On Prophecies, Popes and Publishing

Watchers Cover

I’ve not been blogging for the past few months because I’ve been working on the second and third books in the Tilly Greenway series. The second book, called The Hidden Hand, was due to be released this spring. That’s all changed. My publishers have decided that some of it is simply too contentious, given what is happening in the world right now!

Readers of Watchers, the first book in the series, will know that the story blends old-style myth with a modern-day conspiracy tale in which the plot revolves around a shadow-government that rules the world from behind the scenes. I’d always wanted to mix these two elements because I like both and although they don’t seem to match, I wanted to do something that no one else was doing – to break new ground.

I’m really glad I did. With letters and emails flooding in from readers of all ages who love Watchers, I’ve felt that I have a mandate to continue on with a story truly unlike any other.

For the conspiracy element, I researched a lot of articles on current events and studied a lot of history. I also read many old prophecies that predict either the end of the world or specific major events. I then wove a plot in which a modern day shadow-government (like the Illuminati of The Da Vinci Code) not only follow these ancient prophecies – they do all they can to make them happen. For instance, the first book, Watchers, begins on June 5th, which is indeed referred to in a number of almanacs as “The Night of the Watchers.”

Little did I know, however, that so much of my fictional plot would turn out to be virtually identical to what is going on in the real world!

I’m fascinated by dreams and visions and how they have shaped our history. It seems prophecies have flourished all over the world, from the earliest Sumerian writings, through the religious texts of almost every culture, including the bible, the Oracles of Ancient Greece and the Sybils of Rome, through Nostradamus, right up to today.

My particular writing method is unusual. I use a technique I have developed called the Alpha State Meditation. All dreams happen when our brains dip down into the alpha-wave pattern, rather than the beta-wave of waking life. So, if you like, I dream the stories – neither fully conscious nor unconscious – which is perhaps why so many people have written to me saying that the style is very visual.

It’s an interesting way to write; like watching a movie where I can become any one of the protagonists, experiencing a scene from their point of view (I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to do this in cinemas soon). So, whilst I may have the overall plot worked out in advance, I am often surprised by what unfolds. I’ve even had new characters arrive “out of nowhere.” I’ll write more about this technique another time. For now, let’s return to the reasons The Hidden Hand has been held back.

Most conspiracy theories are just that: theories. The Illuminati, however, are real. Formed in the late eighteenth century by a German called Thomas Weishaupt, documents intercepted in Bavaria twenty years later revealed that Weishaupt and his co-conspirators had the specific aim of infiltrating the highest echelons of government, the church, the media and businesses worldwide in order to gain control over the world’s population. They began in France, where their success can be measured in the number of heads severed by the guillotine. Every high-ranking member of Robespierre’s “Reign of Terror” was a member of the Illuminati.

This seemed a perfect place to begin a tale of mystery and intrigue that stretches right back to the dawn of time.

As you will find out when Book 2 is finally released, the fictional shadow-government of my story forms an “Axis of Power” that involves London, Washington DC and Rome. Intent on reducing the world’s population, this Axis of Power begins with a programme of micro-chipping Londoners with mu-brains, tiny microchips that control human thought.

The twist in the tale is that these people are working with a host of invisible entities who live in another dimension and who feed off human fear. This idea itself is not new. Many of our oldest stories are filled with warning of demons and devils who visit us in our sleep, like the Night-Mare, the Succubus or the Incubus. In the Tilly Greenway series, the shadow-government does a deal with these demons, spreading fear through the media so that people are unwittingly turned into a source of food or made easier to manipulate.

I had originally foreseen the use of the Olympic Ceremonies, the Music Industry and war in the Middle East as the main events/stages for this shadow-government to drive through its plans during Book 2 and 3.

Having seen the Olympic ceremonies last summer, having looked at the images and words being pumped out in many music videos and having followed the wars that have rocked Iraq, Egypt and Libya – with the very real danger of war in Syria and perhaps Iran to come – it has become plainer and plainer that the fictional plot of my books has to a large extent foreshadowed real life events.

