Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Willful Walks of Russell C.J Duffy - Book 2 - The Whispering of Grass (Chapter 2)

*Witches Brew* *Ghosts in Grey* * Aesculus Hippocastanum* *Samael-Satan - the fallen Angel*




It is overcast today. The sun hides behind a wealth of clouds. Summer has lasted long outstaying its welcome. Even now, after a chilly start to the day, the sun breaks through to heat the midday hours. The fall can be observed by the fading colours of the leaves if not the warmth of the daylight hours. I love autumn. I love the fragrant corruption as leaves drop before melding with the earth as mulch. Mother Earth rich in golds and reds. Horse chestnuts gather beneath the limbs of Aesculus Hippocastanum or conker trees. Is it any wonder Pagan's worship the planet we live on? If only the corporate world, worshipers of avarice and wealth, could afford our world the care it needs.

Canewdon is old, dating back many centuries. Its name has often been associated with King Canute but is in fact derived from the Saxon - 'hill of the Cana's people.'  Humankind has occupied this area since the neolithic period. Prehistoric remains have been unearthed, axes, tools and a paddle that now lies miles distant in Greenwich. 

For ages past farmsteads, cemeteries and churches have occupied the high ground. Sat on the hill a church was in easy sight of the farmers below who'd trundle with their families to Sunday Mass.

Saint Nicholas stands head proudly kissing the sky. It is a foreboding sight. Not just because of the myth that surrounds the church with talk of witches, ghosts and of satan dancing forth having been summoned after villagers have run around the church anti-clockwise, but the way in which the 14th-century tower looms over the village. 



Satan. What an odd invention. The primary adversary of the Christian God. The "venom of God."

"In the last heaven, Moses saw two angels, each five hundred parasangs in height, forged out of chains of black fire and red fire, the angels Af, "Anger," and Hemah, "Wrath," whom God created at the beginning of the world, to execute His will. Moses was disquieted when he looked upon them, but Metatron embraced him, and said, "Moses, Moses, thou favorite of God, fear not, and be not terrified," and Moses became calm. There was another angel in the seventh heaven, different in appearance from all the others, and of frightful mien. His height was so great, it would have taken five hundred years to cover a distance equal to it, and from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet he was studded with glaring eyes, at the sight of which the beholder fell prostrate in awe. "This one," said Metatron, addressing Moses, "is Samael, who takes the soul away from man." "Whither goes he now?" asked Moses, and Metatron replied, "To fetch the soul of Job the pious." Thereupon Moses prayed to God in these words, "O may it be Thy will, my God and the God of my fathers, not to let me fall into the hands of this angel."

As I have said before, God is but a word for that which defies description unless it is an act of symbolism. I am more than happy to speak of God in a manner that accepts that word as being a symbol of all that is good within us but not as a deity. If God is seen as the great creator then that name merely superimposes itself upon nature. Nature is God, is the great creator. There are no deities. 

Satan or Lucifer or Samael or the Devil is another symbolic character, a metaphor for evil. Is there such a thing? Does evil exist or is it a natural state of being?` What is apparent is that we all believe in good and bad but what is good? Is good a thing born out of bad and if it is then how can it be good? With God and Satan, we have this perfectly illustrated for God created Lucifer. That being so God created evil. Funny how with an extra O God becomes good and by removing the D the Devil is evil. 




One of Thumbscrew's oldest friends is Lisa Dabbs. I know the family has a long history associated with this area but I cannot say categorically the above picture shows where members of their family are buried. I'd like to think so but who knows?



For me, as I have said before, churches have a distinctly spiritual quality to them. By that, I guess I mean peaceful, contemplative, a place to sit in quiet thought. However, I cannot for a moment think that any deity worth his or her salts would want to be anywhere other than a woodland. Woodland's are for me nature's cathedrals yet captured within these brick walls is an element of the quality. In both, you can sit and listen.


