March 27th 07 ~ The Nous (1)


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My father had ‘the nous’; he could make anything from nothing. This was just as well, as there was very little money around just after the Second World War and Dad was a bricklayer, who brought home around £10 per week. Naturally things were much cheaper then, but £10 pw was still a meagre sum – especially as he was the only breadwinner. Nevertheless the three of us managed on it and still got to the seaside a few times a year – and to Durham Miners Gala, an annual political ‘meet’ of all the local colliery lodges. Each lodge would parade, behind their banner and brass-band, into the city; across Elvet Bridge and onto the Racecourse. There they all collected whilst the leaders of the local and National Labour Parties, gave uplifting, fighting and bright new day speeches. The ten year old ‘me’ had little interest in speeches; although I remember seeing Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, amongst other more distant political figures, on the balcony of the Royal County Hotel in Old Elvet, waving at the marching colliers and their families.
As often happened in those days, my father had followed his father’s trade as a bricklayer, apart from a brief spell as a pit-boy in one of the local coal-mines. Dad could turn his hands to anything; carpentry, metalwork, gardening, upholstery, and toy-making - in short anything that required manual skill and dexterity and a sprinkling of nous, was part of his kingdom.

Jesus was a carpenter “tables chairs and oaken chests, would have suited Jesus best. He’d have caused no body harm… one alarm”, so sings Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, no doubt jealous and afraid of Jesus’ influence and refusal to know his ‘place’ in life.

Dad knew and respected his ‘place’; the second eldest of four sisters and two brothers: Ruth, (Harry-my Dad), younger brother Harold, Ada, Florrie, Esther and Lily; my father knew he was to be the ‘breadwinner’ of the family. At the end of each week, he would bring his pay packet home unopened to give to his ‘Ma’, whose place in turn was to balance the family accounts. In those days, each family unit was a factory-like business enterprise; the eldest daughter would be ‘mother’ to the new offspring of ‘Ma’ and ‘Pa’ and the sons in turn would become the breadwinners. Naturally, given the mutual interdependence of each family member, marriage was taken most seriously. An unsuitable choice of outsider could possibly threaten the family structure and stability. My mother was considered a ‘flighty’ piece of work (she was) and that she would no doubt, lead my father astray (she didn’t – she freed him) Just after they married, my father brought his wage-packet home, unopened and presented it to her. My mother simply handed it back to him and asked for her housekeeping…


The love of Mary Magdalene for Jesus is well documented in the bible, but the Gnostic gospels give a more physical, earthly side to their love, which has caused much controversy and speculation recently, especially with the release and subsequent commercial success of the Da Vinci Code. Whatever the reality of their relationship however, the empathy between them is evident.

In the beautiful translation, by Jean-Yves Leloup, of the Gnostic Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Mary receives a vision of the resurrected Jesus:

Then I said to him: “Lord, when someone meets you in a Moment of vision, is it through the soul (psyche) that they see, or is it through the Spirit (Pneuma)?”

Jesus answers Mary: “It is neither through the soul nor the spirit, but the nous between the two which sees the vision…”



Due to the lack of money, Dad made most of my early toys; when I became a teenager, he made my first record cabinet, which still stands in my middle room, together with the ‘50’s Dancette record player he made it for. Not only that, he repaired dinner knives that today would be thrown out without a second thought; dinner knives I still use, half a century later. The kitchen cabinet he made for my mother stands in my kitchen and even now I find hard to believe it wasn’t bought in a store. Old furniture was re-upholstered, household repairs affected and he even had time to create an allotment out of a wasteland of builder’s rubble behind a local shop, so we could have fresh vegetables for mealtimes.

When I asked Dad how he knew how to make so many things from bits of discarded wood and metal, he would tap his forehead, slightly to one side, just above his right eye. “You’ve got to have the nous”, he’d say.


Photos by soulMerlin – Nous by Dad

26th March 07 ~ Martin’s Oak


I’m in the middle of composing an Almanack entry on Nous which is taking rather a long time to ‘get together’ - so I thought that I’d put up a picture of a wonderful oak tree I met yesterday…


Martin’s Oak

I’ll tell you all about the oak and the farmer over the next few days



March 18th ~The Nature of God





photo by soulMerlin

Now most believers would agree that God can be seen in a flower – “God’s handiwork”. But most would regard it as the work of God, rather than God himself; there is always the three-dimensional concept of an invisible hand at work. The full understanding of God – what and who ‘he’ is, could be said to be beyond our conception. Perhaps we should consider that it is not just ‘his’ handiwork and ‘his’ design, but that it is ‘him’.

But should we use the term ‘him’ for God? Is the supreme ruler really a man? I still find the Lord’s Prayer difficult in many ways; looking between my fingers, at the women chanting: “Our Father….” - what about a Goddess instead? The trouble with the term “Goddess”, is that it sounds Pagan and therefore, perhaps dangerous. The women at church don’t seem to mind though. Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong; it could be that the moment of creation was masculine and instigatory and the created universe feminine and nurturing.



The female body is undoubtably built for birth and nurturing, whilst the male body is built strongly to attack in order to protect the family unit. But the stereotype is limiting; We still expect a man to be able to deliver a straight penetrating punch and a woman to execute a swinging curved slap, or hide behind a man’s protection (although that does seem to be changing, if current behaviour outside nightclubs is taken into account!) Neverthless it is still a source of humour if a woman can punch straight and knock the male bully off his feet. Sadly, the man who declines to fight, is often ridiculed.

photo DianeM



Our leaders still exhibit primitive ‘physical-superiority’ stereotypical behaviour. I was watching TV the other night with Liz, when she observed that Blair and Bush were walking “like a couple of apes”. They truly were: Shoulders swinging, arms curved and biceps tensed, they marched into a conference at an indecent pace, their aids scurrying along behind them. (By ‘scurrying’ their aids were also fulfilling the stereotypical behaviour-pattern required of them - for their advancement, employment and ‘place’.)


