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Graves's sources for The White Goddess
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Mark Carter
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Joined: 01 Jun 2002
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Location: Bloomington, IL, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2002 11:08 pm    Post subject: E.M. Parr? Reply with quote

Quote:
That said, I've searched the Bodleian Library catalogue and can't find an E.M. Parr reference to match... so this is troublesome. Where in TWG does the reference occur?


Looking back in my notes I almost believed I had made a mistake. I found a mention of an E.M. Hull in the 1st half of chapter 21 but no mention of E.M. Parr and feared I had made an error with the name. However, checking it against the Amended And Enlarged Edition of WG I confirmed that I had not put my foot in my mouth. In the Enlarged Edition there are two mentions of a Mr. E.M. Parr in chapter 18. Neither mention is found in the 1st edition.

So, any idea who this person is? If the publication that Tami's post linked to is a recent publication could it be a reprint of something earlier? Just wondering, I haven't even followed up Tami's link yet.

For the record, neither Hull or Parr are mentioned in the index. That is another gripe of mine against WG. The index could be more complete. It makes finding little items like these a pain. I questioned my own sanity for a moment when I couldn't find Parr in the 1st edition. Smile

While I am throwing out names I don't recognize may I also throw out V.C.C. Collum, mentioned in chapter 22? I found a book by him listed at Amazon titled The Earth Before History: Man's Origin And The Origin Of Life. Graves says that Collum excavated a burial in Brittany. I'd like to know the date of this dig to determine if Collum interpreted his findings in light of Frazer or not. Graves seems to put that spin on it but I wonder what exactly Collum himself had said.

Lastly, there is a Professor O. Richter mentioned in chapter 21. Any ideas anyone?

Thanks;
Mark
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Mark Carter
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2002 7:42 pm    Post subject: E.M. Parr in the 1st ed. of TWG Reply with quote

I just wrote a post regarding this issue and due to a computer problem it looks like I lost it before it went in to the board. So, I'll rewrite it and just give the short version. Smile

Looking at the 1st ed. of The White Goddess again this morning I noticed that Parr is in it after all. He appears in chapter 21, page 307. There Graves writes, "Mr. E.M. Parr writes to me that...."

So, at least we know Graves and Parr exchanged letters at some point. I had missed this mention of Parr earlier because I was reading from the Enlarged Edition of WG and when I checked it against the 1st ed. I only checked the passages in question. However, it seems Graves rewrote the book more than I realized between the two editions.

Thanks;
Mark
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ian
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 8:46 pm    Post subject: Re: E.M. Parr in the 1st ed. of TWG Reply with quote

Mark Carter wrote:

Looking at the 1st ed. of The White Goddess again this morning I noticed that Parr is in it after all. He appears in chapter 21, page 307. There Graves writes, "Mr. E.M. Parr writes to me that...."


You've opened up a very interesting line of inquiry here. Checking up on the letter location register on the site, I see that there are letters from E.M. Parr to Robert housed in Canellun (his house in Deya).

We're going to be cataloguing the collection in Deya soon... perhaps not soon enough for this discussion, but it will be interesting seeing what's there and in what volume too.


Last edited by ian on Thu Oct 24, 2002 7:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tami Whitehead
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2002 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark, Ian,

I don't know if this helps, Mark, but I found a reference to Parr that sheds light on what Graves said of him in WG. Of course, by the time you read this you will have found the reference in your copy...


Graves cites the view of a Mr. E.M. Parr that Athene was another Anna namely, Ath-enna, which occurs in inverted form in Libya as Anatha. Graves' verdict on the subject is "..if one needs a single, simple, inclusive name for the Great Goddess, Anna is the best choice."
APPENDIX I
NAMES OF THE GODDESS
from Rushing to Eva
by Mary M. Leue

http://www.thoughtsnmemories.net/goddessnames.htm



Anyhow, I hope this helps. I am interested in the letter project...do any of Mark's other mystery men turn up there as well?

Tami
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Tami Whitehead
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2002 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello All.
My, it sure is quiet around here...Where did everyone go?
Me, I have been swept up in the mystery, and have begun the arduous task of compiling/comparing writers on the subject of ogham, with the belief that, particularly with the older writings, deviations would reveal a clue as to who made changes and maybe why, and perhaps 'fill in the blanks.' I realize it never happens that neatly, but it makes for an interesting diversion, and compliments my seperate study of runes very nicely.

Something that struck me initially in the first scratches on the surface I have made, is the obsession with maps: maps that show the theoretical bosom of ogham by showing the areas of Europe that the '20 Sacred Trees' grow natively. However, each of the seperate 'tree maps' I have seen use a different set of trees, so each of the maps have differences, sometimes huge differences. Does anyone have an idea? How important, really, is the question of the sacred trees and where they were native to, to the construction of beth luis nion? Is the 'tree map' question a valid line of inquiry, or is it a happy little rabbit hole? Where can I find reliable material on this?

