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”…

Advertisements

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.

Katy Press

Organico Cafe, Bantry, Co Cork

During the West Cork Literary Festival and at certain times during the summer, both Essi Tolling and J.M. Hurley will be doing pop-up lunch time book signings at the lovely Organico Cafe in Bantry.

 

 

 

 

Whyte Books, Schull, Co Cork

On July 19th Essi Tolling will be doing a reading and book signing at Whyte Books in Schull. He may even read a short extract from the forthcoming Book Two – The Hidden Hand!

Whyte Books is an oasis of calm and beauty for book lovers. A trip to Schull is worth the effort. You can see the seals that hang around the harbour hoping that you’ll give them a nice fresh fish or eat french crepes in the creperie, (where they also do gluten free crepes!) or just enjoy the ambiance of this lovely seaside town.

Waterstone’s, Cork

On August…

View original post 25 more words

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!