Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Standing Stones of Callanish

The Standing Stones of Callanish is a tape done by Jon Mark who previously was with the band Mark-Almond.  In the 1980's he moved to New Zealand and began recording new age music.  According to he has ten albums available for purchase.  In his liner notes Mark writes,"In the misty Isle of Lewis, off the northwest coast of Scotland rise the Standing Stones of Callanish.  The megaliths were erected by the Celtic People between 2000 and 4000 years ago. "   He adds In our imaginations, we can walk in the land of youth "Tir nan Og."  Together with "Mag Meli" the bounteous plain,they formed the Isles of the Blest, the otherworld , a place of supreme happiness.  Legend says ordinary mortals could be invited to the Isles of the Blest by a girl who crried a magical apple branch with crystal flowers, the sound of which soothed grief and brought peaeful slumber.  There surrounded by streams and the greenwood, so beloved by the Celts, time no longer existed.  Days were spent with music and painting, dancing, games and lovemaking, in a land of no conflicts."    He added, "In spiritual terms "Tir nan Og" can be seen as a place of stillness within, symbolizing the death of the old self and the birth of the new on a journey that called for courage."
Mark then quotes the 6th century Celtic poet Taliesen from his poem called "The Battle of the Trees

 I have been in many shapes
  before I attained this form.
I have been a drop in the air.
I have been a shining star,
A bridge for passing over
  three scor rivers
I have journeyed as an eagle
A boat on the sea
I have been many things

I don't know what the fascination is with the stone circles of the prehistoric period.  I can only relate my feelings when I first saw Stonehenge.  Stonehenge as I recall sits on a green plain and as you drive to it you are struck by its magnificence as the stones are outlined against the green fields.  A great wesite

Here are the track listings. You can listen to the entire album on Rhapsody. 
Track Listings
1. Chloe's Day-begins with a beautiful mystical theme that you can just feel the mist covered island. A slight melody almot like a beautiful floats on top of a solid and slow chord progression.
2. Blessed Land.  The land of Scotland is beautiful and this piece is just so evocative of that landscape.  I remember seeing a photo of the Isle of Skye and wondering if the plce really existed but it does.

3. The Eye of the Hawks - you can almost imagine the hawks hovering over the landscape.
4. Mist on the Morning Hills -  Mist on the morning hills just as the sun rises.  How beautiful

5. The Standing Stones of Callanish. Oh I wish I could stand in the middle of them.  The silence I imagine is just a fantasy 
6. The Raven in the Oak Tree- a bell tolls and the raven flys and lands on an oak tree. Bells are magical.  I can remember being awoken every sunday by the sound of churchbells and birdsong. Possibly from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

7. The Stag, the Running Stream and the Greenwood A wonderful peacful nature scene.  A stream in a green wood and a stag stopping to refresh itself. Animals in Celtic Mythology had mystical meaning.  The deer is linked to the arts, specifically poetry and music in ancient Celtic animal lore due to its graceful form. The Celts also believed that deer were associated with the fairie realm, and would lead troops of fairies - hundreds of them trailing behind them as the stag cut a path.  The stag or hart is also an emblem of purity and fleetness. The stag was associated with healing, for he knew which medicinal plants to take in order to shake off the hunter's arrow. The image of the Stag with the sun cupped in his antlers is a symbol of the masculine aspect of the Divine, the Great God.   Interestingly the stag comes up in a couple of my songs even though I did not know the significance. 

8. Coming of the North Wind. -the coming of snow, winter.  the North wind doth blow and we shall have snow.

9. Autumn Leaves Fall, One by One  Well this just reminds of the turning of colors and the time of the season.  A symbol of aging/
10. A Winter's Story by the Firelight Many stores over the cnetury have been told by Fire Light.

11. The Leaving With all arrivals there are leavings.  It is the cycle of things.

12. Soft Light, Still Water what could be better

13. Journey Across the Crystal Sea. The Crystal sea where biblically God's Thone is placed. 
14. Remembering I Remember my trips to the Scottidh Isles and this tape has allowed me to relive the feelings/


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