To give you an example:

Centuries ago, an Irish seer called St Malachy foresaw a line of 112 Popes, the last of whom he calls Petrus Romanus, or “Peter the Roman.” Petrus Romanus, says Malachy, will “pasture his sheep in many tribulations: and when these things are finished….the terrible judge will judge his people.”

The original draft of The Hidden Hand begins with a quote from Malachy’s prophecy and continues with a Papal Conclave during which Petrus Romanus is elected.

Back in the real world: Benedict XVI was the 111th pope on St Malachy’s list. Benedict surprised the world by resigning on February 28th, but what no one has mentioned is that February 28th is the Feast Day of a certain St Romanus!

As I write this post, the 115 Cardinals who will decide who will become the 112th Bishop of Rome are entering the Sistine Chapel. The Conclave has begun. Obviously, when I was drawing up the plot of the Tilly Greenway series, I had no idea this was going to happen just a few weeks before the second book was due to be released.

Given all this, my publishers have asked me to re-write some sections of the next two books. Without spoiling the plot for you, that’s about as much as I can say right now!

Full info and reviews of Watchers here:

Paperback amazon.co.uk      Paperback amazon.com

Kindle: amazon.com         Kindle: amazon.co.uk

Waterstones Book-Signing Events with Essi Tolling, Autumn 2012

With the Reynolds family at Camberley Waterstones

This autumn I am doing tour of Waterstones bookstores, signing copies of Watchers. It’s been a busy programme, with signings every weekend since the middle of August! I love doing these events: such a great way to meet readers, chat about their favourite books – and, of course, to have a browse around the shelves myself too!

Bookshops are just such fantastic places. I know the market for kindle and e-book sales is rocketing and more and more people are buying online, but nothing can replace the excitement of heading into a real store. It’s a whole different experience to shopping on the Internet. Something unexpected often catches the eye in a way that simply can’t happen unless you’re surrounded by the books themselves. If you’re seeking inspiration you can ask for help from the staff, who often suggest titles you’ve never even heard of. And then there is the simple pleasure of reaching out, opening a book, feeling the paper as you thumb the pages, smelling its unique smell, as you let the words take you off to another place…

That first page is always the one that does it for me!

Don’t get me wrong: I welcome the surge in e-book sales. More people reading more books has to be good news, and I have a hunch that many people who read the electronic versions will go on to buy physical books too. But there will always be a special place in my heart for bookstores, much as I prefer reading from the page rather than the screen.

Maybe it is because it’s a social thing? Although we hunt for titles in our own little “bubble”, when we are in bookstores we share the space with others who love reading – whereas shopping online is a solo experience.

If you enjoy visiting bookstores as much as I do – and if you’d like to meet me sometime soon – you can find me in the following Waterstones stores over the coming weeks:

Saturday November 3rd: Waterstones Trowbridge

Saturday November 10th: Waterstones Bristol Galleries

Saturday November 17th: Waterstones Hereford

Sunday November 25th: Waterstones Southampton West Quay

Saturday December 15th: Waterstones Swindon

All signings are between approximately noon and 3pm. Do come along and say hello. I’d love the chance to meet you!

With Sue Brooks at Cardiff Waterstones

Summering in Ireland

A month without blogging: what’s going on? The answer is that I’ve been in Ireland for the last couple of months, beavering away at Book 2 of the Tilly Greenway series, The Hidden Hand, which is going really well.

Ireland is such a beautiful place. I especially love the south-west (Cork and Kerry) with its misty mornings, its craggy shores and the magical mountains rising above the sea. Not that I’m a big fan of the weather. In eight weeks we must have had seven of almost solid rain – but that’s an Irish summer for you!

Sunset over the Beara Peninsula

There are plenty of compensations. Take yourself up onto almost any hilltop and you’re almost certain to find a stone circle, standing stone, burial mound or fairy fort. There are more stone circles in this part of Ireland than anywhere in the world.

