Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Unrecorded Stone Circle Discovered on Bodmin Moor


On t
he 8th November 2009, Carole Young and I visited an unrecorded standing stone not far from Stannon stone circle at Harpurs Downs on Bodmin Moor. We had been alerted to this possible pre-historic stone by Cheryl Straffon, editor of Cornish earth mysteries magazine Meyn Mamvro and talented Cornish dowser Lana Jarvis. However we found much more than we expected and very soon we were asking ourselves if we had possibly discovered a hitherto unknown stone circle situated on a panoramic slope on the north-west edge of Bodmin Moor.

Unrecorded Stone Circle Discovered on Bodmin Moor

a preliminary report by Alex Langstone

above: the only stone still standing, showing a possible
Summer Solstice aligment to Roughtor
. Showery Tor can be glimpsed to the left.

The site lies on a small area of land between three minor roads which cross this area of moorland. The grid reference is SX1142 7984. As soon as we arrived at the spot, I could see that we were dealing with more than just a single standing stone. I immediately could see other fallen, half buried stones, which looked as though they made a circle. There are eight visible stones. One still standing, four clearly visible and three partially buried but obvious! They seem to form almost a perfect circle measuring approximately 22 metres west to east and 22 metres from north to south. The site appears to be aligned to the two nearby prominent peaks of Brown Willy (Bron Wennyly) and Roughtor. The large upright stone in the west aligns to the small flat stone in the east then onto Brown Willy. There is a largish recumbent stone in the north and a partially buried recumbent stone in the south. To the south east is Alex Tor. Roughtor is approximately east north east from the circles centre, which is where I made all the observations from.

above: Roughtor and Brown Willy (Bron Wennyly) punctuate the horizon

Most of the remaining stones are between the standing one in the west, moving along towards the north and east. The southern side of the circle only has one obvious buried stone remaining. HES does record a couple of hut circles in the vicinity at SX 1139 7998 but this site does not look like any of the nearby hut circles on the slopes of Rough Tor, plus it is much bigger than any of the localised hut circles.

above: one of the larger visible fallen stones

These now lost hut circles were shown on the 1908 6-inch and 25-inch maps but could not be found on the ground in 1973 or 1984 by the OS and RCHM fieldworkers. The site is now under pasture. The destroyed hut circles are associated with a nearby pre-historic field system. On a later visit in 2010, accompanied by Paul Atlas-Saunders, Cheryl Straffon and Lana Jarvis, we took more measurements and attempted to locate the hut circles. Using GPS, we clearly found that the proposed stone circle was nearby to the lost hut circles but importantly was not one of the remaining hut circles. We rechecked the measurements and dowsing suggested that there were originally 18 stones. The 'circle' is admittedly small by Bodmin Moor standards, but not very different in size from King Arthur's Downs circles. There are good views to both Brown Willy (east - equinox sunrise?) and Rough Tor (NE - summer solstice sunrise?). It is definitely not part of the hut circle complex that is listed on the HER (number 1921) at SX1139 7995.

above: overwiew of the circle looking west

Peter Herring, Characterisation Inspector for English Heritage comments - "the largest stone is indeed on a low stony bank, probably part of a prehistoric field system. Agree with you that it is a very nice position with views to Roughtor, Brown Willy and indeed Showery Tor. The other stones might conceivably be part of something interesting, perhaps a stone circle, and the stony bank may be later and reusing the largest stone in its line."

In conclusion, this site needs to be verified, but my initial feelings are that it looks very interesting. I shall be conducting further experiments and observences from the site soon. I will report my findings both here and through HES and Meyn Mamvro.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Berwyn Mountains of Poetic Adventure

I first became interested in the mysteries and folklore of the Welsh borders in 1990 when I was very fortunate to witness an amazing paranormal manifestation at Pistyll Rhaeadr, a spectacular waterfall dramatically sited in the mysterious Berwyn Mountains. This small range of heather clad mountains, virtually unknown outside north-east Wales has a rich and diverse folklore and mythology. The area lies west of Oswestry and is bordered by the Dee valley and Llangollen. It is an area of outstanding beauty, natural history and mythology. Folklore seems to permeate every valley, hill and stream.

The Berwyn Mountains of Poetic Adventure

by Alex Langstone

April 1990.
Psychic questing surreal visualisations of piercing dragons, morphing into a blood-red waking-dream. Awake energy of old, awake! Primordial chaotic raw energy, released from the ancient Post Coch standing stone. Shadowy psychic stories fill my mind as we brave the elemental power of Gwybr of Llanrhaeadr. Twilight red creeps across the land, but no rosy sunset has been seen here. The ancient legend has been re-enacted and darkness has fallen. We seek the healing sanctuary of the Pistyll Rhaeadr.

We arrive at the Pistyll Rhaeadr waters of light. It is a dark night. The roar of the watery cascade is deafening. The white foaming cataract fluctuates between a ghostly white lady and a shimmering gateway beyond time and space. Indistinct creatures move in the darkness and a green dragon unfurls beneath the shadowy fronds growing around the plunge pool. This resplendent delightful place of natural beauty offers us the protective nourishing guardianship that we seek, and we are thankful for sanctuary. The sanctuary of Elen, the white lady of the rhaeadr. As we become accustomed to the dark surroundings and the constant reverberation of the falls several members of the assembly plunge themselves into the cool flowing waters of the Druid's Bowl pool, immediately beneath the ghostly deluge. Strange flickering lights are seen above and amongst the falling water. Many of us witness this simultaneously. Unseen presences are with us and we await with much anticipation as to what may or may not happen. A few stars shine down from a partially clouded night sky and the atmosphere of this beautiful place is powerfully charged and lively with cross-dimensional and mostly unobserved mystical activity. More silver flashing lights are seen at the top of the waterfall and something, possibly an object, is seen to be falling with the water for the briefest of seconds. Intangible and unsure, for whatever it was has disappeared. The ethereal cascade of the rhaeadr a constant mythic soundtrack to our nightime poetic adventure. We ritually wash our faces and hands in the river, purifying energies are released from the fast flowing water. Then three of us all see something dropping from the top of the falls, a small flash of light, like a starburst tumbles down with the water. What is it? What is happening? One of the group is in the water, then two, then me. We are searching for something. I then see a ripple of silver light in the water, then a larger flash of light just below the surface. Then I see a physical object bob up and down. A hand plunges into the water and an object in hurled into the cool night air, as it tumbles back towards the water it is caught. A turquoise Celtic cross. A gift from the waterfall. A gift from the spirit of the place. A meaningful gift for us all. For me it is a sign of the future, a symbolic representation of my esoteric poetic future. Goddess Elen thank you. (1)

Above: The Celtic Cross artefact, which mysteriously appeared
on the
night of 22nd April 1990, at the base of Pistyll Rhaeadr.

April 2009.
After 19 years, my interest in Pistyll Rhaeadr has been renewed. During the first week of April 2009 I had a very vivid dream. I was standing at the base of a huge waterfall. It was twilight and as I looked up I saw a white stag standing above at the edge of the precipice. This powerful image stayed with me for many days until I realised its significance. My sister and her family had recently moved house, leaving the flat fens of Eastern England for the rugged Welsh border country. During a visit to their new house, I quickly realised that Pistyll Rhaeadr was their local beauty spot. I was intrigued and we visited the falls and a few days later, where I was able to re-live the drama of 19 years previously, when I had spent an intensely magical evening at the spot with Andrew Collins and friends whilst on a particularly meaningful part of the seven swords quest. More importantly, I was able to visualise my dream of a white stag peering down from the top of the waterfall. I also spent some time in Oswestry library, researching the area around the waterfall. It was during this library visit that I realised the significance of my dream, and what it meant.

The ancient abode of Gwyn.

The Berwyn (Bre Gwyn) Mountains above Pistyll Rhaeadr are very special. In Welsh mythology they represent the physical and geographical location of Annwn, the Celtic Otherworld, the place where the spirits of the dead reside in the mythology of the ancient Britons. The Otherworld kingdom of Annwn is ruled by the ancient British deity Gwyn ap Nudd - pronounced Gwin ap Neeth, king of the fae folk the Tylwyth Teg and patron of the land of the dead. He and his people live in a wonderful shining white palace beneath the purple Berwyn’s. Travellers on the moors of the Berwyn’s will sometimes suddenly be presented with this wonderful apparition and invited to join in the feasting and dancing. But anyone who chooses to do so remains in the palace of Gwyn. The only way to escape is to try to resist temptation and refuse the wonderful feast.

There are numerous old stories told about local people who went missing after a night on the Berwyn’s. The most famous of which is the tale of St Collen of Llangollen, who walked onto the mountains to confront Gwyn, armed only with a bottle of holy water. Challenged by Gwyn to step into the great halls of the
dead, he accepted. He debated long and hard with Gwyn, refusing all offers of food and drink, and eventually the vision faded away into the mist and he returned safely. A jolly tale of medieval Christian one-up-manship. Gwyn’s powerful presence though has remained and the Berwyn Mountains still provide a stunning backdrop into the living presence of the Celtic Lord of Otherworldly adventures. It is easy to visualise Gwyn’s ghostly wild hunt flying across the night sky here. Indeed flying manifestations of another kind have been seen in these haunted hills. The area has been given the dubious title of Britain’s Roswell, due to the high profile UFO incident of January 1974. (2)

There are many references to the all powerful Gwyn on the Berwyn’s. Just above the waterfall is the summit of Post Gwyn (the great stone of Gwyn) and nearby the pass Bwlchgwyn. Above the stone is Cadair Berwyn,
the seat or throne of Gwyn's glowing white palace . Cadair Berwyn is also the highest peak in the range standing at 830m (2,723 ft). Below the summit can be found Llyn Lluncaws, a lake where, according to folklore, a wise fish lives. This oracular lake sitting below the seat of Gwyn adds even more mystery to the area, and gives us tantalising glimpses into another world, which is truly easy to pass into in these beautiful hills. In Welsh folklore it is common to find the belief that entry into Annwn is through a lake on top of a hill or mountain. The area of land above the waterfall is intriguingly called Rhos y Beddau, the moor of the graves, and the land here is dotted with bronze age cairns. So Gwyn is linked to death and transformation where he guards the otherworld, his divine kingdom and ancestral home.

