Sacred Sites in Ireland – Kealkil

One of my favourite sites in south-west Ireland is the Kealkil Stone complex. It’s not big, but it IS spectacular.

Looking out across the Ouvane Valley to the north and Bantry Bay to the south, the site is the largest of a line of stone circles and standing stones that runs along the spine of a mountain-ridge from East to West until it meets the bay. Most of the hilltops in this area are dotted with such sites.

The Kealkil Stones

The first thing that catches your eye when you approach the Kealkil Stones is the two stones in the centre of the complex. One is tall and thin, the other short and broad. They remind me very much of  The Cove stones at Avebury. Here are pictures of both so you can see what I mean:

The tall stones at Kealkil

The two remaining stones of “The Cove” at Avebury

Apparently the tallest stone at Kealkil was once six feet higher than it is now, but it broke and had to be shortened when it was re-positioned.

As well as the two large stones, there are two circles at Kealkil – one of five stones about chest-high and an even older stone circle that is largely hidden in bushes and is made up of stones that are no more than a foot high.

Stone Circle at Kealkil

Even though some 50% of sites like this have been destroyed since the second world war, the south-west of Ireland still has plenty (more than anywhere else in Europe). I love to visit them, to sit quietly, to listen, feel, breathe. Each has its own unique qualities, it’s own tales to tell. But I have a soft spot for the Kealkil Stones.

There is something about the site that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. On one visit the mist came tumbling down from the tops and we were suddenly enveloped in a silent white shroud. Time stopped and if someone from 5,000 years ago had emerged, I wouldn’t have been surprised!

You can see the stone circle and the tall stones here. The smallest stone circle is hidden in the bushes on the right

Looking south from the Kealkil Stones, you can just see the sea in the distance.

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Prometheus, The Annunaki and Tilly Greenway

Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus is perhaps the first to bring in specific references to the Annunaki, the ancient aliens who make their appearance in Sumerian tales dating back to 5,000BC. I’m particularly interested to see this story reaching a more mainstream audience, not least because it has specific relevance to the Tale of Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys.

For those of you who do not know about the Annunaki, the first-known stories about them were written in cuneiform on clay tablets some 7,500 years ago. These tablets, of which there are many thousands, have been unearthed from the sands of Iraq, Iran and neighbouring areas. Whilst they range over a wide number of topics, from the creation of the world to the Flood, they all talk of a group of gods and goddesses, called the Annunaki, who visited the Earth some 250,000 years ago.

But are the tales myth or do they refer to real events? Were these gods and goddesses figments of imagination, or were they in fact three-dimensional extra-terrestrials who landed on Earth a quarter of a million years ago? This is a debate that has raged quietly behind closed doors for a long time. Now it is being opened to a wider audience.

Well-known early depiction of one of the Annunaki “gods” – note how much larger he is than the humans shown in the carving

I believe that there are many truths hidden under the label of “myth” or “legend”. So let’s take a look at the story of the Annuna-ki and see if we can find any evidence for them being more than simple flights of fancy.

The Sumerian word Annunaki translates as “those who came to Earth from the sky/heavens”, the “ki” standing for Earth. In the Tilly Greenway tales, I call them simply The Anuna – “those who are from the sky” – because the tablets make it very clear that these early gods/space-travellers visited many other planets as well as our own.

Early in the Prometheus film we hear about a “star map” that gives directions to the planet where the aliens in the movie come from. This star map is real. Artefacts bearing its design have been discovered on every major continent, all virtually identical. (In Watchers, it features very early on, in Tilly’s dream).

This in itself is remarkable, bearing in mind there was not supposed to be much travel between places such as South America and Africa until relatively recently. How, and why, would separate civilizations create the very same story, with identical images, if there were not some unifying agent? The collective subconscious is powerful for sure, but something like this is too much to be dismissed as mere “coincidence”.

Who were the Annunaki and what were they doing here?

In Prometheus, the line of enquiry as to who the Annunaki were and what happened after they arrived on Earth is not answered (perhaps it will be in a second film?). In the Tilly Greenway tales (which are really a modern day rendering of the most widespread and oldest legends) I explore the idea in depth.

In much the same way that myths contain hidden truths, the accepted version of history often conceals many lies. There’s a simple reason for this: victors always seek to wipe out any threat to their control by asserting their own supremacy. You could say that the accepted version of history is as much propaganda as it is a genuine record of events.

