1. <delect id="PaT"><option id="PaT"></option></delect>
      2. <dd id="PaT"></dd>

      3. Grevel Lindop

        Poet, biographer, critic, essayist and writer on just about everything

        Consult the Oracle

        My grandfather, I’ve been told, was something of a magician. At any rate, he left behind him a substantial collection of occult books. Unfortunately, I never saw this collection: when he died, my parents (not from any motive of disapproval, but simply because they were tired, and had had enough of dealing with his possessions) disposed of the whole lot to a bookseller.

                    Or almost the whole lot. Because, as in all the best fairy tales, one book survived. And – of course – when I was about ten years old, I found it, hidden amongst all kinds of clutter in a kind of attic, the room next to my bedroom. It’s on the desk in front of me as I write, a battered old volume called Consult the Oracle, or, How to Read the Future. Could there possibly be a more alluring title for a child to discover? I still feel a certain thrill as I look at it now, despite its desperate physical condition. The spine, which time has darkened almost to black, has split and nearly fallen off. The hard front cover (there was clearly never a dust-jacket) is a shiny, grubby brown, darkened at the edges with finger-marks. It shows an amateurish drawing of a priestess swathed in voluminous robes, perched atop a three-legged chair – no doubt the famous ‘tripod’ of the Delphic Oracle. She raises one crudely-drawn hand, whilst the other clutches a branch of some shrub: perhaps meant for laurel or olive, though it looks nothing like either. And from a hole in the dais under her chair emanate curly wreathes of smoke: those vapours from the depths of the earth which were supposed to inspire the oracle’s prophecies. Alongside her, to remind us of practicalities, is the book’s price: one shilling (that’s five new pence, or around six cents). In March 1901 when Grandfather bought the book that would have been cheap, but not absolutely dirt cheap. I know when he bought it, incidentally, because there’s the date, under pencilled initials, on a flyleaf which has now completely detached itself and lies loose inside the cover.

                    The title page enlarges on what’s to be found within. ‘A GUIDE TO THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS,’ it promises, ‘AND TO OTHER MATTERS MAGICAL AND MYSTERIOUS: BEING THE WISDOM OF PAST TIMES AND PRESENT TIMES AS TO WHAT WILL SURELY COME TO PASS’. Who could resist that? As a ten-year-old, I certainly couldn’t. When you’re a child, the future is everything, a box of delights. Now, in my seventy-first year, I have a different idea of ‘what will surely come to pass’ and it’s not all good. Never mind. The contents page listed possibilities beyond my wildest dreams. And indeed, dreams were where the book began. The first chapter was ‘We Tell the Meaning of your Dreams’, and it started with some basic tips: for example, a warning that ‘the gift of dreaming with truth is withdrawn from those who either tell as dreams what they never dreamt, or refuse to tell their dreams at all.’ That was worth remembering. Also, ‘Morning dreams are more reliable than those of any other time.’ And certainly, I’ve often found those the most vivid; though ‘the most important dream of the week’ is, apparently, the one you dream on Friday night. And above all, ‘dreams are interpreted by symbolism. The most earnest and best-informed student of the symbolical will be the most reliable interpreter of dreams.’

                    There followed an alphabetical list of dream images, with interpretations – some of them surprising. If you dream of an anchor, for example, then ‘one of whose affections you are doubtful really cares for you’; and to dream of riding a bicycle ‘means that for some years you will have constant change’. A stopped clock means a dangerous illness; and ‘Should you dream of catching fish it is a sure sign of bad luck.’ More predictably, ‘To hear whispering in a dream means that many people are talking ill of you’. Some of the topics seemed a little outré; would I ever dream, for example, of a tortoise (‘you will by plodding on reach a high position in life’)? Or of watching a woman make pies (‘Your experience in love is likely to prove disastrous’)? Six decades later, I’m not sure that either of these has yet cropped up. But the details didn’t really matter. What counted was the sense that dreams were worth attention, that they had meaning. I began to recall my dreams purposefully, and to reflect on them. A few years later, in a local library, I found a book called The Interpretation of Dreams and borrowed it, expecting a more reliable guide to prophecy. It turned out to be by Sigmund Freud; it introduced me to psychoanalysis, which has played a valuable part in my life.

