WHAT IS MEONIA?
ITS HISTORY AND ROLE IN MODERN PSYCHIC QUESTING
By Andrew Collins
is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth:-
The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus (as translated by the elusive alchemist Fulcanelli).
'I am One'
MEONIA (pronounced mê as in knee, ô as in gô, nia, as in wire) is an anagram of 'I am One', with One being the name given to the Supreme Being, the creative force of the universe, in various religions from the Hermetic mysteries of Egypt ('all things exist in and emanate from the ONE'), through to Hebraism ('Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is One', Deut. vi, 4, Hebrew Bible) and Islam ('He is God, the One, God the eternal', Sura cxii).
The One is an expression of the macrocosm, reflected in microcosm within nature, within ourselves and within our every action in life. One effects the other, and vice versa, leading to the above Hermetic axiom of: 'As above, so below'.
MEONIA as a word was first uttered by psychic, and later author, Graham Phillips during the afternoon of Wednesday, 17 October 1979. The two of us shared a ground-floor flat in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton, in the county of the West Midlands, which doubled up as the headquarters for the newsstand magazine STRANGE PHENOMENA, to which we had both dedicated our lives. I arrived home from a meeting with the printers to find him in what seemed to be an agitated state. He felt that something was trying to 'get through', so I offered to put him under hypnosis to see what might occur (it was something we had done many times before). After some discomfort, Graham relaxed, and I found myself speaking to a secondary personality named 'Joanna' (inspired by a living person of this name named Joanna Wason, an old friend of Graham's from his college days in Exeter).
MEONIA was offered by 'Joanna' as a name for the Philosopher's Stone, the material substance sought by medieval alchemists to achieve a state of spiritual completion and perfection, cloaked under the guise of the transmutation of base metal into gold. There is no question that the ancients saw the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus as an expression of this stone, looked on as a vehicle that enabled the practitioner to achieve oneness with the Supreme Being, the Hermetic concept of the One. In this way, the statement 'I am One', encoded in the word MEONIA, makes sense of its apparent connection not only with the Philosopher's Stone, but also the Emerald Tablet itself.
That the enigmatic 'tablet' of Hermes, the 'thrice great', was described as 'emerald', a term used in the Graeco-Egyptian language to refer to green-coloured stone in general (such as green granites, green jasper and even green glass) was fortuitous, for 'Joanna' claimed that MEONIA was the name of a fabled green stone mentioned for the first time earlier that day by an acquaintance - a talented psychic, named Alan Beard, who lived in Alsager, Cheshire. Unexpectedly, an image of an oval stone the 'size of a sixpence' suspended in midair had been seen in his mind's eye. It was described as green in colour with an unearthly blue-white radiance, and around it stood a group of people gazing up at this wondrous object.
Speaking to me on the telephone that morning, Alan said he had no idea what this image had meant. However, he linked the green stone with an earlier vision experienced just two days earlier on Monday, 15 October, in which he had spoken of seeing the same or a similar object, yet without any specific reference to colour on that occasion. It had appeared initially the size of a loaf of bread before shrinking down to the size and shape of an egg, before finally it became an oval-shaped stone, a cabochon, worn in a ring by an 'important', though unnamed, woman.
Accompanying this imagery, which was relayed via the telephone, had been the sight of a stone plinth or table-like slab, recalling, as I was to much later to realise, the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Indeed, there had been no reason whatsoever why Alan should have been glimpsing the strange green stone before 'Joanna' had implied, quite unexpectedly, that it was a real object that we now had to find using whatever means were at our disposal.
This information led us to note potential clues among the remaining murals in a first-floor corridor of the hall which portrayed the Nine Worthies, nine great heroes of history (generally three biblical, three legendary and three historical). They drew us to consider the importance of a distinctive sword stance displayed by at least two of the 'worthies', the strong man Samson and the giant-slayer David. Known as the St George's Parry (where the weapon is held horizontally above the head to block an attack), it persuaded us to research the possible relevance of knighthood, chivalry and the saga of King Arthur to the Green Stone story. We even felt that the St George's Parry might be a clue pointing towards the importance of the familiar image of King Arthur's sword Excalibur held in a horizontal position by the Lady of the Lake. Perhaps we were looking for a concealment place on an island in the middle of a lake, somewhere in the Worcestershire landscape.
