horizon. Glastonbury Tor. Above it looms a stormy sky, full of clouds and strange suggestive shapes. It carries a Book of Revelation vibe. A clearly visible eye, stated by Haindl to be of a Goddess, looks out through the miasma. Droplets of blue rain descend. Individual tongues of red fire ascend. At the middle of the image, as the obvious focus, can be seen a large transparent egg of blue. Within it, lies an upside-down foetus, finger to its mouth in the gesture of Harpocrates. The stirring archetypal motif was consciously taken from the final moments of Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey. In that seminal movie, the image of a foetus floating in outer space above the Earth, had deeply stirred many in a way that defied rational analysis. It spoke of a mythological truth. In Haindl’s Tarot card, the babe of the New Aeon descends from the Goddess to be born at Glastonbury. In the amazing mix of old and new Aeon imagery are suggestions of both the disease and it’s cure. We are locked into a destructive myth cycle of the end days. Revelation and Nostradamus dominate the western collective unconscious. Ways must be found to dissolve such self-fulfilling prophetic scripts. The Goddess and the Tor, the Aeon babe, and the birth of a new humanity represent possible paths across the abyss.
Friday, 15 January 2010
I am rather pleased with the first review of my new book. Thanks to Mike Jones in the January Glastonbury Oracle for his appreciative remarks. To know that at least one person considers my work to be "a worthy successor to Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger" makes it all worthwhile. Here is the whole review.
'Many readers will be unfamiliar with the writings of Aleister Crowley although they may well be aware of his name and the notoriety attached to it. This book by Paul Weston is a major work that puts aside much of the glamour and drama and takes a deeper look at Crowley’s legacy, putting him in context with some of his contemporaries, such as Jung, Gurdjieff, Steiner and Aldous Huxley.
Paul also undertakes an entertaining study of some of those strongly influenced by Crowley, including Jack Parsons, L. Ron Hubbard, Kenneth Grant, Gerald Gardner, Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson. This book is dense with research and further subjects include psychedelics, Nazi occultism and UFOlogy. It is a book of contrasts, exploring light and dark, the inspired and the ridiculous, with humour, sceptism and a willingness to believe anything and nothing.
A core focus of the book is the phenomenon of communication with discarnate or alien entities and the question of whether such communications are true, deliberately misleading or objectively unreal. Crowley’s Book of the Law, communicated by a being known as Aiwass, has proved curiously prophetic, beautiful and unpleasant in unequal measure and has remained an inspiration and enigma for the last hundred years or so.
What is less well known is that the far more respectable Carl Jung wrote a similar work Seven Sermons to the Dead received around 1916 through an entity named Basilides. Such entities appear to have taken different forms through the centuries as deities, fairies, angels, demons and extraterrestrials. UFOlogy in the twentiethe century has offered a cornucopia of obscure communications and wild conspiracy theories, some of which are recounted here.
Another focus of the book is mysticism and inner spiritual development. Crowley was an eclectic and highly disciplined spiritual practitioner and part of his legacy is his popularisation of a wide variety of spiritual paths. He created his own framework of spiritual development with a large nod towards the Golden Dawn with key concepts of contact with one’s Holy Guardian Angel or true will and a journey across the Abyss to a state of higher consciousness.
I found myself a little adrift in the complexities of one of the later section of Paul’s book, dealing with the infinitely obscure Montauk legend, which was oddly appropriate given that if this book follows a linear Qabalistic Tree of Life pattern, I was probably bobbing around in the Abyss section in a state of dispersal.
Undoubtedly, illumination is provided in the uplifting final chapter with an exposition of Timothy Leary’s 8 circuit model of consciousness and a large input of Paul’s personal inspiration. The subject of the experiment is our own individual consciousness and the ways in which we can affect it. Limitations are of our own choosing.
This book is the result of decades of research and self exploration and is a worthy successor to Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger, revealing many obscure and hidden events in twentieth century occult history. More than that, the book provokes creative thought and I can recommend it to all open minded and adventurous seekers.'