Drombeg Stone Circle

I’ve found that the Irish remember their myths and legends – and pay heed to them too – in a way that is increasingly unusual (in the west) these days. No one, for instance, would EVER build a house on the site of a fairy fort. They have too much respect. I like that. I like the sound of laughter too, which I seem to hear far more frequently there.

Then of course there are the innumerable rainbows, the green green fields, the windy headlands and the curlews calling like sirens from the shore.

A favourite spot

Ireland is like that for me. Too much of it and I get itchy feet (the grey clouds can get to you after a while!). Yet, as soon you are gone, its lilting song drifts back over the seas, calling out: “Come back! Come back! Come back!”

Which, being (at least half) a Celt, I’m sure I will!

Best wishes, Essi.

Taken from ” the hill at the back”…

Breathing Magic into the Olympic Ceremony

I’ve had a lot of emails about my last post “Olympic Earthquake Song – Striking the Right Notes?”

Most people agree that using the song “Earthquake” during the Olympic Celebrations is at best “crass”, at worst “horrifying”.

I’d like to think that the organisers of the world’s most wonderful spectacle of sporting achievement are just “too stupid” (as one correspondent suggests) to notice the messages of the songs that are being used during it, but I find it very hard to believe that they could have failed to notice the underlying energy of violence and aggression within those songs.

This underlying energy is hugely important.

To me, life happens as much in the invisible realm as in the visible. That’s the core theme within my books. What we experience on a subconscious (subliminal) level is far more powerful than anything we consciously perceive; which is why dreams, intuition and visions play such a dramatic part in our daily lives, just as they have throughout history. It’s also why subliminal advertising is so effective.

We all emit and receive millions of micro-waves of electro-magnetic energy every second. These speak to us on a deep level, informing us of frequencies (of light and sound) that our eyes cannot see. But just because we don’t see them does not mean they are not there. To a great extent, they shape us deep within.

When you have a billion people tuning in simultaneously to an event like the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics tonight, you have a chance to communicate with them on both the visible and invisible level. It’s an opportunity to be uplifting, to unite people together in a joyous occasion. Whether you choose to take or not is another matter.

I’ll happily comment on tonight’s ceremony once I have seen it, but for now let’s stick to what we actually know to be true.

The official song for London 2102 is called Survival, by a group called Muse. On the face of it, the lyrics are not so bad, but I have deep reservations. Here they are (bold pieces highlighted by me).

Muse – Survival Lyrics

Race, life’s a race
And I am gonna win
Yes, I am gonna win

And i’ll light the fuse
And i’ll never lose
And I choose to survive
Whatever it takes
You won’t pull ahead
I’ll keep up the pace
And i’ll reveal my strength
To the whole human race
Yes I am prepared
To stay alive
I won’t forgive, the vengeance is mine
And I won’t give in
Because I choose to thrive

I’m gonna win

Race, it’s a race
But i’m gonna win
Yes i’m gonna win
And will light the fuse
I’ll never lose
And i choose to survive
Whatever it takes
You won’t ṗull ahead
I’ll keep up the pace
And i’ll reveal my strength
To the whole human race
Yes I’m gonna win

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Win! Win! Win! Win!

Yes i’m gonna win

[Lyrics to Survival performed by Muse]
First seen on LyricsPremiere.com

Just to repeat myself: this is the OFFICIAL Olympic song. I don’t suggest you listen to it, but if you do, you may well be struck by the fact that it doesn’t really make you feel great. There’s a reason for this. After a melodious beginning, it becomes increasingly discordant.

My take on this is:

1)      The theme of violence/bombs that we have noted continues with the phrase “I light the fuse” and the instruction to “Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!”

2)      “Vengeance is mine” is something you’d expect to hear in a Jacobean Tragedy, rather than during a celebration of sporting prowess!

3)      “Whatever it takes” implies that rules of fair play do not apply.