It’s not surprising, then, that when conventional wisdom is challenged, those who walk the corridors of the Establishment do their best to laugh their challengers out of court. After all, they have a vested interest in maintaining their version of events, no matter how false they may be.

Right now, most modern historians and archaeologists ridicule the idea of an alien race visiting Earth at any point in its history. Yet, as time passes and more and more discoveries are made (many of them, like Gobekli Tepi, forcing us to re-think our concepts of how far back the earliest civilizations go), some are beginning to stand against the tide, especially when it comes to the possibility of early civilizations being far more developed than we have thought.

The Creation Myth – Fact or Fiction?

With over 100,000 clay tablets covered in cuneiform, the Sumerian tales are too long to do more than touch on them in one blog post (we’ll revisit them in future) but the essential story is this: whilst here, the “ones who came to the Earth from the sky” (whether you choose to call them gods or extra-terrestrials is up to you) discovered a primitive hominid, presumably an ape of some kind. They then used advanced techniques to create a hybrid species, mixing their own DNA with that of the hominids to create a “worker” to mine gold for them.

One fascinating point for me here is that the tablets speak specifically of a number of medical procedures that were carried out by Annunaki scientists that were thousands of years ahead of their time. My question here is: how would those who wrote the tablets even have known about transfusions, transplants and so on if they were not happening at that time?

It was not an easy process. The tablets talk of many failed experiments in which the half-hominid, half-Annunaki “babies” were born with serious medical defects. Modern day genetic experiments have come across exactly the same issues, including the sterility of genetically-engineered hybrids – something that crops up in the Sumerian tales.

It is only when the chief Annunaki scientists use surrogate mothers from the Annunaki females (rather than the hominid females) that they are able to produce offspring that can both survive and breed. According to the tablets, these offspring were the forerunners of homeo sapiens.

In other words, thousands of clay tablets from one of the earliest known human civilisations, state quite clearly that our ancestors were all hybrids between a terrestrial and an extra-terrestrial race!

This Ubaid figurine shows a clearly non-human female nursing a non-human child

Is this such a huge leap of faith? It would certainly explain the sudden and extreme advancement in our intellect that happened somewhere between 250,000 and 150,000 years ago, for which no one has yet come up with a good answer. It might also explain other mysteries, but that is something to leave for another time. Let’s just say that the potential for a cover-up is huge, which is why the Tilly Greenway saga is as much a conspiracy-story as a fantasy!

Why would I, or anyone else, suggest that there might be more to these clay tablets than meets the eye (apart from the fact that it makes for an interesting background to a novel!)? One reason is the extraordinary similarity between the Sumerian myths and those told elsewhere. Another is the unmistakable correlation between aspects of the Sumerian tales and passages that are contained within the Bible, where the very same story of the creation of mankind is told, except that the Anunnaki have been replaced by certain aspects of Yahweh.

The parallels are striking. In the Sumerian stories, the first male hybrid created by the Annunaki is called the Adamu. He and his female partner are kept in a place called The Edin. They gain knowledge which displeases some of the Annunaki hierarchy and they are removed from The Edin to fend for themselves.

Bear in mind that the Sumerian tablets pre-date the Bible scrolls by several thousand years. Is it possible, therefore, that they had no influence at all upon the scribes of the most-read “book” in the world?

For me, the “coincidences” are too great to ignore. And it doesn’t stop there.

The Sumerian tales talk of the Annunaki being much taller than humans. Are there references in the Bible to giant creatures? Yes there are. Do the giants in the Bible interbreed with the indigenous population? Yes they (or their offspring, or the “sons of God”) do.

Here are some of them (my italics).

“When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.” Genesis 6: 1-4

“But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” Numbers 13: 30-33

“The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim.” Deuteronomy 2:10

“For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bed was a bed of iron. Is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.” Deuteronomy 3:11

You can see from these quotations that the writers accepted the presence of giants on Earth. Note too the echo of the Sumerian word “Annunaki” in the references to the “sons of Anak” and the “Anakim” – both of whom are described as being much taller than regular humans. (For those of you who like your sci-fi, you’ll recall that Darth Vader’s name, before he donned the helmet and heavy-breathing act, was “Anakin”)

Of course, the references to the Nephilim and the sons of God are not clear cut. Are they the same, or different? There is certainly nothing explicit here about aliens from outer-space! But whoever they were, they were clearly giants.