Monday, 11 January 2010
On this day in 1992 the original 11:11 event occurred. At the time I dismissed it as New Age bullshit but something gradually began to stir inside me until I came to recognise it as an extraordinary manifestation. When writing a cheque today I realised that 11/01/10 gives the 1111 configuration and that is enough of an excuse to present some material written for my work in progress Avalonian Aeon that will now have to be edited out for reasons of space.
The details are primarily my summary of two books by Solara, The Star Borne and 11:11,both of which are due out in expanded new editions this year. Most of the photos here are from the website of Solara, where a 27 page photo album has recently been uploaded, along with further details of 11:11 which is an ongoing process.I do not necessarily endorse all of the material and have made my own way with it but I do believe it is carrying some important voltage.
“We are vast starry beings of Light who are no longer limited to and bound by the illusions of time, space and matter.”
Solara in the midst of the Egyptian 11:11 "Starry Processional".
11:11 was another epic global New Age event like the Harmonic Convergence. It took place on January 11th 1992. One person was primarily responsible for its manifestation. Solara was the recipient of visionary experiences that led her to speak of a cosmology that echoed the early Gnostics. In the beginning was a vast star of light. It exploded, sending its particles ever outwards into the formless universe. The human race are fragments of that exploding star, largely forgetful of our origins, exiled in matter. The time has come to make the journey home, to return to source. Solara’s book, The Star Borne, dealt with this theme. “The Star-Borne are all of us presently incarnate who know that we originate from somewhere beyond this planet.” Everyone really fits into that category but there are those who remember, those who are starting to, and those that are in denial.
With the advent of digital clocks, there were some who found themselves repeatedly noticing 11:11. That particular number combination stirred strange feelings. Solara felt that it was the beginning of the revealing of what she called “sealed orders.” “11:11 is a pre-encoded trigger placed within our cellular memory banks prior to our descent into matter, which, when activated, signifies that our time of completion is near.” The only way to fully access the programme involves “reuniting with your Higher Self, your Angelic Presence, and your Starry Overself.”
Temple of Horus at Edfu. A place where the 11:11 "sealed orders" had supposedly been left in clear sight.
There are times when opportunities arise for accelerated evolution. Portals open that some can make use of for the journey home. The last one had been at the time of the disappearance of the Atlantis era civilisations. Some deliberately stayed behind. Their mission was to remain to help activate the next portal, many incarnations in the future. That time had come. It would begin on January 11th 1992. The “Starry Family” was being called homewards. The portal would remain open for twenty years, finally closing on December 31st 2011. That’s near enough to the Mayan calendar/McKenna omega point zone to be considered part of the same process. Solara spoke of the “Great Central Sun” in a way not unlike Arguelles.
It all took quite a bit of arranging. A series of preparatory Activations set the scene in 1991. Solara visited Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii, experiencing Lemurian memories. Synchronistic strangeness accompanied her. Booked to appear at the Tauhara Centre in New Zealand, she pondered the possibility of a low turnout as she was all but unknown there. Prior to her arrival, all the clocks in the place stopped at 11:11.This was enough to encourage the people there to investigate further. Over a hundred turned up, including some Maoris. From there, she travelled on to Brazil.
Omens of the work in progress were divined amongst other manifestations. Some of the more elaborate crop circles of the “dumbbell” type had apparent elevens on either side of the line joining the two circles. Solara interpreted this as representing the “two spirals or Great Central Sun Systems connected by the Doorway of the 11:11.”
Glastonbury was visited in October 1991.“Because Glastonbury has been one of the most powerful vortexes on the planet, it has also served as a major battleground for duality.” Solara and her mates anchored the Template of Oneness in the Tor. “A hard knot of dark magic was dissolved forevermore and although outer forms may continue on, the root is gone, so the outer expressions will become increasingly transparent until they fade away into Oneness.”
