A report by the London Psychogeographical Association and Archaeogeodetic Association
The Symbols of a College, the Death of a King and the Maze on the Hill
NOTE: This has been transcribed from a pamphlet which appeared in 1992. As far as I'm aware, only a few hundred copies were ever printed. I had heard about this pamphlet for many years, and finally tracked down a copy through a second-hand book dealer in the USA. Having read it, I felt it deserved a wider audience than it initially received, and as it was printed in very small numbers with no stated copyright, I decided to make it available online. Since then, I have been contacted by someone claiming to have been one of the co-authors (from the AgA), who states that "It is possible that at some time in the future, my co-author and I will make ourselves known as the authors under personal names, and ask the British Library to enter them on their record for the pamphlet. Indeed I hope this happens before too many years have passed. But currently we have no plans to do so."
The text is reproduced in its entirety, with all illustrations included. I have made some minor corrections as regards spelling and punctuation, etc. There is a lot of seemingly arbitrary capitalisation (or lack thereof) in the original, which I have attempted to "correct", but I acknowledge the possibitity that some of this may have been intentional and intended to contain subtle layers of meaning. For that reason, I have made available a scanned version of the original pamphlet here as a PDF, so anyone sufficiently interested can decide for themself.
The hyperlinks were added to provide instant reference for anyone interested in any of the plethora of historical characters, institutions, events, etc. referred to in the text. These are largely Wikipedia pages, so the content thereof must be regarded with the appropriate caution.
I do not necessarily endorse or "believe" the content of the pamphlet. I maintain an open mind about astrological matters, am not particularly
impressed by the ill-informed remarks about Newton and Einstein's work on space, time, mass and distance, and accept that there may
very well be factual inaccuracies in the historical sections. The LPA (now defunct?) certainly appears to have had a sense of humour, even
perhaps a playful prankster-like quality
akin to Robert Anton Wilson's "guerilla ontology". What interests me most about the text are the sections concerning Winchester College
and St. Catherine's Hill, particularly given the events that occured on Twyford Down around the time of the lunar eclipse in December, 1992.
Certain members of the Dongas Tribe, resident on the Down at that time, have spoken to me extensively about the events of that time, and
surrounding circumstances. I hope to eventually re-interview some of these people and include transcripts as part of a wider web-based project.
I also recall seeing LPA Newsletters from around the same time (which presumably appeared after this pamphlet was published) which
referred to the M3 Motorway cutting and strange circumstances leading to the destruction of Twyford Down. If anyone reading this has copies
of any such documents (or any insights into these curious affairs), please contact me.
The Rufus Line
The Death of Rufus
St. Catherine's Hill
It is with the greatest of pleasure that the London Psychogeographical Association joins forces with the Archaeogeodetic Association on the occasion of the Great Conjunction to research the environs of St. Catherine's Hill, Winchester.
Through creating an identity of time and space, even though temporary and localised, it will be possible to gain a clearer understanding of events presaged by the Great Conjunction. 1992 has seen both a flourishing of activity from the LPA, and the most welcome formation of the AgA in September.
But far from feeling smug we feel that the press of events is responsible for any dynamism, and that our feeble attempts are insufficient. It is with this in view that we have decided to issue propaganda from the very moment of the realisation of the project. Thus the preparation of the propaganda is not cluttered with any post facto orientation and reporting, but, on the contrary, it serves to fix the event in space and time.
The Great Conjunction, as we have termed it, is a cyclical event. The previous two occasions it was accompanied by quite startling mundane events. However before describing such correspondences, a few remarks about the gyration of the planets are in order. These are based on an analysis of the years since 3,000 BC. The cycles tend to a regularity but not a uniformity. There is a tendency for the planets Venus, Uranus and Neptune to gather every 171 years. However the Moon does not always combine with them. Thus, for the last 10 conjunctions, 6 have occurred at approximate 342 year cycles (double cycles), 2 at 513 year cycles (triple cycles), 1 at a single cycle and 1 at a 855 year cycle (quintuple cycle). It is interesting to note that Mercury decided to put in an appearance in both 231 BCE and in 1648.
Those of you familiar with Archbishop Ussher, the seventeenth century Ghibelline historian, may recall that he estimated that the world began on a Sunday in October 4,004 BCE. After having deducted 2120 from this figure we get 1884 years, which is equivalent to 11 cycles of 171 years with 3 over. Thus there might easily be a Great Conjunction around the time that the great axis of the Earth's orbit coincided with the equinoxes, uniting the true and mean equinoxes (see the Rev. Hales' New Analysis of Chronology and Geography, Prophecy of 1830). However we are at present unable to comment on this. Our calculations, and the astronomical graphic have been made using the Voyager Interactive Desktop Planetarium. Excellent though this programme is, it has a shortcoming in that it only goes back to 3,000 BC. In order to remedy this weakness in our text, we invite correspondence on previous conjunctions, particularly if one coincides with 4,004 BC. We hope that our door-mat resounds to the sound of letters plopping through the letter box enlightening us on such matters.
