WE ARE TREATED TOO MUCH LIKE HALF WITS BY THE CHURCHES.

We refuse to believe that we are the mental deficients most Church Officers treat us as. What is wrong with the Christian religion of today (circa the 1930s) is that Christians are an ill-organised crowd wandering spiritually starved and chilled in an apparently impenetrable ghostly mist?

We know not where we came from, nor to where or what we’re aiming, and our leaders are certainly as befogged as we are. It was never the case before and it should not be the case now. Once upon a time, Christianity was a live force in the world. It’s units perfectly disciplined soldiers led by magnificent generals. For centuries the Christian religion swept on it’s conquering way and those who were its enemies were crushed into nothingness.

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Pope Pius XI

Christianity has not exhausted its power but today it is hard gripped by Bolshevistic influences and its officers are as helpless as it’s rank and file. Modern developments have paralysed the Staff responsible for guiding the Christian Army into positions favourable to renewing the offensive against paganism.

BolshevikBoris Kustodiev, 1920

Church leaders are in a hopeless position as regards modern weapons for smashing modern defences of pagans. China cannot fight Japan with bows and arrows nor can Christianity win victories with childish promises and ghostly threats.

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Modern reason revolts as much at pictures of halo crowned saints playing golden harps as at those of tailed and horned devils uniformed in scarlet, thrusting people we know into wickedly dancing flames.

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No normal man who uses his mental powers denies the possibility of the existence of spiritual powers or that he himself is apparently a being in which a spiritual personality inhabits an animal body. It is only logical to presume that man was either created with or in the course of his evolution given his dual personality for some specific purpose by the being who rules the Universe.

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There appear to be logical grounds for believing that the ruling power was and is in conflict with some other influence in the spiritual world. Consideration of the subject immediately results in the realisation that we are creations of a spiritual elevating power who is actively opposed by one of a debasing nature.

Man is the Child of Good who is wrestling in a life and death fight with evil. Man was therefore created to help Good. We call Good, God the Father and enlist in our Father’s army. Throughout our human life, we are recruits, cadets, soldiers in training. When considered to be fit for use we will leave the world, our depot, to proceed on active service.

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So far we are on plausible grounds but what about the snatching away from life of young children, of life in all stages of preparation? Surely they are victories of enemy agents due entirely to our slow realisation of what our duties are, of the bad generalship of our leaders, and of our own grudging response to the rules and regulations of the Army in which we have enlisted. These are all undoubtedly owing to the idiotic system by which Christians of the Twentieth century are trained on methods found satisfactory to the First.

Jesus Christ a being of the power we call God came down to earth nearly 2000 years ago to reorganize the Army of God,  to rearm it with modern weapons and revise its archaic code of rule and regulation. Church officers killed him then. Today they’d put him away in some other form if possible. God could only be recognised, be accepted, by an army so trained to his methods and personality that his presence in the world could not remain undetected.

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To train humanity to recognise God, to fear him and to reverence him, it is vital to teach Man that he is a being under a modern spiritual military training, a recruit to the noble profession of Arms. That he or she is not a miserable sinner existing only through the infinite compassion of God but a very proper decent lad or lass who will revel in a spiritual army life once he or she understands the Whys and Wherefores of spiritual discipline “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son to the end that man be saved.”

A soldier attends parades properly dressed, clean and smart in appearance. Absence from the parade, slovenliness on parade, improper attitudes are offences against army rules and regulations providing for the maintenance of discipline.

As soldiers of God, we commit an offence by being absent from Church, by praying in improper attitudes, by parading before our Commander-in-Chief in fatigue or undress uniform. 

Our fathers understood this perfectly. We, so near the time of the Great War, so well organised in Defence Force systems, sporting organisations, Guides, Scouts, V.A.D.s and the like, surely we do not need to be told with what impatience God must regard the parades and drills by the present rabble known as the Christian army.

Prayer, fasting, abstinence, Good works, make up the spiritual drill necessary to turn us into soldiers. In ordinary armies half-hearted drilling is punishable and so it is in the Roman Catholic corps of that of God. But even here we find that Catholic officers, the priests, are afraid to enforce more than nominal penalties. An order to an ordinary penitent nowadays to walk ten miles with peas in his or her shoes would meet with a bitter and sulky reception if not with desertion from the unit.

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Whose fault is it? The fault of those who refused to treat the men and women of today as reasoning beings and train them properly. Of those who strive to officer educated men and women as though they were children. Who is so afraid of desertion and so distrustful of their rank and file that they prefer training for the parade ground rather than the battlefield.

Small forces of badly trained soldiers accompanied by hordes of derisive spectators never won a great war. Big offences have never been successful without cadres of well-trained soldiers in good heart and spirit. To train such for God’s army it is little use eternally impressing men in the training depot with their natural rottenness, with their  dependence on God’s charity but to imbue them with the knowledge that they are being honoured by their selection for training to help in God’s offensive action against Evil in the world beyond the mists.