Moving on...does anyone have more information on the Welsh equivalents to the Gaelic names for the letters? Hard enough to find Gaelic lexicons on the internet, let alone Welsh...oy vey, my head...Is it in any way significant that the welsh names, and sometimes the Gaelic variants, do not begin with the letter sound they identify, and am I safe in assuming that the Welsh variants faithfully are the welsh words for the sacred trees in Gaelic?

I have given up trying to find my copy of WG, and have ordered a new one online. Hopefully that will keep me from asking foolish questions that may have been thoroughly answered or authoritatively dismissed in the text. I am working mostly from memory with WG, so please allow me a little fudge room.

BTW, Mark, I found a neat little something, you may be amused. It is a report given to Royal Irish Academy, November 14, 1870, by a Mr. Samual Ferguson. www.evertype.com/standards/og/ferguson.html In the footnotes, there are quite a few translations of ogham stones by MacAlister, and some other fellows as well. Perhaps some of your mystery men...there are an awful lot of names dropped in the report and notes, and may provide you some clues on sources...If nothing else, seeing some of MacAlister's less obtainable translations may be of value to you.


Come on guys, say something. Just pick a topic and start typing!
I'm dying here!
Laughing
Tami
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Mark Carter
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2002 9:30 pm    Post subject: Ogham Sources Reply with quote

Hello Tami,

Probably the best way to find some books on Ogham would be to visit www.bibliofind.com and enter "Ogham" or "Ogam" into the search box. You'll pull up a lot of items, both good and bad. Off the top of my head I can tell you that the 3 books I would start with would be;

1: Auraicept na n-Eces trans. by George Calder. Four Courts Press recently did a nice edition of this but it wil cost you about $70 if you can find it new. This is the trans. of the Aur. that Graves claims to have used. The Aur. itself is actually a medieval Irish textbook for the trainning of the Fili, or master poets. It is pretty much the standard regarding the popular traditions of Ogham and the Calder trans. is the standard English trans. Actually, the Calder trans. isn't that great but there hasn't been a big push to get the Aur. translated into anything better for English readers. I've been told that there are much better French and German trans. out there, if you can read French or German.

2: The Secret Languages of Ireland by R.A.S. MacAlister. This came out in 1937 and is still considered the standard work on Ogham translation. Graves consulted this book for WG, and wrote to MacAlister for more info. Philo Press did a reprint of this a few years ago.

3: A Guide to Ogam by Damian McManus. This is a college textbook for some class specializing in Irish studies somewhere. (Forgive my vauge statements but I can't remember and I'm too lazy to go look. Embarassed ) You can read about it here http://www.pictarts.demon.co.uk/reviews/c_brev01.htm . I strongly suggest it. It also compares Ogham to runes.

I would also suggest visiting Usenet and looking into the alt.religion.druid newsgroup. Better yet, go to www.google.com and search the archives for older postings. Ogham has been debated to death there and the best posters on the subject (IMHO) are Kevin Jones and Searles O'Dubhain. I've debated Ogham with both of them off and on for some time. Both of them have written books on Ogham but Kevin's hasn't yet been published and I believe Searles's book is only published on-line and available thru his web page. I can't swear to this tho. An excerpt of an early draft of Kevin's book was once on my web page and can still be found at http://members.tripod.com/Taliere/ogham.htm The webmaster there stole this article and the graphics off my own page some time ago and gave me no credit. I'll let it pass tho since now it's probably the only excerpt of Kevin's book on-line. Kevin's excellent dissertation on Celtic paganism can be found at Searles's web page at http://www.summerlands.com/crossroads/library/kevin_dissertation.html
There is also the web page http://www.evertype.com/standards/og/ogmharc.html which is a great resource.

Lastly, I would not suggest anything written by Edo Nyland....unless you want to see how far someone can twist historical evidence to support their own (insane) pet theory. I am awaiting the day when Nyland finally snaps and ties bigfoot, UFO's and Elvis to his ogham research. Likewise, Edred Thorsson's The Book of Ogham: The Celtic Tree Oracle is pretty much worthless. It's mainly compiled from the books mentioned above, White Goddess and a few instances of Irish myth probably dug out of Cross and Slover's Ancient Irish Tales. After all, it is a Llewellyn book. Rolling Eyes

Just some ideas;
Mark
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2002 11:03 pm    Post subject: Re: E.M. Parr? Reply with quote

[quote="Mark Carter"]
Quote:
Looking back in my notes I almost believed I had made a mistake. I found a mention of an E.M. Hull in the 1st half of chapter 21 but no mention of E.M. Parr and feared I had made an error with the name. However, checking it against the Amended And Enlarged Edition of WG I confirmed that I had not put my foot in my mouth. In the Enlarged Edition there are two mentions of a Mr. E.M. Parr in chapter 18. Neither mention is found in the 1st edition.

So, any idea who this person is?