Our curiosity is particularly aroused in that Ussher reached his conclusions on the basis of mathematical work done by the ex-Gresham College professor, John Greaves who had journeyed to Africa and Constantinople, to measure the Pyramids and buy up Arabic manuscripts. (The untimely death of the Greek patriarch presented him gaining access to the library at Mount Athos). Greaves published his tract dealing with the Solar Year in 1648. We find it hard to conclude that such a noted astronomer could have failed to have been aware of the current Great Conjunction.
We wonder how he saw the conjunction in relation to the subsequent execution of King Charles I. We also wonder if he was aware of the previous Great Conjunction at the time of the suppression of the Templars. Friday 13th of October was the actual day when Phillip IV of France's secret orders to arrest the Templar Knights was put into effect. However, it was 22nd November 1307 that Pope Clement V issued the bull Pastoralis praeeminentiae. It was this bull which ordered all Christian rulers to arrest the Templars in their country and seize their property.
It would be a suitable point here to register the great importance that John Greaves plays in the development of archaeogeodetics. He is not merely remembered for his work in measuring the Pyramids, but also for his careful analysis of Roman weights and measures. It also seems likely that he actually wrote Of Cubits, which has wrongly been attributed to Sir Isaac Newton. In the 1739 edition of a Greavesian Miscellany, he is merely credited with having translated it from Latin. However as Newton was 15 when Greaves died, we find this unlikely. (Our publishers have agreed to republish this text with a critical introduction.)
We would also point out that although not directly involved with the founding of the Royal Society, he was certainly active amongst the circle from which it emerged. Not only was he the Gresham professor of astronomy but he took over as Savilian professor of astronomy at Oxford, a move followed later by Christopher Wren. Of course it was not until December 5th, 1660 after one of Wren's Gresham astronomy lectures that the thirty nine worthies heard that the newly restored King had approved their organisation.
When Parliament regained power in Oxford, it wasn't long before Greaves was kicked out of Merton College, where he was Deputy Warden. He was accused of giving the King the College plate and sacking pro-parliamentarians. However he made sure that Dr. Seth Ward succeeded him as Savilian Professor. He approached Seth in a pub, and told him that he was going to put his name forward. Seth felt he might not be allowed to take the position as he had refused to take the Covenant. Later Seth was to be prominent not merely as professor of astronomy at Oxford, but ultimately as the Bishop of Salisbury. He was prominent in the setting up of the Royal Society, even from the formative days in
Wadham College, before it was an official organisation.
We feel that our cursory references to the Templar arrests and the execution of King Charles I should give food for thought for any mundane astrologers. Another date which springs to mind is 455 when Rome was vandalised. Without dismissing the importance of this event, we would however like to draw attention to the more intimate event which took place in Venta Belgarum, as Winchester was then known. Vortigern regained the throne after his son had died. His sons had been involved in a vigorous campaign against the Saxons. It was Vortigern's reluctance to fight which had lead to his son, Vortimer, usurping the throne previously. Vortigern's return to power was accompanied by measures to placate the Saxons. This involved giving up 300 Romano-Brits to be slaughtered in a mass human sacrifice at Stonehenge. This occurred in 456, and in consequence, Venta Belgarum was left unscathed.
No doubt they will also note the rash of historic changes which have recently been taking place – the ordination of women in the Church of England, the withdrawal of the accusation that Jews were collectively responsible for the death of Christ by the Roman Catholic Church. As we go to press, we would not dare make any predictions about the tense position both in the Royal Family and the Government. However we would point out that this conjunction is taking place on the Queen's ascendant! A few comments are in order as regards two other important astronomical events which will soon take place: the arrival of the Swift-Tuttle comet and the total eclipse of the Moon. As regards the comet, this is reckoned to have appeared in 1213, 1348, 1479, 1610, 1737, and 1862, exhibiting a period of 133.38 years. Brian Marsden, who has been studying this comet for 20 years, suggested it might reach its perihelion (when it is at its closest to the Sun) on November 25th. This was later revised to December 11th. Great attention will be paid to this comet nicknamed the Comet of Doom as it is predicted that during its next trip round this neck of the solar system it could pass very close to Earth – too close for comfort. Astronomers now will watch it closely so as to predict its return with greater accuracy. On the 27th November the comet will appear in the sky near Altair.
Two days before the predicted perihelion, the Moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth and we shall have a total Lunar eclipse in Taurus. This will last from 11:07 to 12:22 on the night of 9th December. Truly the Moon is having an exceptionally exciting time this month.
Feeling that we have exhausted our repertoire of astronomical information, we shall move on, for fear of making fools of ourselves. We call on those with deeper knowledge to correct any errors and expand upon our themes, either in correspondence or via some published medium. We wish now to turn our attention to the location. After all, as Newton said, time by itself is the product of mass and distance.
