William of Malmesbury’s History of Glastonbury

This in preparation for a post on the significance of St Mary’s Chapel in early Christianity and in particular the small round wattle-and-daub building with an intricate pavement, contemporaneous with the Westminster Abbey sanctuary pavement but of a design and a date unknown. Important but often speculative twentieth Century sources are Bligh Bond, John Michell and Keith Critchlow, whilst the earliest historian to record its history was William of Malmesbury.

William’s history of Glastonbury was significantly changed in the century after it was written, to suit the Abbey’s pilgrimage business. Fortunately, the main body of that history lived on unaltered in William’s revision of his History of the Kings of England. The notes below were made using The Glastonbury Legends pagesĀ 26-41, by Professor (of History) R.F. Treharne (1901 – 1967), Aberystwyth University.

Introduction

William of Malmesbury wrote a large-scale history of England (Kings of England) by 1125. In it he stated that Glastonbury Abbey had been founded , on the advice of St. Aldhelm, by Ine, King of Wessex (688-726), a statement which he repeated in his Ecclesiastical History also finished in 1125. Later, when writing a Life of St. Dunstan (undated) he realised Glastonbury was much older than that since “Glastonbury had already passed under ecclesiastical authority long before the time of St Patrick, who had died in A.D. 472”. So, impressed by what he had seen and heard at Glastonbury, he wrote a separate monograph on the antiquity of that great abbey, completed by 1135.

Figure 1 Frederick Bligh Bond’s vision of the first church at Glastonbury, based upon the story of Joseph of Arimethea added to William’s History in the century after it was written, as explained below.
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Gurdjieff’s Diagram of Everything Living

first created: 28 October 2017

Gurdjieff first presented his ideas to groups in pre-revolutionary Russia. Amongst his carefully chosen students it was the habit to reconstruct talks and diagrams as much as possible, an endeavour that gave us a textbook of Gurdjieff’s ideas called In Search of the Miraculous (P.D. Ouspensky, 1950). This early form of the teaching was radically revised and extended by Gurdjieff, now as an author, during the 1920s, producing All and Everything whose part one was Beelzebub’sTales to his Grandson (G.I. Gurdjieff, 1950). Prior to drawing this diagram just after February 1917, Gurdjieff had been presenting ideas about transformation of energies, human and cosmic, using the musical theory surrounding the octave of eight notes. The Diagram of Everything Living was “still another system of classification… in an altogether different ratio of octaves… [that] leads us beyond the limits of what we call ‘living beings’ both higher [and lower] than living beings. It deals not with individuals but with classes in a very wide sense.”


Figure 1 The Diagram of Everything Living
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Cosmic Origins of Religion and Death

written October 2014 and published in DuVersity Magazine

In order to think about the cosmic world one has to recognize that it is more than the world of life found on the earth and the living world, or biosphere, is most probably a result of how the cosmic world organised evolution on the earth.

Threefold Manifestation: The light triangle of the Trinity represents God, who remains ‘beyond all things’, entering the black hole of matter (hyle). As a result, three worlds arise: the angelic (empyrean), stellar (ethereal), and elemental. From Robert Fludd by Joscelyn Godwin, Thames & Hudson (Shambhala: Boulder, 1979, page 52)
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