Friday, 20 December 2019
Thursday, 5 December 2019
Thursday, 31 October 2019
Thursday, 3 October 2019
My country wise friend has been saying since Lughnasadh that the plethora of Hawthorn berries presages a hard winter. Do the old ways and their lore work at a time of climate change?
We will have to wait until Beltaine to know. Although the photo is not clear even at the end of August the hedgerows are full of berries. The acorn crop is heavy too. I just need to find some Blackthorn now to make Sloe Vodka ready for Yule.
Wednesday, 2 October 2019
It is a little known fact that our modern digital world is massively indebted to a little known theoretical (physical) architect. My work is as an I.T. or Digital Architect.
This architect was Christopher Alexander https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/106728.The_Timeless_Way_of_Building who was in turn influenced by Taoist theory.
There are a few places where you can see his influence in the physical world – the Café at https://www.westdean.org.uk/ and Oregon University in addition to a few others.
Whenever you use or engage with the digital, world be it a website to fill out a form or complete a service like renewing your insurance, and at any time you use your smartphone. Then you use two things that Christopher Alexander articulated:
1. Design Patterns – taken from his book ‘A Pattern Language’. This applies not only to the user experience/interface (UX/UI) but also to the way that computer systems are developed
2. Object Orientation (OO) – which is based upon ‘A Pattern Language’ and ‘The Timeless Way of Building’. Most modern computer languages have some basis in OO.
Whilst the passage below is rooted in Taoist terminology this applies, as a universal wisdom, to Gewessi (Druidic Heathen) thought. It explains why it is hard to define what is wrong with a design – a missing ‘un-named quality’. I’ve taken a part of his seminal work and replaced the architectural language with the more abstract word design in the text below to clarify why it was used in Computer Programming…
What looks at first sight like an accidental quality which marks the designs (towns and villages) of the past, turns out to be the most fundamental physical property of the world we live in.
This is simply the character of design (buildings) which reflect the forces in them properly.
The prismatic design of our own time, the design built with the simple geometry of cubes, and circles, spheres, and spirals, and rectangles; this geometry is the naive order, created by the childish search for order. We happen to think of this order as the proper order for a design (building), because we have been taught to think so; but we are wrong.
The proper order for a design, which comes about when designs are correctly fitted to the forces in them, is a much richer order, with a far more complex geometry. But it is not merely rich and complex; it is also very specific.
And it will show itself, under any circumstances, where designs are actually correct.
Whenever anyone manages to make a design which is alive, it will have this specific character, because that is the only character which is compatible with life.
When I myself first started to make designs with this character 'the un-named quality', symbolised as }, the character amazed me.
At first, I was afraid that I must really be a conservative at heart and that I was unconsciously striving to re-make the past.
ITS AGELESS CHARACTER
But then I read a passage in an ancient Chinese painting manual — the Mustard Seed Garden manual of painting — which made the situation clear to me.
The writer of that manual describes how, in his search for a way of painting, he had discovered for himself the same central way that thousands of others like him had also discovered for themselves, throughout the course of history. He says that the more one understands of painting, the more one recognizes that the art of painting is essentially one way, which will always be discovered and rediscovered, over and over again, because it is connected with the very nature of painting, and must be discovered by anybody who takes painting seriously. The idea of style is meaningless: what we see as a style (of a person or of an age) is nothing but another individual effort to penetrate the central secret of painting, which is given by the Tao, but cannot itself be named."
Thursday, 22 August 2019
The Guldize, Goel Dheys or the Feast of (hay)Rick's is approaching. The rick being a type of haystack. The change in the season from Summer to Autumn is starting.
This pic reminds if the Long Man of Wilmington...if only I had 2 staffs.
Thursday, 1 August 2019
Going back to my post on Pagan Pilgrimage and it's reference to Druidcast's talky bit from the Pilgrimage Trust. Lughnasadh is a good time, in my experience for Pilgrimage. At the beginning of my Bardic journey, before I was married (and I don't think my wife would tolerate being my back-up driver after 15 years), I rode a Pilgrimage along the Ridgeway. You can only Mountain Bike the part, starting from Princes Risborough, the end is at Avebury. It was a 2 day journey starting with leaving early to drive upto Princes Risborough then riding to Streatley, the crossing of the River Thames where us young lovers spent the night in the back of the car. Romantically we watched the sunset backwards...rather than the sun setting we saw the creeping forward of Night drawing her blanket over the land.
My experience of Avebury was at the end of a long hot day in the saddle. I had an ear of corn that had somehow attached itself to my handlebars as my mascot. I felt comforted having John Barleycorn with me. My second day of cycling the Ridgeway had been hot and sticky. By the
time I'd got towards Avebury I'd miscalculated my water and salt requirements. This meant that I was completely exhausted, perhaps a little delirious, by the time I found the Bridleway turning off the Ridgeway that dropped into Avebury.
So I felt purely personal emotions arriving there to do with my pilgrimage along the Ridgeway and the places I had visited; Maiden Castle, Weylands Smithy, the White Horse and of course the magic of watching the sun set backwards. There was no special feeling, as I passed them, from the stones. Just an impression of a West Country tourist village - with bikers, hippies, wiccans and a motley crew that appear to have crept out of one of Ankh-Morporks wizard pubs all blinking in the sunlight. I immediately loved the Red Lion, only because my love was sat there waiting for me with a pint of cold beer!
Sipping beer wondering why Avebury left me cold, a flat feeling at the end of my pilgrimage. I laughed as I overheard my favourite quote (from an individual fully regaled in heavy velvet with a skulls head staff)
"Well I was talking to this Druid down the pub an 'e sez I must be a Druid too 'cos my spirit 'ad developed enough to be one. So instead of gettin' another Athame I think I'll have a Sickle instead."
I realised that timing is everything, I wouldn't mind going back and sitting with the stones when it was a bit quieter though.
I have vague plans of riding or walking the Wessex Ridgeway section from Avebury, or Marlborough, down to Lyme Regis. Lyme Regis is not far from my paternal ancestral lands. I have the route planned, although from an MTB perspective the off-road is very broken up with road sections. Now we have the dogs maybe it should be a walking route.
My poem on the death of Old Man Willow a couple of posts ago was my sadness at this old tree being ripped down. However, today I walked the field I regularly walk with the dogs and noticed (and why I'd not noticed last week or the week before I don't know) the swarthe of young willow plants
Pilgrimage can be a form of regeneration, it can heal and change your worldview by stepping outside the boundaries or ruts of your everyday life. When I get time I will mark up a map for a circular Sussex pilgrimage of mid-Sussex sacred places. Mid-Sussex, from the River Ouse to the River Arun, is a liminal place between East and West Sussex and because of that full of mystery, fairy tales and wonder.
I saw this on the path to Thundersbarrow, a bright little sunny dot of a plant I'd not noticed flowering before.White Poplar which, via the associated with Herakles, is also linked to Thunor.
Tuesday, 30 April 2019
I saw his trunk dismembered
Scattered pieces across the Water Meadow,
Chunks of trunk discarded.
Old man Willow is dead.
During the long Summer balms
I used to seek my children
To find them in his arms,
Singing un-remembered charms.
Striding across meadow deeps
Lines of destructive tracks
Signs of oil and chainsaw creeps
Across black pools as meadow weeps.
The dogs racing rabbits hunted
Weaving amongst his branches,
No more tails excited
Old Man Willow is dead.
To the men who did this
No doubt a job finish
No profit in his branches
No wealth within his trunk.
Old Man Willow is Dead.