Bread and the Raven


“As birds and Beasts whose bodies are much used to the change of the free and open air, forsee stormes, so those invisible people are more sagacious to understand by the Book of Nature things to come, then wee, who are pester’d with grosser dregs of all elementary mixtures and have our purer spirits choaked by them. The deer scents a out a man and powder (tho a late invention) at a great distance; a hungry hunter, bread; and the raven, a carrion: their brains being long clarified by the high high and subtil air, will observe a vierie small change in a trice. Thus a man of second sight perceiving the operations of forecasting invisible people among us (indulg’d thorow a stupendous providence to give warnings of some remarkable events, either in the Air, Earth or Waters) told he saw a winding-shroud creep up on a walking healthfull persons legs, till it came up to the middle, then to the shoulders, and last over the head, which was visible to no other person.”

Robert Kirk developing a comparative time-frame in which he can describe the operation of second- sight and the seers ability to predict the future.

He does that by identifying movement in the lives of human and animals and inscribing on that a sense of time.

Time here is formed and conjured as a living creative processes.

Where ever anything lives there is, open somewhere, a register in which time is being inscribed

Henri Bergson


Andrew Lang the 19th century ethnologist, published and thought highly of Kirks work, but from a philosophical perspective preferred a contemporary of Robert Kirk  James Frazer and his discourse on the second sight.

Looking at it from the early 21’st century it seems to suggest that,Giles Deleuze, Henry Bergson and Alfred North Whitehead are deploying ideas about time that may have presence in the past.


Robert Kirk, The Secret Commonwealth or a treatise displaying the chief curiosities of Scotland as they are used to this day


Kirks text is more commonly referred to  as , ‘The Secret Commonwealth of Elves Fauns and Faries’

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