Eye idols were found at the excavation of a tel at Tel Brak at the so-called Eye Temple- named because so many idols were found there.The figures are often discussed as being the body of a woman with the head chopped off, but then some of them have hats which seems to run counter to that kind of interpretation. Some have decorations on the body part as well. And yet still others have actual holes drilled in the eye part- there is some thinking that the idols with drilled holes may have actually been an implement in spinning yarn. And as we enter Lemuria and we are the spinners of “yarns” I would like to offer as appeasement an eye idol badge made from a cd and silk and an eye idol image- it is large and makes a statement! Wear it as a soul badge- which the Ashanti wore in Africa- to signify that they were indeed of the right soul to carry a king. I have nejoyed drawing these little figures- at first sight they all appear the same but as you draw them they start to take on individual character, so that i think of them as individual votives to take on the journey .
Another teller of yarns was also fascinated by the archeological excavations in Syria- none less than Agatha Christie whose second husband Max Mallowan was one of the archeologists on the Tel Brak dig.Agatha who was her husbands senior by 15 years slept in tents at the dig, until it became to uncomfortable and by all accounts thoroughly enjoyed her Syrian journeys and indeed based some of her books on her experiences in the orient as it was then known. I am looking forward to revisiting Syria, and will be more attentive to the eye idols. And like Agatha I will be working to incorporate the experiences into my work.
Le Enchanteur- the whirling dervish , asked the travellers to whirl and twirl with her. The sweetness of expression enticed us to lose ourselves completely in the dance- to fling off our inhibitions, our expectations and preconceptions with each whirl : to enter into Lemuria with minds ready for adventures and mining . We were asked to take a donkey as beast of burden and companion. But as I cast my eye over what was available :
I wondered whether I would not be better off with simply a bicycle?
I like to travel outside language and to float in the language of others, let it drift over me and absorb it, wouldn’t a talking let alone braying donkey be a burden? Donkeys get lonely, and then they bray and bray, I know there was one that lived in the field nearby. Afin, if I must choose so I choose the donkey from the Crac ( Crac de Chevaliers- ancient and most complete crusader castle)- he may have carried my ancestors all those eons ago- who knows? Maybe he will tell me on the journey…. I shall call him Prom- short for Prometheus , I may need saving at some stage.
Then there is the matter of choosing portals- which one should I choose?
All portals seemed enticing, each having something to recommend entering and exploring . Is there a right one?
In the end I choose the door within the door- this is difficult for Prom to negotiate , but on the other hand it will tell me if Prom is of the stubborn variety , of wilful resignation, or simply a willing companion. I am delighted that he seems to know immediately what to do and kneels on his knees to somehow manouevre himself through the portal. We find on the other sided a wooded path that allows no deviation, and we must set forth to seek the mine and there await our guide for the journey into the mine. The path is long and narrow and in deep shadow, a chill creeps down my spine and I yearn for the sun. I would dearly love to have brung a rug, but alas in my hurry to pack I have forgotten this.
Eventually we come to a clearing. There is a table set with the most sumptuous food and a pot of tea to warm the chill off the woods and the weariness of the long journey.
The table is attended by the most mysterious of men- he says little, but he carries an urn of water and lemons. Prom and I watch him with some interest, his face lined with the stories of years, his eyes twinkling with mischief. Eventually we learn that we are to wait our guide will come tomorrow.
Look and Listen
Play the link and you will hear music.If I am to tell stories and make history and songs of my people and dreaming then I will don the griots coat. This postcard came into my possession about 20 years ago, and without fail I look at it every year- I love the fabulous cloak with its rough stitches and straps and patches, the amulets for spells and memories and prayers. The griots task is to memorise the stories of his people, to tell their history, to sing their history, it is a fluid and living way of connecting people with their past both in the sense of lived history but also ancestry.It is not a linear history of the books or television programs – it explores memories and connections and instills them into the conscious mind of the present.
So now I begin- in the shifting sands of my subconscious I can see jewelerry embedded in cocagnes – the solid balls of woad that was the industry of my ancestors. The cocagnes have a smell of ammonia caused by the urine used to extract the dye from the woad plant .
On a trip not so long ago to the Haut Garonne I walked into a village market, and people talked to me in a friendly amiable way, though I had never been there before- I had the strange sensation that these people knew me, but I had never been there before. I looked more closely, into the faces of the people and to my surprise saw the faces and features of my family. I had the strange sensation that here indeed lay the roots of my ancestry. The people were small and wiry, as my great grandparents were , their faces with curious dark eyes and full heads of hair.
I started to look at my surroundings with different eyes- was this where the story began- in these mountains with its abbeys and soaring peaks?