Archive for the ‘Authors’ category

Nechtan’s Pictish Nation—8thC Strongholds of the New Religion

September 29, 2019

PICTISH PETERKIRKS IN ABERDEENSHIRE & MORAY—
King Nechtan’s 8thC Stone Strongholds of the New Roman Religion

Pictish 8thC stronghold of Duffus, near Elgin had its own stone Peterkirk at Gordonstoun, Morayshire

If Pictish sagas were unearthed from oblivion into which they descended after A.D.843 ‘union’ with the Scots, Nechtan, High King of Picts, last in the Heroic Age of Pictish warriors, anointed leader of his people, evangelizing monarch, would top the bill.

In a reign of less than thirty years (706-729), Nechtan of Derile—who held matrilineal sacred stronghold lands of Darley-Fyvie in Aberdeenshire, and hunting forests stretching as far as royal Duffus on the Moray coast, above—brought deliverance to his northern peoples from Dark Age beliefs. Dissolving petty rivalries with Scots’ Dal Riata on the West, he united his nation through church, wealth, and powerful alliances. He was one of few Pictish royals to die in his bed (†732).

In Northumberland, just south of the border with Pictland, Anglian church historian Bede wrote a contemporary account during Nechtan’s reign. He died within three years of the great king. Contemporaneous Annals written at Iona are particularly detailed at this time too; so accurate sources are not lacking. Bede was a meticulous researcher, especially in ecclesiastical matters, and Nechtan was considered both spiritually and socially enlightened by the Anglian church.

Aberlemno Class III (mid-9thC) Pictish carved stone depicts seminal battle of Nechtansmere, 685, which consolidated Pictland/Prydein independent of Northumbria & Anglian church

In the quarter-century prior to Nechtan’s modernizing ways, two of the most powerful northern nations fought a battle which was to be a cultural watershed. Nechtansmere—A.D.685, May 20th—was fought on Pictish soil at Dunnichen Moss near Forfar, in southern Pictish heartland between Angles and Picts under Bridei son of Bili. A Pictish victory—and death in battle of Anglian King Ecgfrith—it radically put an end to Northumbrian interference in Pictish affairs. The solitary small outpost of Anglian religious education at Abercorn-on-Forth was closed, and its monks politely asked to return to Northumbria. Bridei paraded Northumbrian Ecgfrith’s body around the country and had him ritually buried on Iona.

The two nations returned to relatively amicable relations until the end of the century.

Six years later Nechtan was to take the throne.

He came from impeccable matrilineal succession of the Royal house. He was cousin to Bridei son of Bili, c.672-693, who had fought ‘for the inheritance of his (maternal) grandfather’ at Dunnichen, when Nechtan was an impressionable child at court.  So the cataclysmic turnaround of affairs which resulted, of great Northumbria having to hand back part of conquered Pictland to the Picts, must have made a deep impression on him.

When he came to the throne in 706, following his brother Bridei son of Derile (697-706), Nechtan son of Derile was well-versed in power, spoke fluent Latin, knew ecclesiastical ropes and how to wield them—and understood the importance of allying himself with Rome. By contrast, the rustic, colonial Celtic Church of Columba centered on Iona, was fumbling along traditional lines—out-of-date and unaware of major changes happening with its powerful neighbor. In addition to works of its celebrated founder, Iona was famous for one other historical gem, without which we would all be lost in the Dark Ages.

Iona kept a series of remarkable ‘Chronicles’.

Eight Great Brittonic Nations
For the most part these were written contemporary accounts of major incidents and alliances of the eight great nations which made up ancient Britain: from Cornwall in the south, through ancient Wales, Man, Anglesey, Dunbritton (Dumbarton), Strathclyde, Anglia (Northumberland) and Prydein (Pictland).  Many copies were made and originals are now lost. It is accepted within historical circles that each ‘nation’ had its own chronicle and an original Pictish Chronicle existed as a separate series of documents held at Pictish church centers like Deer, St Andrews and in the Pictish capital, Forteviot. None survives.

While not available to us until recopied in the 12th century, the ancient origin legend of the kingdom of the Picts is preserved in an Irish quatrain:

Royal Forteviot’s triumphal Arch fragment, c.8thC, from the Pictish palace in the capital Fortriu—Dunning—modern Perth & Kinross

‘Morsheimer do Cruithne clainn raindset Albain i secht raind: Cait, Cé, Cirig, cétach clann Fib Fidach, Fotla, Fortrenn Ocus is o ainm gach fir dib fil for a fearand’ Seven of Cruithne’s children divided Alba into seven divisions: the portion of Cat, of Cé, of Cirig a warlike clan, the kingdoms of Fife, Fidach, Fotla and Fortriu and the name of each of them remains upon his land

These were sub-kingdoms of Nechtan’s great realm—in the north, Cat (Caithness), Cé (Mar and Buchan)* and Fidach (Moray and inland Banff)*; south of the Mounth—Cirig became Magh Circenn, plain of the Mearns; Fib (‘Kingdom of’ Fife), Fotla (Atholl) and center of the court, Fortriu (Forteviot). By contemporary standards, it was a massive kingdom to administer and rule.   *Kingdoms of Fife and Forgue in Buchan retain ‘kingdom’ status to this day.

Thirty Years of Peace—and Peterkirks
Nechtan’s childhood included education at court by monks from the highest monasteries of the day. He was fluent not only in Latin but in all northern British dialects, and learned Gaelic on visits to Iona, which he maintained through contact with a Columban familia of monks who attended his brother Bridei’s court. An enclave persisted from the time Anglian Abercorn mission returned south of what became the permanent border. In spite of Abercorn’s closure, good relations were maintained with the Anglian church through contact with Northumbrian Jarrow. This was a clever device allowing the Pictish court to be fully informed on church doctrine via both outlets: Iona created a Celtic connection with the Irish church; Northumberland provided a direct line to Rome.

Within five years of his accession, Venerable Bede records that Nechtan decided to ask his powerful Northumbrian neighbours—descendants of those who fought and lost in 685—for advice on how to go about building stone churches throughout his kingdom, along the lines of those already spreading in Anglia, ‘in the manner of Rome’.

He was aware of the strategic nature of his request. As a powerful ally, not only would his wish be granted, but by spiritually kneeling before Rome, he was joining a European alliance of other wealthy and powerful nations.

Bede’s superior, Abbot Ceolfrith of the Jarrow monastery, responded volubly, subsequently sending architects to Nechtan to assist in his nationwide reform.  They helped build the first Peterkirks, revolutionary buildings in stone named, like the citadel in Rome, after the first apostle of the Roman Christian mission. It served to create another schism with Iona, whose missions were rustic, simple constructions of earth and rubble.

Ruinous Cistercian Abbey on site of Deer foundation & Peterkirk in Buchan, where Pictish monks penned the 10thC Latin Book of Deer

These stone structures were to become the first network of Peterkirks throughout Pictland, many of which survive, at least in name. From St Peter’s at Restenneth in Forfarshire through the Mearns (Meigle, Tealing). Over the Mounth—mountain range dividing present Kincardine and Aberdeenshire from Mar and Buchan—foundations to Peter were placed at Glenbuchat, Peterculter, Aberdeen (Spittal), Fyvie, Peterugie (Peterhead), Deer, Rathven-in-Enzie (now Buckie), Bellie, Essil-Dipple, Duffus, top, Drumdelgie and Inveravon.

