Some direct supersensual contact still endures,deeper than anything that can be expressed at rational level,and able to formulate itself in traditional observance.
A deepening belief in the psychic powersinvested in geologic formations, monoliths,and particular locations.
Emphasising the powers of the local landscapeand the cultures and spiritual beliefsthat served as conduits for its forces.
May not the same obscure forcesimpelling the depths of the human psycheoperate also to shape certain phenomena of external nature?
Something specific to the welding of the local with Celtic cultures in particularthat seems essentially to flatten out the experience of time?
An uprush of force from the macrocosmic underworld which,focused by ceremony,may coincide at precise timeswith the microcosmic unconscious.
A ritual plungeinto the cosmic dream.
It’s not something you do on a whim, this thing, but there are times when you feel the call and could almost run straight there, barefoot.
The first days of May with their promise of blossoms on the low paths. The azure haze of an August morning when you know that later the ground will be dry and the moon warm in the sky.
Clear October nights when you recall your old routes to that place, the smell of bonfires as you cycled past the flats, heedless of the cold, enrapt.
Anseo arís you childers of Molly, now run anew to her arms! Take the steps, clamber over the ruined wall, cross the scruffy stream or walk beneath battlements and through the gates. There are many portals; sigil scraped, discovered by chance, but entered with volition. What a thing to stumble across, to trip over!
And these people, this crew; brightly sloughed and well met. Erstwhile companions, old friends, travellers and neophytes; poets, players and paladins. Natural climbers all, sublime in their scales.
You gather at the golden hour to the rally of ringing masts, and dissolve in the small hours to the wail of ringing ears. Brothers and sisters of wind, wode and water, joined in this magical movement from station to station. Ever eager for the next embrace.
Everything here is an invitation. The tender and tremulous green of leaves, the pines, jeweled with a million flaming points. Jets of young trees budding through a splendid mantle of fallen blooms, golden rocks and quivering ferns.
You have many maps, but what use are they? Their folds contain no meaning. No laughter in the coppice. No evening light, laying softly on restful slopes. No wide eyes, gleaming in the green glossed night.
This is terrain that can be surveyed only through walking, delineated by the cartography of perception; muscle and organs repurposed to augur, clinometer and theodolite.
A place where memory, topography and ritual entwine, where the mind dissolves without a sound, bubbling in sensate effervescence.
This is every place and no place.
Walking a high narrow bank in single file, treetops below.
A glimpse through a gap in the foliage of the moon over water, wreathed in red smoke.
Near the end, when we huddled in the wood, sitting on two parallel fallen tree trunks, facing each other companionably, smoking too much and talking too much about Star Wars, Star Wars! And then the singing bowls sang, but she had another instrument, you can’t even remember what it was. When she played it, it sounded like Ruckzuck. She made you laugh so much that night and then she came out with all this beauty. She will always be Florian to you now.
It’s beyond you, the workings of it, beyond reason itself. That you could just walk out here, past the limits of material circumstance.
To walk through this darkness, striding towards the bruised horizon, your shipmates ahead, pillaring a golden slash of roiling sky, silhouetted in sentry at the wind’s gate.
To sail this rippling green sea, bobbing in pacific eddy, askew on infinite canted planes. Tacking across the long feathered fetch of land with perfect trim.
To catch the swell. To be pitched to the crest of the ninth wave, to climb the mast and stand level with the mountaintops, alight with blue fire.
Freed by the gnosis of coincidence, free to rise, to feel the pulse, the depths rise within you. The valley buckling upwards, bearing you aloft.
Free to vanish whole, to decohere, to be swallowed by the glitchscape, digested by pixel and artefact in hysterical compression.
All those tiny motions in space that brought you here to this. A cumulative, massless momentum, defiant of all accounting. Erratic arcs of incidence, warped by happenstance to perverse configurations.
Ripples on ripples. An interference pattern. An ecphoric repetition of singular ritual; engrams, skewer stacked, smudged with soot and tallow and white ash.
This conjurer’s trick, this kindling of old embers. The spark and sudden whoosh of flame. A spectacular efflorescence of sensation. An impossible grace line of smoke and chiaroscuro sky, etched with ragged stylus, wrought anew by glucose, love and madness. Sealed in moonlit mezzotint by flare and fuse and rocket’s salute.
From up here you can see everything: the sea, the city, the hill, the gorse, the stone walls, the cherished trees. We are scattered together, acres of wildly manicured terrain for us alone. No mere dwelling could ever be as comfortable as this clasping.
It stood here, two by three by two,
a wind-worn vessel for seasoned crew,
and sundry youth – you shared this boon,
this brick altar of pulsing air,
at which you knelled, dumbstruck,
scaled starry stair to rolling moon,
heralds of a calcite prayer,
sky flexed and folding underfoot.