[Stop Press – The fire at Windsor Castle, burning out the Queen's private chapel and St. George's Hall comes as no surprise. To what extent this relates to the conjunction is unclear. We would point out that the Coats of Arms of each and every member of The Order of the Garter came crashing down from the roof of St. George's Hall – and that the comet did approach the sun in 1348, the year that Edward III founded this organisation...]
Upon discovering that this conjunction was about to occur, it was decided to visit St. Catherine's Hill. A previous conjunction, that of Jupiter and Venus had been celebrated by the LPA with a trip to Roisia's Cave. When the Archaeogeodetic Association proposed to visit St. Catherine's Hill, the decision was intuitive. A certain amount of research had already been carried out as regards William Rufus. However, we had not looked into the line which connects St. Catherine's Hill with the spot where stood the tree which deflected that fatal arrow that did for William Rufus on August 2nd 1100. This we have called the Rufus Line. In fact we came across it when we used Voyager to see at what bearing the conjunction set on 27th November. Having established this basic alignment, we looked deeper into the Rufus line.
Our techniques are a bit different from those generally used by ley hunters. Using computers, we analyse the alignment of points from their latitude and longitude as much as possible, only using grid references as the last stages. We prefer this technique to using grid co-ordinates after the fashion of the ley hunters. Their techniques seemed to be more centred on cartomancy – not that we reject this entirely. We still see as useful some of the psychogeographical practices of the Situationiste Internationale, such as finding your way about an unfamiliar area, using a map of a different place.
Even using latitude and longitude is subject to error. The AgA is currently investigating the ramifications of the mid-riff bulge which the Earth experiences thanks to the rotation of the Earth. Newton was the first modern mathematician to try and get to grips with this. Newton came up with an ellipticity of the Earth of 1/230, whereas nowadays it is usually seen as 1/298.247167247 (Geodetic Reference System, 1967). Of course, the Australian National Spheroid (1966) is slightly smaller (1/298.25) but this gives a variation of eight inches in the Semi Axis minor.
Experiments conducted by the French Academy in 1735 revealed that the distance covered by 1o varied by about 900 metres between near the equator in Peru and at about 66o Latitude in Lapland. This was a variation of just less than 1%. We must admit that we have not completed our studies to see to what extent this affects such alignments as the Rufus Line. We have been unable to check our degree of accuracy, but we feel it is much better than drawing straight lines on flat maps.
The Rufus line crosses the Isle of Portland, through Victoria Square, Easton. We must admit that we were a little sad that it did not go through the Rufus Castle, about half a mile southeast of Victoria Square. There is also a church which used to be linked to Winchester Cathedral at this site. But it does lead up to the northeastern cliff range, going through the Grove Borstal. There was a stone circle on this site before the present building was put up. The line then crosses Weymouth Bay to St. Oswald's Bay, part way between Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. (For those interested in alignments, there is The Alignment erected by Christine Fox in the Tout Sculpture Park, at the top of Portland Heights. Erected in 1983, this consists of a series of steps snaking through the old quarry finally reaching the cliff top where a row of stones align directly with both the famous giant of Cerne Abbas and St. George's Church on Portland Island.)
We have also studied how the line approaches London from the southwest, and here we found some quite interesting results. The line goes through Chertsey Abbey before entering London. Here it manages to miss a number of places, such as Syon House, the BBC Television Centre and Primrose Hill. It does go through the Lords Cricket Ground however.
The thing that caught our attention was that it crosses another line, the St. George line at right angles. The St. George line comes down from the round tower at Windsor Castle, (Grid Ref: 7700,9700) through Magna Carta Island in Runnymede (Grid Ref: 7285,0000), through Chertsey Abbey (Grid Ref: 6695,0024) to St. George's Hill, Weybridge (Grid Ref: 6225,0800).
It was on this last hill on April 1st, 1649 that Gerrard Winstanley and the Diggers began digging as a symbolic assumption of the common ownership of land. In Walton parish church it had been declared that Sabbath, tithes, ministers, magistrates and the Bible were all abolished. A general invitation was issued inviting people to join the community. This was the most radical movement of the English Revolution whereby the poor and landless asserted themselves in abolishing private property. Gerrard Winstanley wrote The New Law of Freedom, putting forward ideas of communism. This movement was crushed by Easter 1650, by the Commonwealth. The hill got its name from the fact that St. George's Chapel could be seen from the top (in the days before trees were planted). A trip was made to St. George's Hill on April 23rd 1992. The alignment had been noticed in preparing for this trip.
There has been quite a lot of speculation about the death of William Rufus, the son and heir of William the Conqueror. We feel the best way to introduce this subject is to start with an extensive quote from a letter which appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine of August 10th, 1789. The author, John Milner was a noted antiquarian, who subsequently became the Catholic Bishop of Castabala.
Margaret Murray in her book, The Divine King in England (1954) puts forward the idea that William Rufus's death was a ritual execution, part of a series going back to Saxon days and running up to the seventeenth century. We feel that this passage, along with other material we are presenting, supports this view. To the best of our knowledge, this letter was unknown to her and indeed to Hugh Ross Williamson, who followed up her ideas.