Because they were made of stone—compared with earlier turf monastic cells—they were in the later Buchan vernacular called ‘fite kirks’—white, as in gleaming stone. Two of these survive, albeit altered, at Tyrie in Buchan and Rayne in the Garioch.

‘Hammer of the Scots’ Edward I sends Oaks in Apology

Morayshire’s Peterkirk at Gordonstoun School’s west avenue is a 13thC reconstruction of the original 8thC stone building. Recorded as ‘savagely burned’ by Edward I in 1298, the English king repented and sent the then Rector a ‘gift of twenty oak trees to help with repairs.’ Now roofless, remains of Duffus Peterkirk feature a 14th-century tower and finely vaulted 16th-century porch.

Along with his request for physical assistance, Nechtan asked for guidance in the correct calculation and maintenance of Easter tables. This question had been a matter of stigma among northern kings since the religious controversy at the 664 Synod (gathering) of Whitby—present Yorkshire—nearly fifty years earlier. Columban Iona maintained calculations by an antiquated calendar, a lumbering process which sometimes had east and west celebrating on wildly differing dates. Anglian Northumbria was more modern, calculating according to tables approved by popes in Rome.

Essentially papal calendars were never going to celebrate alongside their Jewish counterparts. Easter had to fall after spring equinox, but separate from Passover.

Easter for the Picts was obviously a festival which was going to catch on, accustomed as they were to sacred seasonal celebrations. A wave of new religion spread like wildfire through a nation only recently converted in pockets by wandering monks.

The North did not have to wait long for Iona. It ‘converted’ officially in 716. By then Nechtan was already in full progress: Roman tables were in use, stone churches were being built nationwide in the name of Peter; Pictish monks now wore ‘Roman’ tonsure. All the Pictish king had left to do was to thank his southern neighbors politely for assistance and, equally politely, ask the Jarrow monks at court to leave.

In his first decade as king, he consolidated a strong alliance, formed the matrix of a new religion for all his peoples, and, because with religion came learning, initiated a process to educate at least his Pictish upper classes, thus making his kingdom a superior Christian power. If he had retained the Columban familia at court, its monastic simplicity would have continued to relate religious matters to ‘conversations with God’. By introducing a building program, Latin instruction via the church and the correct way to celebrate the highest festival of that religious body, he elevated his nation into the light—but a light which he as supreme ruler controlled.

Church Under ‘Servitude’ After Fashion of the Picts
It was a brilliant concept by a northern king to spread religion by secular means.

Significantly, 175 years later, when Scots ruling dynasty was struggling with an essentially Pictish concept it had inherited in its takeover–the power of ‘lord over church’—King Giric (c.889) made history by ‘liberating’ the Church which was ‘under servitude up to that time, after the fashion of the Picts’.

Nechtan’s new wave relied heavily on his nobility for its introduction. In his large but scattered nation, wherever there was a lordly stronghold, there would be a private chapel. If no foundation already existed dedicated to British holy men of the previous century’s wave of wanderers, a stone church would appear in Peter’s name–the new fashion.

Copying out Easter tables and sacred Latin texts became the norm in schools for the educated. A Latin Pictish chronicle appeared. Previously the sole domain of Irish and Welsh monasteries, it contained a Pictish king-list celebrating and chronicling Nechtan’s royal line which Anglian, Welsh and Irish chroniclers were quick to copy. But, with the new wave came something which Picts across the land understood. The message was carved in stone.

Pictish Class II carved Cross slab in laird’s wing, Monymusk kirk

Class II cross-slabs date from Nechtan’s reform: either mounted warriors conversing with angels, or the cross carefully fused with pre-Christian symbols which were familiar, the message was clear: landed Pictish aristocrats are following in the ways of Christian heroes–and you can too!

In Nechtan’s second decade as king, centers for carving sophisticated new imagery sprang up everywhere: in Angus there is a cluster of Class II stones—at Meigle, Aberlemno, Brechin. The new religion took hold at centers around the Moray Firth—at Rosemarkie–a former Peterkirk–and at Kineddar-Spynie near the great Elgin stronghold of Duffus which had its own Peterkirk, above. There at least 26 fragmentary slabs have been found. An equal number have been unearthed at Tarbat-on-Beauly on the Black Isle, within monastic walls.

Easter, Roman Style, and St.Fergus as Pictish Emissary
Conservative Cé—Aberdeenshire provinces of Mar and Buchan—seem to have held out the longest: with only the merest scattering of cross-slabs within a huge proliferation of Class I pre-Christian symbol stones.

Four apostles in simple illuminated manuscript endpages of 10thC Book of Deer, Buchan, with 12thC margin notes in both Latin and early Gaelic

Exceptionally, it was at Deer in Buchan within that conservative culture that monks produced the exquisite sacred calf-vellum pocket gospel, left, The Book of Deer, now held at University of Cambridge.

A number of Pictish holy men played a rôle in Nechtan’s great plan. After all, Latin was not exactly a language the countryman was going to pick up spontaneously. Bede says Nechtan promised to introduce Latin usage for his people ‘insofar as their remoteness from the Roman language would allow.’

It was essential that his bishops–already fluent in Latin–should be completely familiar with Pictish patterns of speech.

St.Fergus chapel, Dyce Aberdeen 8thC Class II relief-carved Pictish cross stone with familiar symbols

Gone were the days before 585 when Irish Columba had needed an interpreter to speak to king Bridei son of Maelcon, at the Pictish court in Inverness. Nechtan used Picts to speak to Picts.

One of them—Bishop Fergus—attended Rome in 721 to sign papal decrees, on behalf of his royal patron. This saint features both south and north of the Mounth: as patron of Glamis at the center of cross-slab carving in Forfarshire; but, as Northerners know him, patron of Moy in Moray, St Fergus in Buchan and, most significantly, Dyce which has one of the few magnificent Class II cross-slabs, right, in Aberdeenshire. Cé was conservative, not pagan. The simple cross was already understood.

Nechtan’s Golden Age had begun, and it looked as if it might continue forever.
©2009-2019 Marian Youngblood

Event Horizon for the Human Race—Moving Beyond Our Own Boundaries

April 11, 2019

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) on Hawai’i’s Mauna Kea and Atacama’s Large Submillimeter Array (SMA) answered some cosmic prayers this week.

Event Horizon Discovery by Global AstroSci Team

Summit of Mauna Kea at 13,000ft has ideal microclimate for Harvard-Smithsonian Event Horizon 8-telescope array

The Submillimeter Array of eight radio telescopes alongside the James Clerk Maxwell Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawai’i have sent earthling skywatchers skyrocketing with delight, as they released their first picture of Messier-87—a super-dense neutron region or ‘black hole’ in Virgo galaxy this week.

Hawai’i is crucial to Event Horizon (EHT)’s world network. Its high volcanic setting provides cloud-free receiving/bending of its own multiple signal—from three points in an array of eight new [radio]telescopes, top, with Mauna Kea Observatory’s James Clerk Maxwell 49-foot dish telescope, and reusing CalTech’s nearby CSO ‘redundant’ observatory.

