Friday, 5 January 2007

The Immediate Moment and the Everlasting Flow.

I saw two things:

...They came to me not with printed propaganda, not with theoretical diatribes , but with clear eye and wholesome body. Therefore I knew they bore a message from That Which Is and because of this the Kindred has my service. By some clear indwelling illumination, kindled from the wordless world of sothfastness, the name by which they were made known gave sanctuary from the “isms” and the “osophies” of these latter days. It was not possible to speak of “Kibbo Kift-ism,” but only of Kinship, or of The Kin. Give thanks for this which is a bulwark against disembodied and wordy abstractions, plunging us back into the Great Stream of Life. These , then, are The Strangers come amongst us, for whom I sang a song of lamentation long ago.

Some ancient thing embedded in the heart trembled when I caught sight of them, as if unspoken root-words from a forgotten tongue quickened race-memory. I thought I saw grass freshen where they trod, flowers spring from earth’s rim and trees unfurl new foliage as the upper storeys of a town suddenly beflagged for a joyous welcome. In the wild places there was Something they did not wish to hear. What was It? I knew that the true thing was in the earth itself and was only to be found in response to the earth.

Place a slip of rowan-tree over the cowshed door, Mother – for the luck of The Kin. That has more help for us than listening to words at a meeting of the Rational Adult Education Association.

The sound of the names of places holds the spirit of the living and that which is to be lies hidden in the old words. I heard them again on the lips of The Kin: Hurst and holt; thorp and thwaite; weald and ford; tor, garth and ley; tre, pol, and pen. England and the spirit of the people of England are in those sounds from the word-hoard of our tongue, back and back to the “kitchen-midden” dwellers and the forgotten speech of a Neolithic age, back and back.

I knew by the sign they made at Grime’s Dyke and Gallows Hill that they were properly seized of the Thing that is at the back of us, that breaks out, that no man understands. I knew the Builders of the Square would join unconsciously with the past and spring out of the ancient ways. I knew they would not pass by Long Barrow and Beacon Hill without a leaping of the heart , a shout of joy, and the hand-sign of the free man. I knew they would not be found in the conference hall and the crowded meeting, nor in the lecture room and the interminable discussions of those who do not know. I knew they would know without knowing how they knew.

I say them unforgetful of the Past, facing always towards the Future, able to take hold of the moment of time which is for ever now. I never heard one of them say, I am this , nor I am that, but only I am Kinsman. I remembered the legendary history of the Unknown Man, among whose accomplishments was the art of whistling mice out of houses, who was clad like a countryman, of middle age, spoke several languages, but was very taciturn; on being questioned, however, he modestly confessed himself third in the Order of the Brethren.

I saw The Kindred working in the world, often by two and by two. Always they avoided wasting time in useless disputations with dialecticians upon nice distinctions and hair-splitting arguments. These men went about their work with careful skill, quietly, holding the knowledge in thew and sinew that he who moves out of time is the bedfellow of him who rests in the narrow house, under the tumulus. I saw them silence incredulous cynicism because of the faith that was in them and the spirit that moved them. At first I mistook them for Whitsuntide mummers come again, but then I saw they had a new Piffany play and feared not to play it.
Robin Hode blessed them with a great and joyful blessing by God and his oak staff.

The quiet rain drops down from heaven on high, leaf-drenching. I shall not fall into any Beserker rage, nor join the Furious Host riding neck-bent hell for leather, but, donning the cap of darkness, go out alone to look for the old ling-worm, that evil thing, to meet the Unknown Men who bear no mark outwardly, who laugh heartily saying no word, who go afoot cautiously in song betimes, to make ready for the end.

Brew cowslip wine full strong, throw wild nep berries into the air and sing a good song to Those who know there is little need to answer a question because of the asking. The Sothfast Men hold back, they withhold a part of themselves, the soul-seat, from the too eager, the too anxious, the quick questioners. They know when to listen, when to stop the ears and when to close the word-door of the mouth. There is a great loosening of the tongues and a great to-do amongst men who should know better. They chatter together, ceaselessly, like old women who tongue-wag over a wash basket. That is not a good thing. I look for the self-wise men of stern thewfastness.

Does everything happen in London? The important Thing may yet happen in Lostwithiel, or Peper Harow, or Hinton-in –the –Hedges, to be merely reflected in London. You think it is all Dunlop tyres and cheap radio sets? But no, the spirit of our people is not here, not here.