William was certainly disparaging of the church. Partly this had a practical purpose. For instance by keeping the Bishopric of Winchester vacant he could accrue its profits. His death is surrounded by strange stories. Abbot Serlo sent a monk to Rufus to warn of a dream expressing God's anger over his dealings with the church. William laughed about the snoring of monks and turned to Tyrell saying, "Walter, deal justly with what you have just heard." He replied "So I will, my Lord." A smith produced six arrows for the king. Rufus took four, giving two to Tyrell with the remark "It is proper that the sharpest arrows should be given to him who know how to inflict the death dealing strokes." The previous night, Rufus himself was tormented with nightmares of being bled. The blood shot up to the heavens and blotted out the sky. In another dream he was in a chapel in the forest, where the walls were clad with purple tapestries depicting scenes from Greek mythology. Suddently they disappeared, and a naked man was on the altar whom the king tried to eat. "Henceforth you shall eat of me no more" said the man and vanished. In some accounts the King instructs Tyrrel "Shoot on the Devil's name, or it will be the worse for you."
After William's death there are accounts of the news being known the night before at the Abbey of Cluny. In Devonshire it was known about the day before when Peter de Melvis met a man holding a dart saying "With this dart your king was killed today." Similar events surrounded the way the news of Thomas à Becket's death circulated. Margaret Murray links this also to ritual murder, where the chief priest substitutes for the king himself.
Other explanations have also been offered, such as a simple murder by Henry I, in league with the De Clare family who Walter Tyrrel had married into. The day of Henry's coronation, Walter Tyrrel's wife's grandfather, already Chancellor, was appointed Bishop of Winchester. Other speculation has emerged suggesting that Henry murdered his brother so that he could marry Edith, who became his Queen Matilda on 11th November, 1100. However this speculation ends up reinforcing Murray's thesis. Edith was descended from Edmund Ironside, an earlier Saxon King. Her mother was Queen Margaret of Scotland later canonised as Saint Margaret. She was staying with her aunt, Christina, Abbess of Wilton. Murray's theory of ritual king sacrifice has a parallel with Queen-priestesses. Christina encouraged Edith to wear a veil, as if she had taken nun's vows. She herself hated the veil, and her father would throw it on the ground and stamp upon it whenever he saw her wearing it. She was made to wear it when Rufus visited her in 1093.
Her eventual marriage to Henry I was not of her particular choice. Her family persuaded her into it to avoid a war. We would suggest that William Rufus's sacrifice was necessary before the hereditary Queen-priestess would accept a Norman marriage. Perhaps she had entertained notions of a marriage which would have opened up the possibility of a Saxon restoration. Her marriage to Henry ensured unity against any possibility of Robert, Duke of Normandy, disputing Henry's crown. After the death of Henry's son William with the sinking of the White Ship, it is significant that the crown continued through Matilda's daughter, Matilda, to Henry FitzEmpresss, or Henry II of England. Margaret Murray sees the murder of Thomas à Becket at the altar of Canterbury Cathedral as another case of ritual murder, here of a substitute for the monarch.
In Robert Graves works on mythology (The White Goddess, The Greek Myths), he discusses the role of ritual king murder in the conquest of matrilineal societies by patriarchal cults. He gives an account of Llew Llaw Giffes, a Celtic hero linked to Gwydion the Belgic name for Odin. Llew dies a ritual death in a story that involves an oak tree, a stag, and being shot by a dart. These common themes are underlined when Llew is identified with Lugh, whose feast of Lughnasadh is Lugh-mass or Lammas i.e. August 1st. Here also the face of Lugh appears in the west, too dazzling to be gazed at. Gwydion tracks down the slaughtered hero by following some pigs who start to eat the decaying flesh falling from the tree. Graves identifies Llew/Lugh also with Hercules who is eaten after a ritual slaughter. The head and genitals are saved for oracular purposes. Rufus was known to swear an oath by Lucca, a possible variant of Lugh.
There is also another factor, which needs to be brought into the story – the Trusty Servant. This is the name of the single pub in Minstead. The inn sign is a copy of a picture to be found in Winchester College. In 1778, on the occasion of the picture in college having a change of colour, George III visited Winchester College in state. This was eleven years before his visit to Minstead.
The College was set up by William of Wykeham in 1382. William of Wykeham was Bishop of Winchester, and hence ex officio Prelate of the Order of the Garter. He came from a poor background being born in Wickham a few miles southeast of Winchester. He became Bishop in 1366, and Chancellor between 1367 and 1371. He fell from favour in 1376, but was restored to his Bishopric on 21st June 1377, three days before Edward III died. By the end of July he had been pardoned by Richard II and reconciled with John of Gaunt. In 1389 he became Chancellor of England again. He also founded New College, Oxford, and there is a tradition of pupils of Winchester College going on to New College. Winchester College was the first of a new tradition of public schools. It was set up with the intention of providing an educated elite who could run the state.
