Thursday, 31 December 2015

Old Welsh Customs of Neath and South Wales

In the Llantwit area of Neath there is an old tradition that Green Dragons travel all the way to Penarth to hunt Boxtrolls. It is rumoured that the Dragon Master can be identified by the numerous hats he owns.The Dragon Master is often seen around this time in the Crynant and Treforgan area. Some say he has been seen on the Holy Day eating at the Loaf Cafe in Ystradgynlais. 
The activities of the Christmas season came to a climax at the New Year. It has been suggested that the detaching of one's self from the events of the immediate past and at the beginning of a new future gave the celebration special significance.Nos Galan.
One custom associated with the end of the Christmas season, formerly carried out in all parts of Wales but only surviving the vicissitudes of the centuries in a few villages in Glamorganshire, is that of the Mari Lwyd. This consists of a horse's skull with false ears and eyes attached, along with reins and bells, covered with a white sheet and decorated with colored strips of cloth or bright ribbons and carried around on a pole. The horse's jaw is operated to open and close usually by a young, agile man, disguised under the sheet, who carries the Mari Lwyd from door to door accompanied by his companions, Sergeant, Merryman, Punch and Judy, and various others, all dressed in motley and faces blackened. At the house doors, verses are recited by the team as they beg for admittance. Those inside the house reply, also in verse, refusing entry until the visitors inevitably win the impromptu contest (they usually have prepared a whole list of impromptu verses well in advance). Once inside the house, the Mari chases the young ladies, one person plays the fiddle, Judy pretends to sweep the hearth, Punch engages in all kinds of mischief and so on until it is time for food and drink (the wassail) to be offered to end the nonsense. After feasting, the party goes on to the next house and the verse contest begins anew, continuing in this manner throughout the day. Good news concerning this ancient custom is that it is being revived in many areas where it had formerly died out, especially by students at the University of Wales, whose merry making in the streets of Aberystwyth is carried on entirely through the medium of the Welsh language. 
At the New Year, the following Welsh customs were also observed, many of them until quite recently.
All existing debts were to be paid. If not, then the debtor would remain in debt throughout the whole year. It was also considered very unlucky to lend anything on New Year's Day, even a candle. How one behaved on this special day was an indication of how he would behave throughout the coming year. Fore example, if a man rose early on January 1st, his early rising was ensured the rest of the year. The custom of letting in meant that good or bad luck was brought to the household by the first visitor of the New Year. In some areas, it was unlucky for a man to see a woman first; in others, it was unlucky for a woman to see a man first. Some people believed that it was unlucky to see a red-haired man first. In my own youth in Clwyd, having been blessed with red hair, I was never allowed into anyone's home on this day, until a dark person had first crossed the threshold. If a woman was bold enough to be the first person to enter a neighbor's house, then there had to follow a parade of little boys throughout each room to break the witch's spell!
The most popular New Year's custom was one that was carried out in all parts of Wales: theCalennig (small gift). Very early on the morning of January 1st, groups of young boys would visit all the houses in the village carrying an evergreen twig and a cup of cold water drawn from the local well. The boys would then use the twigs to sprinkle the faces of everyone they met. In return, they would receive the Calennig, usually in the form of copper coins. Even the doorways of some houses (when the occupants were still asleep or away) were sprinkled, and all the while a short verse was sung or chanted that celebrated the letting in of the New Year. The custom continued from dawn until noon, (after which it was considered very unlucky indeed), and in certain areas the boy carried apples or oranges into which sprigs of holly or corn were inserted. These offerings later became very fancy, with raisins, hazel nuts, or colored ribbons all helping to decorate the fruit. The custom, in various forms, survived in some areas well after World War II, at least the chanting of a small verse or two in exchange for small coins.
Twelfth Night (the evening of Jan. 5th)
Twelfth Night was celebrated as the end of Christmastide. The decorations, including holly and mistletoe, were taken down, the burned out Yule Log was removed from the fireplace, and its ashes stored temporarily. These were then buried along with the seeds planted in the ensuing spring to ensure a good harvest.
Each of the twelve days after Christmas was considered, in the countryside at least, to represent the corresponding months of the year, and the weather on these days was carefully observed and noted as a guide as to what could be expected for the rest of the year

Janus Roman God of beginnings and transitions, God of the New Year

In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past. The Romans dedicated the month of January to Janus. His most apparent remnant in modern culture is his namesake, the month of January.

