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The Blue Diamond and the Silmaril April 15, 2014

The Blue Diamond /The Blue Rose and the Silmaril

 

A catalogue dropped through the letter box the other day with the most surprising title –  ‘VERVE’.  It turned out to be a catalogue for the Garden Centre at Wilton near Salisbury, in Wiltshire.  The small town of Wilton nestles at the confluence of the rivers Wyle and Nadder (and some think is a plausible location for Arthur’s Camelot).  This beautiful landscape is the setting for the Elizabethan author, Sir Philip Sydney’s famous book, Arcadia, which is a description of a paradise on earth.

 

Beside the curious title of the catalogue was a blue diamond with, perhaps unsurprisingly, the words BLUE DIAMOND written across the faceted gemstone.  Ah, that most romantic and potent of images!  The story of the Blue Diamond is an ancient one but it can only be pieced together if we include the stories in which it features, stories at which many will scoff, saying “they are just fairy tales”.  But that is just the point, “just fairy tales” have come down to us out of the mists of time through an ancient oral tradition of storytelling.

 

Today such stories are still to be found but through the medium of the written word.  Such stories have been entirely lost to the human race but certain gifted writers are often ‘inspired’ in their writings and so are often recreating for us just such ‘lost tales’. But we dismiss their writings as ‘fantasy’ story telling.  And for many, so they will remain.  Nevertheless, in order to trace the story of the Blue Diamond we must use this precious knowledge that has been given to us once again though this fantasy fiction.

 

We take up the story of the Blue Diamond in a series of best selling books known as The Belgariad, by David Eddings. A blue stone of great power features prominently called The Stone of Aldur.  It belongs to an ancient royal house to which lesser kingdoms in the West give allegiance because they recognise the significance of the Blue Stone that is housed in the pommel of the High King of the West, Belgarion. The Blue Stone has an evil counterpart, another stone which is red and is called The Sardion.  The fact that there are two stones of power brought to mind The Silmarils in Tolkien’s great series of works which includes The Lord of the Rings.  Tolkien tells us that all the histories derive from the tale of The Silmarils.  They were stones which were made in the undying lands of Aman where the Valar lived and where they brought some of the Elven Race to share their paradise.

 

In Tolkien’s story, there were originally three Silmarils which had been made with great difficulty and skill in order to capture the pure light of The Two Trees of Light on Aman before they were destroyed.  After that, the energies fell and a new and lesser light was given to the world, that of the sun and moon.  So the light that existed in the Beginning now only resided in The Silmarils.  They were stolen by the evil Morgoth who wanted to enslave and rule over Middle Earth and he placed them in an iron crown.  The Elves waged war to recover the stolen Silmarils.  One of the Silmarils was recovered by Luthien and Beren who became the progenitors of the Royal Numenorean line, of which Arwen and Aragorn were scions.  So it made sense that, in The Belgariad, the blue stone of Aldur should be in the safekeeping of the pre-eminent royal house: it seemed an easy step to connect the two stones and perceive that, indeed, they were one and the same.

 

We move on to a later age and another series of books by the same author, David Eddings, in which we are told of  a beautiful blue stone of power that has been carved into the shape of a rose.  As in the earlier tale, this stone has a consciousness that is, well, pretty vast, and enormously powerful.  Which brings us to the Blue Rose and to stories which we still possess in the present.

 

Hollywood produced a film which features The Blue Rose of Forgetfulness.  The evil Grand Vizier is determined to marry the Sultan’s beautiful daughter but she is in love with someone else of course.  The Grand Vizier is also a magician of some power (which brings to mind Saruman in LOTR) and he brings to the Palace the famous Blue Rose with which to seduce the princess.

 

Moving on.  The Blue Rose appears in the opening sequences of recent Dr Who episodes.  The blue tardis is seen spinning through a blue tunnel, or vortex, but you will see that the swirling blue light patterns create the shape of a blue rose.  This is very fitting because, as one of the Silmarils, the Blue Rose has been with us through Time and, of course, the Doctor is a Time Traveller.

 

Which brings us to the Blue Diamond on the brochure posted through the etter box…

 

Cassie Martin

15th April 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE RAY OF FIRE AND THE GRAIL February 27, 2014

THE FIREBIRD COMES TO EARTH

On Saturday 23rd November 2013 there was a one-off episode commemorating the 50th anniversary of  the much loved television series, Dr Who,  entitled  The Day of the Doctor.  I decided to make a lexigram of the word Gallifrey - the planet of the Time Lords, The Doctor’s home planet, using only the positive words that could be made and not those describing the apocalyptic scenes at the end before it is destroyed. A lexigram is composed of words made from the letters within a given word, or word and the same letter may not be used twice within a new word.   Since the word GIA (not the correct spelling I know) can be made out of ‘Gallifrey’ the suggestion also is that that planet is our planet Earth.

A Lexigram of GALLIFREY

A RAY oF FIRE

GRAIL oF LIFE

FoR ALL

FAR GREY ELF In GALLEY

ALL FAIRIE, FEY And FAIR

A RILL, A LAY

The lexigram set in train a series of events.  Some time ago, I had arranged to visit my eldest daughter in Bristol on the last weekend in November ’13, exactly a week after the Dr Who episode above, to see her new flat, which is in a modernised paper factory called The Robinson Building.  I knew I had to go and must not cancel: that should have been a clue in itself.  I have to confess I got lost several times trying to find the place.  I knew I was close and was trying to take a short cut to where I knew the building to be.  Unfortunately, each of these turnings were dead ends but I just happened to twist round looking back  and, low and behold, I saw the letters ROBINSON writ large along the top of a tall and very large building and I knew that I had found it.  I felt I was in a maze or labyrinth trying to reach the centre and ending up at many dead ends.

My daughter had inherited an unusual rug designed by Salvador Dali which she rolled out for me to have a look as I wanted to see the design again.  It quite took my breath away as it was very different from what I remembered.  The design is of a large graceful bird with fiery plumage and long tail which takes up most of the rug so the bird is about 6 feet in length.  I understood it was the Firebird or Phoenix which flies out of the sun and was therefore symbolic of The Ray of Fire.  The bird symbolises ‘RENEWAL’ and ‘IMMORTALITY’.