However, "a temple of Apollo, the deity of learning, stood near the site of the present college" as John Milner relates in his History, Civil and Ecclesiastical and Survey of the Antiquities of Winchester, 1809. This was set up by the Romans when they were trying to suppress druidry. They wanted to supplant it with their own priesthood. They set up a series of centres in what became the Old Foundation of Bishoprics when they were Christianised. Margaret Murray points out in The Divine King in England that as they totalled thirteen, the Bishops would collectively constitute a coven.
It seems that Winchester as a site of learning and culture might however go back long before this date. Milner refers to there being large standing stones on Twyford Down and elsewhere (p10):
"One of the stones at Twyford, by the road side has a mortice in the exact direction of the centre of gravity, and seems to have been the impost of a logan; a second which lies on the ground near Hyde Abbey, and measures 11 feet in length, seems to have been the upright of a Tolmen, whilst a flat stone close to the Blacksmiths shop in Upper Brook Street, which measures five feet in its greatest length, two and a half in breadth, and one foot and a half in thickness, was evidently a cromlech or altar stone, in which a small cavity seems to have been wrought near the middle of it, in order to retain a certain quantity of blood, for sprinkling around the altar, according to druidical ways. Two of the three pedestals on which this altar rested are seen worked into the foundations opposite. Another much larger stone than the abovementioned, which stood in this neighbourhood, and seemed to have belonged to the same druidical monument, was used as the foundation stone of the present new hospital."
Milner refers to a new temple of Apollo, and another old temple of Concord in Roman days. We would suggest that the old temple might well be a stone circle. There was a stone circle on the site of the Cathedral. In fact it seems that there might have been a complex of standing stones and stone circles as are to be found at Callanish, on the Isle of Lewis, or even the more extensive sites, such as Carnac in Brittany. We would suggest that Caer Gwent was an important site of a druidic academy which was taken over by the Roman state. Such a takeover was not simply so that Roman rites could be imposed, but also to incorporate druidic esoteric knowledge into a broader Roman network.
According to Archbishop Ussher, Lucius, a resident of Caer Gwent, became the first Christian King in the world (please note the similarity of his name to Lugh/Lucca). This would have involved the academy/temple taking aboard Christianity. Ussher and Milner disagree about Lucius's conversion. The protestant Ussher says that it was through monks from Glastonbury, independent of Rome, but from a Christian establishment set up by Joseph of Arimathea. The Roman Catholic Milner argues that Roman missionaries were responsible.
Milner says that in 498 Uther was crowned in Winchester. After seeing meteors which looked like dragons, he had two gilt ensigns made, one of which was kept in the Cathedral, the other of which was a battle standard. From this he derived his name - Pendragon i.e. Dragon Head. In 515 Winchester fell to Cerdic, a Jute leader. He claims all the monks at the Cathedral were killed, and for 120 years the Cathedral served as a temple to Thor where Cerdic was crowned in a ceremony involving being carried on a shield. Roman missionaries achieved a conversion to their viewpoint in 635 AD, and the Cathedral was reconsecrated to the Holy Trinity, St. Peter and St. Paul. (The idea that Arthur was based at Winchester is a later propaganda.) Before the Wykhamist establishment of St. Mary, there was a previous college in the 8th and 9th century.
We are a bit wary of Milner's approach. He wears his Christian blinkers, whereby the difference between Christian and pagan is immense. However it appears to us that the phenomenon of Christianity in Europe was connected with a transition from the formal domination of patriarchy to the real domination. Graves and Tolstoy have produced ample evidence whereby the notion of the sacrificial god hanging on the tree was a figure familiar to many Aryan people - Celts, Greeks, Teutons. However, this was to do with a ritual re-enactment of the conquering of Goddess cultures by such patriarchal people as the Aeolian and Ionian. A male military elite reconciled itself with a female theocracy, exercising a formal domination. Ritually this was expressed with the ritual sacrifice of the King who was the consort of the high priestess. The annual fertility ritual of king slaughter every year was lengthened to a seven year period. The military aristocracy were gradually able to impose substitute victims, i.e. if the king had the backing of military elite, a substitute would be found. If he fell foul of them, well, he'd had his chips.
Christianity used the imagery of the god on the tree as the previous story of Hercules relates. Also Teutonic stories give a similar account of Odin. The triumph of Christianity was that the celebration of the Eucharist took the place of king sacrifice.
In the Eucharist a male priesthood performed a magical act which converted bread and wine into the blood and flesh of Christ which could then be consumed in the cannibalistic orgy of Communion. Christ came to be the slaughtered king for all time. The priestesses had been beaten, and patriarchy controlled both church and state. Missionaries approached kings when seeking conversion, sensing that their promise of release from the threat of potential sacrifice was likely to go down well. This whole transition took many centuries, only really being completed in the seventeenth century, unlike the transition from the formal to real domination of capital which has taken place this century.