Our historical detective work led Graham and I to focus our attentions on an isolated pool on the estate of the Earl of Coventry, beneath Knights Hill, near Severn Stoke in Worcestershire. About to inspect the site first-hand, believing that the 'Green Stone' or 'Meonia Stone' (as it became known) was to be found there, Alan unexpectedly rang. We had not spoken to him for some days, and he knew nothing about the latest developments. Without saying a word of what had been happening, he spoke of experiencing another vision, the first since glimpsing the Green Stone. He now felt that we were looking not for the stone at this time, but an 'indicator' that would lead us to the stone, and this would be a sword. This baffled us, as there had been no indication that anything else other than the Green Stone was on offer here. However, we took on board what he said, and headed immediately out to the Knights Hill Pool, a journey of about an hour from Wolverhampton.
The 'Marye' implied in the inscription was assumed to be Mary Queen of Scots, the Catholic monarch imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth after being accused of plotting against her. For the remainder of her troubled life, Mary Stuart was frequently moved between castles in the north and Midlands of England, until finally she reached Fotheringhay in Northants, where she was executed in 1587. 'Joanna' had claimed that Mary possessed the Meonia Stone, wearing it on a ring, before passing it on to a young Robert Catesby (1573-1605), the leader of the Gunpowder Plot. Apparently, he had been taken to see her with his father Sir William Catesby, himself a recusant, when she was imprisoned at Tutbury Castle, in the neighbouring county of Staffordshire, just two years before his execution. Following the collapse of the Gunpowder Plot, Catesby, it was alleged by 'Joanna', had given the stone into the care of Lady Gertrude Wintour, the wife of Robert Wyntour of Huddington, another of the leading conspirators. She in turn passed it on to Humphrey Packington at Harvington Hall, who was not implicated in the plot, and thus was entrusted as the stone's custodian.
So just six days after the name MEONIA had first been mentioned, its independent existence was suggested by the discovery of the sword, but the quest did not end there. Following four straight days delivering thousands of copies of STRANGE PHENOMENA's second issue, Graham and I returned to Wolverhampton and resumed the quest, which 'Joanna' implied had to be completed by 31st October, now just four days away. One day was wasted in the proximity of Meon Hill, a mysterious location associated in the past with a gruesome witchcraft-linked killing, drawn principally by its tantalising place-name. 'Meon' had seemed to imply MEONIA, but we were being drawn away from the true quest. We had forgotten that Alan had said that the sword would be used as an 'indicator' to find the stone, and so during the mid evening, about to spend the night at a hotel in the Cotswolds town of Moreton-on-the-Marsh, we were convinced by a friend, Marion Sunderland, mother of Gaynor, a high profile UFO contactee featured in the book ALIEN CONTACT by Jenny Randles, that we should return as soon as possible to the Knight's Hill Pool, where they would help us find the illusive stone.
So this is what happened the next day, Monday, 29 October. Standing on the footbridge next to where the sword was found, Gaynor used the ceremonial weapon (found to be of late nineteenth century manufacture) as a divining instrument, rotating it clockwise until she felt drawn to a particular direction. Here, she said, some 'two miles' away, was a 'ruined building', an 'abbey' perhaps, which held an important clue to the quest.
Sure enough, there was a 'ruin' exactly where she had indicated. It was located at a place called Dunstall Common. Yet it turned out not to be an 'abbey', but a sham castle, built in the eighteenth century by the landscape architect Capability Brown as part of the estate of the Earl of Coventry. The folly bore impressive square and round towers, one of which was accessible, enabling Graham, Gaynor and I to climb its spiral staircase. We trod carefully in the partial darkness, but then became concerned by the sound of beating wings above us. It was accompanied by the fall of loose debris which cascadrd down on to our heads. Assuming that a large bird blocked our path, we turned back and headed out of the mysterious tower (it was probably simply nesting pigeons!).
