Recent Posts

Friday, 8 August 2014

Kingfishers and Fisher Kings

Thanks to wiki
I have seen a Belted Kingfisher, the most common one found in the United States. I have not seen one for years. The one I saw was a female, like the one in the photo.

Thanks to wiki

There are conspicously less birds here than in the farmlands of Iowa, especially near the Wapsi. I am not sure why in the area of the Flow, there are not more birds. I have heard chickadees and seen crows and hawks. I have not seen eagles, which are common in parts of Iowa.

Chickadees live in forests and there are several types. Kingfishers live by water, as the name expresses, these catch and eat fish. There is a charming video here of one eating fish in England.

I taught the Arhturian Myths when I was teaching in universities. The students loved the stories of  the Fisher King, the wounded guardian of the Holy Grail, a hereditary position, but one marked by tragedy. I always began wit Nennius’ Historia Brittonum.

Chretien de Troyes (written about 1180) and the author of the Mabinogion created two of the earliest legends regarding the Fisher King. The Didot-Percival is key, (1191). Robert de Boron and Wolfram von Eschenbach also wrote of this legend of the Grail, as did, of course the unknown author of the Lancelot–Grail Cycle, and the famous as well as infamous, Thomas Malory. Of course, I would also teach The Wasteland, as part of this, as well as in other courses and other references, including C. S. Lewis.

Thanks to wiki

The tingfisher is more colorful and seen in England, where I have seen it, once at Fountains, and I wrote a poem about this long ago. Poetry, Kingfishers and Fisher Kings mark my life. As a home schooling parent, I passed on this long line of mythology to my son.

I encourage home schooling parents to do the same for students about twelve-fourteen years of age. One can teach this using the plethora of art of the West on this theme.

When I was in Cornwall two years ago, the myth of St. Joseph of Arimathea, who I do believe was at Glastonbury, came up over and over. So much richness has been lost in American education because of the denigration of Western culture, civilization, and Catholicism. Those who watch the Proms or have been , as I have, know that this story of St. Joseph of Arimathea finds its way in the great song,

Of course, I traced some of the ideas of these stories in Tolkien's mythologies, found in The Lord of the Rings.

That these images form part of my imagination and are in my heart refer to T. S Eliot's idea of the objective correlative, which is a thing resonating and transforming into a symbol which produces some sort of emotion. Obviously, for Catholics, the symbol of the Holy Grail, the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper, provides a powerful objective correlative.

One of the main points of the Arthurian and Percival myths, as well as the entire Fisher King stories is that kings must be holy, must be whole, both physically and spiritually, that Christianity forms leaders, not that leaders form the Church. The idea of a knight needing to be a holy lay person is part of the entire moral aspect of chivalry and even warfare.

And, if you have missed the Proms, this great hymn is sung at the end of Chariots of Fire. Although I like this, it is a shame that the ideals of knighthood have moved from questing and war to sports.

Such is the focus of the modern world...And, of course, I would avoid the atheist usage of the myth, and some of you will know to whom I refer. Not worthy of interest....


Jerusalem by William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land.


(Can you tell I am homesick for GB today?)