Later, I realised that I was experiencing the marriage of the Ray of Fire with Mother Earth and that this reflected the first two lines of the lexigram:  The Ray of Fire was the Firebird, whilst The Robinson Building represented the Earth Mother, or Grail Cup.  The clues were many. In my efforts to find the location, I had experienced The Robinson Building as the centre of a maze – and the centre is also the heart, which is an anagram of ‘Earth’, where the Firebird magically appeared!  The place could be further identified as the ‘Heart/Earth as the building reminded me of a castle. Esoterically, the castle symbolises the ‘Centre’ – and we have the ‘Heart’ again.   The Robinson Building was castle-like in its sheer dimensions, in its tight security and in the locked, portcullis-like gates.   But more than that,  the modern air ducting system installed throughout the whole complex means that an ambient temperature is achieved throughout the year so you scarcely need to put on the heating.  This fact immediately made me think of the castle called Sterling Silver in Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom of Landover series which I had recently read.  The castle is a sentient being whose consciousness, we are led to understand, is that of the Earth Mother herself.  She is very motherly in her desire to keep those who live within her walls well-fed, warm, clean and happy.  She runs the hot water for the baths and there is a never-ending supply of food in the kitchen, and she, too, kept the rooms at an ambient temperature, just s in The Robinson Building.  It made me realise that this is in fact what Gaia does for us.  The Ray of Fire has pierced the Heart of the Earth so that she might be renewed.

On returning home, I found a thank you from my neighbour whose cockatiel I had looked after recently.  She had left me a bunch of chrysanthemums which I began to realise were significant because of their fiery colours – yellow, orange, red, and striped yellow and orange. On checking a few things, those flowers in Japanese symbology symbolise the heart! Again, the colours of the Firebird had infused the flowers grown from the soil of the Earth, thus symbolising an awakening and renewal of the Earth by the rays of the New Sun.

 In the story, the Magic Kingdom of Landover, Ben Holiday, newly appointed king, was moved to make the commitment to fight the terrifying Lord of the Underworld known as The Mark, and to defend The Land and its creatures out of love for the wood dryad/sylph, Willow.  As my friend Robert pointed out, commitment is the key.  In that moment, the Ring[1] – which is none other than the medallion around the king’s neck, his office of kingship and power – turns into the heart.  The clue is in the designated arena of combat called The Heart, where those opposites of King and Dark Lord (The Mark) have the possibility of uniting and becoming one, thus bringing conflict and war to an end.  The Palladin – the traditional knight on a charger – has finally reunited with his shadow self, The Mark, so there is no longer the need for the Medallion/Ring.  The main reason for having a King was because only the King/Palladin had the power to defeat his opposite number, The Mark, and so protect The Land and the people. But with the two becoming one, the Ring can turn into the heart.

‘……He (Ben) realises that The Tarnish that is killing the land and impoverishing the people is because of the absence of a true King.  He discovers that the magic can be restored to the land when the King makes a full commitment to The Land, unlike the play kings before him.  Ben only makes that commitment at the end of the book when he has to confront The Mark and he finally understands these connections. His inability to commit to Willow is the same thing, as she, being a sylph, personifies the Land. Then I realised that this is apparent in the pagan cults in the marriage of the king The Land through his marriage to the Goddess/ Queen.  And how the corrupted version of this cult (the sacrifice of the king in pagan times, now forgotten) separated the king from the land, the queen and its peoples and creatures.’[2]

Thus the old sun/kingship can now die and a New Sun/Ray of Fire/Firebird be born on the day after the winter solstice. Incidentally, the image on the medallion illustrates the ancient connection between king and sun.  A knight on a white charger rides out of Sterling Silver Castle with the rays of the rising sun behind them.

Have just realised that the great, golden dinosaur bird in the film, Avatar, is The Firebird:  it illustrates the nature of the  new Ray of Fire.  The bird is gold and orange like the sun, yet the Na’vi call it Last Shadow, ie it combines both the light and the dark. The message of Toruk Maktau, Rider of Last Shadow, is always the same, that of uniting the people.  On this occasion, the Rider and Firebird unite The People to throw off an oppressor that is destroying the land. This brings us back to the main theme in The Magic Kingdom where Ben Holiday arrives on the scene only to find the Land suffering badly from The Tarnish. But all those old energies we see in the Landover stories are based on duality – wizards good and bad, dragons, kings, queens, witches and princesses, warring knights, are over, as the stories suggest in the somewhat flippant style of the writing used at times, and as the title of the book tells us – Magic Land Over.  

Another clue came at the Sunday Market nearby which my daughter, her boyfriend and I visited the following morning.  Someone dropped a coin on the ground which I picked up.  Strangely, a passerby commented that it had just been dropped but not to bother returning it – which I was about to do - as that person would not be particularly bothered by the loss of a mere 2 pence bit!  It was such a strange remark from a perfect stranger: it was as if I was meant to keep that coin!  I knew it meant something as it was an Irish 2p with the word EIRE and a lyre.  Later, I looked up the meaning. Eire or Eriu, is the Proto-Indo-European word meaning ‘Sovereign Goddess’, or ‘Abundant Land’,  impressing upon me what I was experiencing that weekend with the rolled out Firebird rug in my daughter’s flat at The Heart, which was The Robinson Building.

 After the Ring became the Heart, I had a synchronicity showing me that this indeed had taken place.  I saw a middle-aged couple arm in arm who had just entered the park and who then proceeded to walk very slowly as if one or other was convalescing. There was something odd about them and I found myself surreptitiously watching them. I was very taken by a large, golden sequinned heart almost covering the the front of the woman’s black T shirt. Slowly they walked a circle and then exited the park by the way they came in – and I still didn’t get the clue! My friend, Robert, who helps us, had to drop a hint ‘has the ring become the heart?’  The curious incident was showing me that the golden ring had turned into a heart, hence the heart being golden rather than the more common red.  Robert posed the question: what of the possibility of the demise of kingship? This was now a real possibility thanks to the Ring becoming the Heart.  The understanding had only been made possible through reading Terry Brooks’, The Magic Kingdom of Landover.