Previously co-funded by Great Britain, Canada and Netherlands, EHT is presently co-sponsored by Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts with the Academia Sinica, and a consortium of astrophysics interests from Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea and Chile. EHT is in international partnership with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea). Vital cooperation is the link with the Republic of Chile—where ALMA‘s 66 high-precision antennae are located on the Chajnantor plateau, at 5000 meters altitude/one mile high in northern Chile.
(ALMA)=Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array

Event Horizon Telescope —EHT— world’s 1st super-array captures its first picture of ultra-dense neutron region M-57 in constellation Virgo

The Event Horizon Telescope—EHT—is a global array of radio telescopes involving dozens of institutions and astrophysicists round the world. Breakthrough discovery by the EHT is an image of Messier 87 (M-87)’s supermassive neutron black hole at the center of the Virgo galaxy cluster, 55 million light years away. This neutron-dense region contains 6.5 billion times the mass of our Sun.

Affectionately named ‘black holes’ are extremely compressed cosmic objects, containing extraordinary amounts of mass packed densely into a tiny region of space. This mass is shrouded by an event horizon—a boundary beyond which nothing—not even light—can escape its electromagnetic/gravitational pull.

They affect their surroundings in extreme ways, including warping spacetime and heating surrounding material to hundreds of billions of degrees. Albert Einstin in his 1915 Theory of General Relativity predicted that a black hole would cast a circular shadow on its bright, glowing material. The newly-released image of M87 from EHT reveals this shadow.

Light emitted from inside the event horizon can never reach the outside observer. Likewise, any object approaching the horizon from the observer’s side appears to slow down and never quite pass through the horizon—its image becoming more and more redshifted as time elapses. This means that the wavelength of the light emitted from the object is getting longer as the object moves away from the observer. The traveling object, however, experiences no strange effects and does, in fact, pass through the horizon in a finite amount of ‘proper’ time.

As high as the Swiss Alps, Mauna Kea hosts climate-immune radiotelescope array for worldwide science cooperative

Black hole event horizons are widely misunderstood. Common, although erroneous, is the notion that black holes vacuum up material in their neighborhood, where in fact they are no more capable of seeking to consume than any other gravitational attractor. As with any mass in the universe, matter must come within its gravitational scope for the possibility to exist of capture or consolidation with any other mass. Equally common is the idea that matter can be observed falling into a black hole. This is not possible either.

Astronomers can detect only accretion disks around black holes, where material moves with such speed that friction creates detectable high-energy radiation. Matter from these accretion disks is forced out along the axis of spin of the black hole, creating visible jets where the streams interact with matter—such as interstellar gas—or if they happen to be aimed directly at Earth.
J.A.Peacock Cosmological Physics, 1999

A distant observer—or world-class telescope array—will never actually see something reach the horizon. Instead, while approaching its edge, the object will seem to go ever more slowly, while any light it emits will be further and further redshifted.

Earth-size Telescope Dish
In order to see a black hole for the first time, the Event Horizon Telescope team hooked up an array of radio telescopes in Hawai’i, Central and South America (Atacama), Europe, Greenland and Antarctica, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) dish in Cambridge, MA.

EHT signals from global telescope network create earth-size dish receiver, beamed Mauna Kea HI to Cambridge MA for image resolution by the EHT team

Using a technique known as very long baseline (vLBI) interferometry, the CfA-MIT team took precisely-timed data from each radio telescope, combining them to produce images comparable with what an Earth-hemisphere-sized dish would capture. The resulting virtual telescope has the highest resolution of any instrument ever built on earth, in orbit within the Solar System—or even beyond the Heliopause where Voyagers I & II entered Interstellar Space.

We’re a melting pot of astronomers, physicists, mathematicians and engineers. That’s what it took to achieve something once thought impossible.
Katie Bouman, PhD CfA elec.engineer/computer sci
Co-author six papers in Astrophysical Journal Letters

EHT’s image reveals that this enormous black hole—large enough to engulf the solar system—anchors a jet that extends outwards for tens of thousands of light years.

Hawai’i’s Mauna a Wakea—white mountain—multiple telescope array at 13,803feet on the dormant volcano played crucial role in Event Horizon success

There are already plans to expand the EHT: to enable the team to make time-lapse movies of the dynamics of this (newly-discovered) living system, and to discover how the jet draws its energy from this negative source.

Creating the EHT was a formidable challenge which required upgrading and connecting a worldwide network of thirteen pre-existing telescopes deployed at a variety of challenging high-altitude sites. These locations included volcanoes in Hawai`i and Mexico, mountains in Arizona and the Spanish Sierra Nevada, the Chilean Atacama Desert, and Antarctica.

All Very Baseline Interferometry
Event Horizon observations use a technique called very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) which synchronizes 13 telescopes around the world, using earth’s rotation to form one huge, Earth-size telescope observing at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. This lets EHT achieve an angular resolution of 20 micro-arc-seconds—enough to read a newspaper in New York from a sidewalk café in Paris.

From Chile’s Atacama high desert to Spain’s Sierra Nevada to Mauna Kea’s multiple array, telescopes worldwide combined to bring new images beyond human expectation and belief

Resolution of the EHT image depends on separation distance between the telescopes—the baseline—and the short-millimeter radio wavelengths captured around the world. EHT’s finest resolution is achieved by the longest baseline, which for M87 stretches from Hawai’i to Spain and Greenland to Antarctica. To optimize long baseline sensitivity—or make detection possible—the team developed a specialized system which combines all signals from Mauna Kea’s SMA dishes, letting Hawai’i act as a single EHT station.

Beaming-coordinating signals from night-time (western) half of the globe employs optimum use of precious telescope time when the other—Asian—hemisphere is in daylight.

After separately recording signals at all thirteen telescopes, data are flown to a single location and combined by computer to create an image by a virtual Earth-size telescope—first of its kind.

Petabytes, Raw Data and Red Shift
Lindy Blackburn, EHT data processing team leader and coauthor explains that EHT holds millions of gigabytes of data from many telescopes that weren’t originally designed to work together. ‘We developed multiple pathways to process and calibrate data, using new algorithms to stabilize the Earth’s atmosphere and to align the signals from all sites within trillionths of a second precisely.’

Rapidly spinning supermassive hole surrounded by its accretion disc of rotating leftovers from Sun-like star ripped apart by the hole’s tidal force, courtesy ALMA Large Array, Atacama

Telescopes contributing to this result were ALMA*, APEX, the Spanish IRAM 30-meter telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano, the Submillimeter Array, the Greenland Submillimeter Telescope, and the South Pole Telescope. Petabytes of raw data from all telescopes were combined by highly specialized supercomputers hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Munich, and MIT Haystack Observatory, Cambridge, MA.
*Atacama Large Millimeter-Submillimeter Array in Andes high desert, Chile

Global teamwork meant a close collaboration by astrophysicists, technicians and researchers around the world—and a first for science.

Construction of the EHT and this week’s observations represent the culmination of decades of close technical theoretical work. Thirteen partner institutions worked together to create the EHT, using both pre-existing infrastructure and support from a variety of world agencies. Key funding was provided by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), EU’s European Research Council (ERC), and funding agencies in East Asia, above.

