The statue of Lobey Dosser returns to Woodlands Road after a year’s absence. The famous statue, dedicated to comic-strip writer William “Bud” Neill, features Neil’s legendary comic strip hero riding on his trusty steed “El Fideldo” (Elfie), his resourceful two-legged horse and with his adversary, the villain “Rank Bajin,” sitting handcuffed behind. The comic strip which appeared in the Herald and Evening Times newspapers and ran in the 1940-50s , saw a second run in the 1980s and was a favourite amongst Glaswegians as it was written in the local dialect known as “The Patter” and had many comic parallels to Glasgow place names and legends.
His memorial plaque reads –
Statue erected by public subscription
on May 1, 1992, to the memory of
1911 – 1970
CARTOONIST & POET
Creator of Lobey Dosser, Sherrif of Calton Creek, his
trusty steed, El Fideldo, resident villain Rank Bajin,
and many other characters
The statue was away getting repaired after being damaged from the abuse of people constantly sitting on it. El Fideleo has only two legs and it seems they were not up to supporting the extra weight of a third horseman.
The new statue has been fenced off to deter unwelcome sitters and has been modified to strengthen it including put on a reinforced concrete podium.
The much loved Lobey’s statue was sorely missed by local people who now can enjoy it once again with some reassurance that it will last for many years to come.
Sculptors: Tony Morrow and Nick Gillon
Foundry: Powderhall Bronze
Plaque: Co-operative Monumental Services
Location: Woodlands Road, West End, Glasgow
Date executed: 1992
BRINGING IN THE MISTLETOE
– a masterpiece decoded
by C21 Troy
C21 Troy gets under the surface of this famous Scottish masterpiece to reveal a forgotten story, left as a series of symbolic and allegorical clues, which tell of a great controversy of secret practices and heretical views, held by the founding fathers of the new religion at the time of the building of the first Christian church in Glasgow which became Glasgow Cathedral.
The first time i came across this painting was in a book I bought at a jumble sale in my local church [when jumble sales were meaningful and frequent] in the mid 1970s. I remember saving up my pocket money for weeks and feeling chuffed with myself for getting such interesting things for pennies:- a newish book on paintings with nice photos and an older book on first world war aircraft that I was into in a big way at the time. I also got a FREE signed photo of Moira Anderson who opened the event. Well the photos were lying in a box on a chair at the exit and you could help your self, at least I think you could. I gave it to my mom who gave it to a neighbour who was a fan [dirty old man].
I suppose the painting must have been hanging in Kelvingrove Art Gallery at this time but I don’t remember it being there…really it was the photo of the painting that made an impression on my young mind. The only thing I recall from the text was that the people in it were druids and it was Scottish and that was intriguing enough for me.
We lived between Charing Cross and Garnethill, only one block separating us from the Art School. Garnethill in the 1970s was, just as it is today, very multi-cultural, a mixture of Scots, Indian, Pakistani and Chinese with a few Japanese, Polish, French and Italians for good measure. All hard-working families whose kids went to school together at Garnetbank Primary and the Boy’s or Girls Brigade in Renfield St. Stephen’s Church if they were old enough.
Being so close to the art school meant that your “ARTISTS!” warning light was permanently set on “RED ALERT!”. Young students, “so serious and deep” and older bohemians, some of them hipsters, some failing to maintain their dignity, whom they liked to hang about with, and there was still a few original Hippy Freaks knocking about…possibly “occultists” still waiting for their revolution, not realising that they had missed the boat ten years before and anyway, the boat was just about to be hijacked by pirates, nihilists with “electrical shockers” and all concepts of “hip” were about to be ripped apart and then safety -pinned together in new ways, a new sound, sound of the anti-ways, .. a new era on the cusp of the horizon
I thought they all looked familiar, the people in the Druids painting that is, they could be my friend’s aunties or big sisters and that old bloke pushing the two bulls – well that must be old Father “Whatsname” from the Chapel down the road. . [Actually his name was Father Gitts and he was a local legend] .and going north across the hill, over the field, not so hard to imagine drovers en route to Cowcaddens. The whole thing looked like a community wedding parade, except for it being winter…and there being no …..bride ..and groom.
