Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Lucifer Bridge Poetry Anthology

The debut poetry collection from Alex Langstone will be available to purchase from January12th 2010. The book promises to be packed with some of the author's most stunningly descriptive and evocative poetry, along with beautiful artwork and photography by some of today's leading occult illustrators.

The Last Angel by Nicholas Roerich

A personal view by Alex Langstone

The front cover features
The Last Angel by renowned Russian mystical artist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich. It was painted in 1912, and is representative of the feeling of the era just before the first world war, where prophets and visionaries saw the madness of the world closing all around. I chose the cover art, not because of it's pervading sense of gloom, but for it's profound visionary appeal. Roerich the visionary mystic painter, along with many of his contemporaries felt this sense of disaster around in the early 20th century. There are many echoes of this today in the early 21st century. The doom and gloom of the 2012 prophecies, the crazy materialistic secular society we live in, conspiracy theories, suicide bombers, corrupt governments everywhere, crazy fundamentalist religions, fascism; the list goes on and on. But there is hope! Within the darkness of humanity there is a spark of beauty and creativity that hosts the divine peaceful and nurturing spirit of the universe. Through my writing, I hope many will glimpse this beauty of the natural world, be uplifted by it and come to realise that we need to try to foster a positive optimistic outlook, where each of us are free to express our own spiritual voice. Therefore the last angel becomes morphed into a being of transformation, light and hope, who leads us along the shimmering pathway to where we each need to be!

The write up below is from the back cover.

Lucifer Bridge is the debut poetry collection by Alex Langstone. Featuring modern poetry of a surreal, mystical, esoteric, and romantic nature, partly inspired by the diverse beauty of the British landscape and also by the dark visionary esoteric-poetic adventures of the author. Alex Langstone has previously seen his work in print through various publications including The Heritage Journal, Meyn Mamvro, Poetry Cornwall and The Mirror of Isis, and in anthologies published by Forward Press. This debut collection, hand picked by the author, promises to inspire, excite, delight and stimulate!

The Last Angel is reproduced with kind permission of The Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York, USA.

Lucifer Bridge is available to buy from this website.
Click here to buy now.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

In Memorium

Dave Hunt
1941 - 2009

Friend and mentor across time and space.
A tribute by Alex Langstone.

It is with great sadness that I can report the death of ASH magazine founder Dave Hunt. Dave was a stalwart of the Earth Mysteries and Occult communities in the south-east and his encyclopedic knowledge of folklore and mythology was outstanding. He spent many years researching landscape mysteries and legends around Essex, a county he loved.

Dave was born in 1941 in Mevagissey, Cornwall and he always loved exploring the British landscape. Indeed in 1993, we spent time researching an alignment of ancient sites across south-west England, which was eventually written up as The Eucharist of Osiris, and published in The Lighthouse volume 2 number 1.

But it was in 1985 that I first met Dave. I was a keen and enthusiastic 20 year old, wet behind the ears, but fascinated by esoteric subjects and eager to learn. Dave took me under his wing, and over the months and years that followed I learned much. Dave had a great way of passing on knowledge, and I shall always remember with affection, the years we studied together, and the way Dave always encouraged and supported me. He was the key player in the publication of my book Bega and the Sacred Ring, and without his valuable support I doubt if it would ever have been published!

His esoteric legacy spreads far and wide. Dave worked alongside many within the esoteric community. He was a student of 20th century occultist extraordinaire William G. Gray and was an adept of the Craft of Cunning. Dave worked with Andrew Collins during the early Earthquest group, where he helped Andrew research the Running Well Mystery. He later helped Andrew again in the search for the seven swords, by finding the sixth Meonia sword in Tintagel, Cornwall. This episode has been immortalised in chapter 45 of Andrew Collins' psychic questing classic The Seventh Sword. The chapter is entitled Morgana Awakes and absolutely sums up how I will always remember Dave.

Dave Hunt co-founded ASH magazine, along with myself, Ian Dawson, Claire Capon and Jim Kirkwood, and under his leadership he encouraged us all to write and lecture about what we had researched. He remained with the magazine until its demise in the spring of 1997. He also helped host two very successful ASH magazine Esoterica conferences and was fundamental in the organisation of the ASH Wednesday public meetings, held during the mid 1990s. He was an active member of the Leigh-on-Sea based Temple of Isis Iseum, during the early 1990s and a valuable guiding light, teacher and mentor in the Clan of the Trees. Dave's biggest legacy though was his research. He spent years researching the Essex Landscape Zodiac, and I sincerely hope that someone, somewhere has this document, and that it will one day be published. I recall spending many happy hours out in the field with Dave, whilst he checked and re-checked the maps and the landscape for clues to the elusive geometry of the Zodiac, and he gave many excellent lectures on this subject.

I am very fortunate to have in my possession some of Dave's work, and it will all be published in due course.

The thing that will always stay with me most of all was Dave's infectious sense of humour. Many times I recall situations that needed the lightness of his humour and he always made everyone laugh, and this was one of the joys of belonging to some of the groups he was a part of. Dave was a wise soul, who would tell it as it was! He will be sadly missed in the communities he served.

Below is a poem from an early issue of ASH, that Dave wrote. I can recall talking to Dave about it at length at an editorial meeting, where it caused much discussion. It is a particular favourite of mine and seems a fitting conclusion to this obituary.

