Druids and Landscape Tagged?


A muse on humans relationship with the landscape, together with the unfolding of space, as a way it might be used as a tranformational process. At the same time drawing in various disciplines of thought from scholars. The indvidual understanding and perspective of the author is shared here with the Druidic community.

The work within the Phenomenology of Landscape (Tilley 1994), is probably knocking at the "door." It attempts through theoretically models of landscape interpretation to find a way to cross the pont bren, the royal bridge. This bridge in effect links the objective world with the subjective perceptions of the human world. It too links the antiquarian concept of Rev Evans Evans of the community of fferyllt workers. Alternatively, its explanation has been proposed through a theoretical model. This model is concerned with breaking down the perception of space. Along with the fact, that cultural perception is either jointly or individually experienced within its community. Additionally Chapmans and Shanks Theatre/Archaeology (2001) explores similar themes.

To create space, it requires the need of a distance to be established between the human, and its viewed landscape. It therefore becomes out side and is separated. This detached element creates a material expression of meaning through created artefacts. Its intervention becomes projected onto the landscape by means of iconography. The assemblage becomes personally experienced, but it is primarily derived from the perceived world outside (Thomas 2001). Alternatively, its been proposed, both ritual and mundane time cut across these boundaries. In which is held a fundamental way that enables to describe the approach (Bradley 1991). Levi-Straus in an interpretative anthropology describes both nature and the human being, as separate.  

Mound Of Hostaeges Tara

Therefore, it creates a confrontation of spaces where each other is there purely for human survival (Tilley 1986). However there is no confrontation present when landscape and its environment tend to be held culturally within a certain sense of sacredness. Such sacrilegious attitudes therefore would create taboos against any alterations to the perceived outside (Bell et al 1999). Indeed the manipulation of material as in the manufacturing or changing it to another state would probably be considered as interfering with that sacredness. It therefore suggests that any alterations would become a reflection of either its human group or individual understanding of the cultural world they reside in. This would be projected through a cultural and material context, exhibited within its cognitive understanding of the space through iconography.

The concept of space is a fundamental issue when defined in different categories where each becomes inter-linked. Firstly, there is the human body, secondly its connected to the biosphere. Thirdly, in turn it's a part of space in which a schema is formed. This additionally adds an understand to the biosphere or "perceptual space". An outside living space creates the means for survival and its material activity. It results through human activity that constructs models of the schema within its "architectural space" this becomes a conscious response and a combined expression of all types of space. Finally, the "cognitive space" allows the analysis of how the primary "nature" and "human" interaction between the categories developed and become altered (Bradley 2000, Tilley 1994, 1990). From these theoretical concepts of space applied to landscape, an intellectual understanding of human activities and societies interactions can be rationalised. Therefore, they create paths, movement and monuments which become the expression of spatial distribution either fixed or movable within any material culture.

It has been argued that to have a concept or understanding of space, there has to be an awareness of "time". It then would automatically attach a model to the past, present and future (Clark 1994). A perspective concerning space suggestes a vessel is formed that becomes an abstract container. Alternatively, an abstract container requires a means to which it can become accessed (Marana and Köngas 1971). Indeed, it is considered a vast container that is both filled and objectified with a sense of dualism. It contains both the living and the non-living described as being simultaneously mobile and stationary (Ingold 1992, 41). Both can only exist when viewed within separate realities and become a paradigm of nature. The human and society response and comes to terms which explains the world, in which is both lived and dwelled in. If it's an abstract constructed expression, it can only be accessed through the subjective element of cultural awareness. This in turn can also be a social collective community awareness additionally it may be claimed by any single regional culture. It's personal, individual and held jointly by its society community norms. Therefore, cultures are both inter-linked and separate through there owns society agenda through any meaning and understanding placed within its cultural container.

Mound of Hostaeges Inscribed Stone

An abstract container linked on all levels when approaching allows individual and joint access to be created. Yet, the method universally deployed would appear through cultural myths. However, myths do not stand up to the rigorous of scientific analysis. Levi-Strauss takes the view that both Science and Myth act as educational tools in different mediums of thought. Myth can only be explained by other myth. They remove themselves from a historical framework when analysed through mythology. Myth is only understood from an overall collective within oral tradition. These remain present regardless of their later restructure. They retain orally the same events and relationships, yet in a different structural form. Therefore, individual myths form a total structure of meaning derived from the mystic system. Myths exist through there relationship to other myths and illustrate themselves through cultural patterns. They too hold constraints that are held outside the myth and they have the ability for transformation.

Any transformation is reached through the human observation and labelling of its environment. An example of inhabitants being ordered within the defined perceived world of nature is held within its language of communication. Past societies therefore become ordered through natural grouping such as birds belonging to the air; deer belong to earth, while aquatic creatures belong to the water. Amphibians however are really in between water, land and the air. In fact, it suggests a natural ordering process through their natural elements can become established. They to add a form of hierarchy rank by their natural placing where water allows access below the ground or earth; therefore, it could be considered lower in the pecking order. Earth stands in the middle from which transcendence can be gained. The air above would hold certain privileges, as indeed would the sky. In all tense and purposes, a natural system of division and ranking may become projected onto any society through such associations. Inclusive of mystical or even spiritual relationship to the three or four levels, they could suggest. A human cognitive system and schema in all probability becomes culturally formed within its parameters.

Humans then created stories that explain the inter relationship between the fish, deer, bird and the sky from the observable world. The understanding of the relationship constructs both a logical and organises social parameters. Therefore, human expression is derived from the perception of nature that is given form and meaning. Yet, they also describe a hierarchy understanding of the world both materially and spiritually. These aspects also become reflected within the abstract container. Both are theoretically in tension with each other but the basic form of construction is held and discovered through the understanding of nature. These relationships communicate and construct relationships to explain culture that is preserved within its ordering and its mythical understanding.

