The Eerie Beauty of Knowth and Dowth — Ancient Spirits Spiraling Through Time

in #ireland2 years ago (edited)


There is a moss and mist dampened quietness to every footstep you take in Ireland, but the echoes of the past are deafening.

      It's fascinating how our methods of expression, worship, cultural identity, beauty, spirituality, and creativity have taken so many different forms throughout history and have all still been able to accurately convey emotion. A few days ago, I put in my headphones and closed my eyes, searching for the clarity that for me seems to come when I open myself to the wild torrent of sound that is metal music. It might seem illogical that a genre that frequently comprises unintelligible and overwhelming noise can speak to me so clearly, but there's something about it that evokes as much memory in me as going back through my own photographic work does. Somewhere, between an impenetrable wall of blast beats and intense growls, and the bone-deep silence of kneeling on the chilled grass of a cloud swept moor, is my recollection of experiencing the neolithic tomb sites Knowth and Dowth. Lyrics describing a decrepit grimoire opened in a far future, unleashing ancient magic and a sense of apprehension tear through my soul and take me right back to Eire... tucked under the overhang of one of the mounds to shelter safely from the drizzle, but cautious of the sense of the wild and foreboding lore carved into the kerbstones bridging the gap of five thousand or so years.


      Often, on @fullforceradio, I delve into the modern evolution of bardic tradition that folk metal represents. Sitting at my desk, listening to The Book of Dowth, I'm swept up in being here but not quite here; there without being there. While I experienced bright blazes of colour, unbridled celebration and joyful sunny afternoons on the emerald isle, my time at the tombsites was somber and evocative — maybe it was the weather, or maybe because the meaning of the ancient pictographs can only be guessed at, but the sense of magic and darkness and our connection to the earth was heavy on my mind and tingling in the soles of my feet. Carvings everywhere. Decorations, or warning. Expression, or worship. Listening to thundering music sitting at my desk but simultaneously hearing nothing but my own thundering heart as I follow the lines of spiral after spiral into the soul of the island, rooted to the ground as the clouds swirl above me.


      While it isn't my strongest memory of my time in Ireland most of the time, listening to someone else's interpretation of the eerie beauty of Knowth and Dowth brings the sensations of being there crashing back over me and I scramble to pull up the pictures I'd forgotten I'd taken. As I sift through them one by one, I remember with a shiver how cold I felt as the damp grass soaked through my pants. I was kneeling? And here beside me, dark wings snapping shut to stand with head bowed in an unnatural pose, ringed in spirals...



Circles within circles, drawing you inevitably towards the entrances to the tombs. Mounds ringed by mounds encircled by spiral graven rocks enclosing paths speared into the heart of the earth.



      At the crescendo of it all, the eastern passage looms long and still. The music is screaming and pounding now, and the silence is utter. My eyes and ears can't adjust, but the smell of the damp soil and the hairs on the back of my neck are in tune. A long exposure brings out the details of the channel; some stones hide their art on the back side, away from human eyes, and some remain untouchable somewhere there at the end of forever. I gaze long into this neolithic abyss and somehow know that across time it gazes long into me. I realize the album has finished and my heart stops racing. I feel like the long exposure of the tunnel has stolen some of its majesty and mystery away, and that this glimpse of the tomb has lost some of its magic in my requires something more to properly convey the spirit of this place. I take a deep breath and press play again.

Beneath the stone of seven suns
Unveiling that which lies beyond
The reach of eyes, the reach of ears,
What we wish to be and become

My soul spirals into a darkness
Deeper and blacker
Than any I have ever known
Beyond my inner limit
Beyond the secrets of the stones

Dowth 2059, SuidAkrA


These photos and words are my own work, inspired by travels all over this pretty blue marble of ours. I hope you like them. 🌶️


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Hi Crim,
I was in knowth and dowth just a few years back and I really got soaked into the aura of the place and enrolled as well in the lottery for Newgrange, sadly I did not win because that would have given me a place within the monument at the winter solstice.
But well, even without that I won't forget these magical moments..