B.M.L.
Valley Farm
Lynwood Estate
P.O.Brooklyn
Pretoria

LONELINESS

Published in the Cape Argus circa 1930s

Well, I know them, the cattle rangers where it is a long day’s ride to a neighbour – the prospecting camp’s far in the fever-stricken Bush, the native trading store where a mounted trooper perhaps once in three months is the only link with the world of civilisation.

A lonely life – Aye – It might seem so to those who have never lived the life of the Bush. It never seemed so to me or to those I met in the lands beyond the Pale.

I’ve felt the loneliness more in enemy camps herded with forty thousand other captives than in the Bush – I felt it greater than ever today living on the fringe of a city.

It is strange indeed that one should feel desolate and alone in the midst of thousands. It is strange that discontent should reign where one’s wants are supplied by the mere lifting of a telephone receiver.

Out in the Wilds many were the meatless days because the grass was too long for hunting – often one lay wet and chilled to the bone, one has craved and prayed for a little shade, a drink of cold clear water, a pipeful of tobacco, news of the world – But there a man is free – changes of Government, Parliamentary Budgets, The Conventions of Man, the Laws of Nations all were but whispers in the wind.

When hungered a man sought for food when a thirst he looked for means of quenching it. The stars above, the Hills and rivers, the glades of the Bush and the never-ending, always changing pictures of Nature filled his soul with content.

Civilisation, a mess of potage – What can it offer for loss of man’s birthright – Freedom?

Not health of body or of mind – one eternal battle to pay butcher, baker, chemist. Pay, Pay and continue to Pay – friends who seek one to gain some benefit for themselves – Nothing for Nothing and little of value for what one pays.

Caged one from the Wilds lies watching the people go past his bars – sees them eat when hunger is far from their minds – live by the stroke of the clock, eye one another with longing to possess this or that.

Lonely – God in His Heaven alone knows how lonely is the soul who for fancied security for wife and child forsook the Wilds his home and betrayed his faith in Nature the Holy Father desolate and forsaken from behind his bars he watches his fellows – a herd born and bred to slave conditions unwitting of their fetters happy in the prison yard of Civilisation.

“I will arise and go unto my father and will say unto him Father I have sinned.”
Luke 15:18

 

 

From Boatsheds to Battlefields 61 War, Whiskey, and Women

End of 60th Entry: Swimming his horse around the mob Mick regained the shore, lit his pipe and chattered with his mates until the drove was ready to once again gallop back to its camp.

Mick found no members of a Young Men’s Christian Association amongst his fellow conducters. 

The Head Conductor, Vijoen, a huge hard bitter man had been a secret service agent of the Old Transvaal Republic. The story had it that on the day Lord Roberts entered Johannesburg, Vijoen had shot two Australian officers whilst an Armistice was on. For this, he had been sentenced to death, to be later reprieved and banished from South Africa. He had gone to the Argentine which had eventually found him too desperate a character for even that tough country.

Returning to Africa Viljoen joined Colonel Maritz then a transport conductor in the Germans Service. The Germans were at war with the Hottentots and the rough conditions suited Viljoen to the ground. Some trouble arose between him and Maritz which resulted in Viljoen being fastened to a waggon wheel and mercilessly flogged. Forsaking the German Service Viljoen wandered into Bechuanaland where he traded and hunted until the Great War broke out.

Jan Kemp, unknown rebel, Manie Maritz at Keetmanshoop in “German West

Another was an ex-attorney who had been struck off the Rolls for some reason and had led a shadowy life ever since. A third was a racecourse man whose life was regarded with suspicion, and a fourth, Mick’s billet mate was a cab driver who, the story went added the post of Assistant Hangman to his more prosaic occupation.

By some means or other, the Transport men seemed to have an arrangement with a hotel proprietor by which whiskey was supplied free apparently without limit. Mick until then had rarely drunk except out of bravado but now he fell easily.

He liked the company. Rough and wild though they were, unsavoury characters perhaps in civilian life they might be, yet all were old campaigners of the Boer and Frontier Wars and made good companions in the present type of life. They fed well, handled natives and animals with uncanny skill, shirked nothing in the way of danger or work and lived entirely for the day.

Mick found he could drink glass for glass with the others, work unafraid with them amidst a chaotic mass of wild frightened animals, handle natives, mules or horses with the best. The young Rhodesian, therefore, dropped readily into the life.

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There were no troops actually in Prieska – the Transport men as yet ranked as civilians and Viljoen was apparently the Commander-in-Chief. Discipline was practically non-existent except as regarded the actual work in the Transport camp itself.

In spite of very heavy drinking scarcely any untoward incidents occurred for the work taxed every fibre and muscle so that the alcohol was sweated out almost as soon as it entered the system. The heat was terrific, the work was not only heavy physical labour but work that needed all a mans’ wits to be ever on the alert to preserve his life.

