HIDDEN LANDSCAPES  
 

 

PART ONE

   Although only four examples have been borrowed from a greater pattern they do form a sequence and tell a story complete in itself. They also form a perfect introduction to something far greater - ourselves.

   The order in which the discoveries were made is also the order in which they are best understood. For this reason there is no menu, just a forwards button and links to the home page and a guestbook.

infinity

1) The Pendle Zodiac - The clue

    Half a dozen or more terrestrial zodiacs have been found in the British Isles.. A little like crop circles in that there is an argument over whether they are natural or man made, but unlike crop circles in that to see a terrestrial zodiac you normally have to look on a map. What you will see is a collection of field boundaries, streams, roads etc that the finder of the zodiac draws a red pen over to outline whatever shape they have discovered. These shapes are human or animal and largely go round in a circle, following the order of our traditional twelve signed zodiac.
     The finders of some of the terrrestrial zodiacs even alot them a 'construction geometry' whereby major points in the geometry are linked by lines, circles or other geometric constructs. Two such zodiacs were described in 'Terrestrial Zodiacs in Britain - Nuthampstead Zodiac and Pendle Zodiac' by Nigel Pennick and Robert Lord, published under the auspices of The Institute of Geomantic Research, Bar Hill, Cambridge, England, in 1976. In it Robert Lord describes a zodiac, oval in shape, with the signs jumbled totally out of order, populated by the strangest collection of human and animal figures, almost none of which feature in the traditional zodiac. Yet all of this was made up from the most obscure markings on an old map. Remarkable.
     In fact Robert Lord had worked out a pattern in the jumbled order, and to me it seemed that four of the figures were acting out a scene. The trouble was that where I saw four figures in the lines Mr Lord had drawn, he described only three. He described Diana, the huntress, with a net trapping a dove, while at the same time holding a young goat. Where he saw her clothes around her shoulder, I saw an old crone with a typical witch's hooked nose peering round Diana's shoulder at the dove.

 

crone-or no crone    Put your mouse over the image to see the hidden hag

 

    As well as identifying Diana, Robert Lord found Hercules, and states that he thought that the zodiac had been constructed during the Roman occupation of Britain, presumably because he had identified two of their Gods. If I had correctly identified the figure of a crone, this was one aspect of the 'Triple Goddess', a far older religious symbol than the male dominated Roman religious beliefs of 2000 years ago.
    The main thing about the 'Triple Goddess' is of course that she does have three aspects:
        The White Goddess of birth and growth; the Goddess as maiden.
        The Red Goddess of love and battle; the Goddess as nubile woman or nymph.
        The Black Goddess of death and divination; the Goddess as hag or crone.
    If I had found the Goddess as hag or crone, then surely Robert Lord had found the Goddess as nubile woman or nymph in Diana, the huntress. But had he found the Goddess as maiden? The obvious place to look was his depiction of Virgo - and here she is:

VirgoVirgo, as found by Robert Lord.

    Virgo is about 4 miles in length from her outstretched right foot touching Accrington, to Blackburn, where she is clasping the paws of an animal, on to the tip of her hood, or cowl, touching Feniscowles. The 'Fenis' part of Feniscowles Mr Lord links with 'pheonix', finding several other Pheonix references in the area. In fact he speculates that there may even be a pheonix effigy in the landscape nearby, but unfortunately does not attempt to find it. A pheonix, the symbol of rebirth, would be a perfect link between the crone as the death aspect and Virgo as the birth aspect of the Mother (Nature) Goddess. Rebirth or regeneration of course being the link that forms the never ending cycle of life, death and rebirth not only in nature, but also in ourselves.
     Virgo is depicted, like Diana (who Robert Lord assigns to Cancer) with an animal clasped to her. On this occaission it is a cat /hare like creature, the paws of which Virgo is clasping to her breast. Although the body is hare like and Harwood lies on its genitals, the head and tail look more like a cat. Whether a cat or a hare, Virgo appears to be dancing with it - or could she be stuggling with it? Maybe instead of clasping it to her, she is trying to get it away from her. Whatever she is trying to do with it, with Harwood on its genitals, it is clear that it's imagery is sexual.
     A young girl of, say, eight should have no sexual thoughts, yet by the age of thirteen is normally at least inquisitive, like a cat one might say. As she grows older she will mature sexually and have feelings to match. But what if these feelings get out of balance? If the inquisitive cat becomes a promiscuous hare then she might, as Robert Lord did, find Blackburn on her heart. As the girl becomes a young woman 'of love and battle' so her sexuality too matures - and at first it seemed to me that this was what the tableau around Diana was dealing with.
     Robert Lord specifically states that the net Diana holds encompasses the young goat, that it's lower half is within the net. Has the promiscuous hare become the rampant young goat and is it being used to lure the dove of Libra into the trap?

    In the traditional zodiac that we are used to, Libra is represented by a pair of scales. Libra represents freedom and the scales represent justice. Justice has the power to punish or reward, so what is being said is that in freedom you already have the reward, abuse it and you will be punished. With freedom comes responsibility.
     If in this zodiac Libra is represented by a dove, this is traditionally seen as a spiritual symbol, for example the dove of peace, or in conjunction with the olive branch as the bringer of good times and the end of a bad period. Whereas in the traditional zodiac Libra refers to the acts of an individual, in this zodiac Libra seems to be more general, affecting the nature of how things are. Although Virgo does, on one level, depict a possible scenario in the growth of a child, and Diana as Cancer does, on one level, depict the continuation of that sexual scenario with the huntress luring her quarry by using her sexual charms, it would seem that the true interpretation is something more subtle. What is actually shown is the reduction of spiritual love, 'true love', into lust; the reduction of the higher self into the animal, with the higher self represented by the dove. As the dove also represents more general things such as peace and general good will this could also be saying that the wish for peace could also be transformed into a wish for war.

    What interested me at this point was that we have found two aspects of the 'Triple' or 'Mother' Goddess, a symbol that goes back millenia to earliest recorded cave paintings and man's first works of art, but the only depiction of the third aspect is as a 'bit player' hidden behind the second aspect's shoulder. To confirm the interpretation of the Virgo and Diana scenes I felt it needed a third scene; one with the third aspect of the Triple Goddess as the centrepiece, not as just an observer. In fact I felt the importance of the story being played out demanded it. I was surprised Robert Lord had not found a zodiac figure depicting it. I examined the Pendle Zodiac myself and also the other zodiac described in the same book, around Nuthampstead in Hertfordshire, found and described by Nigel Pennick. She was not there.

    Then on the large map I had spread out before me my eyes went from Nuthampstead to Pendle and back to Nuthampstead and there, between the two zodiacs, I saw her.

    Terrible yet magnificent, I could not believe what I was seeing.

    I had wanted to find her, but now my shaking hands and rising neck hairs wanted her to go away.

    The more I examined her, the more her details astounded me and the more I realised she was there to stay.

    Even now, after twenty years, it is difficult to understand how such a thing could be formed. The fact that she is entirely man made makes it even more incredible.

 

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