I’ll revisit this topic of the role of giants in our history another time, especially the references to the “Watchers” or Fallen Angels which come into a number of the scrolls that were edited-out of the Bible some 1600 years ago (if you are interested, have a look at the Book of Enoch, Ethiopian text).

Tales of the Fallen Angels run deep in our psyches

To finish-up for today, I’ll just float another interesting point out there.

The Sumerian tablets say that the creation of the Adamu and other hybrids took place in what we call South Africa. This is the very location that the mitochondrial DNA of the first human female, to whom we are ALL related, is now known to have originated. We have only recently discovered this, thanks to the advance in our understanding of genetics.

Could it be just “another coincidence” that stories written 7,500 years ago pointed to exactly the same place of origin as our scientists have only just discovered? Of course it could. But it’s an interesting one…

Whether myth or truth, the whole rigmarole of the “ancient aliens who visited Earth” makes for an exciting back-history to the plot of a series of books, which is why they form the backbone to the Tale of Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys, a work of fiction in which I delve deep into our past from a very contemporary setting. The story draws on much documented history and my study of different myths and legends from all over the world, but essentially it is still a story, a new rendering of some of the oldest-known creation-myths of all, rather than an allegory.

What I can promise you, however, is that my research has taken me to some very interesting frontiers, beyond any of those that are currently circulated in public. As such, the series will not draw its head back into a shell, as Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol did. There are some eyebrow-raising revelations to come.

You can certainly expect plenty of dark intrigue and deeds of evil as the series progresses, as well as riddles and prophecies both old and new. Then again you can expect plenty of good old-fashioned adventure, with mythical and magical creatures too!

That’s the fun of blending fact and fiction. At the end of the day, it’s just a story. A bit like life, really.

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Prophecies and Remote-Viewing in the Tilly Greenway Series.

The Others...

"Then like Shadows they will come..."

I’ve always been fascinated by the prophecies that are littered throughout literature, from the earliest decipherable Sumerian scripts right through to today. Take a look inside the Bible and you’ll find more prophecies there than almost anywhere else. Usually they occur in dreams, when unearthly beings visit the dreamer to pass on a message about the future.

Later on, prophecies are recorded as coming thick-and-fast through the ages from various monks and wise men, including perhaps the most famous of them all, Nostradamus.

Most of these prophecies deal with the end of the world, or huge shifts in political or climatic conditions. It seems we just love a good old prediction of doom and gloom! Interestingly, 2012 has become the year when a lot of people are obsessing about the so-called prophecy of the end of the world from the ancient Mayans.

Personally, I do think that there’s a lot of challenge and change ahead, but not because of anything that the Mayans might have said. So far as I am aware there is very little left of the actual writings of the Mayans. Thanks to the Spanish explorers, most of their extraordinary knowledge was smashed and burned under the title of “the works of the devil.”

What’s left is a few fragments of calendars which show an amazing knowledge of astronomy, going way back into the past as well as predicting the future. But there is no mention of the end-of-the-world scenario: just that the end of one segment of time will come, along with the beginning of another. My concerns for extreme events happening later this year are based more on the readings of the world’s top remote-viewers…

In Watchers, the first book of the Tilly Greenway series, Tilly herself is a dreamer of a rather unusual sort. She dreams things that have not happened yet. One of her lessons in the books is to stop distrusting her own dreams and to start taking action on what she learns through them.

Another set of people who can see into the future (in the books) are a group who are working for the government’s Department of Extra-Lucid Foresight and Intuition (known as DELFI for short). These are the remote-viewers, led by a man called Lazlo Buick.

I based the actions of DELFI on the real-life stories of remote-viewers who worked for the US-government back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. As such, they are a part of the forces that Tilly and Zack struggle against in the first book. Without giving too much away, that will change as we move through the story.

Remote-viewing is still dismissed as hocus-pocus by the mainstream media and scientific community. I don’t expect it will stay that way for long. It’s always the case when something new comes along. It takes a while for the mainstream folks to accept it. (Think of what Copernicus, Galileo, or Leonardo da Vinci went through when they challenged the accepted norms of their time).