Apocryphal apocalypse, to be read between the lines, metaphorically: With the coming of the Kindred I saw these things clearly and knew the meaning that was hidden. I knew that the End and the Beginning were at hand. In Asgard the Norse gods let of a great shout that echoed in Midgard from Nordenskiold to Thorshavn. Wayland Smith awoke, put hand to bellows-shaft, took hammer to anvil and shod the White Horse. Uther, Pendragon of Britain, father of Arthur, rode again by the river Eden and lit beacon fires on Pendle, Ingleborough and Penygant.

The dewpond under Chantonbury Ring filled in the night brim full, and the tracks of the Old Flint Men that run across the Downs were plain to see in the morning.

Then I knew something had happened that had not happened since the last Beltane fire was kindled by Teineigin. As when the birch-buds quicken I knew That had come to birth again and the blight would be driven out.

The Long Headed Men of the river-bed gravels reassembled themselves and let out a hunting cry: Hika, we la ha! Hika, we ho!

From Silbury Hill, rising like the breast of a giantess, came the lilt of a Bronze Age song.

The Long Man of Willmington stood up out of the Wealden chalk and gave the Sign, and the wild thyme flowered out of season.

Out of the dene-holes of Essex and Kent came the grain-chant of ancient Harvest Men.

An old witch-wife ran into the low meadow, cut a bundle of willow sticks and bound them into a knitch. As The Kin passed by on the upper road she held it aloft and called, Knitch-men, I make a knitch, by frithy dene and Grim’s Ditch – hold and let go!

The Great Right Hand wrote another verse in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Book of Kells blossomed again in rubrication………..

¶ And then, as if the crust of the earth should quake underfoot, all this fell away and a harvest of doubts sprang up, a sorcerer’s garden of poisonous weeds that stifled the vision of the soul.

I stood close to these men and talked with them. They coughed and sneezed and ate and slept as other men. I heard cultured voices and uncouth dialects, here and there I felt a hint of small jealousies and, so it seemed, the sharp sting of unbrotherliness, and I questioned these things and found nothing here of any account.

Who are these little men who would reshape the world? They are even as I am, as all men – weak, of no great standing, of like passions with myself, loving and hating and begetting and dying, in no wise different from the common run of humankind.

And I slunk away from them with a sneer in my heart because, now that they held out a hand to me and treated me as one of themselves, I saw clearly that they were just human beings like the rest of us. I was astonished and cast down at my own foolishness. All men are men, and I had deemed these to be in some way Godlike Men, men of a different clay, above and beyond the little hopes and fears of the multitude. Yet , when I was with them, others openly admitted their ignorance, and all shrank to my own size, so that I despised them for their likeness with me and myself for having set them up as a cairn upon a high hill.

As before I had seen them as the Ark of the World, so now I saw them as foolish little men hoodwinking themselves with great ideas. And this rankled within. I went back to one of them and told him how nothing he and his fellows might do could avail, how they misled themselves, putting themselves above others when it was plain to all that they were men of no great ability, as frail as the rest of us and showing no better way of life. To which he answered with a smiling countenance and without anger, as if the words I spike had been heard many times before: What you say may be true – what do you wish me to do about it?

I knew then that these men were no common men, that their clay was a finer clay than mine, that their mind was set in a different mould, that their spirit burned with a brighter and steadier flame. In some confusion I went away, knowing that I was not yet able to come up with them.

I saw two things: the Immediate Moment and the Everlasting Flow. The first appeared taking the form of a great shaft of light, dazzlingly bright, and at once it was hidden, encircled by a mighty ring of moving darkness full of things yet to be, unformed, dim, fecund, chaotic.

The way they had of it seemed to body forth forgotten forms and fey, a harking back to the unmindful dwoleman (darkness, chaos, dim-world) of the old gods, there to be emptied out, cleansed, and filled with living sap; and, thereafter, to bring again the dew-drink, the quickener, the life-giver, out of that restful shadowfastness, to the world of men.

Those who enter this deathsted may not take the load of day-thought with them, but letting go the tumult and the mind-fret of shattering spear-heads, float gently, body-dwelling , upon the quiet flood of the unshapen , the unnamed…………...

The Confession of the Kibbo Kift by John Hargraves; The Spirit

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