On a planetary level, we sci-fi addicts thank the team for rising above national barriers and creating something previously only dreamed of.

On a Cosmic level—look out—unlimited data incoming.
©2019 Siderealview

Hallowe’en was Always Weird—A Look at Wynton’s 1420 Chronykil

October 31, 2018

MACBETH & THE THREE WEIRD SISTERS

The three witches—current version—in forecourt of Glamis Castle, ancient thanage in Angus, Scotland

Andrew Wyntoun, known as Andrew of Wyntoun (c.1350-c.1425), was a Scots poet, canon and prior of Lochleven & St Serf’s Insch, Aberdeenshire, where he is thought to have written this poem to his hero, Macbeth—11thC King of Scots, who died at Lumphanan fifteen miles distant. Wyntoun then became canon at St. Andrews, a most hallowed position for a cleric of his time. His greatest work (1420) is his Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland

‘All night he thought in his dreaming
That sitting he was beside the King
At a seat in hunting where his sire
Unto his leash had greyhounds two
He thought while he was seated thus
He saw three women going by
And those women then thought he
Three weird sisters most likely be

MacBeth cairn, Lumphanan, where the King of Scots was slain by Malcolm in 1057

A nycht he thowcht in hys dreamyng,
That syttand he wes besyd the kyng
At a sete in hwntyng; swa
Intil his leisch had grewhundys; twa
He thowcht, quhile he wes swa syttand,
He sawe threw wemen by gangand;
And thai wemen than thowct he
Thre werd systrys mast lyk to be.

*The first he hard say, gangang by,
‘Lo, yhondyr the Thane of Crumbawchety!’
The tothir woman sayd agane,
‘Of Morave yhondyre I se the thane!’
The thryd than sayd, ‘I se the kyng!’
All this he herd in his dreamyng…
Sone eftyre that, in his yhowthad,
Of thyr thanydoms he thane wes made;

Queen/St. Margaret’s arms—Lion Rampant & sacred Martlets around Christian cross

The fantasy of his dream
Moved him most to slay his overlord
…And Dame Gruoch, his sovereign’s wife
He took and left with her his lands
And held her both as his wife and queen
Which, before then, she had been
To his sovereign—queen living Queen
—who was Kyng with Queen Regnant
For few honours then had he (Macbeth)
Only the grace of lineage affinity

Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor
Shakespeare’s stirring predictions by the three witches to a dreaming king reaching for the throne describe the cauldron scene magnificently. Macbeth will not only become thane (mormaer) of Glamis (Forfar, seat of current Earl of Strathmore), thane of Cawdor (Cawdor Castle is Nairn seat of Campbell Thanes of Cawdor since 1320), but King of Scots—whose royal court in MacBeth’s time was the Palace of Scone, Perthshire.

Dupplin 6thC Pictish Cross Forteviot before removal to museum names Constantin son of Fergus King of Picts

Syne neyst he thowcht to be king,
Fra Dunkanyis dayis had tane endying.
The fantasy thus of his dreme
Movyd hym mast to sla his eme;
As he dyd all furth in-dede,
As before yhe herd one rede,
And Dame Growky, his emys wyf,
Tuk, and lef wyth hyr hys ly,
And held hyr bathe hys wyf and queyne,
As befor than scho had beyne
Till hys eme qwene, lyvand
Quhen he was kyng with crone rygnend
For lytil in honowre than had he
The greys of affynyte.

*Wyntoun’s Cronykil refers to Cawdor in Morayshire, as Moravia, but the closest the first witch comes to Glamis? is the Thanage of Glenbuchat? in nearby Donside as his Crumbuchaty. The second sees him as Thane of Moray, leading to the third witch’s prediction: ‘I see the King’.

Wyntoun clarifies: “Soon after that, still in his youth,
“Of those thanedoms he Thane was made.”

All this when his Lord was dead
He succeeded in his stead;
And seventeen full years he reigned
As King, as he was then, of Scotland.
During his reign were times of plenty
Abounding both on land and sea.
He was in justice right lawful
His laws fair to all.
When Leo X was Pope of Rome
As pilgrim to his court he came
And in his alms he gave silver
To all poor folk who had none
And always tried he to work
Profitably for Holy Kirk

Illuminated apostles: 10thC Iona Book of Kells, now in Trinity College, Dublin show Matthew as Man, Mark winged Lion, Luke surgeon winged Bull, John as Eagle

All thus quhen his eme was dede,
He succeedyt in his stede;
And sevyntene syntyr full rygnand
As kyng-he wes than in-til Scotland.

Corgarff Castle on the Lecht pass military route between Braemar Castle, Ft.George and Cawdor

All hys tyme wes gret plente
Abowndand, bath on land and se.
He was in justice rycht lawchful,
And till hys legis all awful.
Quhen Leo the tend was Pape of Rome,
As pylgryne to the court he come;
And in his almus he sew sylver
Till all pure folk that had myster;
And all tyme oysyd he to wyrk
Profitably for haly kyrke.

Wyntoun extols the virtues of his hero, Macbeth, who claimed the throne of Scotland through his mother’s kinship with Duncan—whom he killed in Elgin (Moravia, Moray). Rival Malcolm also claimed the throne through the female line. In Lumphanan, he succeeded in killing the wounded Macbeth and, (after stepson Lulach’s pitiful six months as king), took the crown to become Malcolm III (Canmore) of Scots in 1058. He married Saint Margaret of Scotland (1070-1093), bringing peace and prosperity to northern lands during his (long) reign of 35 years.

He and Margaret are credited with pulling Scotland out of the Dark Ages and into Medieval Europe.
©2018 Siderealview

Kundalini, Crop Circles and Creation Experiment

June 20, 2010

Ouroboros eternal returning serpent of life swallowing its own tail: crop circle Walbury Hill, Berkshire June 12, 2010

Crop circles this season have not been bountiful. More designs have appeared so far in Italy than in Wiltshire and southern England. But the messages transmitted by the few have been powerful indeed: archetypal images, ancient knowledge refashioned, the human race is being encouraged to take note, achieve self-mastery, to grab hold of the solar wind and fly.

My last blog went online overnight June 12/13th, just as the Berkshire crop circle was being discovered at Walbury Hill – an ancient site, but not a common place for crop circles. I had been gearing myself up to write for a couple of days beforehand, but there were a number of incidents in my life which made it impossible – I had guests from Tuesday of that week until they departed on the morning of the New Moon, June 12th. The night before they left, they asked me to do an I Ching reading for them: something I haven’t done in thirty years. Composing oneself for psychic interpretation of the age-old wisdom of the Orient, the symbolism of the Yin-Yang, was a new feeling for us both. Their combined chosen hexagram turned out to be Hexagram 20: Contemplation.

…the kings of old visited the regions of the world, contemplated the people, and gave them instruction…

Apart from that extremely apt symbolism as it relates to crop circles visiting Earth, a secondary meaning is:

‘You will gain understanding of what the future holds for you by contemplating the effect of your life on others. If your influence and example are good, you are without blame. This is its own reward.’

