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TALES OF THE DEEP ARK

Instructions here

IKON

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 powers
invested in geologic formations, monoliths,
and particular locations.

Emphasising the powers of the local landscape
and the cultures and spiritual beliefs
that served as conduits for its forces.

May not the same obscure forces
impelling the depths of the human psyche
operate also to shape certain phenomena of external nature?

Something specific to the welding of the local with Celtic cultures in particular
that 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 times
with the microcosmic unconscious.

A ritual plunge
into the cosmic dream.

I

ThAT FEEL

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.

Never Stop This Vision Flowing

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.

Anaphorest

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.

Staffs of slim silver birch, hollow nestled blossoms, music; oozing into you like liquid crystal, permeating your spirit with gentle warmth.
You dip your hands in the long grass and smile to the cliffs, high and silent. Heir to a pulsing knowledge, a joy without measure, without cost, guilt or penalty. Everything as it should be in this bubble of light, this perfect lobe of eternal spacetime.

THE ZONE

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.

LAKCH', ō LAKCHE!

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.

Syrinx

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.

TENER DUENDE​

A balmy night, windless in the valley. You begin the ceremony, cue up the song, synchronise or split the signal and tether to your companion. This eerie, doleful melody. Reverb. Drums barely there. In another place it would be a lament but here it is a psalm, music that belongs so completely it might have sprung wild from the heath, brother to birch, bracken, and heather.
Then, like voyagers taking their first steps on a perfect new world, you walk. Ambling in blissful fellowship and quiet wonder. You sink into the carpeted terrain as your souls simmer gently in the boundless envelopment of viscid night, steam leaking slowly from your boots.

Voyage of the Deep Ark

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.

Voyage of the Deep Ark

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.

Enfolded

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.

Diminished

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,
nor elegy,
to mark this truth – those flights,
aliyahs under wan starlight.

A temple now of memory.

A void where there should be ecstasy.

hieron

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.