Though he was usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions (Janus Geminus (twin Janus) or Bifrons), in some places he was Janus Quadrifrons (the four-faced). The Romans associated Janus with the Etruscan deity Ani.

Janus was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, and of one universe to another. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood.

Though he was usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions (Janus Geminus (twin Janus) or Bifrons), in some places he was Janus Quadrifrons (the four-faced). The Romans associated Janus with the Etruscan deity Ani.

Janus was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, and of one universe to another. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood.

While the fundamental nature of Janus is debated, in most modern researchers view the set of the god's functions may be seen as being organized around a simple principle: that of presiding over all beginnings and transitions, whether abstract or concrete, sacred or profane. Interpretations concerning the god's fundamental nature either limit it to this general function or emphasize a concrete or particular aspect of it (identifying him with light the sun, the moon, time, movement, the year, doorways, bridges etc.) or see in the god a sort of cosmological principle, i. e. interpret him as a uranic deity.

Almost all these modern interpretations were originally formulated by the Romans themselves The function of 'god of beginnings' has been clearly expressed in numerous ancient sources, among them most notably perhaps Cicero, Ovid and Varro. As a god of motion he looks after passages, causes actions to start and presides over all beginnings, and since movement and change are bivalent, he has a double nature, symbolized in his two headed image.

He has under his concerns the stepping in and out of the door of homes, the ianua, which took its name from him, and not vice versa. Similarly his tutelage extends to the covered passages named iani and foremost to the gates of the city, including the cultic gate called the Argiletum, named Ianus Geminus or Porta Ianualis from which he protects Rome against the Sabines. He is also present at the Sororium Tigillum, where he guards the terminus of the ways into Rome from Latium. He has an altar, later a temple near the Porta Carmentalis, where the road leading to Veii ended, as well as being present on the Janiculum, a gateway from Rome out to Etruria.

The connecion of the notions of beginning (principium), movement, transition (eundo), and thence time has been clearly expressed by Cicero. In general, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of Heaven: Jupiter himself moves forth and back because of Janus's working.In one of his temples, probably that of Forum Holitorium, the hands of his statue were positioned to signify the number 355 (the number of days in a year), later 365, symbolically expressing his mastership over time. He presides over the concrete and abstract beginnings of the world, such as religion and the gods themselves, he too holds the access to Heaven and other gods: this is the reason why men must invoke him first, regardless of the god they want to pray or placate. He is the initiator of human life, of new historical ages, and financial enterprises: according to myth he was the first to mint coins and the as, first coin of the libral series, bears his effigy on one face.

Janus frequently symbolized change and transitions such as the progress of future to past, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, and young people's growth to adulthood. He was represented time, because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as at marriages, deaths and other beginnings. He represented the middle ground between barbarism and civilization, rural and urban, youth and adulthood. Having jurisdiction over beginnings Janus had an intrinsic association with omens and auspices.

Leonhard Schmitz suggests that he was likely the most important god in the Roman archaic pantheon. He was often invoked together with Iuppiter (Jupiter).
According to Macrobius citing Nigidius Figulus and Cicero, Janus and Jana (Diana) are a pair of divinities, worshipped as Apollo or the sun and moon, whence Janus received sacrifices before all the others, because through him is apparent the way of access to the desired deity.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Nietzche and the Eternal Return "amor fati"

Nietzsche asks that we should always be aware passionately of our ourselves and our possibilities. He asks us to pick ourselves up not go along with the crowd, which is just not existing but something that is very special and characterised by passion. He calls it his greatest idea. It has the idea of eternal return or eternal recurrence.

The ancient Greeks had a theory that time was circular as did indeed the Hindus. Time was a great wheel that moved forever around and around. It was only the Christians who saw time moving from the creation to the last judgement. And it is rather ironic that modern quantum physics sees space and time as a continuum.