When my friends were safely on their flight the next morning, I lost no time in putting my blog-thoughts on computer, working right through until midnight. Then I tweaked and uploaded at 2a.m. the following morning.

Supreme Lord Siva, gold-adorned sculpture on Delhi's Gurgaon Highway

As fate would have it, my American guest blogger, Mehal Darji-Rockefeller, who is steeped in Vedic astrology, religious symbolism, kundalini, working with chakras and eastern consciousness-raising techniques, was online and responded immediately from the heart. He didn’t have time to ‘think’. His response (below) was beautifully right-hemisphere. Seen in retrospect he was voicing the spirit of the crop circle which had materialized during the night at Walbury Hill. His reference to Vedic symbolism, kundalini power, ancient archetypes and our human shift in consciousness is of great significance. He wrote:

‘Tonight, the 13th moon phase or new moon, is a hallmark event. In the Vedic tradition it is known as Pradosham and means “removal of stains from the law of cause and effect.” Archetypal Being Siva designated a few different Pradosham windows (times when it is easier to dissolve old patterns).

‘The 13th Moon Phase (in both the waning and waxing cycle of the Moon) is one of the Pradosham windows chosen by Siva for removing karma. This is a very ancient concept – not that of all this new age business. The body turning into light is a reality for the earth plane. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom.

‘As William Blake said in Auguries of Innocence,

“We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.”

‘Comets and their symbol of death, evil destruction are a primordial message that I welcome. For that is how Rome was born, right? With that in mind, humanity is in a key transcendence of consciousness. This was brought about via a synergistic effect of Uranus in powerful Aries and when Saturn went direct in Virgo last week.

‘Saturn is the task master. Virgo gives us the ability to pay attention to detail. This transit is time for humanity to stop procrastinating! The time for action is NOW.

Saturn also receives the aspect of Jupiter at this time which has the scope to accelerate new opportunities on a global scale. This comes with a word of caution, however, to financial and banking employees regarding stability. With the fluctuations in the global market, expansion in any industry is not guaranteed.

‘There is also the spice of Muruga that adds divine energy and power to the mixture. This year Muruga‘s birthday coincided with the strong, astrologically-significant transit of the planet Mars into Leo – May 27th.’ [My note: this was also full moon and beginning of the 29-day moon cycle which will end with full moon/partial lunar eclipse on June 26th; more below]. ‘This opens the gates for the energy of the Regal Warrior to enter. Gone is the time of hold-ups and frustrations. Lord Muruga‘s birth is celebrated in the Vedic month of Vaikasi (May-June) when the Full Moon coincides with the Vishakha star.

‘The day celebrates the incarnation of Muruga who assumed the form of a Regal Warrior to triumph over the evil forces of the Demon King Surapadman. It is symbolic of the conquest of the refined intellect over the egoistic mind.

Muruga‘s energy is the culmination of wisdom, desire, and action. He is the archetype or deity in charge of Knowledge, Youthfulness, and Valor. This is the day on which Mars, the planet ruled by Muruga, enters into Leo, its friendly sign. As Mars moves from Cancer to Leo, it sheds eight months of passive behavior and dons its usual fiery garb. This is the ideal time for go-getters to unleash the full potential of Mars. The energies are especially supportive for dynamic action to achieve lofty goals.

‘Mars’s big march into Leo lasts up to July 20.

Muruga was the Supreme Commander of the forces of Devas (gods), and led them to victory over the demons. He fought his enemies using his weapon – the Vel or Lance. In esoteric tradition, the Vel represents the rising Kundalini fire which consumes karmic impurities. Muruga is considered Lord of Kundalini who enables the ascent of one’s sexual energy from the base of the spine (center of gross qualities) to the pituitary gland (center of divine wisdom).

‘This now activates the collective consciousness of humanity’s kundalini energy.

‘The heart and throat chakra are activated — which were under-active. Now, with the power of forgiveness, humanity can break the bondage of karma and the cycle of duality. This correlates with the Uranus-into-Aries shift.

‘We must all put our attention on our intention of ascending the soul of Mother Earth. Forgiveness offers that. Otherwise we will stagnate in the realm of darkness.’

His words were transmitted as first footage was being filmed at Walbury Hill.

John Scott's interpretations of the Walbury formation in Berkshire

Over the following few days there came a rash of commentary on the Walbury crop formation, much of which is logged on the ‘Forum’ of the excellent CropCircleConnector site run by Mark Fussell and Stuart Dike. It ranged from simple snake-like graphics of the Lower Mississippi basin encompassing the oil fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico to extra-planetary channelings from starbeings. Two important interpretations, however, came from John Scott and Luke Peacock, both of whom focus on astronomical cycles (Scott lunar, Peacock solar) and both see the symbolic ‘broken lines’ in the formation as evidence for reading an I Ching interpretation, specifically Hexagram 20! Luke says:

Overall Hexagram 20 refers to having the perspective of a tall tower or a high mountain that sees all below, and has a better vantage point of above also. It serves as direction for people to aspire to, where the view is wide and expansive.

Within the centremost circle of the design the barley crop has been laid in folds, one curving clockwise, the other counterclockwise: the resulting pattern is the eternal Yin-Yang symbol. A little déjà vu for me, considering my guests’ chosen hexagram last weekend. The serpent, coincidentally, embodies the above concept of Muruga activating the collective consciousness of human kundalini.

Walbury Hill serpent's head faces midsummer sunrise precisely

Luke Peacock is fascinated by the position of Walbury Hill, with its Walbury Camp Iron Age hillfort enclosure 947 feet above sea level, the highest point in SE England. It was chosen in prehistoric times to view sacred sunrise and sunset with ritual held at annual equinoxes and both solstices. The crop circle reflects this precision, aligning the serpent head directly to view the point on the horizon where the sun will rise tomorrow morning, June 21st.

John Scott is a little more direct. He is sure this year’s crop designs speak directly to the human psyche: like Mehal, he believes that after ‘death’ of worldly trappings and ego, a ‘vast sociological shift in consciousness is about to take place.’ He sees the Ouroboros, Great World Serpent circling the Earth, as one of the most powerful archetypal and alchemical symbols which could have been chosen to touch and purify the human soul on its path to enlightenment: ‘. . .possibly the most powerful symbols known in occult literature. It seems the CC-makers have shifted to another level of content. Anyone who has had a personal enlightening experience knows this can often mean not just death on the emotional or mental plane, but complete annihilation of ego; a complete 180º turnaround in thinking and living.’ He is not optimistic for huge numbers of those not ‘getting the message’:

‘I feel with crop circles this year that the important nature of archetypal symbolism may not be fully understood by a wide swathe of the community. The (death and the Ouroboros) symbols are immense in terms of a global, sociological (change). People’s personal problems will be swept aside. These two symbols are completely unforgiving in energetic content; it would be akin to a paper aeroplane in a tornado; the tornado dictates the journey.’

He is convinced the overlighting intelligence creating the crop designs has a ‘deep metaphysical knowledge of our collective energetic bodies which in itself is the real mystery.’ He feels a sense of honesty and openness in their communication as an ‘urgent message to humanity.’ And no amount of reading spiritual literature or self-improvement manuals will prepare us for the actual leap we are about to take.