Years End by Dave Hunt

Years End

by Dave Hunt

In the hours between the hours when day has
died and night not yet begun
and this old Earth is made to sigh by Autumn's dim
and dwindling days,
over hills and vales made mellow by the mists and
setting sun.
The Mother of the mystery walks her secret ways.
As old as time, and born of time itself She passes,
quiet, stealthy and unseen.
Shuddering with the cloying cold that surely
soon will come.
Making Summer's sun and warmth a half
remembered dream.
And as She passes, with caressing touch, She
plucks the life from all She does survey
and drops it, gently as a falling leaf, into
a basket made of dark decay.
Over all the land She wanders, dogged by
shades of darkness and of fear,
pausing for a while at homesteads locked
against the Crone,
to scratch at door and window or to
freeze the child's tear
who hears her in the chimney softly
When She has passed the land is
locked in Winter's sere and snowy hold.
The now dead sun hangs like a pearl in
the pewter bowl of sky,
yet folk in Albion, huddled round the
fires against the cold
quietly wait to hear from far a future
Child's cry.

Written in 1989, and originally published in ASH magazine no. 3.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Spirit of Portland

Spirit of Albion recently received a review copy of a brand new book entitled The Spirit of Portland, by Dorset earth mysteries researcher Gary Biltcliffe. Gary has spent 30 years investigating earth mysteries, ancient civilisations and lost knowledge around the world, and for the last 10 years has spent time investigating the ancient secrets of the historic Isle of Portland. Portland forms the central part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site on the Dorset and east Devon coastline.

Reviewed by Alex Langstone

For anyone interested in regional folklore and hidden history this book is very welcome. The author has thoroughly investigated the hidden side of Dorset's Isle of Portland. Using long out of print and unpublished works by Clara King Warry, who wrote much about the folklore, mythology and archaeology of Portland during the first half of the 20th century, Gary has managed to piece together a forgotten history of the Isle. This paints a very different picture that most people may have of suburban Portland, which is justly famous for its fine quarried limestone and the proud maritime history of two world wars.

Gary picks his way through the ancient megalithic sites, holy wells and geomantic landscapes of the area. This is particularly important as so many of Portland's ancient archaeological sites have disappeared over the last couple of centuries due to the ever increasing encroachment of the limestone quarries. This is still affecting some sites, in particular the ancient and beautiful Culverwell holy well, a sacred healing well which has been in continual use for thousands of years. This well sits on the coast between Southwell and the Bill. Ancient stones line the well head, and a stream leads away towards the cliffs, where a waterfall crashes down to the sea.

Above: the threatened Culverwell Holy Well

Gary also discovers some of Portland's ancient megaliths which are now incorporated into a stone wall. May they possibly be some of the ancient megaliths from the nearby site of the now vanished Saw Mill stone circle?

Gradually the entire geomythic drama of the dramatic rocky peninsular is revealed through landscape geometry, ancient history, folklore and via some of the many old Portland families with their masonic, occult and druidic secrets.

Links to ancient Phoenicia are discussed and the author makes many fabulous and intriguing discoveries including that of an unusual Semitic looking carved granite head which was dug up in a Portland garden. It was moved to the nearby museum after the garden owners found that locals were starting to bow in front it in a strange kind of Portlander ritual veneration!

Other legends are discussed including the giants of the island, and at the end of the book the author presents 5 sacred sites walking tours of the area which take in all of the sites discussed in the book.

The Spirit of Portland is a lavish production with many colour photographs, diagrams and maps. Though some may call to question some of the more outlandish claims made by the author, I for one can recommend this work as an important addition to achieving a better understanding of Britain's ancient history, sacred sites and folklore.

The Spirit of Portland. 192 pages, with 90 colour plates. Published by Roving Press, 2009. Frampton, Dorset. www.rovingpress.co.uk. Available from the publishers priced at £9.95. See the publishers website for more details - http://www.rovingpress.co.uk/Spirit_of_Portland.htm

See also the author's website here: http://www.belinusline.com

All photographs by Gary Biltcliffe, used with kind permission.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Lucifer Bridge Latest!

Sutton, Isle of Ely

Just a little reminder that I have published several new poems over on the Lucifer Bridge poetry blog. I have also managed to republish one of my earlier works - In the Fen Country, along with the symphonic impression of the same name by 20th century English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Bodmin Riding

So, what do the Cornish towns of Penzance, St Ives and Bodmin have in common? Well the answer may lie in a folk-tune heard around mid-summer in the aforementioned ancient and historic towns.

Above: the beast, helliers and the casket of St Petroc.

So with the tune's catchy refrain reverberating all around, here is a review of the 2009 Bodmin Riding ceremony The Horns of the Beast, performed at Bodmin Jail on Saturday 5th July 2009.

Bodmin Riding is a new experience for me, having recently moved to the district from Penzance. The festival offers us an unusual gateway into the second half of the year, just as Mazey Day functions as a climax at the height of the season. Bodmin Riding falls on the first weekend of July, and complements the previous weekends celebrations in Penzance superbly.

The Ragadaziow had gathered, and the Helliers (Cornish language "huntsman") seek the Beast around the town. They soon caught him, and the whole troupe gradually processed to the turreted and historic Bodmin Jail courtyard. The ancient bones of Bodmin's founder St Petroc lay in the old wooden chest, guarded by the gang of musicians that is the Ragadaziow (worthies of the borough).

Copious amounts of Riding Ale was consumed, and the Helliers guarded the beast, whilst An Gwary Bosvenna (the Bodmin mummers play) was performed. This unique play is a whistle stop flash through Cornish history in just 15 minutes, and draws on other traditional Cornish mummers plays, ancient manuscripts and folklore. A truly subversive celebration of the spirit of Cornwall!

Once the play had been performed, and more Riding Ale consumed, The Ragadaziow processed from the courtyard, playing the Riding tune and beating their drums. The sacred relics of St Petroc followed and behind the Helliers with their chained and fearsome Beast! Members of the public joined the procession towards the town centre, where the trial of the beast would be performed, and the town's mummers play would be acted once more. It was fascinating to watch people’s reactions as the penny gradually dropped that the Beast was not a nasty monster but was in fact a totemic representation of themselves.