Dunno about E M Parr, but E M Hull is most probably Eleanor Hull, who translated the poems Saltair na Rann, poems attributed to Oengus the Culdee,

Kevin
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Tami Whitehead
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2002 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Guys!
Happy Halloween!
Thanks for the recommendations, Mark, they are much appreciated. For some reason, I thought the MacAlister was out of print--I'll check it out, I would certainly like to have that one. Yeah, the evertype site is pretty awesome...my hats off to whoever actually gathered that mountain of material.

I mentioned Auraicept to my husband, I have a birthday coming up, but when I told him how much it cost he started to turn purple. I dunno, last year he got me a signed copy of a Gene Wolfe book(my other fave writer), maybe he feels like that was book enough for a couple of years, hee-hee. You guys ever check out Gene Wolfe? He uses Graves a lot for his historical fantasy series, and it really shows...gosh. My husband reads German, maybe I should try to find one of the German trans. you mentioned...is that at bibliofind as well?

I will check out google and the websites too, I am very much interested in the posters you mention. I was wondering...the Kevin who posted as 'guest,' could that be the Kevin you mentioned? Yoo-hoo, Kevin, come and play. Twisted Evil Ve vant to pick your brains mwah-hah-hah Twisted Evil Halloween humor aside, seriously, I hope, whoever you are, you stick around and post with us. Hull sounded familiar...my bag is mainly semitic/occidental myth/history, did she write anything in that field, or did she stick to "British" things?

I've been looking at a lot of different websites, and pulled out all my books that might mention it, and I can't find a definative answer--what is the oldest example of ogham, and what is the oldest mention or writing? What language was it in? If you guys could tell me, that would help a lot. Also, and forgive me if this is silly, if the Milesians brought Gaelic, what did the Danaan speak?

Well, it's just about time for me to get out the Oija board and see if Houdini contacts me this year Wink Have a good one.

Tami
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Mark Carter
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2002 4:01 pm    Post subject: More Ogham rantings Reply with quote

Hi again,


Quote:
I was wondering...the Kevin who posted as 'guest,' could that be the Kevin you mentioned?


I'm going to guess that's our Mr. Jones. I don't see any way to look up an Email address or IP on a guest on this board but I did send him an Email telling him that I had invoked his high and holy name into our conversation. (If you say his name enough he eventually appears, sort of like an on-line Beetlejuice.) Watch carefully and have your reference books handy, he moves fast in deep waters. Smile I'm still picking his brains about Ogham after 3 or 4 years of knowing him. OK, that's enough teasing him...don't want his ego getting too big. Razz

Tami, regarding the Auraicept, search the 'net for a used copy. Try www.amazon.com www.bibliofind.com (who is now owed by Amazon anyway), www.threegeeseinflight.com and a few other places which have slipped my mind. $70 for a new copy is a little high, esp. considering that you may be disapointed once you get it. It's not easy reading by any standard and when Kevin 1st sent me a copy I was at a total loss, even with his notes. It's really not something geared towards the general reader and it certainly isn't typical Llewellyn style pagan fluff. Still, if you're really serious about Ogham and want to go beyond using it for simple rune style divination, you'll probably want a copy of the Aur.

Quote:
You guys ever check out Gene Wolfe?


I've never read Gene Wolfe but then again I don't read much fiction. When I do it's usually something to tie into my interest in Celtic lit. or Robert Graves. I've only read about half the books I own and I have a list of titles I'm looking for even as I frantically try to catch up. Not to mention re-reading selected favorites. My greatest accomplishment recently is that I've finally become a recognized figure at my local used book store. After shopping there on a regular basis for over a decade and buying every Graves book they get (including some expensive 1st editions which I had to special order) the owner has finally caught on that I collect Graves books. Last time I was in the store he was telling me that he had begun reading Hercules, My Shipmate and enjoyed it. So much for the stereotypical image of the small used bookstore run by a guy who knows his customer's tastes. Maybe in another decade he'll remember my name.

Quote:
I've been looking at a lot of different websites, and pulled out all my books that might mention it, and I can't find a definative answer--what is the oldest example of ogham, and what is the oldest mention or writing? What language was it in? If you guys could tell me, that would help a lot. Also, and forgive me if this is silly, if the Milesians brought Gaelic, what did the Danaan speak?


Those are all questions open to debate I believe. Part of my problem is that I never write these posts from home, so I never have my books handy for an answer. Maybe I'll have to write them at home, save them to disk and haul them with me to post here. Anyway, I'm not going to tackle these questions yet. I'll tell a somewhat related anecdote instead to relate the dangers of faulty Ogham research.

While taking a break from all of this Graves/Ogham research I read Deeper by John Seabrook, a book about his adventures on the 'net. I thought it would be an easy read and a refreshing break from Ogham. Yet, right in the middle of this book about computers, the web and Bill Gates was a mention of Ogham. It seems that when Seabrook was a child he lived in a home with a root cellar and certain friends of his family were convinced that within that cellar was an inscription to Baal writen in "voweless ogam". Seabrook tells how certain family friends came to visit this sacred site now and then to rant about the Baal cult. He depicts them as being just a little off their rocker (and rightfully so). I could only laugh.