Chirton Bottom, Devizes, Wiltshire 'analemma' appeared June 16th

As if that weren’t powerful enough, another crop formation appeared on June 16th at Chirton Bottom, near Devizes, Wiltshire. It has been interpreted by Red Collie, an American DNA specialist with a PhD from CalTech currently living in Australia. He sees the linked figure-of-eight as an ‘analemma‘, or the apparent elliptical motion of a heavenly body in the sky as seen from the earth. An analemma of the sun is caused because
1.The Earth is tilted on its axis 23.5° in relation to the plane of its orbit around the sun.
2. The Earth does not orbit the sun in a circle, but in an ellipse. Analemma is ancient Greek for the pedestal of a sundial.

Dr Red’s conclusion about Chirton is that it is an analemma of the 29-day lunar cycle.

He explains:

Analemma explained


Analemma, elliptical apparent motion of a heavenly body

‘Its major shape is a figure-eight or lunar analemma that proceeds for 29 days or one complete lunar phase cycle as “Sun (big) – Moon (small) – Sun (big) – Moon (small) – Sun (big) – Moon (small)”, going day or night for 29 days. It shows dates of May 27, 2010 to June 26, 2010 (both full Moons). 
There will be a 50% partial lunar eclipse on June 26, 2010, so that is why its “small Moon” symbol for “day 29” or June 26, 2010 has been drawn at half the size expected.’

Neither of these latest crop circles looks ahead beyond June. The total solar eclipse of July 11th will no doubt come up again as a reminder later this season.

EXPERIMENT IN CROP CIRCLE-CREATION
In the meantime a group of crop circle enthusiasts who all share Facebook identities have decided to hold an experiment in consciousness (and crop circle creation) this solstice weekend. You can join in if you like.

The suggestion is made that at a precise predetermined time (tonight, Sunday June 20th at 22:30 BST/21:30 UTC – that’s 5:30pm Eastern Daylight Time, 2:30pm Pacific Daylight Time) a specific design drawn by Andreas Müller in Germany will be released on the Facebook page of ‘Report a Crop Circle Formation’ and it is then up to each one of us to meditate, focus on, picture in our minds, whatever method comes most easily for the design to imprint on our consciousness and for – hopefully – this specific design to appear within the following four+plus hours in the fields of Wiltshire. A group meditation has also been suggested starting 22:30 UTC (one hour later than photo release). A specific location will also be released, so that those who are familiar with the environs may visualize that, too, but for those meditating in distant locations worldwide who may not know the English countryside, this aspect of the experiment is secondary. The main focus is to discover whether our group consciousness can create overnight a design in the fields.

Result(s) (if any) will be released on the same ‘Report a Crop Circle Formation’ page on Facebook the next day or as soon as discovered. There will be trusted followers in the chosen location ready to witness any appearance through the solstitial night of June 20-June 21. If you want to participate and the link provided doesn’t work (Facebook requires one to log in first), please enter Facebook and then ‘search’ the ‘Report A Crop Circle Formation’ page.

The design is until this moment only known to one person in the world – Andreas – so that no ‘leaks’ will jeopardize the experiment.

Think of it this way: if John Scott is pessimistic about human beings’ ability to raise consciousness as a group mind, we might prove that we are indeed capable of more than we know. Our Supermind may indeed succeed in tapping into the Universal Overmind as we return to Source and simultaneously project our intentions as Kornkreise pixels.

Until tomorrow morning, then. Let’s see if we can do this together.

Volcanic Surprise: Take your Toys and Go Home

April 18, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull erupts during the strongest geomagnetic storm to hit Earth in 3 years; photo Albert Jakobsson

Tomorrow morning, April 19th, 2010, at around 5a.m. PST the Space Shuttle Discovery is due to reenter Earth’s atmosphere on a trajectory that takes her over the Pacific Northwest, and then on a southeasterly heading towards Cape Canaveral, Florida. She undocked from the International Space Station at the weekend in preparation for reentry.

Early birds in the states of Montana, South Dakota, Missouri and Mississippi and those driving to work in the cities of St. Louis, MO, Memphis, TN and Columbus, GA may catch a glimpse of the descending craft as it prepares for landing at the Kennedy Space Center, ETA 8:48a.m.

Trajectory of space shuttle Discovery on her way home tomorrow

Viewers in continental U.S. will be able to see Discovery as a blazing fireball in the dawn sky on first reentry over Northern California, Oregon, Washington and BC, and then, when daylight progresses, as a bright high-altitude object, as the craft heads east. Those who may not be sure of what they are seeing will hear a double sonic boom about a minute after the shuttle passes overhead.

Discovery’s appearance in the skies over continental USA is unusual, to say the least.

NASA is normally super-cautious, not only to schedule reentry on a trajectory over ocean (south Pacific or Atlantic) – to avoid potential conflict with commercial air traffic or the complication of an accident over such an important landmass – but also does not issue a specific schedule beforehand – for ‘security reasons’.

In the case of tomorrow’s landing, another issue has complicated NASA’s plans: the volcanic cloud emanating from Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Because the eastern hemisphere is affected by dust and volcanic ash in the atmosphere resulting in the grounding of all European airlines, the shuttle’s choices were drastically reduced.

It is perhaps our present crazy world’s greatest irony that tomorrow, when the whole continent of Europe has not a single aircraft in the skies, except for patrolling military Tornadoes or light prop craft which can fly below radar, United States air traffic controllers will be overworked as they reroute planes so as not to provoke a chance encounter with the spacegoing shuttle on her way home.

Air travel all over northern Europe has been disrupted, with flights grounded or diverted due to the risk of engine damage from sucking in particles of ash from the volcanic cloud.  Even the usually noisy skies of helicopter traffic to and from North Sea Oil fields are silent.

Eyjafjallajökull sub-glacial eruption

And what of Eyjafjallajökull?

What series of convoluted circumstances caused her to erupt just when airlines the world over were pulling in their horns in response to global recession, cutting frills and flying fripperies to an absolute minimum?

Eyjafjallajökull is merely responding to a ripple in the mid-Atlantic ridge.

Iceland can’t help it: her island kingdom sits astride a large tectonic anomaly, where two plates meet, and – rather like Hawaii – has confounded scientists for centuries in their ability to ride the volcanic storms and still maintain buoyancy as islands. Icelanders have benefited in cleverly channeling underground heat from natural hot springs to provide comfort – even luxury – to every home, but, like Hawaiians, their tiny population (300,000, about the same as a medium-size British city) is not unaware of the fragility of their situation.

Eyjafjallajökull has erupted five times since human settlement in the ninth century and its most recent eruption has been going since March 20th this year, but it is only in the last week that ash from this eruption has reached the stratosphere of its continental neighbour.

And Europe is freaking out.

In terms of aviation, when almost all transport is presently airborne – people, freight, goods and services – it is understandable that Eyjafjallajökull’s blasting through its surface glacier and spewing dust and ash into the airlanes should cause concern. Health and safety have become buzzwords in industry: the natural reaction for air traffic regulators was to close everything down. So soon after Easter, when many were starting to enjoy the prospect of spring following a very hard winter, holiday travel numbers were high and planes fully booked.

