The Cuckoo Clock


Next weeks reading.

The Qualities of Time: Anthropological Approaches

“This book explores the relevance of classical ideas in the anthropology of time to the way we understand history, participate in the events around us, and experience our lives. Time is not just an abstract principle we live by or a local cultural construct: it is shaped, punctuated, organized, and suffered in complex ways by real people negotiating their lives and relations with others. Space may be opened up for politics, violence or revolutionary change within the framework of ceremonial markers of social time: holy days, festivals and carnivals. People create and recreate patterns in the way they imagine the past, present and future at such moments, through material objects, language, symbolic action and bodily experience. The rhythms of social life, including periodic episodes of sacred or special time, interact with ‘historical events’ in strange ways.”

Spill Forth

Beneath The Waves: Of Metaphorical Worlds Below the Surface

Trying to build up a full picture of the history of some of the motifs surrounding the consumption of blood. Blood spilled on the ground and the importance of not letting an individuals blood spill on the ground first. Looking at this as part of a wider context; the role of feasting and eating in relation to descriptions of violence.


Tori Rodriguez, Hidden Metaphors Get Under Our Skin, Scientific American

The Abominable History Of The Blood Drinker

“The Paraphrase”: Bloudy Slaughter Of Ernest Christian Beleeuers

1 And I sawe (saith Saint Iohn) in mistery a woman (for an whore at first bloush semeth only a woman) sitting vpon a rose coloured beast.

2 All rose coloured is this beast, in token of tirannous murther & blodshedding ouer those that will not agree to their diuillishnesse…….

5 Upon this beast sitteth a woman. For what els auau~ceth or beareth out this malignant muster in their copes, crosses, oyles, myters, robes, relickes, ceremonyes, vygiles, holy dayes, bles|sings, sensings, and foolings, but a wa~|ton foolish and fantasticall religion, a vayne glorious pompe, and a shinyng pretence of holynesse in superstition, (callyng it theyr holy church). Shée is sayd here to sit vpon this bloudy beast, as to be stayed, quieted, and setled by them…….

9 Ful of abhominacions is the drink of the excreable faith of that Romish religion receiued of other, & full of filthynes also, for both retaineth  people therof innumerable kinds of Idol worsippinges vnder the title of Gods seruice, and also their shauelinges of prodigeous beastlynes in lecherouse liuing vnder y colour of chastity.


15 And when I perceyued and sawe hir with all hir adders whelpes so beastyshe (sayth saynt Iohn) with exceading wonder I marueyled. Not only that she was thus ouerset with bloud, drinking, or outragious murthering of inocentes, but also of hyr excéeding great abhominacions.

16 And most of all I wondered that the almighty God could with so much paciSingle illegible letternce suffer hir in such mischiefe.


John Bale,  The image of both Churches after the most wonderfull and heauenly Reuelation of sainct Iohn the Euangelist, contayning a very fruitfull exposition or paraphrase vpon the same. Wherin it is conferred vvith the other scriptures, and most auctorised histories. Compyled by Iohn Bale an exyle also in thys lyfe, for the faithfull testimony of Iesu.



“for an whore at first bloush semeth only a woman”

Seems to contradict the statement I made in the previous discussion on Irish blood drinking. Return to that later.

Can’t Stand Up: Byssus Absorbed

The Return of The Upsetter: Ensnaring of Bitter Aftertaste

My New years resolution was to stick to one topic Nova species and do the research. For some reason I have slipped into my cups and turned seriously to drink.

Looked at alcohol consumption before and blood drinking never thought of looking at the two things together. See what similarities and differences are to be found in this little communion.

It also gives me the chance to return to a favorite early medieval subject not thought about in years and a return to dispute a subject I like.

Under Heavy Manners

See what a few weeks of researching the ethnology of drinking throws up and wither to stagger further with this boozy, bloody death of a subject. So far it refuses to die.


Strangely Familiar: A View of Ireland and Other Antient Repetitions

“A Real Mean Mother/ Look Out My Brother I Am A Very Angry Man…

Don’t Tell Me How to Live/ Don’t Tell Me how To Die…

Nobodies Lies but mine

“The Gauls used to drink their enemies blood and to paint themselves their with, so also they write that the old Irish were wont: and so have I seen some of the Irish do but not their enemies but friends blood, as namely at the execution of a notable traitor at limerick called Murrogh O’Brien, I saw an old woman which was his foster mother took up his head whilst he was quartered and sucked up all the blood running there out, saying that the earth was not worthy to drink it, and therewith also steeped her face and breast, and tore her hair, crying and shrieking out most terrible.”