For starters, an inscription of the word Baal in "voweless ogham" would consist of the letters B and L. These two letters would translate into only 4 ogham strokes total. Damned little evidence to found a theory of Baal worship in America. Secondly, there's no good evidence linking Baal worship to any culture that has ever used Ogham. Let's face it, the Irish and Welsh didn't worship Baal and they certainly didn't worship him in somebody's basement in America within the last 200 years. So where did these people get the connection between Baal and Ogham? Where did they get the idea that a secret Baal cult survived in early America long enough to inscribe "Baal" into an early American home? Seabrook never follows up the idea. It's not his specialty and he was only telling the story as an interesting anecdote. I think we could probably guess where these people found their needed historical evidence tho. I've been tempted to Email Seabrook and ask for more detials but I'm sure he's already swamped with Emails when you consider the fact that his book was on the subject of the internet itself.

The moral of the story is......not every set of parallel scratches on some stone surface is Ogham. I'd be esp. wary of the 3 or 4 examples of Ogham which supposedly exist in America. I've also heard of it being "found" in South America. I'm reminded of Ambrose Bierce's listing for Freemason in his Devil's Dictionary;

Quote:
FREEMASONS, n. An order with secret rites, grotesque ceremonies and fantastic costumes, which, originating in the reign of Charles II, among working artisans of London, has been joined successively by the dead of past centuries in unbroken retrogression until now it embraces all the generations of man on the hither side of Adam and is drumming up distinguished recruits among the pre-Creational inhabitants of Chaos and Formless Void. The order was founded at different times by Charlemagne, Julius Caesar, Cyrus, Solomon, Zoroaster, Confucious, Thothmes, and Buddha. Its emblems and symbols have been found in the Catacombs of Paris and Rome, on the stones of the Parthenon and the Chinese Great Wall, among the temples of Karnak and Palmyra and in the Egyptian Pyramids -- always by a Freemason.


Mark
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Mark Carter
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 6:52 pm    Post subject: Toadstone Reply with quote

Where did everyone go?

I just came across a new idea I wanted to bounce off everyone. I have just finished reading Magic in the Middle Ages by Richard Kieckhefer. Kieckhefer mentions a fosil commonly known in the 14th and 15th cent. as "toadstone". Legend had it that this stone was found in the heads of toads and had mystical powers. In reality it was some type of fosilized fish. Kieckhefer offers a picture of such a toadstone set into a 14th cent. Italian ring.
Has anyone suggested that this toadstone plays a role in Cad Goddeu? There is a hint of this in the lines;

Indifferent bards pretend,
They pretend a monstrous beast,
With a hundred heads,
And a grievous combat
At the root of the tongue.
And another fight there is
At the back of the head.
A toad having on his thighs
A hundred claws,
A spotted crested snake,
For punishing in their flesh
A hundred souls on account of their sins. (Nash translation)

I know these lines make little sense and I hesitate to make any connection, but Graves links the toad of Cad Goddeu with the toad mentioned by Duke Senior in As You Like It. A quick glance at Shakespeare confirms that Duke Senior is clearly hinting at the legend of the toadstone. The line in question is, "Sweet are the uses of adversity, Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head". So, while the author of Cad Goddeu may not have known the legend of the toadstone, Shakespeare clearly did and Graves saw a reason to link the two instances.

OTOH, Graves links the two images of the toad based on his idea that they are connected to various toadstool rituals used to induce a trance state. This is an idea Graves developed after seeing the works of Gordon Wasson (and Lewis Spence, I suspect). Thus, if in fact the toad mentioned in Cad Goddeu is somehow meant to hint at the toadstone this would seem to clash with Graves's theory.

Ideas anyone?
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Tami Whitehead
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,
So sorry to have disappeared on you guys...My husband is home for 2 weeks out of the month, and when he is home, I have little time to post... He works offshore (I refrain here from singing the many praises of my mate, whose thighs are like the cedars on the plains of Lebanon, whose hand pulls down the moon for my plaything, and the stars to adorn my throat...) Ahem. Embarassed Cool You see my dilemna...please don't feel slighted if I scram for a couple of weeks, then flood you with midnite musings.

First post first, Mark, you gave me some excellent recommendations on books, sources, archives etc. Thank you. The archives alone should keep me occupied many days Smile Your warning about Nyland is duly noted...p'raps he and Sitchen can get together and formulate a Unifying Field Theory for Babylonian and Celtic myth, and solve all our problems! Marduk and Bran are spacemen, and cuneiform and ogham both are cosmic Visual Basic. >>>If
Branwen was a queen,
'and '
Inanna was as queen,
then
(White Breasted Goddess)
= (descent into under world) or /sea/ 'or' /heaven/) , + , ( /boat/ 'or' /starship/) end command<<<


Yikes, is this why I carried a 'b' in programming?