Things got a bit cosmic in Egypt. Whilst resting on her hotel bed, Solara left her body to fly into the Great Pyramid and into the “sarcophagus” in the Kings’ Chamber. Above her was a sphere of white light, which lifted her upwards, into and through it. She was heading towards the Greater Central Sun. Having travelled as far as was possible towards it, she was met by a large rectangular tablet which entered her body through her head. This was the download of final 11:11 details. The next morning she was physically inside the sarcophagus. A host of Egyptian deities turned up to offer encouragement. On another day there was a dawn meeting with the Sphinx. “I assumed my vast, starry body and stood before the Sphinx. I activated his wings and they unfurled majestically. He was so magnificently handsome! Then I delicately sat on his back and he arose into fullest flight. Together we flew right up into the Heavens and soared right through the Doorway of the 11:11.It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life- no, of my entire cycle of earthly embodiments.” During this adventure the location for the vital Egyptian part of 11:11 was determined. It was in the ruins of a Temple at the base of the Pyramid of Mycerinus, the smallest of the three.
A vital part of the work concerned “the completion of duality and the anchoring of the Template of Oneness.” This involved the constellation of Orion, “the Master Template of Duality for this dimensional universe.” “Orion is divided into three zones. The upper zone is ruled by the star Betelgeuse. Located here are the Councils of Light. The lower zone is controlled by the star Rigel and is the home of the Dark Lords. In the central portion of Orion is a Zone of Overlap which contains the belt of EL.AN.RA. This area could be referred to as the Great Light for it represents the sacred, alchemical union of dark and light merged into One. The Zone of Overlap is served by Lord Metatron and the Council of the Elohim.” “The three stars in the belt of Orion, what we call EL.AN.RA (Mintaka, Al Nilam, Al Nitak in traditional astronomy) are the main control points or pins which hold our dimensional universe into position. Along with Polaris, the Pole Star which aligns our planet to it’s rotational axis keeping it pinned on the Golden Beam, these three stars are the key areas to watch during our passage through the 11:11.”
Solara wrote a whole book on the subject entitled EL.AN.RA The Healing of Orion. I tried to get into it once but personally found it all but unreadable. One useful idea that does come from the Duality consideration concerns human incarnational patterns whereby we may play out the roles of the Lords of Dark and Light (Feminists may ponder what happened to the Ladies of Dark and Light in all this?). Both are illusion. They are outshined by a more abiding truth of ultimate unity.
“It is through the central star in Orion’s belt, the star of AN or Al Nilam, that we shall travel as we make our homeward journey. This star contains the All-Seeing Eye of AN which is the entry point for the doorway of the 11:11. J.J. Hurtak’s book, The Keys of Enoch refers to the alignment of the Eye of Horus with the All-Seeing Eye of God in the apex of the Great Pyramid. (Key 205). This describes the alignment of the All-Seeing Eye of AN with the One Eye. When these eyes overlap, within us and without us, the Doorway is opened- the Great Pyramid becomes an Antarion Conversion- the Zone of Overlap activates- and our vast journey begins.”
It wasn’t until 1994 that Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert’s The Orion Mystery began a virtual industry based on the alleged correlation between the Giza Pyramids and the three stars of Orion’s belt. This idea was central to the 11:11 vision. Solara clearly states the major influence of the enigmatic JJ Hurtak and his weighty tome The Keys of Enoch on her work. Hurtak appears to have been pursuing Giza/Orion links as far back as the seventies. Solara’s ideas didn’t arise out of a vacuum. Nonetheless, the vast epic that became 11:11, was primarily her unique work.
Solara spoke of two grid systems that encircle the planet. The “B Grid” consists of a lattice of pulsating light lines. Where they cross, a vortex comes into being. The vortex sites are the famous power zones like Glastonbury and Shasta. A “Master Grid” underlies the system. “It contains the Master Coding for the entire planet.” Within it can be found information concerning Master Grid Vortex sites and a timetable for their activation. Eleven will be switched on by 2011. For this to happen “an alignment must first take place between a potential A Grid Vortex and an existing, activated B Grid Vortex. This means that they must be located on a direct vertical trajectory. Secondly, the Master Grid vortex must receive activation before a Master Cylinder Vortex is created. This dual activation forms a double helix spiral which creates a channel for the anchoring of a formidable beam of light which emanates from the Greater Central Sun.” In 1991 the only functioning Master Cylinder Vortex was at the Pyramids.
