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Ghost Dancing

A Blog of Travel, Photography and General Thoughts

Hunter’s Moon and Tales that Redshift

Tony Fenton | October 6th 2014 | General

As we approach the Hunter’s Moon there is a chill in the air and thoughts turn to autumn and the coming winter. There is a sense of magic as the change of seasons reveals there is more than just our day to day world, we are part of something much larger. Only two more full moons remain before Christmas, how time flies! In case you’re interested the full moons to come are the Beaver Moon and the Cold Moon.

There feels to be some old magic in naming moons. Such ancient objects as the moon show the real scale of where we are and our place in the universe. I love reading of the old lores and have always been fascinated with ancient beliefs. For example, where did ley lines originate and is there really anything in them? Whilst it is interesting to imagine a mystical network of ley lines and ponder over their meaning, they are sadly a modern idea and don’t have any mystical powers.

The term was first coined in 1921 by Alfred Watkins, an amateur archaeologist. He used the phrase in his books exploring ancient paths in Britain. But it wasn’t until 1969 when writer John Michell revived the term in his book The View Over Atlantis and associated it with mystical feng shui – like alignments of features on the landscape that they took on a little magic. Since then several others in the 1970s added to the theories and kept the mystical ideas of ley lines alive. But sadly mathematics dispels such mysticism by stating shapes can be found in otherwise random points. Oh well, I shall still think fondly of Mow Cop, Rudheath and ley lines from Alan Garner’s Red Shift. The magic of that story remains, perhaps embellished a bit by a flawed memory of it.

Another story from the past that echoes down the years for me is Peter Dickinson’s The Changes, a TV mini-series from 1975 which featured a mysterious stone found deep underground which bears the Latin inscription Merlinus Sum, Qui Me Tangit Turbat Mundum, I am Merlin, whoever touches me unbalances the world. Naturally someone touches the stone and before you know it an ancient force is awakened, turning mankind against all electrical possessions, setting civilisation back hundreds of years. The TV series is probably very dated by today’s standards so I will avoid looking it up in order to preserve my partial memory of it and the central idea of ancient mysterious forces.

Interesting that the stone’s inscription in The Changes refers to Merlin. Isn’t it an endearing thought that King Arthur and his army along with Merlin the wizard are sleeping beneath Alderley Edge ready to wake and save the country when needed. This is an old legend and has been used by Alan Garner in The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. 

I love fragments of half-remembered stories that over time have taken on their own mysticism to me as memory and experience shape them into part of my personal history. So, in a way, these stories have their own red shift as I move away from them in time.

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