Gwyn is associated with other areas of Britain, most notably Glastonbury Tor, where an almost identical legend is told of St Collen. Back in Wales he is also identified with the Vale of Neath in the south (3) and with a dramatic hillfort sited by the banks of the River Dee near Corwen. Gwyn may also be associated with Cornwall. Gwynngala, the Cornish language word for September is beautifully poetic and meaningful; translating as white or blessed straw. The cereal harvest completes during September and the white straw stubble is left in the fields. The transformation of grain into food is underway and we are heading straight into autumn's decay. Yuri Leitch has connected Gwyn to North Cornwall at St Nectan's Glen via Gwyn’s father Nudd otherwise known as the ancient river god Neath or Nodens (4). He may also be connected to Carn Marth, a high hill in south west Cornwall which rises to 235 metres. The hill is part of the Carnmenellis plateaux, an area of rough moorland which includes other notable hills such as Carn Brea. The hill lies close to the village of Gwennap, and again Yuri Leitch suggests that this area echoes the ancient cries of Gwyn. So it seems that Gwyn may preside over parts of Cornwall, and I am tempted to link the autumn equinox with Gwyn via Gwynngala. It seems only right to have Gwyn as patron of September and autumn, as the Cornish language name for the month may suggest. It is also interesting to note that the feast of St Michael is celebrated on September 29th. Michael has replaced Gwyn at some of his ancient sites (such as Glastonbury Tor) and in many ways Michael and Gwyn share similar attributes. For example - Michael guards the gates of heaven, whilst Gwyn presides over the Celtic otherworld of Annwn. Both have fiery, glowing energies and both preside over high hills and mysterious places of immense power.

Above: White Stag by Yuri Leitch

The Sacred River Dee.
The importance of the river Dee in the folklore of North Wales is huge. One of the earliest recorded names of the Dee is the Deova, meaning the holy river of the goddess. The river is associated with the legend of the Fisher King, keeper of the Holy Grail and sovereign of the land. Welsh folklore links Castle Corbenic, the ancient domain of the Fisher King, with the site of Castell Dinas Brân, which sits high up on a hilltop overlooking the river Dee at Llangollen. This romantically sited Grail Castle can be seen for miles and dominates the surrounding river valley. Gwyn is also linked to the great river, as mentioned above. By the sacred banks of the Dee close to Corwen we find Caer Drewyn (Gwyn's Fort). Nearby at Cynwyd is the whitewashed church of All Saints at Llangar. The medieval building stands in an idyllic setting overlooking the confluence of the Dee and Alwen rivers. The church retains many ancient features, including extensive 15th century wall paintings, including a deer, a 17th century figure of death (below), old beams and old box pews.

There is a curious legend associated with the founding of the church site. The tradition is that Llangar Church was to have been built near the spot where the Cynwyd Bridge crosses the Dee. Indeed, we are told that the masons set to work, but all the stones they laid in the day were gone during the night and no one knew of their whereabouts. The builders were warned, supernaturally, that they must seek a spot where they found a Carw Gwyn (white stag). The following evening they glimpsed a white stag in a clearing at the rivers edge. The church was originally called Llan-garw-gwyn - the church of the white stag - from whence we get Llangar. Here we have the ancient mystical symbol of Gwyn ap Nudd on the banks of the sacred river Dee and on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains, his ancestral home.

Elen of the Rhaeadr?

I have been intrigued by the appearance of Goddess Elen at Pistyll Rhaeadr. There do not appear to be any legends of white ladies attached to the falls, as are found at numerous other waterfall sites across Britain. Yet Elen poetically appeared to us in 1990, and has appeared to me at the falls again more recently. I feel that this is a powerful portal into the energies that manifest as Elen.
The Welsh word Elen actually means nymphe and Elin in Welsh translates as shining light. The English name Ellen comes from the Greek language and also means bright or shining light. This is similar to the meaning of Gwyn or Gwen meaning fair, bright or white. In old or middle Welsh and in modern Cornish Gwyn also has the meaning of holy, pure, blessed and sacred. The feminine form, Gwen, is the root of Gwenhwyfar, the original Welsh form of Guinevere. Maybe these are tantalising clues as to the true identity of the guardian goddess of Pistyll Rhaeadr?

Whatever the case, the Berwyn Mountains are a poets dream. A thin place, where time slows and the space between the spaces expand to allow us glimpses and experiences from other dimensions. Pistyll Rhaeadr is the luminous liminal gateway to a fantastic realm, where the imagination becomes real and communication between the worlds is significant.

At this time of Samhain, the waterfall can be used as a meditational aid to gain access to the abode of Gwyn, where our ancestors impart their wisdom and give comfort to those who seek it. Allow the White Stag to guide you across the veil to where our ancient ancestors reside. Unlike St Collen, we can now begin to understand the real meaning behind the ancient teachings of Gwyn. May we gain the wisdom and understanding of those whom we have loved who have gone before us.


(1) See chapters 64, 65 and 66 of The Seventh Sword by Andrew Collins.
(2) See for an article by Andy Roberts on the 1974 Berwyn UFO incident.
(3) See chapter 7 of Gwyn by Yuri Leitch.
(4) See page 77 of Gwyn by Yuri Leitch.

Thanks to Yuri Leitch and Dr. Angelika Rüdiger for providing inspiration and for putting me on the correct pathways.

Also published in Samhain 2010 Mirror of Isis here

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Grace and Beauty of Exeter's Green Man Cathedral

The great Gothic Catherdral of St Peter in Exeter boasts to be one of the most complete Gothic churches in Britain today. The soaring magificent arches, stained glass and spaciousness of the sublime building is inspirational in its beauty. The church here was begun in the 11th century, but most of what remains is the result of rebuilding between 1275-1375. The Lady chapel and retrochoir were added at this time, to be followed by the presbytery and the choir. The nave was built in the mid 14th century, under the direction of Richard Farleigh, who was also responsible for the spire at Salisbury. The vaulting extends for an extraordinary 300 feet, making it the longest uninterrupted stone vault in Britain. Partially destroyed during a second world war air raid in 1942, the building was very sympathetically restored between 1945 and 1953.

The Lady Chapel is a sanctuary of light and peace, with two statues of the Lady plus a beautiful stained glass image. There is also an icon of Mary by the screen at the top end of the nave. (Pictured above). High above the centre of the Lady chapel a painted green man peers down, keeping a watchful eye on the sacred proceedings.

The speciousness of the buildings enterior is partly due to there not being a central tower, this allows the gothic vaulted ceiling to continue along the length of the cathedral uninterrupted.

There are over 60 images of the green man in the cathedral. They are found on misericords, bosses, corbels and other vault carvings. This is the second biggest concentration to be found in the UK. Indeed, in Exeter Cathedral, far more images of the green man exist than images of Jesus Christ.

Exeter Cathedral is a powerful, iconic and evocative gothic masterpiece, much underrated and forgotten against the more famous of England's great medieval churches.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Book Review: Avalonian Aeon by Paul Weston

Avalonian Aeon by Paul Weston
reviewed by Alex Langstone

Autobiographies are funny things.

They can be read in one of several ways; the reader may be interested in the author, which is a good starting point, or read from the angle of the subject matter. Mostly, however, they are read because we are all pretty damn nosey about other folk, especially so with the popular interest in the cult of personality - both mainstream and fringe. With this in mind, here is a character who writes from a very interesting and articulate perspective. A 1979 psychedelic neo-hippy, Typhonian occultist, Osho mystic, counter culture junkie, psychic questing groupie, visionary poet and historian - all these descriptions can apply to Paul Weston, as he seeks out his unique spiritual path amid the chaos, dreams and aspirations of his interesting life. Intriguing possibilities are suggested, including the idea that if you read a certain book at a certain time in your life, strange things may start of happen in your own life. Indeed!

Avalonian Aeon is the much anticipated, long awaited, highly entertaining, interesting and at times very amusing autobiographical account of the psychedelic and mystical adventures of occult author Paul Weston. Paul's spiritual quest starts with the Stonehenge free festival in 1979 and very quickly builds pace as he moves on to Pilton. Synchronicity builds throughout his early adventures with dope and LSD, and the author soon discovers that his life is being maneuvered in a very purposeful and meaningful spiritual direction. Occult books are read as a vortex of psychic energy builds.

This book will very likely give you an information overload, but it is an overload I thoroughly recommend, as you read through the pages, very quickly an understanding of where Paul is coming from emerges, and as we enter part two of the story a significant magickal vibe builds. Different currents and flavours of mystery and mysticism converge on the author with an intensity very peculiar to Mr Weston. At this stage I should probably point out that the author is an old friend and past collaborator of mine, so be warned, the rest of this review may diverge into personal occult nostalgia!