The response from Robert was, ‘we, you may need actuation into your world so that you can benefit from these happenings?’  The comment refers to the fact that he works with others to change the energies at a higher level, but then those changes have to manifest down here in our world, which is where I and others come in. There will be signs and clues around us that changes have been made in the energies. By recognising the clues, they are brought into consciousness.  The next step is to bring them into the physical world by anchoring them in the earth.  And this happened somewhat inadvertently! I was on the phone to a particular friend who I work with and we were thinking through what ‘actuation’ meant.  We were talking through and I was visualising at the same time the energy of the Ray of Fire entering the physical earth and I felt this energy build up inside me – acting as a conduit as my friend put it.  So now Gaia has received a new message of unity as well.

Not long after, the New Ray of Fire – a purer energy - became visible as the Olympic flame of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia where the nations of the world came together in the common goal of excellence and united the people, just as the Firebird does in the film Avatar.

26 February 2014


[1] The Ring of Power in Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’.

[2]  Passage taken from an email to Robert

 

DR WHO’S GALLIFREY – PLANET OF THE TIME LORDS November 25, 2013

Filed under: Contents of Ring Quest website — ringquest @ 10:49 pm

A LEXIGRAM OF GALLIFREY (GIA)

A lexigram is composed of words made from the letters in a word, eg GALLIFREY

A RAY oF FIRE

GRAIL oF LIFE

FoR ALL

FAR GREY ELF In GALLEY

ALL FAIRIE, FEY And FAIR

A LAY, A RILL

Other verses can be made which describe the apocalyptic scenario in the 3D painting of Gallifrey with two titles, Gallifrey Falls and No More. It was a one-off episode commemorating the 50th Anniversary of  TV’s  Dr Who, called  The Day of the Doctor, which was shown on Saturday, 23rd November 2013.

The word GIA found within ‘Gallifrey’ hints that Gallifrey is in fact planet Earth.   The doctor is made to revisit the time apocalypse engulfed Gallifrey so as to change his decision to destroy it.  On that dark day he could no longer bear the suffering and carnage. The suggest is that this planet has been there too –  think Atlantis. The Doctor’s conscience/twin half who is interestingly called Rose for love, helps him reconsider that decision.  With the help of two of his later incarnations the three doctors find a new solution.  The planet is shifted in time/space to another position in the universe, but perhaps that is telling us that the planet has shifted to a higher consciousness.  The latter is suggested when the doctors combine the two mysterious titles of the 3D picture of Armageddon - GALLIFREY FALLS and NO MORE, to make GALLIFREY FALLS  NO MORE, which gives a new and quite opposite meaning. The opposites merge lifting the planet out of the realms of conflict and war.

Comment from Robert Light “The ray of fire approaches”

P.S.  Latterly, I realise that A RILL, A LAY can be turned into RIVER SONG, rill being another word for ‘stream’ and lay for ‘song’.  River Song was the name of the mysterious, other companion of The Doctor who knew more about The Doctor than he did himself, and who loved him:  they even marry.

The Gallifrey Chronicles (2005 novel)

The Gallifrey Chronicles (2005 novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

EVE’S NEW GARDEN October 12, 2013

Filed under: Contents of Ring Quest website — ringquest @ 6:21 pm

 This is a children’s book for ages 9-12 – I was advised by Waterstones who commented favourably on the book.  I include the first three chapters as well as the poem in the epilogue.

Cassina front cover

cover illustration by Nicola Hardingham

Here is the back page synopsis with testimonials:

In the magical city of Salisbury, Cassina meets Steve who reveals doorways into the past – even to the beginning of Time. With her mother acting as guardian at the door, and hotly pursued by the enemy, Cassina dashes through time portals where adventures await…….

The speed and the wind rushing over her were exhilarating and the sight of so many millions of stars took her breath away.

 ‘Does your right hand know what the left hand is doing?’ Cassina looked around to see where the voice was coming from. There was no-one there.

 ooo

“Have just read your book and enjoyed it very much.”

“I have just finished your book  - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it  - it left me thirsting for more!!

“That’s great, loved it.”

“A delightful story. Magical. Reading it was a pleasure.”

“I picked up your book on Sunday and read it that afternoon. I really enjoyed it, especially using Fisherton Street shops as ways through to another place…”.

ooo

Cassina in The Garden of Eden

By C. A. Martin

Chapter 1

A Planet is Born 

Cassina lives in the magical city of Salisbury where her friend Steve sends her on a journey back to the beginning of Time where a new planet is being created.  The shops in her street provide the clues to the secret doorway to where she wishes to go. The dark interior of an empty ‘Dr Who’ shop resembles outer space, the air shimmers like a waterfall and Cassina finds herself hurtling through space to an even blacker space in the dark universe.  A circle of women are humming as they place an object in the centre which is furnished with all the material of life – water, earth, air, fire and ether.  A man at a little distance lobs something in to the circle and the air ripples with energy and the object at the centre – the new world – becomes alive. At that thought Cassina finds herself back on the pavement outside the Dr Who shop and continues nonchalantly on her way home.

Chapter 2

The Golden Tree

Cassina meets Steve in the park and he tells her that she can travel back in Time through portals to put right the anomalies created by the first Big Bang but now the Other Side are alerted.  It would be a good idea to ask her mother to protect her and guard the entrances when she goes through them.  One such anomaly is the snake in the Garden of Eden.  Can we change the script?  Cassina and her mother decide that as the Garden of Eden was a Paradise the likely place for the entrance is near Wilton House where Sir Philip Sydney wrote his book ‘Arcadia’ which means ‘earthly paradise’. Perhaps the Garden Centre close by would be the place.  They are drawn to a particular arch in the Centre and, sure enough, Cassina finds herself in a Garden of Eden that is frozen.  She finds Eve and the Snake are one and the same person and are beginning to pull apart but she discovers she can prevent duality occurring by striking one spark from a match in the Bryant & May box of matches lying beside a cryptic message.  She strikes the match and the Garden of Eden comes to life with all its smells and sounds.