                    But there was much more to Consult the Oracle than dreams. Among the other chapters were ‘Lucky and Unlucky Numbers’; ‘Fortunes told by Cards’; ‘Character Shown by Handwriting’; ‘Fairy Folk’; ‘The Wonders of the Divining Rod’ and many more. Almost everything, it seemed, could have hidden meanings. The chapter on cartomancy offered what was probably a very old system for reading fortunes with ordinary playing-cards; in 1901, few people outside esoteric organisations had ever heard of Tarot cards. I didn’t get far with it: memorising the meanings of fifty-two cards, many of them apparently quite arbitrary, was too difficult (‘Five of Hearts: Unexpected news, generally of a good kind; Four of Hearts: An unfaithful friend. A secret betrayed…’). But it aroused my curiosity, and when I was sixteen I finally got a Tarot deck – which I’ve used ever since.

                    More immediately valuable were the chapters called ‘We May Judge Character by the Hands and Fingers’ and ‘Fortune Read in the Palm of the Hand’. I studied my own hands closely. Easy enough to find the Life Line and even the lines of Head and Heart. But where was ‘the Plain or Triangle of Mars’? And what about the ‘Mount of Luna, or the Moon’? Not too worried about such minutiae, I scrutinised other people’s hands too. Somehow, without ever quite disentangling all the details, I began to develop a sense of how the hand, taken as a whole, with its fingers and wrist, as well as the maze of lines on the palm, spoke of a whole person. And a few years later, at teenage parties, what an asset palmistry turned out to be! What better passport could there be to sitting with a girl in a quiet corner, or halfway up the stairs, holding her hand and solemnly discussing her character, ambitions and dreams?

                    The chapter on ‘Fairy Folk’ explained that

        “The Land of Faerie is situated somewhere underground, and there the royal fairies hold their court. In their palaces all is beauty and splendour. Their pageants and processions are far more magnificent than any that Eastern sovereigns could get up or poets devise. They ride upon milk-white steeds. Their dresses, of brilliant green, are rich beyond conception; and when they mingle in the dance, or move in procession among the shady groves, or over the verdant lawns of the earth, they are entertained with delicious music, such as mortal lips or hands never could emit or produce.”

        But apparently fairies would only be found where the grass grew ‘undisturbed by man’. ‘Once it is ploughed the spell is gone and they change their abode’. An old Scottish proverb was quoted: ‘Where the scythe cuts, and the sock [ploughshare] rives, hae done wi’ fairies and bee bykes!’ Bee bykes, it seemed, were nests of wild bees. And indeed, Consult the Oracle had a whole chapter on Bees: it was called ‘Bees Know More Than People Think’, a suggestion I still find very plausible. ‘Bees’, the Oracle explained, ‘are lovers of peace and will not thrive with a quarrelsome family.’ It also warned that ‘if there is a death in the family,’ the bees must be told, or they would leave: the correct formula was said to be ‘Little brownie, little brownie, [such a person] is dead.’ Once this was properly done, ‘the bees begin to hum by way of showing their consent to remain.’ It was also wise to ‘put a little sugar at the hive’s entrance on Christmas Eve’. ‘At the stroke of midnight’ the bees would come out to eat it. By contrast, some passages showed the casual cruelty of the Victorians: ‘Not to catch and kill the first butterfly seen in spring is unlucky’. That reads shockingly now; and is surely the exact opposite of the truth.

                    The Oracle had a good deal to say about animals generally. Cats born in the month of May, it warned, ‘are good for catching neither mice nor rats.’ On the other hand, ‘The best mousers are cats that have been stolen.’ Did anyone truly ever steal a cat to improve its talents at pest-control? It seemed unlikely. More plausible were the notions that ‘Horses are able to see spirits’, and that it is lucky for a horse to have a white star on its forehead.

