Windsmithelegy

Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

Page 2 of 3

Volume Three: The Well Under the Sea

Using the East Wind he has mastered in Hypereurus Kerne sails across the WesteringSea in his ship Llyr to find the fabled Ashalantë, an island of lost souls at the crossroads of time. There to learn the secrets of the West Wind, he finds himself falling in love with one of the Nine, the priestesses who guard the Well of Life. The headstrong woman turns out to be Amelia Earhart, American aviatrix who went missing on her last flight across the Pacific. The Edwardian airman and 30’s American pioneer, initially at odds, find themselves kindred spirits, much to the chagrin of her drunken navigator, Noonan. Torn between duty and desire, Kerne and Earhart finds themselves embroiled in a tragic chain of events that threaten to bring about the destruction of the island paradise. They must fight Aveldra, an exiled enchantress and the Agents of Discord, who turn the Ashalantëans against themselves. Yet can the aviatrix and the airman stop the island being overwhelmed by the tides of war, any more than stop their own hearts being overwhelmed by love?

‘…for some reason I am reminded of Lindsey’s Voyage to Arcturus. Not in content or motifs or imagery, but in the overall feeling. This is a good thing, of course, as it sets the book in a particular realm of imaginative art that is neither science-fiction nor neo-Celtic. The Celtic motifs are used in a very original manner, much superior to the many dreary pot-boiling “Celtic fantasy” novels that are already out there. So the book has great strength and originality.’ RJ Stewart

‘…the book builds up to a crescendo and is totally gripping in the end. It is love story dealing with the devastating effects of forbidden love, and the destruction caused by the vengeance of a diseased soul.’ Moyra Caldecott

‘I love the way you weave so many different elements of myth, imagination and real world stuff into your setting – it makes the backdrops seems very resonant and familiar, and other at the same time.’ Brynneth N Colvin, author

The Tale of Dru the Windsmith

‘When the monks of Wilmington had finished building their priory they set about their next task – to construct a windmill. For they had much good land thereabouts, and from it they reaped fine grain – and so they needed a mill to grind it, to make their flour, to bake their bread.

‘The prior, who was a wise old man, thought it might be as well to invoke the offices of the Wind Smith, the surveyor of windmills. There was one who lived up on the Downs named Dru, who was a curious fellow – tall and thin, wearing a threadbare but clean white smock, a straw hat upon his head, wreathed with an oak garland, he wielded a staff in each hand, his sighting poles, and roamed the Downs, living off of beech-mast, berries and water from dew ponds. He was seldom seen, except when his services were required.

‘At this the sub-prior, who was zealous and ambitious, cried out in anger. He condemned that vagabond of the Downs for not attending Mass, calling him idolater and one of the Devil’s own. Now, the old prior practised the tolerance he preached, and thought it best to build bridges with those who walk other ways. But the sub-prior petitioned his fellow monks and with their support persuaded the prior to let him have his way.

‘So the monks set about building their mill, sighting it without consulting the Wind Smith, and when it was finished they were pleased with their handiwork. All was in place, and so on the next windy day the prior made the sign of the Holy Cross and with loud cheers from the villagers the miller-monk struck home the striking rod. But the sails did not move, which was odd, for there was a fair breeze blowing. The monks tried to get them going by hand, but still the sails would not turn. The windmill was examined from top to bottom and everything seemed to be in working order. They were baffled and out of breath.

‘Then the prior took matters in hand, sending a monk to find the Wind Smith. The brother returned to say that Dru would come in a week to ten days, which is an old English way of saying that he would come in his own good time! But, Dru had warned the monk there were to be no crucifixes or bells rung. “They upset my ears and eyes,” he said.