Part two deals with a lot of psychic questing history, contemporary witchcraft, the esoteric work of Robert Coon, the Fellowship of Isis and much paranormal phenomena. The Green Stone Seven Swords story is revisited and updated along with much information, published for the first time, on Andrew Collins surreal and shamanic Glastonbury Zodiac quest. Lots of very intense personal memories are stirred in this section of the book, including my own dream time adventures with the Glastonbury Zodiac quest and other esoteric poetic sequences where the mystery beyond dreams personally manifested.

Paul's poetic words completely sum up the general vibe of much of what was happening around all who were involved with this vastly strange tale in the early 1990s:

She's our mother like the ocean,
she's our lover like the moon.
She is what we've all been missing:
night's dark wisdom returning soon, returning soon,
the Goddess,
the fullness,
of the moon.

Part three sees the author reaffirming his own unique path once more with Crowley, rebirthing, Jose Arguelles, Sai Baba's birthday, strange apparitions, the Goddess of Avalon and Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger.

Part four sums up the story so far and dances with Thelema, destiny, Dion Fortune and Egypt. As with the rest of the book, tantalising references are made of other surreal mystical occult adventures which I have no doubt will be revealed in future books. Indeed a promise is made right at the end of the book, stating that the next installment will be entitled Aquarian Phoenix. I await with anticipation, amusement and delight.

I seriously recommend this book to all who are interested in the occult, counter culture, psychic communication, the Great Cosmic Goddess and mysterious paranormal encounters. If you have read Paul's two previous works, Mysterium Artorius and Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus, the theme does indeed continue. If you haven't yet come across these earlier works, check them out!

Paul writes with a balanced, witty and articulated overview of the many wildly outrageous personal adventures he describes in this book, and though the author will not win over the most ardent sceptic, his personal integrity shines through.

If you so desire, play some suitable psychedelic soundtrack (and Paul makes many epic suggestions in his narrative) light up a big fat one and sit back and enjoy a modern tale of acid induced mysticism, Goddess aroused mystery and fusion inspired magick.

Avalonian Aeon is available to buy now, priced at £14.99. 540 pages, illustrated. Visit website now to purchase:

Postage costs are:
UK £3.50
Europe £4.50
Worldwide £7.50


Avalonian Aeon is an epic and encyclopaedic exposition of the total Glastonbury experience in the form of an autobiographical tale of magic and mysticism, ecstasy, hilarity, horror, the mystery of destiny, the charisma of landscape.

Against the backdrop of Crowley’s Aeon of Horus, the Thatcher years, and Gulf War, feeding on a diet of drugs and books, the author was pulled via the famous festival into the mystery of Glastonbury with its history and mythology of the Tor, Arthur and the Grail, Joseph of Arimathea, abbey, Chalice Well, and alleged terrestrial zodiac.

a misspent youth, perplexing outlandish paranormal phenomenon, psychic abilities and manifestations, visions, and artefact retrievals.

Early days and inspirations behind the Stonehenge and Glastonbury festivals.

Extensive previously unpublished Andrew Collins material providing a unique overview of psychic questing, including the entire story of the seven swords of Meonia and how Glastonbury proved to be a doorway to the mysteries of what may lie beneath the Giza plateau.

Complete survey of work of American visionary Robert Coon relating to Glastonbury, Crowley, global chakra sites, and the Omega Point.

Green Stone, Sirius, Tintagel, Stele of Revealing, witchcraft, Tarot, Qabalah, Rebirthing, Fellowship of Isis, Harmonic Convergence, Synchronicity.

Also starring a further illustrious cast of characters:
Dion Fortune, Geoffrey Ashe, Jose Arguelles, John Cowper Powys, Gurdjieff, John Michell, Leonard Orr, Anthony Roberts, Oliver Reiser, Katherine Maltwood, Frederick Bligh Bond, Graham Phillips, Mary Caine, Robert Anton Wilson, Shirdi Sai Baba, Hank Harrison.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Summer Solstice 2010

To celebrate this year's Solstice, here is a poem reproduced from Lucifer Bridge, which is available to by now from May the sun shine and the energy pulse.


Dancing entwined across the summer sky
Dragons dart flying, flying by!
Undine serpent unfurls and awaits
In the Herby undergrowth lays the energy bait.

Rearing monsters from a slumbering sleep
Rise up and shine from the darkening deep
Solstice sun through the dappled leaves
Serpent pulses, glistens then takes his leave.

Dragons fused in the summer sky
Above the ancient oak, we hear their ancient cry
Mid-summer passions waft and wend
Through the rippling shade to the shining end!

Secretive journeys through the slumbering hills
Entwining colliding taking their fill
Summer energy pulses, pulses round
To where it is needed and there can be found.

See here for more on the Summer Solstice in Kernow.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Lucifer Bridge reviewed by Jim Kirkwood

A few weeks ago my poetry anthology Lucifer Bridge was reviewed on the website of artist, writer and musician Jim Kirkwood. I have reproduced it below for those who may not have seen it. Thanks to Jim for a great review.

Lucifer Bridge
reviewed by Jim Kirkwood

Nicholas Roerich caught my attention a few years ago when I stumbled across a painting called “Mother of the World”. Anyone who can paint something so simple in execution and yet so profound, that crosses the false religious boundaries humanity is so fond of, has my immediate respect. His work is both mystical and influential. He designed the costumes for Stravinsky’s “Rites of Spring”, played a large part in the building of Russia’s first Buddhist temple, and translated Helena Blavatsky’s “Secret Doctrine” into Russian. Perhaps influential is an understatement. Yet his name remains a mystery to most. I like a mystery! And yes, I like the cover! “The Last Angel” by Nicholas Roerich is Alex’s choice of artwork for the cover and is typical of Alex’s attention to detail and fondness for exploring hidden depths of meaning. Then there is the poetry and a feast for the mind and soul it is. What we have are thirty poems that take you on a journey into the natural beauty and hidden world of Nature, and then some! It is a journey which begins quite gently with “Lor hag Mor”. It is immediately unusual though. I mean, how many people stand on the beach at night. It is a different experience. The tides have washed away the activities of the day and we are presented from the first with observations of

“........mackerel skies
Scudding clouds
Billowing, scurrying, hurrying
Across the round white disc of the moon”

The unusual context of this opening poem is an invitation. Never stood on a beach at night? Try it. An everyday place becomes something else. A Druid is revealed on the strand between the sea and the sea shore, a bard whispers to the soul, listen if you will to the tidal rhythm of words. This poem is a preparation of sorts for the Otherworldlyness to come, where we are plunged into living folklore of the sea itself. “Sea Girl”.

“Singing, singing proud
On the old sea-front
With salt-spray crowning
The sirens calling
The dead men drowning”

Dark, yes, but as anyone who knows anything of the sea, it both gives and takes life. In days of yore, fishermen knew all too well how precarious was their day to day existence upon a sea “which never sleeps”. I love this stuff. It reminds me of the haunting poems and prose of Fiona Macloed, a Celtic visionary of the 19th century, who was, like Alex, no stranger to Celtic Myth and Druidism. On we go, meeting as we do, Black Tiamat, the ‘Obby Oss’ of Penglaz, and the rising grey rock of “Carrack Looz en Cooz

“The old grey rock
In the ancient
Submerged woodland
Looms from the sea-mist
Like a gigantic darkened ship”

These are not simply observations, they are deep and profound experiences and the following poems provide us with a glimpse into the poets soul and the powerful forces at work there. “Men an Tol”, “An Undefinable Thought”, “White Water Dash” “The Aira Force Faeries” are a souls vision of what is happening around him. It demands something. “Further up and further in” as Lewis would say. A Pilgrimage that leads to a personal revelation, “Nature is my Religion”. The poet has nailed his colours to the mast! The Goddess is revealed. Dionysus is revealed. And we come to two of my personal favourites. “Oh Sacred Heart” and “Helena”. Oh Sacred Heart is one simple verse, one simple prayer.

“Oh Sacred Heart
Thy luminous hill of vision
Lead us forth
Along the shimmering
Secret byways
Of England’s green Avalon”.

But how much does it say! And Helena, a longer and more complex piece continues in the same mood. It is a descriptive poem of an experience which leads naturally into prayer. I should say that for me, if any of these poems reveal the true mind of this poet, then Helena is a window into an exploring soul.

“Lady of dreams
Light up the morn with
Your ancient light
Oh Lady of sunrise
Goddess of sunset
Take us to your eternal home”

And the poet stands in that space enraptured,

“At the edge of the wild gorse-entangled upland
Of the arcane sea-clad Celtic fringe.”

And where else would a Celtic bard and druid be, but in the sacred spaces of the world. Alex walks his talk, and of course we have the title poem of this collection.

“Lush green trees
Swoop like the curve
Of angels wings
Down to the water’s surface
Sometimes breaking the stillness
Of the moment.”

Beautiful! And what angel is this we wonder?

“We wait twilight upon Lucifer Bridge.
At the chosen moment they come
From their grazing pastures
The Nephilim!”

Rather more than a tongue in cheek reference to a certain Goth band, I think. Love it.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Lucifer Bridge and Other Esoteric Poetic Adventures

The following article was written during 2009 for Cornish Surrealist outsider arts magazine Artichoke. I have decided to reproduce it now, as it serves as background material for my poetry book Lucifer Bridge, which was recently published.