I Will Not Die Though You Bury Me

The description of this practice can’t be viewed as alien and distinctly Irish for English readers who would have been familiar with the practice from within their own culture. The view presented of ethnicity is primal and unchanging, the practice however is far from culturally distinct with features that mark it as other. That’s not the message here, the intent would appear to be fully and very clearly understood. This blood scene is a site of bitterness and revenge; a situation with the potential to spill out of control.

Being Out Of Time

A being that is not allowed to die is a problematic creature. The group which would form to engage in violent dispute was the kindred. Irish society was co-agnatic, kindred was formed through marriage so each individuals even in a family group would take a different, form. This could be further augmented by other relationships, fosterage, god parenthood, friendship. A range of social stratagems formed this fluid group.


Tempting to see this form of activity as way of keeping a focal point for a group that would disintegrate when the key relationship that binds them together has died. The groups survival required being to survive the grave, to cry out through other mouths and motivate action.


Edmund Spencer, A Veue of The Present State of Ireland

“Driven by Drink”


The Gaul’s Invade Greece

“Every male they put to the sword, and there were butchered old men equally with children at their mothers’ breasts. The more plump of these sucking babes the Gauls killed, drinking their blood and eating their flesh.”

Pausanias, Description of Greece

Of Disbeleif

I appear in print for the first time in an academic journal later this year. Which came as something of a severe surprise as I have not written anything for publication (dispense with the details).

No chance of editing or changing anything as its approved and ready for print. Amazing where a couple of speedily written e-mails can end up it would seem!

Its a very very early discussion of a subject I should write up fully, not happy with its present form for more formal public consumption. Will do so here, be first thing on the blog in a finished form that’s not a note.

Its  serious motivation to publish fully which is by no means a bad thing and the intention was kind. I just wish it was a finished piece (but I am seriously self critical never happy, even with things very well received in the past). Not hugely motivated to print, lots about the more formal and professional world of knowledge that leaves me uncomfortable.


Of Error, That Without Form: Deviod of Substance, Shapeless, Unsightly, That Most Despicable and Displeasing Creature Of The Lower Orders

mutum et turpe pecus

A Pattern Of Reinforcement?

 At the stage of the game where I have hit a new interesting subject but as yet have a very limited amount of data and a far from full understanding.

Reason for interest in the subject at first, it forms part of a much wider and seriously messy and interesting historical set of questions.

Made a few pattern matches with a few areas I have better understanding of. My immediate thought was to reject them as, experience dictates you’re expectation of what you may find is generally overturned when you start to look in detail.

For the next couple of days minded not to do that. Reasonable chance other folk may have made the same or certainly similar pattern matching errors.

It also throws up a question with regard to the way distinct and separate beliefs that by day may be utterly distinct from each other, may met in the dark and reinforce each other.

Here I am looking at a legal concept used in daily working practice in the Roman legal system. Its is very clearly divorced and separate from the concept I am contrasting it with.  Interest here is, has the concept slipped out the door of the court and found its way into other narratives? Or at least can form support for concepts that surround it for a period of time.

Basic point of interest is the notion that a craftsman can take an object and transform it into a different species of object. Cant help thinking of a particular supernatural being who is at times presented as a craftsman involved in a manufacturing processes.

I suspect that idea will crash and burn rather soon. But it seems to be a motivating factor for interest in the subject.

As I study ‘foolish notions’ my excuse is gaining further insight into my own stupidity and tendency to get an emotional and motivational hit from matching pattern’s may not be a total waste of time.

A belief I am attached to is that, the concepts I study, which have no physical existence in the real world yet live in mind, do network and reinforce each other. I think this is an ever changing fluid pattern of reinforcement. A surface, superficial pattern match is enough to keep it alive. If it has the ability to move when one part of the pattern is shattered and re-attach somewhere else, it stays alive.

In terms of reproduction, serious promiscuity.  Belief is dependent on a context that can motivate its telling. It is a fragile creature of the air, that lives on the breath and moves from mouth to mouth in a state of constant movement When the locations that offer it a context to spring to mind and mouth are multiple and not related or fully dependent on each other; the opportunity to reproduce fully or alter and adapt is increased.