A drunken man would not have lasted five minutes working in the midst of a few hundred untamed mules or horses. Death or at best, broken bones would have been his portion immediately. Most probably the very act of concentration required to preserve mastery over an inflamed brain caused the alcohol to act purely as a stimulant.

In any case, sober men would never have continued at the pressure demanded of Transport Conductors at that time. Nerves and muscle would have wilted under the strain but as it was the alcohol acted as paraffin cast at intervals on steadily burning fires.

Mick had one or two narrow escapes from disaster. He and his mates were accustomed to race through Prieska as hard as their horses could gallop. Several children and civilians thereby escaped death by the fraction of an inch.

One night shortly after Mick’s arrival, the daughter of the house had a visitor, a civilian policeman. The two retired into the sitting room and a good many hours past. Now the ex-cabby and supposed hangman was not a man whose moral character was above fear and reproach. He thought the girl easy game and made a suggestion that on the departure of the policeman he and Mick should, in turn, share the lady’s favours.

Mick held rather high ideals but the life was having a wearing effect upon them. Although he felt repugnant he yet dallied with the idea, protesting as a matter of conscience, but not taking any decisive stand.

During the early hours of the morning, the policeman departed and the hangman immediately slipped into the sitting room to be received with screams of fear and anger. Mick instantly ran in to find a weeping girl, the hangman in his shirt and the girl’s mother violently protesting.

The hangman ordered the woman to clear out, cursed Mick and caught hold of the girl. Mick jumped in but received a blow which half stunned him. Instantly the Rhodesian ran into his bedroom, returned with a loaded revolver and the hangman seeing murder blazing in his comrade’s eyes loosened the girl and delayed not in his return to his bedroom.

Mick followed him seething with rage to be met by a roar of laughter from the immoral one who produced a bottle of whiskey. The two speedily dismissed the past event from their minds and apparently were the best of friends.

That evening there was some particularly hard-drinking which ended in the hangman becoming fighting drunk. He cursed Mick, insulted him and finally left with the avowed intention of riding the hell out of Mick’s horse – an animal Mick worshipped.

Mick started after him protesting and threatening – turning the hangman sent the lash of his stockwhip hissing through the air, gave a quick turn of the wrist and the cruel hide cut the Rhodesian’s face to the bone – instantly Mick howling with rage and pain drew his revolver. The hangman leaping into the saddle dashed off. Mick emptied three chambers after him sending the dust spurting around the galloping horse. The Head Conductor leaping forward knocked Mick senseless and the affair was over.

From Boatsheds to Battlefields 57 Legion of Frontiersmen Recruits Wanted

End of 56th Entry: That summed up the situation Mr Osmond telling the three Rhodesians that during the day their best course was to go into town and investigate conditions before attempting to decide on their future policy.

After a good sleep and hearty breakfast, the trio proceeded to Cape Town where Mick, arranging to meet his companions later, began a round of interviews.

Calling at the Castle he endeavoured to enlist in a Defence Force Unit. The Colonel, an old family friend took his details but had no authority to enlist anyone – so fared Mick in half a dozen other attempts – calling at the Drill Hall he found a British Battalion just arrived from the North. Here he was informed that recruits were being accepted and was told to report at 9am the following morning.

Mick turned away feeling as though on the brink of a precipice. He intended going overseas and here was his chance, but he felt incredibly lonely at the thought of going as a private soldier in a battalion of utter strangers, felt too, the Colonial’s instinctive prejudice against the stern discipline of a regular line battalion and craved to be with mounted men of his own type.

Shrugging his shoulders Mick went off to be attracted by the painted words “Legion of Frontiersmen” over a doorway and beside the door “Recruits Wanted” calling in Mick interviewed a hard-faced citizen who after taking his particulars – Cadet training – four years Bush life – excellent education etc. ushered him into an inner office where half a dozen tougher citizens were grouped around a table. Introducing Mick the hard-faced man retired and a grizzled old veteran put the Rhodesian through a searching catechism.

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“All, right Son, we’ll enlist you in the Legion,” he said at length – “As yet we have not been officially recognised, but we’re expecting a cable any minute accepting our services as a unit to act in any capacity, mounted, infantry or special services. Parade at 5 p.m.” Filling in and signing a form, Mick felt infinitely better.

A couple of days went past. Mick put in some hard drill with a crowd that reminded him of the Anglican prayer for “All sorts and conditions of men.” but no acceptance came of the Legion’s offer of service which had been communicated to both the Imperial and Union governments. Mick inwardly grinning at the thought wondered if both Governments considered letting loose the crowd he had met on a civilized nation was contrary to the rules of the Geneva Convention.

Meanwhile, the South African Labour Party were enlisting men on behalf of the departing Imperial battalions. Mick’s agreement with the Legion allowed him to join any fighting unit in the interval before the services of the Legion were accepted. After he had passed without apparently being any nearer the firing line, Mick with Taffy, (the third having joined the Garrison Artillery),  put his name down for the Essex Regiment and came home with an armlet which in bold blood red the words Labour Legion were emblazoned on a white background.