‘A fortnight later Dru the Wind Smith came striding down Windover Hill, and without a word set to work. He walked about the windmill, shaking his head, then started to pace back and forth across the hay meadow: plunging a staff into the soft soil here, then another one there – and sighting between the two. He would squint, tilt his head, stand on one leg, lick his finger, test the air, and then start all over again. Dru did this all day long, until the sun was low over the Weald and the shadows were long. Then finally he found the spot – hung his oak garland over the staff marking it, and walked off with the other, back up Windover, not asking for reward.

‘The monks ascertained from this strange behaviour that the new location had been dowsed, and so, with great reluctance, they dismantled their lovely mill, and rebuilt it, brick by brick and beam by beam, on the spot marked by the staff and oak leaves.

‘The mill was finished, and on a windy day the striking pin was struck home – and this time the cogs span and the millstones ground together. Success! Quickly, the hoppers were filled with grain – which rattled down between the stones, coming out as good white flour. The prior ordered for the bells of Wilmington to ring out in thanks, but as soon as their peal was heard over the meadow the windmill ground to a halt. One by one the monks returned to the mill to see what the trouble was – and as soon as the ringing stopped, the sails started to turn once more.

‘This was proof enough for the sub-prior that the windmill was indeed the Devil’s work. But the monks needed their flour, and so a compromise was reached – no milling at High Mass. Thus, this extraordinary situation became the routine – though little it pleased the sub-prior – and so it was for a whole year, until the old prior, ill in health, passed away. The sub-prior took over his mantle, and he hated the sight of the windmill – it mocked him from the meadow, a symbol of Satan on his doorstep.

‘One night as he tossed and turned in vexation he had a vision – of Saint Boniface, or “Bishop Boniface” as he was back then, famed for cutting down the pagan groves. He would send for Boniface, and the next day this is what he did. Seven days later a great ecclesiastical host was seen approaching from the west, and at their head was Bishop Boniface himself, in bishop’s mitre, wielding his golden crozier. The new prior welcomed his esteemed guest, lavishing upon him the best food and wine from the stores. After dinner, the situation was explained in full, and Boniface said, “This shall require only a minor miracle – but first, we need to celebrate High Mass!” The new prior wanted to explain that the windmill would not work if the bells were rung – but he wasn’t going to argue with a saint, was he?

‘As the bells pealed across the meadow Boniface strode to the mill. “Strike home the striking rod!” he commanded, and struck it with his golden crozier. Immediately, the sails began to turn. Rejoicing, the monks poured their grain into the hoppers and out of the millstones came good white flour. They filled sack after sack, until the all the grain was gone. Then the striking rod was pulled out – but to their horror they saw that the windmill would not stop! The sails turned, the cogs span and the millstones ground together – scattering sparks on to the flour-covered floor, threatening to set the whole thing on fire! They had to keep the stones cool, and so a human chain was formed from the well in the Priory, and pails of water were passed along it to douse them. But the monks could not keep that up for ever! What were they to do? For once, Bishop Boniface seemed powerless.

‘Then from down Windover Hill came Dru the Wind Smith. He stood on the edge of the meadow, shaking his head. “Back, Devil’s own!” warned Boniface. Dru just shrugged and watched as the line of water ran out. The well was dry, someone cried out. Red in the face, Boniface knew he had to ask for help. “Remove your curse!” Dru just stood there and smiled. The windmill was beginning to catch fire. “Remove your curse – and ask your price,” Boniface spat in disgust. Dru watched him, impassive. Boniface was desperate now. “Remove your curse and I will make sure you shall be remembered long after we are all dust!” Dru seemed to consider this, but wavered. “You know I am a man of my word. By the cloth I do as I say!” Dru stepped forward, raising his staff – he looked angry in the firelight. Boniface flinched, but Dru ignored him and began walking backwards around the windmill. Three times he circled it, faster and faster, until he stopped dead and struck his staff against the mill. The stick split in two and the sails creaked to a standstill. Then a great gust of wind blew out all of the flames and the monks off their feet. Dru looked pale and shrunken. He gazed at them sadly with his green eyes, then walked off, back up onto the windswept Downs – never to be seen again.

