Posts Tagged ‘ramblings’


The time of dandelions is early afternoon
when half the world thinks of siesta,
and half pauses to take breath

and the nettles rest on their push through tarmac
and working fingers into hairline cracks
of concrete: when half the world
thinks How untidy these weeds,
and the other half
A mouthful of food

is the time of dandelions.
Their square-cut, overlapping petals
spreading from a centre
with a splayed-hands gesture,
become sun-bright,
a light amongst lights, that underlying leaves
brighten to yellow.

Early afternoon, and the dust a little restless
emphasising how still it is;
the vibrating of light’s wavelengths,
the faint tingling of nerves, raises them
to a gold colour –
when half the world
turns over to begin a new dream, and half
unwraps its gift, the night’s work,
exploring the finer points
of the underlying argument:

the greenery
that makes the gold glow.








I’ve always liked putting different things together, and seeing what happens.
Years and years ago when I had a passing interest in such things I had a wondering-moment about the Tree Alphabet.
This alphabet was proposed by Robert Graves in his White Goddess book; it is constructed from ogham practice and text references in Irish.
It is an alphabet that uses tree names as the letter names. I never could work out why which tree was used where, their leafing, flowering, growth do not seem to coincide with the specific months Graves gives.

There are 13 lunar months; each is a letter of the alphabet, and a sequence in the tale of the growth to maturity of the year, represented as a god. He is then supplanted at midsummer by the god of the waning year. Until New Year when it starts again..
It goes like this, from late December on through the year:

Beth -birch
Fearn – rowan
Luis – alder
Nion – ash
Saille – willow
Uath- hawthorn
Duir- oak
Tinne- holly

Of course, he then arranged this sequence into what he called a Dolmen Arch:


Saille Uath Duir Tinne Coll
Nion                               Muin
Luis                                 Gort
Fearn                              Ngetal
Beth                               Ruis

So, this arrangement puts Duir, the oak tree as the all-important capstone of the (square) arch. This accords with his midsummer fight between waxing and waning year gods. Ok.

So, I thought, how does the tarot’s major arcana fit in with this?
Let’s see:

Willow             Hawthorn                Oak                       Holly               Hazel
Emperor/Nion                                                                                      Temperence/Muin
Ash                                                                                                               Vine                                                   Hierophant/Fearn                                                                                Hanged Man/Gort
Alder                                                                                                               Ivy
Magician/Luis                                                                                        Death/Ngeta
Rowan                                                                                                          Reed
Fool/Beth                                                                                                  The Tower/Ruis
Birch                                                                                                            Elder


A few are missing, you say.
Graves has what he called Cross-Quarter Days, special days in each sector. They rule the following months, until the next cross-quarter day, and so on.
From the Fool’s late Dec/early January Birch month, we have The High Priestess: the young year.
The Lover’s March-April Willow tree month has The Empress: the mature year.
The Hermit’s August Hazel month has Wheel of Fortune: the fall from greatness.
The Tower’s November/Dec Elder tree month, has The Devil, as god of the fallen year, darkness, death. Think of him as a god of the underworld: Pluto, Hades, rather than of all things bad.

With this being an alphabet of consonants, we also have the five vowels These make the lintel, or door step:
The World-The Moon-The Sun-The Star-Judgement.
These, like the extra days, do not have tree names. But with this arrangement the Sun vowel is opposite the Strength/Oak consonant; The Moon is opposite The Lovers/Willow and Chariot/Hawthorn; The Star is opposite Justice/Holly and Hermit/Hazel.
The World covers with the gaining year’s upright, and Judgement the falling year upright.
The vowels cannot have to one-to-one matches, because they breathe life into all the consonontal word-clusters.

This all made a kind of sense to me. Most appropriate seemed to be The Emperor with the old Ash god, and most of all Strength with the Oak and Sun connections.
The Rowan tree with the Magician also had a resonance.
On the other side The Hermit with Hazel seemed to fit. Not sure about Death, then The Tower, though. What do you think?
You have to know Graves’ construction of the story to fit it in. And there you have it: can you believe the man? Was he back-arguing ie fitting things in afterwards?
I have caught him out on a few things over the years. Enough, anyhow, to make me back off.
You can tinker with things forever, seemingly, and it’ll still get you nowhere.



Are my chickens

Posted: December 11, 2015 in Chat
Tags: ,

… coming home to roost?


For years I have been boring people, myself included, with how all knowledge needs re-examining to take in current and contemporary thought and insights. This is nothing new of course. R G  Collingwood put forward the idea that history needs to be re-written every generation to take in new and recent discovers and knowledge. That was way back in the 1940s.

th (2)

So, when I was working on my new book, GIFTS OF RINGS AND GOLD, I used whatever resources were immediately to hand, restricted to energy and expense. I had trained as an historian; my course was more analytical than straight arts based. I had tried constantly to keep up to date.
But I worked on my own, with no faculty behind me, and very little access to academic material.

What I found was that by using older methods of analysing texts the results and conclusions were not much different from the new writing. The new writing methods were obviously fuller, broader, deeper because they had the resources that I did not have. Yet within all this and their wrangling with equalities and perspectives the conclusions were similar.

My conclusions from this?
In these instances my trumpeted demands for new evaluations have maybe not produced much that is new. Have the energy demands for the new aesthetics overtaken what is then  left available for further insights?


Another item in my rant-repository was how argument, discussion, if it was to be relevant, or more relevant, to our needs, must have a multiple base.

That is, no more yes, no; no more subject-predicate-conclusion…. One way to help towards greater incorporation I thought may be  symbolic logic’s use of formulations to work with larger bases of argument.

th (1)
Was all this another effect from having immersed myself in chiasmi, and dual/binary-based structures?
I did not know what was beyond yes and no (remember ‘Po, Beyond Yes and No’ by Edward de Bono, 1990? ), but felt that these dualities were unworkable. In fact that they had long been so, and only led to conflict, opposition and trouble.

The need was for everyone, by implication, to recognise we were all essential, and all part of the world. For genders not to be polarities, but points on the wavelength of being.

Funny how you get to thinking in universal terms. I’d been trying to banish the universal, and applaud our particulars.

So, was I damning myself to computer thought? As my friend Karen so rightly pointed out, no one could possibly think or reason to any effect by  using wider bases.


And I was thinking: If society is to be workable it has to have input from everybody.
And so we now now have crowd-sourcing. Online courses have discussion boards that are taken credibly by the tutors.

And yet, I have to admit, the results of these of these have not resulted in much of interest or innovation.
They read as though social media has reduced responses to dated and glib cliches.


How can the current aversion to religion have any meaning without its sibling, religion-as-rule?
Would an atheist world would be a featureless, medium-shallow terrain of uninteresting sludge?
How can the current body-centred reasoning have the reach and dynamic of more abstract multi-dimensional thought?

Am I getting bogged down in immediate matters, not the big picture: ‘the surface look that soil took, when the seeds of blooms were germinating…’ –  that is, new-world systems of knowledge and thought?
Those old binaries again:
Only allowed question –
Is it This?
Or This?

Disallowed answer –
Well, it has elements of both and yet many other unconsidered factors. The result is a web, a vast network, that we call here, now, us……

What’s in Santa’s sack? A new-world egg?