It was September 1914. Michael Osmonds’ parents, relatives and friends belonged to the old world of ancient families to whom their order was their religion. Labour men were classified anarchists, nihilists, vagabonds and rogues and even Mick himself when out of sight of the Labour Party’s recruiting table took off the fatal armlet, and gazed upon it  with deep suspicion mixed with feelings that he had committed sacrilege, sold himself to the Evil One, and become a member of a Secret Society. 

Putting the armlet in an inside pocket Mick proceeded to have a drink then went home wondering how he was to break the news. He felt that had he simply enlisted as a private soldier in a British battalion the family would not have offered the slightest opposition, only have sympathized with him and regretted his being companionless in his venture. To, however, join via a back door such as the Labour Legion would convince him that he had lost his reason.

“Wonder why the blazers I did,” he remarked to himself “I wish that I’d joined up with that last regiment –  I’ve a damn good mind to push off to the Docks and work my passage over.” This determination was greatly strengthened by the reception his step met with at home – a reception which more than fulfilled his expectations.

Now, most of Mick’s spare time since arriving from Rhodesia had been divided between his fianceé and the Transport Office. Here he with various friends became an absolute pest in their endeavours to find acceptance of their services in the transport conveys.

On Mick’s plunge into the Labour Legion Mr Osmond aroused himself to find a loophole of escape for his son – armed with letters of introduction, Mick interviewed various influential men, then once again turned his face towards this Transport Office and sending in a letter to the Commanding Officer he waited a while, was asked to follow an orderly into the Presence and after being asked a few questions came out wreathed in smiles.

He was engaged as a conductor of Transport at 7/6 per diem and rations. A uniform would be issued if required, on the Repayment system. Duties were to commence immediately.

For three days Mick lived next to the Dock gates working on unpacking and fitting harness, trucked a few mules and generally having an easy time. From Ordnance stores, he was issued with Bedford cord riding breeches, brown boots and leggings, a slouch hat and khaki tunic with stiff cardboard lined green collar and cuffs. He also drew a big Webly Revolver with ammunition, so felt himself a last to be a member of the armed forces of the Crown.

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Meanwhile Mick’s love affair came to an end – in many ways still only a schoolboy all Mick’s thoughts and attention concentrated on his new life – he hoped the German West business would be over in a week or two and that then he would get a chance to get Home with either or South African or Rhodesian Expeditionary Force or with some chums.

Three days after receiving his appointment Mick was ordered to proceed early next morning to the Maitland main transport depot, as one of a detail of conductors who would take charge of a large number of transport waggons and animals. On receiving the animals the conductors would drive them to the docks, ship them and proceed to one of the Theatres of War.

Next day the detail of six transport conductors and one head conductor proceeded out to the Remount Camp on the Cape Flats some six miles from Cape Town where they were issued with horses – with lively curiosity they then rode to the Transport Camp and to their disgust took over one thousand three hundred and twenty sad looking donkeys together with a hundred and fifty Cape Coloured men to act as drivers and leaders.

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Mick had drawn a really good grey horse with a beautiful action. The horse seemed to have been a pet as it was particularly well cared for, especially considering it to have been issued from a great heard of Remount horses running loose in open paddocks.

The Rhodesian, therefore, felt that drive from Maitland to the Cape Town Docks as one of the greatest events in this life. The huge grey drove of donkeys herded by shouting Coloured men, himself with half a dozen others in picturesque army dress riding around the drove heavy revolvers slung over their shoulders, short handled 25ft lashed stockwhips in their hands all made his mind bring back boyhood memories of wild Argentine Cowboys driving up the mobs of mules, horses and cattle from the Docks in the now distant Boer War days.

Then he had been one of the onlookers watching with lively curiosity and interest what appeared denizens from another world. Now he felt that hundreds watched him with the same feelings.

“Damn shame we’ve got donkeys,” he thought “Jove it would have been thrilling driving a thousand mules or horses through Cape Town.”.

At the Docks, animals were shipped into an old cargo steamer. A northerly gale was blowing with a heavy see running outside the Breakwater, and Mick grinned as he looked at his fellow conductors all of whom were typical Bush countrymen. From these men, his eyes wandered to the gay chatting coloured folk bidding farewell to numerous relations of either sex, all colours, shapes and sizes. Guitars, banjos, concertinas and fiddles were wailing, tears flowing mixed with laughter as the brown people all their feelings, surface ones, revelled in the emotions of the moment.

The Queensland had already loaded sixty transport waggons each of which would be pulled by twenty-two donkeys. Immediately the donkeys and men had been shipped hawsers were cast off, the tugs busily hauled her into the fairway and with the threshing screw, the tramp began her voyage.

