Saturday, December 21, 2013

SOLSTICE & A Look at Lewis Spence

I've posted this poem at Winter Solstice once before - 5 years ago. I like it a lot, so here it is once more:
Toward the Winter Solstice
by Timothy Steele

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the cord of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUVs.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow, blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

(Find it HERE.)

In a search for something else to add to this Solstice posting I noted a quotation from a book by one Lewis Spence, "British Fairy Origins":
“...some evidence seems to exist that an idea prevailed that in the fairy sphere there is a reversal of the seasons, our winter being their summer. Some such belief seems to have been known to Robert Kirk, for he tells us that 'when we have plenty they [the fairies] have scarcity at their homes.' In respect of the Irish fairies they seem to have changed their residences twice a year: in May, when the ancient Irish "flitted" from their winter houses to summer pastures, and in November, when they quitted these temporary quarters.”
A passing reader might decide this blogger has temporarily slipped "away with the fairies". Not so - well no more than usual anyway. I looked further into the author of that whimsical quote, and his book.

Lewis Spence
, ( 1874-1955) a Scot, journalist and fairly prolific author on such fascinating topics as occultism, druidism, the magic arts, Atlantis, mysteries of Mexico, mysteries of Egypt, Scottish folklore, British fairy lore....and much more. Some of his work is still in print but much is now forgotten, although many recent authors have likely used his work for reference, inspiration or as a spring board.

A couple more fairy-related quotes from his book British Fairy Origins

“In my view the study of fairy origins assumes a greater degree of importance than popular opinion is wont to concede to it. Indeed, the ideas associated with it strike at the very roots of human belief and primitive methods of reasoning. It is scarcely to be questioned that the explanation of fairy origins is of the utmost value to the better comprehension of primitive religion. Later it will be made clear that, for the writer at least, the whole tradition of Faerie reveals quite numerous and excellent proofs of its former existence as a primitive and separate cult and faith, more particularly as regards its appearance and tradition in these islands.”

Another ....

“But this is not to say that a highly specialized body of belief such as that associated with Faerie is not capable of subsidiary explanations apart from this very general conclusion, specially in connection with those later and accretive ideas which must have grown up around it. Admittedly there is a common basis for the origin of all beliefs associated with the origin of spirits, which is to be found alone in the doctrine of animism. This notwithstanding, and with all due respect to the warnings of Krappe, Hartland, and others concerning the risks accruing to the scientific classification of spiritual forms, certain types of spirits with markedly separate characteristics have assuredly been conceived, and have been given diverse denominations and descriptions by those who believed in their existence. Of this the fairy type is indeed a case in point; and however correct it may be to say that it cannot basically be separated from the ghost, the goblin, or the demon, it has, in the course of ages, assumed characteristics which in a secondary sense distinguish it sufficiently from all of these to permit the scientific observer, and to some extent the peasant or the savage, to rank it as a separate variety of spirit, if not as a distinct species.”
― Lewis Spence, British Fairy Origins

More information and illustration of some of his book covers can be found at here.

His natal chart with data from Astrotheme:

Early Sagittarius Sun with Moon in Gemini and Libra rising, in a chart capable of multiple patterns: oppositions, trines, sextiles, sufficient to form what my software calls a Seer Geocentric pattern, made up of Grand Trine (3 harmonious 120* aspects), two oppositions (180*)
four sextiles (60*) all tightly or in some cases a little more loosely linked. I have one of these in my own chart but have never been able to find out exactly what it signifies other than a chart with lots of links, most fairly positive in interpretation. Astrologers would interpret this pattern as, I guess, a mix of the interpretations of two patterns contained within the "Seer": Grand Trine and Mystic Rectangle.

In Mr Spence's case the planets involved are: Venus, Jupiter, Uranus, Moon and Neptune. The artistry in his writing (Venus in Sagittarius) is well-linked and in more than one way, to Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius) for philosophical ideas and the spread of his writings; Uranus, his interest in "out of the ordinary" subjects - thought by some to be somewhat eccentric; Moon in Gemini: Moon his inner self; Gemini from whence the inspiration to write arises; and Neptune - his creative imagination. Many harmonious links are involved, held together by a couple of oppostions: Jupiter/Neptune and Venus/Moon which, rather than opposing in the usual sense, might more positively be seen as offering a balancing effect.

His natal Sun in Sagittarius doesn't form part of the "Seer" formation, but tunes him into the general feel of "harmony" through sign and element.

Saturn at 9 Aquarius opposes Uranus at 15 Leo - the two rulers of Aquarius, one balancing the other - a tricky job indeed: new thought attempting balance with the old and well-established is one way to put it. In Mr Spence's case, though, he was actually making the truly old become new again: ancient beliefs polished up and brought to the fore.


mike said...