Wondering through the forest she finds that Eve has turned from the Green Lady into the Golden Lady and that the Apple Tree at the centre of the Garden is also golden.  She comes across a peacock with a dead snake in its beak which she takes as a sign that there is no longer a snake in the Garden of Eden.  Eve dances by about to sew her garden with seed.  Later, Cassina finds Eve kneeling on the ground concentrating on something in her lap.  In frustration she asks Cassina to help her hold down some rusty red garden twine that represents human DNA to make a ‘butterfly’ or bow. Eve is trying to create Man and Woman as one being, undivided.  Cassina puts her finger on the join and Eve ties the ‘butterfly’.  Highly delighted, Eve goes off to tend her garden whilst Cassina walks on until she finds the shimmering portal and finds herself back in Wilton Garden Centre.

 

Chapter 3

The Shadow World

 

Cassina learns from Steve that she has created The Wasteland and that she missed the clues in the Garden of Eden.  Didn’t she see the Tatterdamalions in the shadows of the trees? When home Cassina looks up the word which means – ‘a dirty, shabbily clothed urchin. Thesaurus says ‘broken-down, dilapidated, ramshackle, tumble-down, bedraggled, derelict.’ The Wasteland was another anomaly of the Big Bang which needed putting right and Steve suggests that she had better do what Alice did and go through the Looking Glass.  Cassina was utterly confused but she reads Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass and understands that everything is the opposite to what it is in our world.

She already knows the portal will be the dance shop nearby called Alice’s in Wonderland.  As she and her mother are about to cross the road a hostile looking man comes and stands right beside Cassina. Crossing the road her mother places herself between them but he brazenly stays right by her side on the other side of the road.  They go into action with Cassina heading for the door and her mother walking backwards never taking her eyes off the hostile man. In an instant Cassina is through the shimmering portal and finds herself in a municipal park with brightly coloured flower beds. The strange thing is that the town’s residents are wearing winter clothing.  Cassina stands and observes and notices something strange.  From time to time the people place their hands over the flowers, smile or shiver and move on.  She asks a passerby what they are doing and is told that you place your hands over red flowers to warm yourself up, or yellow ones if feeling mentally sluggish.

She asks the way to The Wasteland and is cheerfully given directions.  The Wasteland is abandoned land on which flat were going to be built.  Orange builders’sand lies randomly like slag heaps; a rat darts across before disappearing into the rough grass and broken branches lie like writhing snakes.  There is a FOR SALE sign on the land, whilst there is a SOLD sign on her side of the fencing which divides The Wasteland from the ordered world in which she stands.  Each sign was mutually exclusive ie a place couldn’t be for sale if it was sold.  If only she could somehow combine the two.

A voice out of nowhere, ‘Does your right hand know what your left hand is doing?’  Cassina swivels round to see where the voice is coming from but finds nothing.  It is the SOLD sign speaking and Cassina can see a pair of watery, pale blue eyes and a nose and mouth.  She asks the Talking Sign to explain what it means and, articulating very carefully, which looks very comical so that Cassina has to stifle a laugh, he says ‘If your right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, that means that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, but if you bring the palms of both hands together, then they will each know what the other is doing’.

‘Why, that’s how I can unite the two Signs….. By bringing the palms of my hands together The Wasteland will cease to exist.’  Imagining that her left hand is the ‘FOR SALE’ sign and the right the ‘Sold’ she slowly began moving her palms together.  Everything becomes still and expectant and the sounds of everyday life muted. As her palms meet, the fencing, the buildings and derelict land all fell away but instead of finding herself back on the pavement, she finds herself elsewhere.

 

 

EPILOGUE

 

New Eden

(A poem from a lexigram[1] of the word ‘Weedon’ which is a village in the heart of England where they even have a pub called The Heart of England

 

We (ar)e done w(ith) weed and woe

No weed, no woe, no Need

On New Eden

New dew on down,

On doe, on ewe

Nod (t)o no one

Need no one

Wed (as) oNe

Now


[1] A lexigram is composed of words made solely from the letters of a particular word or words, for eg, WEEDON

© Cassina in the Garden of Eden by C A Martin 2012

 

‘The Hobbit’ meets Bill Bryson’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’ September 25, 2013

Filed under: Contents of Ring Quest website — ringquest @ 8:14 am

REFLECTION

 by Cassie Martin

FIRST JOTTINGS

Below is an email I wrote to friends suggesting that Bill Bryon’s book  A Walk in the Woods is a modern day version of Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

I recently read Bill Bryson’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’ and it struck me he is a modern day Bilbo Baggins! The name ‘Bilbo’ is even to be found within his name  and of course their initials are the same – BB. But it was reading the book which gave me the idea as there are similarities between The Hobbit and A Walk in the Woods. Bill spends a long time packing (unlike Bilbo) for the great adventure of walking the Appalachian Trail which is the longest continuous footpath in the world, and which therefore compares with the long journey Bilbo and the dwarves set out on to the Lonely Mountain. Both parties do a lot of trekking through woods along the way – Bilbo and the dwarves trekked for weeks through the vast forest of Mirkwood. Both were told not to stray from the path and both did. And Bill Bryson even comes across the Desolation of Smaug and the vast, fiery subterranean dragon in his lair at the roots of the Lonely Mountain, in a most ingenious way. Seems to me the author could have been interacting with those energies when he made the journey with his pal Katz.

As many people know, the events in Tolkien’s The Hobbit preceded those of Lord of the Rings. It was Bilbo’s finding of the One Ring – the Master Ring belonging to the Dark Lord Sauron – that set everything in motion and which culminated in the events in Tolkien’s famous trilogy, Lord of the Rings.  Bilbo’s discovery of the One Ring could only lead, inexorably, to the need to destroy it and this, in turn, brought into being the Fellowship of the Nine.  The instant that occurred, the forces of the Opposites were engaged -  Sauron’s slaves, the Nine Black Riders, now had their counterparts on the opposite side and the action could begin.