Lucifer Bridge and Other Esoteric Poet
ic Adventures
A Poetic Primer

by Alex Langstone

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a personal dreamtime, a dreamtime sequence of events that seemingly had no end. It had, however a definitive beginning. The profane poet devourers could do nothing, and the old bones of my forefathers lay silent. I was eager. Not known, because not looked for but heard, half-heard, in the stillness between two waves of the sea.

During the early 1990s I had a series of visionary experiences which set me off in a new creative direction and on a new poetic adventure. I had been writing since 1988, when I was editor of underground occult magazine ASH Magazine (Albion’s Sacred Heritage). I had a background in Witchcraft and folk tradition, and I had studied with a secret Essex coven during the mid 1980s, as well as being an active member of a local Earth Mysteries group, which met monthly in south east Essex. All of which gave me a thoroughly excellent background for what subsequently followed. I hereby present a few of these esoteric poetic journeys for your amusement, bewilderment and possible excitement!

In 1989 I had a vision of the Goddess at Slaughter Bridge in North Cornwall. She was different to any goddess I had previously encountered. She was 10 foot tall and was bathed in a strong red glow, like the sunset! She arose from the river Camel. She had pale skin and dark burning eyes. Upon her head she had huge deer antlers branching outwards and upwards towards the sky. She looked at me with that knowing look which leaves a hideously uncomfortable feeling within, the look that can read an entire life history in seconds. She continued to rise upwards. She was now floating above the swirling waters of the picturesque Cornish river. Was she a demon? I wasn’t at all sure. She was looking down at me. All of a sudden she charged towards me across the river, pinning me to the ground with her horns, she had pierced my torso, and her horns were now embedded through me, and I was joined with the landscape in a peculiar ritualised stabbing, though I felt no pain! I looked up, and realised that she had disappeared. Twenty years later I returned to the river Camel, just a few miles down stream of that fateful encounter I find myself living at the Cornish sacred enclosure of Elen, by one of the few medieval bridges to still span the flowing waters of the North Cornwall River.

A very different vision of the Goddess was perceived at West Kennet Long Barrow in the summer of 1991. It had been an archetypal British summer’s day, blue skies, fluffy white clouds and lark-song high above the chalk downs of Wiltshire. My head was full of the sky during this particular summer, a series of psychic visions had led me to Nuit, Egyptian sky goddess, arching over humanity, torso the milky way, womb the great infinite universe of which we are all born from. Spending the night in West Kennet Neolithic long barrow, was all it took to tip me over the edge into Her world, and this poem was one result of the vision:

Written at West Kennet Long Barrow

Ursa Major!
Revealed itself to me
From an ancient tomb
Of mortality.

Glistening stars shine down
From heaven
And the seven cosmic lights
A gateway to the
Beauty of Nuit:
Queen of Heaven
Stars and sky
And the pulsing breath of
The universe is heard
Gently emerging from darkness
To hold and caress
Leading us toward
A new dawn.

Ursa Major
Revealed Herself to me
From an ancient womb
Of immortality.

So Goddess Nuit was above and within me, what an inspiration and a startling visionary way to experience the night sky.

July 1994 saw more avant-garde esoteric poetic exploration. A very strange series of events had let me and occult author Paul Weston, to visit the picturesque Kent town of Tonbridge. Nearby Hever Castle was first on the agenda. I had received some very odd Enochian style communications from a various assortment of outlandish other-worldly beings! These bizarre non-human deviants showed us around the fourth dimensional Hever Castle, and to this day I cannot recall much of the ordinary 3D stately home!

Whilst at Hever Castle, my non-human friends told us that we had to go to nearby Chiddingstone as a matter of urgency, as something would manifest to us there! Intrigued, we left historic Hever Castle and headed west, following the course of the gorgeous river Medway. Chiddingstone village is one of the most perfectly preserved Tudor villages in Britain, and as an inevitable result of this, it all now belongs to the National Trust. On the edge of the Tudor “theme park” lays the Chiding Stone a natural sandstone rocky outcrop. Its history is obscure, but locally the stone is known as the seat of judgement!

We arrived at the large bulbous rock, and I soon became aware of a different energy. As I sat by the rock, I felt a huge pulsing energy enter my body from the earth, and a bright golden light started to grow from the stone. Then from the golden light appeared a huge griffin, wings outstretched along the horizon. His head had a magnificent curved beak and his eyes were starless and bible black! He was standing, rearing up on his hind legs, which were the strong feline paws of a magnificent lion. His front talons were clenched, as if holding some recently caught prey. I notice that upon his head he wore a golden crown, and protruding through this crown, were two large dark horns.

The image was changing; a man was emerging from the visionary beast, a naked man, with arms outstretched and from his shoulder blades grew huge peacock feathers. An unknown light source emanating from a point somewhere beyond him was throwing the image into chaos, and I found it difficult to focus. The man and the griffin were blending, merging and morphing. Changing constantly, as if trying to confuse and disorient me.

He spoke, and confirmed his identity as Lucifer, light bearer, but I had already intuitively recognised and acknowledged him. He told us that we would gain a great treasure if we visited a nearby site. “Look for ruins”. He then promptly vanished.

I was astonished by the intensity of the vision, and quickly realised that we needed to look at a map, to see if there were any ruins nearby. Sure enough there were ruins, and more importantly nearby the ruins, spanning the river Medway we discovered Lucifer Bridge!

I instantly knew we had to visit at dusk, which we did. Lucifer never reappeared, but shadowy angelic beings did, and a discarnate voice claiming his name did tell us to wait for darkness. The following poem was the result of this extraordinary episode, and I am absolutely convinced that my great treasure was the new life I would shortly find in Cornwall. A treasure that I still honour, cherish and enjoy today. Thanks Lucifer!

Awaiting Twilight Upon Lucifer Bridge

Slowly the river flows
Steadily moving forwards
Towards unknown destinations
And expectations.
Fish of Dagon cause ripples
Which induce disturbances
Like those of my mind
As I first look up stream
And then down.
Lush green trees
Swoop like the curve
Of Angel's wings
Down to the water's surface
Sometimes breaking the stillness
Of the moment.
Bird song and cry
Pierce the dusky haze
Preceding darkness,
A song of sorrow maybe?
Like that of an infant motherless
We await twilight upon Lucifer Bridge.
At the chosen moment they come
From their grazing pastures
The Nephilim!
Standing, floating amid the mist on the river.
What has thy forsaken to be here
At this crepuscular hour?
A fleeting vision of beauty
Unfolds to that of sorrow,
As the angels retreat
I peruse the scene
Now lost in the moment forever
Within the darkness of
Lucifer Bridge.

Dark Angels and Sea Serpents
Within a mere three months of my poetic adventure with Lucifer, I had left my home in Essex. I had deliberately cut myself off from all that was familiar. I needed fresh impetus for my creativity, and Celtic Cornwall had proved itself within a few hours of arrival.

Above: Morgawr, the serpent of Falmouth Bay.

Within days, I had gained psychic perception of a sacred alignment of ancient sites, which spanned over 30 miles of the south coast of Cornwall. It began with a vision of a black swan, flying over the coastline. Listen. It is night moving in the streets, the processional salt slow musical wind from Mevagissey harbour, harbouring a vision of the black-swan dark-angel twin-protector lord of dark and light.

This alignment of sites we temporarily named “the Swan line”, and within a few more days it had become a portal for a new manifestation – Segonia had slipped into my reality, and here he would stay! The alignment was a poetic line of sites, not a ley. The portal of Segonia begins at the cove of the singing mermaids, at Gunwalloe Church, on the west coast of the mysterious Lizard land. It ends at an aptly named promontory called Black Head, at the eastern end of Mavagissey Bay.

Accompanied by artist Yuri Leitch, I explored many of the sites along the Poetic Portal of Segonia during December 1994. Starting in the east we visited the dark rocky peninsular of Black Head, with its few remaining ramparts, the once great Iron Age cliff fort looks like the head of a partly submerged giant sea-serpent guarding Mevagissey Bay. The promontory has beautiful sweeping views along Cornwall’s south coast. It was whilst standing on the headland that I gained an inner vision of two huge swans, one black, the other white. They were facing each other, and between them was a snaking coiled serpent. As I watched, the swan’s necks became entwined, suggesting writhing serpents. The vision ended with swans and serpents flying off across the bay towards Veryan and Carne Beacon. Other sites nearby are the White River, Sconhoe Beach cave, Temple Wood and the exquisitely named Dark Dale Woods, where a vision of the Stag-headed one Cernunnos and his leafy-green fey friends was had just a few weeks later.

The next major site on the line is at Veryan. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Elerkey from the Cornish Elerk, meaning swan! In the village we found the Elerkey Hotel with a swan depicted on the board outside.

At dusk we arrived at Carne Beacon, the largest bronze age round barrow in Cornwall. Whilst standing on top of this ancient monument, looking across the shining sea, I saw the two swans land. They reared up and flapped their wings, creating an archway. As each swan moved aside, a shining goddess revealed herself to me. I knew her as Elen, she was dressed in white with cascading flame-red hair. Around her neck she wore a silver swan and a golden serpent. She emerged from the swans and from the sea, and she rose up into the sky, where the afterglow of the December sunset bathed her in a rich coppery light. I stood in awe, transfixed by her glowing presence before she disappeared in a bonfire of golden flames. As the flames roared, the two swans flew out of the crackling, singing fire and headed westward. I instinctively knew we had to follow.

