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Edith the Gentle Swan

There has been published fairly recently a book by Bill Flint entitled, Edith the Fair: Visionary of Walsingham.[1] In this work, the author links Edith the Fair to the “Lady of the Manor” who had a vision of Our Lady at Walsingham commonly known to as Rychold” or “Richeldis de Faverches”. This is a pleasing discovery if true as Edith was the wife of Harold Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England before the Conquest therefore it allows insights into Anglo-Saxon Catholicism as well as Catholicism in England in general.

Upon looking up who Edith was, I found she was also known as Edith Swanneck (or Swan-Neck) which comes from the folk etymology which made her in Old220px-Boys_King_Arthur_-_N._C._Wyeth_-_p16 English as swann hnecca, “swan neck”, most likely a corrupted form of swann hnesce, “Gentle Swan”. Interestingly, this brings to mind the Hyperborean “Knight of the Swan” to which Evola alludes to in “The Soul of Chivalry”,[2] who along with knights such as Lancelot and Tristan devoted themselves to women in the same way that Saint Bernard devoted himself to Our Lady.[3]

Could there be something more to this? It is certainly comforting to know that there is a woman who, as a historical figure by which one can devote oneself to Our Lady, has an epithet of “Gentle Swan” which could be linked to devotional themes of chivalrous knights and Saints.

This is a topic that could certainly be fruitful after further study.

[1] There is a short biography of Bill Flint as well as an overview of the book available here; http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page543.html

[2] Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, p. 80.

[3] Guénon, Insights into Christian Esoterism, p. 109.

A Stick in the Mud

Kenneth Clark, in the conclusion to his Civilisation series, said the following after affirming W. B. Yeats’ poem The Second Coming, “the trouble is that there is still no centre”.[1] It can be contended that there was ‘no centre’ in Yeats’ time nor during the Second World War and in 1969 as Clark expresses; is there no centre today either? There has always been a ‘centre’ though whether it is discernible is another matter.[2] I believe there is a link between the ‘centre’ and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, among other concepts such as the Holy Grail, in much the same way as René Guénon did.[3] Therefore, it is interesting that Lord Clark, as he became later in life, joined the Catholic Church on his deathbed, and for anyone who has watched Civilisation this may seem fitting. It is of little matter that he only returned to Rome before the end of his mortal life because by doing so he can spend his immortal life there. ‘Heroic materialism’ as Clarke called it will not do yet within Catholicism we can find – indeed recover, restore and glorify – that ‘centre’ that was lost.

I shall return to this subject at a later date with a piece on the Sacred Heart.

[1] Kenneth Clark: ‘A Stick in the Mud…’

[2] See the works of the Traditionalist School, especially the principle thinkers principal thinkers in this tradition are René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Frithjof Schuon.

[3] See Guénon’s Insights into Christian Esoterism and Symbols of the Sacred Science among other works.

The importance of prayer to a warrior

We often hear that activities such as prayer and going to church, and regrettably Christianity itself, are seen as effeminate. This is clearly not the case, one needs only look at the Middle Ages epitomes of chivalry; the Nine Worthies.

An example of the importance of prayer to a warrior is that of Edward III, king of England. The founder of the Order of the Garter and rouser of the English courageous spirit made a lasting effect on England as a nation. A key to his success in battle against the French and the Scots was his devotion to Saint George, (along with the Blessed Virgin and Saint Thomas Becket) and his careful reading of strategy. Here is a quote from Ian Mortimer’s book on Edward III:

At times like this Edward was a warrior monk to whom the military guidebook of Vegetius was like a bible and whose reverential prayer all his waking hours was for victory over his adversary.

Note the devotion to Vegetius’ De Re Militari. Now Edward is a medieval king in the middle of fighting a dynastic struggle against Philip of France, whereas myself and some who might be reading this are only humble men training with swords on a weekly basis.

