Gaye Mack’s Blog

DISCOVERY OF 14THC DEVOTIONAL PANEL DEPICTING THE EXECUTION OF THOMAS, EARL OF LANCASTER

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Uncategorized Leave a comment

 

I recently came across the following article,(lightly edited here for readability) posted by the Facebook site, Medieval Histories Magazine. The discovery of this devotional panel depicting the 14th c execution of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster is an extraordinary find, worth the read and certainly worth the visit if you are, or plan to be in London before the end of September, 2015.

 

In 2009, Archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology(MOLA)  discovered a devotional panel, venerating Thomas, Earl of Lancaster in remarkable condition by the River Thames. The devotional Panel of Thomas of Lancaster found by MOLA on the riverside, is a 14th century lead-alloy devotional panel depicting the capture, trial and execution of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, political rebel turned martyr.  

A fascinating piece of political propaganda and religious art, it’s one of the largest and finest examples of its kind. Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster (c. 1278 – 1322) was a junior member of the Plantagenet family. From his father he inherited the earldoms of Lancaster, Leicester and Ferrers earldom of Derby. By his marriage to Alice de Lacy, countess of Lincoln he became Earl of Lincoln and Salisbury, 11th Baron of Halton and 7th Lord of Bowland and played a significant role in the reign of Edward II, at whose coronation he served. After the disaster at Bannockburn he became ruler of England. However, the Barons rose against him and at 1321 he was defeated at Battle of Boroughbridge, and taken prisoner.

In 1322 he was tried by a tribunal, but was not allowed to speak for himself, nor was anyone allowed to defend him. In the end he was convicted of treason and executed by beheading near Pontefract. Soon after Thomas’s death, miracles were reported at his tomb at Pontefract, and he became venerated as a martyr and saint.

In 1327 the Commons petitioned Edward III to ask for his canonization and popular veneration continued until the reformation. The newly found devotional panel is cast in metal and measures approximately 13 x 9 cm. The panel includes scenes that depict a cautionary tale for ambitious politicians, and reveals that Lancaster was elevated to an almost saintly status after his death. The panel tells the story of Lancaster’s imprisonment and execution and in slightly garbled French, is read clockwise from the top left: ‘here I am taken prisoner’; ‘I am judged’; ‘I am under threat’ and lastly ‘la mort’ (death).

The Virgin Mary and Christ look down from heaven, ready to receive Lancaster’s soul. Although a rare find today, the panel would have been mass produced at the time. A small number of parallels exist but these are fragmentary or in a poorer style. Sophie Jackson, MOLA archaeologist, said: “It’s thanks to the wet ground of the Thames waterfront that this beautiful metal object survived in such remarkable condition. It has an intriguing story and reveals a great deal about the political climate of the day.”

The panel is on display at the Museum of London until 

September 28, 2015.

 

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 DEVOTIONAL PANEL DEPICTING 14TH C EXECUTION OF THOMAS, EARL OF LANCASTER

 

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SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE AND THE WORLD OF SPIRIT

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Worth the Read, Writer's Work Leave a comment

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, mainly because I’ve been focused on my ‘ historical fiction work in progress,’ A Flight of Doves and my Evolutionary Astrology practice.  However, a few weeks ago I was asked to write a piece on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for the Chicago-based, Love is Murder writer’s conference newsletter.  For the past fourteen years, this popular conference has featured a ‘Ghost of Honor’ and so it is that for the forthcoming February 2015 conference, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, was selected.  

As I state in the article, my guess is that the majority of Sherlock fans are unaware of the very real ‘spiritualist’ side of Conan Doyle, although in several of the stories if one reads between the lines, such clues do creep through.  In any case, for those of you wanting to read ‘more about it,’ I’ve posted the article here.  Who knew? 

“Come, Watson, come!” he cried. “The game is afoot.” Few Sherlock Holmes fans wouldn’t recognize these words from The Adventure of the Abbey Grange, published in 1904 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. However, how many devoted fans know of Doyle’s fierce involvement in the spiritualist movement of his time? Surely not a majority.

If we take a closer peek into this side of Conan Doyle’s life, we learn he was an avid enthusiast and supporter of psychic research for many years. Among his activities were tireless lectures across the UK and America in which he promoted the cause of spiritualism in addition to his extended tenure as president of London’s College of Psychic Studies (founded in 1884) where his portrait prominently hangs alongside his predecessors and successors.

Without question, however, a major aspect of Doyle’s influence in spiritualist matters was his post mortem series of messages via the well-known English medium, Grace Cooke. Delivered between January 27, 1930 and June, 1932, Arthur Conan Doyle’s messages revised the fundamental core of spiritualism having to do with life, death, illness and healing—a somewhat complex story that starts in Paris.