That night, at Marion and Gaynor's home in Flint, North Wales, a small group gathered around an OS map of the Worcestershire landscape looking for further clues to the quest, feeling like our luck was finally running out. Fred Sunderland, Marion's husband, narrowed down the search by ringing an area that included those sites already marked out as important perhaps. It was here, he suggested, that we should concentrate our efforts to find a location. About to give up, Marion flicked through a book on Mary Queen of Scots and noticed how the Catholic monarch embroidered pictures of waterfowl (she said 'swans'), with their necks in a distinctive U-shape. Marion mentioned this out aloud, at which Graham's eyes fell upon a bend on the River Avon called the Swan's Neck located firmly within our designated search area. Stabbing the map he exclaimed that he had found 'it', and now felt sick inside. We all looked and saw the Swan's Neck marked. It was important not simply because of the tangential link with Mary Queen of Scots, but because in 1600 a new star (actually a supernova) had been sighted in the constellation of Cygnus, the celestial swan, which was seen by continental Rosicrucian mystics as a sign of a coming age of enlightenment, a fact which seemed strangely relevant to our quest.
As ill-conceived as the Gunpowder Plot might seem today, it sprang from the vented anger and frustration of suppressed English Catholics, who were being fined and penalized simply for refusing to recant the faith of their ancestors. They expected emancipation when Mary Queen of Scots's son James I (James VI of Scotland) succeeded Queen Elizabeth to the throne in 1603. Yet not only did this fail to happen, but James became even more fanatical than Elizabeth, tightening his grip on the Catholics and initiating terrible religious persecutions throughout the land. He even wrote a much-reviled book on how to find out whether a person was a witch, or in touch with demons, devils and spirit familiars.
It was a dark time, and we assumed that perhaps the swan had become the symbol of hope not only for Protestant Rosicrucians (European mythics who used the symbol of the rose upon the cross as a sign of secret recognition), but also the suppressed Catholics of England, Scotland and Ireland, who now looked towards James's eldest daughter Elizabeth Stuart as their voice of salvation. At the time of the Gunpowder Plot she was
Graham and I strongly suspected that even though Rosicrucianism was primarily Protestant in religious persuasion, in England prior to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 it contained elements of Catholicism, an assumption borne out by the fact that some of the earliest Freemason lodges, particularly those in Yorkshire, where Guy Fawkes hailed from, were strongly Catholic in nature. Remember, during this age it was the Catholics of England, Scotland and Ireland who kept alive an interest not only in the Grail mysteries, but also in ancient and sacred places, such as wells, hills, shrines and chapels, through their devotion to the saints and saints' days. This was something that even by the end of the Elizabethan era was being systematically stamped out by fundamental Protestants known as Puritans, who began tightening their political and religious grip on the country during James' reign. Both the English Catholics and the more liberal-minded Protestants recognised what was going on, and so their individual aims in the British Isles were not exclusive to each other.
was during the reign of James' second son, Charles I, that the Puritans under
Oliver Cromwell and his Parliamentarian Government would finally bring the country
to its knees and decimate all surviving beliefs and practices associated with
more traditional forms of Christian worship, including the celebration of Christmas
and other annual festivals, such as May Day. Only with the death of Cromwell in
1658 and the Restoration of the monarchy under Charles I's son, Charles II, would
all of these religious beliefs and practices emerge again in Britain. Charles
and his circle of friends and colleagues were unquestionably responsible for Britain's
real age of enlightenment, which was heavily supported by free-thinking Protestants,
Rosicrucian apologists and loyal Freemasons, united up until this time under the
name of the Invisible College, or the Philosophical College. In 1662 it attained
a royal charter under as the Royal Society of London, which went on to pave the
way for the age of scientific reason, with great thinkers such as Sir Robert Boyle,
Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Isaac Newton at its helm.
Around its neck was a pouch held in place by a cord that Gaynor was convinced contained the Green Stone. As it took flight, we had run back down the spiral staircase, with the bird in pursuit, and after exiting the tower the swan had continued its flight across the landscape to a location by running water, 'and this,' she said, 'is where you will find the stone, on the neck of the swan'.
It was information that made sense of earlier psychic thoughts from both Marion and Gaynor. Marion, for example, on holding the Meonia Sword following its discovery, had seen an avenue of popular trees close to running water, feeling that this might be where the stone was concealed, while Gaynor had seen a figure in seventeenth-century clothing running across open country towards a bridge over a river or stream. Around his neck was a pouch, the one now worn by the swan, out of which he had removed a casket containing the stone ready for burial. Quite separately, both Alan and Terry had drawn pictures of an arch-topped casket in which they believed the stone would be found.