The following day we visited the other sites along the portal – Swanpool at Falmouth, Gear Gump settlement enclosure, Caer Vallack hill fort, Halligue Fogou and Trelowarren house, (where we were randomly invited to a sumptuous private Christmas feast in a huge barn decorated with masses of Holly and Ivy?) Such is the way of these poetic dreamtime psychic quests!

Segonia? Well he appeared to me as a twin-faced black/white swan-man. An angelic handsome protector, I supposed that he was my holy guardian angel! He was beautiful, I loved him from the beginning, and he became my occult muse.

On the reedy banks of the gorgeous creeky Fal River at St Clement, I communed with Segonia. With fresh water on one side and the briny tidal Fal the other; two swans flew low towards me, one black, one white. Landing on the fresh-water pool they swam a while together.

Hail to thee: Segonia bright angel of birth.
dark angel of mirth.
winged angel of light.
dark angel of night.
You are within me, around me, a part of me.
You have always been in me, around me, a part of me.
my sweet salvation,
my dark soul angel of delight.
Sing aloud with me.
Sing softly with thee. O Glorious One.
Bringer of the light, my Bright Watcher of the night!

Owlmen and other weird things.
During my second week living in Cornwall I found myself dreaming of sea serpents in Mevagissey Bay. I decided it may be time to revisit Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels, classic surrealist tale Monstrum! The book was published by Fortean Tomes in September 1990, and told the story of the author’s relationships with Cornish sea monsters, Charles Fort, surrealist witchcraft, Max Ernst and the Owl Man of Mawnan Smith, among other things!

Above: Chesca Potter's beautiful Shamanic Tarot image of
the Seer, this is very much how I see the Mawnan Owlman/woman.

The following day a local paper reported fresh sightings of Morgawr, Cornwall’s very own “Nessie”. The week following, the Owl Man of Mawnan woods had been spotted for the first time in years. This strange apparition has appeared regularly over many years in the dense evergreen oak woods between Mawnan church and the Helford River estuary. Various people have described the creature as a vision from hell, but I personally like the idea of an owl man living in the woods, and I personally like to think of the Owlman as a shamanic glyph of the ancient wisdom of the land, rather than a monster from hell! It is good to know that others are seeing stranger things than I. The serpentine dancing energies of the land are truly alive in Kernow!

Spring 1995 saw a vision of Pan in a field on the edge of the Cornish cathedral city of Truro. He stood in a field, at dusk. A gentle rain was falling. The Goat God was naked. His muscular body was defined by the half-light of the crepuscular hour. He stood tall and powerful, He had hooves for feet and goat-like legs. His torso was human and masculine, and his broad chest was covered in dark hair. His bulging arms and powerful curving shoulders led me to contemplate his handsome horned head. His eyes were deep brown and had a piercing lustful gaze. He breathing was heavy and his adrenaline fuelled stance told me that he had been running. In my head, Gustav Holst’s little known beautiful mood enhancing string arrangement of Nocturne, the second movement from his Moorside Suite played perpetually, whilst the vision intensified. Pan came closer, much closer. Io Pan! O Come let us adore Him!

So there you have it, a brief mystical sojourn into a few of my poetic adventures, my esoteric explorations and my visionary night mares. Or maybe, just maybe the blarneyest blather in all Corneywall!

This article owes a nod and a wink to James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Doc Shiels, Aleister Crowley and Robert Graves.

I shall write more about the Segonia poetic portal alignment in due course, watch this space....

Further reading.
Monstrum, a Wizard's Tale by Tony 'Doc' Shiels. Fortean Tomes, 1990.
Hymn to Pan by Aleister Crowley. 1929.
The White Goddess by Robert Graves. Faber and Faber 1948.
The Owlman and Others by Jonathan Downes. CFZ Press 2006.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Feast of Atargatis

To mark today's feast of Atargatis, 21st February 2010, we are pleased to present an article that was originally published in The Lighthouse number 2, Autumnal Equinox 1993 issue. The Feast of Atargatis, a strange but true visionary adventure of psychic communications across time and space, of haunting past lives and the battle between a mermaid fish Goddess and a dark sea monster from another dimension. Enjoy.

The Feast of Atargatis

(Four Go Mad at Brean Down)

by Swami Amrit Surlok

Thames Estuary. Isle of Tanit. Circa 900 BC.

Nights darkness. At the rivers edge a procession of robed forms silhouetted as their shadows moved in the moonlight. Selenka, Priestess, Princess, raises her arms and her companions follow. The gateway in the depths to the spaces between the spaces was open and the dragon of the deep stirred. Beyond the moons reflection another light flickered seeming to originate beneath the surface of the water. Selenka was troubled. Something was amiss. The forces she worked with were changing, distorting, as the rituals in her homeland degenerated. She thought of her Phoenician family and how she had travelled to this strange sacred river to oversee the rites associated with the sea on which her people depended. Her brothers Gilgaat and Balaat caused her great concern. All three of them were disgusted by the sacrifices of children to Astarte their father the king officiated at. The brothers were to be initiated as full Priests of the cult and would be expected to continue the procedure. Blood was everywhere. It was coming nearer. The seashell grotto of the water dragon stank of it.

Above: Second century AD Roman Atargatis.

Daylight. Selenka stood by the river. She'd seen the scene so vividly. The initiation of her brothers. The bald chanting Priests. The smoking choking incense. At the crucial moment the brothers turn away. Her father the king. They're walking back signalling refusal to accept. The king steps forward. A sword. The brothers slain. Balaats back shredded. Pierced to his lungs. Thrown on a ritual fire. She stood now staring at the beautiful plate she held in her hands. Charged with the energies she loved. An image of a female mermaid type form whose long flowing hair was made up of numerous tiny fishes. The whole framed in intricate patterns. It was all over. Must be shut down. Put into the ethers to return again in another time and space. She hurled the plate in despair into the river. There was still a final process to fulfil. Her brothers were in the great void. Magical destinies were being worked out. Almost immediately they'd been born again and yet not born. Deliberately magically aborted. Brought by the Priests to the river of darkness in the other world island in the west. To the star beacon, the hill of the dreaming dead. To the opposite bank of the very river at which she stood. They had come and placed the foetuses, Gilgaat sliced in half, in this void space to take them beyond normal destiny and prepare them for the right time. Secretly Selenka came to the hill and entered the realm of death working with the souls of her brothers to ensure their well being. For her now as for them this incarnation was to conclude with a sacrifice in the name of good. The black serpent, raw shadow of blood, Qliphotic form, was through the gateway now. Everywhere the feeling of pestilence and violence increased. Standing on the hilltop she called it to her. It wrapped itself entirely around her.

January 1993.
The black serpent was back in the River Thames. Somehow, after the performance of the extraordinary ritual to mark out the chakra points of the Avebury serpent at the winter solstice, a corresponding response in the depths of the Daath doorway beneath the waters in the realm of primal Nodens beyond Reculver had brought forth the balancing shadow form of the river dragon. The great conjunction was near. Uranus and Neptune. Vast karma burning. Past lives. The watery deep. Daath darkness to be faced. Acknowledged. Integrated. The close knit group of friends all were facing their shadows. What on earth had happened to them all? Suddenly they were barely able to talk to each other as they confronted intense agonies in their personal processes. Dispersion. Dissolution. Seething negativity. Violence in the air. Even strangers shared nightmares of a monster in the river.

Above: Eight pointed star depicted in the Margate Seashell Grotto

For Ma Prem Dana the last few months had finally proved to be too much. After her incredible inner plane initiation as Priestess of Ishtar in the Temple of the Blue Flame on Ishtar's feast day in August as Surlok's living room had entirely dissolved and become a Babylonian temple she and he had experienced a roller coaster ride of initiatory dramas beyond anything either of them had ever thought possible. The kahuna shamanic exorcism to remove Hecate from her. Encounter groups. Therapies. Screaming. Vomiting. Reiki. The endless sagas into the early hours of the morning of E.T.'s. Dolphins. Mahakala and Dakinis, Enochian Angels, the Babylonian past life with Surlok, the three eighteen foot tall void beings from Sirius who followed Surlok around, and finally the orgasmic ecstasy of the kundalini energy of Osho Rajneesh, quickly followed by the amazing revelation of Ishtar. Somehow she and Surlok had received in one stunning session a complete vastly intricate life teaching centred on a calendar of the eight pointed star of Ishtar in which everything that they were into was resolved. It aligned to the seasonal festivals of Paganism. This wheel of the year turned anti-clockwise and included a space between the spaces invisible eight point star within it to mark the half-way points between the festivals when, so they were led to believe, the void zones fully manifested. What did it all mean? The short term effect was total burn-out. Having climbed so high and been filled with so much light so did a complimentary stirring of the dark depths manifest. Every problem she'd ever had in her whole life confronted her in its most extreme form.