‘After the mill was repaired and working once more, Bishop Boniface honoured his agreement with the Wind Smith. He ordered the monks of Wilmington to cut out his shape on the side of Windover Hill, removing the turf to reveal the chalk beneath. And there he stands to this day – remembered long after Boniface and his kind became ashes and dust.’

Volume One: The Long Woman

An antiquarian’s widow discovers her husband’s lost journals and sets out on a journey of remembrance across 1920s England and France, retracing his steps in search of healing and independence. Along alignments of place and memory she meets mystic Dion Fortune, leyline-pioneer Alfred Watkins and a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle obsessed with the Cottingley Fairies. From Glastonbury to Carnac, she visits the ancient sites that obsessed her husband and, tested by both earthly and unearthly forces, she discovers a power within herself. The Long Woman is an exploration of the sacred landscapes of the past and the secret landscapes of the soul.

‘The Long Woman is a tender yet intimate journey of personal discovery, which the writer walks with his heroine, and any reader who would travel with them. Guided by the spirits of the land and the gods of nature, it takes us on the first steps towards understanding the ancient wisdom of sacred relationship with the land. Guided too by the spirits of the dead, it teaches of human courage and frailty. A beautiful book, filled with the quiet of dawn, and the first cool breaths of new life, it reveals how the poignance of real humanity is ever sprinkled with magic.’ Emma Restall Orr, author of Druid Priestess & Living Druidry

‘A compulsively readable, & beautifully written tale of love and loss. The interweaving of past and present, the earthly and the supernatural creates a poetic and haunting novel – one that is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking. Maud’s determination and endurance is a great testament to the possibilities of the spirit. Her search for something permanent in a transient world is a journey we can all relate to. A great achievement…a beautiful book.’ Waterstones Recommends

‘The Long Woman is a beautiful novel. I devoured it on my flight back to Kansas. I admire how smoothly you wove the mystical elements of the store while maintaining a coherent plot, a beautifully melancholy mood, and expertly crafted prose. The character, Maud, will be in my head for quite some time.’ Larry Philips, Kansas

‘Skilfully crafted and brimming with knowledge about the period and its esoteric renaissance, the author offers a convincingly ordinary and genuine heroine as travel companion that might prove to be inspiration to explore one’s own places of loss and denial in relation to the deep healing that can be retrieved in nature. Combining a gentle yet evocative language with deep spiritual insight, The Long Woman is an inspiring journey into the heart of “all things” and a delightful read for anybody who explores the ways we are inseparably interwoven with each other and creation in order to face and master our own life’s lessons.’ Karola Muller, Bonn

‘A very, very good read… I thoroughly loved reading this book. The author blended the mystical elements of the story into the plot in a way that supported the story, without taking over. The melancholy mood of the book was lovely and comfortable to read. The main character Maude is interesting and easy to relate to. I’ll definitely check out more of Kevan’s writing. A very good read for a rainy day.’

Links

Kevan Manwaring: www.kevanmanwaring.co.uk
Bard on a Bike blog: www.tallyessin.wordpress.com
Awen Publications: www.awenpublications.co.uk
Fire Springs: www.firesprings.org.uk
Bath Writers Workshop: www.bathwritersworkshop.co.uk
Amelia Earhart: http://www.ameliaearhart.com/
Antoine de St-Exupery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_de_Saint_Exupery
Rainer Maria Rilke: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/4027/
Way of Awen http://www.wayofawen.com/

Shadow-World: The World of The Windsmith Elegy

Map of Hypereurus
The Windsmith Elegy is set on Earth between 1899-1939 and Shadow World, a Secondary World consisting of four main domains, named after the Cardinal Winds: Hyper-Eurus; Hyper-Zephyrus; Hyper-Notus; and Hyper-Borea.