After some hours, Graham eventually called and asked if we could meet him at the Knights Hill Pool, which we did in the late afternoon. He claimed that he had gone to the area to make some final checks regarding the history of the Swans Neck location. Yet I noticed that his hands were dirty, as if he had been digging. I remarked on this, but he simply dismissed it. The entire party, consisting of Graham, Janet, Alan, Terry and myself then went out to the Swan's Neck, approaching it across fields from the direction of Nafford Farm (see below). Once by the water, I realised that we were on the wrong side, if we were going to strictly follow the instructions regarding where exactly to dig offered by Gaynor's overnight dream (she implied that it would be found where the neck met the breast). So the entire party then returned to our cars, drove around to Eckington Bridge, and walked down to the U-shaped bend on the River Avon on the opposite bank (close to the village of Birlingham). At the base of at least two poplar trees I immediately noticed that digging had gone on, which made me suspicious. I began to get concerned that someone else had beaten us to the prize, since the existence of occult adversararies also on the trail of the Green Stone had been implied during the Joanna sessions.
The party then entered the field meadow in which Gaynor's dream had indicated that we look, and around 30 yards in we noticed further evidence of digging, although only to a relatively shallow depth. Immediately, we started panicking, assuming now that someone else had beat us to the spot. I started digging frantically, as Alan stood over the spot, saying that all was not lost, and that the stone would still come to us.
All the time Graham was urging that we go immediately to Marion's home in Flint, where we could assess the situation and unite as one. No one wanted to move, but finally Graham's insistence prevailed, and we departed for North Wales. By now I strongly suspected that Graham himself had 'found' what we were looking for, and repatedly mulled over this possibility in silence during the long car journey.
Once at Marion's home, everyone sat, long-faced in the lounge as Graham asked to see Gaynor, who was upstairs. He disappeared, and after some while, Gaynor entered the room, followed closely behind by Graham. She carried before her a brass casket, which when its detachable lid was moved revealed the presence in its interior of a small green cabochon stone. Everyone was quite obviously ecstatic, and once the excitement had died down everyone wanted to know what had happened.
Graham then set out his story. He said that he had become increasingly worried that a large group of people walking across open farmland towards the Swan's Neck might well have attracted adverse attention. He explained also that he had felt a sense of urgency in getting to the site as quickly as possible, and that waiting for Alan and Terry to arrive would have meant arriving at the site too late to do any major digging. Thus, he said, he had made the tough decision to go it alone and visit the Swan's Neck that morning. Here, after espying the avenue of poplars earlier described by Marion, he worked out through logical deduction where best to conceal an object for an extended period of time. This had taken him out into the field, where he said he was drawn to a slight rise in the ground, which, of course, was where we had found signs of digging upon our arrival. He claimed that he had not made the other holes by the trees.
Here Graham said he dug, finding, at no great depth, the aforementioned brass casket, which he opened with some difficulty, as some corrosion had sealed the lid in place. A wooden wedge keeping together the two halves had apparently crumbled on its removal, and once the box was open, he saw it contained two items. One was a small silver box and the other was a square-shaped black stone, which he felt he should not touch (this idea followed on from Gaynor's insistence that we would find two boxes side-by-side). Graham stated that he then felt the urge to pick up the black stone with a trowel, and toss it into the River Avon, as if it was some kind of guardian to the Green Stone. With this done, he said he prised open the silver box, inside which was the Green Stone, which he carefully tipped into a bakery bag he had at hand, feeling that Gaynor should be the first person to both touch the stone and to know of its discovery.
Thinking that adversararies were on his tail, and would arrive soon, Graham said he next made the decision to replace the silver box where the brass casket had been found. This, he explained, was to fool anyone arriving at the spot, thinking they had found the stone. He had then gone back to the car, cleaned up the brass casket, which now had only very tiny traces of mud caked in its crevices and recesses. Afterwards, he found a phone box and rang me, without letting on what had happened. This was done, he said, in order to confuse our adversararies, since the frantic signals that would have been sent out on a subtle level on believing that we had lost the stone might well have put them off the scent, by sending out a message that we had searched as a group and found nothing. Hence Graham had not said anything until we were safely together in Marion and Fred's home, hence the whole charade, which had lasted all day; he had even allowed us to approach the Swan's Neck from the wrong side of the river.