INITIATION

It’s November and it’s really fucking cold and you’re freezing in your wrong clothes, neck exposed, jeans wet and muddy at the cuffs, no hat, some shitty pair of runners, and the sky is frosted lead crystal, the daggered points of stars piercing its blackness, and you had a bag, a backpack, a useless sack, rattling with tape cases and wasted batteries, half a sandwich, a mouthful of stale water, you had a bag but you don’t know where it is, and it doesn’t matter, cos the music is fading out so you have to slow down, and you think you must’ve run too far, so you stop and dig into your pocket with your freezing hand and take out your walkman, and you can just about see the buttons in the dark, and you press stop and then rewind, and your ears fill with the whirr of the tape running through the cogs, but you’re not sure, you have to make sure, that you pressed rewind and not fast forward, so you press stop again and then play and yes, yes, you went the right way, it’s the button on the left you tell yourself again, so you press the button on the left again and turn around and start walking back up the hill, and then you remember where your bag is, it’s in the big shed and your friend is there too, so it’s safe, and you walk back up the hill towards that big shed, the starting line, and it’s a big hill so it takes a long time to walk up, you must’ve gone further than you thought, but you dont know, the song only lasts a few minutes so it can’t have been too long, and you move quicker downhill, at a jog, or maybe it’s a sprint, and you think you can figure it out, use the song to figure out how long you’ve been out here, on your own, in the cold and the dark, cos you dont have a watch, no way to tell the time, and you’re just running down the hill and then walking back up again, running into an undulating murk, over ghost contours that trick your eyes, so that with each step you think the ground will drop beneath you, but it doesn’t drop, or you don’t think that it does at least, and the contours look like a ladder, a flat ladder with broken rungs floating in front of you somewhere out there, and you wonder, could you climb the ladder? and when you look up to the horizon the ladder fades to black, into dirty colorised noise, and then up, up into the amber white lights of the city, but it’s a digitised light like the intro to a game on an 8-bit, no, a 16-bit console, a megadrive maybe, but that’s not now, that’s at the top, when you turn around, face back down into the wind, it’s not now, it’s soon, or then, cos now, right now you’re nearly back, back up to the top, and you see the trees to the right, the little copse of trees still there, and the big shed behind, probably, and you don’t know how long you’ve been out here, alone in the cold, but you could probably time it, figure it out, and you should probably check in with your friend again, see if he’s OK, but you think you could have one more go first, so you take out your walkman and you press stop and then you press play and you listen and you’ve gone too far, too fucking far back, again, and you fumble in panic, and you worry that the music sounds a bit slow, that your batteries are dying, but that’s another thing, another thing to figure out, and you don’t know, you don’t think so, so you just press the button, the one on the right this time, the fast forward button, and you wait, you dont know how long for, but that seems long enough, and your fingers are freezing as you press play again, you know you should press stop first in case the tape snaps or tangles, that would be a total fucking disaster, a catastrophe, but you press play and you’re lucky cos the last track is fading out so you know you’re nearly in the right place, and you press stop and turn around, face downhill and line yourself up with the trees, on your left now, line yourself up again, and then you remember that you have no bed tonight and you’re waiting for a friend to come and you hope he comes soon, because he’s late and you need a bed at his gaf, cos its a 15 mile cycle home in the cold and this isn’t your patch and you’re not sure you can make it home, not sure you can even make it down off the hill, you don’t think you even know the way home, all that way, down all those dark streets, you’re lost, no, not lost, but not found, and no, no, no, you put that to one side, try to put that to one side, it’ll be fine, it’ll all be fine, and you line yourself up again and you check your pockets to see if you’ve dropped anything but you think you have everything, and your bag, your useless bag is in the shed with your friend, and all you can hear now is the wind and the sound of mucus, and your nose is frozen, streaming, snot falling onto your jeans and your shit runners, dripping off you and dissolving into the grey ground, and your hands are freezing, no gloves even, and you wipe the snot away and stuff your cold wet hands into your pockets cos you don’t need to look to press play, you can do it by feel, just press the big button in the middle, so you press that big button, feel it click, and you hear the last song fade, and then it’s just hiss, the sound of the tape moving through the machine, the wheels turning, and then it starts, it starts again, this song of the sun, and it swells up and it fills you with fire, so full your head almost bursts upwards in an explosion of gold light into the frigid black sky, so you have to run again, and the high hats and then the drums, and you don’t know what this music is, or where it came from, or why or maybe this is why, but it sounds like the sun, the glorious fury of the sun inside you, and your heart might burst with it, and then you have to take your hands out of your pockets for balance because you’re moving fast now and you think you might slip, but the ground is a flat slope, though it looks like sand dunes, wind rippled sand dunes, or like frozen grey waves in a slate sea, and it’s like, like being on a treadmill, just running over those waves, running like you’re on a treadmill, running through limbo with your feet aflame, into the grain and fuzz of the night, panning up to the video game lights of the city all projected in front of you in 2D, and you wonder if you kept running would you ever reach the bottom, if you could run forever into it, like this is some glitch, some crack in the world and you could just run down the hill forever and the spindle of stars will turn and years will pass, and life will continue in time-lapse around you as you run, knocked out of observable reality, haunting the hill like some shabby wraith, invisible in your own pocket dimension of cold black November night, and you wonder this and the sun is shining in your head, light, hot light bursting from your eyes it feels like, and it’s just too much, and you think you could just do this forever, up and down this hill forever, running over phantom contours towards a hologram city, alone in the cold and the dark, running forever, the sun’s light shining from your eyes into the frigid diamond air, and you think you could run like this forever, and maybe you are.

Become that transparent eyeball you aspire to be.

Forget that you are so that you might see.

The Divining Cause

Volant moon pulled taut to mount straddl’d vale.

Paled balloon hung in perfect plumb.

Scraggy drumlin drumlicked by moontongue.

The Saviour

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.

The Prodigal

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.

The work

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.

The Keys

a motley snake climbs

the flutters fade to silence

welcoming umbra

The Altar

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.

THE ENCOUNTER​

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.

The Crown

The Cloud Of Unknowing

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.)

The Hill

The Shining Path

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.

BEACONS

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.

The Acolyte

You have no father, distant siblings, few fellow travellers. But these traditions and forms, this ritual, binds us in its tresses. Once the threshold is crossed we’re all brothers and sisters, hooped together in fellowship, an affinity of ecstasy and nausea, blunders and epiphanies. Like the beginnings of some weird new creed or the last days of some dwindling, doomed sect.

THE ZONE

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.

The Bomb

One fateful conversation and the charge is set. When the blast comes you fly, scattering across the slopes in spangled murmuration.

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.

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.

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.