As part of the 11:11 preparations a second Master Cylinder Vortex was activated on the south island of New Zealand. “As it represents the Alpha Point for the planet and originates from the Greater Reality, it is of a much greater vastness than any previous Master Grid Vortex.” The site was a huge triangle with points at Queenstown, Te Anau and Milford Sound.
The 11:11 ceremony was going to be most importantly anchored in Egypt and New Zealand. There were significant differences in what was being planned to the Harmonic Convergence. This time it was not just a case of going along to a sacred site and simply being there. Participants were urged to dress in white. A series of “Unified Movements” were performed in set sequence, creating “Wheels within Wheels.” The movements had names like “No Time,” “No Space,” “No Duality,” and the “Antarion Conversion.” They looked a bit like Tai Chi. There was also a kind of dance called the “Starry Processional.” It involved coming together in a star shape in order to realign with the original Star of Oneness.
It would all begin at 11:11am on January 11th. As each time zone reached that time, another sequence of movements began. A cosmic witness would see a wave in motion across the planet. When 11:11pm arrived in New Zealand, a second sequence of Unified Movements would begin, sending out a further wave. At 11:11pm GMT all the worldwide groups would perform the Unified Movements in synchronisation. This represented the moment when the doorway opened. From outer space it would seem as if wheels within wheels were turning, “like the internal cylinders of a massive lock.” The sign of the two waves has supposedly been awaited by the Silent Watchers of the world’s destiny for aeons. “It signifies that our planet is ready to ascend into a Greater Central Sun System and to undergo a shift in spirals.” The conclusion would come as the last time zone completed the 11:11pm movements.
Only our unified presence could take us through the 11:11doorway. That unity would take the form of a vast white bird made up of numerous small birds in one synchronised formation. Solara called it the “Birdstar.” “It is our vehicle for mass ascension.” The enormous size of the bird dictates that it will take the full twenty years that the doorway remains open to pass through it. We have created the Birdstar ourselves. Each of us has a specific position within it. Knowing where that may be assists each individual’s divine mission. Some will be in the head, or wings or tail. Meeting others similarly placed establishes instant affinity.
When all the cosmic sci-fi stuff started happening, our home planet would be getting some action as well. “The Earth is a starry being, just like us. She is reclaiming her Divine Birthright and Heritage and donning her form of Light. Earth is transforming into a star! She will be travelling through the 11:11 in the heart of our Birdstar.” Participants would “serve as the midwives for our planet’s rebirth. This is how we become the ultimate environmentalists.” Some of this got presented in a form that may be a bit difficult to accept. The Templates of Duality and Oneness are going to move out of “positional alignment.” The planet will then shed its skin. “All that is anchored in duality will be removed. This includes not only environmental pollution, but the portions of humanity who choose to remain in duality. All this is going to take place painlessly, in the flickering of an instant.” That doesn’t mean some spectacular cosmic conflagration. The next morning things would appear to be the same. “The only difference is that some of us will be missing. This isn’t as grim as it may sound, for the very memory of our existence will fade away instantly, so you will have no one to miss.” Before the doorway closes on December 31st 2011, the Earth will shift on its axis. I detect more than a sniff of the Evangelical Christian Rapture in all this and it's not to my taste.
News of the intended event spread through the New Age grapevine. January 11th 1992 proved to be a truly extraordinary day. The major sites in Egypt and New Zealand supposedly anchored two power beams deep inside the Earth, enabling smaller ones to enter in numerous places elsewhere. Whatever one can say about that belief, the global human statistics of the event were remarkable.