Nietzche toyed with the idea of a scientific proof of eternal recurrence but never published it. All we have are a few jottings from his notebook. What is more interesting is that he sees eternal recurrence as a kind of test- a test of our own attitude toward life, a test of our ability to live life without the illusions and evasions that really give rise to the “otherworldly" that he is so bitterly against. The way the test goes is something like this. I imagine if you had to live your life , not just once but over and over again. The repetition gives your live some weight and in particular each moment. It is this notion of weight and consequently lightness that Milan Kundera talks about in his novel “ The Unbearable Lightness of Being” . At the beginning of the book he toys with the idea that if an event just happened once we can say “It happened it is over” . If something is repeated an infinite number of times then we would be much less willing to say “OK, lets do it again.” .

The test is to ask the question How much do you love your life? How much are you consumed with regret? It is very important to say. Thinking this, as Nietzsche puts it that terrible thought that would make us grasp for the possibility of living our life over and over again with enormous enthusiasm. It is a sign of something pathetic if you answer “ No I would rather not do it at all.."

I think of Kierkegaard discussion of repetition. Where he argues that we should turn it into becoming a sense of meaning. It comes down to the issue of whether you really accept life itself, and that means your life. We all wish in some sense that life was different Perhaps that we had a different voice,body or culture. We imagine being born in a different time in a different century. We imagine being richer than we are. Nietzsche himself had very poor health, chronic insomnia, terrible headaches and various illnesses all of his life and died very young. Nevertheless it is clear that Nietzsche would have said in reply to this thought of “eternal recurrence” “ How godly, how divine! .This what I want to do. To live my life exactly as it is over and over again. " 

One can take this a number of different ways. It leads us back to the issue of freewill and fate and how one becomes who one is, because in a sense what this test asks is “How satisfied are you with yourself?”. It does not have to be totally fatalistic. On one hand Nietzsche celebrates what he calls “amor fati”, the love of life, the love of being just who you are, of having a life. At the same time it is clear that eternal recurrence has a different implication. Eternal recurrence can be seeing how your life is, seeing what you really do not like because you are not willing to repeat it, and then changing yourself, cultivating yourself, and not simply are, but who you would be. There are all sorts of limits to this, depending on who we are and how we find ourselves and how we fit ourselves into society. But fate here is not blind resignation to what will happen. It is rather acceptance to our own limitations and it is rather trying to make something of ourselves in accordance with who we could already be.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Seren Werdd an independent Wales Green Party

Our aim is to create an Independent Welsh Green party.We seek an independent socialist and green Wales.A Wales where power is devolved to the lowest possible administrative unit.A Wales where its people are aware of it culture, history and language and which is fully bilingual and multi cultural. A Wales that supports workers rights, public services and a comprehensive welfare system. A Wales that protects the rights of animals to be free from exploitation.We are opposed to Nuclear Power and seek a Wales powered by renewables that are owned by the communities of Wales.We seek a Wales that is a non-aligned, neutral republic and which is free from the arms industry.

More Floods

We privatise the Water industry and instead of repairing our age old water courses and helping create work. Those privatised water companies shift their attention to the need for the shareholders to gain profits. We do not give the water industry the power to tell developers not to build in floodplains. Property developers can insist that wherever they build, they demand sewage and water access without thought of how this will effect the potential for future flooding. The government obsessed with the ideology that we must build homes everywhere, build on floodplains. The developer wants his profit and the government stand by hypnotised by the market and the price mechanism.

We even privatise the Environment Agency and limit its powers. We cut down trees that would absorb the water, we dredge rivers and straighten them so that the water flows more quickly to the towns. And now the North of England and parts of North Wales are under severe floods or threatened by the potential for floods. The list goes on and the daily mail and the Sun, those papers of great record now scream out that something must be done. Those rags are the papers that promoted the cut back of the state and argued for this obscene government .

They say we must concentrate on our home floods and yet they fail to realise that climate changes us a world wide phenomena. There will be a new migrants flowing to Europe soon, they will be climate change migrants and the Sun and the Daily Mail will urge us to close the boarders and never realise that in this world climate change threatens us all and we are all in it together.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Attack on the blog

Oh dear! I seem to be ruffling feathers. Just had an attack on my  all to human blog. Fortunately I could phone a  friend who talked me through what to do. it seems that a piece of malware had control of my browser and had changed the pass word on my blog. I am back in control of it.

My v disreputable friends from the Trimsaran based Green Dragon collective had a simialar experience last week and around the time of the Wales Green Party AGM. Bloody box Trolls.....

And so this is Christmas...and what have you done?