Clearly, this was not the way that I, as an objective paranormal investigator and writer, would have ideally liked the Green Stone quest to end, since now only Graham could fully account for the sequence of events that had led to him presenting Gaynor with the stone and casket that evening. To me the biggest mystery was what had happened to the small silver casket Graham had spoken about, as this was certainly not in the ground when I had dug at the spot. Graham speculated that either our adversararies had arrived here and found it, or that someone else, arguably the farmer, had witnessed his actions and come over to see if he had been burying an item, as opposed to taking something away. Either way, the silver box that Graham said that he had found inside the brass casket was now missing.
This points aside, the group gathered at Marion and Fred's that evening were elated, and for the first time the we each got to handle the small green cabochon stone and the clearly antique brass casket. The stone was certainly close in size and appearance to the one seen in vision and subsequently drawn by Alan Beard just thirteen days beforehand. What is more, the casket much resembled the descriptions of the box that Alan and Terry had independently felt the stone would be found within.
Several years after these events I was put in touch with an elderly couple who came from Nafford, by Eckington in Worcestershire. Their home was Nafford Farm, which is just a few hundreds yards from the Swan's Neck. Following the appearance in a local newspaper of a feature story on the discovery of the Green Stone in 1982, Mr W G Lee, then aged 84, had written a letter, which was obtained by a man in nearby Pershore who was following up the case as a sceptic. In this letter (which is reproduced here for the first time), as well as in a subsequent interview (see below), Mr Lee explained that his father had farmed the land adjacent to the Swan's Neck (although on the opposite bank to the location where Graham said he found the Green Stone). Some 70 years beforehand, when he was just 14 years of age, Mr Lee had been fishing at Harvington Hall. On that fateful occasion, he had entered into conversation with the then owner and was told the story of the Green Stone, said to have been kept by a Catholic martyr attached to the hall. Apparently, he had been executed for not revealing its whereabouts.
Mr Lee was actually quite incensed that, in his mind, I had distorted the story told to him all those years before. He also revealed that often 'curious people' turned up at the Swans Neck, claiming that it was important to them for some reason, either because it was on 'leylines' or that it was the site of a 'burial'. He did, however, dismiss the idea that a metal casket might have remained undisturbed in what he called the Birlingham field, adjacent to the Swans Neck, where Graham said he retrieved the stone. In fact, Mr Lee made it clear that since the meadow is severely waterlogged during the winter months (see below), any buried object would have been exposed and washed away long ago.
rediscovered letter from W G Lee of Nafford Farm dated 15 November 1982 sent to
a local newspaper, following the publication of a feature story about the discovery
of the Green Stone. It was given to Andrew Collins by a local man from nearby
Pershore, who obtained it from a local newspaper. Please download this jpeg and
keep it on file since it is the only proper independent evidence for the existence
of the Green Stone.
Historical research indicated that the Catholic priest and martyr in question was John Wall (1620-79), 'the martyr of Harvington'. He regularly stayed at Harvington whilst ministering locally. Wall was finally arrested, tried and executed at Worcester for preaching the faith. Indeed, he was the last Catholic in England to be martyred. His patron was Humphrey Packington's daughter Lady Mary Yate (nee Packington), wife of Sir John Yate of Buckland, who inherited Harvington in 1631. Like her father she remained loyal to the Catholic faith, and went out of her way to protect John Wall, who is remembered in a stained glass window seen in the hall. Lady Yate died in 1696, the same year that she founded the Harvington Secular Clergy, which even by the mid-eighteenth century contained over 1,700 items on Catholic recusants. After her death, the estate passed into the hands of the Throckmortons of Coughton Court, a family intimately associated with both the Catholic cause and the Gunpowder Plot.
If the elderly couple's story about John Wall was authentic, then there seemed every likelihood that the real Green Stone was indeed attached to Harvington Hall in Worcestershire. However, it was not Humphrey Packington implicated in the story, but his daughter Lady Mary Yate. Whatever the reality of the story, it verified once and for all that the Green Stone saga was not, as most sceptics assume, simply an escapade masterminded by Graham Phillips. What is more, it seemed definitely to be linked with Harvington Hall, a place first revealed by 'Joanna' just hours after Alan Beard was the first to allude to the Green Stone following an inspired vision of thought.