"Have you ever sat very silently, not with your attention fixed on anything, not making an effort to concentrate, but with the mind very quiet, really still? Then you hear everything, don't you? You hear those far off noises as well as those that are nearer and those that are very close by, the immediate sounds - which means really that you are listening to everything. Your mind is not confined to one narrow little channel. If you can listen in this way, listen with ease, without strain, you will find an extraordinary change taking place within you, a change that comes without your volition, without your asking; and in that change, there is great beauty and depth of insight."  Jiddu Krishnamurti

Meditation is key to self-change. Without it, the struggle to change is very difficult indeed. I find the pace of the world today is frightening. We are all under such pressure in this Neo-Liberal society that there is little time for self and self is where change first needs to take place. 

Over the last thirty years, the few have taken control of the many. Power, real power, now lies in the hands not of a political elite but of the super rich. These Neo-Liberal policies were instigated by those two Neo-Conservatives Thatcher and Reagan. Between 1947 and 1979, productivity climbed to 119 per cent whilst the poorest in society saw their incomes rise by 122 per cent. Since 1979 productivity increased by only 80 percent as the poor's income fell to 4 per cent yet the obscenely wealthy have seen their income rise to 270 per cent. This cannot be right. There is a cage around the caskets of the poor. Democracy has been hijacked by the money-making few who mesmerise the public with their self-centered propaganda fueled by their greed and fed to us by the engines of a media they own and control. It makes Orwell's 1984 look positively benign by comparison.




There is a loneliness surrounding church and village. You feel it most as you walk through the church gate. I recall coming here years ago with my wife. We parked the car and listened to what seemed like voices making a mournful sound. It was the wind whistling through the eaves of the church yet it sounded terrifyingly like the voices of witches. If they are still here then they are of a kindly nature not that as suggested by the Christian Orthodoxy for they too seek, as all Pagan's do, seek only to promote love and kindness.


Canewdon sits next to the estuary. It was built upon one of the highest hills along the Essex coastline. From the vantage point of Saint Nicholas, you can gaze upon the Crouch as it wends its, sluggish, muddy, way to the sea. The waters appear to be heavy with the turbulence of history as time takes an invisible spoon to stir the tides that ebb and flow.

The breeze is crisp. It ruffles my cropped hair, making it stand up like the brush on a broom, flapping my coat with its chilly breath. Autumn is riding the seasons toward winter yet the seasons nowadays seem much alike. We get the wet and windy season and the warm and windy. However, this year we have had some of the hottest days on record. The first five months were the warmest ever recorded and the summer that followed was long and hot. 

No matter how anti-environmentalist spin it the climate is changing. It may not be wholly our doing, nature dances to its own tune, but we have added an unnatural counterpoint that is clanging in its dissonance contributing to the change. We know how to prevent disaster but those we elect prefer to appease the corporations who refuse to recognise the situation as they chase dollar bills to our mutual oblivion. Nothing we humans do that takes place in the natural world is done in isolation. 

The church of Saint Nicholas is said to have been erected by Henry V following his victory at Agincourt. I can well believe it. Tales of witches still abound. The first of these comes in 1580 after Rose Pye was accused of bewitching to death Johanna Snow, a child only one-year-old. The case was taken to court where Rose pleaded innocent. Rose was acquitted but remained in gaol where she died. Another supposed witch was  Cicely Makin. The rules in play in those days meant you had to find five individuals who could swear you weren't a witch. Cicely couldn't. She was given five years to  mend her ways and when she didn't she was excommunicated from the church. As the church in those days was filled with henchmen dressed as priests who'd bugger a goat as they would a child, I'd say she did well for herself.

Somewhat south of Canewdon, a little to the east is Pagelsham a tiny village with a small population of 246 people which compared to Canewdon's 'massive' 1,473 really demonstrates the size of traditional English villages.  It is there I shall next visit. Until then be at peace with your God, whatever you conceive God to be. 






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Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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