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I’ll bet the first question you asked yourself was who the Hell is Nick Burton ? I don’t blame you and it’s not a bad question all things considered.

You see not so very long ago I was nothing more than a shadow in the imagination of an obscure Scottish author called Merlin Fraser, a faint voice in his head that wouldn’t shut up. I had a story to tell and no other way to tell it than to trick him into thinking the whole thing was his idea and getting him to write it down and get it published.

Now thanks to the glorious digital world of the Internet I can at last reach out directly and fill in any of the missing pieces and respond to the many questions my stories raised.

He’s a funny guy this Merlin Fraser, he called his books the INNER SPACE trilogy, you see the irony here? Inner Space… the space between his ears the inner space of his mind with me in it steering him this way and that until I was a spent force, or so he thought, but just like ‘Arnie’ I’m B-a-c-k !

However I am getting way ahead of myself here because it is more than possible you have never heard of Merlin Fraser or his Inner Space trilogy of Murder Mystery stories as dictated by yours truly so I suppose I had better introduce myself properly.

I am Nicholas Burton, Nick to everyone who knows me. I am, or should say was, a serving Detective Inspector in the British Police Force and according to my critics becoming something of a dinosaur because, in their opinion, I was being left behind by all the modern day technology. I am what they call an old fashioned flatfoot bobby, a plodder, someone who uses brain power and traditional police methods of detection rather than sitting at a bloody computer all day and listening to criminologists and criminal profilers and their like.

In hindsight I don’t suppose they were that wrong, after all most of the officers senior to me are also younger than me. University degrees sticking out of every orifice, fast tracked into senior positions with little or no time in the real world of crime, little or no actual common sense but up on all the latest politically correct speak and methodology. I think it’s what used to be referred to in the old days as ‘ass kissers,’ only these days it seems you can get a University Degree in it and it is becoming almost compulsory.

It’s mostly my own fault, I know, I was in a rut and cruising towards an early retirement, as the song goes, a policeman’s lot is not a happy one. My wife divorced me for all the usual reasons I was never at home married to the job….. You’ve heard it all before I’m sure, blessing was there were no children involved and as far as I know no other man, she just wanted out.

OK I admit it, career on the slide, no family and no life outside the job I was in a sinkhole of self pity and if events hadn’t taken a dramatic turn I might well have just faded away into obscurity, just another burned out copper.

In our small town police station I worked for a great guy, not only a good boss but a great friend, he saw how things were going for me but didn’t rub it in. Plus I am fairly sure that like many others around me he was at a loss to know what to do about my situation after all I did my job, kept my misery to myself and tried to keep out of their way as best I could.

That is until ‘That Day!’ There’s always one, a day that when you look back you say ‘that’s when it all changed.’

Only in my case it was actually the day before ‘That Day,’ because it was then that my leader, Chief Superintendant Daniel Davis, decided to send me on a three hundred mile wild goose chase to Wales to check out evidence held by another police force, a job that took me out of town and away for most of the following day.

By the time I got back to my own station all hell had broken loose and the chaos I found as I went through the doors did little to improve my health, temper or the headache that pounded in my temples.

It looked like a riot everyone yelling and as far as could see no one listening but the strange thing about it all was that the yelling was coming from my own colleagues. It looked to me as if both the day and evening shifts were involved. Strange as that was I was in no mood for such behaviour and I tried to restore some order by demanding to know what the hell was going on.

The Sergeant on the desk, who seemed to be the target of the shouting, took the slight lull in the uproar to tell me they had arrested Dapper. To explain, Dapper Dan, was the affection nickname they had for Chief Superintendent Davies because of his dress code, he was always immaculately turned out and always dressed like the perfect gentleman he was.

In the roar of confusion he had to give me the message three times before it sunk in and of course then my head exploded. “WHAT ?” Arrested CS Davies… the boss…my friend… probably my best friend… for what for Christ’s sake ? “ Murder!” Was the reply.

Once I managed to get my head round this piece of information and the serious side of my detective knowledge and experience kicked in and I started to take charge of the situation. “What Utter Bollocks is this…Who said so ?”