So David Cameron considers us to be a Christian country does he? I suspect its code for many things. A code that suggests “white”, that suggests I want votes back from UKIP, and suggests I need to keep on board the nutters of the Eurosceptic right. I also wonder if its an appeal to natural order to let us know the message of “All things bright and beautiful” ...THE RICH MAN IN HIS CASTLE, THE POOR MAN AT HIS GATE. Its interesting is it not that the image of the Christian Christ varies in all ages in all cultures. In the Middle Ages the Christ figure was the Prince ruling over the Kings and peoples of Europe, in South America today we have the Christ of Liberation, the revolutionary. In each age organised religion is used to control, tu intimidate, to exclude and to classify.
True for many the simple message of social justice , equality and liberation from many of the founders has inspired social movements, self knowing and revolution. Yet when allied to the nation sate its has almost always become oppressive. Its quite clear that Methodism and nonconformity in many of the working class areas of Wales quiet. It is true that in a few cases Christian campaigners were inspired by the teachings they read. But why is it when we hear the Christian discourse of our rulers it never stresses the Magnificat
“He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty. “
from Amos
“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.”
And also this from the same book
“But let justice run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream”
I have been done with organised religion for over 35 years. I will quote my favourite philosopher on this Neitzche
“Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and
believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write
new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and
fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the
harvest. And finally Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman--a rope
over an abyss. A dangerous across, a dangerous on-the-way,
a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous shuddering and
stopping. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and
not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture
and a going under. I love those who do not know how to
live, for they are those who cross over.
Thats my rave for Christmas. May you all have a great time.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Thank you Neil

I like to thank my good friend Neil Wagstafffor taking the bullet. Without him we would be facing a situation that is beyond comprehension. Though he may be in exile i look forward to his coming again when the spring Equinox is over. I would remind him that all exiles are distinguished........hehe

Seren Werdd Declaration: an Independent Wales Green Party in an Independent Wales
This is the Seren Werdd declaration, These are the aims of this grouping within the Wales Green Party. The group is made up of activists who seek to influence the development and direction of Ecosocialism within an independent Welsh political context. It is not necessary to be a member of the  Wales  Green Party to join the Facebook group, but it is essential that members of the group share the following aims and outlook. I am pleased to be one of the founding members of Seren Werdd We launch this group at a time when Wales desperately needs an independent Green party that is progressive, local and active

."Our aim is to create an Independent Welsh Green party.We seek an independent socialist and green Wales.A Wales where power is devolved to the lowest possible administrative unit.A Wales where its people are aware of it culture, history and language and which is fully bilingual and multi cultural. A Wales that supports workers rights, public services and a comprehensive welfare system. A Wales that protects the rights of animals to be free from exploitation.We are opposed to Nuclear Power and seek a Wales powered by renewables that are owned by the communities of Wales.We seek a Wales that is a non-aligned, neutral republic and which is free from the arms industry".

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

We don't need no Education from Old Etonians

I glanced at two stories in the Sunday Independent this weekend. On one page there was a stark warning from Nicky Morgan the Education Secretary warning about the dangers of home education . Nicky was afraid that this could lead to radicalisation by Islamic Extremists. On another page a distinguished historian warned that our state education system was obsessed by exams, league tables and performance comparisons.
I am rather more worried about a group of radical extremists called the Old Estonian. They have seized power, forced us to fight foreign wars, seek to create an education system that teaches us to obey, their philosophy argues that education is about creating a workforce that is fit for low paid meaningless jobs. Somehow they believe that teaching people to think critically does somehow nut cause them to be creative,entrepreneurial and innovative. This evil crew of fundamentalists pours out its propaganda through propaganda sheets like the daily mail and the daily Express. Strangely this group argues that the family is central to everything, that parents are responsible for everything that if they defend the family all will be well. Yet they fear the family if it seeks to self educate.

Instead of creating an education system that is flexible and involves home educators, part time educators and schools they create an education system that stresses that all that matters is money, jobs and conformity. It is indeed strange that three of the children who recently went to Syria to join Islamic state were from the old Eatonians favoured school the academy. Its OK for this fundamentalist group that rules our country not to teach about the real nature of the arms trade, the globalist economy, the fact that 1% control the 99%. They dont want us to learn about joined up thinking, they dont want us to challenge their rule. Its simpler to control us by making us blame the immigrant, the unemployed the single mother. Its not the home educators who are the problem, its the society, its the myths we are fed, its the controls we manipulated by. Through out history there have always been radicals who have challenged authority, some like myself have spent years battling free of the controls, some do it by human education, some by political activity, some just wake up one day and rebel. The issue is that a whole society is a rebellious society, not a conforming, controlled , well behaved society. The problem is not Home Education its the power structure of society and how the rulers aim to remain the rulers..its that simple.........