I got a kick out of your description of Kevin, and giggled about it all evening. It evoked an unwanted Lovecraftian image, a scholar lurking as swift man-eating salmon in an acorn-bobbing cypress pool, summonned by unwitting and ill-prepared acolytes and eaten when they can't answer the riddle....gives me shivers all over again, and halloween is over...If we look in a mirror at midnite and say Kevin 13 times the Elder Futhark will appear superimposed over Goidelic and Ogham, and it will make sense...That's cool.

Thanks also for the heads-up on the difficulty of the Auraicept. I feel ok tackling it, though. I understand your concern, but I am not in doubt of my ability to wade through difficult texts. I probably won't 'get it' even with extensive notes, but that would be more because of the esoteric nature of the subject rather than a difficult reading. Smile That's cool too. More learned folks than I have puzzled over it, so I feel in good stead if I scratch my head over it. If I were content with Llewellyn type fluff, I would have bought Conway's Celtic Magic and kept it at that. If Campbell frustrated me, would I be content with anything Llewellyn would publish? Be that as it may, my interest in the subject is not so much divination, as the development of the writing system, which ties to my general interest in mythic migration. And Western Hermeticism. Sorta. As I said before, my interest is primarily in calendric and writing systems. I stumbled upon WG, and it made a lot of sense, in conjunction with other things I was studying at the time. I was already sold on Grave's iconographic view of myth, and found the same approach valid in other questions.

As for my seriousness, I was struck by your statement, and the re-reading of Graves' line in his forward to WG "how you come to the Goddess is of no concern of mine. I do not even know that you are serious in your poetic profession." Like Graves, I do not think that you can seriously delve these subjects without ringing some kind of cosmic bell that sends all sorts of things winging your way...No, Mark, I doubt I am serious in the sense that you mean. I am not a degreed or tenured scholar, I am not writing a book, I do not speak Gaelic or Welsh. I have no legitimate reason for being interested in Graves or Gaelic or Ogham. I have no thesis statement or absolute goal in my studies. It's all one big question mark to me. One I can't leave alone. Now, if the question comes down to my commitment to reading/decyphering arcane lore, I can answer in the affirmative. I'm weird that way... Rolling Eyes I hope that won't keep you from letting me pick your (and others') brain(s).

As for Gene Wolfe, I can only say, make the time. For that matter, more Celtic historic fiction may interest you, in which case I highly recommend Mary Renault or Mary Stewart. I blush to say it, but Stewart is my favorite telling of Arthur...I only point out that it may give you a more balanced view of Celtic lore to check out the occidental stuff. Taking my own medicine, I have moved from occidental and levantine to the Mabinogion and the Eddas lately. Just a recommendation. I think you would enjoy Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete. All work and no play... Cool

Tami
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Tami Whitehead
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 5:48 am    Post subject: Toadstones and Such Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

I was thinking about the questions you posed about the toad references in Cad Goddeu and WG. I think the toad references may be alchemical or kabalistic in nature, rather than to do with a toadstool cult. The stone in the ring that was presumably a toadstone, and the wondrous jewel in a toad's head, was remarkable for its ability to warn against poisons, and the toad in European folk magic is a general curative of all sorts of human maladies. According to Francis Barrett, toads have this ability due to their fear and hatred of men. Well, aside from being a Natural Magician, Barrett was a kabalist, so apparently the toad thing was in harmony with what he knew of kabala.

There is also the line about 'The light whose name is Splendour.' Graves thinks it may be a reference to "the brilliance of vision" under the toadstool. It may be instead a kabalistic reference to the Light of Creation, the Prime Mover's emanations through the spheres. There is of course the famous kabalistic text, the Sepher Zohar and the Sepher Yetzirah, usaully read together: The Book of Splendour, and the Book of Lights.

Like Graves, I see a lot of the Hebrew influence in the Celtic lore and Ogham, but I think the Hebrew element includes a lot of kabalistic lore, and is indispensible in the study of alchemical symbol for that reason.

Anyhow, thought I would throw that out.
Ideas, anyone?

tami
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Mark Carter
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 3:42 pm    Post subject: reply.... Reply with quote

Hello again Tami (and all the lurkers),

I'm a post behind here, so this is in reply to Tami's post on Thu Nov 14, 2002.

Quote:
I refrain here from singing the many praises of my mate, whose thighs are like the cedars on the plains of Lebanon,


I should probably refrain from pulling the honorable Robert Graves Forums down to a new level of base humor but I must ask....is this a poetic way of saying he has a woody for you? Twisted Evil

Quote:
No, Mark, I doubt I am serious in the sense that you mean.


Well, I didn't mean to imply you were not serious. I only meant to give a warning that it's a difficult text and that it's not exactly on subject. Many modern pagans have passed the text by as being "off subject" to them because it's not explicitly a book on paganism, altho it does contain many pagan ideas. You just don't see many modern pagans reading a medieval primer on Ogham very often. It's not a commonly known book in modern pagan circles, not even with most of the self proclaimed "druids" I know.


