The Emerald Tablet

The Emerald Tablet
  1 These words are True, concerning the Stone of the Philosophers.
 2 What rises above, comes from that left below, and what is below comes from the above, to work the miracle of creation of the One Stone.
 3 All things originated from the Philosophers Stone by a single process.
 4 The Stone’s Father is the Sun, its Mother is the Moon.
 5 The Wind carried the Stone in its womb, the Earth breast fed it.
 6 The Stone is the Father of all works of wonder' in the world,
 its power is complete.
 7 With the colour of Fire and ashes, our Stone comes up from the earth,
 You must separate the earth from the Stone,
 the precious from the gross, gently with great industry.
 8 The Stone, arises from the earth and descends from heaven;
 thus it gathers to itself the strength of all things above and all things below.
 9 Thus when you have the Philosophers Stone, the light of lights,
 the darkness of ignorance will flee away from you.
 10 In the Stone is power, strong with the strength of all power,
 for the Stone will penetrate all mysteries and dispel all ignorance.
 11 Thus, was the Human world created.
 12 In the future, wonderful developments will be made,
 and the Philosophers Stone, is the Way.
 13 I am Hermes the Threefold Sage,
 so named because I hold the three elements of all Wisdom,
 the Animal, the Mineral and the Vegetable.
 My sermon about the operation of the Sun is now completed.
800AD Tr 1140 this tr.(C)2008 Donald E.Teeter

Community or not? Spiked spot on.

We talk a lot about the economic, health and civil-liberties costs of lockdown. And rightly so. The damage done by this global experiment in authoritarianism to our livelihoods, liberties and physical and mental wellbeing will take a long time to repair.

But what of the social cost of a year of us keeping our distance from one another; of being told to see one another as vectors of disease; of being encouraged to blame and snitch on one another; of being conditioned to see a crowd of our fellow citizens and wince? What damage will this do to community and solidarity?

Lockdown risks accelerating all manner of problems that we were already dealing with. Social atomisation, the fraying of community, is one of them. From trade unions to churches, institutions that once provided a sense of shared purpose have been withering away for decades. Panic after panic has encouraged us to think the worst of other people.

As the Office for National Statistics put it in February 2020, ‘We are engaging less with our neighbours but more with social media’, and as for our communities, ‘fewer of us feel like we belong to them’. Just add to that a year of house arrest, Zoom and keeping our distance.

Here’s hoping opening up will remind us just how much we were missing – even before Covid struck.

Aye, opening up in England!

Dear First Minister of Wales

 22 February 2021from Rev’d Geraint ap Iorwerth
 Dear Mr Drakeford.
 Apart from a few politically motivated differences, you have slavishly followed England with its Lockdown mentality and policy. 
 ‘Lockdown’ is a prison term (American at that!), used to reinforce the fact that a person is a prisoner and therefore guilty of a crime. It is meant to break the spirit of the guilty person and reinforce the fact that he or she is not free. 
 Living in what is supposed to be a liberal democracy, I find your government’s continual use of the word ‘Lockdown’ highly problematic and counter-productive. 
 In fact, I find your continued use of the word ‘Lockdown’ highly offensive, both morally and spiritually. 
 Its long-term damage to the country– emotionally, mentally, creatively, morally - is yet to be assessed.
 Only you and your cabinet know why you chose to use this word and all the associations tied to it. Maybe it was due to intellectual laziness? Political cowardice? A lack of imagination? Maybe all of these and more?
 In the past I have supported people, in other countries, who have been under house or country arrest – obviously for political reasons - as they fought for their democratic rights.  In these challenging times, Wales could have done things so differently. You chose not to, and sadly, people’s trust in the way we are governed is suffering. 
 Rule by fear does not work in the long term. At the moment that ‘fear’ in Wales – ‘Cymru Fach’ - is destroying lives, splitting families and nurturing a sense of hopelessness that is far more dangerous than Covid19.
 If I am guilty of a crime then charge me. 
 If I am a prisoner, then at least have the courage to use that word.
 ‘Lockdown’ is a convenient propaganda tool. A lazy tool. A highly offensive tool. Wales deserves better.
 Innocently yours, Geraint ap 

‘Tribes of Europa’ – another excellent Netflix mini-series, we both enjoyed.

Good stuff recently from Luxembourg, France, Germany, and now it's on to Italy and Sky Atlantic's 'The Devils' -produced by Lux Vide and Sky Italy.

Comment: 'Like many other great Netflix series, Tribes of Europa ends with an agonizing  cliffhanger. There’s currently no word about a second season, and the first finishes with plenty of questions around the plot.' And yet - I was satisfied with the way we bid adieu to the main characters ... I still think that 'Black December' would have been a better title for the series - Come on, 'Tribes of Europa' a bit lazy, don't you think? 

‘Capitani’ on Netflix – excellent series

Luc Schillitz et Sophie Mousel
The story of ‘Capitani’ is set in a Luxembourg village. So, it makes sense that the European drama was filmed in and around Junglinster, in the Luxembourg canton of Grevenmacher.
Junglinster Castle
Samsa Fim and RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg serve as the producers of the series along with the support of Film Fund Luxembourg. Thierry Faber was excited about its production as it is the first dramatic series that is entirely filmed in Luxembourg and the Luxembourgish language. ‘Schacko Klak’ by Paul Kieffer and Fränk Hoffmann is the first feature-length film to be made in Luxembourg

 The series was hyper-local before insisting that a show filmed in an endangered language can still have mass appeal. He said in a statement, "Great stories can truly come from anywhere and I am excited that our members will soon be able to discover for the very first time a hit crime show made in Luxembourg!" 

True love(rs) 1800 style

Susette und Holderlin
 But we, peacefully joined, like the loving swans,
 When they rest on the lake, or, rocked by waves
 Look down into the water, where silver clouds mirror themselves,
 And ethereal blue undulates under the travellers in ships,
 So on earth we wandered. And even if the North threatened
 He, the enemy of lovers, tendering laments, and fell
 From the branches the leaves, and flew in the wind the rain
 Quietly we smiled, were aware of our god
 In our trusting conversation; in one soul-song
 Completely at peace with ourselves, childish and joyfully alone.

 But the house is laid waste for me now, and they have taken my eye
 From me, also myself I have lost with her.
 Thus I wander about, and perhaps like the Shades, so must I
 Live, and senseless, long has seemed, the rest to me.
 This was written in 1800, two years after they were forced to part.