Tea and musings around liminality

Yesterday I sat at a table lit by the golden light of the late spring sun, enjoying the feel of a soft breeze contradicting the warmth of sunlight on my skin while the glorious sound of birdsong gently caressing my ears in the café at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre. On the table was a lovely pot of tea and a home-made fairy cake (small ‘cupcake’) topped with vanilla buttercream icing and my journal-sketchbook into which I would be recording my thoughts and observations. This was a treat after picking up a batch of mugs that I’ve had printed with a piece of my artwork and a short greeting for my lovely year 11 class who are leaving on Thursday. That will be a day filled with tears and joy, a liminal moment for the pupils as they stand on the threshold of the next phase of their life. The leavers’ assembly being an opportunity to mark this transition point, a liminal point, with celebration, with laughter and with the memories of experiences.

The view from the window was of the neglected graveyard attached to St Peter’s Church which falls away towards the valley bottom as the café abuts the eastern edge of the graveyard and I realised that I was sat at a liminal place, but not one of one phase of life to another. This liminal place marks the boundary between the living and those who have passed out of this earthly existence.

As I realised this, a pair of magpies flitted from tree to tree, their tails twitching as they settled on branches, and sunlight on their plumage revealing the iridescent purples, blues and greens that are so often missed. A solitary cabbage white butterfly careened from plant to plant, it’s pale colour standing out against the brown tangles of brambles and the bright greens of spring growth, signs of life surrounding the memorials of those long dead.

Magpies are associated with bad omens, and one such superstition is that if you see a single magpie on the way to church then death is close (myth-making at blogspot). Considering that many churches have a graveyard around them or close to them, then that is quite true! I love magpies and the other members of the corvidae family of fine feathery friends, despite their gloomy reputations.

As one thought bounced to another, I realised that I too, was at a liminal point in my life as I continue to work on unravelling the tangles of the past through journaling, meditation, self-hypnosis, gratitude and pennies-dropped-epiphanies as I’m becoming more aware of the inner critics and their continual sussuration of negative messages about me. I’m learning how to dis-empower them, little by little, and I may be approaching a turning point for myself in how I view myself and what my beliefs are.

The grave markers were splotched with lichen and algae, patterns reminding me of growths of penicillin on laboratory agar plates or stale and mouldy bread. Tumbled tangled brambles wrapping round them, seemingly pulling them down, down, down into the ground, the Earth reclaiming what had been taken from it, and with it the memories of those long passed. Despite the pull of time and neglect, the taller columns and headstones bravely rose above the tangles, holding their heads up high in the sunshine, proud of their leprous appearance, suggesting age and longevity, that they remember even if the living no longer do.

Others, however, seemed to be surrendering to the gradual depredations of time. Their sharp leaning stance, the first phase in laying down, showing an acceptance of their fate. No one alive who remembers them, who cares for them enough to tend to the memorial of a life once lived. The connections between the present generation and the past generations fading and weakening with time as symbolised by the tumble-down state of the gravestones. This was reflected in the laughter and chatter of the living enjoying beverages and vittles in the bright, warm, life-giving sunshine. The proximity to the necropolis and it’s visible symbols of death, funerary rites, and grief having no effect upon the high spirits of the living.

Perhaps that is because a wall, a visible boundary separates the activities of the living from the area of the dead. If we were to dine and party on their graves, perhaps we may feel differently, irreverent perhaps; an attitude maybe not unique to our own culture or time. I saw this video about dining with the dead in Georgia on the BBC news website earlier this week, and an example of how different cultures approach death and the places of the dead and how rigid and solid the boundary between us, the living, and our deceased friends and family are.

Death is, essentially, a great leveller; the great and the good lie alongside the poor and meek. Only the memorials tell us who is who,and only a skilled osteologist would be able to tell which was which were their skeletons disinterred and separated from any clothing, jewellery or other funerary offerings that they were interred with. To most of humanity they would be the remains of people, equal in death as they were not in life. Given enough time, all return to the Earth, return to what we were created from, very few leaving traces that will last for centuries, millennia or the aeons of time.

Traces remain in the bones that remain of their lives; hardship, luxury, adversity, ease all leave their marks in the bones. As the flesh decays, as memories fade, so do the individual stories of each person’s life, the stories that make each of us unique. The funeral monuments may tell us about them, there may be hints of their life in written records, but so much about them, such as whether they were kind or cruel, loving or neglectful, are lost.