OK! Not my finest hour or the best opening statement I have ever made but you have to remember I was in shock.

True, after I went for a walk in the fresh air and calmed down a bit I reviewed the facts as I knew them, and arrived at pretty much the same conclusion that it was still Utter Bollocks. It had to be a mistake or even worse something of a frame up. After all, over the years he and I had crossed paths with some right royal villains many of whom had sworn on their Granny’s grave that they would get us back one day.

It had to be something like that, there is no way in hell that Dan would break the laws he had sworn to uphold and as for ‘Murder’ for God’s sake… give me a break !

I stormed into Police Head Quarters and made a complete Prat of myself, demanding to see him, like that was going to happen, but I needed answers and who better to give them to me ? Instead I was shown into the duty officer’s office and when I again settled down she confirmed the fact that not only had he been arrested for murder but had also confessed to the crime.

The following day they did let me see him, albeit very briefly, a meeting made all the more brief when he threw me out of his cell telling me not to get involved.
Then there was the final bombshell of the day after that when Dan was found dead in his police cell apparently having committed suicide.

Now I knew there was something wrong, the whole thing stunk like a barrel load of rotting fish.

I will concede that given the right set of circumstances we are all capable of committing a crime, even have murderous thoughts but this ridiculous suicide suggestion….No way ! Not the Dan Davies I knew, if he had committed murder, which I seriously doubted, he was man enough to face up to it and would take the full consequences of his actions.

Right there, right then, I knew I would not rest until I knew the truth of it and clear my friend’s name.

Of course, when things like this happen within the Police Force we are not allowed to conduct our own investigations. That goes doubly so for friends and close colleagues and I was duly warned to keep myself as far away as it was possible to get and ordered to cooperate fully with any inquiry.

Stay out of it ! I’d resign first ! And they knew it.

The old me was back, no longer in the self dug pit of despair, my friend needed me and I’d be buggered if I was going to let him down or allow the PC driven white wash to trample his good name into the mud.

Have you ever asked yourself the question; ‘how well do I know my best friend?’

Over the many weeks and months that followed I asked myself that question several times and didn’t like the answers I was getting. In truth I came to realise I didn’t know him at all. I knew nothing of his past prior to me being assigned to his division and his Criminal Investigating Department (CID) as a Detective Inspector. Me Watson to his Holmes as it were, he brains me running behind taking notes but he was a damn fine teacher.

Remember right at the beginning of this piece I said I was a plodder, takes me a while but I get there in the end?

I got there and what a tale it was. It challenged everything in life I thought was true, it made me a believer in things I had never previously considered, or thought possible, if I did think of them at all I had dismissed them as rubbish.

Then came my true dilemma, no one was ever going hear my story, not in an open court of law that was for sure. What I had discovered was beyond the comprehension of most people and would raise issues and ideas that many would rather not even think about. I had no hard evidence or proof that would stand up in court so what had it all been for, what exactly had I achieved ?

Conventionally I knew the real story would never see the light of day, not now that it had been covered up and buried in the many ways government bureaucracies have of dealing with things they think it’s best for the general public not to know.

So I came up with a cunning plan, if the story and all the facts of the cases will never see the light in reality how about as a work of fiction ?
All I needed was the right mind to make my plan work.

Was I right to take over the mind of another human being in this way? Only you can judge by reading the stories for yourself, only then will you come to realise what I did and why.

You see there is more….and it hits at the very highest level of what we laughing accept as democracy again the real powers that be will stop at nothing to prevent the real truth from coming out but, of course, I now know a way.

For the time being I am leaving dear Merlin’s mind in peace but if you decide you want more then you have to tell him … You will find him and my stories in Amazon.

I will be watching and will know your feelings.

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The Clock Is Ticking

January 27, 2016

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Over the years I have often been painted as a cold hearted pessimist, when in my own defence I considered myself as something of a realist.

Spotting a possible correlation between the time lines of the 200 years since the Industrial Revolution, a population explosion from one to seven billion and a pattern of climate change brought nothing but derision.
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I watched the world divide into two camps, “we need to do something”. “We need to do nothing”. I felt like Butch Cassidy in that movie when he said “ I have vision and the rest of the world wears sun glasses”. That and given the fact that the world is run by committees, I consoled myself with the simple thought that, “as a species we were screwed and because of us so was the vast majority of all animal life on the planet”.