The Feet of the Young Men by Rudyard Kipling

Bernard Leffler refers to the Red Gods fascinated I did the Google search:

The Feet Of The Young Men

Now the Four-way Lodge is opened, now the Hunting Winds are loose —
Now the Smokes of Spring go up to clear the brain;
Now the Young Men’s hearts are troubled for the whisper of the Trues,
Now the Red Gods make their medicine again!
Who hath seen the beaver busied? Who hath watched the black-tail mating?
Who hath lain alone to hear the wild-goose cry’
Who hath worked the chosen water where the ouananiche is waiting,
Or the sea-trout’s jumping-crazy for the fly?

He must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

So for one the wet sail arching through the rainbow-round the bow,
And for one the creak of snow-shoes on the crust;
And for one the lakeside lilies where the bull-moose waits the cow,
And for one the mule-train coughing in the dust.
Who hath smelt smelt-smoke at twilight? Who hath heard the birch-log burning?
Who is quick to read the noises of the night?
Let him follow with the others for the Young Men’s feet are turning
Too the camps of proved desire and known delight!

Let him go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

I

Do you know the blackened timber — do you know that racing stream
With the raw, right-angled log-jam at the end;
And the bar of sun-warmed shingle where a man may bask and dream
To the click of shod canoe-poles round the bend’
I is there that we are going with our rods and reels and traces,
To a silent, smoky Indian that we know —
To a couch of new-pulled hemlock, with the starlight on our faces,
For the Red Gods call us out and we must go!

They must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

II

Do you know the shallow Baltic where the seas are steep and short,
Where the bluff, lee-boarded fishing-luggers ride?
Do you know the joy of threshing leagues to leeward of your port
On a coast you’ve lost the chart of overside?
It is there that I am going, with an extra hand to bale her —
Just one able ‘long-shore loafer that I know.
He can take his chance of drowning, while I sail and sail and sail her,
For the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

III

Do you know the pile-built village where the sago-dealers trade —
Do you know the reek of fish and wet bamboo?
Do you know the steaming stillness of the orchid-scented glade
When the blazoned, bird-winged butterflies flap through?
It is there that I am going with my camphor, net, and boxes,
To a gentle, yellow pirate that I know —
To my little wailing lemurs, to my palms and flying-foxes,
For the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

IV

Do you know the world’s white roof-tree — do you know that windy rift
Where the baffling mountain-eddies chop and change?
Do you know the long day’s patience, belly-down on frozen drift,
While the head of heads is feeding out of range?
It is there that I am going, where the boulders and the snow lie,
With a trusty, nimble tracker that I know.
I have sworn an oath, to keep it on the Horns of Ovis Poli,
And the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

How the Four-way Lodge is opened — now the Smokes of Council rise —
Pleasant smokes, ere yet ‘twixt trail and trail they choose —
Now the girths and ropes are tested: now they pack their last supplies:
Now our Young Men go to dance before the Trues!
Who shall meet them at those altars — who shall light them to that shrine?
Velvet-footed, who shall guide them to their goal?
Unto each the voice and vision: unto each his spoor and sign —
Lonely mountain in the Northland, misty sweat-bath ‘neath the Line —
And to each a man that knows his naked soul!

White or yellow, black or copper, he is waiting, as a lover,
Smoke of funnel, dust of hooves, or beat of train —
Where the high grass hides the horseman or the glaring flats discover —
Where the steamer hails the landing, or the surf-boat brings the rover —
Where the rails run out in sand-rift . . . Quick! ah, heave the camp-kit over,
For the Red Gods make their medicine again!

And we go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world we’re overdue!
‘Send the road is clear before you when the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

From the Rudyard Kipling Society

Notes on the text 

(by Mary Hamer drawing on various sources, in particular
Ralph Durand, “A Handbook to the Poetry of Rudyard Kipling” 1914.)

 

Fourway Lodge

‘They were constituted by adherence to the basic rules of the cosmic system, with sunken hole as receptacle for the hot stones, seating protocols, spirit directions, tobacco thank offerings, prayer flags and special songs to the spirit helpers of the owner. The sweat progressed through four sessions of sweat, appropriately to the spirits of the four directions in the cosmic structure, each of which ended by opening the flaps of the lodge to allow for the spirits to leave and the devotees to cool.’Earle H. Waugh,Dissonant Worlds, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1996 pp 56-7.

 

The Red Gods

‘The Trues in the verses are – well, the Trues – the old original four or five head-deities of the Red Man’s mind –the old Beast Gods I think they were – Buffalo –Beaver – Elk/Coyote – or something of that nature. At any rate they are the Red Gods of the hunting grounds – earth spirits waking man up in the spring.’

THE RED GOD AND HIS ANCIENT INSPIRATIONS.

THE RED GOD AND HIS ANCIENT INSPIRATIONS.

Many authors draw on real world inspiration for aspects of their fantasy world. George R.R. Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, is known for doing this.  Many of the religions he has created draws on aspects from the religions of our world.  Some of them have multiple inspirations all combined together. The faith of the Red God is one such religion; combining aspects of Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism.