Philosophical/Theological ideas behind Shadow-World:

Manichaeism

The prophet Mani, founder of Manichaeism, imagined that the world was once divided between a kingdom of darkness and a kingdom of light, existing separately but adjacently, and that, as the result of darkness’s inherent aggression, these two kingdoms had become confused and jumbled, creating the world we know now, which he called “the Smudge”. He thought it was the duty of all people on the side of light to recover those atoms of their substance from the darkness and thus, in however small a way, do their bit to rescue the world. If one lived a “good” life, one was helping to do no less than protect the vastness of the world and everything in it, past, present and future; one would become, in effect, absorbed into God.

Counter Earth

The Counter-Earth is a hypothetical body of the Solar system first hypothesized by the pre-Socratic philosopher Philolaus to support his non-geocentriccosmology, in which all objects in the universe revolve around a Central Fire. The Greek word “Antichthon” means “Counter-Earth.” According to some Greek Mythology, Antichthon was placed between Earth and the center of the universe, the throne of Zeus, to stop man from looking at God directly.

Volume Four: The Burning Path

Three strangers meet in a nameless desert and must come to terms with their past before they can escape it: a First World War airman; an American aviatrix of the Thirties; and a French poet of the skies from the Second World War. They are the lost of history and must go into the desert to find themselves. To find peace they must walk the burning path. Each is forced to confront the question: What are you prepared to sacrifice for the one you love?

‘You use words so beautifully. You describe the interlacing worlds so dynamically and brilliantly.’
Moyra Caldecott.

Notes on The Burning Path and El Gouna residency

During my time as Writer-in-Residence at El Gouna I have been working on my desert-based novel, The Burning Path – part of my 5-book cross-genre series, The Windsmith Elegy, which I began in 2002. I wrote the first draft in of this, the fourth volume, in 2008 and here expanded and edited it into a second. I worked on a chapter a day (there’s 23 in total), writing an extra 20,000 words (along with 7 new poems – to date – and this blog). To live in a desert country while working on this has made all the difference – those grains of sand have become grit in the oyster. It has been an intense and sometimes challenging experience – ideal for my novel. It has enabled me to be completely in the ‘zone’, inhabiting a similar space (physical/mental/emotional) to my characters. I find this form of ‘method writing’ most effective, although it might not make me easy to be around. Finding myself staying in an artificial and often stifling cocoon (enforced socialising & unnecessary opulence; when I yearned for solitude & minimalism) I have forged a ‘desert environment’ through an experiment in estrangement – an intentional distancing of myself from those I ‘should’ connect with, to feel ‘other’, to experience the perspective of the outsider, like the boy in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. I strived to keep the doors of perception fully open (as William Blake declared: ‘When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite,’). Antoine de St Exupery in Wind, Sand and Stars talks of stratascopos, the bird’s eye view he experienced as a pioneering pilot. Only through an intentional disjuncture was this possible (an extreme method for a land of extremes) – life at the edge of the circle, for the littoral is always a creatively fertile place, like the banks of the Nile here in Egypt: a country divided in the Red and Black Lands (as their flag symbolises) – the red is the ‘barren’ desert (which protects and offers hidden treasures); the black, the fertile soil of the Nile Valley. Life is like this – good and bad mixed together, the bitter and the sweet, light and shadow. Contrast is healthy, essential. In Italian painting its called chiaroscuro. If my time here had been absolutely perfect I wouldn’t have found the necessary edge for my writing. No pain, no gain. And so everything that has happened to me here has been just right. It has enabled me to walk the Burning Path and bring my novel alive. I have worn the mark of Cain and been cast out into the wilderness. Yet despite being in a social desert there have been occasional oases and these have kept me sane and made my stay here far more enjoyable – to all the wonderful people I have met (Egyptians, Gounies, tourists) thank you.

I set off from England with a quote from Helen Keller in the back of my mind: ‘No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.’