Of course I can’t claim to be smarter than the average, far from it, but I’m smart enough to notice when a cart load of manure is heading for the fan factory. Plus of course it is just possible that I was picking up the vibes of the group of scientists who also think we may well be on a one way journey to extinction.

Starting with Albert Einstein who after the first nuclear weapon was used in war said “Everything has changed, save the way we think.” Unless we change the way we think, humanity remains in serious danger”.

Well here’s a heads up for Ya’all, we have not changed our way of thinking, not one iota, unless, like me, you consider we have changed for the worst. For example most people these days consider a disaster is defined by their inability to get a broadband signal for more than a couple of minutes.

Back in the 1940’s a group came up with the The ‘Doomsday Clock’ as a scientific indicator for how close humanity was to global catastrophe. This was symbolised as a clock face showing the hands as they approached midnight, midnight being of course the end of the world.

In 1947 the hands stood at 7 minutes to midnight. In 1949 when the then USSR exploded their first nuclear device the hands slipped to 3 minutes. The worst it has ever been was in midnight 1953: After much debate, the United States decides to pursue the hydrogen bomb, a weapon far more powerful than any atomic bomb when it stood at a very dangerous 2 mins to midnight.

Since then we have seen our fair share of Good News, Bad News scenarios with the hands of the clock flowing to and fro until in 1991 when with the Cold War officially over and the United States and Russia beginning to make deep cuts to their nuclear arsenals. The world breathed a big sigh of relief and the clock moved back to its all-time best position of 17 mins to midnight.

So what happened since then ? Someone took their eye off the ball that’s fer damn sure….

Did we just get complacent or just stopped thinking we were all going to be blown to hell an go back to… what …where ?
Well I’ve got some bad news for everybody because that Doomsday clock is still ticking and nobody seems to have noticed but it has moved forward again and now stands at 3 minutes to midnight once more.

GASP! HORROR ! How can this have happened ? Why ? Well lets’ see, for starters the well won Super Power agreements of the early 90’s seemed to have grown older without germinating. Nuclear weapons are still high on the shit list with both the USA and Russia embarked upon a modernisation programme. Let’s not forget the un checked climate change problem.

Here is the list, the reason why we are so close to Midnight on the clock, this is not my list but one from the “Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board”.

Leaders must dramatically reduce proposed spending on nuclear-weapons-modernization programs.
• They must reenergize the disarmament process, with a focus on results.
• They must engage with North Korea to reduce nuclear risks.
• They must begin to deal with the problem of commercial nuclear waste, in particular by agreeing on workable international storage sites.
• They must follow up on the Paris accord with actions that sharply reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
• They must create institutions specifically designed to explore and address potentially catastrophic misuse of new technologies.

Call me a cockeyed pessimist or just a hard-nosed realist, whatever, but can anyone actually see anything on that list that is going to achieve worldwide agreement ?

Perhaps those who say “What the Hell” are right, who cares we’ll be dead before it happens. Perhaps I should be one of them after all I have no children or grandchildren to worry about… But surely someone should stick up for every other animal species in the world who don’t have a vote but will suffer the same fate as us.

Earlier on I mentioned the Industrial Revolution, a time when mankind really started to believe he was smarter than nature. Back the theory of evolution was just that a theory. Now with our enhanced medicines, our understanding of genetics and DNA we play God as we strive towards living forever while forgetting all those original laws of evolution and natural selection.

I can only hope enough of our disastrous history will survive so that the life form that follows us can learn and hopefully be a lot wiser than we are. Like all other species that share our planet, learn to live in harmony with nature and not try to be its master.

You Ain’t Famous

January 3, 2016

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Who was it that said to me, ‘Just because you’ve written a couple of books and got your face in the Newspapers don’t let Fame go to your head.’
As if !

If there is one thing I have learnt over the years that is ‘Life’ has a great way of bringing you back to Earth should you be dumb enough to be swept away in all the praise of the adoring public.