At the trial the modern story of the Beast of Bodmin is told along with other stories, like the legend that the founding saint of Bodmin tamed a dragon by taking a thorn out of its foot. So in some ways the beast has become St Petroc's dragon, and thus a symbolic icon of Bodmin Town.

Bodmin Riding is a unique festival, blending ancient folk-tales of the area with a fun contemporary folkish feel. The best part of the festivities surround the ritual parading of the Beast of Bodmin. True weirdness; and because of that, absolutely fantastic!

Above: the Beast of Bodmin is captured by the Helliers


Click here to read more about, and hear the Bodmin Riding tune.
See here for 2006 Video of the hunting of the Beast
Photos: Top. The Beast the Helliers and the casket of St Petroc. Right. A Ragadaziow piper. Left. Bodmin Jail. Bottom. The beast is caught! All photos copyright Alex Langstone.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Astrological Chart for Winter Solstice 2012

A huge amount of hype has been attached to the Winter Solstice 2012. A date that has been written about for many years now, principally within "new age" circles and other areas of alternative thought. Spirit of Albion is very privileged to have Druid Grove of Bega member Carole Young (pictured left), an astrologer with over 30 years experience giving us her unique insights and interpretations of the much anticipated and sometimes feared winter solstice 2012.

Astrological Chart for Winter Solstice 2012 at 11:11 am

A Chart of Healing
and Awakening!
by Carole Young

Essentially I see this chart as one that shows a high degree of powerful healing energy due to Chiron rising. There are aspects that indicate advances in healing potential in both the orthodox and more alternative forms of healing and an emphasis on subtle energy forms perhaps combining with the more orthodox/scientific ways of healing and treating. Chiron the Wounded Healer/Shaman is very prominent in this chart and is rising next to the ascendant in Pisces, this gives it great importance and influence in the interpretation of the chart, it is really healing on a very deep level, not just physical healing of course! This is at the very core of this otherwise quite difficult astrological chart. Chiron takes us on a journey of self-discovery to lead us out of our pain, weaknesses, fear and ignorance, to transcend our Achilles heel through awakening and that is how Chiron heals. Chiron represents the bridge to the next level and can be a painful and difficult process as you would imagine. The message of Chiron in Pisces is to be unified with the collective/cosmos without losing individuality, also to connect with earthy Virgo to endow practicality, form and balance. To have courage, practical purpose and strength! This placement is also about growing out of ‘collective guilt’ and so experiencing the power and joy of being individuals. Chiron in this chart will also relate to issues/pain surrounding religion and faith.

The house that the Sun rules in any chart is very important and that particular house will have a major effect on the way the character of the chart manifests in life. In this chart the Sun rules the 6th house which is about health matters, cleanliness, day to day work affairs, service to others and is also in my view a house that is related to civic and political matters and service to others in the community. So these things will play an important role in the interpretation of this chart. The 6th house is about the people, ordinary everyday people that make up any community and the essential work done in the community (services). As the Sun makes many aspects, some harmonious and other’s more challenging then this shows a lot happening regarding 6th house matters. The 6th house Sun ruler ship also strengthens the link with health and medical matters. In fact the 6th house is naturally linked with the zodiacal earth sign of Virgo so although the Sun is in Capricorn in the 10th house (Government) its influence will have shades of Virgo 6th house energy about it.

This chart has a strong Pisces/Neptune energy, the Sun is at 0 00 degrees of Capricorn at the time of 11 11 am being the exact time for the Winter Solstice, the Sun’s yearly entry into the zodiacal sign of Capricorn, the death and rebirth of the Sun, the shortest day and longest night, a deeply potent and mystical time, the rebirth of the life/light giving Sun. The Sun is the heart of the chart and makes a harmonious aspect to spiritual Neptune. The Ascending sign in this chart at the time of 11 11 am is 4 degrees of Pisces and Neptune is in the 12th house just behind the Ascendant in the water element sign of Pisces at 0 degrees, and makes a wonderful and spiritual aspect to the Sun in Capricorn. So at the very core of this chart there is potential for awareness, a psychic awakening, a shift in consciousness for humanity and peace and inner tranquility. Neptune is the planet that has ruler ship over Pisces so this energy is highly pronounced indeed. Pisces is very much associated with religion, mysticism, meditation, the world of spirit and subtle energy and healing. Neptune and Pisces are also strongly associated with water in all it’s manifestations on this planet. The sign of Pisces and the planet Neptune are relevant to inspiration and imagination on the plus side and fantasy as well as escapism, addictions and illusions on the more negative side.