Gloomy thoughts? Not at all! I like what the we can learn of our ancestors from their funerary rites, from records, from stories still held in the memories of the living, maybe experienced first hand or tales handed down through the generations. It matters not whether they are iron-topped tombs of the magnates of Blaenavon or the ring-barrows of a person from the Bronze Age, or the fossilised remains of our distant relatives. For many, we can only make educated guesses about their life and times, sometimes more educated than others when written records exist.

Of course, the choice of a place for cemeteries is a story in itself. In ancient times where a lot of effort was expended to bury a few in monuments such as cairns, ring barrows, cists, long barrows, then they weren’t just plonked in the nearest available place. The choice of place had meaning, just as the choice of place has meaning to us whether it’s where we go on holiday, where we choose to live and experience life. We choose places that give us meaningful experiences, be they linked to happy or sad times. The same is true when we choose places for funerary rites, whether we choose them ourselves before we die or whether we choose them for our loved ones who have passed away. My father’s cremains were buried beneath a sapling plum tree in a country lane where he used to collect all kinds of fruits and plants to make wine from. A friend’s father’s ashes were sprinkled from a bridge to return to the sea which he loved and sailed while serving in the Navy. Another friend’s father’s ashes are to be buried with his brother, if permission can be gained from her aunt.

If we take time and care to choose an appropriate resting place for the physical remains of our loved ones, I’m sure our ancestors did so too, even though it may not have seemed so to us as in many cases we have no ideas of their beliefs and the practices that stemmed from them. Nor do we know for sure why certain people were accorded such seemingly prestigious and important funerals, whether they were the great and the good or whether their deaths had a different meaning and the funeral a different purpose than commemoration and a reminder of our connections to the people of the past, to our ancestors, to those who have shaped the society we life in at any particular point in history.

I couldn’t help but wonder what stories the land could tell us if we could access it’s memory. I’d love to know what events the stones beneath my feet have witnessed in their long aeons of existence. What lovers’ trysts and promises. What betrayals, joys, toils, griefs. Whose feet have passed over them and what is the story of the lives. I don’t just want to know about the great and the good, people whose lives are most probably fairly well documented. I want to know about the ‘ordinary’ people as well. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone’s life experience is unique to them due to their unique perceptions, beliefs, actions, reactions and personality, and what thoughts and beliefs they had about themselves and others.

Perhaps the land, the position of the cemeteries, their relationship to the use of the land in the past and the present, the stories told about the land, it’s people all serve to keep alive the memory of the ancestors, aiding in remembering their stories and the stories previous generations and in so doing keeping the ancestors alive, in memory, and our connection to them stronger. The scape surrounding the cemetery becomes woven into the stories of the recent ancestors and the myths of the more ancient ancestors, acting as aide-memoires to the tales. Each feature in the land around the cemetery is not devoid of emotion, of meaning, and for each feature these would change as the time of day, the season of the year and the weather changes. We interact with these scapes through the feelings and meanings and the way that we make use of them and that induces a feeling of belonging to them. Ideas such as these are propounded by archaeologists such as George Nash.

I realised then, how much I’d enjoyed writing my thoughts, how going to a different place other than home allowed me the inspiration I needed. It’s also brought up links between things that are occurring in my life at present, and that will help to unravel any tangles knotted by the inner critics in the past.

Soggy Sunday Afternoon…

Self-love, journal writing and letter writing to heal.

It’s been a while since I last blogged something.

Life has been both interesting and uninteresting.  I’ve had a lot of thinking to do, a lot of ‘down time’ has been needed to recover from the emotional stresses and strains of my working life.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading, the latest books are about using a journal as a method of self-love and healing oneself from the events of the past.  Something I need to do.

I have kept a journal for many years now, and I do vent and rant in it and find my way to some kind of clarity.  I have become a little disheartened at times as I seem to end up ranting about the same things over and over.  The books I have read ( Writing to Heal by Jacqui Malpass and Journalution: Journal writing to heal your life and manifest your dreams by Sandy Grason) have shown me that this isn’t a problem, that it may take many times through the same thing to come to clarity, forgiveness (of self and others) and to let go and move on.  In other words, I need to be kinder to myself and not be such an overachieving perfectionist!  And I mean that kindly

My plans for my journal today are to make a list of people who I need to write letters to for the hurts done to me in the past (even if such hurt and pain was not their intent) and to people I’ve not had ‘completion’ with. These letters that will never be sent but will allow me to let out of myself the anger, fear, hate, upset, disappointment and so on, and work my way towards forgiving them and myself.