Five hundred people from thirty countries gathered at Giza. A relay team performed the Unified Movements there for thirty eight solid hours. It began when the first time zone on the planet reached 11:11am and ended as the last time zone completed their 11:11pm movements. Human Potential pioneer Jean Houston focused ninety people at the Temple of Karnak. There was a gathering to perform the movements in New York’s Central Park and by the Washington Monument. Some chilled in waters off Hawaii with dolphins. Haleakala crater was staked out. Fifteen hundred turned up at the Pyramid of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza. A thousand at Teotihuacan, Three thousand Mayans at Palenque. In Australia, orange lights were seen in the sky above Sydney by thousands. There was major front-page press coverage in Brazil. The Unified Movements were broadcast live on national TV at various stages of the day, from a gathering of three thousand in Sao Paulo. Viewers were encouraged to join in. Events took place in Puerto Rico and Columbia. In Ecuador, eleven people hiked for four days to an ancient site deep in a rainforest. There were participants in Nigeria. A group assembled atop Glastonbury Tor. The tower was encircled during a marathon performance of the Unified Movements. Reiser’s morphogenetic maze no doubt responded. Perhaps the Aquarian Phoenix and the Birdstar conjoined in some way. Avebury likewise got the treatment. There were even people tuning in at two sites in Antarctica. One dude made it to the goddamn North Pole!
View from the third Mycinerus pyramid
A large number of participants had major experiences of altered states. The presence of Angelic forces was widely reported. An ET flavour was inescapable as well. More than anything though, it was a feeling of love-bliss that pervaded the occasion. It seemed totally clear to many that something immense really had happened. One of the processes Solara recommended for reconnecting to the part of oneself that was heading back home to the Star, was trying to find one’s Angelic name. It’s a measure of the event that there are people still using the names they intuited then. It did change their lives forever.
I increasingly came to feel, against my better judgement, the rational part of my brain, and the post-modern ethos of the zeitgeist, that the 11:11 event really was an immense mass initiation of some kind whose ripples are still working through spacetime. However much I was temperamentally disinclined to accept New Age Ascension Rapturespeak, something gigantic had surely occurred.
Can be downloaded cheaply from various sites.
The German musician Christoph Hausmann was present at the event and went on to co-create the Projekt Erde 11:11 album. This is, in my opinion, not a blandly offensive New Age piece but a superb evocation of deep space. Highly recommended.
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
View of Glastonbury Tor taken from steps of the cross.
On the first day of the new decade I visited a site called Christian’s Cross, located near to the centre of the so-called Glastonbury Zodiac on the tail of the Leo lion, in the company of a group of people led by mysteries writer Andrew Collins whose extraordinary experiences with this landscape mystery form a substantial piece of my upcoming work, Avalonian Aeon. It was a superb sunny day and included a powerful visualisation meditation in a nearby orchard.
Note mistletoe on apple tree.
Further view from steps of the cross. The distinctive spire of Kingweston church on the horizon.
New Year's Day photos by Rachel Blake.
I have decided to blog-up a piece from my Mysterium Artorius (which is an abridged version of a far longer piece that will appear in Aeon) on the discoverer, or inventor depending on one’s viewpoint, of the Zodiac, the redoubtable Katherine Maltwood. It is immediately followed by a deliberately tantalising fragment on Christian’s Cross from the Andrew Collins corpus of material dating from the eighties and his work with a psychic named Bernard.
THE MALTWOOD ENCHANTMENT
“Knowest though not Asclepius that our land is the image of heaven, the representation on Earth of every celestial ordinance? Our land is the temple of the world.”
Corpus Hermeticum. Asclepius.
HP Blavatsky believed that in immemorial antiquity initiates of the primordial wisdom tradition had gone walkabout with some kind of zodiac package. There is a passage in The Secret Doctrine referring to a centre that one of these groups had established in the Gobi desert where 'the behaviour of the celestial bodies in the heavens were taken as a model, and the plan was carried out below on earth.' These ideas helped create the unique mindset of Katherine Maltwood who became responsible for perhaps the most contentious concept concerning Glastonbury.
Born in 1878 and receiving a fine education in world history and mythology, poetry, literature, history, art and architecture, music, painting, woodcarving and sculpture, she was fortunate to marry in 1901 a childhood friend, Oxford graduate John Maltwood. He became a wealthy businessman, gaining the unique distinction of inventing the Oxo cube. This enabled him to support his wife’s interests and burgeoning career as a sculptress.