Remote-viewers are perhaps the scientific equivalent of clairvoyants. Not in a Mystic-Marje-tells-your-fortune way, but in the true sense of “seeing clearly”. Scientific clairvoyance has long played its part and was one of the many qualities sought after and practised by the early Knights Templar. It’s an area I am very interested in. I’ve just been asked to interview one of the world’s top remote-viewers for an article in The Noetic Digest, which is very exciting. I’ll let you know when the interview is published.

It’s funny how we treat prophets. So long as they lived long ago, we’re happy to say that their prophecies may well be true, but if they’re alive today we tend to ridicule them, or at least try to ignore them. And yet we’re still drawn to a good prophecy. We still like to hear a tale of visionary power.

With that in mind, here is the prophecy that Buick remote-views in the early stages of Watchers. The words are attributed to a fictional character called Albigensus of Alexandria (a member of the White Brotherhood), but some of it’s lines are straight from the mouths of real monks who visited Ireland several hundred years ago…

The Prophecy of Albigensus of Alexandria

(as recounted by remote-viewer Lazlo Buick)

 When the Beast sits in the corner of every room

When fish founder and birds fall from the sky

When a child is no longer safe in the womb…

Then like shadows they will come

To rule the world.

Men to the pen like cattle shall be led

Their minds quietened by the Silver Worms

As to the Shadow they are fed.

One child only can rock the boat.

In the arms of the guardians a girl turns the keys

A new age begins, with little Hope….

Yew Tree Messages for the New Year

Ancient Yew Tree

As we move from the old year to the new, here are some messages from the Yew, the Tree of Death, Rebirth and Everlasting Life.

Oldest of all our trees, you’ll find many ancient yews growing near churches, usually on the north side. No one is quite sure how long they can live, but we do know that some are several thousand years old. So they have much wisdom to impart.

Yews are unusual in that they can reproduce by allowing their branches to sweep to the ground. Where they touch it, a new tree will spring up, each one connected to the other. They can also grow up from “within themselves”, a new trunk emerging from within the husk of the old. So it is not surprising that they have long been revered as living emblems both of the interconnection of all things and of the endless cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. They can literally resurrect themselves.

Our ancestors often chose for their sacred sites places where Yews were growing. If there were none nearby, they planted Yews in places where they wished to worship (see my last post for more on sacred sites), most churchyard Yews being far, far older than the buildings that have sprung up beside them.

Why the north door? Look inside the north door of churches and you’ll often find an old pagan image of some kind carved into the stone above it: a green man, or a sheaf of corn. These were put up in order to pay tribute to the old ways. The north door was “the devil’s door”: not because evil things lurked outside, but because it represented an acknowledgement of the power of nature, the call of the wild, which The Church wished to demonize.

When the early missionaries were sent to “convert” Britain, the pope urged them to use the old places of worship as their own and to appropriate existing religious days as holy-days. Hence the midwinter Feast of the Unconquered Sun became Christmas, the Feast of the Unconquered Son and the spring Festival of Eostre, goddess of the dawn, became Easter, the date of Christ’s resurrection.

It was a smart move, helping The Church to take a hold in a way that it might not have done. But the old traditions have great sticking power and they still won’t let go! Even today we collect Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe at Christmas: the evergreens valued so highly by the druids and many before them!

The word Yew comes from the Anglo-Saxon “Giuli” which is the stem for our word “Yule”, the time when the wheel of the year turns from old to new. In the Celtic Calendar, the Yew Tree sat at this turning point on the wheel, where the old year became a new one. The Yule Log was originally a piece of Yew. Set on the hearth, it burned for 12 days over the midwinter season, spanning this time of change.

Yew wood is hard, bright orange and has a heady scent. Once treated, it is almost impossible to damage it, so it has long been regarded as a symbol of everlasting life. At the same time it is also known across Europe as The Death-Tree. Perhaps this is because its bark, foliage and fruit are all poisonous. Birds will eat the red flesh of the berries, but not the stones. Death and Everlasting Life walk hand in hand in the Yew Tree.

