High Street scene, Edinburgh
“For the secret power of the Mysteries is within the signs. Any person attaining to natural or supernatural states by the process of development, if his heart be untuned and his mind withdrawn from the Divine or human within him, that power becomes a power of evil instead of a power of good. An unfaithful initiate, in the degree of Mysteries he has attained, is capable, by virtue of his antecedent preparations and processes, of diverting the power to unholy, demoniacal, astral or dangerous uses…” [H.E. Sampson quoted in David V. Barrett, Secret Societies, p. 303, Carroll & Graf Publishers (NY, NY) 2007.]
Edinburgh, October 24-25. I was quite unprepared for the spell that this city cast upon me during my aptly timed first visit. In the days leading up to All Hallows Eve (Halloween), the energy was in exaltation, with ghoulish tales and imagery seeking through the cracks of the old town where I passed my weekend.
Medieval edifices on High Street seemingly intact from their ages ago construction wrapped me in a mysterious lure. It was like being on a movie set. Deep, mysterious and enthralling. As I have always viewed my adventures as a “film in the making,” how could I have NOT been captured by the spell of this city!? Every High Street pub, it seemed, had a plaque relating an idiosyncratic history something like: “this was the last stop on the way to the gallows.”
Who needs a ghost tour when you can encounter any number of assorted spirits in the antiquated yet exceedingly well preserved pubs dotting High Street!
Yet, this gated city was also a seat of the Enlightenment that managed to fight off both British invaders and the hegemony of the Church. For I had come to make a pilgrimage to Roslyn Chapel and therefore was prepared to confront the guardians of the Secret Societies to uncode their Mysteries for myself. It promised to be a significant close to my Black Madonna adventure. guided as it was by my investigation into H.P. Garcia’s family lineage. The ultimate discovery, I sought in doing the physical footwork to complete this two decade Sojourn of Truth, was guiding me towards the moment where I would toss my bid, as a critic of the avant-garde fortified by the underground stream, to finally go Mainstream!
This was rolled out before me during my impromptu meeting with Alan Muir. The sharp Glasgow humor of this retired solicitor and political commentator burst the bubble of my burgeoning fantasy of penetrating into the heart of the Secret Societies that, at least for me, best characterize this illustrious city, where I might add, I had the better time pub crawling and groovin’ to the local music than any other city I have visited!
We met in an outdoor cafe on the Saturday morning I was on the way to Rosslyn Chapel. He cheerfully noted, by the way, that I kept referring to my destination as a temple. And so I had to confess that was making the unconscious association with Solomon’s Temple and was on my way to investigating claims that it was built by Masons to replicate the interior design of the Holy of the Holies. Would would this mean but bringing a relic of the Sacred Marriage Rites into the Modern Age!
More on that later. But first, Alan jumped right into the stream of the Black Madonna lore, proving that it is NOT underground in these parts. He insisted that I immediately go out and purchase The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and then told me the short story that its author, Muriel Spark, wrote with the improbable title — Black Madonna! In this manner, Alan lifted the veil that his adopted city dangles before tourists, scoffing at Secret Societies with a playful glint in his eye as ‘schoolboy antics!” Could there be any other association but location for the Scottish invention of golf, which means, I just learned the night before: “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden!” A redundant title if there ever was one!
But Alan is best in his own words. He handed me an essay that was so apt for BlackMadonna2009, that I asked him if I could publish it. We need no better invitation to cross the illustrious yet somehow wicked gates of Edinburgh!
And it is, introduced by Alan himself:
Sugar and Spice? One of each thanks. The pendulum has swung from Lady to Ladette (and kept going) AND it ain’t just handbags at dawn! Solicitor-Advocate and legal commentator, Alan Muir, risks the slings and arrows, or should that be slingbacks and GHD straighteners (?), to consider a worrying, and growing, trend.
When Rudyard Kipling penned, “The female of the species is more deadly than the male,” he was not revealing some long hidden secret nor submitting an application for the Misogynist League.
Before I go any further, please read this caveat:
I, as many know, cannot back New Labour “touchy feely” PC favoured by the “weave in your braid” brigade. That said, I detest hypocrisy and any forms of abuse, violent or otherwise.
I have written on behalf of, and continue to support, Zero Tolerance and similar organizations, BUT, it is surely time to address one of the darker realities of modern society. One is the misuse of “sexual equality” on a pick but don’t mix basis.
Society’s do-gooders cannot continue to proffer the argument that equality is all progress and willfully ignore the obvious. Rates of pay advances, greater opportunity tremendous, BUT, the bad came with the good. It was just conveniently ignored and grew like a societal cancer.
The concept of “the violent femme” is, as I have written here before, nothing new. The days that the knife, or more recently, gun, was “only in my handbag for my boyfriend” are long gone. Boudicca, the Amazons, etc. made way for those like Jessie Mougan (the 19th century Stockbridge baby farmer), Veverley Allett, Karen Matthews, and more recently, the two, possibly three, female sexual abusers of children, the very children left in their care. Society, as so often, has been slow to recognize an inconvenient truth. Those of us at the sharp end sit back bemused by the shock/horror press coverage. Frankly folks, “I was ever thus!”
Even as I write this morning, Colorado “mother” Mayumi Heene, has been shown to have been an integral part of the second form of abuse of her son. The “baloon hoax family” have been burst, deflated and popped by a six year old child’s honesty, or by his failure to stick to the script. Second — you cry?? Any parent who names a wean Falcon has set in motion a path to County lockup, frequent visits to A&E or childhood celebrity — i.e. the room in “we’ll sort it out for you (at a price!) Rehab and Retreat is already reserved!
A good friend of mine prosecuted a murder in Aberdeen some years ago and it took days, much cajoling from those of us who had attended “normal schools” and many replays of a self-incriminatory prison “phone call tape,” for him to accept that, actually, the female accused had tortured and killed another teen female all by herself, no man involved, (then had no problem spending the poor lassie’s savings). Evil is, my friends, to use a P.C. tern, “non-gender specific.”
Female crime and violence, often drink fueled will, as with most problems, only be made worse by those looking for a dominant male to blame or the creation of socio-friendly excuses. Get real people, equality, even by definition, means in all things. There are higher rates of female alcholoism these days — hardly a shock, of aggression in town centres, of girl gangs happy to inflict horrendous injuries on a poor lassie accused by the mob(ette) of “trying to steal my boyfriend.” The two worst cases of sustained kidnap and torture of a girl I saw professionally involved that backdrop.
It is time to stop looking for excuses and to investigate, then address, the reasons. Between 1998 and 2007, there was an 81% increase in reported female violent crime in England and Wales. How bad does it have to get before we, as a society, wake up?
High Street scene in Edinbugh