I’ve swallowed down hurt and upset and anger and fear and so many more emotions with copious quantities of food.  The emotional reactions have been locked away, though they burst out at times, quite explosively at times, and it scares me that this ‘ice maiden’ has such energetic emotions.  I’ve spent a lifetime of nearly fifty years suppressing my feelings, not sharing how I feel with others for fear of rejection, embarrassment  conflict, hatred.  I’m not good at putting into words what I think and feel if I’m upset in anyway.  I am, however, much better at writing things down, as shown in my journaling of the past decade or so.

I won’t keep the letters either.  I’m going to burn each one as it’s finished.  If I need to return to the same person or group of people over and over again to clear things up for me, then I will do so.  I will keep doing this until I can write a letter that forgives them, and one that forgives me too.

Some of the letters may be apologies for the way I behaved.  I do have a tendency to cut people off, dead, if they upset me or betray me in any way.  To keep myself safe, I walk away, ignore them when they are around.  If I’m expected to work with them I can be cold and short with my words, protecting myself with such a thick wall of icy feelings and icy words.

This is kind of a scary thing to do.  It’s not the first time I’ve tried this, but this time has the feeling of ‘the time is now’ about it.  Pennies have dropped about the purpose of the letter writing, of letting out all the things I’ve kept bottled up for years inside me in a controlled manner, the writing being the control.

Art

Art has been pretty much on hold as I struggle with the idea that I deserve to love myself, finding out what self-love and self-esteem are all about, and just letting ideas filter through the conscious to the unconscious mind.  Inspiration for art has been, maybe not lacking, but put on the back burner for a while.  However, there are some creations, some that are works in progress, others that are finished pieces.Rising above the pale©AngelaPorter2013

Tangled Border © Angela Porter 2013

Across the divide WIP © Angela Porter 2013

Abstract May#1 © Angela Porter 2013

Abstract May#2 © Angela Porter 2013

Synchronicity

Synchronicity 1

Synchronicity 1 © Angela Porter 2012

Approx. 16cm x 12cm

Rotring pen, Sakura Glaze pen, Derwent Inktense pencils with water wash on heavy watercolour paper.

Small, intricate, full of spirals and swirls.  Typically me when in a fussy, detailed mood.

Many of the patterns and shapes are inspired by ammonites, nature, cells, Romanesque architecture, Prehistoric pottery and rock art.

Synchronicity because there have been a lot of  ‘coincidences’ noted in my life recently.

Back at work

Oh the joys of teaching!  There is an element of sarcasm there.  The lack of respect, manners and cooperation seems to have increased over the summer – either that or I’m getting old, having passed the 49 year mark during the long holidays.

I find myself emotionally drained at the end of each day after the constant hard work to get pupils to stop making assorted weird noises, disrupting the lesson in a myriad of ways, and just trying to bet them to be polite.  I feel ‘battle weary’.  Yet, teaching should not be such a battle.

The worst thing for me, however, is the effect this has on my creativity and the time to create.  I miss the hours I could spend creating art during the break.  If only I could earn enough from art reliably and sustainably to become a full-time artist…or writer…or or or…

Hypnotherapy

Well, yesterday, the Autumnal Equinox, saw the end of the hypnotherapy course.  I have an extension to complete the case studies, so the work isn’t quite over for me.  I managed, finally, to get a merit in one essay – hurrah!

Not sure if I’ll be able to start a hypnotherapy practice up for a few years for various reasons, but I’d like to keep my hand in and practice the skills I have learned until I’m ready to take that plunge.

Endings

Yesterday, in fact the past week or so, have been rather weird.  I’ve found myself very emotional, on the point of tears or past the point of holding them back on a number of occasions, including today.  I have no idea exactly what is the problem.  I thought it was hormonal, but I’m not too sure about that now.

Anyway, the hypnotherapy wasn’t the only ending this week.

I resigned from a committee that I perhaps have stayed on for a few months too long.

I’ve had various bits of a jigsaw puzzle about a friendship that ended a few months ago.  I’ve spent most of this time blaming myself as I was made to feel it was my fault.  However, the jigsaw pieces show that it isn’t my fault at all!