Briefly, in the mid-1920s a small group of Parisian spiritualists established themselves as The Polaire Brotherhood. At the time of their formation, the Polaires came into possession of the Force Astrale, an oracle believed to have originated with the Sages in the Himalayas.

When news of Conan Doyle’s death reached Paris, the Oracle gave the Polaires an extensive message: Conan Doyle, now in world of spirit, needed to correct some inaccuracies regarding the subject of spiritualism. However, in order to accomplish this, a Polaire Brother needed to travel to England and meet with Lady Conan Doyle, who would introduce him to a well-established medium—someone specifically chosen and trained to receive Arthur Conan Doyle’s communications.

Lady Doyle, a hard-core spiritualist herself, was already acquainted with England’s famous medium, Grace Cooke, as plans had been made for Grace and Arthur Conan Doyle to meet. Sadly this never happened due to his sudden death, but ten days following his passing, Grace visited the Doyle home and at this time, Arthur Conan Doyle delivered several personal, very detailed messages to his family.

Thus, when the Parisian Polaire now in England approached Lady Doyle, wheels were rapidly set in motion. On January 27th, 1930, Grace Cooke, her husband Ivan, the Polaire Brother, Lady Doyle and two of Lady Doyle’s children, met to hear the first of what would be the several extended messages from Arthur Conan Doyle as predicted by the Oracle back in Paris. Delivered through Grace, Conan Doyle’s instructions set forth a complete reinstatement of spiritualism, illness, healing and life after death. Today the connection between Grace Cooke and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle live on through the globally known White Eagle Lodge, which Grace and Ivan founded in 1936 at the direction of Grace’s own spirit guide, White Eagle

*For a more complete picture, including Arthur Conan Doyle’s messages, see Arthur Conan Doyle’s Book of The Beyond—White Eagle Publishing Trust, 2nd printing 2006.

 

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SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE -1859-1930

 

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WELCOME TO THE ENGLISH HISTORICAL FICTION AUTHORS’ ‘MAIN CHARACTER’ BLOG HOP!

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Ancient Legends of Great Britain, Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Writer's Work Leave a comment

This post is a departure from what you might be expecting, as I’ve been I have been tagged by fellow English Historical Fiction author, Mark Patton, to take part in a “Main Characters” blog hop.  The concept of ‘blog hops’ between authors is to introduce aspects of our works to readers and of course to support our writing colleagues across the ethers. For this ‘hop’ the  idea is to introduce a protagonist from a published or anticipated to be published novel. I’m currently working on the third novel of my historical fiction series which takes place across 12th, 13th and 21st century lines, mainly in Great Britain…although the current work in progress is built upon the esoteric story of the Cathars, the Gnostic sect persecuted by the Inquisition in 13th c southern France.  If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll have seen earlier posts on this gentle group of Christians labeled as heretics by Rome who met a fiery end at Montsegur on March 16, 1244.  

 

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Possible layout of fortress at Montsegur 1244

Photography©Gaye F. Mack, Inc.

 

 Each of my books is grounded in actual historical places, people and events around which I then build fictional characters and story. The participating authors in the blog hop are asked to address seven questions about their chosen protagonist.  My second book which is featured in this ‘hop’  is written in ‘alternating narrative’ which means that similar to the works of Diana Gabaldron and MJ Rose, the main protagonist is subject to images and influences from a past life–this said I’m going to introduce both of my female protagonists to you!

1. What is the name of your character, and is he or she a fictional or a historical person? 

In the 12th c portions of this bookEdana Morggon is the main protagonist who then re-appears as Dr. Dana Morgan in the 21st century.  Both women are completely fictional although, the characters they meet in both time frames are very much historical.

2. When and where is the story set? 

The primary historical setting is Glastonbury Abbey in England’s west country, just before the Great Fire of 1184 as well as ruins that remain in the 21st century. For those who have never been to Glastonbury, it’s one of those places that abounds in extraordinarily deep history, legend and myth.  King Arthur, Joseph of Armithea, Edward I, Henry II and The Goddess, each figure heavily into Glastonbury’s magic.  However, in 1184 and 2010, my protagonists are faced with events that involve the fire(and its suspicious origins), political ambition, greed and psychological dysfunction… all having to do with mystical secrets believed to have been embedded within symbols placed in the floor of the abbey’s ‘Holy of Holies’.

Scan0008Partial Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey

Photography©Gaye F. Mack, Inc.