I feel my ‘optimism’ has paid off – travel allows for creative possibilities, pushes us out of our comfort zone, expand our world-view, and makes us embrace the other – and find we are brothers. As I wrote in the sample chapter I read out at the final event: The desert is the last place you expect to encounter the kindness of strangers but it is the place where you need it the most. The more isolated we become, the more hostile the environment, and the more is revealed the cosmic terror behind the frail fabric of reality, the more we need each other.

To write a book about strangers meeting in the desert in a place where … strangers meet in the desert couldn’t have been more perfect. El Gouna is a wonderful international zone where the kindness of strangers can be encountered daily:

Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt (10:19)

Email to Anthony: Anyway, it’s been a really productive time – just got to the end of the 2nd Draft of The Burning Path, and I can’t wait for people to read it. I think its my best yet – but you have to believe that, don’t you! The style is alot more stripped back. I wrote it the year my Dad died and maybe the austere aesthetic reflects that, but there’s is real beauty in the desert vistas and cultures, as I’ve discovered. Ultimately it’s an affirmation of the desert, its ecology and ethos, its abundant ‘nothingness’ – the opposite of Western consumer culture! It cries out Less is More.

Main Characters

Isambard Kerne: Edwardian antiquarian, observer of the Royal Flying Corps, accidental adventurer, windsmith. Born 1869 of Irish and Welsh ancestry. Missing in action at the Battle of Mons, August 1914.

Amelia Earhart: American 30s aviatrix, record-breaking ‘queen of the skies’; Kerne’s ‘angel’ & companion. First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. In 1937 went missing over the Pacific on an attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

Antoine de St-Exupery: French aviator and author of The Little Prince; Wind, Sand and Stars; Southern Mail & Night Flight. Crashed crossing Egypt, attempting the Paris-Saigon record, in the Libyan desert in 1936. Saved by a group of Bedouin. In 1944 went missing on a reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean.

Leo Africanus, aka Giovanni Leone: famous Moorish explorer and scholar from 15th Century Andulusia. Born El-hassan ben Muhammed el-Wazzan-ez-Zayyati, in Granada 1458. His family emigrated to Fes, where he studied, proving himself a gifted pupil. Became a young official and diplomat. Kidnapped by corsairs, sold to the Pope. Given his freedom. Became renowned scholar. Wrote an important early account of Africa, and a tri-lingual (Arabic/Hebrew/Italian) dictionary. The circumstances of his death are uncertain, but one theory is he disappeared attempting to return to North Africa.

Alexandrine/Alexine Tinne, aka Fraulein Tinne: 19th Century Dutchwoman explorer and early photographer. Born 1835 in The Hague, when her father died at the age of ten, she became the richest heiress in the Netherlands. First European woman to attempt to cross the Sahara. In 1869, while attempting to reach the Upper Nile in caravan, had her arm hacked off and left for dead in the Libyan desert by her Tuareg escorts.

The Blue Man – blind Tuareg holy man. Becomes the guide of Earhart and Kerne.

Characters

The Amesbury Archer
The Windsmith Elegy features a wide cast of characters, some real, some imaginary, in the spirit of Walter Savage Landor’s ‘Imaginary Conversations’.

The novels they appear in are listed in abbreviations:

The Long Woman (TLW); Windsmith (WS); The Well Under the Sea (WuS); The Burning Path (TBP); The Wounded Kingdom (TWK).

NB this list is still being developed, please be patient – more information to come on the main historical characters…

Isambard Kerne (TLW; WS; WuS; TBP; TWK): Edwardian antiquarian, observer of the Royal Flying Corps, accidental adventurer, windsmith. Born 1869 of Irish and Welsh ancestry. Missing in action at the Battle of Mons, August 1914.

Maud Kerne (TLW; TWK): wife of Isambard, a windsmith in her own right.

Archie Kerne (TLW): Isambard’s brother, Boer War veteran & would-be suitor of Maud.

Martha Kerne (TLW): Isambard’s Welsh mother.

Patrick ‘Paddy’ Kerne (WS): Isambard’s father. Navvy on the GWR.