When i saw the painting again recently in the Museum, I was struck by its size, so much bigger than i imagined and the gold was like “real gold”, shining! My photo never managed to capture how shiny it really was. Then there was all this symbolism, mysterious and captivating and nothing written about it from what i could gather, nothing to explain “what it all means”.??… and still being that man of a curious child, I wondered.
There has always been at the back of my mind a desire to find out and maybe share what i discovered with you one day. .. so here goes….
A painting that always instils a sense of wonder in all who happen upon it is “The Druids: Bringing In The Mistletoe” or just commonly known by my fellow Glaswegians as “The Druids”. It was painted in 1890 by two Scottish artists of renown, George Henry and Edward Atkinson Hornel, and hangs in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.
It’s quite unusual to have two artists credited in producing a painting together isn’t it? We cant really tell which artist painted on which parts as they both paint with a similar technique in the “Post-Impressionism” style, though “The Druids” is often described as “symbolist” which it definitely is.
The use of gold leaf to accentuate the ritual objects in the painting was highly innovative at the time and caused quite a stir, when “The Druids” was exhibited in London and then Munich in 1890. Some believe the painting may have had an influence on the Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, who incorporated gold leaf into his work ten years later. Maybe it did… maybe it didn’t .. but there you have it .. Gold Leaf!
It would seem that the painting is a pictorial representationof one of the earliest and probably most well-known descriptions of druids given to us by Pliny The Elder, in hisNatural History[AD 79].
“The Druids –for that is what they call their magicians– hold nothing more sacred than the Mistletoe and the tree upon which it grows, provided it is a hard-timbered Oak… Mistletoe is rare and when found it is gathered with great ceremony, and particularly on the sixth day of the Moon…Hailing the Moon by a native word that means ‘healing all things,’ they prepare a ritual sacrifice and banquet beneath a tree, and bring up two white bulls, whose horns are bound for the first time for this occasion. A priest arrayed in white vestments climbs the tree and, with a golden sickle, cuts down the Mistletoe, which is caught in a white cloak. Then finally they offer the victims, praying to the god to render his gift propitious to those on whom he has bestowed it. They believe that the Mistletoe will impart fertility…”
—Pliny the Elder, ‘Natural History’, XVI, 95.
It has to be said there are not many other accounts of “Druids” in ancient texts. Pliny’s account obviously influenced the artists a great deal though it is still a mysterious painting in many regards. What they have elaborated on Pliny and managed to suggest through symbolism seems so ahead of it’s time, as these ideas resonate so well with our modern “New Age” school of alternative thought and history. One wonders where the artists got these ideas from or is theirs the generation that started the New Age from their imagination or a secret source?
The depiction in the painting is of a procession of apparently ancient people clad in vibrant, colourful robes, leading two white bulls over a winter-land by the light of the waxing moon. We are reminded of that ancient, tribal civilisation of Celtic peoples, that spanned all of western Europe during the Iron age. They were presided over by a class of “wise men” [and apparently women] known as “Druids”, keepers of ancient earth mysteries, performers of the sacred arts, medical practitioners and mystics and who have all but disappeared from existence.
UNDER THE SURFACE: Bringing In The Mistletoe
The properties of Magical Mistletoe In ancient times mistletoe was hung inside the home to keep out unwanted ghosts [evil spirits] . Mistletoe had to be cut from the sacred oak at the right phase of the moon, “the sixth day of the moon” according to Pliny and you can see the waxing moon on the horizon in the painting. It was believed to have many medicinal properties, though is poisonous if ingested by humans and was also used as a fertility enhancement. In the painting, freshly cut Mistletoe is decoratively arranged over the horns of the two white bulls. In the Pliny account the bulls are to be used as a sacrifice to the Druid god.
