Albion, ancient sites, Art, Books, Don and Wen

Dear Don: Religious Syncretism…

breedon (144)Dear Don,

I wish I’d left you copies of the photos… you should see the stones now that there is time to really consider them! I’m betting the lion slaying David has an alter ego… and I wonder how many of the accepted interpretations of figures could be reassigned to the myths of pagan streams?

We tend to forget that many of them were discovered in an age where piety wore a crucifix and admitted of no other valid faith. Anything non-Christian was pagan… and never the twain could meet, though certainly the papal mission had other ideas on that, as the letter to Mellitus shows.

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It is something we have come across often enough really… the ancient sites Christianised with shrine or church built upon the older places of faith… the churches with stone circles in their foundations, the hillforts topped with a chapel… We’ve been finding such places right from the start, with that very first trip out to Dashwood’s Hellfire caves and his church set within the hillfort above. The ORC the same day… and ancient site beneath the chapel, and ancient hillfort above… And while we realised that quite early on in our adventures I’m not sure we have even now fully understood the implications of that and how much else it brings into question.

hawk hill nick 005It is so easy to accept expert opinion though, isn’t it… even when the experts were speaking from a world constrained by less knowledge, less religious freedom and the shadow of heresy.

By Norman times I think things were less equivocal; the Church firmly established in power. But anything before that is perhaps worth looking at from a pagan perspective as much as the Christian.

We know… and there is enough history to back that up… that the early Ionian Christians took a more Druidic stance to the natural world and the mythologies still resonated and seemed able to stand side by side with faith. I wonder why it was that we felt a need to divorce ourselves from that and turn towards temporal power?

breedon (46)I’ve been thinking. Yes, I can hear exactly what you’re going to say there… But seriously. The medieval church was fraught with politics and the fight for personal power at the very top. If those with ambition to further their own ends actually believed in the Judgement and in the heaven and hell they portrayed to the people, then their own political shenanigans must have put the wind up their cassocks if they stopped to think about their own chances of making it to Heaven.

So maybe it was ostrich syndrome… bury their heads in the sand and hope … and maybe that is why we turned away from a message of Love for all creatures and for the earth? Or maybe it is just easier to control the masses through fear…

I, however, am currently being controlled by a tennis ball judiciously inserted in my boot again. Quite what the beast thinks can be achieved by this ploy I do not know… but it becomes persistent, as does the gaze of large, pathetic eyes…ani 005

I give in. I shall go and play ball.


Wen and Anu x