4)      As to the words “I won’t forgive” – my personal view is that a culture improves in equal measure with its ability to show forgiveness and compassion.

You might be interested to know that the album (to be released in September) that this song comes from is called The Second Law. The law it refers to is the second law of thermodynamics, which according to Wikipedia “is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system so as to result in the natural entropic dissolution of the system itself.”

In other words: it is the law that states that order will break down into chaos, unity into separation.

And there we go again…that underlying message of chaos and destruction which seems wholly inappropriate to the Olympic Games, but which has been chosen to represent/be associated with them.

One thing is for sure: along with the visual extravaganza, there will be a lot of subliminal messages pouring out to the billions of viewers from the poly-pyramided Olympic stadium tonight. Let’s hope that those messages, contrary to some of the music choices that we’ve seen so far, are filled with love, fun and hope, containing a vision of humanity that makes us all happy to be part of it.

For that is what I see the Olympics as. It’s a chance for individuals to excel, to celebrate extra-ordinary personal achievement whilst representing closely-knit teams. As such, it is a microcosm of our world, each of us being uniquely special, yet all of us inextricably linked by the same magical breath of life which continues, day in day out, whether we are awake or deep in dreamland, wherever we are in the world.

That’s the sort of message I’d like tonight’s Opening Ceremony broadcast: a message of light and hope for a brighter future in which the wonder of life fills our hearts with shared magic.

Let’s hope it does!

With best wishes,

Essi.

Olympic “Earthquake” Song – Striking the Right Notes?

In a recent post I talked about how a fan contacted me to say that a scene from my book Watchers (where a tree grows from the peak of Glastonbury Tor) was uncannily similar to alleged leaked scenes from the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games in London, which takes place in a week’s time.

In my world there is no such thing as coincidence, so this strange synchronicity brought the Olympics to my attention and prompted me to take a closer look at the whole thing. What I’ve discovered is quite unnerving.

Children read this blog, so I shall leave out the most disturbing parts, but I do wish to draw attention to some of the things that are going on surrounding the Olympics – and our society in general – especially when it comes to the words that are in a lot of the music that finds favour these days.

Looking for resonances between the Tor and the Olympics, I discovered that a rap-group called Labrinth were invited to be the main act at the first of 66 musical “events” that are accompanying the Olympic Torch on its tour around Great Britain. Every day since then, the sounds of this group have been blared out from the bus that accompanies the Torch and are being listened to by children up and down the land.

What is the connection? Well, Glastonbury Tor is well-known for featuring a centuries-old real labyrinth that is cut into the side of the hill and which forms a spiral pathway that used to be processed as part of a spiritual ceremony.

Glastonbury Tor with the Labyrinth clearly visible

Looking up Labrinth, I discovered that one of the songs they performed is called “Earthquake”. By the way, this song also featured at London’s New Years Eve Firework Display that ushered in 2012, where a part of it was played loudly to the celebrating crowds (and the millions watching on television).

So, what is the big deal about Labrinth singing a song called “Earthquake” at the first Olympic Torch event and music from the same band subsequently being played from the Olympic coach?

Well, let’s have a look at the lyrics – if that is what they can be called – to “Earthquake”. I haven’t included a link to the video that goes with them because I want you to focus on the words themselves. I apologise in advance if they cause offence, but please bear in mind that by quoting them in full, I’m hoping to bring to light something that is hidden. The asterisks, by the way, are mine.

Words to Earthquake by Labrinth

Labrinth! come in!