What an absolute dream that would b, wouldn't it? I entered the lottery while I was there as well, but no luck. I still have a set of photos to release here from Newgrange, but truthfully, despite the incredible feeling of entering the mound, I think I'm fonder of the lesser known satellites still~ did you spend much time outside of the cities? I love how there were ruins and cairns in what seemed like every back field and spent a lot of time out in the weeds.

Oh yes, that would be an absolute once in a lifetime thing, to be in the monument when the ray of light is exactly passing into the main chamber ...
Its really amazing, in almost every corner of this country is something to visit, from smaller stone circles to standing stones that are almost unknown.
Finding those was the best ;)

Wow. I love this

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Wow, so beautiful... I can feel the ancient energies, like a mystical force that resided in these places, through your photos. All those circles and faded carvings on the stones. They feel like they are whispering still, their secrets from the past... Aaah...

That last photo is so gorgeous, I feel drawn into my monitor and I wish I can fall into it...

Love this post, Crimi~ Post moreeeee~

I'm working on it again! I'm trying to separate out my Steem ventures into different accounts to help me feel like I'm not posting too much and to allow my chain/community work and my art to stand separately. I would be so happy if I could properly just sit here each day and share mysteries and glimpses 🖤

You posted! So glad I had my girl GINAbot watching carefully, so I would not miss it! 😃

Oh, how I love these photos and what you have written!

"...has lost some of its magic in my retelling."

I doubt that, seriously. I think you conveyed the mystery and the magic beautifully with your enchanting words and magnificent photos. I so loved walking beside you on this adventure and my mind is filled with the awe of it now. Some of my ancestors came from the Isles, and I feel like my spirit has been transported back there, to that time and place. Bravo!

You have also reminded me of a pendant I have, about which I need to blog. It features a cup-and-ring mark, similar to the spirals, but different in their own way with concentric circles, instead. Thanks for the reminder, and thanks for a most delightful read! You never disappoint! 💖

I look forward to it! I know you often do symbolic deep dives, and we as a species seem fascinated with the idea of circles and spirals and death and rebirth. Also, thank you for keeping an eye out. I know I don't post so much anymore and it's not for lack of wanting or love of the chain, but I know a lot of people have given up on me for it. Hopefully other stumble across it and get a little thrill also 🖤

Actually, I shared your post on PYPT this morning, and everyone was doing much "ooohing" and "ahhhhing" over it, as was very fitting! 😍

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Breathtaking photography.

Your writing and photos are full of an ancient magic and make me dream meaningful stories. Deep and beautiful. Thanks for sharing this inspiration.

thank you so much for coming to say so on an older post as not everyone comments on things that have left the viewability cycle! this is worth gold to me 🖤🖤🖤

It's beautiful you think like that. I've noticed that either and it seems very odd to me. When I was new at this platform I thought in awe: People here are very strange!.. and not in a good way.

It's like they think the life cycle of a "post" lasts 7 days (168 hours), as some little butterflies in a garden. If something is older than that, it is "dead", it doesn't matter. Why? Because of the money.

I didn't like that. It made me feel like no one is really talking to me, reading my works, caring about my inspirations. They talk to the money (when they talk), they care about the money. For me that's sad... such a bright opportunity to meaningful connections and cultural enrichment so easily lost!

After the first shock I started to manage my own feelings toward this ecosystem... I have a strong bond with my posts. They are the fruits of my cultural garden, important steps of my creation as a thinker, a journalist, an artist. It hurts me to think that they have no value after a week. What an immediatist blinding belief...

But that's only because I think in terms of diverse kind of values (not only the economical). Steemit means to my mind a little opportunity to earn a livelihood while building my philosophical cultural projects, despite being in a bad place and conditions. That is for me like a miracle. But I don't expect anymore that people here take me seriously. I cannot be sure if they really care.

My solution was to preserve the spiritual value of my most important creations, by holding them in a wider system with a strong cultural activity, outside Steemit. Hence it doesn't matter if people here don't value the products of my soul after seven days. They will remain alive in my loved website... I will keep them alive by outer dynamics. I'm just succeeding now, in recent weeks. It has been a hard adventure, a hero's journey, as Campbell would understand.