Those airplanes are now dead in the water.

And, with no change in the foreseeable future, Europeans are stranded in remote locations worldwide, unable to get back home; British-based airlines may not take off and US-based airline traffic may not land in Europe.

Europe – the northern portion of it, certainly – is like a plague zone.

They’ve always said character comes to the rescue when crisis descends or hard times rule. And the other thing they say: Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

During the hard snows and frosts of winter – that in northern Scotland and pockets of Europe lasted until spring equinox – Britain went through a series of threats from companies in conflict with employment unions – with aviation and transportation strikes imminent – until intervention by a well-meaning Icelandic volcano moved the goalposts.

Suddenly, within the last week, other means of transportation – bus, taxi, train, ferry, tube, metro, hot air balloon, microlite, bicycle – have reared their heads again and a dumbed-down population re-creates, starts to think outside the box, begins to invent.

In early ‘seventies ‘3-day-week’ Great Britain, share-a-ride became an everyday occurrence, nobody drove a car without at least two other passengers, public transport was in full use and the struggling population again became aware of their parents’ post-war attitude of ‘conserving’ energy. It is possible that the present crisis may bring about a similar respect for alternative means to get from A to B, and consequently even more respect for the entity which caused the hiccup in the first place: Mother Earth.

Many of us have blogged over last winter about impending changes the Earth may put us through: for most of us those earth-changes were remote: reports from Haiti, Chile, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey. But changes are starting to happen closer to home (Home being the First World).

large swathes of Amazon rainforest under threat

The First World has not traditionally reacted well to being threatened by Nature. It has acted (particularly over the last two generations – fifty years) as if nature were subservient to Man. It has turned a blind eye to decimated rain forests, depleted habitat for endangered species, global poverty, substandard housing and polluted drinking water in those ‘other’ worlds. It’s not accustomed to having its toys taken away and told to go home.

With the grounding of aircraft run by some of the world’s most elite flying operations, those ‘toys’ are getting a shakedown. And Big Business doesn’t like it.

Already on shaky ground over fears of recession, many airlines are already in debt or about to seek bail from world governments. Now governments themselves are questioning whether there are funds in the coffers to cover planetary transportation meldown. Big Business has traditionally used London, Paris, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Amsterdam as staging posts in its hops between hemispheres. Suddenly their wind-up toys aren’t working. No immediate replacement in sight, they’re having to think of ways around the situation.

Pressure/precipitation 4-day forecast, courtesy Unisys

Fortunately, continental Europe has remarkably efficient waterways, rail links, passenger liners, trains and autobahns. Every one of them has suddenly become remarkably important as an artery of communication in an atmospherically-deprived world. But if Icelandic ash continues to spew forth it will take some really revolutionary thinking for Big Business to survive. Seven million passenger-journeys have been cancelled in a few days. There’s talk right now of losses in the millions – Emirates Airlines calculating 25 million dollars per day in lost revenue, British Airways losing one million pounds every hour. Pretty soon those losses will be billions and thereafter . . . if Eyjafjallajökull doesn’t let up – or worse, if her neighboring volcanoes on the Ridge join in – figures will be incalculable. ‘Business’ as a concept will have no meaning.

None of us wants the approach to ‘End Times‘ to come suddenly. But there have been warnings; we have had clues; our history is littered with references to ‘preparing’ for when those ‘decline and fall’ times will come. So should we be surprised when the Earth herself is the instigator?


It is a well-known phenomenon that spacecraft engineers, pilots and scientists, on their return to Earth after a space mission, express feeling ‘transformed, changed, uplifted’ and ‘born-again’ by their experience outside Earth’s atmosphere. From liftoff as hardened scientists, electrical engineers, they return as philosophers, enlightened spirits.

It might be seen by some that Discovery’s reentry to Earth coinciding with the Earth’s growling northern latitudes indicate a sign of impending doom; for others it may signal the onset of liberation from earthly institutions which were beginning to cripple creativity; a top-heavy bureaucratic mechanism that smothers the budding creative spark.

Heaven knows, now is the time for creativity to surface and be recognized: time for the toys to come alive and play for real: our future and our future home – the planet Earth – depend on it.

©2010 Marian Youngblood
Marian Youngblood is the author of a prescient novel (in the light of this week’s events) ‘SHASTA: Critical Mass‘ which relates volcanic earth changes to Man’s ability to rise above his own beginnings and become superconscious human. Her book is entered in James Twyman’s contest to find the ‘next spiritual author’. Press this LINK if you would like to read an excerpt and vote for her entry. Round One (voting round) of the competition ends on May 3rd.

Lobo and the Future of Mankind

August 31, 2009

SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS
The following is an excerpt from the new back-to-the-Earth spiritual novel by MARIAN YOUNGBLOOD

A video presentation of the novel’s story and setting can be seen on YouTube here.

… or a shadow over my grave…

The wolf pack had been gathering all day under the watchful eye of Tawnia, the mother, and were about ready to head out. Her mate Lobo, the tribe’s great white alpha male, experienced in the ways of Men and the natural world, would lead them. If they walked all evening and most of the night, they would travel beyond the perimeter and out of danger. In the Park they were protected; out there their lives were not safe because Man and they didn’t always get along, It was a risk they had to take. Staying behind was for the aged or sick. The young were hitching rides with cousins, allowing aunts to carry them in their mouths. Never in Tawnia’s time had she seen such cohesion and trust within the pack: young warriors were cowtowing, behaving like wise old beasts, just this once. They knew something big was afoot.

Lobo’s instinct was pure; his decision contained wisdom beyond their own limited view. They trusted him to lead them to safety. He called the Elders together and they agreed.

They had to leave the camouflage and protection of their Yellowstone home and take their chances in desert night temperatures because Lobo had read the signs and Yellowstone was telling them to leave: west across the desert, through the badlands lay sanctuary. There a new home beckoned. Lobo knew. Now the young had practiced and could imitate and howl the name of their destination.

Three Sisters.

Back at daybreak, Lobo called together and addressed a conclave of Elder wolves, experienced in the ways of canis lupus. They all agreed. Craters of the Moon was close, but barren; lava beds had a familiar smell but supported little wildlife. They would have to go farther to find the perfect place.

 

Lobo's wisdom would guide them

Lobo's wisdom would guide them

They may be of Wyoming stock, their strength in their connection to volcanic timber slopes and grassland, but their experience was gained in richer territory. Expert and lethal at trapping niche animals in a familiar shared habitat. Specialists in foraging as a posse. Community skills handed down, kept their tribe alive and strong for ten generations. Lobo’s direct ancestor founded the dynasty. Nine-times-great grandfather had been a traveler, himself: descended from New Mexico’s original and celebrated Lobo, the great wolf emulated by teenagers; one of whom even human beings had heard. He, a son of the Great Wolf Spirit, inspired respect.

 

Much had changed since Man created the first National Park in their hunting grounds; some Elders believed and hoped that ethos of the original parks was alive and active in the human young.

More senior Elders felt Man had not yet learned to put aside his ancient fear of Wolf. It was even said their Ranger friends in the old homeland were persecuted in their stead for allowing Wolf to return.

