Monday, 5 January 2009

Festival of Eternity

Twelfth Eve (Vigil of the Epiphany, Paramone of the Theophany)

Ancient Rome: on this day (when calibrated with the Roman calendar) on the Greek island of Andoros, the 'Theodosia' or 'Gift of the God' was celebrated; it was on this day that a wonder occured. The water of a spring by the temple of Dionysos tasted like wine and continued to do so for a week, though the taste was lost if the water was taken out of sight of the temple. In the evening, during the later Roman empire, there began at Alexandria a festival that continued into the next day, a celebration of the birth, at cockcrow, of Aion (Eternity) to Kore (the Maid) at which water was ceremonially drawn from the Nile and stored; since Aion was closely associated with Sarapis, who in turn was associated with Dionysus, the suggestion has been made that the god was meant to turn the water into wine. This would explain why the Christian Epiphany (6th January) was associated with Christ's performance of this miracle at the wedding-feast in Cana (it was also associated with the miracle of the loaves and fishes).

5th January, Source - The Oxford Companion to the Year
Wistmans Wood

Twelfth Eve Divinations

Lay a greene Ivye leafe in a dishe, or other vessell of fayre water on Newyeeres euen at night, and couer the water in the said vessell, set it in a sure or safe place, untill Twelfe euen next after, either for yourselfe or for anye other, (which will be the fifth day of January,) and then... marke well if the sayde leafe be faire and greene as it was before: for then you or the party for whom you laid it into the water, will be whole and sound and safe from any sicknesse all the next yeere following. But if you finde any blacke spots theron, then you or the partye for whom you laid it into the water, will be sicke the same yeere following.

Lupton, (1579)

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The Causeway Resurrection

Anna on the Causeway - October 2008

…Resurrection. – In the crude form in which it is preached for the consolation of the weak, the idea doesn’t appeal to me. I have always understood Christ’s words about the living and the dead in a different sense. Where could you find room for all these hordes of people collected over thousands of years? The universe isn’t big enough, God and good and meaning would be crowded out. They’d be crushed by all that greedy animal jostling.

‘But all the time life, always one and the same, always incomprehensibly keeping its identity, fills the universe and is renewed at every moment in innumerable combinations and metamorphoses. You are anxious about whether you will rise from the dead or not, but you have risen already – you rose from the dead when you were born and you didn’t notice it. Will you feel pain? Do the tissues feel their disintegration? In other words, what will happen to your consciousness? But what is consciousness? Let’s see. To try consciously to go to sleep is a sure way to have insomnia, to try to be conscious of one’s own digestions is a sure way to upset the stomach. Consciousness is a poison when we apply it to ourselves. Consciousness is a beam of light directed outwards, it lights up the way ahead of us so that we don’t trip up. It’s like the head-lamps on a railway engine – if you turned the beam inwards there would be a catastrophe.

‘So what will happen to your consciousness? …What is it about you that you have always known as yourself? What are you conscious of in yourself? Your kidneys? Your liver? Your blood vessels? - No. However far back you go in your memory, it is always in some external, active manifestation of yourself that you come across your identity – in the work of your hands, in your family, in other people. And now look. You in others are yourself, your soul. This is what you are. This is what your consciousness has breathed and lived on and enjoyed throughout your life. – Your soul, your immortality, your life in others. And what now? You have always been in others and you will remain in others. And what does it matter to you if later on it is called your memory? This will be you - the you that enters the future and becomes a part of it…

Dr Zhivago, Boris Pasternak 1956

Saturday, 3 January 2009

A Poem for the New Year

By Tim Munton 2008

Peace and Light and pink striped mice to you:
Where rainbow cymbals forever bimble
On forgotten shores through wardrobe doors,
And halucy-sky diamonds dive
Into ponds of liquid sun and golden skies,
Where the Heart of Love never dies
But rises-phoenix through the mind,
and bubble-blossoms in timeless time.

The Taste of Things to Come

A bleak poem inspired by ee cummings

I thank you God for most this...
And my inner eye rests on all the waste of
What human happens in the world.
No need to spell it out - you know for sure -
Or can imagine what it is.

The leaping greenly spirits that express the yes are not enough today.
The blue true dream of sky is infinitely silent.
The confusion of the human race is more real and rises in my mind triumphant,
The malcontent and the maladjusted vent their psychosis unabated,
And the ill wind that blows no good, shows no mercy.
Its bitter icy air freezes and will not be stilled it seems.

Oh that the ears of my ears could be silent.
Oh that the eyes of my eyes could be darkened.
Oblivion is sweet and has a deeper knowing.
Drinking it in - the taste of things to come.

VH 2009