The aspects to the Sun in Capricorn are mainly harmonious but as with any astrological chart many other factors have to be taken into account, however it can be said that this Sun/Neptune aspect indicates the potential for great compassion and spiritual and divine love emanating from the divine source of creation; it is a showering and a shimmering of light. It is the birthing of a great light of power and love and could represent a shift in consciousness for humanity potentially! It may well herald in a period of great healing worldwide for humanity and the planet. This aspect between Sun/Neptune is so relevant as it takes place on the Winter solstice, at 11 11am which is a double gateway number and represents the opening of a great doorway, allowing powerful spiritual energies to flow through to human consciousness. Also this aspect is potent due to the fact that the planet Neptune is very close to the Pisces ascendant, making it all the stronger and relevant to the birth of a new body and manifestation of import. It is like an energy that has been waiting in the wings then bursts forth into the world, born at last. What exactly it is that is born we will have to wait and see and of course until then we can speculate, some people will believe in the actual birth of a person of great spiritual love and power as in the second coming of Christ, some will believe that it’s a shift in consciousness within mankind, eventually effecting all things, an awakening of Christos energy within mankind, many say it is to do with the precession of the equinoxes and the true start of the Aquarian Age, others may well believe it has something to do with extra terrestrial beings, as 2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar people wonder if it heralds the end of the world, personally I don’t buy into that and see it much more as a shift in consciousness bringing about great changes in the world. There are many theories about what will happen in 2012 and I am not going to comment further on these as there is a plethora of information available. The fact is we will have to wait and see and let’s face it, it’s not long now! Certainly the chart for Winter Solstice in 2012 is a very potent chart indeed with many difficulties and struggles indicated but a lot of positive spiritual indications as well. A lot of truth and a lot lies also! It must be said that with Chiron, the wounded healer rising closely on the Ascendant in Pisces there’s potential for a great healing to begin. Chiron, the Shaman also represents a transcending energy very strongly indicated on that day, transcendence from ignorance and fear, separation and pain to a state of awareness, unity and enlightenment and this transcendence could be relevant to religion/s, belief and faith. There could well be something of a quantum leap or the beginnings of one. As Pluto the planet of death and rebirth, the great transformer is conjunct the Sun and in aspect with Chiron and the Ascendant, I think transformation and healing is the order of the day, deep and profound changes and the healing of great and ancient pain to bring about a rebirth and to make it possible. Much may have to be let go of by many as Pluto is involved here and there may not be much choice about this, as this tends to be Pluto’s energy. It simply leaves a choice of acceptance and letting go but in doing that great treasure is revealed and the opportunity for re-birth. This is a chart of the Sacred Heart. The blossoming of the Heart Chakra potential for humanity!! Potentially a very ‘tuned in’ chart indeed, a shift for humanity perhaps and the opening of a gateway? Well. It’s all potential - we make it happen, we respond, we are dancer’s responding and moving to the music of the spheres expressing that music how we choose.

Now for other factor’s in the chart. Well, it has to be said this is a chart of duality really as well as the peace and spirituality of the positive aspects there is also some aspects indicating great delusion on that day! The Rising sign of Pisces, Neptune and Chiron are at the apex of an angular tee-square with Jupiter and Venus/Mercury, showing problems, blocks, tensions and imbalance, this could indicate stress involving religion and strongly held beliefs as well as more immediate problems on the actual day. There’s also a powerful illusionary tendency in this chart. However, when a tee-square is evident in a chart, astrologer’s look to the opposite sign, the empty sign, for in this zodiacal sign balance can be brought into play. In this particular case the balancing sign is Virgo. An earth sign associated with healing and Goddess energy, the fertile earth Goddess herself. Virgo is also associated with organisational skills and attention to detail and in polarity with Pisces makes earthy sense of the subtle, unformed energy of Neptune and Pisces! So, in other words Virgo has a system or creates a system that works efficiently in the physical world, so serving Pisces very well by bringing energy down to earth in a useful and grounding way! Virgo is also very versatile and adaptable and associated with healing, so these traits will be very helpful. In fact a lot of the planets in this chart are placed in mutable signs, so adaptability, change and movement is strongly evident. Virgo plays quite a strong role in the character of this chart as I wrote earlier in this interpretation.

Now regarding weather conditions! Well, this is a specialised area of astrology but for what it’s worth I offer the following based on knowledge I have gleaned over the years as an astrologer but I am no expert in this area.

This chart shows an indication that there could be a likelihood of flooding due to the strong planetary energy of water element Pisces and Neptune being in difficult aspect to Jupiter, all in angular (powerful) placements in the chart. Jupiter is in Gemini which is an air element sign, so winds and storms may be a feature, plus the fact that Uranus is in harsh aspect to the Sun, which can also indicate sudden storms and possibly solar storms. Astrologers have found that Jupiter can have a major effect on weather conditions, especially rainfall and water levels. I would consider though that the Moon is also a major indicator of rain and on 21st it is not a watery Moon being in fire sign Aries, so perhaps the effect will be mitigated. However, there was a new Moon on the previous day the 20th in the water sign of Pisces and Moon phases tend to bring in new cycles of weather conditions, so perhaps heralding in some wet weather. There is also an indication of problems regarding electricity due to aspects to Uranus and of course electrical storms and sudden weather conditions occurring due to the unpredictability of the planet Uranus! Also indicated in this astrological chart is a tendency for uprising, disruption and rebellion due to Uranus being in difficult aspect to the Sun and Pluto. This aspect is potentially very destructive but could eventually lead to transformation and rebirth after the chaos but it is quite a harsh energy, this aspect certainly indicates major world changes on a massive scale. Many established structures of society could fall in order to make way for the new. This aspect can also indicate a struggle between individualistic spirituality and more rigid dogma and beliefs. So there’s reformation about and a reach for freedom, truth and free expression and this aspect indicates struggles regarding this. As I wrote earlier a lot may have to be let go of and major changes and disruption could ensue. So, there’s definitely some chaotic energy around. Also, it must be said that with Uranus in difficult aspect to the Sun and Pluto it’s really a case of expect the unexpected around that time and hang on tight, but let’s not forget the harmonious and positive aspects also operative in this chart. There are indications from this aspect of financial struggles, what’s new? However, I feel that it’s possible that whatever people feel this date may bring it could well be that it is something completely different and unexpected that transpires because that energy is very Uranus in nature, sudden, unusual, shocking and surprising events, Uranus aspects often turn the tables on us and then turn them again just for good measure! Potentially all Uranus aspects can lead to an awakening and eventually more enlightened awareness! So there! The aspect from the Sun to Uranus is not actually exact by transit until the 25th December but the building tension of this aspect will be felt on 21st. When this chart is projected by Solar Arc then the Sun is exactly square Uranus in December 2016 lasting for a whole year! This means the promise of unusual conditions, tension and major change indicated by this aspect will come to full fruition late 2016 to late 2017! So, not all the aspects in the chart are going to kick off in one day, many aspects are of a long term nature. The very difficult aspect of Uranus Square Pluto for example is operative from June 2011 till May 2018 and the effects felt for many years afterwards plus the build-up before June 2011 will also be felt. These are extra Saturnian outer planets that effect many people over a long period of time, whole generations in fact. Uranus square Pluto will have many effects, all involving global upheavals and massive changes and struggles. This aspect could indicate some kind of global power and fanatical oppression and the ensuing struggles against this. Are we looking at global war here? Let’s hope not, it doesn’t have to be that, humans shape these planetary energies by their responses and they can be manifested in various ways. What this aspect could indicate is large pockets of people rising-up and rebelling against oppression, tyranny and misuse of power/control. Actually I think we are already witnessing the beginnings of this Uranus/Pluto aspect in the world today. This is because this aspect is in orb of influence as we speak but weak as yet. There’s also an indication of tension, power and control involving technology or opposing technology in this aspect. There could be massive migrations of people for various reasons and continuing global economic stresses, this aspect is upheaval on a large scale. Pluto rules nuclear energy, so problems could occur surrounding this, Uranus rules electricity/technology so take your pick! As for natural events, well these two planets in tense relationship to one another could indicate volcanoes, earthquakes, massive storms and floods and has the potential to be destructive on a large scale, but eventually bringing about a re-birth. I am sorry but there’s no way I can dress this aspect up to be pretty, I have to tell it like it is! Whatever it brings, we will learn to live through it and adjust to survive; we will be resourceful and adaptable because it’s what humanity does. Of course what we do now in the way of taking major measures to ease the climatic changes and polluted conditions caused by mankind will help to render this aspect less destructive to a degree as some of the effects of this aspect are related to mankind’s effect on natural resources/climatic conditions on this planet.