All this is quite apt for the equinox I think.

Calendar change-over eve…

The old to the new

Well, the end of the calendar year, and the astronomical year if the Winter Solstice is seen as the end of one cycle and the start of the next, has come with a pile of revelations from a friend and a series of bangs that have released some inner demons and tears and uncovered an emptiness and knotted-ness in my gut area.

I’m pleased for my friend, don’t get me wrong.  At last they are taking the little yet huge step they need to take to release them from a situation that is untenable for them and into a new phase of their life’s journey.  I wish them happiness and joy and love.  I worry that they are chasing a rainbow, a dream that will not live up to reality, they’ll find the grass isn’t greener, but I know that they’ll find themselves progressing forward in a way they couldn’t where the currently are at.

Their excitement, fear, trepidation, hope and all the other things their going through has stirred up some ‘stuff’ within me that needs to be worked on and examined, which are, in no particular order:

  • Job and Career – Teaching is no longer healthy for me and though I find pleasure and satisfaction in some areas of the job, increasingly I’m finding it harder and harder to cope with other aspects of it.  I need to look at myself and what I can offer in terms of being an employee and what I need from a workplace in order to feel appreciated, valued, successful and that I am achieving good and truly helping people.  What kind of career I want, I don’t know.  Maybe training as a hypnotherapist will lead me along the way.  However, I do know I need to identify what I’d like to do, and that starts with what I can do and so on.
  • Relationships – I’ve been single for, gosh, thirteen and a half years now.  Along the way I’ve had many experiences placed along the spectrum of good to absolutely goddam awful.  I’ve felt time and time again the hurt of rejection and the blow it delivers to my self-esteem, self-respect and so on, and of course I realise that I expected nothing else.  Well, it’s about time that changed and it’s time for me to learn about relationships…big step for me.  How I do this, I don’t know, but it will start with me looking at myself honestly at the qualities I have, good and not so good, and come to accept and care about myself.
  • Friendships – I have a small number of very good friends, but learning to ask for help and accepting it when it is given is … a big hurdle for me.  I’ve had to be strong and independent for so long, to prove I can do it, that admitting I can’t is a big thing.
  • Creativity – I do not do enough to develop my writing skills and to weave stories.  I doubt my ability to do this.  I fear plagiarising, being unoriginal, being boring or trite.  I fear failure (damn that ultra-perfectionist part of me that doesn’t recognise when something is good enough).  I feel a sense of being overwhelmed when I think about telling a tale.  The result is I do nothing.  I also am lacking inspiration in art, finding myself doing the same kind of thing over and over and over …

The common threads running through all of this involve me learning to love myself by knowing who I am and to accept myself for this, warts and all.  I need to raise my self-esteem, my confidence, to be brave enough to start something.  Above all else, I need to find the courage to be brave enough to share something of myself with others.

To follow tradition or not?

This year, more than at any other time, I’ve found the traditions and the significance of events more puzzling and confusing.

The rational scientist in me recognises that time is a continuous flow, the only markers on time are the ones we place there so that we can agree on when we are talking about and the meaning we attach to those markers is manufactured to satisfy a need for predictable events in our lives, to bring some kind of order to what appears to be an otherwise random and chaotic existence.

Then the more spiritual aspect of me kicks in and says that it’s OK to do this, to mark the various points on the wheel of the year, the various events that we celebrate, the things we give meaning to.  They connect us together, for we are all connected, not just to all other human beings, not just to all life on Earth, but to the very stuff the Earth and, indeed, the Universe is made out of, the energy that constantly flows round and round.

We are not disconnected from the cycles that we can observe on this planet.  We may rationalise that they are caused by scientific laws, that they have no meaning.

However, I’m coming to realise that they do have meaning.  They bring us together and remind us that we are not separate, that what one of us does impacts on the whole, to a greater or lesser degree.  By honouring the traditions we connect to the patterns that are stored in the universal consciousness for humans have been honouring the same observed patterns and events over many, many generations.  It’s a way of honouring our forebears, of connecting to the present day, and of speaking to the future too.

It’s important, however, to decide if the particular traditions or observances fit in with your own philosophy, why you celebrate in the way you do, and to recognise that it is perfectly acceptable to change them as you grow and develop as a person, and not to just follow them blindly because you have always done them.  It is, of course, perfectly acceptable to create traditions of  your own too.