Take Book signings as an example, these are for Real celebrities not for mere Wannabees. If you are somebody special, or better still if the public think you’re somebody special then you’re IN!

The gullible will flock to the event and happily part with their ‘hard earned pennies’ just to be close enough to smell the sloshed on perfume or aftershave, depending on whether it is a footballer or one of their WAG girlfriends flogging their latest ‘Kiss and Tell’ cookery book.

For the rest of us it’s pretty much a day trip to somewhere you’ve never heard of where you will sit on a hard chair behind a wobbly table covered in a pile of books trying to appear interesting to the passing punters desperately trying not to make eye contact with you.

However, for those that really need a lesson in humility please do a book signing in your home town.

Like many writers I write under a pseudonym, now that may sound a bit pretentious coming from someone who is comparatively unknown under either name, real or otherwise. However, I do have a good excuse, someone else is already using my real name, and for all I know he may also be writing under an assumed name…. The fact that it’s my name maybe completely lost on the man however that aside he has made a decent name for himself and his scribbling using my name so I chose another one for me.

But I digress from my tale, being as I live in a quaint rural market town it was suggested that I may wish to join in with the local Christmas Arts and Craft Fair and set up a ‘Meet the Author’ table as a way of maybe shifting some books.

It’s the sort of thing that sounds like a good idea at the time and it’s a decision you usually make when you are a bit too relaxed. Like when in the local pub propositioned by someone else who isn’t quite as relaxed as they seem and… well before you know where you are you’ve agreed to be the Star attraction at the local Meet and Greet!

This one was to be on home ground, I had time to plan and organise, A3 poster sized pictures of the book covers, laptop primed to show YouTube video teasers, (giving them something else to look at other than me).

I even put out a bowl of mixed candy to sweeten the little buggers and charm them into a false sense of security, how could they dare take my offering and not buy my book? Quite easily as it happens, they wait for you to go to the toilet or to fetch a fresh brew of coffee and they sneak in and empty the bowl.
So well organised were we that announcements had been made in the local press, there was even a special insert into the town’s local Free magazine. Come and Meet local author Merlin Fraser, the full drum roll and fanfare had been made, I had never been so organised.

As a small aside I think I should add that around the area where I live we have more than our fair share of celebrities (real ones) artists and a few quite famous authors as well. So you can imagine that for many reading in the local rag that local author Merlin Fraser will be at the next event there may well have been a slight glimmer of interest even if it was only to ask “Who?”

Experience has taught me that at these things you tend to need something to break the ice, this is after all England where nobody actually speaks to anyone without being formally introduced over tea.

Therefore one needs a gimmick, an Ice Breaker….. So I am now the proud owner of the pictured Sweatshirt with the logo : “Who The HELL Is Merlin Fraser”? blazoned across the front.

Yeah, OK I know, it sounded a good idea in the pub, alright ! How is it that when you’re in a pub there is always someone who has a friend who just happens to know someone who can fix you up with these things…. Who knows I might even wear it if things get desperate enough !

Come the day full of confidence, and caffeine I take up station by the table and wait, nobody comes anywhere near me. I head to the coffee pot come back and refill the sweetie bowl. I notice every stall holder in the room, except me, is trying to suck a sweet without moving any part of their mouth.

Then through the front door come three ladies, locals so at least if I can’t sell them a book I can at least have a chat with them, after all I know them and they know me.

Only they don’t… They are here to meet Merlin Fraser, famous writer of Murder Mystery stories and these three are a bit peeved to find that he’s not here and I’m sitting in his chair, presumably and pretentiously swigging his coffee out of his personal mug.
“So where is he ?” One dear old lady asks.

“Who ?” I ask.

“Merlin bloody Fraser, who else ?”
“He’s here…. I am he .”

“He who ?” Her friend asked.

“Me Who… I mean… I am He… I am Merlin Fraser.”

“No you’re not …your that bloke that drives the Dial a Ride Bus!”
“W-e-l- l Yes… but I do this as well.”

“Why,” asked the one in the middle, who up to that point had been silent ?

As this juncture I should have quit, offered them a toffee from my dwindling supply and changed the subject to seasonal things, but we writers are made of sterner stuff. “Why do I write books or why do I drive the bus”?