Yeah, The Winds Of Change Are Upon Us.
The Moon in this chart is in the Fire sign of Aries. The Moon would represent the general public and it indicates people will be full of go and have fire in their bellies! It is a very active moon and can indicate a ‘fresh start’ being in Aries, but it’s an assertive not an aggressive Moon. The Moon in this chart, although in the masculine warrior sign of Aries the Ram also has a link with children as it rules the 5th house in this chart, the Moon being the natural ruler of Cancer. So motherhood, nutrition and nurturing, birth, infants and children are an important factor in the energies of this chart. So another strong Goddess link is shown in the chart through the Moon and Cancer, the great birth mother and the great ocean, the other being the earth sign of Virgo playing a role in this chart as a balancing and healing energy in the tee-square configuration, as mentioned earlier.The Moon in this chart is a transformative Moon as it contacts Pluto and represents the struggles and pains of a rebirth and some difficulties regarding this, as would be expected. This aspect is also like the rooting out of deep-seated negativity and repressed pain. I also feel this aspect is about the revealing of hidden things. The Moon being in Aries is very positive as this indicates people will be courageous and resourceful. An Aries Moon is very exciting, determined and independent, active and courageous and is a good counter balance to all that emotional water from Pisces and Neptune. The Moon is also in powerful aspect to Mercury in Sagittarius which renders it very busy and active to say the least and brings instinct, intelligence, courage, individuality and exploration into the mix! It’s an all systems ‘go’ aspect. It’s a ‘survivor’ Moon. I think there’s a sporty quality to this chart as well to some degree, certainly an adventurous one.My feeling on this chart is that it is one of healing of the earth and mankind as I wrote at the beginning of this report. I would certainly call it a Chironic chart (Shaman/Healer) but there’s often pain associated with this energy and learning from this pain and transcending out of it to become the wounded healer. So it looks like there will be upheaval, difficult weather patterns, losses, rebellion and oppression all potentially operative in the chart but all offset by really dramatically positive aspects at the very Heart of the Chart. There’s balance in all life. Certainly all the stressful and difficult aspects are offset by harmonious and positive ones and that is a good energy in a chart and reflects the dark and light sides of life, the Ying and Yang. The difficult aspects can also indicate effort and hard work and the taking up of challenges, leading to achievement and progress. Difficult aspects in a chart can indicate strength, depth of character and understanding plus qualities of selflessness, wisdom and resourcefulness. Too many easy aspects are not always a good thing and to see challenging and harmonious aspects together is very desirable as both are needed for a balanced character. I always feel a chart with some difficult aspects indicates an individual with soul, depth and true grit, and in practice I have always found that to be the case!

I certainly think that some kind of shift is evident, around this time in consciousness and the fact that the exact Solstice takes place at 11 11 am I find very interesting and could indicate something powerful happening which many people have tuned into for some time, myself included. The belief is that a portal or gateway will be opening to allow a very spiritual and beautiful energy to come through. I suspect 2012 may be the start of the Aquarian Age, the actual birth. We have been seeing and experiencing the birth pangs as the Aquarian Age has been in labour, so to speak and it has been getting closer and closer, fading in and out and then birthed in 2012. The Aquarian Age represents divine consciousness manifest in Mankind, come down from the heavens and realised in humanity or certainly the awareness that this spiritual energy is present within ourselves and always has been. Aquarius is the ‘Sign of Man’ realising his/her own potential and is a very idealistic sign. As well as the Brotherhood of Man, Aquarius is also very much about science and technology and as we all know this has been advancing at an amazing pace and will continue to do so but there also could be a shift in our awareness and knowledge regarding these things and how they may be used for the benefit of all humanity. I also think the concept of spirituality and science/technology could well come into the equation, the energy within all things being realised, a shift away from so much emphasis on the material form and also possibly a move away from the more orthodox forms of religion and dogma. A move perhaps towards more individual freedom of expression and belief regarding spirituality and this being much more acceptable for many more people. However, in the Aquarian Age most (not all) peoples religion will be science and technology used for the benefit of all in its highest and noblest expression! There may well be a continuation of the almost religious fascination with celebrity due to the opposite sign being Leo which is a zodiacal sign associated with show-business and celebrities! The true religion of the Aquarian though is brotherhood, individuality, idealism, freedom and humanity!

