Saturday, May 30, 2020

Beyond the Ruins (III)

They shook my hand, kissed me and bade me welcome. The man with the purple sash had gone ahead and stood facing us now from a dais at the far end of the room. I saw him there first as the others had their backs to him. When they saw me looking they turned and saw him too and we all walked forward towards the dais.

The golden hangings above us to left and right impressed me greatly. There were six in all, three on each wall, with purple line drawings depicting in turn an eagle, a chalice, a tower, a lightning flash, a book, and a flight of stairs. On the dais, in front of our leader, was a round table with a red and gold covering. 'Come friends,' he said, and we climbed onto the dais and formed a circle around him. I was the eleventh and last and so I found myself standing in the middle, face to face with him from the other side of the table.

'Fratres,' he began. 'You may call me Marcus, though I am known by countless names and have many roles across both time and space. I have been asked by Heaven to rekindle in Britain the civilisational and spiritual light of Rome in all her manifestations, from the princely city of Troy to the Pax Romana of Augustus to the Holy Roman Church and the Christian Empire founded by Constantine, right up to the Houses of Romanov in the East and Habsburg in the West, the last representatives, thus far, of the Imperial principle.'

His expression was earnest, his eyes wide and deep like pools of sea-green light. 'The Pope,' he went on, 'is with us still, serving as bridge and mediatior between Heaven and Earth. He holds the keys to the City of God and guides souls to its gates. But his counterpart, the Emperor, who watches over the City of Man and fashions it into a mirror of the Divine order, has been absent now for sixty-four years, and this is a gap the world feels keenly. It is a wound which speaks.'

I glanced down and saw a golden cross imprinted on the table's vivid red. Beneath it were the words, IN HOC SIGNO VINCES. 'Saint Paul,' Marcus continued, 'in his second letter to the Thessalonians, speaks of the Katehon - the restrainer - he who holds back evil and keeps the Antichrist at bay. This, traditionally, has been the role of the Emperor, so what happens when the restrainer is removed, as he has been since the demise of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires? Decline and degeneration, as we see, and the setting of the stage for that ape of Christ, he whom the Apostle calls "the man of lawlessness." The Roman Emperor, my friends, is this Katehon, and it is the will of God that his throne be re-established and that he join hands once more with the Roman Pontiff and cast his protective, restorative aegis over all the realms of the Empire and beyond.'

I'm not sure if it was the potency of his words, the red ceremonial glare of the torches or the deep archetypal pull of the purple pictures, but somehow I felt myself lifted up, to the third heaven, as it were, a still point from where I saw and felt the rise and fall of civilisations - the power, glory and pity of it all - and the multiform incarnations of the Roman spirit throughout the ages. From such a height the vacuity and emptiness of our own time struck me, even as a child, with tangible force - the arrogance and blindness of an epoch which had voluntarily lopped off its own head. But Marcus was speaking again now, and he was talking about Britain.

'In the year Three Hundred and Six, when Constantine was acclaimed Emperor in York, this country was a mere outpost - the wind-swept, North Western fringe of the Empire. Our Lord Himself lived, died and rose in the Imperium's opposite corner - the South East. Transformation and renewal, this shows us, come not from the centre but the periphery. And so it is that the wheel is come full circle and the chain of Emperors begins anew in this land. It is our God-given task, my brethren, to forge the first link and set the chain in motion, as we did before the dawn of time when we stepped forth from the Heavenly Halls to bring shape and definition to the Holy One's new world.'

As he spoke, the mise en scène inside me shifted again and I was in a wild and formless void, lashed by wind and rain, with my companions beside me. And we were changed utterly, ordinary people no more, neither young nor old but beings of power and light, moulding and shaping the elements, raising the mountains, setting down valleys and fixing the boundaries of land, sea and air.

Then we entered a more primal region still - a timeless, mysterious place - quite indescribable. We stood around a throne in a semi-circle, chanting an ancient liturgy, and the figure on the throne shone with such intensity that we - high angels though we were, and Marcus the highest of all - could hardly bare to look. But there were thirteen of us gathered there, not twelve, and Marcus was standing next to me on my right. In the middle, facing the throne, was a woman in red and gold with long dark hair, holding up a small golden cross. And she alone could look directly at the light.

Back in Didsbury, I heard Marcus say, 'One comes after me now who ranks above me because she was before me. From age to age she carries out the works of God on Earth. Day and night she gazes upon the face of the Most High and her countenance is stamped with the splendour of His light. She it is who will guide us into truth. Look now where she comes.'