                    It would take too long even to hint at all the wonders the Oracle had to offer. There was ‘Character Shown by Handwriting’; as well as ‘The Mysteries of Spiritualism’, ‘Taking a Hand at Table-Turning’ and even an introduction to astrology: ‘There is much to be Learned from the Heavenly Bodies’. I could go on; but this is enough. Foolish and simple-minded much of the book certainly is, as I gradually realised. But it told me something important: that the world round me was not just a world of material objects, nor a world merely governed by meaningless chance and physical laws. It showed that there was meaning and mystery in everything; and that on the margins of mainstream thought – the kind of thinking we were taught at school – there were intuitions, dreams, visions of other and deeper things. Consult the Oracle showed me that, as the poet Paul Eluard neatly put it, ‘There is indeed another world – but it is in this one’. The Oracle helped me make the transition from the fluid, metamorphic, non-rational world of childhood, into the partially (very partially!) rational and informed grown-up world – that world in which so many people are encouraged to close down their intuitive, psychic and imaginative faculties – without losing the sense of wonder and mystery. Some people – the naturally spiritual ones – may not need such support but I did; and I was lucky to find it.

                    Having inherited Consult the Oracle – accidentally, as it were – from my grandfather, it would be good to report that I am passing it on to one of my own grandchildren. But that’s impossible. For – again as in a fairy tale – now that its work is done, the book is crumbling to dust. In writing this essay I have turned many of the pages, and each as I turned it has broken away from the binding. So acidic is the paper that the leaves are brown and brittle at the margins. The edges of the pages flake off as they are touched. Soon the book will be nothing but a heap of fragments. Everything has its season, and this book’s season is passed. But it came to me at the right time, and I’m grateful. I consulted the oracle, and it spoke.

        [This essay first appeared in QUEST, Journal of the Theosophical Society in America, and is given here by permission.]

        A RHYME FOR THE TAROT

        I’ve often felt frustrated that, although I’ve worked with the Tarot on and off since I was 16, I’ve never been able to remember the order of the Trumps. A couple of weeks ago, I thought of making up a rhyme to help recall the numbers.

        So I did it. It’s just doggerel but others might find it useful, so here it is. I happened to be using the Rider Waite pack. Then I remembered that in the old Marseille pack, Justice and the Strength/Force are swapped around. So I made another version to fit the Marseille pack.

        Anyway, here they are. First the rhyme for the Rider Waite pack; then some Notes and Comments; and finally the rhyme for the Marseille pack. One or the other should hopefully fit other packs/decks as well.

        Some of the Rider Waite Tarot cards

        A RHYME FOR THE TAROT
        Rider Waite Pack
         
        One’s the Magician, beginning his quest;
        Two the High Priestess, a cross on her breast;
        Three is the Empress, a goddess you see,
        And Four is the Emperor, his orb at his knee.
        The Hierophant’s Five, whose good prayers we receive,
        And Six are the Lovers, fair Adam and Eve.
        Seven’s the Chariot, pursuing its path,
        And Eight is for Strength, who can tame the lion’s wrath.
        Nine is the Hermit, who lives far from town,
        And Ten is the Wheel, where we’re tossed up and down.
        Eleven’s for Justice, he’s strict but he’s fair,
        And Twelve the Hanged Man, with one foot in the air.
        Thirteen’s an old friend, the black flag is his sign,
        And Temperance Fourteen, adding water to wine.
        Fifteen is the Devil, with souls on a chain,
        And Sixteen’s the Tower: destruction and pain!
        Seventeen is the Star, pouring spiritual light,
        And Eighteen’s the Moon, bayed by dogs in the night.
        Nineteen is the Sun, with the children at play,
        And Twenty’s for Judgement, the Earth’s final day.
        Twenty-one, the World Soul dances graceful and free,
        And Zero’s the Fool: could that be you or me?
        