The faith of the Red God emerged 5,000 years before the beginning of A Song of Ice and Fire in a city called Asshai.  Assai is at the end of the known world in Essos. It is shrouded in mystery because of its distance and its inhabitants use magic, discouraging people to visit. [1]  From there, the religion spread through many of the trading cities such as Volanatis, Lys and Braavos where the great temples are located. There are few temples in Westeros, like in Oldtown but are mainly for the sailors from Essos.LordOfLightProtectUs_JZee

The followers of the Red God believe that there are two gods: The Lord of Light, The Red God or R’hllor and the Great Other, whose true name is forbidden to say. R’hllor is the god of life and heat, opposite to him, the Great Other is the god of death and cold.  The two are locked in an eternal battle that will determine what happens to the world.[2]  A priest of the red god, Melisandre, comments on the Great Other with, “These little wars are no more than a little scuffle of children before what is to come. The one whose name must not be spoken is marshalling his power, Davos Seaworth, a power fell and evil and strong beyond measure. Soon comes the cold, and the night that never ends.” [3]     Throughout the books there is a fear that because of the long summer there will also be a long winter. Winters are always harsh and now there is the threat of the White Walkers moving north of the Wall.  Until recently they were thought to be mythical, but the member of the Night’s Watch and the wildlings know better. The White Walkers are thought to be agents of the Great Other. [4]

Within the sacred texts, there is a tale of a great hero that will fight against the Great Other.  Azor Ahai was the chosen hero of the Lord of Light during the Long Night.  He along with others defeated a great host of White Walkers and banished the darkness. [5]He had a sword named Lightbringer that was forged over one hundred days and quenched in his wife’s blood. When he drew it, it was aflame and became a beacon of hope. The followers of the Lord of Light believe he will return and save them from a great darkness.[6]

The use of fire is very important to the faith of the Red God.  It is involved in many of their rituals and is used to see visions. The rituals are used to pray to R’hllor to bring back the dawn every night in fear that the Great Other will take over.  The visions are thought to be R’hllor showing priests the future and what they should do. The temples have large fires that never go out and are a centre for their rituals. Some priests are gifted with the power to raise the dead, conjure fire and understand the visions from the flames. [7]

The two major characters following this religion are Thoros of Myr and Melisandre of Asshai. Both were sent to Westeros to convert kings and gain support for the fight to come.  They have both demonstrated their powers through the visions they have and Thoros raises one of his friend from the dead seven times. Melisandre forcibly converts the inhabitants of Dragonstone when she burns the idols of the Seven and burns people who will not convert or are planning to undermine her. [8]

[9]The religion of the Lord of Light draws inspiration from Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism.  Zoroastrianism originated with the prophet Zoroaster around 1,500 BCE.   Through him, the god Ahura Mazda wrote seventeen hymns called the GathasThe Gathas were gathered with other texts that outlined rituals into the text called the Avesta.[10] The Avesta was written before the sixth century BCE. Before it being written, the rituals were known in oral culture reaching back to the time of Zoroaster. The spread of Zoroastrianism was helped by the three Persian Empires of Achaemenid ( 550-380 BCE), Parthian ( 250 BCE- 224 CE) and Sasanian ( 224-651 CE) where it was the state religion.  These empires spread across the Middle East with its heart in Iran.[11]

Those who follow Zoroastrianism believe there is one god called Ahura Mazda, who created the universe and is linked with light.  He is described as the “Lord of Light”, “Creator of the World”, and “the Ones who Knows”. [12] Working with Ahura Mazda are the Yazatas, also known as the divine sparks. There are six of them that represent different features of the world like the sun, moon, earth, fire, water and wind.[13]Opposite all this are the aspects of destruction and evil. The Daevas are described as false gods and the source of evil. They hold power over people through their actions and are the cause of things such as greed, gluttony, lust, wrath, envy, envy and sloth.

The reason for having aspects of evil in the world is to show that people have a choice. If everything was good, then people would have no choice in their actions.   Evil is created by people when they make decisions that are harmful and are extensions of Deavas and Angra Mainyu.

Atashgah_fire_temple_2010

Zoroastrians believe that fire is a representative of Ahura Mazda in both a physical and metaphorical sense. With this, Ahura Mazda is present in the fire. [14] They built temples to hold sacred fires that are used in rituals.  The highest out of the three orders of fire is called the victory fire or Atash Bahram. It consists of sixteen different fires from varying origins like fire from a goldsmith, fire from a potter, and fire from lightning. Once each fire is collected, they are consecrated separately and then eventually combined. It is then enthroned in the temple and is never allowed to go out.[15]

Many religions have saviour figures that will save humanity at the end of the world.  The events that happen is called eschatology.  For Zoroastrianism,  Zoroaster’s third son, Shah Behram Varzavand,  is the saviour.  Him and his brothers are conceived after their father’s death through the use of his seed in the Lake Kansaoya. When woman baths in it she becomes pregnant. Shah Behram Varzavand will be born with signs like stars falling and others to let the world know. He will perform a ritual for Ahura Mazda and begin the rising of the dead. With this, he begins the healing of the world.[16]