Swami Amrit Surlok knew that for him 1993 was time to really get into Tibetan energies. Lying on the floor having been reading about the wrathful deities, the skull smashing blood drinkers from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, he'd given himself a Reiki treatment listening to monks chanting to Tara. He experienced an unusual physiological phenomenon. Rapid eye movement whilst still awake and in fact intensely conscious. It lasted perhaps as long as half an hour and felt so strong he worried his eyes were about to shoot out on stalks. It concluded with a searing pain in his right temple. When he awoke the next morning both nostrils were filled with blood and he was acutely aware of his skull as he'd never been before and an aching all over it. A gentle pulsation in the forehead persisted on and off for days and eventually months afterwards. He calmly accepted he'd possibly had some sort of astral brain operation. It was not uncommon apparently to Reiki initiates. It fitted with the wrathful deities and Reiki was ultimately coming from a Tibetan space. After all Dana had experienced being taken by Mikao Usui to a mountain top where he'd pierced her brain with a foot long syringe. Extreme psychism immediately followed. It was worrying then to keep thinking of the river and something hideous pulling him there. Keep it under wraps. Don't talk about it to anyone. Don't pump it up.

Alex Langstone was disturbed. Why the pull to the Thames and the feeling of Lovecraftian malevolence? What did 1993 have to offer? Confiding in Surlok concerning the river they realised something was afoot. A get together was in order. Alex's flat. The Temple room. Why not listen to this Tibetan Tara chant. Within moments for Alex the room vanished to be replaced by Silbury Hill. A female form dancing atop it. A Sky Dancer Dakini? Surlok and Dana had both seen after the Avebury ritual, independently of each other on the same night, Tara and a host of Dakinis around Silbury. The figure was changing. The image resolving. It now looked eastern Mediterranean. A communication. A name. Selenka Astarte. Game on. In the weeks immediately following, Alex experienced Selenka as a kind of inner plane contact. It soon became apparent things were far more complicated . Scenes from the past. The river. The plate. Then beyond. The brothers. Death. Selenka the sister. Surlok felt a potential great significance in the shortly up coming conjunction with its aspects of deep karma and Neptunian waters. The black serpent in the river was bringing back what had gone before and it had to be resolved.

Surlok had a feeling about Selenka. Dana was out of commission wrestling with her personal demons. He was convinced Selenka was a past life of hers. On being asked the Selenka contact confirmed this. Here was an unusual case of what the literature of Shamanism called soul loss. There was no physical contact with Dana at all but some aspect of her was guiding a vast process. Some vital part of her she'd lost contact with and was consequently in a shut down stupor. It must be sorted but when? The Imbolc conjunction was the centre of gravity but it was felt unwise to undertake hefty work of a magical nature right in the middle of it. Surlok had been trying to make sense of the Ishtar Star teaching. He knew that this was a space between the spaces scenario. He knew that he was looking for a date somewhere in the twenties of February. Aha! The twenty-first was a new moon. This could be it. Investigate further. It was exactly six months on from the August Ishtar feast of Dana's initiation. The Star Teaching postulated a strange relationship between events separated by six month periods. Wasn't the Tibetan new year the new moon in February as well? This was getting interesting. Alex and Surlok wanted to transcend this past life grunge in order to be able to open up to the Tibetan energies they both now felt were to be the years centre of gravity. Here was a possible nexus point where all the issues could be put into the cosmic blender together. Surlok flicked through Durdin-Robertson's Goddess festival yearbook. February 21st. Atargatis!

Above: A Mermaid by J. W. Waterhouse

Here was the figure on Selenka's plate. Atargatis was primarily a Phoenecian Goddess generally pictured as half woman half fish. Virtually the original mermaid. In some versions she was consort to Dagon on whom Lovecraft had based his awesome Cthulhu concept. Cthulhu who lay sleeping beneath the ocean depths ready to return. Surlok knew that any situation like this could always be made far worse by looking a Kenneth Grant's books. Outside the Circles of Time was the best bet. Grant quoting Michael Bertiaux on translating forces from Universe B through the Daath portal into Universe A: "Dagon will come again, as will mighty sorceries - for the mighty beasts of the deep have been unleashed and they have gone about their pathway of destruction and far worse is expected - only by lycanthropic transformation by being and firstly becoming a monster shall the magician escape". Good news for certain. And Dagon was connected with Sirius. Hang on a minute. Ishtar star six months reverbs. After Surlok, Alex, Dana and others had performed an intense reality-smashing ritual to bring Isis/Sirius down into the Glastonbury Zodiac in July '92 in the brief period before Ishtar first appeared on the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary at the Ozric Tentacles gig at Glastonbury, Alex's Dion Fortune contact had spoken of a void portal opened in the Thames. There had been some joking about Dagon being in the river. Shortly before Dana's initiation a series of events had linked Ishtar to the river in a similar way to the Isis Thames connection and hints of Dagon had been present. No one was laughing now. The chums were knackered. 1992 had been a head-banging year. They just wanted to chill out until the pretty flowers came out. Lycanthropic transformation to sort out Daath portals to Universe B they could do without. Surlok had wondered why he'd been feeling like an axe murderer for a month. Now he was starting to suss it.

Atargatis was fascinating. The deities of the Phoenicians had links with the Babylonians. Atargatis was connected with Ishtar. As far as Surlok was concerned she was an aspect of Ishtar. She had strong elements of the love goddess about her. Aphrodite had undoubtedly evolved from Atargatis. Botticellis immortal image of Venus/Aphrodite emerging from the sea was a modern doorway into that space.

Above: The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

Here was the key. A turning point in the year. Winter transforming into spring. A black serpent to turn green. The spring love goddess to transmute the darkness from the depths. Atargatis was in some sense a glyph of a primordial moment in evolution that somehow each of the players in the drama had to recapitulate in their own psyches. Halfway between alien depths and human love she was a mediator who existed in the spaces-between-the-spaces just as, for example, the Trickster archetype was both animal and divine. Where to accomplish this though? At first somewhere along the Thames estuary seemed the best bet.

On a Sunday afternoon in late January Surlok suddenly recalled some Enochian void shenanigans he, Dana and Alex had messed about with the previous June. The whole thing had been quickly closed down when a huge serpent had emerged and started wrapping itself around Dana. What? No way was this not connected. He told Alex thereby pressing the on button for an exceedingly odd scenario. Late that night Alex felt called into his Temple room. Selenka was waiting for him. She pulled him out of his body and took him to Dana's flat where she was sat mute, a hideous serpent coiled around her body. Alex was to remove this serpent from her and give it a good hiding. He later confessed that the resulting tussle was the heaviest do of his life and he'd seriously considered at one point in the midst of it all that he'd taken on more than he could handle and was going to literally physically die. Eventually mission was accomplished.

Now a very surreal sketch. Alex and Surlok journeyed to Silbury Hill for the February full moon. They were guided by Selenka throughout. No contact in the 3D world with her physical current incarnation had happened all year. It was time for lycanthropic transformation. Hurray! A black serpent lay sluggish across the landscape. On the hill Alex's main inner plane contact who was known as Jeremiah orchestrated the scene. Selenka in attendence. Ishtar, Astarte, Tara and Kuan Yin at the four quarters. Surlok's friend Jane danced a serpentine circle around. Alex sorted out vast energies. Surlok allowed the black snake to enter him. He knew from his initiation into Sannyas he could handle it. Back then in November he'd screamed and howled and cried for twenty solid minutes as the awesome transformative life energy had entered his body. Hyperventilating to stop his ribs breaking and his body from exploding he'd experienced ecstasy beyond anything he'd previously known. Dana had seen a huge serpent rising up his spine. Coming back from Glastonbury to Avebury the next day Dana told Surlok that the same snake was in the ground there. Everything evokes its complimentary force. Again crying howling growling screaming writhing wriggling on the ground, on the womb of the Earth Mother, the third eye void gateway of Silbury, Surlok was overwhelmed. His tongue was flicking in and out. He was licking the earth. Find him a jacket that does up at the back. Finally peace was restored. The black serpent turned green. A turning point of sorts. The feast of Atargatis beckoned though. It seemed anything could happen by then.

Above: Mahakala

In the week leading up to the big day Surlok's phone rang. Dana! He'd deliberately not contacted her to lay all this horrendous strangeness on her as he knew she was going through some heavy times. He also knew that their incredible telepathic bond was such that inevitably she would be in some way tuned into the saga but to what degree? She knew an important time was very near. Cautiously they opened up to each other. He said nothing at first of the Selenka story. She'd been dreaming of underwater scenes. Dolphins and mermaids. Yes, she'd felt compelled to watch the movie "Splash" when it had recently been on TV. She'd had a long time affinity with mermaids. There was Tibetan stuff happening for her as well. Most importantly a strong feeling had been building up to travel to the West Country for the coming weekend. All of her commitments had vanished leaving the time free. She wanted to go somewhere beyond Glastonbury. Visions of the sea. A cliff peninsular stretching a long way out into the water. Let's get together with Alex and see what happens.

Above: Brean Down

As Surlok put the phone down he realised where the location was. Brean Down! He practically vomited his dinner up. Brean Down. The physical location for Dion Fortune's immortal occult novel "The Sea Priestess". The haunting past life drama of a woman called from far off lands (in this case Atlantis) to preside over sacrificial rites of the sea and the karmic reworking in the present day of what was left unresolved. Dana had not read the book and didn't know the story. Neither Surlok or Alex had consciously recalled it recently but the whole Selenka story had uncanny resonances with it. Once Surlok got the idea of Selenka as Sea Priestess his legs almost gave way. He and Alex knew Brean Down and the novel only too well. Back in July 1990 in the days of the Grove of the Sky Dancers they'd performed in Essex the ritual the Farrars had got together from the fragments in Fortune's book. When Surlok had got home that night his bedroom ceiling had partially collapsed and he'd narrowly escaped serious injury. Stories circulated that the sea priestess material was well strong and others had had some heavy scenes with it. Undeterred and possibly insane they'd gone to Brean Down later that year to do the ritual again. After a few strange events they’d bottled it and fled in a state of near hysterical terror convinced that certain death would have followed the rituals performance. They knew something big and unresolved was waiting for them there and they'd have to go back eventually.