        NOTES:

        1. Yes, I know the ‘quest’ is ours, rather than the Magician’s; but I wanted to give a sense of ‘setting out’ on our journey. And after all, surely every magician ought to be on a quest?

        2. The ‘cross’ is obvious in the Rider Waite version. In the Marseille, it’s just two crossed straps, so maybe not a real ‘cross’ at all. Also she’s dressed as a female Pope. So the Marseille version could be either ‘Two’s the Popess in her triple crown drest’ or – drawing on the medieval legend of the female Pope – ‘Two is Pope Joan, in her triple crown drest’ (which I like best of all).

        3. I associate the Empress, who looks like a bountiful fertility figure, with the Triple Goddess. But as the line ends with ‘you see’, you can put in some other words here if you like!

        4. It would have been nice to say ‘his sword at his knee’ but in the picture it’s a round thing like an orb. For the Marseille pack, I’ve adapted to match the picture: ‘his shield at his knee’.

        5. ‘Good prayers we receive’ is slightly awkward, but I couldn’t find a better phrase; still, if he prays for us, then we are at least receiving the benefit of his prayers. For the Marseille pack, I’ve changed ‘The Hierophant’ to ‘the Pope’, and altered the words to rhyme with the line about Force.

        6. Rider Waite makes the Lovers definitely Adam and Eve. The Marseille pack has Cupid overhead, and the young man turning away from Dame Philosophy in her laurel wreath to go with the lady. Oh foolish chap! Or maybe not. I’ve changed the line accordingly.

        8, 11, 12, various changes of wording to fit the differences between packs. The Hanged Man in all packs looks perfectly happy, and seems to be an acrobat. That doesn’t stop him from standing for an uncomfortable betwixt-and-between situation if he comes up in a reading. Even an acrobat doesn’t want to spend all his time upside down. But nor does he deserve the sinister reputation he has amongst non-Tarot people.

        13. In the Rider Waite pack, Death has a black flag. For the simpler Marseille design, I’ve said ‘and the skull is his sign’.

        15. In Rider Waite, the souls are clearly on chains. In Marseille, it looks like ropes, so I’ve changed accordingly. Choose whichever you prefer.

        19. The Rider Waite card has a single child, on horseback. You could say ‘With the child who’s at play’ if you want to be purist about it. I think ‘children at play’ is nicer. As there’s a low wall in the Marseille picture, I suspect the children are actually Romulus and Remus, in which case it’s all going to end badly, but never mind.

        21. I suppose strictly it should be ‘world’s final day’ as other planets would presumably be judged, not just earth. But I wanted to save ‘world’ for the next card, so too bad! You could say ‘our Reckoning Day’ or something, but I prefer it as it is.

        A few of the Marseille Tarot cards

        And now here’s the Marseille version:

        A RHYME FOR THE TAROT:
        Marseille Version
        
         One’s the Magician, beginning his quest;
        Two is Pope Joan, in her triple crown drest;
        Three is the Empress, a goddess you see,
        And Four is the Emperor, his shield at his knee.
        Five is the Pope, who can pray for our souls,
        And Six are the Lovers, whom Cupid controls.
        Seven’s the Chariot, so drive it with care,
        And Eight is for Justice, she’s strict but she’s fair.
        Nine is the Hermit, who lives far from town,
        And Ten is the Wheel, where we’re tossed up and down.
        Eleven’s for Force, who can tame the wild beast,
        And Twelve the Hanged Man – not perturbed in the least!
        Thirteen’s an old friend, and the skull is his sign,
        And Temperance Fourteen, adding water to wine.
        Fifteen is the Devil, with souls on a rope,
        At Sixteen the Tower falls, but don’t lose all hope!
        Seventeen is the Star, pouring spiritual light,
        And Eighteen’s the Moon, bayed by dogs in the night.
        Nineteen is the Sun, and the child who’s at play,
        And Twenty’s for Judgement, the Earth’s final day.
        Twenty-one, the World Soul dances graceful and free,
        And Zero’s the Fool: could that be you or me?
         