[17]The faith of the Red God is not a direct parallel to Zoroastrianism but instead draws influence from it. There are similarities in the dualism with the forces of good and evil, the use of fire, and aspects of the eschatology.   The main connection with Zoroastrianism is the use of fire which is sacred, being an extension of Ahura Mazda. The followers of the Red God never actually state why they put such importance on fire other than it keeps the shadows away.  Melisandre has a constant fire going in her room and maybe a parallel to that belief and that relating to fire temples. [18]   Being a priest of the Lord of Light, they have the ability to see things in the fire.  Some say this could be the voice of R’hllor guiding them from the flames and that he is part of the fire. [19] Azor Ahai is meant to directly fight against the agents of the Great Other while Shah Behram Varzavand is meant to heal the world.  One is the leader of a great battle while the other will directly help humanity.   Both have nothing to say on the discussion of matter and spirit being evil or good.  There are some religions that believe the material world is inherently evil and that the spiritual word is good.  Zoroastrians believe what makes up good and evil is up to the individual and their choices.

The other inspiration is Manichaeism. It has more parallels with respect to the dualism.  Manichaeism was founded during the Sasanian Empire ( 224-651 AD) in Iran. The Prophet Mani was born in 216 AD. He composed seven writing and even presented one to the king at the time.  The religion spread quickly thought the empire as the kings were religiously tolerant.  Mani used many teaching from before found in Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity. He thought that many of these teachings were unfinished and elaborated on them through his works.[20]

Mani saw the spiritual world of light as good while the material world of darkness representative of evil. The light that was originally used to create the world is slowing being leached out and returning to where it came from. Eventually, all material things will die.  The forces involved in the dualism are The Father of Greatness, who is a not omnipotent good power and The King of Darkness who is the evil power that is semi-eternal.  Building on this, Mani addresses the origin of evil.  A person is both influenced by good and evil powers and they battle inside everyone. No person is intrinsically evil simply because they have a physical form. The Cathars in the Middle Ages may have drawn some of their beliefs from this.[21]

[22]There is more of an overarching parallel with Manichaeism than with Zoroastrianism.   The dualism between the Red God and the Great Other is similar to that of The Father of Greatness and The King of Darkness in Manichaeism.  Both sets are equals who are in constant battle for the fate of the world.  There is nothing about the importance of fire and the eschatology is simply the world dying with the souls of the dead returning to The Father of Greatness.

George R.R. Martin drew aspects of the Faith of the Red God from Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism. From Zoroastrianism, he used the importance of fire and some of the eschatology.   From Manichaeism, he used the dualism between good and evil to create  R’llor and the Great Other. All of this combined created the Faith of the Red God.

[1] George R.R. Martin, Ellio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson.  The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones. (New York: Bantam, 2014): 308.

[2] R’hllor. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last modified December 14, 2014.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/R%27hllor

[3]George .R.R Martin.  A Storm of Swords. (New York: Bantam, 2000): 500.

[4] The Great Other. A Wiki of Ice and Fire.  Last Modified March 8, 2015.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Great_Other

[5] Martin, Garcia, Jr., and Antonsson.  The World of Ice and Fire, 11.

[6] Azor Ahai or clash of Kings 118

[7]  R’hllor. A Wiki of Ice and Fire.

[8] G.R.R.  Martin, Clash of Kings. (New York: Bantam, 1999): 111.

[9]  Vengrence.” Game of Thrones Lore Extra – the Lord of Light.”  Youtube video. 3:39 February 17, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXtUTNqKOjw

[10] Jenny Rose, Zoroastrianism: A Guide for the Perplexed. (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group,

2011): 71-74.

[11] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 77.

[12] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 23-25.

[13] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 33.

[14] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 29.

[15] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 131-133.

[16] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 55.

[17] TwoBinc. “The Zoroastrian Journey”. Youtube video. 9:19. April 30,2009.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K83F4URTS9I

[18] George R. R. Martin. A Dance with Dragons. (New York: Bantam, 2011): 448

[19] R’hllor. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last modified 14 December 2014. http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/R%27hllor

[20] “Manichaeism”. Wikipedia. Modified April 15, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

[21] “Manichaeism”. Wikipedia. Modified April 15, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

[22]  Hyperrealpda. Manichaeism. Youtube video. 9: 44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otYwkIa_qIM

Works cited

Azor Ahai.  A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last modified December 14, 2014.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Azor_Ahai

Hyperrealpda. Manichaeism. Youtube video. 9: 44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otYwkIa_qIM

Martin, George R.R.  A Clash of Kings. New York: Bantam, 1999.

Martin, George R.R.  A Dance with Dragons. New York: Bantam, 2011.

Martin, George R.R.   A Storm of Swords. New York: Bantam, 2000.