And a happy solstice to you and yours, Twilight! Just happened minutes for Venus' retrograde in a couple of hours.

A bit of a quinkydink with your fairies. I talked with my sister a couple of nights ago on the telephone and we were discussing this article:

Some children have expressed their previous lives while in the first six or so years of this lifetime. The knowledge tends to fade after age six, according to the paper.

This led us to a discussion regarding our own early years...we each had a fairy-like being in our youths up until about age six. I called mine the "Blue Man", because he always wore blue. He was quite small and usually visited me when I went to bed, but it could be any time during the typical slumbering hours (10 PM through 6 AM). It could have been a dream, though it was very repetitious, several times a week over several years. He was always fascinating...I have no true recollection of what we actually talked about, but he was a comfort to me. My sister had a similar, but not the same, experience.

Going back to the reincarnation article, my sister was terrified of overhead airplanes as a toddler and would go into a frenzied panic hearing their flights...she would identify them in the pejorative for "Japanese" as soon as she learned to talk. She never actually outgrew this, but was able to gain control of her fear. She told me that when she hears a plane's engine, then and now, she can almost "get it", but doesn't...knowledge so close, but not.

Twilight said...

mike ~ That's an intriguing article, mike - thanks for the link. The comments are good also.
I remain a "don't know" on topics such as reincarnation, UFOs, ghosts etc. but love to read of believable experiences of others involving any of them.

I have no experience of my own which would fit with either reincarnation or fairy-like visitation, though I've always had this feeling that there's something "right" about astrology- not everything, but something and that something yet to be discovered will clarify the how and why of it all.

Not sure where that comes from, I didn't inherit or glean it from anyone else - in this life anyway.

Your "Blue Man" is something a child psychologist would no doubt have an explanation for, but I'd much prefer to think of him as a benign fairy visitor. :-)

Re your sister's fear of airplane noise - I have a maybe comparable fear of deep water, would never, ever embark on a long journey by sea - even if offered as a gift. This probably comes from falling into a swimming pool as a child though, rather than any past memory - but you never know. :-)

One comment under the article you linked got me wondering along another line:

If a brain-dead person gets a transplant and is able to get back into life with that, what would you say, would his/her personality remain the same or would it change to be the personality of the donor? I would say that his/her own personality remains. Cause organ is organ. Biology as such does not suddenly take some new forms when we move from the rest of the body to our heads.

If astrology is valid then the brain would carry modifications effected by time/place/date of birth of the donor so...... I'd guess the recipient would inherit that personality. What do you think on that?

mike (again) said...

There's a lot of anecdotal evidence of transplant memory. Donors' personalities affecting the recipient. Seems to be predominately in the heart transplant realm. Dr. Paul Pearsall, deceased, researched 73 cases and wrote a book about the subject, "The Heart's Code: Tapping the Wisdom and Power of Our Heart Energy".

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks for these - I've skimmed them all, but will go back to read them in detail. Amazing! If heart transplants can affect recipients' personality so noticeably, then how much more likely is it that a brain transplant (if ever possible - and I somehow doubt it will be) would?

mike (again) said...

The elves are alive and well in Iceland:

"Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project building a direct route from to the tip of the Alftanes peninsula, where the president has a home, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer. They fear disturbing elf habitat and claim the area is particularly important because it contains an elf church."|main5|dl13|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D422681

Twilight said...

mike(again) ~ LOL! I love it!

"I got married in a church with a god just as invisible as the elves, so what might seem irrational is actually quite common" with Icelanders.

Quite right!

By the way I meant to thank you earlier for recommending a couple of Christmas films a while ago. I obtained VHS tapes of both, we watched them a few days ago. Husband had seen "A Christmas Story" long ago and very much enjoyed seeing it again - I preferred "Christmas in Colorado" but enjoyed them both. Kris Kristofferson was the great attraction for me in the latter! Always admired him a lot. :-)

mike (again) said...

I recommended "Christmas in Connecticut"...I'm not sure what you watched called "Christmas in Colorado"...LOL. I think you must have been deeply into a romanticized slumber-dream with your man, must have had a good ending.

Kris K. was nine years old when "Christmas in Connecticut" was filmed.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Shucks! ah well trust a limey not to know her Connecticuts from her Colorados!
LOL! It must have been fate that I see a film starring one of my heroes. ;-)

The Connecticut movie will be on my list for next year then. Oddly enough I saw it on TCM's schedule for tonight (earlier I think though) and said to anyjazz - oh, that's the one we saw the other night on VCR....or was they have mountains in Connecticut? LOL