3. What should we know about the character? 

12th c Lady Edana Morggon is a wealthy widow who accompanied her father and greedy, abusive husband to the Holy Land. Following the deaths of both men on crusade, Edana was imprisoned but surprisingly rescued by an unusual Sufi named Ghali.  Ghali for reasons only known to himself and Edana, enlists desert mystics to educate her in sacred arts and medicine before they both return to her estate in England.  Edana is a woman unusual for her time as she’s fierce in personality, smart, gifted and fairly self-sufficient…but she also harbors secrets.

21st c Dr. Dana Morgan is  a wealthy, University of Chicago historical archaeologist with expertise in ancient scripts, but who also possesses an inherited, although unacknowledged, gift of psychic sensitivities.  As the 21st c opens, her archaeologist husband of five years has suddenly died. Overtaken by grief, Dana retreats to the safe haven of her favorite aunt, Lady Fredi Morgan at her Oxfordshire estate.  When Dana is introduced to two historical archaeologists from Oxford University, she unwittingly becomes embroiled in 900 year old Glastonbury mysteries that have resurfaced and threaten her life.  Equally distressing, Dana comes face to face with  a past life through Edana Morggon. However predictably, as a scientist, she resists acknowledging such a possibility exists.

GLASTONBURY FLOORPhotography courtesy of Karen Pfiefer

 

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up your character’s life? 

Historically, Dana has categorized her feelings into intellectual exercises as a means of protection ever since the sudden death of her parents when she was fifteen. However, when she learns that her husband had a secret life which ended in suicide rather than murder, she struggles to come to terms with heart centered emotions she can’t control, her sense of failure in judgement and the recognition of her inherited psychic sensitivities.  As Glastonbury’s 12th century story resurfaces in 2010 through events that threaten her life, Dana is forced to deal with these unresolved aspects of herself.

5. What is the personal goal of your character? 

Dana has to learn to accept who she really is as well as putting trust in relationships, especially with men.  In addition, with the help of Edana Morggon, she begins to recognize that the veil between worlds is thin and can transmute to reveal universal truths.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? 

The book is entitled, A Conspiracy of Ravens’.  You can read more about it under the ‘Historical Fiction’ link on my full website: http://gayemack.com or under the link for ‘clients’ on http://globallionmanagement.com

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

 ‘A Conspiracy of Ravens’ and its predecessor, A Murder of Crows’ are currently represented by Peter Miller, CEO-Global Lion Intellectual Property Management, who is actively seeking a home for them.

 

 

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USING ASTROLOGY AS A WRITER’S TOOL FOR ENHANCING CHARACTERS, REAL AND IMAGINED

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Ancient Legends of Great Britain, Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Uncategorized, Writer's Work Leave a comment

In my 12th  & 13th century historical thrillers, Eleanor of Aquitaine is the queen of the hour. Certainly she was a fascinating woman– so much so that scholars, historical fiction authors and Hollywood, can’t seem to get enough of her; nor can I.  If someone were to ask, “if you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would you choose?” Hands down it would be Eleanor.

 As an evolutionary astrologer working on my 3rd historical fiction book, ‘A Flight of Doves’, I’ve wondered, what does Eleanor’s birth chart look like?’  Searching through various sources has resulted in the disappointing realization that most likely we’ll never know.  Sadly, scholars can’t even agree on the year of Eleanor’s birth and no one of any authority even contemplates a date.  Nevertheless, the thought is an intriguing brain game of speculation.

 Eleanor was a woman  who by all accounts, was highly educated and welcomed travel…and travel she did, throughout her lifetime.  Even when her second husband, Henry II,  had her locked up in Salisbury castle for ten years, he’d take her on the road with him or more accurately, back and forth across the Channel.  A well- read woman for her time, her biographers (of which there are many) indicate that she found travel extraordinarily welcome .  Thus, one could suspect that she might have been a fiery Sagittarius or that she had a strong 9th house (long journeys over water, higher philosophy, education). “Exploring the world as your oyster,” would have been a suitable mantra for Eleanor.   Despite the lone and suspect chart I found that places her as a Libra sun, she definitely wasn’t a role model for relationship harmony and integration. These characteristics were simply not strong points in her as evidenced by her mothering skills and commitment in marriage.  

 In the realm of ‘what if’, it’s apparent that Eleanor liked the kind of drama often ascribed to a Leo sun.  No question, she reveled in it and in her own way,  reveled being on the world stage.  No wall flower was she.  Alison Weir, the highly regarded authority on Eleanor, states that before her incarceration by Henry, Eleanor’s court  was like no other in all of Europe.  She loved and supported the arts.  She had fine clothes and possessions… “gold for plates and goblets…favorite wines from La Rochelle.”  Her decoration was always the latest in fashion including glazed windows, tiled floors and carpets from the orient.  In a phrase this was a woman who was not economical and was all about “how it and she looked.”  Very Leonine characteristics with possibly her Venus in Taurus.