Together again on the dais, we turned as one to look, and there she was, standing in the doorway, the swings and slides of the playground visible behind her still in the dying light. But she was like the sun, clad in red and gold, bearing a golden cross in her right hand and a bowl of burnished bronze in her left. Though looking nothing like a nun, I knew her straightaway as the woman on the coin. She held the cross aloft, and her voice was akin to a rushing, cleansing wind, sweeping through the hall and making everything new.

'In hoc signo vinces,' she said. 'By this sign we will conquer, create, and once more renew the face of the Earth.'

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Another World is Possible - Guest Post by Wayne John Sturgeon

I think we're about halfway through the Beyond the Ruins story at the moment. Parts 3 and 4 to come within the next few weeks. So here, to break things up, is a guest post from Wayne John Sturgeon, author of the book Albion Awake...

... which I reviewed on the Albion Awakening blog in 2018 here, and organiser of the Visions of Albion conference at Crawley Down, Sussex, in October 2019, at which William Wildblood and myself spoke. 

In the reflection below (which originally appeared in April in the print-only fanzine The Information) Wayne imagines how things might have worked out if a couple of well-meaning types had succeeded in 2030 in going back in time to assassinate Karl Marx. I particularly like his depiction of Britain and Ireland as The Isles of the Northern Sea (IONA) and his evocation at the end of the piece of the transfigured reality which awaits us at the end of the age; what Orthodox theologians (and Wayne is one, I think) call the Eighth Day. It's all good stuff. So enjoy!


Imagine a parallel universe with a different timeline: Russian anarcho-Futurists and Cosmocists from the year 2030 discover time travel in a secret underground base in Switzerland and, in a bid to halt the advent of the New World Order and the arrival of the Biblical antichrist, travel back to late nineteenth-century England. Their aim? To assassinate Karl Marx in the British Library in London.

They figure that this one act will trigger a completely different historical timeline, which will subvert the contemporary historical paradigm that humanity is currently trapped in. This is that of late modernity – a fusion of neo-liberalism with cultural Marxism and religious relativism. They are warned by the sudden appearance of two mysterious religious figures, as if out of thin air, not to do this but to no avail.

With the death of Karl Marx, the anarchist Bakuninn takes over the First International. Instead of the international workers’ movement, embracing an ideology of state socialism, it propagates a mass movement of Proudhonist mutualism and free-market anti-capitalism. The Bolshevik revolution never happens, and in Russia the pacifist and vegetarian Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy convinces the Russian Orthodox Tsar of the necessity of implementing a Georgist land value taxation scheme to eradicate poverty. This will also empower the Tsar’s loyal and devout peasant population of eastern Christian old believers. There is no Maoist cultural revolution in China. There is no national socialist movement in Germany, and no arms race.

The land reforms of the Russian Tsar are inspired by an American political and economic visionary, Henry George. Being seen as a success, they are also adopted on the other side of the Atlantic, in George’s native USA, and by the British Parliament where they are combined by a theory called ‘social credit’, or a citizens’ basic income. This idea is inspired by the revolutionary but non-violent mass youth movement, the Kibbo Kift Kin, which is led by a Quaker called John Hargrave. The Westminster unionist parliament is dissolved, and devolved into a Britannic Confederation with parliament being transferred to the Isle of Man, at a location where all four brother nations of the UK can be seen with the naked eye. Britain is now renamed ‘Iona’, or the Isles of the North Atlantic. At other times, it is simply known as Albion.

In Europe, the Catholic Church calls for an 8th ecumenical council and removes the ‘filioque’ from its creed in favour of economic distributism, personalism and solidarism in countries where it holds influence. Genuine decentralization and subsidiarity prevails in the varied cultures and nations of Europe, in a completely non-hegemonic fashion.

Inspired by this, the state of Alaska bordering Canada forms a native American Eskimo pan-Slavic Nordic alliance under the name ‘Northern Soul Cathedral’, rumoured in certain circles to be descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. A new spiritual dynamic emerges, a mysticism close to a kind of Christian animism. Some of its adherents believe that the earth, sun and other planets – even rocks and trees – are sentient beings, and that the birth of agriculture was actually the historic Biblical fall – wheat actually being the forbidden food, as evidenced in some ancient Hebraic traditions.

At this time, there is an increase in sunspot activity. This is commonly believed to be causing and triggering major earth changes. According to two famous, mystic scientists – one a Jewish rabbi called Enoch and the other a Greek Orthodox priest called Elijah – this is about to cause a partial pole shift, which they proclaim will be an instrument of God’s judgement on the world.