In Ancient Irish lore, the Yew Tree was one of the Five Magical Trees and was sacred to Banbha, the death-aspect of the once-supreme Triple Goddess. In Britain it was also associated with Hecate and so is dear to witches. Shakespeare calls the Yew “twice-fatal” and chose its juice as the poison which Hamlet’s uncle pours into the king’s ear in order to bump him off. So, it is a tree with quite a reputation!

Famous as the wood from which English bows were made (another association with death), Yew was also favoured by druids for making ogham-sticks and for their staves. My guess is that Gandalf’s staff would have been of Yew.

With their long association with both death and rebirth, Yew Trees give us a timely reminder at this time of year of our contact with the spirit world and with our ancestors. One Old Belief that I particularly like is that the roots of churchyard Yews intermingle with each other and reach into the mouths of those who are buried there, giving voice to the spirits. It is said that this accounts for the reddish colour of the bark as well as the berries.

I once lived near a small wood made up entirely of Yew Trees. I would crawl under the branches of the outer trees and then stand up and walk inside a world that was hushed and dim, but never frightening. Sometimes I would sit propped up against the trunk of the oldest tree, listening to the whisperings of root and branch and twig.

As the Tree of New Year’s Eve, the message of the Yew is for us to live life and enjoy it, to waste not an instant of our brief time here. Yet it holds a deeper message too. It tells us that death need hold no fear over us, but is itself a birth, a moment of transformation. Just as the Yew can spring up from its own dying remains, the old year passes away to be replaced by a new one that would not be the same without those that came before it and those that are to follow. And just as each Yew Tree is connected to the next, so all moments in time are linked.

Our lives are the same. We would not be who we are without our ancestors and we in turn will be ancestors to our descendants. Nothing truly ends and nothing is truly separate from anything else. Long after we are not here to sit in person beneath its boughs, the Yew Tree will be singing its song, whispering the tales of eternal spirits to those who wish to listen.

Wishing you a wonderful, enchanted and dream-filled 2012!

Essi.

PS – If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy my book Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys, which includes a lot of old Tree Lore. Fin out more at any of these links. Thank you!

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Sacred Sites in the Tilly Greenway Saga

Glastonbury Tor by Meraylah Allwood

The world of Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys is not like any other. Yes, it is a tale of fantasy and magic, but whilst there are mythical creatures and others that you might think are “made up”, the action takes place in the real world and is very much of our time. I wanted to contrast the two worlds – real and imagined – but also to link them through actual places that you can visit.

Myths and legends often grow up around a particular place because that place holds some unique resonance for people. Often this resonance is to do with magnetic lines under the earth or water courses of some sort, which is why so many sacred sites are either where two leylines cross, or on the bend or a river or stream. The names of these places still refer back to stories that are now only part of folklore, but which used to be regarded as true.

For instance, there is a place in Wales called Dol-y-Carrog, which means “Hill of the Monster” in Welsh, so I used this as one of the locations where the last 12 dragons are lying in wait for the time when the world is facing imminent tragedy, when they will be woken so that they can fly to the rescue!

Another resting place for one of the dragons is Silbury Hill, which (in the story) is named after a dragon called Yggdrasil, the Ash Tree Dragon. Yggdrasil is sleeping soundly beneath the ancient dome of Silbury Hill, which used to be called “Yggdrasil-Bury-Hill” as a result, but which in time has been abbreviated to “Silbury Hill”. Of course, this is pure fiction on my part – but the fact is that Silbury Hill and the Stones of Avebury DO align with the constellation Draconis, or Dragon, in the night sky. On top of that, the hill itself hides a step pyramid as old as those in Sakkara in Egypt…which is important to the plot of the books.

I love this blending of an entirely imagined/fictitious world with that which is right under our noses. For me, it’s one of the things that keeps real magic very much alive and kicking.

In Book One, Watchers, Tilly and her stepbrother Zack visit a number of Sacred Sites in the UK. These include Glastonbury, The Chalice Well Gardens, Silbury Hill, the West Kennet Long Barrow, Old Winchester Hill and the Avebury Stones. Part of the fun of reading the story is that you can visit these places, find out more about them, connect with sites that our ancestors regarded as special (and which many of us still do).

In the rest of the books (starting with The Hidden Hand) you’ll find out about a lot more sacred sites in different countries as the search for the mysterious ME Keys takes Tilly and Zack further afield.

I hope you enjoy visiting them as much as I do!

With best wishes,

Essi.

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