It means something that Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods, came to my attention after the quest to change Tolkien’s story (which we wrote about in Ring Quest).  It is telling us that this modern version of The Hobbit that emerges from the pages of Bill Bryson’s book, is going to be different from the original version, and it will be relevant to us, now.  In other words, an altered Future will also impact the Past!

You ask what changes were made during the quest. Put simply, the One Ring was cleansed many times of its negative energies in the living elements of fire, air, earth and water, and then used to bring balance and harmony to the world, so as to restore the balance between the Light and the Dark in our world were duality still exists.  Secondly, at the etheric dimension, the energies of the polar opposites – good and bad – were merged.   This meant, at that dimension where the story is trapped in time, the War of the Ring no longer takes place. The energy off which conflict feeds is now absent.

Not long after the quest was achieved we began to notice that the Dark side was being forced into the open, into the light where it does not like to be. It seems that the changes above were influencing our reality. No longer was the Dark able to lurk hidden in the shadows.  A little later it became evident that the Dark and the Light were shaping up prior to the merging of the energies of those leaders of the opposing sides – the King of the West, Aragorn and the Dark Lord Sauron. At the etheric level they became one being, divided no longer.

As soon as this realisation dawned that Ring Quest was going to influence the modern version of The Hobbit things began to fall into place.  What does Gollum represent in our time?  He is none other than our very own Shadow Self whom we cannot do without, as indeed we are shown in The Lord of the Rings.  Without Gollum’s help the hobbits would never have made it to Mount Doom, the fiery volcano at the heart of Sauron’s domain where the Ring had to be destroyed.

(MORE HERE)

Robyn                        Hey, we have forgotten Gandalf.  How could we have forgotten Gandalf?

Robin             I suppose that’s because he is not there!

Robyn                        What do you mean ‘not there’?

Robin             Well, can you find him anywhere in Bill Bryson’s quest?

Robyn                        Ah, I see, we are coming at last to where the story diverges from the original.  I’ve got it! There are no real dangers on Bill and Katz’s journey, such as the trolls, goblins and wolves, so they don’t need Gandalf to get them out of a tight corner.

Robin             Thought the same at first but then remembered that, in fact, there are many dangers on the Appalachian Trail, such as the many possible diseases you can contract, the dangerous animals such as bears, not to mention murderous hillbillies in north Georgia. Bill Bryson soberly lists them and then proceeds to give us gruesome anecdotes of bears chewing on people.  The dangers are still there all right but the focus has changed. In The Hobbit – as well as Lord of the Rings, the battle between good and evil is experienced in a physical way, culminating in an actual battle between those two forces.  The Dark is vanquished but not destroyed – because it can never be destroyed in our world of duality. It is only banished to the shadows where it nurses its so-called grievances and hatred for the Light, biding its time until the next opportunity to wage war.  And so it has gone on, again and again.

Robyn                        So what you are saying is that this time around the battleground is the one within ourselves as well as our relations with each other and this time, there is resolution between the opposites.

Robin             Come to think of it, Gollum used to have debates with his true self, Smeagol, and we would see the argument go back and forth between the two parts of himself.  Samwise spotted it and gave them names.  We are like that too, aren’t we?  We all have a shadow self which seems to voice its opinion and cause us to divide ourselves?

Robyn                        So true.  Gollum represents our shadow self.  In Bilbo’s time, there was nothing for it but to wage war against the shadow or else be overrun.  Bilbo has a direct encounter with the shadow when he finds his way into the very darkest, deepest depths of the earth at the root of the mountain, which represents our subconscious. There, he inadvertently makes an enemy of the shadow in the form of Gollum.  Remember how Gollum calls out in hatred and despair when he discovers that Bilbo has his precious ring, that he hates the Baggins forever?  The fight was external then: now it is internal and, guess what, Bill Bryson and Katz achieve the quest!

Robin             They do, don’t they!  They make friends with their shadow selves.

Robyn                        The new purpose of their adventure new quest is evident right at the beginning of the book when Bill is preparing for the journey.  He has all but given up hope of finding a travelling companion when, out of the blue, he receives a phone call from his old travelling companion, Katz. Bill is thrilled and relieved because he ‘wasn’t going to have to walk alone’. Delightedly, he informs his wife that Katz wishes to join him on the Trail and there follows that amusing exchange between him and his wife remember?:

Bill’s wife: “You have nothing in common.”

Bill: “We have everything in common”

Robin             And the paradox is that both statements are true! Bill gives us a dispassionate resumé of Katz’s life to date. This reveals someone who has spent much of his life exploring his shadow side by embracing alcohol, drugs and a few other of the deadly sins until he winds up for a short spell in prison.  There, he is reformed and, on his release: ‘To everyone’s surprise, not least his own, he had not touched alcohol or an illegal substance since.’

 

Robyn                        And in complete contrast, Bill has had a solid spell of employment as a business journalist, followed by success as a traveller writer.  And he is a happily married family man with four children.

Robin             What they do have in common is they are both aged 44, are unfit and overweight and, of course, want to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Robyn                        So, I can see the challenge right away is to get along with each other.  Do you remember Bill’s wife pointing out how the two of them ended up getting on each other’s nerves by the end of their European tour together?

Robin             And we can see what very different people they are in that incident at the Amicolola Lodge when they are about to set off hiking for the first time.  Do you remember that it was exceptionally cold, even for the beginning of March and when Katz feels the icy blast of air he asks Bill if they can stay another night in the lodge?  Bill is completely taken aback and appalled by the notion and insists they have to do it, and they do set off.

Robyn                        Yes. It highlights straightaway what different people they are – opposites in fact.

Robin             And Katz never did understand the joy of hiking whereas Bill loved it.  Katz relished the pleasures of being in town again and stocked up on cream sodas in anticipation of watching his favourite TV programme, the X factor, whereas Bill was bored stiff and dying to get back on the Trail.

Robyn                        Even their walking pace is different with Katz walking much more slowly than Bill so that Bill periodically sits on a fallen tree trunk and waits for his buddy to come in to view before setting off again.