Above: Priestess by Chesca Potter

Friday February 19th. Surlok, Dana and Alex at Alex's flat. The beans spilled. How much of this saga corresponded to whatever was happening to Dana? A good test case: Alex and the serpent he'd removed from her. Surlok knew when that had been. The movie "The Abyss" (most appropriately) had been on TV that night. Part of Dana's drama of being presented with karma to be micro waved was the reappearance of an ex boyfriend who can be called Bob after the character in "Twin Peaks". He'd come out of the closet and Dana recalled the night in question vividly. On waking the next morning Bob had told her he'd spent the whole night pulling snakes out of her body. At that time in general it was not unusual for him to relate that he'd just disposed of a large snake out of the window. It's a funny old life guv'nor and no mistaking. The unutterable strangeness of this vibed up the coming weekend very nicely.

So long awaited the Feast of Atargatis weekend was here. Tibetan new year. Nexus point. Alex, Surlok, Dana and Ma Sitaram Kola headed for Silbury for starters. Atop the hill where Selenka had first been seen Surlok and Alex burned Tibetan Buddhist incense around a large framed picture of the great protector Mahakala. A statue of the Dhyani Buddha Askobhya (who transmutes the distorted energy of anger, aggression, hatred and violence into clarity and mirror wisdom) and an image of Green Tara.

Dana let out a great scream. On to Brean Down in primal darkness for a preliminary vibe out. Dana was told the story of the Sea Priestess of Dion Fortune. Surlok's three 18 foot tall mates from Sirius were about as well. Finally to a B&B in Weston-Super-Mare. Surlok wasn't impressed by the decor in the bedroom of the lesser spotted whatever it was warbler and up went Mahakala. Out came the statue of Tara. Into the sleep void softly chanting the name of Mahakala.

Feast day. Brekkers. A party of Nuns sat next to the chums crossing themselves before eating. Good job they didn't get a glimpse of Mahakala. He's a fluffy pink pussy cat when you get to know him, but his appearance is that of a terrifying demon. To the beach and the great sheer face of rock to be climbed by steep stairs. Dana confirmed on seeing the place in day light for the first time that it was indeed the place of her visions. Why was a man sitting at a desk way out on the beach? Why was another wearing a straw boater doing some outlandish dance routine a little further up the beach? They were being filmed. Of course that explained it all. 11am. Sunday morning and miles had been walked and to where? The climax of such a saga was hardly likely to be uneventful. Alex began to develop strange physical symptoms. In his recent workings with his Temple of Isis Iseum he kept ending up drowned at the bottom of the sea as some sort of sacrifice. It had been so real he'd tasted sea water and felt his lungs filling. He began to intuit a karmic link with his asthma and recent bouts of pleurisy. Now his breathing was laboured and his back hurting. The image of Baalat’s sliced back and punctured lungs. And out there in the Bristol channel ahead a lighthouse. Haunted since childhood by this image and recently going through events linking it with the goddess he was launching a magazine of that name. Deep, at the very least, Jungian processes of integration were emerging from his depths. As the four chums neared the ruined fort at the cliffs edge Alex felt as if his whole life’s drama was about to somehow be resolved.

Above: The Sea Priestess (detail) by Paul Atlas-Saunders

Surlok marvelled at how the diverse and individual elements of the whole mythic saga somehow harmoniously interrelated so that even apparent contradiction could be integrated within its flow. He had his own personal perspective on what this was all about. When the Avebury ritual had first entered his head his brain was full of Kenneth Grant, nutty stories of Egyptians in Wiltshire and an image of Nuit arched over Silbury painted by Chesca Potter. Nuit equated with Draco, dragon serpent of space, "Primal Goddess of the Seven Stars, which were considered as her spirits, souls or sons. These seven were manifested by the first-born son, Typhon, ie Set." The feeling was that the serpent in the sky of infinite space was lying also in the landscape waiting to resonate again to the most archaic of frequencies. The ritual would "bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men" by aligning the seven stars with the seven chakra points in the landscape serpent. It was a safe bet that such a sketch would have tumultuous results. Two months later he felt he had a preliminary understanding of what had happened, at least to him. Vibing heavily with Crowley and ancient Babylon he was experiencing some kind of blending. He'd often felt surprised in view of Crowley's Babalon cultus how few references to Ishtar as such could be found in Thelemic literature. He believed she should be consciously fully integrated into the Thelemic mythos being a perfect meeting place of celestial Nuit and physical Isis. Here was the original Queen of Heaven and Goddess of Love, War and Magick all in one. After all the Scarlet Woman, Whore of Babylon of Revelations, undoubtedly derived from Ishtar.

There's a strange correlation between the void of infinite space and the oceans darkest depths. Life emerged from both these profoundly alien zones. Just as there was a dragon of space who could be considered as the womb of humanity so likewise a dragon of the deep. In the Babylonian system this was Tiamat. Tiamat, Surlok felt, was a Nuit of the waters. As the seven stars were in the Avebury serpent so they were also in the Thames as he himself had previously discovered in his psychic quest along it in 1991 through seven holy wells to its source at Seven Springs. Tiamat was a benevolent force. A womb of humanity. As Babylonian culture developed something went wrong. As matriarchy was supplanted by patriarchy the male deity Marduk predominated. Tiamat became personified as a chaos monster, an evil force. In a conflict with Marduk she was dismembered. The Phoenicians seemed to have pumped up the worst aspects of Babylonian material the wrong way. Alex's battle with the serpent was a wyrd echo of the Marduk Tiamat scenario. The Thames serpent represented a magical current distorted. Alex and Surlok had no quarrel with Marduk. He was an old matey of theirs. That didn't alter the fact that Tiamat needed rehabilitating. There had been a strong feeling that all of the whole mad business needed to be sorted by the Spring Equinox. This was Tiamat's festival and Babylonian new year when the combat of Marduk and Tiamat had been ritually re-enacted. If the current remained distorted the whole year would be wrecked. Atargatis felt like a meeting of Tiamat and Ishtar who were ultimately the same force. It made perfect sense (to Surlok at least) that She offered an ideal key to turn everything around.

Dagon as a Typhonic force was a watery Set. Set the first born of the Seven Stars from the space between the spaces. A son/consort of the Goddess. This energy is in everyone. No point in putting on a blissed-out New Age smile and surrounding yourself with cotton wool and candy floss and ignoring it or banishing it as evil. Face it, own it, integrate it. Deny it and remain unbalanced for the rest of your life. In Jungian terms at least to claim you haven't got a Shadow is pure stupidity. The void. Ecstasy or terror? Dissolve in it's silence. In space no-one can hear you scream. But...Harpocrates divine child carries the real bliss in his smile and his gesture of silence. The radiance of the sun behind the sun.

Above: Aeon Tarot Trump from Aleister Crowley's
Thoth Tarot, painted by Lady Frieda Harris

Nothingness is always greater than that which apposes it. Fear of the void. Mankind’s endless striving and mechanical desiring all come from it. Distorted energy of distracted being as the Tibetans would term it. Ishtar, Crowley, Tibet, and Rajneesh taught Surlok the same thing: the Void is female. The destruction it appears to reap is always necessary. It is actually a nurturing force. Paradoxically it is empty and utterly full and overflowing simultaneously. This was the Zen Koan life had presented Surlok with that had finally destroyed his brain. The Void is the Tao. It is life itself. Set-Typhon appears as a monster, a dismemberer just like the wrathful skull smashing blood drinkers of Tibet. As the Abyss is crossed and the ego has to have its endless games dissolved, even that which was good and worthy, of course it comes to picture the dynamic energies responsible as terrifying and evil. The Indians knew the truth. Shiva was simultaneously creator and destroyer. To Surlok he was like the Horus-Set duality in one figure. Even an accomplished mystic and magician may hang onto the fear that when all they thought they were and knew is gone there will be nothing left. All of the paraphernalia of ritual is an attempt to hang onto and pump up what ultimately you have to give up. Ra Hoor Khuit the will of the magician is very impressive and powerful and it's tempting to identify exclusively with him but Hoor Paar Kraat is vaster by far and his message through Harpocrates is Silence. There's a Gnostic image of Harpocrates seated on a lotus. Surlok used it in his imagination to blend Crowley and Tibet and to help all of those diverse elements of his mind to harmoniously dissolve into the Void together. The Nothing that is feared is Everything. Only in it, out of the Tao, that Void can the True Will , the star of the Hidden God, the sun behind the sun, manifest. Some challenge.

Surlok knew '93 was an inevitable Thelemic saga. His three mates from Sirius always appeared in Crowleyan situations. He began to intuit increasing levels of subtlety. Having raised the serpent within himself through Sannyas and the Avebury ritual so also did Set-Typhon manifest. The Dagon serpent he'd allowed to enter him served as Hoor Paar Kraat to Ra Hoor Khuit. He was putting on the wings and arousing the coiled splendour within him. This void Goddess space was what Muktananda called the divine Goddess Shakti Kundalini whose body is the entire universe and is all life. As this force got to work in an individual it ironed out the creases. Spasms and convulsions, howling like an animal, all sorts of odd physical symptoms, many not at all pleasant, were standard fare. This was the Typhonic initiation. Surlok longed for the Roses of Isis.