Ladies and gentlemen
This is something they call
A ground breaker
So let me first apologise
To shirts and the ties
For your make up
Cause I’ll make you ugly
As soon as it drops
We’re on a rampage
Bottles popping off
Before you know it
There’s rubble and dust
Cause we be f**king it up
Somebody say… (you better run)

Yeah

I predict an earthquake
Didn’t happen

Say yeah

I predict an earthquake
Up in here

Cause we throw bombs on it
Throw bombs on it
Just smash something
Yeah mosh for me

Yeah

We can make an earthquake up in here

So here we go we go

Ladies and gentlemen
What you’re about to witness
Is no illusion
And now we got the bass banging
From here to Buckingham palace
They’re all moving
Hey Simon
We’re f**king them up
Turning em psycho
Everybody rock
We bring the house down
To rubble dust
Cause we be f**king it up

Somebody say… (you better run)

Yeah

I predict an earthquake
Up in here
Say yeah

I predict an earthquake
Up in here

Throw bombs on it (yeah)
Throw bombs on it (yeah)
Just smash something
Just mosh for me (aha)

Yeah (let’s go)

We can make an earthquake up in here
So here we go we go

I predict an earthquake up in here

Cause we throw bombs on it
Throw bombs on it
Just smash something
Just smash for me

Yeah

We can make an earthquake up in here
So here we go we go

Hey yo Labrinth
This one’s feeling like a straight ten on the richter scale, ya know…

Yeah!

Fire fire! We about to set this place on fire!
With out a match or lighter
Don’t do girlfriends
One nighters make them c’minor

if I want Christian
Or Kurt Geiger I just phone up the designer
Doing all nighters no days off grey hairs and a little
Bit of weight loss
I predict (riots)
I predict (chaos)
I predict (people)
I predict (AAHHH)
Disturbing London got the whole city panicking
I’ll be Nostradamus this my ni ni neighbour(Labrinth)

Yeah

I predict an earthquake up in here

Say yeah

I predict an earthquake up in here

Cause we throw bombs on it (yeah)
Throw bombs on it (yeah)
Just smash something
Yeah mosh for me

Yeah

We can make an earthquake up in here
So here we go we go

Labrinth come in

Labrinth come in

Labrinth come in

Labrinth come in

***********

I was shocked when I read these words for the first time. I still am.

In a world where society has become so volatile that something as joyful/peaceful as a global games event has to be protected by a small army (during the Olympics armed troops will walk the streets of London for the first time since 1945), why, I ask, would ANYONE pump such violent and discordant words and music into the mix?

Every day we are seeing more and more focus on the security at the Games; with ground-to-air missiles, thousands of soldiers being drafted in and the Americans sending 1,000 of their own security forces, reportedly including 500 members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

So, who in their right mind would choose a song that includes the words “throw bombs on it” – repeated again and again – to be part of the Olympic celebrations?? And why would they even consider using a song that includes such foul language and abusive attitudes to women when the main intent of the Olympics is to engender global unification and positive feelings?

The words appear to be an incitement to violence. They also claim to make a series of predictions about “riots, chaos, people and the whole of London panicking” (the reference to Nostradamus is probably because one of his predictions was that a dire event would happen at “the Games around the time of the Great Millennial”).

I was so amazed at this that I asked my youngest daughter whether this song is popular with her friends. “Oh yes, Daddy,” she told me, “It’s on the radio all the time.” Apparently one of her teachers even played it during a class.

Now, this has got me quite hot under the collar, the reason being that the power of words cannot be underestimated, especially when they are combined with SOUNDS and IMAGES. Even if we cannot hear words (because of the music accompanying them), they still enter our subconscious minds where they are soaked up, never to be forgotten.

It’s also a fact that the more something is repeated the more it acts as an instruction. Take a look at the most-repeated phrases in the song above and ask yourself what instructions are being given?

What gets my hackles up more than anything is that children – and in this case, the adults who attend such public events (or watch them on TV) – cannot choose what they listen to. They/we rely on those who are in positions of authority to be caring, considerate guides who have our best interests at heart.

In this case those people have not lived up to their responsibilities. At best, the airing of this song is crassly inconsiderate. At worst, it suggests an endorsement of violence, casual sex and abusive language.

Someone somewhere has chosen to promote a song that focuses on a nightmare-scenario (London in panic/flames), rather than giving us a vision of unity, beauty and light – which would have been just as easy – alongside both the Olympic Games.