Little old ladies can be cruel, they turned on me as one, with that look, you know the one, the look that can freeze the blood in your veins. The look that without a spoken word says “listen smart ass” ! They also have that way of sighing and shrugging the shoulders in one move, the one they reserve for the feeble minded who are beyond hope. They declined the proffered sweet and moved away.

Not that the next encounter was any better. A total stranger stood silently in front of my table scanning all the A3 sized book synopsis before picking book three off the table and flicking the pages and asking why all three books had the same title but different covers ?

I explained that Inner Space was the banner heading to link a trilogy of three murder mystery stories with a team of central characters. I then made the mistake of asking him if he like murder mysteries… “Not really” was he reply “we only came in so that my wife could use the toilet”.

I’d like to say things improved over the three days of the Fair, but alas… OK I made a few sales and dished out a lot of Free book markers with the web site and links on it under the promise of they will look and buy later…. I wish I had asked for a small refundable deposit, would have helped pay for my pitch,but Alas!

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Who are the sad mindless, faceless Trolls who think bullying on the internet is a clever thing to do ?

What inane pleasure can they possibly get from their vile attacks on people they probably don’t know merely because they can get away with it without ever showing their face ?

Perhaps that’s it, the sheer anonymity of the internet allows the m to bully without the risk of ever coming face to face with their victims. It requires no courage whatsoever while they hide under the illusion that they will never get caught.

Mentally they obviously belong in the same sad group of humanity who hide beneath a hoodie and take pleasure in destroying public property. Those who in the name of fun will happily toss a brick through a shop window kick in glass-sided shelters at bus stops, key parked cars or rip up litter bins and toss them into the path of oncoming cars.

Of course bullying is not new, it was something we had to endure. Every school at every level had them, and the military had more than their fair share. As did many of the work places I remember, usually some useless moron that had a shoe size bigger than their IQ who for some unexplained reason ended up King of the Playground/ Barracks/Factory Canteen.

At least in the old days these bullies were visible, everybody knew who they were and depending on luck or having the right sort of friends most of us either weathered the storm or in a fit of over enthusiastic bravado tried to solve the problem one way or another.

However, cyber bullying is altogether different these morons lack the courage to abuse their victims in the real world, hiding as they do, not only in the vastness of the internet but also in the way that the internet can cover a person’s true identity.

What the internet cannot conceal, and a fact that these faceless ones fail to grasp is that the internet cannot conceal the inner workings and therefore the mentality of these cretins.

In broad general terms these bullies will have many problems of their own, they will certain suffer from low self esteem, feeling ignored or bypassed by the community around them. Hurting others will give them a false sense of power, possibly seeing this as a way to impress a group of like minded people.
Other types of bullies see it as a fun way to show off, demonstrating how clever they are, for some such behaviour might be normal to them especially if they are egged on by similar people they meet or attract on line.

The difference between the physical bully and a cyber bully is just that… Whereas one can literally see the damage they cause to their victim or victims, the other has no idea how much damage they are causing. On the other hand, I might be being too kind and understanding, it is just possible that in their minds eye they do know exactly how much hurt and anxiety they cause and simply don’t care.

For me the old adage “Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” is perfectly true, I have a T shirt with the words Writ Big, “ WARNING This Turkey Shoots Back !

Trouble is not every one is like me, not everyone can see these sad twisted little people for what they are. Pathetic human rejects that forever will remain on the fringes of humanity where their only pleasure comes from haunting the dark corners of the internet sniping at others from the shadows.

These cowards care little who they hit, they never see the consequences of their actions, so why lose any sleep over it ?

However it is way past time the owners and controllers of the, so called. Social Media took responsibility and started to throw light into these dark corners. There are many, many good and logical reasons why a person may wish to hide their true identity from the vast internet world and not to make personal information too public. Although having said that shouldn’t there be a way where the internet can accurately identify, and therefore hold to account anyone for their on line actions ?

Daily we see and hear hundreds of examples of Twitter and FaceBook attacks on people, where someone has become the victim of a humiliating image or hurtful comment going viral. Some victims of such vile acts have gone on to take their own lives.