It may be that because I lead a very solitary existence, traditions celebrated by oneself have not really had any particular meaning, or have changed as my spiritual philosophy has grown and developed over the years.  Perhaps it is important that I find which traditions, which celebrations have meaning to me, and develop ways of observing them that lets me understand where they have come from, the meaning they have for me at this time, and how they will impact on the future.

Of course, I’m not sure if all of that made any sense at all!  Sometimes I need to get it out of me by writing and mithering and wittering on.

Cornucopia 3

4″x8″ in size.  Black Rotring pens, Derwent Inktense pencils with water wash and metallic gold watercolour paint on cold pressed watercolour paper.

This was completed while taking a break from reading/researching/note-taking/getting my head around the 2000 word essay I need to write for my hypnotherapist training course by next Saturday.  I also need to transcribe my progressive muscle relaxation scripts too… as well as organise the people who’ve volunteered to be my guinea pigs during my training so that I can get some hours of practice logged.

The break was needed; as fascinating as the reading material is, as engrossed in it as I was, my brain was full, I’m still finding myself very tired after the tonsillitis this week and the upset tummy that I’ve had the last couple of days too.  I will be retiring to bed as soon as I’ve finished wittering here!

Interwoven

 

Interwoven 1 © Angela Porter 2010

 

Interwoven 2 © Angela Porter 2010

 

Artistic endeavours

Above are two of my latest pieces of art, both worked on black card using Uni-Ball Signo metallic gel pens and Cosmic Shimmer iridescent watercolours.

The bottom one has a chain of circles/links that was inspired by looking at a La Tene or Early Celtic Art neck torc.  The rest of the patterns/shapes just flowed around the circles.

I’ve enjoyed doing these.  They give me a chance to just relax, go within myself, create and find some peace and pleasure during days when life seems a struggle at times.  Abstract art is perfect for me in doing this.  I tend to call these things ‘doodles’, but others see them as ‘effortless pieces of art, very creative and imaginative, a sure sense of colour’.  Perhaps because it is easy for me to do I find it hard to see why others would find it ‘precious’.  But as it flows from within, it does tend to be personal, and perhaps an outer representation of my inner emotional ‘weather’.

Feeling jaded, tired with teaching

This week the emotional weather has been very changeable, though there’s been a very tired and jaded weather system lingering.

I am tired and jaded with my job.  I have found it hard to get enthused about anything this week.  I find the constant disrespectful, confrontational, aggressive and/or histrionic attitudes wearying in the extreme.  There seems to be an almost constant battle that I have to fight in order to do my job.

It’s not all gloom and doom, however.  There are bright, sunny periods, where pupils with a willingness to learn, the grace to show kindness in their speech and in attitudes to others, and those full of joy to be around me.  But they are increasingly being overshadowed, once again, by the others.

I feel so much empathy for the pupils who are stuck in classes full of their peers who dominate the groups, disrupt the lessons, and carry an atmosphere of unsettledness in so many ways with them.

I’m beginning to really understand that I am too kind, caring, gentle to work in such an environment for much longer.  My kindness and gentleness make me a target for these aggressive, disrespectful, histrionic teens.  They see me as weak, pathetic, perhaps even too controlling of the class, or trying to be.  I want all to do well, to learn, to gain something positive from my lessons, and I know I expect way too much of myself in this, or perhaps not of myself but of them.

However, is it really too much to ask to have a polite response when asking a pupil to do something such as ‘get your pens and book out please’?  Is it too much to expect that I won’t be greeted with a volley of abusive language or a strident statement that either I’m picking on them, or I have an attitude problem.

I guess I should feel lucky that it’s just words and not furniture or knives or guns that are hurled at me.

Some of you may think it’s my fault I get treated like this.  I don’t think so.  I have to be true to myself.  When I’m not, then its so obvious that things get worse.  My kind, caring, empathic nature suits me working with children with special educational needs and these children rarely give me problems and respond and appreciate my nature, generally. There’s always an odd couple who don’t respond.

My issues are with mainstream pupils who generally don’t appreciate the kind, caring, supportive, encouraging approach.  Their attitudes mean I tend to distance myself from them to protect myself, though I try to help those who want my help, so long as I’m not having de-fuse situations about to explode, deal with disruption and so on.  Sometimes I feel more like a peace-keeper come baby-sitter than a teacher.  I’m absolutely sure it was never like this when I started teaching many years ago now.