A Bit Of Perspective Much has been said about this “tipping up” of the perspectiveof this painting, that it has been intentionally been skewed to look “flat” and capture the whole procession of druids as they are walking past you. Indeed they do look like that but I feel that there is more to the use of this perspective as a device and the moon is key.
I don’t think the perspective is skewed in any away. To me it looks as though the procession has come over the horizon and is now travelling downhill on to a flat terrain where “you” are viewing it from, dead straight and is just about pass by you to the right. They are walking down hill.
With the moon, a distant orb in the background and the rounded hills of the terrain also looking like spheres, I think the idea that is being suggested here is that the Druids have, or at least their knowledge has it’s origin off-world and have travelled from other planets, “other realms.” Indeed if you follow their faces back into the horizon you can see that they emanate from the clouds/sky in the top left corner.
– also it should be noted that they are walking toward the sunrise, their faces and golden paraphernalia lit up as they catch the first rays of the sun, It’s light casting long shadows of the trees on the ground as it rises on the Earth.
Looking at this fine parade one cant help notice the facial features of people from many races, spanning from as far as Asia across Europe and even South America. Informing us that Celtic Druidism was a world religion. Also that, with the exception of the bearded man, all of the people in the painting are women, denoting the powerful and essential role woman had in ceremonial matters. Perhaps the artists are trying to show us the importance of the Divine Feminine and veneration of Nature / Goddess amongst the Druids. Also, the central figure appears to be a blending of the two, that is to say s/he is androgynous and whose face has caught most of the light and so is highlighted for significance in the painting.
Another device of the perspective is to allow the vantage point for the viewer to frame the main group of five characters, including the two bulls, into a pyramid, with the red flag at the apex. This would link the Druids to the pyramid building cultures such as Egyptian, Mayan, Chinese and others. So it is being suggested here that all pyramid cultures were practising a form of druidism or ancient “Gnosis” [from the Greek meaning knowledge]. Whether the pyramid idea is intentional or not there is the need to frame a certain group in a triangle and this seemed to me to be important to the artists.
The six main characters that form the pyramid can be “distilled” into five separate elements in the painting ‘The Druids: Bringing In The Mistletoe’.All are dressed in unique colours and each with symbols that associate them with the basic alchemical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. also I think there is a slight nod to both astrology and astronomy.
Starting from the bottom upward we have
FIRE – the high priestess, her fiery red hair crowned by a single gold head band. She wears a cape designed with golden snakes set in an orange sun disk. She is associated with both the element fire and the sun and I think she has the features of an Indian woman with henna in her hair. Another serpent -a cobra, is placed in the centre of a golden sun circle which is placed on a six sided, hermetic seal, sometimes called the “Seal Of Solomon” which is it’s self set inside another outer-border circle, elaborated with celtic design to make up the large golden disk she wears on her chest. I think the links to Hindu mysticism are astounding. The cobra is symbol of the “serpent energy or “Kundalini” as it is known in that practice.
Also the “Seal Of Solomon ” axiom “as above so below” is referenced by the other scythe positioned at the top of the frame in the mirrored position to the one in the painting, and has in it’s centre three serpents.
The snake also eludes to those “Serpent Races” [- see snake cults such as the Ophites ] that apparently had to be expelled by Christian missionaries in Ireland and Scotland and no doubt all across Europe. So this “Fire Druid” encapsulates all the above ideas and more if one follows the serpent motif in all world cultures.
WATER– Is depicted as two young women walking close together and facing the sunrise, could they be twins? What associates the pair to water is the large clam shell design on the shawl of the one in front and the artistic rendering of the letter “W” at the bottom of the design. The fact that there are two of them one could associate them to “Gemini the Twins or indeed the shell to Venus / Aphrodite – or even the actual planet Venus, but i like to think of them as Pisces, symbolised as two fish. Their features are like Mayan woman of South America or maybe they are dark Spanish beauties.
AIR –For air we have rather oriental looking androgynous druid and s/he holds a red flag blowing in the breeze ,hence her association with air.