William of Wykeham's attachment to the Virgin Mary, something which was prevalent from his youth, showed in his dedication of his college to Mary. Mary still constituted an emblem for the Goddess in the Christian pantheon. A Madonna was positioned over the Outer Gate. The college was built by William Wynford. He was also the warden of the masons at Windsor Castle. Many features first seen at Windsor Castle were then repeated at Winchester College - the Hall and Chapel end to end. Windsor Castle was the first non-monastic building to be conceived of as a regular enclosure surrounded by dwellings and offices. The stained glass window above the altar has the unmistakable symbol 'G', the Freemasons' sign for the Great Architect.
William of Wykeham was Prelate to the Order of the Garter, in his role as Bishop of Winchester. Likewise the Dean of Windsor is automatically the Register. Murray discusses the Garter's role as a double coven, consisting of two groups of twelve, originally consisting of Edward III and a team of twelve, and the Black Prince with a team of twelve. Murray discusses the role of the garter as a magical emblem of the Old Religion and the episode at the ball where the King picks up the dropped garter and says "Honi soit qui mal y pense" - Evil to those who think bad of it - the motto of the Order of the Garter. Murray maintains that this "Royal Coven" took over the right to choose the substitute victim. Perhaps we should add that the number thirteen was significant in the Old Religion in that it related to the 13 lunar months of the year. In such a calendar 13 x 28 = 364, leaving one day spare, the solstice, for the fertility ritual.
However she makes no mention of the group of thirteen involved in running the College. Milner is anxious to explain this away (p.133). "The Warden and Ten priests, who were the perpetual fellows, represented the college of the apostles, Judas Iscariot of course not being represented: that the head master and the second master with 70 scholars denote the 72 disciples." In a footnote, he says that Wykeham followed the Vulgate Bible rather than the Greek, which gave the number of disciples as 70.
Winchester College is riddled with the sort of ritualism which P.J. Rich characterises in his book Chains of Empire (1991). He argues how ritual can lead to a community of thought. His analysis of public schools links them with Freemasonry and London and colonial clubs to produce a network of fraternal organisation through which the British Empire was ruled.
This translation probably dates from 1778, but the picture was mentioned in the Bursar's account for 1619. Similar verses of advice to servants appeared in 1499 in Grignon, Chateau de Labur, (Translated Alexander Barclay, about 1502 ed., A.W. Pollard, Roxburghe Club);
If that thou wylte thy master please
Alexander Barclay was beneficed in Hampshire about then. A similar figure is described by Gilbertus Cognatus in De Officio Famulorum (Paris, 1535) and John James Hofman in Lexicon Universelle (1538). Arkon Daraul relates a story in Secret Societies: Yesterday and Today (London, 1983) that Henry II, Count of Champagne, a grandson of Eleanor of Aquitaine, was travelling through Ismaili (Assassin) territory. He was invited into the castle at Alamut. At a signal two sentinels threw themselves off the cliff top to be dashed to their death on the rocks below. The Assassin chief offered to have them all do the same. Henry said that no Christian prince could presume to look for such obedience from his subjects. As he left, the chief said meaningfully, "By means of these trusty servants, I get rid of the enemies of our society."
The college has many customs called Notions. One such is the way the drains in Chamber Court are known as "hell", whereas the gutters are called "good intentions". In 1550 a place in the college was called Tempe, the name of a spot in Greece where a shrine to Daphne was converted to that of Apollo. Bicycles are called Bogles (Bogwheels), and there are many other such conceits.
Einstein took the trouble to visit the College in 1931. Noticing the commemorative marbles in the First Chamber, which is used as a dressing room, this savant remarked, "The spirit of the departed passes into the trousers of the living". This was the man who came up with the formula that time by itself is a product of mass and distance by itself.
One tradition set up in the mists of time is 'Hills'. This is not mentioned in the statutes and its origin is obscure. There used to be a procession up to St. Catherine's Hill three times a week. Now it is twice a year, the only time the school meets as a unified body. Winchester football was first played here. The land belonged to the church. It was only in 1930, that the Old Wykehamists Masonic Lodge bought the land and gave it to the College.
This map comes from the special issue of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaelogical Society dedicated to St. Catherine's Hill, published in 1932. This gives an extensive account of the dig done shortly before. The line drawings of St. Catherine's Hill, often copies of older pictures, are also taken from this excellent publication.
The hill lies to the southeast of Winchester and just north of Twyford (4840,2765). You have to cross the busy London-Southampton Road to get to it from the town. It is 328 feet high, and as you walk to the summit from the town, the slope is sometimes as much as 1 in 3, in some places. The top of the hill levels off with a ditch ringing it. The hill is mentioned in The Ley Guide by Paul Devereux and Ian Thompson (London, 1979). They place it on the 'Winchester Ley', which goes from Tidbury Ring, through the remains of a long barrow, St. Bartholomew's Church in King Alfred Place, Winchester, through Hyde Gate and the Cathedral to the Hill and down to a tumulus in Twyford. The line appears to clip the Warden's Lodge in the College, perhaps the corner of the library where the oldest extant copy of Malory's Morte D'Arthur was found in the nineteen thirties.