A period of extensive world travel, collection of artwork, and absorption of mystical literature followed. After the First World War, the Maltwoods bought a home at Chilton Priory, near the village of Chilton Polden in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor. It served as a base for their global travels, gradually becoming increasingly significant. Built in the nineteenth century in the style of the prevalent Gothic Revival, with castellated walls and a tower, it looks like some kind of ecclesiastical building but it’s not. The place was full of genuine medieval relics acquired by its creator, the antiquarian and collector, William Stradling. There were bits and pieces from old churches in the vicinity, including floor tiles from Glastonbury Abbey. Frederick Bligh Bond was involved in its restoration and expansion.
Extraordinary inspirations came to Katherine in her study room in the tower. Gazing through enchanted scrying-glass windows out around the far-reaching panoramic view of the Somerset landscape, the inner vision of the mystic artist responded to subtle inspirations. Can we imagine the priory as a peaceful spring sunset silence settles across the landscape? A light shines from the windows of Katherine’s tower, attracting our vision towards it. As we draw nearer, the room becomes visible. A woman sits with her back to us, reading at a desk. Coming closer we can see that the book rests over a large map spread out on the table underneath it. We can approach and look over her shoulder. Just what is it that has so thoroughly focused her attention? She’s putting the book to one side and is staring intently at what is now revealed as a detailed map of the Glastonbury landscape. Taking up a pen, she begins to draw a shape formed by a river, roads, and field boundaries. A lion. She stops, sits back and stares at what she’s done. Outside in the twilight, a soft breeze suddenly stirs. A few faint stars are becoming visible. The atmosphere has changed. Right out across the land beyond the priory, back in the direction of Glastonbury, something seems to ripple. Rising upwards, looking down and around, we can somehow discern shapes of light, stretched out in a vast circle. Some of them seem familiar. Are they signs of the zodiac?
In 1925 Maltwood was asked by the publisher Dent to produce a map to accompany a new edition of the Grail romance Perlesvaus. The work seemed to have a Glastonbury connection so the idea was for her to imaginatively use the local landscape to create an itinerary of the questing knights. Quite how the subsequent inspiration came remains unclear. There was an episode where a group of damsels await a knight who could clear a pass of a lion, 'so fell and horrible that never was none seen more cruel.' It kept getting killed but still returned. The lion has heraldic associations. It was the epoch of King Richard the “lion heart” who supposedly introduced the beast to our coat of arms. It appears in a number of Arthurian tales. There’s nothing obviously unusual about its appearance at first glance.
The lion was somewhere in the back of her mind as she scanned maps of the area. Something about a particular configuration of varying features attracted her attention. It seemed as if a vast leonine form, three miles long, was emerging from the landscape. Somerton, once the Saxon royal capital of Wessex, lies between its paws. The place seems to have lingering solar associations appropriate to a lion connection. There is indeed a Red Lion pub in the town. In a wooden roof within St Michael’s church, medieval balls have been found from a time long pre-dating the formation of the Football Association. The roots of the national game are suggestive of archaic rites where the ball represented the sun. An ancient road named Somerton Lane delineates the lion’s back. Copley Wood covers the top of his head, serving as the mane. The ribs and front part of its hind leg are outlined by the River Cary, the nose, mane, and tail by streams that run into it. Raised earthworks shape the jaw. A red-earthed footpath supposedly shows its tongue. Lions’ claws have been excavated from Romano British graves near Charlton Adam, which lies at the rear of the figure. This bizarre combination of elements was enough to convince Katherine Maltwood that the huge lion was really there and that the author of Perlesvaus knew of it in some way. The four main hero figures featured, Arthur, Gawain, Lancelot and Perceval may represent the four seasons of the sun. Their adventures could occur over a very specific landscape. Recalling the presence of other strange creatures in the narrative, she went back to it with fresh eyes. She later recalled the moment in The Enchantments of Britain. 'Obviously, if the lion was a nature effigy then the dragon, griffon and the giants etc, must be likewise; perhaps this was the most thrilling moment of my discovery.'