True instant access to the internet these days has eliminated the time we had for second thought nowadays anyone who feels slighted in any way just has to share it with the world in a Tweet, often regretting their stupidity a few seconds later !

I hope the cyber bullies out there read this, or if you know one, please feel free to send them a copy or post this where the moron can read it. I’d love to hear from them explaining, if they can, why they do what they do, how it makes them feel and so on. I’d love to know.

I would also like to remind them what Thumper’s father told him, “ If you can’t say somthin’ nice then don’t say nothin’ at all”.

For a group of people that go around preaching Love and Goodwill to all men, especially at this time of year, I find certain groups of religious fanatics don’t appear to have read that part of their scriptures.

Since proclaiming myself a Pagan, and writing about my research into the origins of religion and the birth of organised religions the amount of abuse that is tossed my way is frankly quite staggering.

When I claim not being able to understand why the three main religions have their original belief structure based upon the first five books of the same Bible, and all believe in the same single God why their modern day followers seem to think their God is the one true God and somehow claim exclusive rights !

Plus having the same basic starting point and all apparently accept the ten basic commandments why then do some think it acceptable to kill the followers of the other religions in the name of the same God ?

Also I can no longer understand why the followers of the Jewish faith still have trouble accepting the character Jesus Christ a Messiah, after all they had been praying for one for ages to help liberate them from the oppression of the Egyptians and Romans.   Now they have liberated themselves from those forces, while the Christians patiently wait for the second coming, are the Jews still waiting for the  first ?

Anyway, in response to some of the  Christian Hate mail and comments, please see that I am not alone in my research and reasoning that the true birth of all you think you believe in is a lot older than you were told…. Now ask yourself Who lied to me and more importantly….. WHY ?

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Anyway however you choose to celebrate at this time of year, and whatever reason you chose can we all agree to be more tolerant of each other and try to…….  Celebrate

As Christmas Approaches…

December 9, 2014

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The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.

Our ancient ancestors were hunter gatherers and spent most of their time outdoors and as such the seasons and weather played a very important part in their lives. So it is not too surprising to learn that our ancestors had a great reverence for, and some even worshipped the sun.

The Norsemen of Northern Europe saw the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. It was from the word for this wheel, houl, from which we believe the word Yule is derived. At mid-winter the Norsemen lit bonfires, told stories and drank sweet ale.

The pre Christian Romans also held a festival to celebrate the rebirth of the year. Saturnalia ran for seven days from the 17th of December. It was a time when the ordinary rules were turned upside down. Men dressed as women and masters dressed as servants. The festival also involved decorating houses with greenery, lighting candles, holding processions and giving presents.

The Winter Solstice falls on the shortest day of the year, now the 21st December but before the calendar was adjusted this would have been the 25th and was celebrated in Britain long before the arrival of the Romans or Christianity. The Druids (Celtic priests) would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and give it as a blessing. Giant Oak tree were seen as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe was seen as a potent symbol of life in the darkest of the winter months.

It was also the Druids who began the tradition of the Yule log. The Celts thought that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit to conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year.

A casual look around will show that many of these customs are still followed today, now incorporated into the Christian and secular celebrations of Christmas for so long many Christians accept them as being of Christian invention.

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Fire, light and evergreens

Pre-Christian, northern societies used to enliven the dark days of the winter solstice with a celebration of fire, light and jollity, to create relief in the season of nature’s dormancy and to hurry along the renewal of springtime.

Further south in the Mediterranean regions it was believed that the Sun God lived for but one year, born on the 25th December and childlike grew in strength as the year advanced until waning into old age as the winter approached. Like many Gods the Sun God Mithras was born of a virgin and in pre Christian artworks is often depicted carrying a lamb.

Therefore it is not too difficult to see the similarities between the Sun God Mithras and the Biblical descriptions attributed to Jesus, from the Sun God to the Son of God.

No one knows when Jesus was born, again because the calendar has been messed around with several times, a month added here and there, days added and or taken away. Additionally, a fact often ignored by the faithful, is that two thousand years ago no one kept track of births, or deaths of the poor so it became easy for the leaders of organized religion to pretty much say what they wanted, who was going to argue ?