Harry Mallard a.k.a. Mad Duck/Madoc, Speaks-with-Thunder, Taranis (TLW; WS: WuS; TBP; TWK) Kerne’s pilot, enemy and eventually, constant companion in the form of his white shadow

Alfred Watkins (TLW): early 20th Century ley pioneer, author of The Old Straight Track.

Dion Fortune (TLW): early 20th Century mystic and author on many occult books of fiction and non-fiction.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (TLW): author of the Sherlock Holmes series & The Coming of the Fairies.

AE/George Russel (TLW): Irish mystic, author of ‘The Candle of Vision and others.

Amelia Earhart (WuS; TBP; TWK): American 30s aviatrix, record-breaking ‘queen of the skies’; Kerne’s ‘angel’ & companion. Subject of a major new movie by Mira Nair – Amelia – find out more here

Freddie Noonan (WuS): Amelia’s navigator on her last flight.

Antoine de St-Exupery (TBP): French aviator and author of The Little Prince; Wind, Sand and Stars; Southern Mail & Night Flight.

Leo Africanus (TBP): famous traveller

Tin Hinan (TBP): legendary queen of the Tuareg

Arthur Pendragon (WuS; TWK): semi-legendary Dark Age King of Britain, destined to return in the time of Britain’s greatest need.

Merlin, aka Myrddin (WS; WuS; TBP; TWK): Isambard’s unpredictable bird-ally, the great wizard of legend, turned into the eponymous falcon by ‘a woman’

Morgen (WuS; TWK): Queen of Ashalante, Arthur’s half-sister.

Barinthus (WuS; TWK): a legendary boatman said to have taken Arthur to Avalon, ‘he who knows the secrets of the seas and stars’.

Taliesin (WuS; TWK): legendary bard of Arthur’s. Also, 6th Century Welsh bard.

Aveldra, aka ‘Whirlwind’ (WuS; TWK): the former priestess of the Spiral who enchanted Merlin and trapped him in his esplumoir. Exiled from the Nine, she is bent on revenge…

Agents of Discord (WS; WuS; TBP; TWK): the sinister forces of chaos set on the destruction of Shadow World and dominion of Earth.

Eilmer (TWK): historical flying monk of Malmesbury

Gwendydd (TWK): Merlin’s sister

Contact – for press, booksellers, customers

Kevan Manwaring
Tel: 01453 765660
Email: author@windsmithelegy.com
Create a free website with

Glossary

The Windsmith Elegy is based largely on Celtic Mythology. There may be some terms that are unfamiliar to the lay reader and, having used my artistic license, I have interpreted them in my own way, so here’s a glossary to hopefully clear matters up! Many words are Welsh and to help, here’s a brief guide to pronunciation:

Abred: The circle of rebirth. ‘The circles or spiral of Abred: emerging life – up to the human.’ (DJ Roderic). ‘Where the dead is stronger than the living, and where every principal existence is derived from the dead, and man has traversed it.’ (IM)

Afagddu: literally ‘utter darkness’. In the Welsh legend of Taliesin, he is the ill-favoured son of the wisewoman Ceridwen, who brews a potion of wisdom for him. Unfortunately, Gwion Bach, a local boy charged with stirring the cauldron for a year and a day, receives it instead and, although he is pursued by the enraged Ceridwen, eventually he becomes twiceborn through her as ‘Taliesin’ (the shining brow). Thus, Afagddu is deprived of the potion’s benefits. Neglected by legend, ever since, he has roamed Annwn, devouring the light of others, becoming the Eater of the Dead.

Afterlands: (neologism KM) – the different realms of the ancestors within Shadow World

Andraste: Icenian Goddess of victory and revenge, Roman-British warrior queen Boudicca famously released a hare to her to prophesy the outcome of battle.