        Please feel free to share this, disseminate it, improve it, pass it on, use it for any purpose you like, only don’t copyright it to yourself, please, even in an adapted version. Thank you!

        เว็บเล่นสล็อตได้เงินจริง

        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

        DO SOMETHING USEFUL TODAY!

        We all know that many people have lost their jobs, or part-time work hours, owing to the pandemic. Not far from here, 49%of children in Clifford Ward, Old Trafford are living in poverty.* After the pandemic it could be worse.

        This won’t be solved just with food parcels. People need long term solutions. But they also need immediate help. Imagine not knowing where the next meal is coming from.

        You can do something to help right now by giving to Stretford Food Bank.

        Just go to: stretford.foodbank.org.uk and click on the red DONATE button.

        Warehouse Volunteers

        Or to give without seeing more detail about the Foodbank, you could click on this link:

        https://donate.justgiving.com/donation-amount?uri=aHR0cHM6Ly9kb25hdGUtYXBpLmp1c3RnaXZpbmcuY29tL2FwaS9kb25hdGlvbnMvZWUwZjkxNWU5ZDM0NDA0Njg5NGU2MDdhYjEyNTRjM2Q=

        It’ll take two minutes at most; and at least you’ll know you’ve done one worthwhile thing today!

        “The foodbank was there when we really needed it, it was an absolute lifeline.”

        Thank you!

         * Figures from the ‘End Child Poverty Coalition’, whose major funders include  Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, Action for Children, NSPCC, and Save the Children.

        Wordsworth’s Prelude – and remembering Robert Woof

        Dr Robert Woof, with his wife, the Wordsworth scholar Dr Pamela Woof

        In the current strange time of the Covid19 lockdown, one unexpected pleasure has been to hear – on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, of all unexpected places – Sir Ian McKellen’s reading of passages from William Wordsworth’s autobiographical poem The Prelude.

        It’s a fine reading, in McKellen’s thoughtful, resonant voice, of selected highlights – including the famous ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive’ passage about the poet’s youthful optimism regarding the French Revolution.

        But for me, a completely unexpected pleasure – though a very poignant and almost shocking one – was to hear, all of a sudden, the episodes being introduced each time by a few brief words in the voice of my old friend Robert Woof, Director of the Wordsworth Trust and Dove Cottage, Grasmere.

        Robert (1931-2005) was the world’s leading Wordsworth scholar, and also an extraordinary man: humorous, difficult, charming, eloquent, devious, generous, loveable and much more. It was his work, at the head of a matchless team of staff, that turned Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s former home, from a minor ‘heritage’ destination into a powerhouse of scholarship and creativity, nationally recognised as an exemplary museum and centre of culture and creativity.

        Robert was Director when I went in the late 1970s to research my biography of Thomas De Quincey; and it was his idea that I should assemble a team to edit De Quincey’s complete works – a project which came to fruition in a 21-volume edition from the London publisher Pickering and Chatto in 2000-2003.

        Robert was a source of endless wise advice and friendly comfort through these difficult projects. His wry sense of humour and his endless knowledge were great resources. He taught me resilience and a lot about handling people (I had a team of ten co-editors to work with!).

        He was, above all, a wonderful reader and interpreter of Wordsworth. His rich, gentle, slightly grainy Northern voice was exactly right, and his understanding of the poetry was second to none. In fact, if anyone could have read The Prelude better than Ian McKellen, it might have been Robert Woof.

        Sadly, Robert died in 2005, just after the completion of the Wordsworth Trust’s new Collections Centre – the ‘Jerwood Centre’ – into which he’d put his heart and soul. Indeed, I think that, though seriously ill, he willed himself to live long enough to see it complete and open.

        It was a complete shock to hear his voice introducing a passage of McKellen’s reading. The presenter didn’t mention his name, the announcer never credited him; since the reading was clearly from an archive, I wondered if anyone at the BBC knew who he was, or even realised that he was there alongside McKellen. I’ll admit that I shed a few tears when I heard my old friend’s voice so suddenly, with all his old clarity and thoughtful eloquence.