However, the fire sign of Leo will actually play an important role during the Aquarian Age being the opposing sign, bringing a counter balance to the picture. Leo will, I think represent the heartbeat of the age, bringing warmth and joy, great art and creativity, plus love, enthusiasm and passion to balance the idealistic quirky intelleligent but cool and detached Aquarian characteristics. Leo is also known as the royal sign and represents leadeship. Leo is the heart chakra energy of love and so will be a powerful quality during the times ahead. Leo is a fixed fire element sign and is ruled by the sun. It will bring heart, focus and purpose to the Age. So read Aquarius and Leo for the signs of the times. These two signs working together will be great indeed, but when out of balance will be more challenging of course. There is no such thing as a good ot bad sign, each has its part to play in the whole scheme of things and each sign has positive and negative traits. The zodiacal signs of Leo and Aquarius are both associated with the art of astrology so we will see a continued rise in interest in this subject. In fact I will go as far to say astrology will play a prominent role in many aspects of life during the Aquarian Age and will be accepted by many more people as a serious and useful tool that is an aid to life and humanity when understood properly and used with wisdom and love to unify and not divide.

This chart also shows great sensitivity and compassion due to Neptune and Pisces being prominent. So I am saying the potential is for all these things in the future as the Aquarian Age advances, and is indicated in this chart by various aspects as a start in that direction. So it is an astrological chart of awakening! My feeling about this particular chart is that it shows the ending of the Piscean Age and so allowing for a new beginning, the Age of Humanity (Aquarius) but not without upheaval.

Now for a look at the position of the great teacher planet Saturn. Well, Saturn is placed in the sign of Scorpio which is a sign associated with healing and is one of the finest expressions of this sign. Saturn in Scorpio can be challenging but it does bestow great depth of character learned from very hard lessons. This placement also has a quality of ancient wisdom about it and in this chart it is actually very favourably connected to other planets, it aspects the Sun and Pluto favourably and the Ascendant, so could well act as a stabilising influence bringing depth and ancient wisdom strongly to the mix. Saturn does make one stressful aspect however, an aspect to Jupiter which will act as a tight reign on Jupiter’s over expansive energies, causing some stresses, irritations and strains as Jupiter tries to fly free and expand without restraint, this aspect is indicative of old and established patterns of behaviour and beliefs holding back fresh ideas or trying to and so a kind of struggle ensues until this aspect brings about a realisation leading to awareness, so it’s a letting go but with difficulty, eventually leading to more awareness, (a theme in this chart) this would also be indicative of Jupiter being in retrograde motion. Some wise introspection is required and back-tracking to sort out unfinished issues from the past before moving forward.

It cannot be emphasised too much how the return of ‘ancient wisdom’ is shown in this chart and the discovery of ‘something’ very ancient is shown as potential. This is due to Saturn in Scorpio in aspect to Pluto in Capricorn, Jupiter retrograde in the 4th house (wisdom from the distant past) and Mars in Capricorn in aspect to the Moon’s Node There are aspects in this chart that indicate the revealing of secrets, hidden, repressed or forgotten knowledge and information (another theme in this chart).

Many of the planetary placements in this chart are in angular houses which gives them strength and prominence indicating important and powerful events occurring but also shown is subtle energy through Neptune and Pisces being strongly placed, so does that mean perhaps powerful but subtle forces at work, spiritual energies manifesting through the 1st house?

There is a strong Sagittarian energy in this chart. Mind planet Mercury and beautiful Venus are both placed in this sign. The Midheaven is also in Sagittarius, the highest aspirations of the chart. Mercury and Jupiter are in mutual reception giving them strength and energy in the make-up of this chart, indicating knowledge, wisdom and communication. Sagittarius is a seeker of universal knowledge and wisdom, a philosopher you could say! So this energy is evident here on a large scale. Sagittarius is the great traveller seeking to go beyond the boundaries in search of far lands, to seek knowledge, the explorer and adventurer of the mind and sometimes the journeying can take place solely within the mind. Sagittarius relates to the greater mind and concepts of belief, faith and philosophies. Sagittarius is a sign associated with religion, so shows a high degree of these energies in this chart. Sagittarius is very much about the bigger universal picture. In fact the signature of this chart is Sagittarius and is a zodiacal sign associated with Chiron the Wounded Healer and so reinforces the whole shamanic quality to the character of this chart. Sagittarius is also related to space and space travel, adventuring beyond the boundaries, Star Trek here we come.

The Moon’s Nodes or Dragon’s Head and Tail are in Scorpio – Taurus polarity - the Head being in Scorpio and the Tail in Taurus. This indicates a movement toward ‘energy’ away from the solid manifested form of Taurus, but rooted very much in the Earth and the past and goes very deep. This is also an indication of healing being significant in this chart and rebirth a major factor! This North Node in Scorpio is in positive aspect to Mars in Capricorn which is a constructive energy and very much a builder. Mars is not especially prominently placed in this chart but does make positive aspects to the Dragon’s Head and Tail which gives it some powerful influence and hints at such things as ancient earth energies and monuments. Destiny is at work here but we will have to see! On a more prosaic level Mars could have an effect on financial matters as he rules the 2nd house in this chart which is about such matters and being placed in the 11th house brings in questions of society, money and ideals. Mars in Capricorn shows some ambition evident regarding ideals and aspirations in financial affairs? The Mars aspects to the Moon’s Nodes also show strong energy regarding ancient knowledge and earth wisdom activated, hard work going on, in fact this aspect speaks of archaeology and anthropology being a prominent part of the mix at this time. The placement and aspects of Mars also indicate discovery. There’s also a prominence here of the subject that is known as the ‘Earth Mysteries’ and it’s interest in ancient and sacred monuments. Perhaps discoveries from the ancient past bringing relevance to the future, whatever it is, it will be destined due to the connections from Mars to the Moon’s Nodes. It should all be quite fascinating really and I do consider this to be a very powerful and significant chart indeed.