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Old Pagan at the Winter Solstice

I am the old Pagan at the Winter Solstice I am fed up with being told that Christ is the reason fro Christmas. I am fed up with the call for saviours. The only saviour perhaps we need is the saviour who saves us from saviours. We need a Winter festival to celebrate mid-winter. All Societies from the beginning of time have celebrated the dance of the Sun . Mithras was said to have been been born on December 25 of a Virgin. The child of Light in the old Celtic Mythology was born at the Winter Festival. How odd it is that so few modern Christians ever point out that Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were refugees fleeing political repression. Of course today they would be unable to get back to Bethlehem today as the Israeli Government has built a gigantic wall preventing entrance to the Stable.

I am the wind that caresses the mountain
I am the salmon that leaps upstream
I am the deer that roams the forest
I am the eagle that soars in the sky
I am the flame in the fire that flickers
I am the raindrop, the rock and the tree
I am the sunbeam that warms a cold morning
I am the tear in a sad woman's eye
I am the breeze that builds to a tempest
I am the wave on the surface of the sea
I am the thought that changes to a word
Tell me:
Who might know the soul better than I?"

Brythonic Celt 539 AD

Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years. This start of the solar year is a celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun. In old Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel.
Today, many people in Western-based cultures refer to this holiday as "Christmas." Yet a look into its origins of Christmas reveals its Pagan roots. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was Christianized. January 6, celebrated as Epiphany in Christendom and linked with the visit of the Magi, was originally an Egyptian date for the Winter Solstice.

Most of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with "Christmas" actually are linked to Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures. While Christian mythology is interwoven with contemporary observances of this holiday time, its Pagan nature is still strong and apparent. Pagans today can readily re-Paganize Christmastime and the secular New Year by giving a Pagan spiritual focus to existing holiday customs and by creating new traditions that draw on ancient ways. Here are some ways to do thisCelebrate Yule with a series of rituals, feasts, and other activities. In most ancient cultures, the celebration lasted more than a day.

The ancient Roman Saturnalia festival sometimes went on for a week. Have Winter Solstice Eve and Day be the central focus for your household, and conceptualize other holiday festivities, including New Year's office parties and Christmas visits with Christian relatives, as part of your Solstice celebration. By adopting this perspective, Pagan parents can help their children develop an understanding of the multicultural and interfaith aspects of this holiday time and view "Christmas" as just another form of Solstice. Have gift exchanges and feasts over the course of several days and nights as was done of old. Party hearty on New Year's Eve not just to welcome in the new calendar year, but also to welcome the new solar year.Adorn the home with sacred herbs and colors.

Decorate your home in Druidic holiday colors red, green, and white. Place holly, ivy, evergreen boughs, and pine cones around your home, especially in areas where socializing takes place. Hang a sprig of mistletoe above a major threshold and leave it there until next Yule as a charm for good luck throughout the year. Have family/household members join together to make or purchase an evergreen wreath. Include holiday herbs in it and then place it on your front door to symbolize the continuity of life and the wheel of the year. If you choose to have a living or a harvested evergreen tree as part of your holiday decorations, call it a Solstice tree and decorate it with Pagan symbols.Convey love to family, friends, and associates. At the heart of Saturnalia was the custom of family and friends feasting together and exchanging presents. Continue this custom by visiting, entertaining, giving gifts, and sending greetings by mail and/or phone. Consider those who are and/or have been important in your life and share appreciation.