Guided by the same kind of combination of topographical features that had revealed the lion, and some advice from an astrologer friend, Katherine Maltwood went on to find a sequence of similar landscape figures that apparently represent a complete zodiac with a circumference of about thirty miles. Included were the usual ram, fishes, and a scorpion for example. The apparent symmetry of the design seems impressive. Firstly, we have zodiacal images in correct sequence pivoting around a central point. The heads of all but one image face west. Winter signs are placed in the north, four of which are partly drawn by the River Brue, summer signs lie in the south, four drawn with the aid of the River Cary. Eight of the effigies are similar in size, approximately 6,000 yards in breadth. There are three human figures in the group, Sagittarius, Virgo, and Gemini, which are taken to represent a father mother and child trinity and form an equilateral triangle. If laying a planisphere of the same scale as the landscape zodiacal circle down upon a map, the stars of the various constellations do tend to lie within the bounds of the alleged effigies. This enables one to say that a particular star has a definite corresponding location on the ground. This is the Hermetic “As above, so below” par excellence. Primarily the configuration has come together through some extraordinary process in nature that has been recognised and then enhanced through human agency.
Maltwood concluded that this Glastonbury zodiac was the true round table of Arthur. The king himself was part of it, as the mounted archer of Sagittarius. Here was his original titanic form, asleep in Avalon. It was the Arthur figure that helped Maltwood to determine when the mighty work was constructed and by whom. Sagittarius has been variously linked with assorted ancient deities whose names seem similar to Arthur: ie Assyrian Assur, Persian Ahura, and Phoenician Melkarth. Glastonbury’s Sagittarian archer seems to have a bearded face and pointed cap suggesting a middle-eastern look. He is aiming directly at the star Aldebaran, in Taurus. The Mesopotamian rivers Tigris and Euphrates rise at the spring equinox. Today the sun enters Aries at that time. When, due to precession of the equinoxes, it had been in Taurus, Aldebaran was synchronised with the rivers as Sirius once was with the Nile inundation. It began the Babylonian New Year festivities that were regulated by Marduk. Katherine Maltwood came to believe that it was during this period, around 2,700BC, that the landscape zodiac was constructed by wandering initiates of some Middle Eastern mystery cult.
FROM ‘THE HOLY LIGHT’ IN AVALONIAN AEON
It was still daylight. Christian’s Cross, a ploughed field shaped by three roads as a triangle, near to Kingweston, was suddenly mentioned in psychic despatches and Bernard wanted to go there immediately. On arriving, he knelt down on the earth. He saw himself in a golden sea. Many other people were all around him, striving to extricate themselves. They seemed to be priests whose strength and integrity of belief had not been sufficient to ensure them an auspicious transition. All of them had their left arms raised in a gesture of supplication that Bernard copied. The sky overhead was an orange hue and a rainbow arched over it. Suddenly a great hand appeared, reaching down from the sky. The bobbing multitudes were now convulsing in grotesque paroxyisms of disgraceful beseeching. Jewels were offered to the beckoning hand. Many tried to jump up and grab it. All to no avail.
Bernard alone was lifted up and away into a great golden whirlpool. Images came into view from outside it, rapidly replaced by others. A church. A desert area. A temple with two pillars outside. Another desert near mountains. A small town with white buildings. A canyon near water with a square section carved out of the rock within which was a square room in which an old man, Khunata, sat amongst yellowing crumbling manuscripts on the floor. He seemed to be a Christian hermit in the Holy Land, perhaps from sometime around 800AD. Khunata responded to Bernard’s presence, telling him he revealed, “The knowledge of Thomas. He took this back across the seas. Many have been and gone and changed it. These people were part of a wandering nomadic tribe who spread the knowledge of the people of his country. He got these ancient writings and worked them out. There is more than one centre to the Great Wheel but each centre contains a stone”.
Bernard felt that Christian’s Cross was like a multi-dimensional three sided pyramid, a tetrahedron. The “Queens Chamber” was at its centre, above ground somewhere in another vibrational level beyond the physical. He did see a white female form somewhere within it.
A painting by the psychic Bernard depicting details from the eighties Glastonbury Zodiac quest, courtesy Andrew Collins.
Coming in 2010