Annwn: (Welsh). Celtic land of the dead, where our world seems mirrored, albeit through a glass darkly (see Shadow World). aka The Source, the first stirrings of life, almost a primeval state of existence. ‘The outermost from God, not abyss but outer darkness.’ From the Barddas of Iolo Morganwg (IM), a questionable but fascinating reinvention of bardic lore by the eccentric 18th Century druidic revivalist.

Awen: (Welsh) bardic word for inspiration; literally ‘flowing spirit’.

Bard: (Welsh) A master storyteller, poet, musician, and remembrancer for the tribe

with a huge repertoire (350 songs or stories) and an extensive knowledge of the genealogies and landrights of the elite families. His or her mandate was to compose elegies for their noble patrons. Their satires were feared and their praise was sought. Their extensive training in British bardic colleges took 12 years.

Barrow: Bronze-age burial mound of varying shapes and sizes: bell, saucer, ring.

Bird-ally: sentient totem animal-spirits associated exclusively with one windsmith, and maintaining a telepathic link. As individual as their masters.

Bobac: small mammal of the steppe, whose flesh is prized by hunters.

BCE: Before Common Era (commonly accepted as being marked by the birth of Christ). However, BCE recognises other faiths and ideologies, and is used as an academic term of reference.

Bronze Age: the period from about 2000 to 700 BCE that usually followed the Neolithic and preceded the Iron Age, corresponding to the introduction of metallurgy, notably bronze-working, for making tools, weapons, and ceremonial objects.

CE: Common Era (aka AD). Starts with the supposed birth of Christ, Year Zero.

Caer: an Iron-Age hill-fort (Danebury). The largest hill-forts were referred to as ‘oppida’ (small townships).

Cerne Abbas: the ithyphallic chalk giant wielding a club, standing proud over the Dorset village that gives him its name. Of unknown date, although it has been associated with Herakles and Oliver Cromwell. However, Ogmios was depicted wielding a club.

Ceugant: The seat of the Godhead. The radiating sphere of the divine (DJ Roderic). ‘One falls, yet returns to the centre, the divine Ceugant.’ (IM)

Chalk Giant: a symbolic figure carved out of the turf revealing the chalk beneath, common in the chalk downlands of England.

Coelbren: A wood-based alphabet, a runic variant on the Ogham.

Cromlech: the former entrance to a neolithic burial chamber, eroded away to leave only the entrance stones, normally 3, capped with a lintel.

Cythrawl, or Cythraul. Iolo Morgannwg’s dark element of chaos and evil, said to dwell in Annwn.

Daanu: (neologism KM) river flowing from the Bone Mountains, source at waterfall below Mount Anu, the White Mother. Akin to the River Danube, whose valley cradled early Celtic civilisation.

Dark Speech: another name for the Ogham, also referred to as ‘the secret language of poets.’ Essentially a code only the Druid caste were able to interpret (like Latin to the Christian priesthood)

Druid: Celtic priest, judge and master of ceremonies; literally meaning ‘oak-priest.’

Drunemetom: the sacred meeting place of the Iron Age Galatians of Asia Minor, etymologically connected with ‘Druid’ and ‘Nemeton’ – the sacred enclosure of the Druids, or the ‘sacred oak enclosure.’

Gramarye: word-magic, literally ‘grammar’.

Grey Warrior: a Thracian armoured iron-sword wielding foot soldier of the steppe.

Gwynvyd: aka Gwynfid. The white life/place – ‘where the living is stronger than the dead, and where every principle existence is derived from the living and life, that is God, and man shall traverse it; nor will man attain to perfect knowledge, until he shall have fully traversed the circle of Gwynvyd, for no absolute knowledge can be obtained but by the experiences of the senses, from having born and suffered every condition and incident.’ (IM). This sounds akin to the Buddhist Wheel of Life, the realm of earthly existence.

Hun: predominantly warlike horse-nomad of the steppe. The most famous being the warlord Attila.

Iron Age: the period between the end of the Bronze Age (c. 700 BCE) and the spread of the Roman Empire (27 BCE-CE 68) associated predominantly with the main era of Celtic civilisation, in which iron replaced bronze for tools and weapons.