    Reclaim Santa Claus as a Pagan Godform. Today's Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), and the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year). Santa's reindeer can be viewed as forms of Herne, the Celtic Horned God. Decorate your home with Santa images that reflect His Pagan heritage.Honor the Goddess as Great Mother. Place Pagan Mother Goddess images around your home. You may also want to include one with a Sun child, such as Isis with Horus. Pagan Goddess forms traditionally linked with this time of year include Tonantzin (Native Mexican corn mother), Holda (Teutonic earth goddess of good fortune), Bona Dea (Roman women's goddess of abundance and prophecy), Ops (Roman goddess of plenty), Au Set/Isis (Egyptian/multicultural All Goddess whose worship continued in Christian times under the name Mary), Lucina/St. Lucy (Roman/Swedish goddess/saint of light), and Befana (Italian Witch who gives gifts to children at this season).Honor the new solar year with light. Do a Solstice Eve ritual in which you meditate in darkness and then welcome the birth of the sun by lighting candles and singing chants and Pagan carols. If you have a indoor fireplace or an outdoor fire circle, burn an oak log as a Yule log and save a bit to start next year's fire. Decorate the inside and/or outside of your home with electric colored lights. Because of the popularity of five pointed stars as holiday symbols, this is a good time to display a pentagram of blue or white lights.Contribute to the manifestation of more wellness on Planet Earth. Donate food and clothing to poor in your area. Volunteer time at a social service agency. Put up bird feeders and keep them filled throughout the winter to supplement the diets of wild birds. Donate funds and items to non-profit groups, such as Pagan/Wiccan churches and environmental organizations. Meditate for world peace. Work magic for a healthier planet. Make a pledge to do this.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Why I will vote Yes for a Social Europe

Those who sneer at beauty soon forget how to love. And when we forget how to love we lose compassion, tolerance and understanding. The European idea is beautiful, a beautiful idea and aspiration. Perhaps it is the sheer elegance and colour of European history, or perhaps its philosophy and literature. I note that both Wales and Scotland have a long History of connection with Europe that makes me loath the sharp features of the little Englanders that exist both with within the UK as a whole. I see it on the face of Nigel Farage, on the sharp and savage faces of the Tory Euro-sceptics. Their rejection of Europe is based on ignorance, a rejection of cosmopolitan views but behind it is the smugness and superiority of their belief that they no best, that all these foreign ides are rubbish and not worth looking at .

Yet despite all of this I sense a disquiet and discover that there is a stench fixing itself to both sides in the coming European Referendum. The Yes side is dominated by business, the establish, the ex prime ministers, Blair, Brown and Major, white males isolated from the ordinary people of this country. The people who used the stench of fear to frighten the Scot's from voting Yes. This will not appeal to the ordinary working class communities who are the key to staying in Europe. It is with these communities that the European project will be won or lost. I dont see any of the business moguls, the exprimeministers club mention the things that matter to ordinary people , such as environmental legislation, the protection of employment rights and the rich tapestry of cultural, philosophical and shared historical links. These establishment figures on the Yes side repulse me yet I must hold my nose and vote Yes. There must be a radical, environmental, left wing, decentralised campaign that makes clear it wants a People's Europe, a Social Europe. This is the way to win our place in Europe. It must be a Europe that is anti austerity, a Europe of the regions and a Europe of Social justice.

Then we have the stench from the the No campaign, the fear coming from Ukip, the crypto fascists, the neo-powellites, the crude nationalists, the industrialists wanting to destroy peoples rights over their work, their environment and their senses of History. This no campaign will use fear of migrants, fear of a superstate and fear of the future to promote a No Vote. If Europe is bad then the demands of a globalist world will be worse. The IMF, NAFTA , and other organisations would make the treatment of Greece by the EU look a picnic. Look at how the USA have treated Mexico and other countries.

I look at the No campaign and I am doubly repulsed. There is no real choice I have to vote Yes to stay in Europe. Over Breakfast this morning we were talking about this issue. Hayley made the point that what is essential is that we fight austerity first and foremost. To me what is clear that throughout Europe anti-austerity is on the may be difficult to promote it within the EU but it is quite clear to me that outside of the EU it will be infinitely more difficult...but I am afraid it does not take away the stench yet from both the Yes and the No campaign. At least Heath's generation remembered the site of a disturbed and broken Europe emerging from World War 2. Heath fought oh the republican side during the Spanish Civil side. In 2015 the neofascists are voting for a Brexirt.

