Tolvesteinringen: A Norwegian Stone Circle

By Dr Frank Malone

 

Recently I was in Norway to present at the International Association for the Psychology of Religion.  I was delighted to discover that Norway has stone circles!  My conference was near a ring of 12 stones (named Tolvesteinringen) on the eastern shores of Lake Mjølsa.  The circle is located on an easy 2 km walk north of the small town of Moelv, in Hedmark County.

Beautifully preserved, it is 25 meters in diameter.  Not much is known about the circle other than it dates to the Iron Age (2000-2500 years ago).  Archaeologists did find a skeleton buried in the centre.  After my wife and daughter took their snaps, they headed back to town while I felt drawn to spend more time with the stones.

OBOD and Shamanic training are excellent for knowing on how to approach a site like this.  I thus knew how to address the spirits of place, and each of the stones.  I spent 2 hours there.  I ended my time with a 20-minute breath meditation before heading back to my family.  I left feeling deeply relaxed and blessed to have had such an encounter.

Book Reviews

Melusine Draco

Blog reviews …

From time to time I will be introducing reviews for books that are complementary to traditional British Old Craft and the Khemetic Mysteries … or just because they contain their fair share of ‘magical truths’ that are pertinent to all Paths and Traditions. Wisdom isn’t confined to a single belief system and sometimes we can benefit from a different viewpoint … even if it’s not remotely connected to the Path we personally follow.

HEALING POWER OF CELTIC PLANTS: Dr Angela Paine

This is my kind of book … and ‘music’ for the eyes … having come from the land around Llyn-y-van-vach, that ‘small lake deep in the wildest part of Carmarthenshire’. This is not the usual fare for New Aeon introductions to one of the basic fundamentals of traditional folk-medicine and wort-lore but an erudite guide covering the history, myth and symbolism of twenty-five plants known to…

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Search for the Bard of Hawkwood

If you can’t take part, perhaps this will inspire you to either find a bardic contest in your area, or maybe even start one…

The Bardic Academic

THE SEARCH FOR THE BARD OF HAWKWOOD 2018 BEGINS!

Bardic Chair of Hawkwood 1882 The Bardic Chair of Hawkwood, 1882 original eisteddfod chair, donated by Richard Maisey. Photo by K. Manwaring

The annual Bard of Hawkwood contest 2018 has been launched with the outgoing bard announcing the theme. Madeleine Harwood won the contest at the Hawkwood College Open Day last May Day, commented upon her time as Bard of Hawkwood:

‘Being the Bard of Hawkwood afforded me an incredible boost in confidence and self worth. Furthermore it enabled me to achieve more in the past 9 months than in my previous 25 years of singing. With new found love and passion plus the support of loved ones I was able to write and record my first album, and many performances have followed, with yet more rolling in for 2018. Most of all it has taught me not to hide in the shadows, to seize every moment…

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Ross Heaven, Shaman and Author

Solitary Path

Yesterday morning I received the sad news that Ross Heaven, Shaman and author had sadly and unexpectedly passed away.

I never managed to meet Ross in person but he was kind enough to write a review of my book ‘Web of Life’ despite having no idea who I was and when I decided to do the distance work based on his excellent book ‘Medicine for the Soul’ he proved himself to be the most supportive teacher, guiding, challenging and generous in the sharing of his own experiences.

If you have never read any of Ross’ books you are missing a real treat. His works are wide ranging in their themes from his own early training with Adam, the Sin Eater he knew as a child in Wales in ‘The Sin Eater’s Last Confessions’, his own journey and changing relationships in ‘Drinking the Four Winds’, and his interest in working with…

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A Review of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun by J.R.R Tolkien

by Dr Frank Malone

This recently released book of three poems includes notes and commentary by Verlyn Flieger and Christopher Tolkien. Edited by Dr Flieger (Department of English / University of Maryland), this small volume will not only appeal to Tolkien enthusiasts, but also to students of Celtic myths and legends. From Tolkien’s middle period, these poems are the culmination of what appears to be a year (1929-1930) of immersing himself in Breton languages and folklore.

In Britain’s land beyond the seas

the wind blows ever through the trees;

in Britain’s land beyond the waves

are strong shores and strong caves.

J.R.R Tolkien, “The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun,” lines 1-4

“The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun,” the longest poem from which the book is titled, was finished by Tolkien in 1930 and was published in 1945 in The Welsh Review.  It is a re-working of other earlier authors’ published material into octosyllabic couplet (lai) form. Unused and revised sections are reviewed by the editor giving a glimpse into Tolkien’s creative process.  Here a childless husband seeks fertility help from a “witch” (later called “Corrigan”) who is found sitting beside “the fountain of the fay, before a cave.”  Tragedy then ensues.

‘Mary on earth, why dost thou weep?’

‘My little child I could not keep:

A corrigan stole him in his sleep,

And I must weep.

J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Corrigan,” lines 1-4

The two other poems, “The Corrigan,” and “The Corrigan II,” are also retellings by Tolkien.  They involve motifs and themes found in other Celtic traditions. For example, “The Corrigan,” entails a human baby that is replaced by a fairy changeling, and “The Corrigan II,” concerns an attempted seduction of a human man by a fairy woman.  Other elements are specifically Bretonic.  For instance, “The Corrigan” is a Breton word that means “fairy,” with a unique history of connotations differing from other Celtic lands.

Fans of The Lord of the Rings will enjoy discovering how the Corrigan “foreshadows the greatest and best-known of Tolkien’s magical, mysterious, ladies of the forest…Galadriel.” (xvi).

There has been some scholarship of late examining how, and to what degree, Tolkien might be considered a Pagan author (E.g., Dr Ronald Hutton’s paper, “The Pagan Tolkien” in the Tolkien 2005 Proceedings, published in 2008 by The Tolkien Society.”  The folkloric clashes between Christianity and Paganism are firmly maintained in these retellings. However, it is possible nevertheless to bring a psychoanalytic lens to Tolkien’s displayed attitude in these poems and view it as defensive.  This would betray a fascination with the pagan material that he could not relinquish in his mind.  The discipline of applied psychoanalysis (which interprets culture) may thus perhaps further this vein of scholarly inquiry.