The Eerie Beauty of Knowth and Dowth — Ancient Spirits Spiraling Through Time

crimsonclad
crimsonclad @crimsonclad
· July 2019 · 5 min read · Ireland · #ireland

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There is a moss and mist dampened quietness to every footstep you take in Ireland, but the echoes of the past are deafening.

      It's fascinating how our methods of expression, worship, cultural identity, beauty, spirituality, and creativity have taken so many different forms throughout history and have all still been able to accurately convey emotion. A few days ago, I put in my headphones and closed my eyes, searching for the clarity that for me seems to come when I open myself to the wild torrent of sound that is metal music. It might seem illogical that a genre that frequently comprises unintelligible and overwhelming noise can speak to me so clearly, but there's something about it that evokes as much memory in me as going back through my own photographic work does. Somewhere, between an impenetrable wall of blast beats and intense growls, and the bone-deep silence of kneeling on the chilled grass of a cloud swept moor, is my recollection of experiencing the neolithic tomb sites Knowth and Dowth. Lyrics describing a decrepit grimoire opened in a far future, unleashing ancient magic and a sense of apprehension tear through my soul and take me right back to Eire... tucked under the overhang of one of the mounds to shelter safely from the drizzle, but cautious of the sense of the wild and foreboding lore carved into the kerbstones bridging the gap of five thousand or so years.

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      Often, on @fullforceradio, I delve into the modern evolution of bardic tradition that folk metal represents. Sitting at my desk, listening to The Book of Dowth, I'm swept up in being here but not quite here; there without being there. While I experienced bright blazes of colour, unbridled celebration and joyful sunny afternoons on the emerald isle, my time at the tombsites was somber and evocative — maybe it was the weather, or maybe because the meaning of the ancient pictographs can only be guessed at, but the sense of magic and darkness and our connection to the earth was heavy on my mind and tingling in the soles of my feet. Carvings everywhere. Decorations, or warning. Expression, or worship. Listening to thundering music sitting at my desk but simultaneously hearing nothing but my own thundering heart as I follow the lines of spiral after spiral into the soul of the island, rooted to the ground as the clouds swirl above me.

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      While it isn't my strongest memory of my time in Ireland most of the time, listening to someone else's interpretation of the eerie beauty of Knowth and Dowth brings the sensations of being there crashing back over me and I scramble to pull up the pictures I'd forgotten I'd taken. As I sift through them one by one, I remember with a shiver how cold I felt as the damp grass soaked through my pants. I was kneeling? And here beside me, dark wings snapping shut to stand with head bowed in an unnatural pose, ringed in spirals...

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Circles within circles, drawing you inevitably towards the entrances to the tombs. Mounds ringed by mounds encircled by spiral graven rocks enclosing paths speared into the heart of the earth.

 

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      At the crescendo of it all, the eastern passage looms long and still. The music is screaming and pounding now, and the silence is utter. My eyes and ears can't adjust, but the smell of the damp soil and the hairs on the back of my neck are in tune. A long exposure brings out the details of the channel; some stones hide their art on the back side, away from human eyes, and some remain untouchable somewhere there at the end of forever. I gaze long into this neolithic abyss and somehow know that across time it gazes long into me. I realize the album has finished and my heart stops racing. I feel like the long exposure of the tunnel has stolen some of its majesty and mystery away, and that this glimpse of the tomb has lost some of its magic in my retelling...it requires something more to properly convey the spirit of this place. I take a deep breath and press play again.

Beneath the stone of seven suns
Unveiling that which lies beyond
The reach of eyes, the reach of ears,
What we wish to be and become

My soul spirals into a darkness
Deeper and blacker
Than any I have ever known
Beyond my inner limit
Beyond the secrets of the stones

Dowth 2059, SuidAkrA

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These photos and words are my own work, inspired by travels all over this pretty blue marble of ours. I hope you like them. 🌶️

 

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Hi, I'm Crimmi. I run a top 20 STEEM witness with @followbtcnews. Please reach out on Steem.Chat or Discord any time! If we haven't earned your vote, please consider SteemTipper, our community work, and STEEM.Chatvote for followbtcnews if you feel we're doing a good job.


Topics: IRELANDPHOTOGRAPHY

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Hi Crim,
I was in knowth and dowth just a few years back and I really got soaked into the aura of the place and enrolled as well in the lottery for Newgrange, sadly I did not win because that would have given me a place within the monument at the winter solstice.
But well, even without that I won't forget these magical moments..
Yours
Jan


What an absolute dream that would b, wouldn't it? I entered the lottery while I was there as well, but no luck. I still have a set of photos to release here from Newgrange, but truthfully, despite the incredible feeling of entering the mound, I think I'm fonder of the lesser known satellites still~ did you spend much time outside of the cities? I love how there were ruins and cairns in what seemed like every back field and spent a lot of time out in the weeds.


Oh yes, that would be an absolute once in a lifetime thing, to be in the monument when the ray of light is exactly passing into the main chamber ...
Its really amazing, in almost every corner of this country is something to visit, from smaller stone circles to standing stones that are almost unknown.
Finding those was the best ;)


Breathtaking photography.


Wow. I love this


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Wowww!!! This makes me want to travel so bad!!


I think you guys should! I would absolutely love to see you do some street candids or maybe travel pop up portraits~


Beautifully riveting, Crim. <3

Thank you for sharing such an intimate glimpse into your obviously potent connection between auditory and visual. It's actually through your show that I'm developing my own appreciation for some subsets of metal, particularly Folk. Never thought I'd say that, but...thanks to you, it's true.

And...now I feel the pull towards the damp greens of Ireland. Perhaps some day I'll follow that whim.

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Wow, so beautiful... I can feel the ancient energies, like a mystical force that resided in these places, through your photos. All those circles and faded carvings on the stones. They feel like they are whispering still, their secrets from the past... Aaah...

That last photo is so gorgeous, I feel drawn into my monitor and I wish I can fall into it...

Love this post, Crimi~ Post moreeeee~


I'm working on it again! I'm trying to separate out my Steem ventures into different accounts to help me feel like I'm not posting too much and to allow my chain/community work and my art to stand separately. I would be so happy if I could properly just sit here each day and share mysteries and glimpses 🖤


WOW!
Cool.
I love seeing your photography... time for you to get back into it, more.
Found this post from #pypt @pypt


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Everything is okay! 👌


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You posted! So glad I had my girl GINAbot watching carefully, so I would not miss it! 😃

Oh, how I love these photos and what you have written!

"...has lost some of its magic in my retelling."

I doubt that, seriously. I think you conveyed the mystery and the magic beautifully with your enchanting words and magnificent photos. I so loved walking beside you on this adventure and my mind is filled with the awe of it now. Some of my ancestors came from the Isles, and I feel like my spirit has been transported back there, to that time and place. Bravo!

You have also reminded me of a pendant I have, about which I need to blog. It features a cup-and-ring mark, similar to the spirals, but different in their own way with concentric circles, instead. Thanks for the reminder, and thanks for a most delightful read! You never disappoint! 💖


I look forward to it! I know you often do symbolic deep dives, and we as a species seem fascinated with the idea of circles and spirals and death and rebirth. Also, thank you for keeping an eye out. I know I don't post so much anymore and it's not for lack of wanting or love of the chain, but I know a lot of people have given up on me for it. Hopefully other stumble across it and get a little thrill also 🖤


Actually, I shared your post on PYPT this morning, and everyone was doing much "ooohing" and "ahhhhing" over it, as was very fitting! 😍


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