In the Summer 1992 issue of the RILKO Journal (Research Into Lost Knowledge Organisation), Bob Trubshaw speculates on the site of the Omphalos, "the mystical middle of England". The word derives from navel, and Robert Graves links it with a kind of ceramic stove where laurel and other stimulants were burnt. The original was at Delphi, associated with the oracle. Being at the centre of the world, it was hoped that contact with the world beyond would be easier. Trubshaw reckons that St. Catherine is associated with the Omphalos as she represents an axis around which the world - her wheel - can spin.
St. Catherine has been struck off the papal list of saints. Historical accounts of her date from the ninth century, but she is meant to have lived in about the third century. She was an Egyptian princess who converted to Christianity. Her father produced 50 philosophers to debate with her, but instead of being persuaded by their pagan views, she converted them to Christianity. She became Queen of Egypt, and the Roman Emperor Maxentius demanded to marry her. She refused saying that she had married Christ. An attempt was made to break her on a spiked wheel but the wheel collapsed, killing some spectators. She was finally beheaded and her converted philosophers were burnt. Her body was translated to Mount Sinai, where she was buried at the site of the Burning Bush. There is a monastery dedicated to her here which consists of 36 Greek Orthodox monks. They are an independent order. There is also also a mosque provided for some local Bedouins who protect the monastery.
The cult of St. Catherine was brought to England by returning crusaders and pilgrims. The more assiduous pilgrims would include a trip to Mount Sinai. Thus it arose about the time of William Rufus's death. Certain parallels appear between the story of Edith's refusal to marry Rufus, and St. Catherine's refusal to marry the Emperor. Another parallel may be found with the story of Antony and Cleopatra. It also seems likely that the story contains a symbolic message of gnosticism, with a chemical marriage to Christ superseding a mundane marriage with Maxentius. There is another chapel to St. Catherine due south at St. Catherine's Point, at the southernmost tip of the Isle of Wight. In a letter to the Mercian Mysteries (No. 13, November 1992), John Michell responds to Bob Trubshaw's search for the Omphalos of England between Meriden near Coventry. This point he assures us lies on a line between the northernmost tip of Scotland and St. Catherine's Point - "the Spindle rests on St. Catherine's lap!" There is an article in the Occult Observer which discusses this. St. Catherine's day is celebrated on 25th November.
The site was the subject of an archaeological dig in 1928-9, which showed that the hill fort was occupied from 500 BC till about 100 BC. From the finds, it points to the inhabitants being of Halstatt culture, whereas the new Belgic invasion of 100 BC gave rise to La Tène culture in the area. In The White Goddess Robert Graves suggests that the Belgic invasion cut Britain off from its traditional links with Egypt. Asger Jorn puts the matter differently:
"René Huygues shows, in his work Art and Man, that it is with the development of metallurgy, after the agrarian epoch, that the division between the two styles of Hallstatt and La Tène is produced, which is none other than the division between geometric and situlogic thought. Through the Dorians, geometric thought was implanted in Greece, giving birth to rationalist thought. The contrary tendency would up in Ireland and Scandinavia.
The above text touches on themes which have been cropping up throughout this booklet. As we move on to the subject of mazes, it is as if Jorn had our expedition in mind. This text, like many other of his texts, including his special report to the S.I. - his Critique de l'Economie Politique (1960), have yet to appear in English translation. Our publishers have agreed to put out a translation of Open Creation shortly.
The maze is known as 'Labyrinth' according to the Winchester College notions. College boys are meant to follow it from the middle out, whereas people from the town tend to follow it in. There is a legend that it was cut by a boy left behind during the school holidays. He was chained to the Domum tree for some unspecified offence. He pined away, dieing the day before his chums returned to school. There was in fact a solitary scholar "in commons" from 28th September 1543, until January 1544, apparently because of some epidemic. However it is also worth noting that John Leche, a Winchester scholar proposed to set up a school in Saffron Walden. After his death, this was taken up by his sister, who had school rules drawn up by John Twychener, the then Headmaster of Winchester, and Richard Cox, that of Eton. Saffron Walden itself has a very fine maze of a similar structure.
There are, however, other reasons to doubt the existence of the maze before 1647, and the earliest record of the maze is a drawing in the Moberly Library at the College dated 1710. The maze was recut in 1858, after having been suffered from being used as a football pitch.
The basic structure is classic, similar to the famous maze to be found on the floor of Chartres Cathedral. Rather than puzzle mazes, where a person entering is presented with a series of choices, these unicursal mazes have a single track leading to the centre through a number of curves. These appear all over the world in various way. In particular they have been linked to Crete, and Sig Lonegren in his book Labyrinths, Ancient and Modern Uses (Glastonbury, 1991) shows their relation to the double headed Cretan axe called a Labrys. They have also been linked to Troy. During the height of their popularity in middle ages England, they were regularly used for dances, often called Troy Town. In mythology the walls of Troy were built by music and dancing. The walls were eventually breached, not by brute force but by trickery, with the Trojan Horse.
