"Everything that touches human life is surrounded by a penumbra of associations, memories, echoes and correspondences that extend far into the unknown. In this way of seeing things, the world is full of tenuous filaments of meaning, and the very worst way of trying to see these shadowy existences is to shine a light on them."
Taken from an article by Phillip Pullman (writer of 'Dark Materials) in the Guardian.
Sometimes you get tired of the ways of the world, the constant bickering, the trivia that fills our media, and may I say it, sometimes on blogs. But no I am not going there. I am staying with magic and the need to believe in something that is not there!
Religion of course tumbles into the mind, belief systems that have no logic but have ritual, words and colour to uphold their divine rights. This is something Paul and I argue over, both non-believers, he sees the Catholic church as corrupt, which it is, but it still holds hundreds of thousands of people entranced. You cannot dismiss it and hope that it will go away, somehow people need a belief system in their lives.
But what of magic, the cat buried in the wall of an old cottage, or indeed under the threshhold of the entrance to the door. Paul told me it was unlucky to step on the threshhold of the back door the other day, maybe because he had just stained it!
Is there a function for creating fairies, elves and devils; and gods of course? Do they carry our sins, reminding us of how to behave. Bad and good, are they the moral underpinnings of our soul? And do we have a soul, or is the Holy Ghost a mythology to frighten us into subjection?
On my desk I see Geoffrey Grigson 'The Englishman's Flora', a book I delve into frequently, even plants have association with good and bad, religious figures in the middle ages, of course they were rationalised into Latin by Carl Linnaeus, as science has rationalised the world around us. But we still want to believe in 'magic ;), a chaotic order in the world that doesn't fit proscribed rules.
I meant to actually talk of something that is irrational in the archaeology world, they are called ley lines, a belief that all over England these invisible lines join up, making their way through significant features in the landscape, such as churches and prehistoric sites. This is proven by dowsing for energy fields. As you dowse for water, a legitimate occupation for finding wells and water by the way, you can also dowse for the energy lines! Water of course is logical, it is the place where we settle our villages and towns, a good water supply is essential for humans and animals, so the track marks we make to these places are often indelibly written into the landscape.
So I shall read Guy Underwood 'Patterns of the Past' with interest but a purely sceptical eye, and thank Tom Stephenson for reminding me of this author from the past.
And to all those books that bring magic to our reading, thank you. Yes, Tolkien, Lewis, Pullman, Lucy Boston (The House at Green Knowe) Alan Garner and Russell Hoban. That middle line between children and adult fiction, they have imagined magic and captured it beautifully.