And so they had found themselves, as if in a dream, exploring the ruins of the nineteenth century army fort that in Dion Fortune's novel had become the temple home of Vivien Le Fay Morgan, looking down the steep jagged rocks to the crashing waves of the tumultuous Bristol Channel. There on the rocks at the waters edge the Fires of Azrael had been lit and the secrets of the future seen. A semi-circular ruined gun emplacement at the very edge of the cliffs provided a self contained zone which could easily be mocked up in imagination as a temple. It was a bright morning and looking out and down into the waters, the sunlight glistening through their rhythmic pulsations, it was easy to get a sense of ancient civilisations and their timeless mysteries. Ever since first reading the Sea Priestess in the early eighties Alex had experienced powerful longings to travel to Brean and throw himself into the sea as a sacrifice. The feeling returned stronger than ever. Turmoil boiled within him.

Above: Astarte Syriaca by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dana sat on the outer rim of the gun emplacement facing out to sea. Surlok sat at her left, Alex to her right. Kola stood behind Alex. Dana now saw Surlok standing above his body wearing a white robe and holding a stone urn that was giving forth clouds of smoke. Smoke of the fire of Azrael. She saw herself in a green velvet robe with gold embroidery. Alex was in red and holding aloft a long sword pointing to his left that reached over the heads of Dana and Surlok. So did Selenka, Gilgaat and Balaat make their return. Had they had some sense of all this then? What had they seen in that fire? Dana had a strong feeling of life in the churning channel, they were being watched from deep within the water. Her throat constricted and she began to experience a physical transformation until she had gills and was breathing through them. A wave of divine energy came from the water and shot through her body up between her legs. Kundalini sea energy. Exactly six months on from her initiation as a Priestess of Ishtar so now did she become Priestess of Atargatis as Selenka was reclaimed and reintegrated. What exactly does a Priestess of Atargatis do in the twentieth century? Within moments she was to find out.

Alex was in agony. He was blind. The sea had entered his head. A blue energy that seemed to say "come to me". This was the end. Kola held him back and put Reiki into him. He had opened his eyes but couldn't see. Or breathe. Coughing. Choking. Water in his lungs. Dana put her hands on Alex. "Get the pain out!" he howled. His back was open. A great gaping wound hole. Burning as if seared with red hot metal. Dana's process of reintegration with her higher self had been instantaneous. Without even thinking she understood what had happened to her and was able to help Alex. "The sea is not your enemy. It's your friend. Use it to heal yourself. That blue energy. Breathe it in. Breathe out, spew out the colour of your pain. What colour is your pain?" Brown. Alex coughed up grunge galore. The cosmic process got personal. He was looking for someone/something to blame for his pain. Dana switched on her Sannyasin therapist aspect. Alex's self exorcism climaxed in a scream to the waters. Sadness. Depths of grief. The forces that Surlok and Dana's Sannyas initiator Manan had called the Divine Energy Dance came down and took Alex's pain away. Transmuted the base matter, the prima materia. Compassion flooded Alex. And then. Love. This was a homecoming. He'd returned to the depths where he'd emerged from. Personally, emotionally, spiritually, magically, totally. Acknowledged, owned, integrated, loved. So is the shadow sorted. He opened his eyes. "I am going to have to take the 1st degree of Reiki" he said.

So the chums walked back along Brean Down and out onto the beach for the finale. The beach was all but deserted. The February sun shone promisingly. Out to the waters edge. An offering of love to Atargatis/Aphrodite and the hope of the coming Spring. Red and yellow flowers and milk given to life’s waters, to the Love Goddess of the Sea who had guided the agonies of transformation from the alien bestial void depth. Ishtar/Tiamat. Yes, the secret of Alchemy. Without love you cannot face your shadow and sort it. Blessings had showered. All praise to the Goddess. The chums were totally blissed-out. Off they went for some well earned tea and buttered scones. On the journey home they stopped for a silent acknowledgement of the awesome mystery that is Silbury Hill and then back to mystic Essex for beddy-byes.

Monday 22nd February 1993. Alex and Dana had obviously got a result from Brean Down, but Surlok wasn't sure if the whole process had been fulfilled for him. Despite some extraordinary material that Dana and Alex had given him concerning his three mates from Sirius he was left feeling that for him personally surely something more spectacular should have concluded this epic saga. He went to bed and entered what he termed "Void Consciousness". This was a space he instantly recognised and had preceeded his astral brain operation. It was somewhere in the realm of Gurdjieff's "Self Remembering" and Osho's "Witnessing". A sense of conscious awareness but without any object or ideas being seized upon for that awareness to maintain itself. It started by just looking at the back of the eyelids and thinking on nothing. No verbal formulation. If this state was maintained sometimes a shift of gear occurred when it seemed the head expanded. He found himself in that space. Now his hands began to throb and pulsate very strongly as they rested palms down by his sides. He was used to strange sensations in his hands from Reiki but this was excessive. He was not aware of any discontinuity in his consciousness at any point in this process. His hands continued to pulsate ever more strongly.

Suddenly he felt a shock as profound as any he'd known. A pair of hands, utterly real, totally physical. were gripping his own as if from beneath, palm to palm. Opening his eyes he saw emerging from below his stomach, joined to him, the upper body of a male humanoid entity whose hands were those gripping his own. Its colour was a blue tinged olive. The face was like some classical God or Angel but somehow familiar. The eyes were burning. Whites incredibly bright. It looked at Surlok. Into him. A transmission of energies through the hands penetrated his subtle bodies. He was aware of endless layers and grids, of energies inside him. Chakras, acupuncture meridians, bodies of light, his human anatomy. The whole lot. Everything. The two figures were merging. Undulating pounding waves of interpenetrating electric rhythms were forming new retuned circuits of energy. Surlok was moaning and groaning orgasmically and then again opened his eyes. What? A dream? A searing pain shot through his right temple. He'd had a complete continuity of consciousness. Intense self awareness in fact but...Whatever the hell had just happened it was certainly no ordinary dream experience.

The face! It was the face of Harpocrates from Crowley's "Aeon" Tarot Trump and it was also Surlok's own face. Get Kenneth Grant's "The Magical Revival" off the shelf. Set-Horus etc. Harpocrates-Hoor Paar Kraat-Set. The concealed aspect of Horus. The Hidden God. Sirius. The form of Horus in Crowley's "The Book of the Law" is Hru-Machis. A twin form with Horus/Ra Hoor Khuit and Set/Hoor Paar Kraat/Harpocrates as its dual aspects. Surlok was already into the Harpocrates form. "Applied to man, these twins embody the idea of the soul and the spirit. The soul is the astral shade, the stellar light in darkness represented by Set and Sirius, the spirit is the solar body of light, represented by the sun. One is of the night, the other of the day." Harpocrates God of Silence seated on a lotus. "The active form of typified by the secret creativity which operates in the darkness and solitude of gestation." All through 1992 Surlok had got progressively further into the "Aeon" card. Now, amazingly, he'd experienced it as a living reality. This card has been "Judgement" in old Aeon decks. Dead coming forth from tombs. Angels with trumpets. As a backdrop of his personal "Aeon" Surlok fancied he heard Tibetan trumpets. He recalled his skull smashing, blood drinking buddies. The realms of the Bardo. Judgement of the dead. The white light of the Void. Radiance of the Silver Star. So did he integrate his Shadow. This was his homecoming. To the Sun behind the Sun. The Hidden God. Born from the Void. Nothing would ever be the same again. For the players in this drama, Surlok, Dana and Alex this was finally it. The end of the beginning.

Above: From left to right, Surlok, Alex and Dana a few
weeks before the climax of the amazing psychic adventure.

The Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley.
The Sea Priestess by Dion Fortune.
The Magical Revival by Kenneth Grant.
Outside the Circles of Time by Kenneth Grant.
The Goddess of Love by Geoffrey Grigson.

When presenting Alex with the 1st draft of this article on 5/6/1993, a 33 day numerologically, which was 11:11 part 2 and 6 months to the day since receiving the Ishtar star teaching Surlok saw for the first time in Olivia Robertson's "The Call of Isis" the FOI Star and Dragon diagram showing Tiamat coiled around the Star of Ishtar with its matrix of the inner sun and 33 centres. His gonads trembled. Exactly 6 months to the day after the Avebury ritual which had provoked images of Tara at Silbury and talk of helping to bring Shambhala into the British landscape Tibetan Lama Ganchen Rinpoche presented Kalachakra Shambhala teachings of healing and purification under the protection of White Tara a few miles from Avebury. He spoke of the auspiciousness of performing this work near to such an important site at such an important time. So Ishtar and the Star teaching and Tara and the Wheel of Great Time teaching came ever nearer to blending as Surlok and Dana knew they would. Tara, after all, means "Star" and "great void".

"Love one another with burning hearts"

About the Author
Swami Amrit Surlok (aka Paul Weston) is a Psychic Questing, Reiki, Crowley, Fellowship of Isis, Adi Da, Kriya Yoga, Mother Meera, Druid, Osho, Gurdjieff, Scientology, Anthony Robbins firewalking, UFOlogical, Avalon of the Heart, 2012 kind of guy. He is author of Mysterium Artorius, published in 2007 and Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus, published in 2009. His new book Avalonian Aeon will be out sometime during 2010. Check out his blog Avalonian Aeon Publications