Robin             Katz would always fall asleep instantly he got into his sleeping bag.

Robyn                        While Bill would read his book in his tent before turning in.

Robin             Yet despite all these difference a true friendship begins to develop on the journey.  The shared experiences of the journey help that.

Robyn                        It is not always the case.  Think of all those stories of expeditions of the past where the members were constantly falling out with each other.

Robin             I suppose that is the test: to learn tolerance and self-discipline, become less egocentric so that you can co-operate and work together as a team.  The first hint of their friendship is quite touching, don’t you think?  Sometimes Katz would take a particularly long time catching up and Bill would leave his pack and go looking for him.  He says this ‘always pleased’ Katz. Or Katz would eventually reach Bill ‘proudly’ bearing his stick which he had left propped against a tree.

Robyn                        As Bill puts it, ‘We seemed to be looking out for each other. It was very nice. I can put it no other way.’

Robin             And as the friendship develops, they become more tolerant of each other’s faults and even find them endearing.

(MORE HERE)

The bears in the night episode

Katz getting in to his bunk bed

Katz and women

Bill and his sharp tongue

Bill even comments how his dreaminess really irritates and perplexes Katz and promises himself to try and be more alert .

Robyn                        And what is so touching is that each helps the other in that very difficult battle.  I mean, it is painful to even admit one’s weaknesses and past failings. Then you have to look them squarely in the face and accept them and, finally, you have to forgive and love yourself.  Many of those self-help books say it is the most difficult and bravest thing we can do.

(ANOTHER GAP HERE)

Robyn                        Of course there is another level of meaning.

Robin             You mean the symbolic one?

Robyn                        Yes.  Gollum is Bilbo’s shadow self, symbolically speaking – and Katz is Bill’s shadow self. We are even shown that Katz symbolises Bill’s shadow.  On the morning after their first night camping Katz crouches down besides Bill’s tent, ‘his form a dark shadow on the fabric’ to inform him that coffee is on the boil. This time around, instead of rejecting his shadow and burying it deep in his subconscious mind – remember how Bilbo leaves Gollum behind in the depths of the mountain – he has found the courage to bring it into the open.

No, let me change that. It’s as if there is something new in the air: Bill wants the companionship of his shadow self, after all, as he tells his wife, ‘they have everything in common’.

Robyn                        Well ain’t that the truth!  Do you remember how hesitant Bill’s shadow was in asking his light self if he might be allowed to come out from the shadows and join Bill on the trail, half expecting the usual rejection?  I mean, most of us have spent a lifetime refusing to look into the dark depths of our subconscious minds.  But this time around, Bill is thrilled. If cleansed of all negativity, who could be a better companion than your own shadow self who understands and knows you so well!

Robin             He is about to begin a journey where he has chosen, courageously if I might say so, to face all those parts of himself that he does not like.

Robyn                        And there is another way we can identify that Katz symbolises Bill’s shadow. He has to do what Bill wants because, of course, he is a part of him and it is our conscious self who is in charge in the outer world. When Bill insists they return to the Trail, it is against Katz’s wishes but he has to go along with it.

Robin             Mind you, the problem is that our subconscious self so often undermines our efforts in the outer world.

Robin             Hang on a minute, we are running ahead of ourselves.  Something very important happened the day before – on that very first day of the hike. Nor have we said what the purpose of the quest is at the symbolic level.

Robyn                        It is to make friends with our shadow self. After all, the lodge they stay in close to the start of the Trail is called ‘Amicolola Lodge’ and ‘ami’ in French means ‘friend’.

Robin             So, going back to the first day of hiking, Bill’s shadow is having difficulty keeping up with his light self.  By definition, being the shadow means that it carries all the junk from our past, all our fears, self doubt and all those embarrassing memories that we have buried out of sight in our subconscious.

Robyn                        No wonder Bill’s shadow is having difficulty keeping up! That is a lot of baggage.

Robin             Meanwhile, Bill reaches the summit of Springer Mountain where the real trail begins.  He puts down his pack and wearily sits against a tree to await Katz – who fails to show up.  Eventually, leaving his pack behind, Bill sets off in search of his shadow and has to retrace a lot of ground, which he does with commendable patience.

Robyn                        It is a perilous moment for the self’s journey. Bill could so easily have given up on the effort to integrate his shadow self and left it in the dark to brood over its wrongs.  Instead, he retrieves it and finds it in a wild state, almost ‘cataleptic’ with rage.  Clearly, his shadow thought it had been rejected and abandoned once again as we usually do. But this time around, Bill’s shadow does something quite new.  He decides he is fed up with being the shadow, so fed up in fact, that he has jettisoned much of the heavy dross he has been carrying for a very long time – most but not all.

Robin             And the white coffee filters that he discarded and which fluttered prettily in the air like butterflies, gave Bill’s shadow great pleasure as they symbolise freedom from his burden – and transformation.

Robyn                        On finding his shadow, Bill soothes his angry self, reassuring him that it is not much further to go to the campsite. He then does something momentous: he picks up his shadow’s burden, noting that it is not as heavy as before and, in doing so, he becomes the shadow self and in that moment his shadow becomes the light self because he no longer has any baggage to carry.

Robin             You mean they swap places?

Robyn                        Precisely.  Take what happens the following morning for instance. For the present at least, Bill’s shadow is free from the dross residing in Bill’s subconscious memory and he is transformed.

Firstly, he rises before Bill does, no longer slothful, and busies himself with boiling the water for coffee. Next he informs Bill that coffee is on its way. When Bill emerges from his tent he solicitously asks Bill how he is feeling after the rigours of their first day’s hike. No grumpiness, no swearing, just quiet industry and thoughtfulness for someone other than himself.   And then guess what?

Robin            What?

Robyn                        He promises Bill he is going to be good that day!  He actually says ‘I’m going to be good today.’