EARTH– What can i say about our symbol for “Earth”? Only that it is a green shawl or cape symbolising vegetation and is standing behind the red flag. I suppose the bulls themselves are Earth symbols as the Taurean nature is always associated with earthy materialist types in astrology.
SPIRIT– The fifth element is “Spirit” and here we have a wise old man dressed in white, denoting spiritual purity with a sun disk behind his head in the style of depiction we are familiar seeing in Christian iconography to denote a saintly personage or a specific Saint. Two bulls and bulbous head suggests phallic symbol – the male principal, seed -the holy fire and life-force in esoteric Gnosticism.
In Alchemy– The transmutation of metals into gold was symbolic of the perfecting of a soul. A self realised individual who transformed their bestial, lower nature into one of a spiritually awakened, conscious state ,to become a fully fledged Human Being. So it is fitting that all the religious ceremonial objects are gold, to denote their high spiritual value.
THE MESSAGE TO THE CHILDREN OF A FUTURE SUN
If we look back to the “Earth Druid” in green, hidden behind the red flag, we can see a large symbol painted on her cape/ shawl. To the uninitiated it just looks like the other symbols of the mysterious writing adorning the Druid’s clothes and flag. To the uninitiated yes, but to anyone who studies written music they will immediately [although no one has until now] recognise it as the musical notation symbol for a “hold” or “pause” called a “Fermata” written
When it is placed over a bar [ the flagpole?] it is used to denote the end of a musical phrase or section of music. The chief druid leading the procession is carrying a ceremonial golden scythe used for cutting the mistletoe but is also a symbol for “time” and “death”, meaning the end of a cycle. Holding it in the “arch upwards” position it forms the last letter of the Greek Alphabet “Omega,” written like so [ Ω]
Sounds a little sombre and final doesn’t it?
Cheer up good reader and read on, I feel it in my bones that we have not heard the last of our dear sun worshippers.
As mentioned before, both druids and saint are all facing the rising sun together which is significant as we can derive our third and forth symbols from this to complete the message.
1) Pause – Rest – End Of Cycle
2) OMEGA – The Last of Our Line
3) Christian Saints and Druids
4) Face the dawn together.
“We, the last of the Druids have reached the end of a cycle and though our work must stop, it is only a pause, as a new day dawns we, both Druids and Christians face the rising sun together”
or if you like this sort of thing [ I do]
Druids we, last of our line must rest our work Now ends our time.
Turn to face the rising sun [Christos] A cycle starts A new day dawns
It is a a subtle statement by the artist’s Hornel and Henry who are prophesying a new renaissance in druidism in the 20th Century.
The main message to be read in the painting is therefore that the druid’s exit from the stage of history was only a pause and that the last of their line was absorbed into the modern esoteric Christian Church waiting for such a time as when the human race had acquired sufficient knowledge [Gnosis] to resurface!
This is very much a Glasgow painting, painted by some of the “Glasgow Boys” of fame, perhaps the artists wanted to say something, a nod, a reference that could tie it to the city for posterity, maybe an event in it’s ancient past that could link it to the aesthetics of their time?
‘The Druids: Bringing In The Mistletoe’ – Christian Symbolism – Fergus / Mungo
“Bringing in the Mistletoe” a title that commands the eye to search for mistletoe in the painting and there we find it, entwined behind the bull’s heads, in front of the old man, who seems to be driving them, as they pull a cart, the frame of which you can just make out in the lower left hand corner of the painting.
I always find this corner section of the painting to be a little crammed as if it was the intention of the artists to make bulls, mistletoe and old man appear fused together, that they are to be taken as one symbol. Both man and bulls are the embodiment of the male principal in nature and both druid and christian symbolism is associated with sacrifice here. The actual killing of the bulls as sacrifice in the old pagan ways and the sacrifice Jesus made to save mankind.
Taking our “Spirit Druid,” the old man in white, to me he stands out amongst the other characters in the painting. First because he is the only man and also because he has what appears to be a halo around his head. He is depicted as a saint but Glasgow’s patron saint is St Kentigern affectionately known as “Mungo” meaning “dear one”. Is he supposed to be St. Mungo, and if so, what is he doing in such controversial though very distinguished company?