On the other hand, this was a woman who was analytical and calculating .  In all of her efforts to protect land holdings for Richard I, her favorite child, she plotted and schemed with military precision as if she were in a chess game for life against Henry who favored young Henry until his death and then, John.  

 She plotted with Richard behind the scenes; she plotted with her spies when Henry gave her more freedom around 1180 and on-wards.  Bottom line, Eleanor never gave up plotting against Henry until he died at Chinon in 1189.  Now, one could say this is the shadow of Scorpio…and it would be fair.  However, keeping in mind that the Sun in a chart is the spirit, the spark, the vitality of our soul, Eleanor’s penchant for plotting like a military general, the analytical approach in her make-up not to mention her duty and service as Queen to her vast constituency as she moved the chess pieces of life around the board behind the scenes, cause me to wonder about a different Sun sign.  While not the best face forward of it, I think she possibly might have been a…..VIRGO or, a Leo sun with a Virgo ascendant.  Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know.

 If you’re a fiction writer, think about using basic astrological characterizations when creating or enhancing your characters-real and imagined.  There are several good basic books on the market than can help.  Here are some of my favorites:

eleanor

ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE

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WHAT OR WHO WAS BEHIND GLASTONBURY ABBEY’S GREAT FIRE OF 1184?

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Ancient Legends of Great Britain, Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Writer's Work Leave a comment

The Great Fire of 1184, which all but destroyed Britain’s oldest site of Christianity,Glastonbury Abbey,  is legendary.  For 900 years, myth and speculation have flourished as to the cause of this catastrophic event.  The majority speculation put forth by historians is that unusual winds on the morning of May 25, 1184 were responsible, causing an entry curtain to the ‘Holy of Holies’ in the ‘Ecclesia Vestuta’ (old church) to catch fire from burning candles.  Regardless of the cause, the initial sparks of flame combined with the high winds took the famous abbey to the ground in a matter of hours; it’s precious documents destroyed along with its treasures melted by heat and countless graves of monks, abbots and saints.

 However, when I was researching this event for my historical mystery, ‘A Conspiracy of Ravens’, I discovered Adam of Damerham.  Adam was a 12th century monk who wrote a history of the abbey and where the Glastonbury fire is concerned, Adam had an entirely different theory as to its cause.   Following the death of the beloved Abbot Robert in 1178, King Henry II assigned the position of ‘Custodian’ to Peter D’Marcya Cluniac monk who had some kind of relationship to Henry.  Despite the desires of the Glastonbury monks for Henry to name a proper abbot, the king stalled.  With no abbot in place it gave the wily monarch direct access to Glastonbury’s wealthy treasury, a resource which Henry needed to finance his wars with the French. Thus, as a compromise, he named D’Marcy to oversee the Glastonbury community.

 Unfortunately Peter proved to be very unpopular for a variety of reasons.  He nearly drove the abbey into the ground financially, was relentlessly diabolical in his scheming to manipulate his way to the abbot’s chair, not to mention suspicions that Peter  ‘compressed’ (as in eliminated) certain monks who were obstacles to achieving this goal. As an interim solution and effort to appease the monks, Henry then appointed Hugh of Avalon(who would later become Hugh of Lincoln, the most revered saint after Becket) to ‘supervise’ D’Marcy.  Things did not go well with this arrangement either.

 By December of 1183, the hatred of D’Marcy was beyond rampant. Further to his other machinations, Peter lusted after the secret behind the zodiacal floor in the abbey’s ‘Holy of Holies, believed to contain Christianity’s deepest mystical mysteries.  In one final scheme to endear the monks to his cause of obtaining the ‘abbot’s chair’, D’Marcy, his mental state now suspect, planned a ‘faux mass’ on Christmas Eve in the ‘Ecclesia Vestuta.’  This blasphemous act was the last straw with the Glastonbury community and one can only imagine how the monks reacted.   Adam of Damerham speculates that in retaliation,  D’Marcy set fire to the abbey.  Interestingly, historians note that while he survived the fire, shortly afterwards D’Marcy died from ‘unknown causes.’

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REMAINS OF THE GREAT ABBEY AT GLASTONBURY

Photograpy©Gaye F. Mack, Inc.

A Conspiracy of Ravens is the second book in my trilogy, ‘Flight Through Time’, represented by Peter Miller, Global Lion Literary Management. ‘A Flight of Doves’ is now in production 

  Additionally, for Information on Evolutionary Astrological Readings or Bach Flower Remedy Evaluations with meClick Here

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