        In these strange days, it was oddly like getting a message from a friend who is gone, in one sense; but who is in another way very much present for me, and will always be.

        SAVE GRASMERE: please sign this petition!

        We’re all appalled to hear that there are plans to put 10 hi-tech houseboats, with all the attendant infrastructure, noise and disruption, on the lake at Grasmere.

        The plans are motivated purely by profit, and are the brainchild of the Lowther Estate, one of the largest and wealthiest landowners in the Lake District.

        A petition to stop this greedy and ugly plan is already gathering signatures: please sign it now! – https://www.change.org/p/lowther-castle-and-gardens-houseboats-off-grasmere-save-our-lakes

        The extraordinary idea – it’s hard to believe it’s not a nightmare – is to put no less than TEN large powered residential craft permanently onto the lake. Grasmere is one of the smaller lakes, and has always been particularly tranquil. You can hire a rowing boat there for a few hours, and you can fish or swim. But these large crowded permanent powered boats would change the character of the lake and the whole area very much for the worse.

        The writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg has written to the press that the plan would ‘rip the heart out’ of the peace and beauty of Grasmere. ‘Should the estate get permission then I would argue that the Lake District could and should lose its status as a World Heritage Site’. The boats – to be used by well-heeled holidaymakers – would, he says, ‘end up as 24-hour music-throbbing discos’. They would also require all the support structures – access roads, charging terminals and many other things – which would destroy the tranquil margins of the lake.

        The National Trust are firmly opposed to the plan but they need support as the legal position is unclear

        UNESCO World Heritage status depends on the Lake District continuing as a living and working landscape but also preserving its environmental and aesthetic character as a traditional landscape. Its literary heritage has also to be preserved, and the plans would have a seriously negative impact on Town End, the lakeside part of Grasmere village where William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived after 1799.

        Claims that opposition to the plans are ‘snobbery’ are totally misguided. For a start, the plans are hatched by Lakeland’s wealthiest private landowner purely for private gain. Secondly, it is important that the diverse character of the various lakes be preserved. Windermere already has a ferry, a year-round steamer service, pleasure boats and houseboats. Many of these features are also present on Derwentwater and Ullswater. That’s where this kind of plan belongs. The smaller and quieter lakes need to keep their separate and varied character, not be pressed into service as noisy, expensive playgrounds.

        Grasmere has come into the line of fire simply because it belongs to the Lowther Estate. No doubt their accountants see it as an ‘asset’ that isn’t being properly ‘exploited’. If that attitude had prevailed in the past, we wouldn’t have the National Parks.

        So please sign the petition, tell your friends, send them the link, and do all you can to oppose this unpleasant plan!

        https://www.change.org/p/lowther-castle-and-gardens-houseboats-off-grasmere-save-our-lakes

        pg888 เครดิตฟรี| สล็อตฝาก300ฟรี300| star vegas ยิง ปลา| ราคาบอล โค ป่า อเมริกา| สล็อต แจ็ ค พอ ต แตก ง่าย| lottery games in jamaica| วิเคราะห์บอลเสมือนจริง| บาคาร่าฟรีเครดิต100| วิเคราะห์บอลวันนี้ ฮอลแลนด์| สล็อตเครดิต ฟรี 500 ถอน ได้| สมัคร เอ เย่ น. ค่า สิ โน ฟรี| คา สิ โน ใน ต่าง ประเทศ| เว็บดูบอลที่ดีที่สุด| แผนการ เล่น บอล 7 คน| pragmatic play ทดลองซื้อ ฟรี ส ปิ น| jili slot เครดิตฟรี| เว็บ บอล แจก เครดิต ฟรี ล่าสุด | รวมโปร โม ชั่ น สล็อต facebook| บา ค่า ร่า ฝาก200 รับ400 ล่าสุด|