At the time of Kentigern [6th Century AD] in the British Isles, the once prevalent, indigenous religion of druidism had dramatically declined. Beside this, there would be remnants of pagan Roman and the larger, dominant Anglo- Saxon belief system. The newer Christianity, though rising in popularity was still a cult. So perhaps our painted saint is meant to represent Mungo or at least the embodiment of Christianity at this time and it’s links, according to the artists, with Druidism.
Were there links to Druidism? Quite possibly, ….almost certainly. Well we have the character of Simon Magus in the Bible [ Acts 8: 9-24] who was excommunicated by St. Peter for being “Gnostic.” as proof and for all we know our saintly druid in the painting may be a reference to him or at least mystics of that ilk.
What of the Druid converts? Why would Christianity appeal to druids who had such an ancient belief system of their own that gave so much to it’s followers, connecting them to mother/father god, spirit, nature, the cosmos and incorporating the arts and earth sciences? How could it even compete?
Simply by being not that different, so no competition really. The first Christians were Gnostics [from the Greek Knowledge] and practised a form of esoteric Christianity with symbolism, method and an ultimate goal of “salvation” that would have been familiar – if not too far removed from the native holy men of Britain. Druidism for want of a better word to define it [Rome 50s BC] and Christianity once enjoyed a time of peaceful co-existence and mutual appreciation.
For the remaining druids under persecution from the Anglo Saxons, – Christianity was probably the safer option with many high priests eventually being absorbed into the Celtic Christian priesthood. The original vein of Celtic / Gnostic Christianity prospered until it was deemed as heresy and all but wiped out with Norse paganism by the all-powerful, intolerant and vengefully unforgiving Roman Catholic Church, 600 years later in the 13th Century. [see The Albigensian Crusade]
Many first churches were built on the sites of sacred druid worship albeit some of them on Anglo-Saxon shrines already now built over them. Originally the sites would have been open air alters or standing stones, in sacred groves or sites chosen for some astrological observational advantage. The new priests on the block would be able to hook in many a lost sheep from the catchment of “pagan” stragglers visiting them.
‘The Druids: Bringing In The Mistletoe’
This is very much a Glasgow painting, painted by some of the “Glasgow Boys” of fame, perhaps the artists wanted to say something, a nod, a reference that could tie it to the city for posterity, maybe an event in it’s ancient past that could link it to the Victorian aesthetics of their time?
In the book he commissioned in the 12th Century documenting the life of Saint Kentigern’, [or Kyentyern meaning “first lord”] Bishop Jocelyn of Glasgow Cathedral, in the telling of the story of the monk, mentions that after his miraculous “disturbing of the river Forth” to escape his master St. Serf and his disciples, on that same night, he stayed in the house of a holy man named Fergus. Fergus an old man, who was very ill and not long for this world, had been informed by divine revelation, that in the presence of St Kentigern he would pass from this earthly realm. He asks the kindly monk to preside over his burial which Kentigern promises to do.. Amidst the prayers to bless his immortal soul, the old man gives up the ghost , leaving Kentigern to honour his promise to attend to his funeral.
The following day Kentigern had the old man’s body lain on the back of a wooden cart which was being pulled by two untamed oxen and prayed to God to guide them to his chosen place for burial. To quote directly from the book,
‘And in truth, the bulls, in no way being restive, or in anything disobeying the voice of Kentigern, without any tripping or fall, came by a straight road, along where there was no path, as far as Cathures, which is now called Glasgu …’
The site where the bulls stopped was a cemetery that had been consecrated by St. Ninian 150 years earlier and this cemetery is said to be the site where Kentigern established his first church. It is believed that the original cemetery lies under what is now the Blackadder Aisle of Glasgow Cathedral. It is worth noting that the “modern” Victorian burial ground called “The Eastern Necropolis”, is situated next to the Cathedral site, on a man-made hill today and was also possibly chosen for its proximity to St. Ninian’s ancient cemetery. Which for all we know may have been a Druid site previous to this. Going back to this strange passage in Jocelyn’s book, “came by a straight road, along where there was no path..”