Oh, sorry for the length. I entered a cathartic state because of your reply and couldn't stop. Thank you again for sharing such deep meanings.

Ireland, Scotland... Those places make me want to sing Bardic Songs and write Fairytales and just sit inside while the rain drips on the windows. I drove a month through the Scottish Highlands end of 2017 and it's pretty much the first posts I wrote about on Steem - all those pretty pictures of gloomy places.

Love your abstract collage of tree rings by the way - fun way to show something so familiar yet so often overlooked.

Thank you! pretty, gloomy places about sums it up. I love the shiny, brilliant ones too, but something about those gloomy spots has my heart.

believe it or not, the spiral composition is actually made up of parts of each circular carving in each of the four photos above~

i want to nom all these places and feels so much. the celtic knots and fairy mounds, the raven who appears as a crone..circles within circles then echoed in the hallway makes my eyes want to suck in the vibration embedded in their layers

vibration is a good word for it. It's there and you can feel it in your bones and it's not unpleasant at first, but the stronger it gets the more uncomfortable you are as you realize the power of it all...

Wowww!!! This makes me want to travel so bad!!

I think you guys should! I would absolutely love to see you do some street candids or maybe travel pop up portraits~

I had the pleasure of going to Dublin in 2008 - it was so amazing! i especially love the rocks I found on the beach - not sure where - but not too far from Dublin and of course the doors in town all being brightly colored and the weird sculptures and the food was amazing! but my special feeling was for the rocks and the beach...

I walked the Giant's Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher, but admittedly, I didn't spend any time on the beaches there, and this sound beautiful! Now I want to go back and see what you did 😅 The smaller towns with lovely paint were absolutely striking. I have a few shots just of streets with doors, so I can picture exactly. What a lovely place to visit~

Such awesome pictures crimsonclad! That first one looks like Hobbiton before the hobbits arrived. 😊

Shit, I need to get out of the house more..

you know, you're not wrong at all! I have a similar picture of the rainy approach on my way to visit Hobbiton while I was in New Zealand~ they have some striking common features... especially those briliant emerald rolling hills.

I actually have another set of rainy photos that I need to share from there, you've reminded me! I previously posted some bright and sunny tilt-shift shots of the shire, but shortly after I took them, it started pouring on the filthy hobbitses and I...

Crim this post is a piece of art! I love it.
Ireland is so magical (this place is on my bucket list for sure).
Thanks for sharing this with the community.

cheers! I swear, you can point your camera at pretty much anything in Ireland and it's magic. It's just one of those places.

thank you! @crimsonclad, for sharing such words, images and music, this is much appreciated.

I love that this all came out of planning for a radio show. I truly had forgotten I'd taken this pictures, so to have a metal band remind me of one of the more magical places I've visited was a lovely thing I wanted to share 🖤

Wondrous the Dragons are still on guard even after a millennia

it is incredible to think that these stones have stood for five thousand years or so, and that the carvings between then and now, bare to the weather and curious hands, are still so visible and powerful!

hoping to see you in the fall, Mr. D~ hope you're well 🤗

An enchanted timeless voyage started long ago :) you know im working on a game atm that kinda relates to your dragons, the pics are amazingly beautiful would you mind if we used maybe a pic for a background for my game page? you will get the first look see. it has to be approved and signed by you of course :)
It would be wonderful to see ya @crimsonclad !

Astonishing! Thanks for sharing!

thank you, and happy to~ I really hope to keep it up at a slightly better pace :D

Wow what a post!

I would have never found it if it were not for all the fans you have on The Ramble and discussions on #PYPT show. Knowing the people who support you, I am going to review my follow list and witness votes and add you.

I really need to get to the Emerald Isle.

Just awesome.

oh, cheers, Zeke! what a kind thing to say. I usually try to make it into the morning PYPT so I can find some little gems to love on and hang with the community, but admittedly, I'm not as speedy as I used to be in putting my own content out there. If you ever have questions about the witness, I firmly believe in being open and available so please feel free to poke around that stuff before changing any of your votes.