Human perception defines and creates nature within its cultural understanding. Any part therefore produces the divisions within its society through its ordering process. Therefore, any cultural myth brings together nature and the human experience to explain and communicate its process to nurture others. Consequently the union between the separate human and the nature its constructed. The union of the two can be achieved by passing over a bridge. Alternatively, on pays the ferryman on one finial exit in other cultural schemas. Nonetheless, a union could be achieved abstractly. This is obtainable when the projected container becomes accessed, that is achieved through ritual and traditional cultural rites. Therefore, it is based on the unconscious or the hidden reality that governs cultural societies. Quite possibly, in today world they are likely to become superficial facts of personal experience. However, facts are derived from personal experience, observation, perception and communication all are determined by constrains of created nature. Therefore, knowledge can only be based on the senses-perception. Such knowledge therefore can not be based on surface appearances through empathy, but it also requires cultural or personal experience. Thus, it becomes formalised through its oral telling of its written form.

All arguments are cultural or gained through personal experience within a cultural framework. It too includes an awareness of time undertaken within a constructed space. Those too can mark important points within the landscape real or illusionary are held within its cultural perspective. This too relates too stella phenomena and its associated star knowledge. Therefore, spaces create time constraints that incite specific activities that become re enacted. Spaces and time also adds awareness of human mortality. Such knowledge encourages enclosed spaces and the aspect of rites and rituals to insure that immortality can be reached. These activities create a dominant ideology and reinforce powerful knowledge and cultural restraints. Yet at the same time it reinforces traditional wisdom in everyday life and the abstract world (Frizpatrick 1991).

Experience are therefore described in metaphors through myth where access within the welsh culture is via the pont bren. The pont bren is the kings bridge that allows access into the abstract container. Alternatively, a bridge structure is also suggested by Tilley, to illustrate the conflict between two opposing spaces considered inside (subjective) to that found outside (objective). However, before the bridge was built within a patriarchal framework. The matriarchal concept of fertility has to be overcome; patriarch therefore performs rites that balance the creativity of both the earth's natural perceived seasonal replenishment.

Monuments displayed in the variation of culture burial practices in European Prehistory reveal various methods of disposal. A study on these shows that they take the form of tumuli, pyres, coffins, and cist or shafts that are either inhumations or cremation were practised (Harding 2000). During any rite or ritual, the living is also taken through time and space at the same time. Therefore, it becomes performed in the world of the living, for the living as well, as the deceased. In all tense and purposes, it reinforces current culture awareness and the beliefs held by its society. The transition of the abstract occupier of the deceased body becomes passed safely over the bridge/river into its cultural container. However, the rite would thus contain a set of learnt procedures that become culturally performed by specialists.

Nevertheless, to perform such a rite would require a degree of specialisation and status held by an individual within its cultural society. Skills that procedure and carries rules with precedence of how to approach the bridge. These become enacted both within and outwardly to create space, which is also undertaken within a community context. When directed they create the energy and the freedom to release any constraints. Such constraints as the previously implied abstract door blocking the entry onto the bridge. In turn the waiting ferryman that takes the deceased either across or down the river. The rite or ritual holds the abstract key to open it, so the two worlds can be accessed simultaneously. Therefore, a form of breach can be opened and sanctioned through such a process.

Hengwyn CircleThe rites of prehistorical burial although culturally different from region to region. Require the use of individual ritual specialists to create such spaces either on an individual or community level. Yet places would also be set aside, by making and seperating space in the landscape where specific activities take place. These too would hold culture meaning. Indeed space can be created anywhere; it forms a function but leaves no archaeological trace of its existence.

It therefore follows that within any space, its participants experience the workings of the specialist within the environment creating circular confines. The circle creates a dynamic and unchanging dimension. Its participants look inwards to the inside and towards its centre. Their backs create the outside, it is not inclusive and creates a wall of exclusion while abstractly within free space a cylinder is formed. Tension is created between the two spaces that contain secrecy and disclosure, both real and hidden by the participants. The wall creates the cylinder while the container brings together the two worlds they are in fact as previously indicated in opposition to each other (Chapman and Shanks 2001).

The balance and concealment with its revelation individually and personally experienced within a community time frame.; where past, present and future is worked with in the circular narratives of mythology (Strauss 1971). They create the multiple meaning as the storyteller which performs through waves of sound to the listening participants. Often it's confined within the space created. Therefore, that cylinder becomes the abstract axis that leads to the North Star. People gather in circles with its walls of exclusion and hold the sound within. Energy is generated by human bodies they move into alternative spaces captured and caught in the moment. The storytellers words create an arrow that can penetrate objective and abstract subjective space at any moment in time. It becomes controlled, an act that can violate the balance between the inside and the outside of the circle. The energy generated releases the arrow in fluid unexpected motion as the participants bodily perceptions move into another space. They become balanced on the bridge connecting the two worlds together. As energy becomes transferred, it moves down the corridor across the bridge, through the door, and inter-links the two spaces together in harmony. Each individual in turn subjectively experiences a connection within there own intellectual parameters. Whether it is of a personal objective nature or a subjective experience, they simultaneously join in a union of simply knowing. An element that suggests it can possibly never be objectified or even be described empirically in a material form, within reality. Yet, it can only become expressed in abstract cultural metaphors just as modern scientific thinking produces theories which bring about objective, and subjective theoretical models. Alternatively, they explain the same process of natural philosophy, as do the many culture story tellers around the world, places simular understanding within its nurtured social culture framework.

©Astrocelt 2001

Druidry, Fferyllt, Landscape, Space, Wales,
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