The planet Venus is prominently placed in this Solstice Chart in the fire sign of Sagittarius and so her energy is working enthusiastically, philosophically and wisely! The position of Venus is elevated and angular which gives it prominence in the influence of this chart. Venus makes a spectacular aspect to Uranus which indicates a great awakening that is exciting, loving and harmonious in nature but also knowledgeable. Venus is a calming and healing influence but this will be something of a fired-up Venus being placed in a fire sign and in aspect to Uranus, very lively! Venus represents women, art, creativity, children, music, love, nature and beauty, sensuality, all these things are prominent in this chart and will play a great part in the events of this time. So this is a chart of powerful Venusian female energy. Could this indicate a woman in particular that has great prominence in the world at that time? Venus being in Sagittarius places it’s energies into a wider universal context, a moving beyond the boundaries. One could say it’s a very high and wise Venus indeed, shining her light over the whole chart from the Cosmos! There’s also a connection with science and technology due to the aspect to Uranus, This aspect is also indicative of magnetic earth energy and electricity and this aspect could also indicate exciting discoveries perhaps? Venus trine Uranus is a very exciting and magnetic energy, it could be said that Venus along with Chiron and Neptune is one of the most influential planets in this chart and makes many aspects to other planets, some difficult and some positive. So to sum up, there’s some stresses evident in this chart but the heart of the chart is very harmonious, positive and spiritual and is a wonderful chart of re-birth and light. What really interests and excites me is that the exact Solstice takes place at 11 11 in 2012 - so it’s a case of watch this space I think. Remember we have free-will to choose so in a way it’s up to us to a certain degree, in as much as how we respond to universal energies at this special time in the evolving of ourselves and planet Earth and how we act, think and feel towards the planet, ourselves and one another. This is idealistic Aquarian energy, awareness and universal responsibility!

The stars incline not compel.

So, with this idealism in mind maybe we can heal some of the problems ourselves, each and every one of us now and in the year’s to come? 21 December 2012, 11.11 this is just the beginning!

By the way, as a footnote, there should be a lot of fun and laugh’s to be had during the ‘Aquarian Age’ as I have always found Aquarian’s to have a quirky sense of humour. I suppose too much ‘awakening’ and ‘awareness’ can drive you a bit crazy unless you have a sense of humour!

Anyway, before I sign off I would be very interested to hear other people’s views generally on December 21 2012 (11:11) and from other astrologer’s. You can contact me via this website.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

20th Anniversary of Cumbrian Quest for Bega

St Bega's church, Bassenthwaite Lake

Today sees the 20th anniversary of the birth of the Quest for Bega.

On June 24th 1989, Carole Young and I set off on an historic quest to the Cumbrian Lake District. What we discovered both inwardly and externally has continued to guide and inspire our lives to this day.

I am still in the process of writing a book about all of this, and I hope that it will be ready for the public domain sometime soon.

In the meantime, take a look at Esoteric Explorer for a taster of my earlier book, Bega and the Sacred Ring, which was published in 1992.

Celtic cross and dragon at St Bees Priory

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Carwynnen Quoit: the Restoration of a Ruined Megalith

This report was first published by Heritage Action's Heritage Journal and is reprinted here with their kind permission. Heritage Action is an organisation dedicated to preserving our ancient heritage by protecting the ancient sites of Britain and Ireland. See www.heritageaction.org for further details.

Carwynnen Quoit: the Restoration of a Ruined Megalith

A Report by Alex Langstone

Carwynnen Quoit is one of the few Cornish portal dolmens to be found outside the Land’s End peninsula of the Duchy. The quoit lies in a field and, at present is nothing more than a collapsed jumble of stones.


Carwynnen Quoit today. Image credit: Pip Richards www.sustrust.co.uk

The monument fell down in 1842, but was re-erected shortly afterwards. However the mighty monument fell again during an earth tremor in 1967, and has since been largely forgotten. The quoit belongs to the Penwith Chamber Tombs category of ancient monument, and dates to the Neolithic circa 3000 BC. Also known as The Giant’s Quoit or the Devil’s Frying Pan, it would have had a similar appearance to Lanyon Quoit, sited a few miles to the west, close to Land’s End.

Above: Lanyon Quoit

The capstone formally stood on three supports standing 1.5 metres high, and the monument was formally owned by the St Aubyn’s Pendarves Estate, where it was known as the “Cromlech Park”.

A meeting of the Camborne branch of the Old Cornwall Society was held at the stones in the summer of 1925 and the Bards of the Cornish Gorseth held their annual gathering at the quoit in 1948.

The Sustainable Trust, (a small, locally based environmental trust) have now purchased Carwynnen Quoit, along with the five acres of land surrounding it. Their long term goal is to restore the monument to its former glory and have just had a geophysical survey carried out to see what may remain below the surface. The group are hoping to re-erect the monument without the aid of any mechanical assistance, which in turn, may give us a better understanding of how our ancestors built these monuments in the first place!

Depending on what archaeology is present, a strip may be planted with indigenous trees to extend a wildlife corridor between two close by adjoining woods. The Trust are aiming to design the area around it to provide an appropriate setting for the Quoit based on how the area may have looked when it was first erected. They are working closely with Historic Environment Local Management; an English Heritage led project providing information, training and guidance to ensure this is done in a sensitive and responsible manner. Also involved are Cornwall Heritage Trust, Cornwall Archaeological Society, Heritage Environment Service and the Cornwall Archaeological Unit.