Certain reactionary currents and deluded activist groups claim these effects are being caused by human CO2 emissions, but they are rightly discerned by most people to be advocates for an anti- humanist death cult and are so ignored.

Along with Iceland, Iona joins the Northern Soul Cathedral. Known as the Brothers of the North, it has a monarchy and its king and mysterious bishop are rumoured in esoteric circles to be mystically related, and descendants of an ancient fifth-century order of bards and druids. Now lost to history, this has a relic of the Lord’s Supper in its possession.

However, there also emerges a counter initiation via an underground occult organization called The Black Sun International, a synarchist cabal of bankers seeking to bring back the usury and finance speculation that had been prohibited by papal decrees. There is a Luciferian faction that is successful in infiltrating and co-opting interfaith organizations to advocate a new perennialism, attempting to unite all religions into embracing a third temple of all faiths. Integral to this is a new peace and safety plan centred upon a document and international treaty called World Village 2030, suggesting that if sunspot activity or even CO2 emissions are causing earth changes, it is time to embrace a global form of central planning or democratic centralism to meet the challenges. This will also reject the worship of a father god figure and instead worship mother earth, symbolized in its promotional literature by the image of a beautiful and seductive woman riding a bull.

The political force for this is known as the Pan European Social Communitarian Union Movement (SCUM). They also believe that a basic income would be better distributed by advances in new technology such as a microchip, and point to how successful this has been in China’s own adoption of social credit by its own Eurasian Communitarian People’s Party.

Also integral to the World Village 2030 vision is the uniting of the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. An attempt is made to comprise a common purpose Bible that, on completion and translation by a new Templar fraternity of Freemasons, is published under the titleOrange Catholic Bible. This is greatly influential in providing impetus to the formation of a new One World Religion known as the Harmonic Abrahamic Imperial League (HAIL), which has its headquarters in a building in Germany that strangely resembles the Tower of Babel.

The year 2029 arrives on the Russian cosmocist anarcho-futurist timeline with the advent of the Biblical antichrist. The satanic acceleration finally exhausts itself under the image, mark and name of Ouroboros, the world snake or serpent that devours its own tail. This satanic incarnation and manifestation of organized entropy brings the whole world down in a configuration of cataclysmic forces by the end of the year. Very little of humanity survives, as the cyclical sunspot activity did indeed bring about a partial pole shift in spite of the Black Sun’s peace and safety plan. A remnant of humanity survives, with those nations comprising the Northern Soul Cathedral based around the previous North Pole now at the centre of the world geographically.

They call for an international day of prayer and repentance to be held on the ancient Hebrew festival of Yom Kippur, the biblical Day of Atonement. Leading the prayers that day is the rabbi Enoch and the priest Elijah, and they condemn the impious act of the Russian cosmocists in playing God and attempting to manipulate time, however well meaning. Truly, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The final conflict comes to be seen and understood as a living icon of non-duality. Time is discovered to be non-linear, as had been commonly understood – running from past, present to future – or cyclical, but rather as emanating from the future. The singularity is Christ in his second coming and so, as the rabbi and priest pray for repentance, suddenly everything and everyone is opened to a blazing trail of light, and a cosmic explosive holism occurs producing a flat ontology as earth particles transform or collapse into a wave, unveiling glory after glory. The world is transfigured into uncreated light. Time is no more.

The rabbi and priest change into two angels holding a lamp in their hands, and they point to an icon of the Holy Trinity known as the Hospitality of Abraham. They sing in unison, “Remember the future. Repentance is the last true rebellion. Another world is possible but it is the same one.”

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Beyond the Ruins (II)

It's a matter of bitter gall to me that the coin was so quickly lost. I've always had a tendency to lose things and I've learnt to live with it over the years, but when it's a coin of such mystery and beauty, and when you're just ten years old, it hits home hard, and much kicking of walls, punching of pillows and flinging of comics and books took place that night.

In fairness, however, it didn't take me long to start feeling more philosophical. I hadn't found the coin in the first place - I knew that - it had found me and had stayed just long enough to make the impression it needed to and facilitate what happened next in Didsbury's other set of ruins.

It was a Friday evening, two days later, after school and after tea. I had gone for a ride on my bike, the coin in my trouser pocket as usual. The rain that had fallen earlier had cleared up nicely but I could smell it in the air still. The pavements glistened and every leaf and blade of grass shone.