And then, in undimmed smoke tinged night,
you find that empty plinth, bare slab,
an ashen ruin, scourged and drab.
Wiped bare, no crumb,
to mark this truth – those flights,
aliyahs under wan starlight.
A temple now of memory.
A void where there should be ecstasy.
Go high in the summer at dusk. Step quietly along narrow green paths through the heather.
You’ll see hares in drove, a frog’s ripple in blue water, sly russet shadows in entangled thicket. You’ll hear the stone chat, the willow warble, all the little voices of the heath. A twilight language of demure rustles and tiny whispers.
And then the hills, dripping with sunset. Gold light bronzing the grass. Swift traces arcing through pewter skies.
Moonrise, bright as the dawn.
Become that transparent eyeball you aspire to be.
Forget that you are so that you might see.
Volant moon pulled taut to mount straddl’d vale.
Paled balloon hung in perfect plumb.
Scraggy drumlin drumlicked by moontongue.
Lost in the dark. Pushing through dense undergrowth for what seems like hours, shredded by thorns and whipped by wet branches. No path, just this squalid passage of mud and rain, deep in the wet entrails of the hill.
Halfway up you falter, bereft of prospect. Push on to an uncertain outcome, or break your legs slipping and slithering back down the filthy drain?
You’re just about to give up, fall into sodden, despairing stillness, when the light gleams an instant.
The clasp of a gloved hand, warm in your grasp.
Where you’re from, things – from suburban sprawl to the flesh of individual bodies – are usually surprisingly grandiose, and provincial. Not here, amongst these people with their whale oil, beef hooked, tea and biscuits.
Here you walk with druidic calm and dream with ease. Jungle dreams of pagan burial sites and castles at sunset, of coming up hard on a soft hill. The city is a body and you’re on a journey to its heart, but you’ve got to stay the course, keep hold of yourself – don’t wander off. This sunshine’s for you, he said. All for you. Preserved in the eternal now of the old country.
As the rain subsides you emerge in drizzle to a watercolour landscape. Thick strokes of ochre and grey sienna underfoot. Blotter paper sky of cyan, pink and orange, as if a loaded brush had dropped blobs of undiluted colour to the page as you sheltered.
a motley snake climbs
the flutters fade to silence
You’ve mapped the dimensions of the apparatus, this antenna. The tip of a green obelisk, its pyramidion piercing the utmost boundary, concentrating our fórsa into a column of intensely vibrating air, channeled through the derelict medium of concrete and corroded steel.
It is in a place of graceful shapes you meet.
He manifests in moonlight, slipping through arched branches, compound eyes and insectile head materialising from the canopy. Chitinous flesh spun solid from beam and vapour.
His baritone issues from air formed mandibles and you fall to your knees, craning your neck towards the voice of this stop-motion prophet. Full of warning and reassurance, foretellings of a contented apocalypse, tales of the plasma that carries all things. Glorious secrets that leave you weeping in the leaf litter.
Did you think this was some spectre? Some moonstruck fancy? No… you met a forest god.
It’s easy to get lost here. Lost in the fog. Lost in thought.
That’s why we go, truth be told. It’s the only way to find yourself.
(Just don’t forget your headphones.)
We are descending from the crows nest, down the south side of the eastern peak. There’s a dozen of us strung down the shale track, but he is late coming up. He sits down, shaking his head, I can’t go any further… …the path is covered with gold… You laugh. That’s not what he means, but you know exactly what it is he’s trying to say. You look out to the bay, the moonpath shattering in its centre, orange streetlights sinking doric columns at its fringes. You offer your hand and he pulls himself up, your wonder mirrored in his wide, wide eyes.
Fuel taken from the forest, a stick for each soul, fed to the cairn’s fire.
Then, an answering glow from the south’s sugared peaks. A glimmer to the north in the mourning night.
Red light on water, radiating from this crown, tracing the subtle body of your isle.
Just imagine it.
One fateful conversation and the charge is set. When the blast comes you fly, scattering across the slopes in spangled murmuration.
You become men of the mountain then. Wild rovers, strewn arseways in ebullition, whirling blindly around a primal axis, a lunatic sinkhole gyred by silver clouds like great sweeping rips in the sky.
There is no balm or respite in this danse grotesque, this ecstatic orbit of jump cuts, stuttered encounters, flickers and phantoms. Just the ruin of all self lit by tower’s livid flame.
You quail, seek refuge in the warm earth, only to flee your foxhole when the hill itself growls, rumbling beneath your quaking hands.
You’re sick for a week after. Shamed.
And you’d probably do it again.