Pip Richards, director of the Sustainable Trust, said “Bear in mind that phase one is only just under way:- the purchase, establishing a database of interested folk and bringing education to and involving a wide cross section of the public. We will form a group to fund phase two. The Heritage Lottery Fund have agreed in principle, but will probably need a series of further events associated with the re-erection. Patience is required.”


Carwynnen Quoit as drawn by William Borlase

Please see the following links for further details:

The Sustainable Trust

Save Pendarves Quoit

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Stone Circles of Cumbria

A great new lavishly illustrated guide to the stone circles of the English Lakes has recently been published. It fills a huge gap in the market, and as I have recently returned from the region I thought I would review the work for posterity!

A Guide to the Stone Circles of Cumbria
by Robert W. E. Farrah

This new guide book is an absolute gem. Loads of photographs and references, including map references are given to all the major and lesser known stone circles of Cumbria. The author talks about the sites within the wider context of the sacred landscape, and writes with passion and knowledge of his subject.

Site plans are included, both from the past, and new ones and detailed information is given on how to get to each site, which is essential for the more remote monuments.

New interpretations are discussed and landscape alignments put to the test. The only downside to the book is the physical size of the volume, which prevents it from being taken out in the field! For anyone wanting to explore the ancient past of the Lake District, this book is a must, and for folk interested in the Earth Mysteries of Cumbria, it is a welcome publication.

Highly recommended!

166 pages. Hayloft Publishing. £20.00. ISBN-10: 1904524532. ISBN-13: 978-1904524533

Photos: Blakeley Raise stone circle (NY 0601 1403) and Long Meg (NY 5711 3721)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Castlerigg, Castle How and Blencathra

A recent visit to the Cumbrian Lakes brought new insights into some well known, and some not-so-well-known ancient sites. A dawn vigil at Castlerigg stone circle at the Vernal Equinox proved interesting and initial exploration of newly visited Castle How hill fort upon the shores of the beautifully mystical Bassenthwaite Lake was inspiring. The ancient sacred peak of Blencathra seems to play a central role within the mythic landscape in this area.

Castlerigg, Castle How and Blen

by Alex Langstone

Blencathra - the ancient seat in the fells

Castlerigg stone circle is the most popular ancient monument in Cumbria, the circle is set within a circle of mountains, upon the summit of Chestnut Hill high above the Victorian lakeside town of Keswick. There are 38 stones in a circle approximately 30 metres in diameter. Unusually, within the ring is a rectangle of further standing stones about which very little is known. The tallest stone is 2.3 metres high. It was built around 3000 BC - the beginning of the later Neolithic Period - and is one of the earliest stone circles in Britain. Several of the surrounding peaks seem to play an important factor in the geometry of the site, and recent research has shown that Blencathra (2,848 ft) can be placed in a central role in the sites alignments.

The circles northern entrance aligns precisely towards the divide between the summits of Skiddaw and Blencathra, with the Summer Solstice sun arising over Blencathra and setting over Skiddaw. The stone circle is also an observation site for the Major Lunar Standstill. We visited this site at the Vernal Equinox for the first time this year, and we witnessed the sun's rays moving slowly up the side of Threlkeld Knots, eventually rising precisely in a notch just below the summit of Clough Head Fell. The rectangle of stones as mentioned above seems to point towards the Vernal Equinox sunrise, and this alignment continues for another 6 miles to the east, towards Great Mell Fell, with it's mountain-top tumulus. This alignment is said to mark the rising of the constellation of the Plaiedes, heralding the approach of Beltane, and of the summer! Despite the amazing sunrise

The Equinox sun moves along the edge of Clough Head, and rises in a prominent notch just below the summit.

we witnessed, it was sad to see (but obviously totally necessary) that the National Trust have had to rope off part of the circle, to allow the grass to grow back - another sign that this is the most visited pre-historic tourist attraction in the region. We also noted two bare patches within the circle, one due to bonfires being lit at the centre and the other, again due to erosion by tourists, walkers and livestock.

Another nearby ancient site seems to have an important alignment to Blencathra. Mayburgh Henge, near Penrith (pictured right) is one of three henge monuments situated closely together of which two now only survive. In the centre of Mayburgh henge is a solitary 9 foot standing stone, originally one of four. The main axis of the site is east-west, and the equinox sun rises in the entrance to the east and sets on the saddle notch of the very prominent but distant Blencathra. Several other ancient sites seem to focus on Blencathra; the Tumulus and stone circle on Knipescar Common, Swarth Fell stone circle, Castlerigg (as previously mentioned), Moor Divock Stone Circles and the Cockpit stone Circle. All-in-all a very special mountain! Its Cumbric name may give us clues to what it may symbolise? It is likely that the name Blencathra is derived from the ancient Cumbric language blaen (a bare hill top) and cathrach (a chair). This would give a meaning of "the bare hill top shaped like a chair", which perfectly describes the topography of the hill. So Blencathra becomes the ancient seat or throne of the land!

Castle How, Faerie Gateway of Bassenthwaite?

Castle How Hill Fort, Bassenthwaite

Castle How (sometimes spelt Howe) is a small Iron Age hill fort which rises steeply near the northern tip of Bassenthwaite Lake. Marked on OS Maps (NY202 308) and known locally as the fairy mound, there are stories of people disappearing into thin air whilst walking near the site, and other stories of things appearing and then disappearing again.

The hill fort is now thickly wooded with birch and beech and is very atmospheric, with superb views across the lake. Ramparts can clearly be seen at the periphery and the hill top is completely flat. A beautiful and little known ancient site, though a well worn pathway to the summit shows that local folk like to visit, and it is a shame that a recent fire has been lit on the summit of this archaeologically sensitive site.

Inspecting fire damage on the summit of Castle How

A Guide to the Stone Circles of Cumbria by Robert W.E. Farrah
Guidelines for visiting ancient sites click here
Photography by Paul Atlas-Saunders