What did Jocelyn mean by this? ” a straight road, along where there was no path?”
Jocelyn was piecing together fragments of written legends and the spoken word of local stories to compile his story of Kentigern, editing as he saw fit that is, taking out or obscuring anything that made him feel uncomfortable that pointed to positive aspects of the “Old Religion” that may have mirrored Christian miracles or beliefs etc.
To me it reads like allegory of something. …but of what?
In recent years many have thought it to mean a “prehistoric sitealignment ” ascribed to Harry Bell in his publication “Glasgow’s Secret Geometry: The City’s Oldest Mystery.” The main jist of Mr Bell’s discovery is that the city was built along a network of prehistoric communication lines.
Harry believed that Jocelyn was describing an “invisible path” or sight line that ran from Carron Ford to what is now the Eastern Necropolis where the bulls finally stopped.
Of course an “invisible path” could be a reference to “lay lines or “dragon lines” and the alignment between Carron Ford and The Necropolis is known to energy dowsers such as Graham Gardner of the British Society of Dowsers and those of similar sensitive abilities who have visited the area.
So we have two good and believable interpretations of what the “straight road, along where there was no path” may be – an ancient site alignment or even a lay-line – known to the Druids. Bishop Jocelyn’s account is the first reference to any road or path of any kind in the area and begs the question, why did he describe it in such an ambiguous fashion? Did he feel that he had to disguise any reference to a previous culture, namely the druids because of fear from criticism or even reprisals from his superiors? Was there still rivalry between both religions? Druidism and Christianity? Well he was, with the commissioning of the book The Life Of St. Kentigern, trying to establish Glasgow Cathedral as a major site on the Christian Pilgrimage trail and he most definitely sought the approval and help from the Pope in the Vatican in Rome at the time [see my short film about Jocelyn here] to settle land disputes but Druidism was all but none existent at the time. So why the need to disguise it such a way? Why mention it at all, why not just say ” came by a straight road as far as Cathures, which is now called Glasgu”? and miss out the “where there was no path”bit? Perhaps because there was no physical road there at all?
I would like to offer an idea of my own dear reader, that Jocelyn’s description of the “path”, choosing his words so cleverly, was an attempt to flag it as important, for those with “eyes to see and ears to hear” well at least “eyes to read”, as it spoke not only of Druids and possibly their lay/site lines but of something that was diametrically opposed to Roman Catholic doctrine and was known to Jocelyn and everyone in Christendom at that time as “The Great Heresy” with dire consequences for those that practised it.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Even today, this passage from the book of Matthew in the New Testament, throws rival Christian factions into disarray – with much gnashing of teeth, tearing of clothes and rolling in the dirt…and other unchristian behaviour between them…ok so maybe it doesn’t… but it is still an idea of contention in some circles of modern Christian Theology.
Basically – the “wide gate and broad way” – is the path walked by sinners, [see 7 deadly sins] everyday Christians, who believe their soul can be saved, regardless of their conduct, because their sins will be forgiven as long as they believe that Jesus Christ is their Saviour. So it is a question of “Faith” and as long as they have it, everything is going to be rosy.
Through time, with the advent of organised religion, these “everyday Christians” learned to accept the legitimacy of ordained priests to explain the bible to them which, they believed is the word of god and is to be taken literally and for said priests to act as middle men between believers and god with the power to forgive sins. So the priests were heavily invested in the “broad way”
Women of the cloth would be sisters [nuns] but would never be allowed to be Bishops and were generally seen as inferior to men. See St. Paul “the misogynist.”
Believers meet in churches, which are subservient to a mother church which would have been Rome in Jocelyn’s time, and followed a strict code of conduct as decreed by it. If you fell out with the church you were excommunicated and doomed, no longer able to seek salvation for your soul, though some managed to be received back into communion if the pope or a Bishop saw it fit to do so….all heavenly pursuits vindicated.