Quote:
If I were content with Llewellyn type fluff, I would have bought Conway's Celtic Magic and kept it at that. If Campbell frustrated me, would I be content with anything Llewellyn would publish?


I knew you were well beyond the Llewellyn level. I didn't mean to compare you to that sort of reader, but only to compare the Aur. against the Llewellyn type books on the market today. Basically, I just like to take a swipe at Llewellyn whenever I can. Twisted Evil Besides, I know there's probably a dozen newbie pagans lurking on this thread right now who are asking themselves, "what's wrong with Llewellyn books". An occasional swipe at the fluff mongers may inspire such a lurker to look beyond Conway and Ravenwolf. I myself have been driven to more difficult books sometimes by the jeers of my fellow pagans. As for Campbell, he can be shallow and redundant but his redundancy drives home some very good points which in turn lay the foundation for later study. I would never part with my Campbell books, even tho I haven't touched them in years.


Quote:
"how you come to the Goddess is of no concern of mine. I do not even know that you are serious in your poetic profession."


I always found that a cocky statement from Graves, but he could be arrogant at times. I find his arrogance justified 90% of the time but this particular statement has always rankled me. I suppose that was his intent.

Quote:
I am not a degreed or tenured scholar, I am not writing a book, I do not speak Gaelic or Welsh. I have no legitimate reason for being interested in Graves or Gaelic or Ogham. I have no thesis statement or absolute goal in my studies.


I must admit the same thing, with the exception of the fact that I am trying to write a book on the sources of WG and the impact it has had on modern paganism. I have nothing more than a high school education and English is my only language. (Some would say that I haven't even mastered English.) I've often said that I feel out of place trying to tackle this subject, but I do it anyway. I get the impression that there isn't enough "cross-over" between the Graves experts and the pagans. Many of the "literary types" disregard modern paganism as frivolous and many of the modern pagans are unfamilar with Graves outside of WG. There needs to be more of a bridge between the two if we are to understand the exchange of ideas between the two groups.

I suspect there are "literary types" reading this now who resent the above statement and I must apologize in advance to them. I do not mean to create or enforce stereotypes. However, we all should admit the exchange of ideas could always be improved. By the same token there are a lot of pagans who could be reading at a deeper level but we've already covered that in my swipe at Llewellyn. It all goes back to the same thing I've been preaching to the pagan community for years...more education, more education, more education....we all need it...myself included. Trying to write this book has been an education in itself.

I still have this secret fear that I'm going to be attacked by both sides if my book is ever published. I'm going to hear from the literary experts, "who are you to write a book about Graves" and I'm going to hear from the historians, "who are you to write about pre-Christian Europe". On top of it all, I think I've already ruined my chances of being published by Llewellyn. ::sicker::

Regarding your post from today (Nov 20, 2002), I'm not much into the Cabala so I can't say. I do have a couple books on it but I have yet to study them. I suspect I will not get much from them anyway. One is by E. Levi, whom I regard as one of the most confused writers I've ever read.

However, I do know that the Cabala did rise in popularity in the later middle ages, exactly when these poems were written. There could be Cabalistic hints in Cad Goddeu, but just off the top of my head,it seems unlikely to conceal a couple of Cabalistic lines in an otherwise non-Cabalistic poem. I would think that either the entire poem was Cabalistic or that none of it was. What would be the point of concealing just a couple lines of Cabalistic lore in an otherwise Celtic poem?

OTOH, the poem is probably corrupt anyway so maybe some Cabalistic lines got into it at some point, altho they were never part of the original poem. It's hard to say and I'm not qualified to make any educated statement. I'll have to do more study of the impact of the Cabal in the middle ages and that's something I don't see myself having time for in the near future. So I may have to let this problem hang for a while.

Mark Cool
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Tami Whitehead
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Joined: 28 Sep 2002
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Location: Southeast Texas

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 7:07 pm    Post subject: Re: reply.... Reply with quote

Hi Mark,
I still haven't mastered the quote feature, so excuse the clumsiness of my post...

You said...
Mark Carter wrote:
Hello again Tami (and all the lurkers),

I'm a post behind here, so this is in reply to Tami's post on Thu Nov 14, 2002.

Quote:
I refrain here from singing the many praises of my mate, whose thighs are like the cedars on the plains of Lebanon,


I should probably refrain from pulling the honorable Robert Graves Forums down to a new level of base humor but I must ask....is this a poetic way of saying he has a woody for you? Twisted Evil


I said:
Er, um...I mean...ahem Embarassed Um, yes, I guess that would be a correct assessment. Poetic woodies aside, I sometimes get all Song of Solomon-ish about my man, he is so cool, and really does have legs that resemble tree trunks (on the cover of GM2 is Hercules wrestling Centaur, that gives you an idea how my man looks) Yum.


Quote:
No, Mark, I doubt I am serious in the sense that you mean.