Writing up these events in my book THE SWORD AND THE STONE (1982), as well as the publication of Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman's book THE GREEN STONE (1983), caused a furore among the earth mysteries and paranormal communities, enough to single-handedly catalyse the re-emergence of what I began referring to as 'psychic questing'. This is the spontaneous quest for answers to mysteries presented through inspired means, either dreams or more obvious psychic means, such as automatic writing, meditations, mediumship or visionary experiences. It is definitely nothing new. For 1,500 years Tibetan Buddhists had a complete magical system in place for finding hidden religious artefacts which they called termas. It was practised mostly by the red-hatted Nyingma-pa monks and taught as part of the mystical dialogue known as dzogchen. Derived most likely from the pre-Buddhist, shamanic based bon-po religion of Central Asia, terma hunting probably survives today in places such as Nepal, North India and Mongolia.
Yet we know that psychic questing was once popular more closer to home. There are ample accounts of Christian holy men and women being led to retrieve relics through dreams and visions. Among them is Peter Bartholomew, the visionary monk of the First Crusade who found the Spear of Christ following the siege of Acre; Joan of Arc, the French Maid of Orleans who was led by St Catherine to find the sword of French folk hero Charles Martel, and Mormon founder Joseph Smith, who was instructed by an angel to retrieve gold tablets from an Indian mound.
It was also a practice found among the alchemists and mystics of the Middle Ages, who would invoke spirits to tell them where objects were buried. Elizabethan magus and scholar Dr John Dee and his sidekick the alchemist and medium Edward Kelly being obvious examples here. In Glastonbury, the two were led by spirits to a local churchyard where they are said to have retrieved phials containing the red and white tinctures used in the alchemical process, as well as a hand-written treatise on alchemy penned by a tenth-century abbot and saint named Dunstan.
Also at Glastonbury, at the beginning of the twentieth century, new age pioneer and mystic Wellesley Tudor Pole received a vision suggesting that a holy vessel was to be found in a local holy well, which was subsequently searched by his daughter and a friend. Here they came across a sapphire-blue glass bowl of Venetian or Arabian manufacture. Strangely, it transpired that the item had been deliberately placed in the well only shortly beforehand by a man who claimed that he was compelled by spirits to conceal it there so that someone else might retrieve it.
Staying with Glastonbury, we must not overlook the psychic archaeology of architectural historian Frederick Bligh Bond, who whilst excavating the abbey during the 1910s and 1920s employed the services of mediums who believed they could communicate with long dead monks. They instructed Tudor Pole on where to dig in order to uncover previously unknown extensions of the medieval building, including its lost Edgar Chapel and Loretto Chapel. All of this is psychic questing, and it continues today. Aside from our own website, check out psychicquesting.com for the latest news and information, as well as detailed discussions on the subject.
MEONIA became a name used as a term to describe those people of the past whom unconfirmed psychic information suggested formed part of a 'heritage' involving interlinked groups and individuals connected in some way with either the Green Stone of the Meonia Sword. It embraces an incredible lineage spanning nearly 3,500 years, and is outlined in our books. MEONIA has also become like a banner, a flag of recognition for those of similar interests, taking in everything from historical and field research to psychic questing, meditation groups, and public events.
It was armed with such compelling information that the first modern-day Meonia group - consisting of Graham, Marion, Gaynor, Alan, Terry and myself - visited Iona for May Day 1980, conducting a two-part meditation at sunrise and sunset in the name of St Michael the archangel of fire. We were led to believe that such an act would in some way 'activate' the Green Stone.
As a consequence of this belief, the stone was employed in January and February 1981 on a two part psychic quest in an attempt to understand the wisdom of the megalithic peoples of Britain, who built the stone circles, long barrows and standing stones. This involved a monumental trip along a line of ancient and sacred sites from Dorchester in Oxfordshire to the Hurlers double stone circle on Bodmin Moor. Many of the sites we had been guided to visit on the Lights of Knowledge quest were found to resonate with the Michael Line (after St Michael), first written about in the late 1960s by earth mysteries writer John Michell. It focuses on an avenue or corridor of sacred and ancient sites, many of which are dedicated to the dragon-slaying saint. The connection between the sites visited on the Lights of Knowledge quest and those spread along the St Michael Line was further made apparent following the publication in 1989 of a key book on the subject entitled THE SUN AND THE SERPENT, written by Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller. Much of this information was unavailable in 1981.