The “straight gate and narrow way”- is not for the faint of heart because of the discipline required to achieve “salvation”. Basically the earliest “Christians” – who came to Britain, done so in the first Century via the invading Roman Army . They practised a kind of esoteric Christianity where they believed that the word “Christ” is a title, not a personal name. The “Christos,” a word derived from the Greek meaning, “Anointed One,” and Krestos, whose esoteric meaning is “fire” predated the arrival of Jesus the man and is the “sacred fire” or “life force” in nature. They saw the human body as a temple where this force resided and could be realised. Jesus “The Christ” was a great Master and teacher to them and was seen as living embodiment of this life force or spirit that they could obtain, and so have “Christ in their hearts.” In other words, anyone with developed capacities of awakened consciousness could become a Christ, a true human being.
The path to this inner-self realisation was known as “the work” and starts from the premise that people posses the essence to produce the soul but they do not posses the soul yet.
These holy men and women raised the power of this life-force by acts of dedication [the work] relying a lot on chastity, meditation, the study of esoteric knowledge [dead sea scrolls] and highly moral living which enabled them to disintegrate the undesirable psychic elements within [see “Seven Deadly Sins”] and in doing so, cultivated the soul which could survive death of the body.
They believed Jesus to be the embodiment of this life force in the universe and associated him with the sun [his symbol as radiating light and energy] Jesus was a great Master who lit the way for adepts who saw “The Christos” ( Anointed One) as the Logos – the very “Word” uttered by god to call all into being – self created and equated with both the Consciousness of god and the consciousness of mankind.
They had no need for stone buildings with effigies as was the Roman model for worship of their gods. They met in peoples houses or in the open air. They had no priest class, only “holy men” who were teachers, so no need for any middle man between them and god. They did not follow any book but were instructed by their esoteric teachings [see secret gospels] and were guided by their personal inspired revelation and logical reasoning in the course of their meditations. Salvation was the responsibility of each individual and one had to acquire Gnosis [Knowledge] and walk “the narrow path” to seek the Divine Spirit of Redemption- faith did not come into it. Gnostics saw themselves as “living Christs.”
God is incarnated in the Perfected Soul of an individual. Gnostic. Christianity was a tool that allowed them to achieve this. A religious system based on self knowledge and practice and did not rely on Faith.
You could see why the Catholic Church in Rome did not like the Christian Gnostic, D.I.Y. approach to salvation. As it totally undermined their function and power and it is why they accused those who called themselves “The First True Christians” and “living Christs” as heretics.
Was the” straight road, along where there was no path” a network of Christian Gnostics and druids practising along the area from Carron Ford to St Ninian’s cemetery that Kentigern was privy to, and indeed was probably part of and that his Chronicler Jocelyn Bishop Of Glasgow, had to disguise this inconvenient truth because of fear from retribution from his superiors in mentioning it? Though mention it he did, albeit in a coded fashion, to record it for posterity.
I think, those romantic Glasgow Boys of the Victorian renaissance quite possibly thought so..and now after my journey into this research I think so too.
I think it is fair to say that the artists, Henry and Atkinson saw a new Scotland of spiritual enlightenment based on the path of Hermetic wisdom.
This Hermetic principal is finally encoded in the “secret geometry” of their composition for the painting “The Druids: Bringing In The Mistletoe” As it portrays a balance and union of energies of “male and female”, the two serpents on the “Staff Of Hermes,” making each axis of a St. Andrews Cross which is the national flag of the Nation Of Scotland and St. Andrew it’s Patron Saint. With one axis made entirely of women and the other a composite of man, bulls and tall erect trees. The centre axis of this cross is the androgynous person whose face is lit up the most to show this magical union of both. The Gnostics saw the Supreme Being as androgynous before splitting into the natural forces of male and female. Our axis in the painting is the alchemist’s “Hermaphrodite” or “Rebis” as it is known and is a symbol of marriage of Spirit and Mankind.
[Troy is an author, researcher, filmmaker and artist living in Glasgow Scotland]
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