You said:
Well, I didn't mean to imply you were not serious. I only meant to give a warning that it's a difficult text and that it's not exactly on subject. Many modern pagans have passed the text by as being "off subject" to them because it's not explicitly a book on paganism, altho it does contain many pagan ideas. You just don't see many modern pagans reading a medieval primer on Ogham very often. It's not a commonly known book in modern pagan circles, not even with most of the self proclaimed "druids" I know.


I said;
That's just plain sad, about the lack of knowledge, particularly in disciplines whose very nature demands extensive knowledge...I too have known these druids and minstrals, complete with colored robes, who have only the vaguest idea something pivotal may have happened around 1066, or that they are actually expected to know poems or incantations or the names of certain celestial chieftains...but they can quote Starhawk or Ravenwolf verbatim. Scary.


You said:
[ Basically, I just like to take a swipe at Llewellyn whenever I can. Twisted Evil Besides, I know there's probably a dozen newbie pagans lurking on this thread right now who are asking themselves, "what's wrong with Llewellyn books". An occasional swipe at the fluff mongers may inspire such a lurker to look beyond Conway and Ravenwolf. I myself have been driven to more difficult books sometimes by the jeers of my fellow pagans. As for Campbell, he can be shallow and redundant but his redundancy drives home some very good points which in turn lay the foundation for later study. I would never part with my Campbell books, even tho I haven't touched them in years.

I said:
I totally agree about Llewellyn, and you make an excellent point about thumping the lurkers...I stand humbly corrected and contrite. And of course you are right about Campbell, whom I agreed drives home so many of the basic points and comfortably opens doors that otherwise might stay closed to so many...he actually makes it feel ok to question the authenticity of the Judeo-Christian demi-urge, which is the biggest step for many folks. I lift a cup to him.


You said:
Quote:
"how you come to the Goddess is of no concern of mine. I do not even know that you are serious in your poetic profession."


I always found that a cocky statement from Graves, but he could be arrogant at times. I find his arrogance justified 90% of the time but this particular statement has always rankled me. I suppose that was his intent.

I said:
Not wanting to lapse too much into the 'subjective experiance' of Graves or WG, I will say this: all this has come to me in a rather fractal-type progression of events and understandings in the last couple of months. In my Western Mystery Tradition Group, I have been challenged to explore my cultural heritage, which led to geneological searches and the like, which led me squarely back to the Land of the Mighty, my personal magickal studies have circled back to British Mysteries/Western Hermeticism, and my relationship with the Goddess is being redefined. On top of that, there has been a resurgence of poetry in me, and I got a replacement copy of WG...where the line hit me like a sock full of sand right in the kisser.

As I said before, I don't think it's really possible to explore these things without ringing some cosmic bell that sends all sorts of things winging my way. I read your post the same afternoon I read that passage in WG's forward, and sat dumbfounded for an hour or so. What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Why am I getting thumped from so many different directions? Why is everything coming together at lightening speed? So, my response was not only to you, but to the Universe at large. I never took your post as a slight, but instead as an underscore to the exclamation points in my life.


You said:
I get the impression that there isn't enough "cross-over" between the Graves experts and the pagans. Many of the "literary types" disregard modern paganism as frivolous and many of the modern pagans are unfamilar with Graves outside of WG. There needs to be more of a bridge between the two if we are to understand the exchange of ideas between the two groups.

I said:
Ah. I entirely agree. And to be fair, most modern paganism is frivolous. I think you have hit the nail on the head, the lack of real education in pagan or magickal circles is a real problem. Hopefully forums like this one and others will make this information more available.

You said:
I still have this secret fear that I'm going to be attacked by both sides if my book is ever published. I'm going to hear from the literary experts, "who are you to write a book about Graves" and I'm going to hear from the historians, "who are you to write about pre-Christian Europe". On top of it all, I think I've already ruined my chances of being published by Llewellyn. ::sicker::

I said:
Never fear, didn't Graves say pretty much the same thing, and here we are years later discussing his work. There are worse fates than being rejected by Llewellyn...(though I suspect that they would turn a blind eye to your swipes and publish you anyway, if you promised to write a follow-up series on Lemurian Candle Magic.)


You said:
Regarding your post from today (Nov 20, 2002), I'm not much into the Cabala so I can't say. I do have a couple books on it but I have yet to study them. I suspect I will not get much from them anyway. One is by E. Levi, whom I regard as one of the most confused writers I've ever read.

However, I do know that the Cabala did rise in popularity in the later middle ages, exactly when these poems were written. There could be Cabalistic hints in Cad Goddeu, but just off the top of my head,it seems unlikely to conceal a couple of Cabalistic lines in an otherwise non-Cabalistic poem. I would think that either the entire poem was Cabalistic or that none of it was. What would be the point of concealing just a couple lines of Cabalistic lore in an otherwise Celtic poem?