Robin             No kidding. I get it, because in the meantime Bill is behaving like his shadow self, isn’t he? There he is in his tent all warm and cosy and he reveals that he has no inclination to leave the warmth and ‘put myself through the foolishness of climbing hills’, so he just lies there, indolently, while his shadow is up and about behaving like Bill would normally. Now, considering how much Bill loves hiking that is quite an astonishing thing for him to say.

Robyn                        It is like someone is waving a flag to alert us to the fact that the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ have swapped places.

Robin             And there is more! Bill’s Shadow apologises for the lack of sugar to put on their oatmeal and, low and behold, we learn there is no oatmeal because Bill left it behind at home.

Robyn                        So his light self is no saint then.

Robin             No.  And I remember his shadow took it really well, even though he remarks that he really likes oatmeal. Next, his shadow receives a further shock from Bill – in just the way he shocked Bill the previous day when he sought to delay setting out on the trail and Bill was genuinely appalled. It now transpires Bill did not pack the ultra sickly Little Debbie cakes because he doesn’t like them. This is a real blow to Katz who loves cakes. Now it is Bill’s turn to appear apologetic.

Robin             So to recap, on the previous day Bill’s shadow walks the remaining part of the journey to the first campsite  as light as air, whilst his light self is weighed down by his shadow’s burden.  The old boundaries between the opposites have become blurred it seems.  Do you know, it’s as if the ‘light’ and the ‘shadow’ parts of ourselves have lost their meaning.  And with that established, it is of no further relevance whether one or other of them is good or bad on the quest.

SILENCE

Robyn                        It makes things a lot easier. No need for all that soul searching stuff with all the tears and pain and self-flagellation.

Robin             Yes. One minute it is Bill who is behaving badly and the next it is Katz, but each is tolerant of the other’s faults or weaknesses and each accepts the other the way they are.  It is this attitude perhaps that takes the sting out of the old meanings of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Our tendency to judge others, as well as ourselves, perpetuates division.

Robyn                        Do you remember Katz gently chiding Bill for being rude to the taxi driver over the phone when they want to get a lift to another section of the trail?  When Bill puts the phone down his erstwhile shadow remarks judiciously, ‘Maybe not my place to say, but I’m not sure that’s the best way to ensure prompt and cheerful service.’

Robin             Then Katz’s womanising ways get him into hot water in the small town of Waynesboro. They are taking a break from the trail so they can have a wash, do the laundry etc. In the laundromat, while Bill is on the hunt for insect repellent, Katz finds a girl friend and arranges to have dinner with her that evening. However, it transpires the lady in question has a husband, who shows up instead. Katz departs in haste, finds Bill in the restaurant, who remonstrates with him in exactly the same tolerant manner. Bill leaves the restaurant first, to ensure the coast is clear so Katz can make a dash for their motel, all the while terrified of being spotted by the angry husband who is driving around the dark empty streets searching for him.

SILENCE

Robyn                        Do you realise something? All the action has been achieved before they even set foot on the Appalachian Trail.

Robin             Wow!

Robyn                        What is that telling us?

Robin             That at this level of meaning the physical action is no longer necessary.  The quest to unite with our shadow self can be done in an instant with just the desire and the will to do so.

Robyn                        So the long trek with our burdens of self-loathing and misery which we carry through a life time of trials – as symbolised by slogging up hill and down-dale, wading through deep water, being rained and snowed upon, and shivering with cold, none of that is necessary any longer.

Robin             Because Bill’s different selves have become the one true self, no longer divided.

Robyn                        Time and the journey become meaningless after that because the objective has been achieved.

Robin             Thereafter the hike is only relevant where it demonstrates the oneness of the self – the perfect balance and harmony.

Robyn            Yes, Bill and Katz act like one person when they reach the first rest spot along the way – the Walasi Yi Inn. It describes how after their diet of raisins and noodles for five days, they both stared in wonder at the chilled cabinet filled with fresh sandwiches and soft drinks and how they both bought the same food – egg salad sandwiches, crisps, chocolate bars and soft drinks.

Robin             And how they sit outside at a picnic table where they both ‘ate with greedy smackings and expressions of rapture, then returned to the chill cabinet to stare in wonder some more.’

 

Robyn                        Another thing.  The trail itself is a great leveller.

Robin             Like all quests.

(MORE HERE)

SPIRITUAL MEANING

Robyn                        There is also a spiritual way of looking at The Fellowship’s journey in the Lord of the Rings.  It is the quest to temper and strengthen the self through trials and tribulations so that we can come home to the true self. Gollum symbolises our shadow self and also all those different selves we present to different people, but also our intuitive, knowing self, from which we have become disconnected. He had very keen senses and sensed danger much more keenly than the dull hobbits!  The Quest for the self culminates in the purifying and merging of the many selves in the alchemical fire of Mount Doom. The ring of reincarnation and endless recyclings melts away and we are FREE.

Robin             Bill’s companion, Stephen Katz, shows all the signs of being Bill Bryson’s shadow self, but lovingly presented, so we find his shortcomings endearing!  Anyone less fit and prepared for walking the Appalachian Trail would be hard to find.  His idea of being fit – remember he tells Bill that he is obliged to walk everywhere these days as his car was impounded – falls far short of what is required.  He is wheezing after only the short walk from the plane to where Bill and his wife are waiting for him.  In addition, he is overweight because he has to eat sugary foods frequently because of taking some contaminated drugs in the past. In short, it appears that Katz is going to be a dead weight on Bill.  But here’s the thing; Bill does not mind.  He is simply grateful for Katz’s companionship, for his Shadow’s company.

Robyn                        But what of Mary Ellen as Gollum – as she so evidently is?

Robin             We are looking at events from a completely new angle now.  This is a Gollum who has been liberated from the all-consuming desire for the Ring, a Gollum who is at the start of the journey to find oneself or one’s elf.  But she has to give up early as she has gone about it the wrong way.  She is the shadow in search of the light because opposites attract.  Instead of looking for her own unique light within, she is taking it off others, hence her wish to stick to Bill and Katz.  The initials of her name say it all – ME.  She is selfish and greedy.  Remember how she grabbed and gobbled up Bill and Katz’s last Hostess Cake in two bites without even asking if it was going free?