Beyond the Meonia story told thus far is the fact that in August 1985 a practising Mormon named Colin Paddon started to receive vivid dreams in which he saw an angel enshrouded by a blue haze who stood in a wooded clearing (Joseph Smith's angel). In its hands were two identical swords, their blades held point downwards. After the dream took place a couple of times, Colin finally felt he recognised the woodland in question as Brickhill Woods, near Woburn Sands in Bedfordshire (where, coincidentally, my biological mother lived when I was conceived back in 1956).
Following a meditation at the Buddhist pagoda on Willen Lake, close to Milton Keynes, Colin travelled out to Brickhill Woods one Sunday afternoon with his family, which consisted of his wife Angela and their two children, along with another family of two adults and two children. In an attempt to locate the clearing seen in his dream, Colin asked each of the adults to choose an azimuth bearing between 0 and 360 degrees. One of the four angles was then followed until it brought them to an obstacle.
documentary about the Glastonbury zodiac, a subject very much associated with psychic questing activities). As Colin had touched the two swords for the first time, he felt that others existed, seven in all, and that one day they would be brought together for a very special purpose. And this was indeed what happened. Four more swords, all identical to those already described, would eventually be found in England under mysterious circumstances. It is this subject along with the search for the seventh and final sword that became the subject of my book THE SEVENTH SWORD, published in 1991.
Sunderland (centre) holds the Green Stone,
Even after this time we discovered that the position of new star which had appeared in Cygnus, the swan, back in 1600, was actually in the neck of the swan. When its position in relation to the rest of the celestial swan was overlaid on to a map of the Swan's Neck bend on the River Avon, where Graham claimed he had found the Green Stone, the two positions corresponded perfectly. Not only did this connect the stone with the influence of Cygnus, but it also indicated that there was a relationship between its place of concealment and the new star of 1600. This was a stunning realization which recalled Gaynor Sunderland's remarkable dream about the swan in the tower, experienced towards the climax of the Green Stone quest.
The planetary influence of Venus, expressed in alchemy by the metal copper and the colour green, governs Cygnus, the swan, which is located centrally on the celestial river known as the Milky Way. Venus features in alchemical philosophy, where her symbolic marriage to the alchemist as Mercury, or Hermes, creates the androgynous Mercurius, the culmination of the magical art. All this suggests that whoever was behind the Green Stone's apparent concealment at the Swan's Neck was familiar not only with alchemical ideals, but also that the stone reflected the influence of Venus, associated with the sphere of Netzach in the Tree of Life, the Hebrew mystical system understood by the Rosicrucians.
A second cabochon stone, an orange-red carnelian known as the Eye of Fire (or Red Stone), was found subsequently in 1982 by Graham and his friends (the quest occurred after I chose to withdraw from the group), and this unquestionably reflected the influence of Mercury, the sphere of Hod on the Cabbalistic Tree of Life. Venus and Mercury, Netzach and Hod, green and red, are equal and opposites in alchemical philosophy, creating a cosmic balance, reflected in dualistic symbols such as the swan and the dragon, the bird and the serpent, intelligence and matter, order and chaos, light and dark, God and the devil, Cygnus and Draco. These are basic dualistic principles still acknowledged today by those magically active in the psychic questing community.
East of the Swan's Neck is Bredon Hill, a gigantic elevated plateau that was once very likely the site of an Iron Age (c.700 BC-AD 43) cult of the dead. This conclusion comes from the gruesome discovery during excavations of a whole series of skulls thought to have been placed on spikes over an entrance gateway. Bredon takes its name from the suffix '-don', from the Old English dun, meaning 'hill', and the prefix 'bre-', from the Welsh bre, also meaning 'hill'. However, this same word root gives us Bride, Bridget, Brig, or Bree, the name of an ancient British and Irish goddess, worshipped under the name Brigantia by the Brigantes, a powerful warrior tribe who at the time of the Roman conquest inhabited much of northern Britain from Hadrians Wall in the north down to Staffordshire's Peak District in the south. So powerful was Bride-Bridget as a pagan deity that even with the arrival in Britain and Ireland of the earliest Christian missionaries in the fifth century her cult could not be quelled, and so instead of ignoring her, the pagan goddess was transformed into a saint with a life of devotion to Christ.