OTOH, the poem is probably corrupt anyway so maybe some Cabalistic lines got into it at some point, altho they were never part of the original poem. It's hard to say and I'm not qualified to make any educated statement. I'll have to do more study of the impact of the Cabal in the middle ages and that's something I don't see myself having time for in the near future. So I may have to let this problem hang for a while.

Mark Cool


I said:
OK, for the kabalistic stuff, I will stand a bit firm. It isn't a far step from the 'Hebrew influence' to the 'kabalistic influence.' With the various biblical references Gwion makes in the Hanes Taliesan, he is clearly trying to demonstrate a far-reaching and more-learned background than the other bards...throwing in a bit of kabalah only proves his point, as I see it. Also, the particular references are also of the more 'arcane' biblical sort, Uriel, Eli and Enoch being the very basis of Enochian magic/lore and tied very tightly to kabalistic studies even today. Gwion says he was in the highest sphere with the Lord, again a pretty clear reference to the spheres of kabalah, and also the reference to the tetragrammaton, whose main function in Hebrew is precisely kabalistic/gematric.

Also, I don't think it would be necessary for the whole work to be kabalistic in nature for the kabala to apply to certain stanzas. If it were merely a Celtic work, there would be no biblical references. No references to Alexander. I am still of the mind that Gwion was strutting, showing a smattering of all the different forms of wisdom he had mastered, from Celtic to Biblical to Classical History to Kabala and Hebrew mysticism, etc. etc.

Anyhow, I am late for an appointment, I will try to post more later.


tami
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Mark Carter
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Joined: 01 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2002 8:39 pm    Post subject: Cad G. Reply with quote

Hello again,

After rethinking the subject matter of the Cad Goddeu I tend to agree with you about the Cabalistic influences. I had originally thought that the author would not bother to include just a couple of hints at the Cabala in an otherwise Celtic poem but I'm no longer sure. Despite what some people claim, I believe the Cad G. is a late poem. I think it's certainly late enough to be impacted by the influx of Arabic learning and the rise of interest in the Cabala which happened in the later middle ages. It's very possible that the author mixed his Celtic, Biblical and Cabalistic symbolism for whatever reason. Either to show off his knowledge or in an attempt to tie Celtic traditions into Biblical history. The Auraicept certainly contains attempts to tie Celtic history into Biblical history with it's story of the tower of Babel.

I'm currently reading The Art Of Memory by Frances Yates and it covers several memory systems used in the middle ages. It deals in part with the Cabala as a memory system and it would seem that these systems could easily be adapted to Celtic bardism. So, maybe the author of Cad G. was drawing on the Cabala as some sort of memory aid, or attempting to fit Cabalistic images into Celtic poetry...or visa versa....trying to fit Celtic themes into a Cabalistic memory system.

We already know the bards were expected to memorize vast ammounts of material and I suspect the later bards were in some way impacted by these later memory systems. I see no reason why bards would spurn a new memory system if it was easier for them. We already know that bardism was a growing, evolving art. We have to assume that it was impacted by current ideas on education and memory. If Celtic poets were experimenting with a Cabalistic system, it wouldn't shock me at all.

I dobut very seriously that the bards became Cabalists themselves but I think it's very possible that they borrowed the general idea of such a mental framework and used it as a way to order their own material. Once it is stripped of all it's mystical aspects, the Cabala can be a very effective file system for your mind. I suspect that the rise of Cabalism caused the bards to take note of this mental file system and perhaps attempt to adopt it to their own needs or create a simular system, if in fact, they did not already have one of their own.

Honestly, I suspect the bards used their own pre-existing system for some time before the rise of Cabalism but this rise in Cabalism may have impacted their system. We can only guess at what this system was but I suspect it was something like the classical Greek and Roman systems Yates deals with in the 1st half of her book.

These systems depended on vivid and unusual images which acted as visual aids. These images could be combined or chained together to remember more material. This, in turn, could explain some of the strange images in early Celtic poetry such as the Song Of Amergin. When Amergin says he is a word in a book, a sword, a flame, etc., etc., could these be memory images? Would that explain why so much symbolism in Celtic poetry seems disjointed, unconnected and meaningless to us today? Were these images intended to serve as visual memory aids to something that has been forgotten? Was the poem itself a memory aid filled with symbolic images to jog the memory? If so, what were they trying to remember? I realize that by asking this I am inviting every half wit fruitcake who has ever read a single Celtic poem to make his own idle guess and uphold his own pet theory, but the question begs asking.

It only seems logical that the bards had some sort of memory system and it would only seem logical that this system was something like those used by the rest of Europe. The Celts were not in some intellectual back water as some people would believe. They exchanged ideas with the rest of the world and I would think that they would draw on Greek or Roman memory systems if they encountered them. Kevin pushes for a exchange of ideas along trade routes in Gaul which may have carried a early form of Ogham which he believes to have existed. Could such a route also have carried one of these Greek/Roman memory systems which we know to have been used at the time? I have bounced this idea off Kevin in an Email and am waiting for a reply.
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