SILENCE

Robyn                        (Thoughtfully) You know,  Mary Ellen is also our negative shadow ‘ME’,  the one that whispers in our ear that we are not good enough, that we are lazy, too fat, too thin, that we made a mistake doing ‘that’ when we ought to have done ‘this’.  Remember Mary Ellen’s ceaseless stream of criticism of Katz and Bill, how she tells Bill that he bought the wrong tent? She even tells Katz to his face that his problem is that he is too fat!

Robin             So true – and how we chastise ourselves.  You know, I have just realised something.

Robyn                        What?

Robin             If you take a reflection of the word ‘ME’, say, by placing a mirror along the top of that word, it comes out as ‘WE’.

Robyn                        So it does!

Robin             So ‘WE’ is the mirror image of ‘ME’.  Makes sense doesn’t it, like Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Robyn                        Sure does.

(MORE HERE)

P.S.     By the way Gandalf does appear in the story!

© Cassie Martin 2013

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Robert for the idea of writing a short tale and which has led to many exciting discoveries about Bill Bryson’s book.  And thanks also to Jean for the book title and for the names of the two characters in conversation with each other.

 

Dr Who’s The Rings of Akheten and Lord of the Rings April 21, 2013

Filed under: Contents of Ring Quest website — ringquest @ 3:57 pm

Dr Who, 7th series, episode 2 – The Rings of Akhetan

Is there anyone interested in Dr Who as well as’ Lord of the Rings’?  The second episode in the latest series is called ‘The Rings of Akhetan’! The Rings bring to mind the One Ring which Frodo agreed to destroy in the volcanic fire of Mount Doom with the help of the Fellowship as well as the others which include the nine rings of the dread Nine Black Riders – Sauron’s servants – and the seven rings that once belonged to the dwarves.  It probably does not include the three beautiful Elven Rings that were hidden.

In the Dr Who episode the Rings of the solar system of Akhetan are bands that surround the large sun, rather like the rings of Jupiter.  A God sleeps within this fiery star whom the people of that star system believe is their creator.  He turns out to be an evil parasitic God who feeds of the Song and lives of the living people.  It is his time to awaken and when he does he fills the sun with the features of a face that are black and empty.  Compare that with the fiery Eye of Sauron, at the centre of which was a black, empty, bottomless pit.

There is also a particularly Elven theme as a ‘leaf, song and stars’ feature prominently.  The doctor’s new assistant, Clara, takes with her on the adventure the diary of her life and page 1 is the wondrous leaf that brought her parents together.  And here is another curious thing.  You can spell ‘Arwen’ out of the letters in Clara’s full name – Clara Olwen Oswald.  Arwen was the Elven princess who fell in love with Aragorn/Strider.

And another curious thing, a young girl called The Queen of Years comes in to the story.  Every thousand years the people in that Star System come together and it falls to this young girl to sing the Eternal Song that will feed the god as she knows all of the history and songs of these peoples through time.  That girl’s name is Merry Galel and Galel sounds remarkably like Galadriel and the Elves were renowned for being ‘merry’ and, since they were immortal, they had pretty long memories! Merry is also golden haired like Galadriel, whereas Clara is dark-haired like Arwen.

The evil god is like Sauron and other evil creatures in ‘Lord of the Rings’ in other ways too. Since they have denied life, they hate and envy the light, yet they have an insatiable appetite to consume that life.  Sauron wanted to rule the world and have everything under his dominion and when he had destroyed all life on the planet what then?  The doctor offers this parasitic god all his memories and life experiences which he lists and are simply mind-boggling, yet this god is still hungry at the end.  (You will be glad to hear that the doctor survives this experience!).  Forward steps Clara and offers the God her leaf.  Her father had always told her it was the most important leaf in history because it had to grow at that particular time, in that particular way so it could be blown from the tree at the precise moment it would fly in Clara’s father’s face which made him step into the path of an oncoming car and he is rescued by Clara’s mum who is a complete stranger.  Clara tells the god that because her mother died young (like Arwen’s mother leaving Middle Earth prematurely) the leaf contains an unfulfilled future and therefore infinity.  The God greedily starts feeding off the energy of the leaf and explodes! And the doctor remarks that even he cannot digest infinity.  It is about the micro/macro, and the universe held in a grain of sand. By voicing this truth it became real.

Interestingly, both Clara’s mum and Clara swear by exclaiming “Oh my stars” and Galadriel and Arwen were known as the Morning and Evening Stars and ,of course, the Elves are renowned for their love of the stars.

A ring comes into the story too. Payment for a taxi on this particular planet is paid for with objects that hold memories and the doctor has nothing on his person of value apart from his wizard’s staff/magic screwdriver.  He turns to Clara who takes off her mother’s ring and gives that. And in that moment we are right in the story of the Lord of the Rings as Clara, like Frodo, has to give up her ‘precious’ ring! At the end of the adventure, when the doctor drops Clara off home safely from the Tardis, he gives Clara back her ring which has been returned from the people with gratitude.  So things coming full circle, the adventure completed.

 

The number 12 and the Mayan Calendar December 5, 2012

Filed under: Contents of Ring Quest website — ringquest @ 8:22 pm

Walking to my car at noon on Monday 3rd December I saw a large no ’12′ chalked in white on a house wall. I realised that the ’2′ is like one half of the Omega symbol.  If you take a reflection or shadow image of the no 12 it is like the Omega symbol – which means The End  as in THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA – THE BEGINNING AND THE END – split in half with the two ’1′s’ creating a door or gateway in the centre, as if we are at the End of one Age but there is a door leading to another one or to a higher consciousness and a new world.

By not including the shadow side or reflection - the one that Alice visits in Alice Through the Looking Glass where everything is back to front! – we are only seeing one half of our reality as everything has its opposite – Light/Dark, Masculine/Feminine, Hot/Cold, Good/Bad.  You cannot have one without the other. When we include the the no 12′s reflection we see the whole picture and the full meaning of the no. 12 in the Mayan Calendar - that it is both an Ending and a Beginning.

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