Elsewhere in this great country, canis lupus was, if not extinct, definitely rare and there were few areas where they and domestic animals shared territory. But Yellowstone was a milestone park, even if it was about to die, and there was talk among humans of giving wildlife a fairer portion, a more sensitive sharing of habitat, of a new kind of park where the lion might lie down with the lamb.

Even Abuela had heard such talk and encouraged Lobo before departure to head for the most dreamed-of location because dreams come true. Oregon had volcanoes, people there were also descended from original pioneer stock and a place would be found.

After Lobo patiently explained her words, they listened thoughtfully to her opinion and came to a consensus. There was no doubt about the Elders’ decision. They were agreed their aim was for Three Sisters. There the Great Wolf Spirit would provide a place for them.

A couple of hours later, the pack was on the move.

Only Abuela, the old grandmother, stayed in her den. If Lobo’s guidance proved less than accurate or the crisis was somehow averted, they would return to her. Age gave her resignation. She watched without blinking from her rock ledge, head between outstretched paws. As she saw the last straggler leave, her eyes closed.

LOBO is an excerpt from my forthcoming spiritual novel:
SHASTA: Critical Mass by Marian Youngblood

 

Book cover by Joris Amerlaan for SHASTA: Critical Mass by Marian Youngblood

Update:April 2010
When I wrote this, who would have known that the Bush administration would cancel the US Endangered Species Act and allow wholesale murder of Wyoming and Yellowstone wolves. Wolf killing continues as a ‘sport’ in March and April 2010-2012 in Wyoming and Idaho.

I entered SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS in James Twyman and Robert Evans’ 2010 spiritual author competition, Nexttopauthor.com. The video presentation was created at that time. Another excerpt –which gives more of the novel’s volcanic flavor– can be accessed here.

‘SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS’ has been picked up by AllThingsThatMatterPress for publication during 2012. I continue to encourage all genuine interest from agents who may wish to represent the novel with its déjà vu scenario and may feel its publication is prescient. I may be contacted via this page. Thank you.

Dabbling in the Quantum Field

July 10, 2009

Spiritual novel 'SHASTA: Critical Mass'

 

In quantum physics, the act of Observation changes the object observed.  

 

Writers, especially novelists, beware. 

 

It is a truth worth remembering when knuckling down to the synopsis.  A necessary evil, some say;  but it is really important to remind yourself, when you lift your head up again after you’ve sent the ‘hook’ off to your editor/publisher/reading group that it was an exercise in stepping into the quantum field.  That’s all.  It isn’t really you.  You were acting as a mere observer presenting an object as you saw it to an outside agency.  The real you in still in there, champing at the bit, ready and waiting to get back to REAL writing.

 

I’ve been asked a few times: ‘So, what is your novel about?’  an open-ended – but natural – question from a reader.  The answer varies with the mood of the request.  Which got me thinking about queries in general and query letters in particular: oh, no, not again, sounds the imaginary chorus of rejected authors in the agent/publisher debate.

 

Any excuse will do.

 

There IS a case to be made for the poor, maligned, ever-hopeful, endless optimist writer; she does have to lay down all tools of the scribe and pick up tools of the adman to get her subject noticed.  Her query letter, synopsis and an impeccable first chapter are all she’s got.

 

But not today.   If she’s a trooper, then her Muse will return, the pen or keyboard will beckon and the wild ride will begin once more.

 

So what is my novel about?  The thing is: I didn’t think I was writing a fantasy adventure; I thought it would turn out to be an historical romance with some realtime spiritual insights; a kind of James Redfield-style handbook set in both past and present Scotland with a respectful nod to the New Age, California style.  I spent my childhood in Scotland, some early adult years in California and now swing between the two.  It made sense that I should draw on my own history to create an authentic atmosphere; I spent 20 years writing and giving lectures on the suppressed, unwritten history of my country. It wants to be told.

 

But my spirit soars when I step into the wild country of the Pacific Northwest and I guess my Muse knows that at her core.  So, let’s face it, after setting the romantic framework of ancient Scotland, my Muse was itching to get in there and change it all around.

 

As I began to relax and allow my characters to speak, Muse Girl (MG for short, thanks to S.King for his male version) wasn’t standing for any nonsense.  If it was authenticity I wanted, she would show me what the real message was in the book:  I am the instrument and she directs as the movie unfolds.  Drop the dry historical facts, castle interiors, ancient hunting forests, family lineages;  enter a succession of vivid past lives intermingled with a present day drama of a family caught up in cataclysmic events precipitated by a planet in environmental crisis.   

 

Even my title got changed:  it became SHASTA. You don’t want to know what it was before.  That got relegated to short-story-dom.

 

In some awesome way I could not (didn’t want to) control,  the 14,000-ft mountain colluded with MG to become the dominant presence.   And, gradually the historical corridor of my original vision morphed into a capsule which faded in and out, while a dormant volcano in the present-day Cascades proceeded to take over; create a tectonic miracle, and develop a scenario with potential to disrupt national and international communications. 

 

All right.  It’s true: a lot of writers see their novels as movies in their heads: it’s the way the right hemisphere transmits information.  Yet I was carried along on this visual current like a swollen river of ash and mud within a backdrop that was more than real. Daily reports issued by NOAA and the Global Volcanism Program were mirroring my scenes: Yellowstone, Mauna Loa, Kamchatka, Vesuvius.  There was no way I could put this down.

 

When each morning I went back to edit what I’d written the day before, the left hemisphere often had punctuation and grammar to correct, but the right hemisphere was right there (along with MG), ready to pick up where we left off.

 

Naturally Shasta saw to it that I learned Native American respect for her, researched her early history, became immersed in her volcanic past.  In process I discovered the difficulty humans faced constructing highways and railroads  in trying to tame her; her influence on local tradition, myths and legends surrounding her, filtered through New Age groups and sects that inhabit the valley at her feet. 

 

She is a rumbling giant; she never sleeps.   With or without a volcanic murmur, northern California suffers annual forest fires and spring deluge.   It’s what people live with all the time.  What I was being asked to do was to give it a little tweak to up the ante.  It all fit.  I had to move with the story.  It was telling itself.  And by setting the scene over one long weekend I simply brought the elements together to make it believable – in a fantastic sort of way. 

 

Ancient Scotland plays a part.  It has to.  In a quasi-science fiction way it becomes a timeline thread, interjected into the future-present narrative, meshing the background of the principal characters with a deeper element – I like to think.  Past meets present creates future earth where all is possible… of course I’m an idealist.   

 

So what is it about?  We should be grateful for the gentle reader, the well-meaning questioner.  It makes us look at genre (the agent/publisher’s tool) and in observing, perhaps changes us the writer from quantum instrument to quantum fly on the wall.

 

SHASTA made the decision for me: molded my characters, attached me to the project, wouldn’t let me go.  My historical journeys became woven through and around her, creating more substance than I originally planned.  But what story is not improved by a mystery weaving a web to pull one in, to keep up the pace, to NOT give away the ending?   

 

Quantum field? Personal movies or Images of this scale are beyond quantum physics, in my humble opinion.  A project guided from beyond? A spiritual adventure? Particle or wave, it chose me to put it into print, and I am the first to say that I, the observer, was changed by it. Not the other way around.  


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