Martin, George R.R., Ellio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson.  The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold

              History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones. New York, Bantam, 2014.

Melisandre. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last Modified March 30, 2015.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Melisandre

“Manichaeism”. Wikipedia. Modified April 15, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

R’hllor. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last modified December 14, 2014.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/R%27hllor

Rose, Jenny. Zoroastrianism: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Continuum International Publishing

Group, 2011.

The Great Other. A Wiki of Ice and Fire.  Last Modified March 8, 2015.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Great_Other

TwoBinc. “The Zoroastrian Journey”. Youtube video. 9:19.  April 30,2009.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K83F4URTS9I

Vengrence.” Game of Thrones Lore Extra – the Lord of Light.”  Youtube video. 3:39 February 17, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXtUTNqKOjw

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From Boatsheds to Battlefields 30 Close brush with death

One morning Mathew was ill and Peter told Mick to ride into Struan and ask the doctor to come out. Nikola had been particularly well-behaved for some time so deciding to use him and feeling that with a fourteen-mile road on which were several hills it didn’t much matter whether Nikola bolted or not, Mike once more slipped a racing bridle over the horse’s head, lifted the saddle onto his back, tightened the girth and with a cheery shout put toe to stirrup and swung for the saddle.

Nikola sprung away but Mick’s leg was over his back and Mick had the reins firmly held against his neck. The horse broke into a gallop but Mick still minus one stirrup grasped a rein with each hand and sawed violently at the brute’s mouth – fighting desperately to get his head down Nikola raced along the farm avenue and swung round a sharp corner where a threshing plant was working.

As the horse came round the bend the engine whistle went and Nikola still at a gallop swerved madly across the road – Mick slipped and went flying out of the saddle, but unluckily his boot caught in the stirrup and off went Nikola like a thing possessed with Mick’s body half dragging the ground, half floating on air behind. Badly scared the horse even at the tremendous pace he was going attempted once or twice to lash out at the dragging object but the Fates had not finished with Michael. His boot gave and the lad a mass of tatters, blood, and bruises tumbled into a senseless heap.

Image result for horse riding rider caught with one foot in the stirrups 1900

Mick was tough and soon a mass of rags and mud rose painfully to his feet, limped a few steps and halted to shake a vengeful fist at the distance before him whilst a foul torrent of sea language flowed from a badly bleeding mouth. A few minutes later two Cape boys brought a foam covered horseback along the road to where a white-faced man and half a dozen coloured labourers were gathered round Mick enquiring if he was hurt.

“Is it hurt I am – don’t I look hurt? But by the Holy pipes that played before Moses, there’s a devil that’s going to be hurt worse still.”

Unfastening one end of the reins Mick took a firm grip of it in one hand and with a long quince cutting in the other proceeded to give Nikola the benefit of muscles toughened by years of work on oar and rope. Rearing, screaming the horse tried to charge Mick – a slash over his eyes turned him – Nikola wheeling round attempted to kick – the supple quince stick stung him hard – the horse made a dash but the rein only allowed him to run in a circle – several of the onlookers arming themselves with switches assisted heartily in the process of chastisement but Mick grimly held to the post of honour until so weary that he could no longer lift the stick.

Mick had a cigarette whilst Nikola saddened and humbled stood shivering by – a man held the horse’s head and Mick aching and groaning was lifted into the saddle – the man at the bridle released his hold – Nikola lifted his head, gave a snort, bucked violently and with his bit well between his teeth tore away.

Mick helpless as a babe sat firmly in the saddle – all right you – he muttered “its a good road and a long one – I’ve got my feet in the stirrups and you won’t get me this time.”

As he spoke far in the distance he saw a speck – larger and larger it grew resolving itself into a wagon with its long team of sixteen oxen. The road was narrow, strong wire, ostrich proof fences ran on either side – Mick felt that death was very near and as he rode a string of prayers Catholic, Anglican and Dutch Reformed streamed from his lips the while he fought like a devil to win control over Nikola – in vain – could he pass the wagon – alas the two damned fools of boys in charge were already standing waving their arms thinking to stop Nikola whilst their oxen straggled behind them completely blocking the road – a hundred yard left – a second or two more – Mick with a scream to God to help him flung himself from the saddle, Nikola swerved and with a wonderful glorious bound took the fence and cleared it.

A quarter of an hour later Mick limping and stumbling, crying with pain and rage, a horrible sight of mud, rags and blood led a well-rested well-fed horse from a lucerne field into a road.

“Kill me you Devil!” he shouted to the horse “But you won’t get me funky.”

Nikola rolled an enquiring eye backward and tensed ready for the third lap. Up galloped Peter Van Der Walt – “Thank God you’re not yet dead then Mick – Let’s change bridles and you can ride home on Star, I’ll take Nikola – Mathew’s better and doesn’t want the doctor.”

Mick answered – “We’ll change bridles but I’ll stick to Nikola – get the curb chain tight as you can whilst I cut a couple of sticks.”