CASTLES MADE OF SAND: THE ANNOTATED CASTLES FEATURE

 

 

        THE GROVE:
        One of the first readers of Castles Made Of Sand commented that the inexorable rise of the Celtic movement reminded him of the rise of the Nazi party in the thirties, and yes, that's exactly right (thank you Ian). The Counterculture has a big fat dark side and inevitably, this is the side that has the traditional values, and the broad, majority appeal. Techno-green utopia is new, and many people prefer things to be old. They look for authority, and think magic will give them that, whereas magic is just a playpen for megalomaniacs, trust me, I would know. Think of this. Are you SURE you wouldn't be carried away by the thrill of the blood sacrifice, the old religion,if you were young and impressionable, old and disappointed, middle-aged and restless: if your expectations had been trashed, your national pride destroyed, and you were longing for some sacred reason to go on living? This is in all of us, this greedy surrender to the dark.

Don't be too shocked, magic lovers.
      You always knew this.

     The cord is important, as a gesture of submission  

Blood is important too, and so is fire. The sacrifices should be exposed to public view: that's very important. But ritual magic is not prescribed. Do whatever comes to you.

A grove there was untouched by men's hands    
From ancient times, whose interlocking boughs  
enclosed a space of darkness and cold shade,    
and banished the sunlight from above... gods    
were worshipped there with savage rites,          
the altars were heaped with hideous offerings   
and every tree was sprinkled with human gore...
The images of the gods grim and rude were       
uncouth blocks formed from felled tree trunks... 

Lucan, Pharsalia 3. 400-
      

rest harrow
THE BONE CAVE    Were the real ancient Celts of Britain overly keen on  human sacrifice, by the standards of their times? I'm  not sure. Hammer Horror says yes! So do various  Roman sources. Caesar and Tacitus professed to be terribly shocked, apparently feeling their own gladitorial  bloodfests were something totally different- But just because the pot calls the kettle black, doesn't   mean the kettle isn't black. Maybe we'll never know.