As for Ireland, absolutely agreed. It was a place full of warm people and incredible scenery, lots of things to discover off the beaten path, and solitude when you wanted it, which can be hard to find in tourist destinations. Under it all was a feeling of age and mystery- something not quite there but still foreboding. Really captured my heart.

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Man, you can write! What an evocative tale you weave. I remember stumbling on a spiral carved into stone in Alaska. You have to wonder who carved it, who spent the hours there, and why.

I remember that wonder now.


Beautiful photos. Makes me want to visit there.

Beautifully riveting, Crim. <3

Thank you for sharing such an intimate glimpse into your obviously potent connection between auditory and visual. It's actually through your show that I'm developing my own appreciation for some subsets of metal, particularly Folk. Never thought I'd say that, but...thanks to you, it's true. I feel the pull towards the damp greens of Ireland. Perhaps some day I'll follow that whim.


I love seeing your photography... time for you to get back into it, more.
Found this post from #pypt @pypt

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It's been so long since you've done a post like this that I forgot why I liked you in the first place lol
Anyway, this is the kind of post that makes me sweat just by reading them, the kind of sweat that comes with a deja vu or waking up from a very realistic dream... I don't know if I'm making any sense

You are! and with HF and working around the platform it took me a month to come back and tell you so. So reply so I can give you a little updoot.

I will say, I keep people like you in mind when I make content and I realize that I really suck at it. I want to advertise my shows and grow them and share my passions, but the people who follow me for my art and photography end up sick of those and drop off. I get self-conscious and worry that I'm doing too much "shilling" for my shows, and the result is I get mired in "should I post this livestream content?" then don't worrying I'll alienate people... now I'm 20 plus shows behind, not advertising my work, and not posting art content because I know I need to catch up with the other stuff. All of a sudden, here we are two months later with no posts. I am literally my own worst enemy when it comes to wanting to create a beautiful and immersive experience for people.

we all do what we can when we can and especially when we feel like it. Nothing's wrong with that ;)
PS: your reply is rewarding enough ( we don't always get replies from VIP lol)

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What wondrous writing to go with the magnificent photos.

There are places on this planet that capture me. In order to be able to walk away I have to leave a teeny piece of me behind. They are often marked with the spirals.


Thanks Crim. For another place. This place is never green or drippy or spongy when I kneel, but I think maybe the sounds might be similar.

@crimsonclad I have such a strong attraction to the spiral as a symbol and so I really LOVE these photographs. Must have been so very special absorbing their energy in the cool mist of Ireland's green lands. Also have an affinity to the folk rock music of The Book of Dowth and can relate to how its pounding can connect, uncannily to the atmosphere of ancient mysticism in stillness and silence. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎

I've been woefully tied up in all of the things that come with forking and would love to give you a little vote for the thoughtfulness of this comment SO come on back and reply here so I can give you a little vote. Spirals tend to show up in all things, so even if it might take a while we always come back around to what we need to do~

LOVE IT @crimsonclad. My little vote is not worth all that much right now, but I can at least upvote your message now ~ When it was too late to upvote your article.

So even if it might take a while we always come back around to what we need to do

is such an apt message for me at the moment ~ Not having drawn for such a long time, but all the time, knowing that's what I need to do. It's been more challenging to actually start ~ Once I'm drawing I'm right back there in the zone again.

I wanted to thank you for all the support I feel coming from you ~ Both for me personally and for others. Thank you. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎

Hello @crimsonclad

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I love your work, I hope to continue enjoying your gift and your magic. Greetings.

Your here!
I was waiting for you.

Hello Crimson clad!
It’s great to see you found this tribe!
I look forward to seeing more of your work.

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Such beauty!! Love the story and shots! upped and resteemed!👍😎🍀🍀🍀

I do believe that the stone carvings/designs are meant to protect of what once was in the inside of that Ancient edifice @crmsonclad