However, we share a commonality in a valuable book from which to draw knowledge and inspiration. When I pick up my copy of Meyer to read it from time to time, I pray on what he has written. Regular meditation on readings can help to create a vision in our minds of what the text is demonstrating, Meyer being no exception.

So pick up a book, pray like the knights of old, and … you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

The Gift of Love

Reading Saint Bernard brought to mind a favorite passage of mine;

The Gift of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

I wrote about Saint Bernard before, primarily in relation to his Five Books on Consideration, and secondarily in reference to maintaining a pure heart by following in the footsteps of the mythical knights of the Round Table, specifically Sir Galahad. This should give you an idea of the importance I place at the feet of Bernard.

Today I finished On Loving God by Bernard. I had started to read it quite some time ago, so I was long overdue finishing it. Maybe I will write something more detailed about my experience in reading it, or I will return to it to dwell on particular passages and/or themes.

It isn’t a large book – only 95 pages all told. I found Chapters 1 through 7 a bit of a slog, yet upon reading Chapter 8, I couldn’t put the book down. Now I don’t know if that is because of some change in me since I started reading it or something inherent in the text. Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical entitled Doctor Mellifluus, writes in admiration and praise of Bernard;

His style, which is lively, rich, easy flowing, and marked by striking expressions, has such pleasing function that it attracts, delights and recalls the mind of the reader to heavenly things. It incites to, nourishes and strengthens piety; it draws the soul to the pursuit of those good things which are not fleeting, but true, certain, and everlasting. For this reason, his writings were always held in high honor. So from them the Church herself has inserted into the Sacred Liturgy not a few pages fragrant with heavenly things and aglow with piety. They seem to have been nourished with the breath of the Divine Spirit, and to shine with a light so bright, that the course of the centuries cannot quench it; for it shines forth from the soul of a writer thirsting after truth and love, and yearning to nourish others and to make them like to himself.

The way in which Bernard speaks of the four degrees of love (for God) and the final glory of achieving the heavenly fatherland in Chapter 15 aptly summarises the book. We come to God reluctantly at first, we love him for selfish reasons, we begin to love others and see God as good, then if we purify ourselves totally (Bernard thinks this perhaps impossible without the resurrection) “we love God only and supremely, when we do not even love ourselves except for God’s sake, so that he himself is the reward of them who love him, the everlasting reward of an everlasting love.”[1]

I shall return to this subject soon, this will have to do for now.

[1] Bernard of Clairvaux, On loving God (Vancouver, 2010), p. 77.

Quo vadis?

I was rereading an examination of an essay over at Gornahoor recently,  when again I was struck by the allusion made to Peter’s flight from Rome. Although in writing Cologero appears to have Peter and Christ mixed up (it was Peter who asked “Quo Vadis?” to which Jesus replied, “Back to Rome”) nevertheless the point was understood. Edwin Dyga in his essay Transcendence and the Aristocratic Principle is arguing for a return to Rome. I believe in part that an initial reading of this may have contributed to my joining the Church of Rome.

So it was strange today that while attending a training course at work I was left wondering if I have a future in my place of work? While I am less worried about the industry in general, I could certainly point to a number of instances during the day which gave me pause for thought. The modern world is pervasive, the thought processes and bodies of academic writing fundamental to critique enter every field, or so it seems. Hence the coincidence of reading the article at Gornahoor just a day before (some connection was made).

I am certainly not one to sit still once an idea has come to mind, I feel compelled, if only slightly at first, into acting. In the next few days, weeks, even months I may come to realise that a change needs to take place. I feel that starting to write this blog is a sign of some change within me, as well as other changes that have taken place within the community I had been privileged to be part of. I am of course speaking about the closure of West Coast Reactionaries (a great example of the written word on an vast number of significant subjects by some well read authors).

There are a number of pathways now open to me, of which, I have begun to tread one or two with the help of worthy guides. I hope this blog will be a relaxed place of reflection for myself as well as a source of inspiration for you and others who happen to stop here for a few moments, or perhaps longer.