The No campaign is a Devil's cabal of old right wing , racist, nationalist and anti Semitic groups with a smattering of an old anti European left wing activists keen to destroy a positive European perspective and while I cant stop thinking about and sensing certain similarities of this smell of fear coming from both sides that makes us fear the other, the migrant and the unknown. Its going to be an year in politics . The referendum will take UKIP into the Welsh Assembly. It will snuff out the Liberal Democrats and bring home to Plaid the unpalatable truth that many of the supporters they had in the first Assembly election, throughout the Valleys of South Wales have now and will in future vote UKIP. Welsh Labour will too be damaged by UKIP the Corbynistas have not come to Wales. Only the Greens now hold the radical torch and we will see a much wider range of representation in Cardiff bay come May. In Neath a nascent support Group for the Syrian Refugees coming to the area has sprung up and only Green party members Plaid members (including Leanne Wood) and a few honourable exceptions from Labour like Councillor Andy Jenkins has joined the group. We have heard nothing from either of our MPs Stephen Kinnock or Christina Rees, , where is Peter Black? that well know Liberal ? or any of the so-called Independents who put “People before Politics” Perhaps they put the fear of losing votes before what is right and proper. And I am deeply sick at heart..........

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Box Trolls at the bottom of Anthony`s Garden

Commiserations to my colleague from the Green Party Anthony Slaughter He has had a tough week so I send him my best regards. No I am  not talking about the election for Leader of the Wales Green Party . I am talking about the discovery that he has a pair of Box Trolls living in a house at the bottome of his garden. I believe that the collective noun for Trolls is Wallis-greagbius.. Do not worry Anthony Green Dragon Pest Removals will be around soon. We have just taken a contract with Plaid, a prominent administrator in Plaid asked us recently if we could take the Trolls back to the Green party as they had enough of them. We refused so we suspect that is why  have moved to the house at the bottom of your garden. .........

Passions: Philosophy and the Intelligence of Emotion Courses for 2016

Passions: Philosophy and the Intelligence of Emotion

Asclepius Courses for 2016

Tuesday January 12 2016 10am-12

Asclepius Centre;
33A Walter Road, Uplands, Swansea
01792 480245

Fear, joy, grief, love, hate, pride, shame. We all have emotions, and we recognize emotions in others. But do we really understand what emotions are and what they signify? It is remarkable how often we are wrong about our own emotions and misread the emotions of others. We also deceive ourselves about their meaning. The more we puzzle over the nature of emotions, the deeper the mystery becomes. It is a mystery that is by no means solved, but one that repays careful, philosophical analysis.
Far from being routine, emotions are "the key to the meaning of life," in these 10 sessions we will go on a tour to reach an understanding of these complex phenomena. .
We will look at philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Descartes, Adam Smith, Nietzsche, William James, Freud, Heidegger, and Sartre. We will discusses the portrayal of emotions in writers and artists including Homer, Shakespeare, Melville, Dostoevsky, and Picasso.

The course will comprise of ten two hour sessions and will cost £50

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Philosophy of Literature ; Utopia and Dystopia Asclepius Course 2016

Philosophy of Literature ; Utopia and 


Wednesday January 13 2016 10 am 

Asclepius Centre;
33A Walter Road, Uplands, Swansea
01792 480245

13th Jan. ‘16. Week 1. Martyn (1st): What is a dystopia? What is a utopia? Various dystopias / utopias we’ve read and what is common to them all, if anything. Why do we need them?

20th Jan. ‘16. Week 2 Jenni: The Republic of Plato. One of the first utopias. Section from the book.

27th  Jan. ’16. Week 3 Jenni: Brave new world by Aldous Huxley. Could be either. People on the outside and people on the inside. Written before WW2 Totalitarianism.

3rd Feb. ’16. Week 4 Martyn: Brave new world

10th Feb. ’16. Week 5 Jenni: Brave new world

17th Feb. ’16. Week 6 Martyn: Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood

24th Feb. ’16. Week 7 Jenni: Handmaid’s tale

2nd March ’16. Week 8 Martyn: Handmaid’s tale

9th Mar. ’16. Week 9 Jenni: The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe

16th Mar. ’16. Week 10 Martyn: The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe

23rd Mar. ‘16. Week 11 Consider her ways

30th Mar. ’16 . Week 12 Consider her ways

If you don’t wish to read the books then we will provide handouts of the important parts each week or send them by email in advance.

