Often overlooked, or even “weeded out”, I think the humble knapweed is one of our most exquisite flowers, with her combination of sky-blue and rich amethyst. For those of you who have not met her yet…
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know it, because the iconic image of the conical hill with the striking outline of St Michael’s Tower on its peak has been replaced by a Tor that now has a tree at its top.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!
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!
To mark the longest (or shortest, if you are “down south”!) day of the year, here are two of the tallest standing stones at Avebury, the remarkable site that draws many people to it every Solstice.
This picture gives you an idea just how immense these stones are…
I’ve been to Avebury many times, but you won’t find me there today. I prefer to be there when the place is quiet, if possible (preferably at sun-up or sundown). On my last visit, I stood beneath the slopes of Silbury Hill as twilight deepened, watching a barn owl quartering over the fields, like a white moth under the Moon.
I shall be returning to Avebury again this Saturday. Thanks to Esther and John, the managers of the Henge Shop in the village, Watchers is now on sale there. I’ll be doing an informal book-signing event over lunchtime/the early afternoon. So, if you are planning a solstice-weekend visit to one of the most extraordinary sites in Britain, do pop in to say hello!
If you can’t come this weekend but are going to visit the stone circles another time, I recommend a visit to the Henge shop before you leave. It has a wonderful assortment of books covering a wide area of interests (plenty of titles on crop circles, history, healing, lore, legend etc). It also stocks some carefully-chosen crystals, ceramics and a selection of unique souvenirs. I’ve never left without a new treasure of some kind.
The Avebury complex itself is a wonderful place, for so many reasons. We do not know who set the great avenues and circles of stones in place, but it was a long, long time ago (Avebury is older than Stonehenge).
Was it the hands of giants that rolled the great sarsens so carefully into place? Were the Annunaki or the Nephilim involved? Or did our ancestors have some now-forgotten technology that enabled them to manoeuvre these huge, unwieldy objects with such precision – something we cannot do as well as they did? No one knows for sure. (I’d love to be able to duck back in time in order to find out!)
Sadly, many of the stones were knocked down and broken into pieces or we would know much more about them. Such is the way of things. Yet what remains is, I believe, still as powerful as it always was. For there is deep magic to be found at Avebury: the dancing dragon-magic of old that weaves its way beneath the surface of the land, no matter what we humans do above it.
It is for this reason that Avebury is crucial to the plot of the whole Tilly Greenway series. In Book One we do not visit the stone circle itself, but we do go to the West Kennet Long Barrow (that ghostly dolmen that lies just south of Avebury itself), before passing between the sarsens of The Avenue and heading on to Silbury Hill.
It’s at Silbury that we meet (most of) the dragons who feature in the tale. Yggdrasil is one of them. She is the Ash Tree Dragon, the gentle spear whose actions usher in a new dawn for human consciousness.
It’s a piece of fun to have Silbury as her home. As one of the characters notes, the hill is named after her: Yggdrasil-bury Hill being the place where she was laid to rest until such a time as the world was in dire need of dragon-deeds once more. The hill was once known as the Dragontop, however, because it was said to be scorched black on top by the fiery breath of the dragons who guard its secrets…
I’ll be writing more about what makes particular sites that little bit extra-special very soon, but for now my best wishes for a Solstice full of wonder. Wherever you are in the North or the South, today marks a turning point in the year as the great wheel of the seasons rolls onward. It is a time of endings and beginnings, of hope and renewal: accompanied, as ever, by the thinnest sliver of the waxing Moon. Enjoy!
Watchers is now available in most Waterstones stores. Signed copies are also in the Henge Shop at Avebury and The Goddess and Green Man and in Dicketts in Glastonbury. Or you can purchase your copy via amazon.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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!