Another Country

Someone Else’s House-George Shaw 2018

Somebody should have told you
That there was never any future
In lying supine,
Idly dreaming
Of your lost glory days
The vanished grandeur of your imperial passage
When you subdued the very waves
And subjugated the nations of the world
With boots pressing downturned faces
Further into the mud until they choked,
Striking accords and treaties
Then perfidiously reneging
Carrying cargo requiring whips and chains
A-looting and a-raping
Destroying and acquiring
Wholesale pillaging
But you know, all for their own good
A civilizing mission of course
Truth be told it was all a bit of a burden
But somebody had to do it and who better than us?
Quite quite but can you see the future
In dreaming of a past that was actually a nightmare
And how it poisons your present
Making your current decline
Take on the bouquet of a corpse
Your empire resulted in beaucoup bad karma
And a backlash that reverberates and echoes
Not only did you oppress and degrade the colonized
But we dehumanized ourselves in the process
Turns out that your manifest destiny
Was to be exceptional only in dissembled aggression
Yet you still wrap yourself in the flag
Butchers apron, a filthy bloody rag
While cultivating a loathsome air
Of detached superior nonchalance,
Fundamentally supercilious
Undermining any attempts at seriousness
With a deadly withering irony
A scornful reproach of all decency
Yet we are still surprised
When we encounter all the hate
Displayed by neighbours and others
Further a-field, all over in fact
Can’t they see what we did for them
All those ungrateful so and so’s
Can you believe that they think of us as some
Stricken beast too stupid to know that its dead?
Well we will show them one day
If only the enemy of the people
Those traitors and bleeding hearts
Would stop talking us down
If only we could rouse and wake up
Then we might dream
Of starting over again, though this time
We would make sure that the sun
Never ever never sets

Angels in the Smoking Mirror

Obsidian Aztec Mirror and other objects in the possession of Dr John Dee
Obsidian Aztec Mirror and other objects in the possession of Dr John Dee

There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy-Hamlet-William Shakespeare

For all his polymathic achievements and influence upon Elizabethan England and beyond, Dr John Dee is best known for the Angelic Conversations he conducted in conjuration with his scryer, the alchemist and convicted counterfeiter Edward Kelley.

These ‘actions’ as Dee called them, were made with the aid of an obsidian Aztec mirror that had come into his possession.

Tezcatlipoca Smoking Mirror Skull
Tezcatlipoca Smoking Mirror Skull

Mirrors were an attribution of Tezcatlipoca (Nahuatl: Smoking Mirror), the God of the Night Sky, Obsidian and Sorcery. The mirror had made its way into Europe some time after Cortes’s conquest of Mexico in 1530. 

After  a period of rigorous fasting, abstinence and prayer Kelley would gaze into the ‘shew-stone’ and report his visions of the spirits within the mirror while Dee dutifully recorded the conversations, some of which were in Enochian, the divine language supposedly spoken by prelapsarian humanity. For a period of many years in Dee’s house in Mortlake and later in Bohemia at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, Dee and Kelley would converse with a myriad  of spirits, mostly angelic but occasionally demonic which resulted in hundreds of recorded conversations.

The conversations came to an end soon after the infamous wife-swapping episode. At the urging of an insistent angel named Madimi, Dee and Kelley swapped their wives Jane and Joanne for one night. Afterwards Madimi reportedly appeared and said, ‘B hold you are become free: Do that which most pleaseth you.’

Among Dee’s other claims to fame is that he is the person responsible for first coining the term ‘British Empire’; he was also the inspiration behind the magician Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Legend has it that at the behest of Queen Elizabeth I he destroyed the Spanish Armada with his magical powers, an event that decisively effected the balance of power within Europe and the New World.

John Dee-The Holy Table
John Dee-The Holy Table