Another piece of mythology attached to mazes is the Trip to Jerusalem whereby the maze comes to stand for pilgrimage, a journey to the centre of the world in a process of self-discovery and revitalisation, which at the same time is a real journey of discovery around the world. Thus the motto As above, so below, can also be rendered by matching internal events with external events, in a manner which modern-day individualism attempts to deny. In the medieval Christian view, Jerusalem was the centre of the world, the navel or Omphalos. It was here that mankind was closest to God. It was here that Mohammed made his trip to Heaven (having flown there by magic from Mecca.)
The prevalence of spiral and maze patterns across every culture in the world, back to the most ancient times, and yet still recurring in modern forms, shows them to be of immense symbolic importance. As many of the European forms have been carefully looked at and discussed, we would like to look at the megalithic culture of the New Hebrides, in the southwest Pacific. J. Layard did much of the field work (See Stone Men of Malekula, Vao, 1942) but we are quoting from a synopsis of this in The Gate of Horn by G.R. Levy (London, 1946). Here an initial period of settlement took place with a matrilineal culture. Dolmens were erected, connected both with the Cave of the Dead and the Table of Sacrifice. As in the west, the dolmens are a link to an Earth spirit - the Guardian Ghost - who dwells in the cave entrance to the other world. She will devour the dead unless propitiated by initiation or sacrifice. On Vao she is called Le-hev-hev. The first syllable forms a prefix used in every woman's name among the small islands. There is a subsequent mythology based around monoliths developed by a patrilineal culture. Here avenues and stone circles erected around trees are the central monuments. Towers are also erected, representing height and associated with the male deity Taghar.
In the Journey of the Dead:
"The newly dead man is believed to arrive before the entrance to a cave on the seashore, where he encounters the dreaded Guardian Ghost. In front of the cave-mouth is a design called 'The Path', traced upon the sand by Le-Hev-Hev. At this approach she obliterates half the design, which the dead man must complete or be devoured. 'The Path' has, of course, been trodden in ceremonial dances during all his adult life, and the knowledge of the whole pattern proves him to be an initiate of Maki. After completing the design, he must tread its maze to the threshold of the cave, where he may now offer the tusked boar which was sacrificed in the mortuary rites performed after his burial. At this point the people of Vao believe that Taghar prevails with the guardian to accept the surrogate in place of the dead man, who is thus free to join his departed kinsman and friends gathered in the cave depths." (p.156)
Onto this has been grafted a 'higher' aspect connected with the patrilineal culture, whereby the dead man returns to the shore to kindle a beacon to attract a ferryman, called 'The Guide'. Having taken some bark to gnaw, the dead man is ferried to the island volcano, 'Source of Fire' where there is a dance of the dead. This 'higher' aspect is connected with rituals involving rebirth and the erection of a stone platform. The higher ritual takes seven years and involves rearing a boar, whose tusks often grow into spirals by knocking out the upper canine teeth. Thus these tusks resemble the horns of rams and bulls, familiar to cults of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
From the sacrifice of the boar to Le-Hev-Hev, Taghar stages a rebirth, and the sacrificed boar is elevated. Finally as the boar is identified with the initiate, as a substitute sacrifice, the titles of the boar return to the initiate.
Despite the frustration at only hearing a one-sided account of the experience of a male initiate in this account, it highlights some of the themes of this booklet. Human sacrifice is known on Vao, but was rare. But we see here a pattern whereby the original formal domination of patriarchy is achieved through human sacrifice, which is afterwards mitigated to substitute sacrifice. However, then the initiate who thus avoided death is reborn and emancipated from the mother goddess, in the fraternal relations of a patriarchal religion. This is echoed in higher education in the West. The word 'matriculate' is rooted in 'matrix', the word for womb. Matriculation becomes implantment in the surrogate womb of an institution of male bonding. Alma Mater thus becomes the substitute mother. Melville MacNaghten, an Old Etonian and former head of Scotland Yard is quoted by P.J. Rich: Public schools "are among the fairest things in England; they draw from their sons a devotion that is deeper, more lasting than any other love." J.M. Barrie echoes and parodies this when Captain Hook exclaims "Floreat Etona" as he is eaten by a crocodile.
The initiatory pathways can be constructed by a line, as in the maze or indeed Celtic knotwork and Islamic patterning. Dance and music are often important to induce altered states of consciousness. Elements of objective knowledge are also embedded in these states of consciousness - i.e. it is not simply mystical, in the sense that mysticism has become an unutterable pre-requisite of the current construction of science. Thus the astronomical information decoded in ancient structures such as Stonehenge reveals how ancient society used sophisticated observation and analysis, indicating an interior life every bit as complex as modern society.
In The Decadence of the Shamans, Alan Cohen develops a materialist analysis of shamanism, whereby the supercession of present day civilisation involves the restoration of the immense 'spiritual' wealth of primitive societies. We hope that this text has related these questions in a more direct way to some of the institutions which shape and mold the British state, thus clearing the way for a more concrete analysis and activity.