This month’s riots and street battles, that have coincided so appropriately with the G20 London summit, and the subsequent recriminations that have followed, are particularly appropriate in view of the Martian aspect of the Astrological sign through which the Sun has been passing as they have occurred. Although much of the attendant media attention, that has accompanied the media hue and cry in the wake of an innocent death and an equally reprehensible Police batoning, has been focussed on the situation in the Capital, we should perhaps look elsewhere for some truly fiery Arian reactions to the present socio-political status quo.
The earlier events in London were perhaps subsequently used to justify the somewhat heavy handed Police supression of the attempted action by environmental demonstrators intent on taking part in a mass trespass at one of Nottingham’s most infamous coal fired power stations over the Easter Weekend. This sadly thwarted endeavour to disrupt a longterm environmental menace, that has seen large areas of the ancient broadleafed woodland that has traditionally been associated with the followers of Robin Hood decimated by Acid Rain, did at least achieve one vital aim for environmentalists; in that it highlighted public attitudes, in the largely residential area where the action was due to take place, to the overly draconian fashion in which largely peaceful environmental actions such as this are being policed.
The events in Nottinghamshire of that weekend are part of a long tradition of anti-government and anti-capitalist protest which are well documented in traditional Enlgish folk songs such as the early nineteenth century ballad "General Ludd’s Triumph".
"Chant no more your old rhymes about Old Robin Hood,
His deeds I do little admire,
I will sing the achievements of General Ludd,
The hero of Nottinghamshire.
The engines of mischief were sentenced to die,
By unanimous vote of the trade,
And Ludd, who all opposition defies,
Was grand executioner made!"
Although much is known historically about the nineteenth century Luddites, and their attempts to stop cottage tradesmen and farm labourers being squeezed out of existence by the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution, what is more obscure are the movements’ connections with Old King Lud: an indigenous Celtic equivalent of Lugh: the Pagan Irish God of Light. Lud’s own connections with London’s Ludgate and the town of Ludlow in Herefordshire, not to mention the Border Clan of Laidlaw and the Appalachian folk song of ‘Geordie’ or ‘Georgie’, are examined in depth in my ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel: Sir Walter Scott and the Border Minstrel Tradition’.
In it I show his proven connections with the male aspect of the Celtic cult of the Sacred Horse. Now, as the Sun begins to move out of Aries and into Taurus we are confronted with Lud’s female counterpart, whose myriad of archetypal manifestations have included none other than Lady Godiva: she of the flowing hair. This Venusian aspect of the female archetype is particularly appropriate in view of the fact that Venus is the planetary ruler of Taurus: the sign which presides over the effigy on the Kingston Zodiac through which we shall be travelling in next month’s ongoing installment from Jonathan Barnett and Mary Caine’s riveting dvd documentary. Until then good luck, and good riding…..