I say this is an outrage. But what do you think?

Am I just being an old fuddy-duddy who is way out of touch with the modern world (I admit this is quite possible, especially when it comes to the lyrics in many modern songs) or do you think I have a point here?

Do you think it is acceptable for such words to be broadcast to thousands of people lining the streets, or to the millions who tuned in to enjoy the New Years Celebrations?

If you think it’s just fine, please write to me. I’d like to know your side of the story.

If you think it’s not acceptable, I’d like to hear from you too.

Kids – what do you think?

Parents – what do you think?

At very least I think it’s time to start a public debate about this…so perhaps you might pass this article around on your blogs, twitter and facebook pages and we’ll see what other people make of it?

Until next time, I leave you with my best wishes – and with this beautiful photograph of the Tor.

Resources and Credits.

Earthquake Songwriters: OKOGWU, PATRICK / MCKENZIE, TIMOTHY / WILLIAMS, MARC [ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/labrinth/earthquake.html ]

Related Stories.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/athletics/london-2012-olympics-opening-ceremony-1144728

http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/Labrinth-perform-Olympic-torch-concert/story-16012924-detail/story.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harrymount/100064839/olympic-thugs-are-ruining-londons-parks/

Here is a quick outline of some book-signing events I have lined up. I’m back in Southern Ireland largely to finish off The Hidden Hand, but am not being entirely idle on the event-front either! Do come along if you’re in the area.

Olympic Ceremony Features Scene from Watchers!

The iconic image of Glastonbury Tor in
Meraylah Allwood’s illustration from “Watchers”

As regular readers will have gathered, I’m not blogging as much at the moment. This is because I’ve headed back to Ireland in order to put the finishing touches to Book 2 of the Tilly Greenway series, The Hidden Hand. But, when a reader contacted me on Facebook to let me know that the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics is going to feature a scene from Book 1, Watchers…well, I just HAD to say something!

The full account of Danny Boyle’s lavish ceremony, scheduled to be staged on Friday fortnight, was published in The Daily Mail last week.

According to this report in the Daily Mail:

The set will include a recreation of the Glastonbury Thor [sic] and an enormous fake tree, which will appear in the first scene, entitled ‘green and pleasant land’

Have a look at this link and you’ll see that the centrepiece of the set for Boyle’s “Rural England” is none other than Glastonbury Tor, the famous landmark in the West Country that has drawn pilgrims to it for hundreds if not thousands of years.

And yet, it is not the Tor as you would know it, because the iconic image of the conical hill with the striking outline of St Michael’s Tower on its peak has been replaced by a Tor that now has a tree at its top. Nothing remarkable in that, you might say: except for the fact that this exact thing happens in a key scene from Watchers, the first book of the Tilly Greenway series.

Without giving too much away for those of you who have not yet read the book, here is the paragraph that describes the event:

“Up thrust the tree in a mass of flickering silver and grey. At first its slender trunk grew inside the walls of the tower, but as it got taller its branches pushed outwards, cracking the tower to pieces. The top stones fell first, cascading away down the Tor. Then the rest gave way until even the foundation stones, deep-set and strong, fractured and crumbled to dust.

“In an instant the tower had gone and there in its place stood a majestic tree.”

The arrival of the tree on top of the Tor is pivotal to the Tilly Greenway story in many ways. It is an Ash Tree with good reason.

To the druids, the Ash symbolised the gateway from the subconscious (which was represented by the “nemeton” or “oak-grove”) to the conscious mind. With the appearance of the tree at the top of the Tor, a portal for the awakening of sacred knowledge is created. This forms a pathway along which this sacred knowledge can travel, from our subconscious into our conscious minds, where we can act on it more deliberately.

From what I can see of the Olympic version, Boyle appears to have used an Oak, or perhaps it is a Thorn. Time shall tell on that and I’ll let you know the significance of his choice.