One of Bride-Bridget's greatest totems is the white swan, and around the time of her feast day, 1 February, an observer standing on the summit of Bredon Hill looking west can make out the sights of a swan in flight, formed by the inundation of pastures around the Swan's Neck bend on the River Avon. Such naturalistic phenomena would unquestionably have been important to the geomythic beliefs of our ancestors, and expresses once more the significance of the swan to the events surrounding the Green Stone story.
Bride-Bridget's other main totem is the snake, which in Scottish folklore was said to rise annually out of its hollow hill on the feast of St Bride. Thus within her is the perfect balance between the swan and the serpent, the green and the red, light and darkness. In many ways, she is a patron of psychic questing in Britain. Bride-Bridget can be pictured holding a casket in which are two stones, one green and the other red. The rising energies from these stones combine to form a double spiral in green and red, like the DNA double helix, one of the most powerful symbols of human evolution. Bridget, as Brigantia, might be seen in her warrior aspect with long, flame red hair, wearing a green smock-like dress and holding a bronze sword and shield.
Much has happened since the naïve days of 1979, which unquestionably catalysed the prolific writing careers both of Graham Phillips and myself. It is therefore not strange that the Cygnus constellation should become the focus of my book THE CYGNUS MYSTERY, released in the UK by Duncan Baird Publishers in November 2006 (and in the USA and Canada in April 2007). Even though this is a scholarly work based on sound research work, it was inspired by a single, extremely weird night on 5/6 June 2004, following my recent return from southeast Turkey, where my wife Sue and I had been privileged to visit not only Gobekli Tepe, the oldest temple in the world, which dates to 9500 BC, but also the remains of Harran. This ancient city of the star-worshipping Sabians is celebrated as the birthplace of Hermetica, the philosophy based on the Graeco-Egyptian writings of Hermes Trismegistus, such as the text of the Emerald Tablet.
For nearly four hours that night I wrote down some inspired thoughts and ideas, and those which have not been realized in THE CYGNUS MYSTERY are to be found in a prose tract I compiled at the time called THE CIRCLE OF CYGNUS, which I hope to publish in due course.
In THE CYGNUS MYSTERY I propose that cosmic rays from a binary star system called Cygnus X-3 effected human evolution, catalysing the emergence of the first universal religion and cosmology as early as 17,000 years ago. I suspect very much that our Palaeolithic ancestors were aware of Cygnus's influence on their lives, and even attempted to enhance this through cyclic initiations and ceremonies in caves deep underground, where its signal is clear. It is an influence that came to be personified in the heavens as a cosmic bird of creation, variously seen as a swan, vulture, hawk, dove, heron, magpie, eagle or bird of paradise. It was the basis behind concepts of the Supreme Being, such as God, Yahweh, Allah, the One, etc, as well as Cosmic Mothers, such as Nut (or Nu-it), Hathor, Saraswati, Allat, al-Uzza, Venus, and Bride-Bridget.
There is something very special about the influence of the Cygnus constellation on the human mindset. I believe that in the past it was seen as the source of cosmic life and death. Our most distant ancestors actually believed that life originated from this region of space, and that the souls of the righteous would return there in death. In many ways it was the first location of heaven. Its counter-balance and rival in the night sky was Draco, the celestial dragon, which symbolises the abysmal realms of deep space, the void, or abyss, seen in some ancient mythologies as a place where souls can be lost forever. As Cygnus is the green ray, Draco signifies the red ray and together they form a necessary cosmic balance in our own perspective of the universe.
Cygnus exudes the influence of MEONIA more than any other stellar source in the night sky. It is therefore not surprising that echoes of its greater importance found their way into the Green Stone story. Perhaps we were drawn intuitively to the Swan's Neck, which seems to be a site of importance in its own right. Whatever people might think about the reality of the Green Stone story, no one can deny the strange manner in which it came together, and no better word than MEONIA expresses this sequence of events.
Seven Swords of Meonia brought together
Modern books dealing with psychic questing:
Grace, Web Quest (1996).