The culture and archaeology of the Ancestral Puebloan people Asclepius Course 2016

The culture and archaeology of the Ancestral Puebloan people
The Four Corners and the
Grand Canyon
North America

10 week Non-accredited course
Commencing Wednesday 13 January 2016

Time 2pm-4pm

Asclepius Centre;
33A Walter Road, Uplands, Swansea
01792 480245

Course Tutor: Howard Middleton-Jones

Cost £50

Monday, 14 December 2015

And was Jerusalem builded here among the dark Satanic Mills

A few months ago this poem was published on a blog that I have connections with. What has led me to publish it again were thoughts on the words of Jerusalem written by William Blake. The Song is a Socialist Song and does not deserve to be sung alongside Jingoistic nonsense it is often matched with. Read these words and reflect
“And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold! 

Bring me my chariot of fire!
So I rewrote sections of Shelley's “Masque of Anarchy” the original poem was written nearly 200 years ago. There was an unpleasant Right Wing Tory Government in power. It was oppressing the poor, cutting back on services and distracting the population by blaming the foreigner. In South Wales hatred was being stirred up against migrants and refugees. Not a lot of difference from today...........

The Masque of Austerity
As I lay asleep in Neathy
There came a voice from over the Sea,
And with great power it forth led me
To walk in the visions of Poesy.

I met some Murderers on the way—
One had a mask like Theresa May--
Very smooth she looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed them:

All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable Tory plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
She tossed them human hearts to chew

Which from her wide cloak she drew.
Next came Pretence , and he had on,
Like Michael Gove, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.

Clothed with Sanctions, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Cameron , next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Atos, lawyers, peers, or spies.

Last came Austerity: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a bankers crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
On his brow this mark I saw--

With a pace stately and fast,
Over Welsh land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood
The adoring Tory/Ukip multitude.

And a mighty troop around,
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of Atos their Lord.

And with glorious triumph, they
Rode through Wales proud and fay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of neoliberalism .

O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,
Passed the Pageant swift and free,
Tearing up, and sanctioning down;
Privatising till they came to Swansea town

And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Austerity

For with pomp to meet him came,
Clothed in arms like blood and flame,
The hired murderers, who did sing
'Thou are TROIKA and IMF and law

We have waited, weak and lone
For thy coming, Mighty One!
Our purses are empty, our swords are cold,
Give us glory, and blood, and atos gold.'

Lawyers and acountants, a motley crowd,
To the earth their pale brows bowed;
Like a bad prayer not over loud,
Whispering -- `Thou art IMF and GOD

Then all cried with one accord,
`Thou art IMF and GOD
Austerity , to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!'

And Austerity the Skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.

For he knew number 11 Downing Street
Of our neo-liberal economiststs
Him of Eaton , globe and law
And the gold-inwoven robe he wore.

So he sent his slaves before
To seize upon the Bank and Law,
And was sanctioning with intent
To meet his pensioned Parliament

`Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came,
And the blood thus shed will speak
In hot blushes on Clegg`s cheek.

`Every woman in the land
Will point at Tories as they stand--
They will hardly dare to greet
Liberal Democrats on the street.

`And the bold, true warriors
Who have hugged Danger in wars
Will turn to those who would be free,
Ashamed of such base Tory company.

`And that slaughter to the Syrians
Shall steam up like inspiration,
Eloquent, oracular; revolution
A volcano heard afar.

`And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again -- again -- again--

`Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number--
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you--
Ye are many -- they are few.'

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Shoah: when a solution comes.........

Sho·ah...the great wind


  1. (the Shoah)
    another term for the Holocaust 

As the people of France begin to vote in the Second Round of the Elections we must ask deep does the Fascist lie within us all, how deep does the blame culture continue? How much do we blame the other? and turn our faces away from what is before us, what we dare not look at. That is why fascism is so hard to defeat. it lies within our Shadow , our own ID, in the language we use in the projections and displacements we experience in our attitudes to the ones we not know or even wish to know.

In the last few weeks I have seen Fascism's shadow in Neath. in Swansea, on Facebook in newspapers, in the sneers on people's face. In the outlook that accuses others of bullying, of others as inspiring the attitudes taken, in the scapegoating that surrounds us. In the rounding on individuals who think differently and it frightens me and alarms me that so few see it. In obscene words written on pages, in the paranoid delusions of those who are afraid and are striking out at others in a vain attempt to hide what they feel, but will not say. Each generation battles with Fascism in its own way. Let us hope we can defeat it again.