I expected to see the 'Roman Church', as we called it, standing gaunt and skeletal as always as I careered into Didsbury Park in the fading light, five minutes from home. The site, beside the playground and watched over by a line of poplars, was much more genuinely ruin-like than the old train station was. That had been closed a mere ten years before. This edifice was so old that its history divided opinion. It was, so they argued: (1) an Anglo-Saxon church from the seventh century; (2) a Romano-British church, built in the later days of the Roman occupation; or (3) a small-scale Roman fort, an outpost of the garrison HQ at Castlefield in what's now Manchester city centre.

Whatever its origin, it was always a nice place to be. Because of its open location there were usually people around - children mainly, but adults too, especially students with their notebooks and sketchpads. Despite this, it had a peaceful, restful air and, as with the station, I felt equally happy whether with my friends, running about, climbing, or hiding behind the red-brown stones, or by myself, reading, thinking, writing, or just sitting or walking around, trying to tune into the secret atmosphere of the place and the story the stones were telling me. Because there was a story, I was sure of that, a resonance and mythic depth which evaded the scholars ability to grasp, define, and even perceive.

These ruins have gone now too sadly, removed to Castlefield and reconstructed next to the main fort, much to the chagrin of the 'church party', Romano-British or Anglo-Saxon. Health and Safety was the reason/excuse. Kids had started to climb to the top and jump off for a dare. Bones were broken, parents sued the Council for negligence, and that was that. But there had also been problems as the '80s wore on with graffiti and drug use, so what the Town Hall did was understandable in some ways. Yet on a deeper level the departure of the stones left a huge void, a spiritual and imaginative gap which has never been filled. Didsbury was divested of its soul and essence - its 'Daemon', if you like - and its commercialisation and gentrification began in earnest, as far as I can see, from that precise moment.

That was still years in the future though at the time of this tale. I had other things on my mind as I powered through the park that evening. I was late home and needed to cover the ground quickly. Then I saw the ruins - transformed, restored, and ablaze with light - and forgot about the encroaching dark and my Mum and Dad starting to worry. I stood on the pedals to get a better view and my rational mind swooped in with an explanation. Students from the nearby drama school, it said, had commandeered the building and fitted it up for a rehearsal or performance. Certainly they had done a good, if somewhat basic, job. I was looking at a low, four-square structure with arch-shaped windows that gave a golden glow which felt not only bright but warm and welcoming too. Then I saw a man in white beckoning me over and instantly the drama school theory dissolved like mist and I felt myself caught up in a wider, richer story. The mystery of the ruins, which I had long intuited, was unveiling itself and inviting me to play a part.

I vaulted off the bike and wheeled it across the grass to where he was standing. My folks would have had kittens if they knew. I was aware of 'stranger danger' but I also knew the stories of Simon and Andrew and James and John, and how they left their nets and straightaway followed Jesus. I didn't think this man was Jesus, and it wasn't very long before I knew that for sure. But that's what it was like. I had never seen him before, yet I felt like I had always known him and always would know him and that he knew me better than anyone in the world. I had to go. An inner imperative insisted on it.

As I came closer I could make out exactly what he was wearing - a white robe with a purple sash running from right to left from shoulder to waist. His feet were bare and his head was crowned with a chaplet of copper-coloured leaves. His hair was dark and closely cropped and he looked about twenty-five or so. He called me by my name. 'You can leave your bike here,' he added. And as he spoke I realised that I had indeed seen him before. It was the man on the coin, the man on the throne with the spear and the crown and the lines like light radiating around him.

I propped my bike against the wall and followed him along the side of the building to a set of double doors which opened at his touch, revealing a room resplendent with torches and braziers and lined with gold and purple hangings. I saw about a dozen people - men, women and children; old, young and in-between, all quite normal-looking, all in ordinary clothes: jackets, jumpers, skirts, etc. Yet a luminosity danced and played around them, reminding me of the tongues of fire in the icon of Pentecost Sunday in our school hall.

They turned as one to face us and my heart leapt as I saw them for who they truly were and are - my brethren, my companions, princes and princesses of the High Imagination - the eyes and mouths that blessed me before I was born and the hands and arms that will welcome me back to the Hallowed Halls on the day I die. And the words of Jewel in The Last Battle came to me and I spoke them out aloud in that blessed place:

'I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.'

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Beyond the Ruins (I)

Didsbury Station in 1981. Photo by Keith Hayward -


I'm not sure, objectively speaking, how true this account is. I admit that I would like it to be true. But there is good reason, I think, to trust these words, now more than ever in this time of fear and dislocation. The story rings true today in a way that wasn't always possible under the former dispensation. It often seemed like wishful thinking then - the product of an overheated childhood imagination - too much Narnia, Weirdstone of Brisingamen, etc. But when, as now, reality bites and strips us of our worldly securities, it makes a mockery of modernity and rationalistic creeds and brings a mythic understanding of the cosmos and our place in it to the fore.