For the record it was around 340AD when Pope Julius the first officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December, after all this period was already a period of celebration why not just hijack it and make it your own ? After all I doubt the people were going to let anyone take away the Winter Solstice party.

Over time the early church tried their damndest to outlaw and banish Pagan practices wherever possible. Where they couldn’t they just took over the established Pagan festivals and claimed them as their own. As a quick aside, anyone ever wondered why the dates of Easter wander around so much ? One set birthday but the supposed day of his death is all over the place ???? ( PS Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny are Pagan as well ).

The tradition of decorating the home with native evergreens is a truly ancient one, since early pre religious times evergreens have been valued for their ability to retain signs of life in the middle of winter – even in some instances producing berries and flowers.

Early Christians retained the Pagan tradition of displaying evergreen plants in the home in winter to Pagans this symbolized the promise of coming life in the depth of winter, later adapted by Christians to symbolize, everlasting life.

Holly, ivy and evergreen herbs such as bay and rosemary were the most commonly used, all with symbolic meanings that were familiar to our ancestors. Rosemary, for remembrance, and bay, for valour, are still well known. Holly and ivy were a particularly popular combination, the holly traditionally thought to be masculine and ivy feminine, giving stability to the home.

A kissing-bough was often hung from the ceiling. This would consist of a round ball of twigs and greenery, decorated with seasonal fruit, such as apples. This was the precursor to a bunch of mistletoe, under which no lady could refuse a kiss. Mistletoe was sacred to the Druids and was once called ‘All Heal’. It was thought to bring good luck and fertility, and to offer protection from witchcraft.

In the medieval period, the Yule log was ceremoniously carried into the house on Christmas Eve, and put in the fireplace of the main communal room. Often decorated with greenery and ribbon, it was lit with the saved end of the previous year’s log and then burnt continuously for the Twelve Days of Christmas, providing much needed light and warmth.

So please, as you prepare the feast, wrapping up all the presents and placing them beneath a living tree brought into your house especially for the occasion. As you are kissing loved ones under the mistletoe and hanging a holly wreath upon your door you are in fact celebrating the Winter Solstice with us Pagans….
What’s missing ?

At what point the Christians did away with the final orgy that ended the celebration is unclear…. No wonder the Romans didn’t get on with them !

Celebrate

Lest We Forget

November 6, 2014

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Yet again we approach that special day when we remember all those who have made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of the Free World the vast majority take so much for granted.

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month, the time and date we set aside to honour the fallen with two minutes silence.

This year, 2014, marks the 100th Anniversary of the start of what was to eventually become World War One. The War they dubbed the War to end all Wars, and looking back on the horrors of those years so it should have been.  Yet even as you read this we realise how forlorn a hope that was as one hundred years later mans only achievement seems to be how to kill our fellow humans with more efficiency.

Of course as dark as Man’s past and possible future looks there are always tiny rays of hope, events that try, against all the odds stacked against them, to bring the message of how wasteful of life War can be.

tower from river

As any visitor to our fair land and Capital city will recognise this is the Tower of London, a symbol of our illustrious violent past if ever one was needed, yet this year this very symbol of War has been handed over to message of remembrance that I hope will live for a long time in the hearts of all who see it.

Poppy flow

Since August this year the Tower’s famous moat has slowly been filling up with ceramic poppies, created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins with the setting created by stage designer Tom Piper.  The plan is that by Remembrance Day the moat will be filled with 888,246 poppies, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the First World War.

girl

Eventually the poppies started to encircle the iconic landmark, creating not only a spectacular display visible from all around the Tower but also a location for personal reflection.  All of the poppies will be sold off and the money raised shared equally amongst six service charities.

I will say no more as these pictures say it so much better than I ever could.

Kate William and Harry

That’s Kate and William strolling with Harry through the poppies.

Scale 3

Tower aerial

The Tower from above before ……

Tower aerial 2

and After……..

One

One of the 888,246 that will fill the moat.

Chelsea Pensioner

Please, if you are as passionate as this as I am about Remembering  I would appreciate  a few Re Blogs.

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