This ape-tactic is still effective in our 21st century western culture. We feel re-assured if our leaders look that they could go the distance and more, with a young Mohammad Ali – even though, it is their intelligence, not their brawn that we really need.

But it’s our fault – my fault, that these limiting stereotypes exist. The male/female conflict lies within all of us; aggravated on the one hand, by the breakdown of the traditional male and female roles and on the other, by our inherited instinctive resonance to those roles. Only by being aware of the nous between instinct and rational thought; can human beings begin to find their own correct proportion of masculinity and femininity, together with their conception of the nature of God, within themselves – for themselves.






Sunday 11th March - Green Spirits

This post is not intended to knock Extraordinary Rendition off the top-spot. I think the world is getting “atrocity punch-drunk”. We can watch somone dying on tv and then go to tea…..(including me) No…this post is to celebrate Spring! In the pagan calendar, we are half-way through ‘Imbolc’, which commences on the 1st or 2nd of February and gives way to the Spring Equinox (March 20/21st). I can smell the earth, as I walk through the Grove with my morning coffee.

I’ve been driving to Liverpool each day - there is a Victorian Ghost, chasing a servant-girl up the stairs, at the Empire Theatre in Lime Street (just next to Lime Street Station) ChrisP, a young performer told me about the apparitions; (just before he managed to sprain his foot and then, no doubt in emotional hysteria, throw himself head-first into the scenery) - and no…I didn’t see either the man or the girl (only ChrisP), but it was a busy week and I really wasn’t ‘tuned’ to things beyond the concrete dimensions.

Driving to Liverpool each morning was wonderfully different. In the middle of each tree I passed (it’s a good drive..lot’s of forests, fields and trees) there seemed to be a shimmering green ‘tree-soul’. Yet the trees were/are still in bud. Why could I see green? The tree spirits are there - go and have a look.

(the hours before and up to dawn)
Life is renewing, the light is returning

The life force is awakening ~ Vivianne Crowley

Finally….a quiz

What tree is this? sargents-cherry-bark.jpg


March 7th Extraordinary Rendition


photo h metcalfe


Around a decade ago, I began to be disturbed by dreams of torture. One vision placed me outside a stadium, where I could hear the sound of a crowd roaring and I knew that a woman was being abused to death. Another recurring dream, found me amongst ruined buildings, where demon-like beings inflicted slow cruelty on their victims - well before our present-day reality of ‘extraordinary rendition’ and daily accounts of torture in the press and on the radio and television.

Torture is the creation of Hell on earth. It is both the denial of the personal responsibility of the torturer and the expression of the torturers own personal fears. By inflicting torture on others, with the supposed blessing of God, the evil and threat of Hell is removed from the perpetrator and passed onto the victim. God is inverted into an image of man, thus allowing perversion to masquerade as glory.

“I was only acting on orders” is an oft heard excuse, from the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps, to the cut-throat, subversive and cruel behaviour of colleagues in present day working environments. It is easy to moralise and be brave, in conversation over dinner; or watching a film in which the hero withstands seemingly insurmountable odds; but this is hard to live up to in our everyday lives. It is easier to ignore corrupt or dishonest behaviour, than to make a stand and find ourselves out of a job or friendless.

It is often a hard choice – Is the battle worth fighting? Will you give your support, as a ‘knight in shining armour’ - only to find yourself a ‘Don Quixote, tilting at windmills’? There is no easy answer, but turning a blind eye to dishonesty, injustice and cruelty for the ‘greater good’, seems rather like building a castle on mud - sooner or later the walls will crack and fall.



6th March 07 The First Acorn takes Root…

So - I’ve got the first Angel chapter “up” with a simple story I wrote a while ago. The writing style’s a bit ‘quaint’ and clumpy, but it suits the story and I wrote it “as I was” then.

Webmeister Alison (I hope she doesn’t mind…I haven’t asked her!) and moi would welcome your suggestions on ways to improve the ‘userfriendliness’ of the site. (If we beat you to the punch by getting your suggestion up, before we receive it - then you’ll know we are truly clairvoyant!)


1st March - Happy Birthday Liz! (I forgot it!!)

Well, I didn’t exactly forget it - I got caught out by the lack of days in February. I did notice that she was dressed up to the nines this morning. I was pleased that she was going to lunch with her friends and I was amazed to see a beautiful bunch of flowers arrive from AndyM. I was planning the celebrations for her 70th (wow) this Sunday, when I presumed the first of March would be born.

Silly Aquarian that I am, an air-child with my head in the clouds - I didn’t realise that Pisces was already swimming around. AndyM, being a Virgo, would probably not comprehend how I could do this. But then, I must not blame astrology for my absent-mindedness. Good for you AndyM!


Talking about Aquarians - I remember directing Russell Grant, many moons ago as Mr Stromboli in a production of Pinnochio (I’m talking about the mid-70’s) Even then Russell was involved in astrology and used to rush home after rehearsals to work on his charts. Hard work sometimes pays off and I think most people have heard of Russell and have read his columns in various newspapers. If anyone thinks that he and the others, just make it up, I can assure a lot of work goes into the preparation of even one chart.

Russell was also a great Mr. Stromboli! I must talk more about Astrologers; in particular, ‘Chris’ who works in central london, often at ‘Mysteries’ in Monmouth Street, not far from Cambridge Circus - but the ‘half’ has just been called and I must prepare for tonights performance.

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