The same goes for Didsbury, the South Manchester suburb where these events unfolded in March 1981. It has become highly gentrified in recent times, with old-school locals like myself increasingly priced out. I live just south of Llandudno now and work in Bangor. There's more space here and less pretentiousness and hype. I've sensed a certain flimsiness in the air on my last few trips back home, a subservience to the ephemeral and a complete immersion in the passing moment. It's different in North Wales. Life feels more grounded here, rooted in a deep and ancient, if largely latent, tradition, with time and space to dream, imagine, and tune in to what is real and true.

Didsbury felt like this too when I was a boy. In those days, every patch of available land had not yet been built on. There were quiet places, zones of peace and freedom, such as the two sets of ruins we had at that time. The first, where this story begins, was the old railway station, just behind the clock tower. You'd never know it had been there now. The debris was cleared away decades ago and the area covered over with cafés and bars - all closed at the time of writing. The tram line to town, completed in 2013, runs behind these premises now. Before my time it had been a prominent train route to Manchester Central Station (now Manchester Convention Centre), which closed to passengers in 1967 and to freight in 1970, sacrificed, as were many lines at that time, to the tin gods of rationalisation and restructuring. When we started playing there, about seven years later, most of the station was still intact, though bricks lay pell-mell on the floor, weeds ran rampant between the flags, and ivy had colonised more than half the walls. The platform was dilapidated but still walkable. The track itself, however, was wild and overgrown, almost completely unrecognisable as a train line.

It seems incredible now, looking back, that there was no security around the site. Anyone could go in and out at any time. There was a bit of graffiti on the walls - football related stuff mainly - and the odd empty beer can and cigarette dimp, but whenever we were there, after school or during the holidays, there was never anyone else about. Sometimes I'd go on my own and walk around or just sit on the ground and think or read or write. At other times, along with my friends, we'd explore the brick-strewn interior, trying to work out which had been the waiting room, which the ticket office, and so forth. Often we'd play hide and seek, and it was during the course of this game, mid-way between my tenth and eleventh birthdays, that the coin came.

I was the seeker, I recall, facing the wall and counting to twenty. But when I turned around I didn't shout, 'coming ready or not', but remained silent, spellbound by the afternoon sunlight slanting through the gaps that had once been windows. I thought at first that the coin on the ground belonged to a sunbeam, like the bright tail at the end of a comet. It was only when the light outside dimmed for a moment, as a stray cloud hid the sun, that I saw it as a real, distinctive object. There was something insistent about it, as if it was calling me - demanding my attention - so I crouched down cautiously and picked it up. It was about the size of a £2 coin and had the same golden sheen. But this brightness wasn't uniform. Parts of the coin were dull and worn. 'Mottled' would be the best description. But I could see the images on both sides clearly enough. The one I was looking at was a man on a throne, with a book in his left hand, a crown on his head, and his right hand raised in blessing. His face was young - beardless anyway - and there were lines etched into the metal around him, arrowing out in a circle.

On the other side, set in profile, was a woman's head, gazing out from right to left. She had an ageless look, neither young nor old, but somehow both. There were many nuns in Didsbury when I was young, and I recognised her by her veil. But it was her face that commanded my attention. I sensed a certain sovereignty in her expression - something in the set of the jaw - stately, high and regal. Faith too, of course, not just in the headdress but also in the lips, slightly parted and poised to preach the Gospel. But what compelled me most was the warmth and tenderness I perceived in the one eye I could see - moist with tears and shining with a depth of feeling which the engraver had done extraordinarily well to capture. I had no idea if this charged and soulful love was intended for the world at large, a particular group of people, or just one person. That was irrelevant. The woman I was looking at was a representative of truth - an incarnation of truth - a presence and a witness. That was what mattered. I was being asked to follow her in some way. She was someone, in one sense or another, who I needed to be with.

A rustling from behind a mildewed wall disturbed my meditation. My friends were growing restless. The cloud dispersed and the light shone down again, warming my hands and face and changing the glint of the coin from gold to gleaming white. And I was happy in that moment - relieved, even as a ten year old boy, of burdens I never knew I had.

I slipped the coin into my pocket.

'Coming,' I shouted. 'Ready or not.'

And the game resumed.