What fascinates me about this is that, having researched the imagery and symbolism used in public ceremonies, I know that nothing is chosen without specific reasons. These are occasions when millions of people tune-in and they are used to broadcast specific messages – messages that speak directly to our subconscious minds. (Bearing in mind that the subconscious part of our minds sees images on television as real, understands all archetypes and forgets NOTHING.)

So, my question is this: did Danny Boyle read Watchers before he planned the Olympic Opening Ceremony? If he did, I can understand why he might have replaced the tower with a tree. If he didn’t, perhaps one of his friends had read the book? The only other explanation I have been given is that the tower has religious connotations and that Boyle did not wish to “offend” anyone by including it. In which case, why bother with the Tor at all? Why not just a regular hill, surrounded by England’s green and pleasant fields?

As so often with coordinated public events, there is more to this than meets the eye at first glance. I’ll almost certainly revisit it once I know more. For now, all I can say is that whilst much of Tilly is prophetic (written through visions that I have in my dreams) I had not foreseen this episode!

Paperback amazon.co.uk      Paperback amazon.com

Kindle: amazon.co.uk         Kindle: amazon.com

If you’d like to listen to me reading the prologue to Watchers, you’ll find it amongst several Youtube pieces here.

Until next time – my best wishes!

Essi.

 

Let’s Help the Bees!

Bees: we all need them, but often forget them. For several years their numbers have declined rapidly due to a series of invading viruses. This year, however, I’ve noticed a lot more of them buzzing about.

This is good news for us all. More bees means more flowers are pollinated, which in turn means more fruit on the trees, more berries in the hedgerows…and of course more delicious honey!

A Honey Bee inside one of the giant poppies in my parents’ garden

We can all do our bit to help the bees. Window boxes with flowers can make all the difference, helping the bees find pollen without having to travel so far. Even if you live in a high-rise flat, there is usually a ledge outside the window on which a small tub with a few flowers can be placed. All you have to do is remember to water it in the summer.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, why not plant some flowering shrubs or other plants whose flowers will attract the bees?

At this time of year bees (especially the big bumbles) often blunder through open windows and then find it hard to get back out. If this happens, don’t panic. No bee will harm you unless you threaten it, or perhaps tread on it by mistake!

Take a piece of card or paper and a pot of some kind (an empty yoghurt pot for instance). Wait for the bee to settle. Walk over to it and place the pot over it gently but firmly (making sure you don’t trap a leg in the process). If the bee is on a vertical surface like a window you can still do this. Just make sure you hold the pot down firmly once you have the bee inside.

At this point the sound of the buzzing will increase dramatically, but don’t let this scare you. It’s just that the bee is not used to being cooped up.

Now you have the bee inside the pot, lift one edge ever so slightly (not enough to let the bee escape). Take the paper/cardboard and slide it under the pot. Hey presto, you’ll find that the bee is safely inside the pot and is none the worse for wear.

You can then take the pot, with the paper held firmly to it, back to the open window or door. Once there, lift the pot away from the paper and enjoy the pleasure of seeing the bee fly off unharmed, knowing you have helped some flowers to pollinate that might not have done – and added some more honey to a nearby comb!

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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Book Signing in Waterstones today!

After a fortnight of pretty grim weather, the sun is out this morning and it looks set to be a lovely day. I shall be signing copies of Watchers in the Swindon Waterstones (Brunel Plaza Shopping Centre) from around 11.00am until tea-time today, so if you are in the area and fancy popping along, please do. It would be great to see you.

Thanks to all the staff at the Southampton West Quays Waterstones for a great day last Saturday – our best day yet. Extra-special thanks to my daughters for coming along and helping too!

The event today is the last signing I’ll be doing for a couple of months. I’m leaving the summer free to immerse myself in finishing off Book 2 of the series, The Hidden Hand.

For those of you who don’t yet know about the adventures of Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys, have a look at the 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Enjoy your weekend!

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