Are my particular skills, talents and gifts being made the best use of  in work?  Definitely not.

Career change needed?

All of this has added to my personal problems that I am working on; and in many ways it delays me carrying out the personal work that I need to do by overshadowing that.  My biggest problem is what on earth could I do other than teach?  The other problem is that of financial security; I have a permanent contract, so I have as secure a job as is possible in the current financial climate.  However, the biggest problem is what else could I do?

What I think are my particular strengths, such as art, writing (that maybe doesn’t come across in this blog), a quickness of mind, an innate intelligence, true empathy for others, a deeply caring and kind nature, an ability to speak well and to entrance audiences, I have no particular qualifications for, nor do I have the time nor financial resources to return to university to gain them.

It is a right pickle …

But at least I get time to lose myself in art or writing or reading or playing my flute or meditating, activities that help to bring me peace and joy, and some of which others can gain joy from too if I share them.

Memories of my father’s passing

Something else that seems to have affected my emotional weather this week was the fact that it was the anniversary of my father’s passing.  Two years ago on the 10th November, around 9:20pm, I was sat with my father during the last moments of his life on Earth.  I’d most probably spent more time with him during the 8 months he was in hospital than for the rest of my life.  In fact, I spent more time with him during this time than I did with other human beings.  It was an interesting time; he had Alzheimer’s as well as cancer and diabetes and arthritis, and just old age.

His last evening on Earth was one where he struggled to breathe, where he was in and out of consciousness, and was very agitated.  I spoke to him about things I’d done, things I planned to do, and I was very tearful as I knew he was slipping away, even if the medical staff, my mother and other members of the family thought he’d be there for months longer.  There was a smell in the room, and I just knew it was time.

I’d never seen a real dead body before, let alone been with a person coming to the end of their mortal days.  I was scared, worried if I’d be a strong enough person to stay with my father through it.  I’d always told him I’d be there with him if he wanted me to be, whether he understood me or not.  As it happened, I was strong enough.

Despite his extreme confusion thanks to the Alzheimer’s, in the last few moments of his life he knew who I was and was able to say some things that meant a lot.  He knew he was dying and about to pass away and he wasn’t scared.  I asked him if he wanted me to stay with him, he said yes.  His passing was peaceful.  After speaking it was only a few minutes before he quietly slipped away, and I observed/felt things that have since helped me on my spiritual path. In fact, I experienced many things while visiting my father that gave me and still give me cause for thought.

After he passed, the room was filled with a feeling of such love, not sadness.  The sadness was that he was so ill and suffered so much before he passed.  I didn’t feel relief, just love and a sense of peace.

For that I thank my father deeply.  I feel he granted me a great privilege to be present as his passing, so many seem to choose to pass away when their loved ones have taken leave of them, and to witness so much I can’t, as a scientist, explain yet makes sense to me as a person finding their way along a spiritual path on the Earth.  I’d like to believe that my father is on the next stage of his spiritual journey, whatever form that may take.

What has surprised me is that my mind has wandered back to that time in the past few days, and it has brought up tears with the memories.   I believe I did my grieving in the months my father was declining towards his passing, and though I had tears for a day or two afterwards I think it was more to do with emotional exhaustion.  His passing left me with a need to adjust my spiritual beliefs, to re-examine them, and I used my bereavement leave to do this.

I have wondered if these memories are what I’ve used as an ‘excuse’ to avoid facing up to issues with work …

13th October 1307…

At dawn on 13th October 1307, the simultaneous arrest of all the Knights Templar in France occurred, on the orders of King Phillip IV.  This led to the suppression of the order, as well as the torture and execution of many of the Knights, including the last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay.

Much mythology has grown up around the Templars, but I much prefer the solid facts!  I started a little journey around the remaining Templar sites in the UK a few years ago, a journey that has been postponed over time with recurrent car problems, but one I will finish one day, as well as to journey to other countries to visit their remaining buildings, sketching, painting and writing as I go.

As much as I enjoy legend, superstition, folklore and myth in other contexts, I seem to have problems with it in connection with the Templars.  Perhaps that is just the inner archaeologist, scientist coming out in me!

Knights Templar at www.middle-ages.org.uk

Knights Templar at Wikipedia