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Issue 33 - Imbolc/Spring 1997

The Bard's Path - Another Reason to subscribe to Keltria Journal...

Inchworm: Or How History Escapes Us


Pamela Harvey

We walk in the steps of history. Although we know that, most of us today would not guess the total significance of this.

We gaze out of the window of the bus on a dull January day wondering how wet we are going to get before reaching home. We're not thinking that we are crossing the slopes of a once green hill (the name 'Green Lanes' is retained, at least) that led to a mysterious prominence known as 'Green Dragon Hill'. The Celtic mists of history are not just reflected by the weather. Mist also shrouds the past from our minds, from our perceptions. Instead of profundity, we are aware only of tributes to the Consumer Society that line the roads leading from Central London to the outer suburbs; such as the extravagant Superstore temples to materialism. Our four-lane highways have become pilgrimage routes to Progress.

Walking along 'Queen Anne's Grove' with the rain dripping off your umbrella, does it for a second occur to you that the trees you behold may once have been a grove of sacred oaks? The name, 'Anne', could refer to 'Anu' or 'Danu,' Goddess of the prehistoric race known in Gaelic as 'Tuatha de Danaan', of whom the Faery People were born. A large oak tree stands in front of the Church, whose ancestor was probably significant to Sun worshippers.

Roman-British and prehistoric artifacts have been discovered over a wide area nearby. Another hill was once home to the fortifications of either the Trinovantes or Catuvellauni, since it is on their borders. Other memories haunt the imagination in street signs—Barrowell, Rowantree, and more. I doubt this urban area is unique.

Enmeshed in the worries and struggles of daily life, how does our past hint to us of a more sure and eternal life of which this world is part, (not the entire spectrum) and which our Celtic ancestors honored and acknowledged? Do our thoughts, borne on the Cosmic magnetic tides which the wise would have understood, spiral to the other dimension, to where we will all one day become enlightened.

Sadly, most of us are too numbed by our present-day 'culture'. Total emphasis is placed on the material, on relationships for the here and now because, even if they are not broken by our errors or life's trials, few of us have a clue what to expect of them in the life to come—if there is one, that is. Many doubt it. After all, a material thing is a material thing.

Dimensions that hide from us, even if their contents are solid but elude our touch, have still to be understood by scientists. Magnetism is probably the key, since it is the expression of atomic structure throughout the Universe. Different lines, as in television, reach into Space, to the eternal, yet manage to stick to the mundane. The borders of Space, the 'final frontier,' would have held significance for our ancestors. In our time, in which men have reached the Moon, we fail to appreciate the wonder of the heavens.

'Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigold' — says a song. Those wise among the Celts saw the full flower. To them the kingdoms of Faerie were real, their inhabitants as solid as you or I. The folk of the 'Sidhe' resided in the hills throughout our lands, once called 'Holy Isles.'

There is a story that, before one of the Roman invasions of Britain, soldiers mutinied at the embarkation port of Boulogne saying that Britain was 'another world.' It cannot have changed. The seed is in all who can dream, igniting the same intuitions. The Romans recognized their debt to Celtic perceptions and society. We share in their wheel of destiny.


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