Karma-serfs: Celts who work off debts of honour and wealth in the Otherworld.

Kenning: an Anglo-Saxon concept of describing something in a poetic way to avoid using its direct name, out of respect. ie Whale-Road (sea). Possibly connected to their predilection for riddles and fondness for thinking laterally.

Kurgan: (steppe) Scythian name of burial chamber.

Long Man of Wilmington: chalk giant of West Sussex, 234 Ft high, a featureless figure wielding two staves, on barrowed Windover Hill, part of the South Downs.

Metenaidd: the four ore-tribes of the Daanu Valley, who live along tributaries rich in the metal they mine, work and trade.

Ogham: the Celtic tree alphabet, each of the 25 letters representing a native tree. 5 groups: vowels, consonants, dipthongs… Coel-bren?

Saiga: antelope species of the Eurasian steppe:

Scimitar: curved sword of the Asiatic warrior

Scythian: tribes of nomads that originated in Iran and inhabited the Eurasian steppes in the 1st millennium BCE. They were collectively referred to by the Ancient Greeks as the “Scythians”, a name that probably derives from an Iranian word skuta (archers).

Shadow World: (neologism) Otherworld connected to Earth symbiotically.

Sigil: a sign or seal. The geometric patterns Kerne sees in limbo, letters of fire which he discovers are a development of the system of ‘woodwords’ used by the windsmiths. They are effectively mnemonic symbols of words of power.

Steppe: (from the Russian step’, “lowland”) An ecosystem in temperate regions in which grasses and herbaceous plants are the dominant vegetation, commonly used to describe the treeless, undulating plains that extend from Hungary and the lower regions of the Danube basin, through Ukraine and southern Russia, into northern Kazakhstan and Siberia as far as the foothills of the Altai Mountains. Other steppe regions lie farther east in Mongolia and north-eastern China. The width of the Eurasian steppe belt varies between about 300 and 1,000 km (186 and 621 mi).

Suslik: ground squirrel indigenous to the steppe.

Tarpan: short stocky black-maned horses native of the Russian steppe and extinct since 1919.

Thracian: Warlike people of Macedonia. Although homeland of the master-bard of Greece, Orpheus, who famously entered the realm of Hades to win back his beloved.

Tuirgen – Cyclical Celtic notion of destiny, analogous to the Anglo-Saxon concept of ‘Wyrd’.

Turgen – Celtic name of a shamanic feathered cloak worn by priests.

Underworld: The realm of the ancestors and chthonic deities, akin to ‘Annwn’.

White Horse of Uffington: the stylised horse or dragon overlooking the Vale of the White Horse, 3000 years old.

Windsmith: a magician of gramarye, able to summon the wind. Each windsmith is associated with a particular caer and has a bird-ally.

Wood-priest: (neologism) another name for windsmith, effectively, a druid.

Woodword: (neologism) a kenning for an ogham name

The Windsmith Elegy: a Mythic Reality quintet from Kevan Manwaring

Kevan Manwaring is a writer, teacher and storyteller who lives in Bath, Somerset, England. Holder of an MA in the Teaching and Practice in Creative Writing from Cardiff University, he teaches creative writing part-time for the Open University. He also runs freelance courses in storytelling and various aspects of the writing process to a wide variety of students. As a professional storyteller he has appeared in numerous shows both solo and with Fire Springs, both in Britain and abroad (USA, Italy and Malta). He is the author of The Bardic Handbook, Lost Islands, the ongoing Windsmith books and his poems and articles have appeared in several magazines and anthologies. In 1998 he won the Bardic Chair of Caer Badon in his adopted city of Bath. He co-runs the Bath Writers’ Workshop. He was born on 19th August (early pioneer of flight Orville Wright’s birthday and National Aviation Day, USA) and admires windsmiths of the steel, feather and string variety. Read his blog here

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2018 Windsmithelegy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