Exploring castles, their bulk, their layout, imagining their former glory and architecture and moving about their space can give great pleasure. The real challenge is trying to empathise. What was the mind-set of the medieval occupants? What made them tick?
Touching the stones, climbing the narrow stairs to the battlements and looking out across the surrounding land, is it fanciful to think that there was a message left behind, an intensity of presence, emotion, and drama, that had left its mark? To my knowledge no-one has ever found such a message, and now with ubiquitous, ethereal pollution, we may not have any chance of sensing a hidden message. We may know who those people were, but who were they?
One of the most interesting parts for me is the Gatehouse or Barbican. Could this be where that hidden message is? Did the various people going through that gate, the serfs, dignitaries, clergy, entertainers and scholars and others, leave a record?
What were the thoughts, the fears and expectations of those people?
If we try and join all that we know, putting together the jigsaw, we may just have some idea, but the net would have to be spread widely using our imagination. There are fake pieces where some have tried to rewrite history. The environment, education, expectations, fatalism, religious fervour, health, knowledge and survival strategies would all have had an effect on the emotions.
Can strength of presence embed itself into stone? Is there some network of intangible resonances that allow the storage, or record human emotion? As my hand runs across the stonework there is something that tells me that their spirit is still there to tell others of the drama of their lives. But alas there was never any message sensed, only tangible remains.
It was as though an impossible code had to be broken.
Life must have been simple, hierarchical, and manual. The world must have been a dangerous place in medieval times and the mass and strength of the castle was safety. The huge thick walls and sometimes moat was a barricade to the terrifying threats that could manifest in the open world. Yes there was a price to pay to the Lords of the Manor. One could argue that price was necessary, that servitude and obedience was a price worth paying for communal safety in times of danger, from violence and virus.
Besides, they had some ownership in their presence. They were a part of something. They had belonging. Without some sort of belonging they would become lost and lonely.
If those people had left the safety of their realm would they have been fodder for another Lord and Master?
What parallels can we draw between them and us, two peoples divided by 750 years, such a long time?
We could not live in their time with its hardship and pain. Surely our social victims and snowflakes would have barely lasted a week? But could those people have survived in our world? Certainly they were not without the intrigue and drama of life. Let us not be conceited and patronising. Life then would have had its complexities as well.
They were not free, probably little more than slaves. Are we free? Their technology was basic and simple; ours is relatively advanced and complex. What about the principles, the human condition?
When a threat came it was through that gate protected by the Barbican that people rushed. They didn’t rush because they were oppressed or because they lived in squalor in the outlying fields around the castle, that was there home, or that they possibly spent most of their lives hungry. They rushed in for their lives, the loss of their sense of belonging, and of the unknown. When that threat came there must have been fear and panic with their society in crisis.
They detached themselves from the larger world and defended their castle in the knowledge that the world would wait for them.
That was my first clue.
An emotional connection was made. Suddenly those cold stones were warm. They had offered protection, to them, their belonging, ownership, their loved ones, and sanctity to prolong their medieval society. And while the screams, fires, destruction and turmoil went on outside the walls they knew that they must defend their space to the death.
What is different now? Do we not love our own? Do we not see the mistakes that could be? Can we afford to lose our ownership and our belonging?
We cannot lock ourselves up in a castle. Our world is different, more complex, but is it any different in terms of the human condition? A lot in some ways, a little in others, but there are basic needs that haven’t changed at all, not in all those centuries of pain and anguish.
The threat today are the globalists, the ideologists and those that want to control and impose; the UN, the EU, Communism, Religious Ideology that cannot be reformed or named. They seek world domination and are the new bogeymen.
Yes eventually there will be one world, a coming together of mankind, but not this way, not yet, and not for a very long time.
We have International Standards that allow synergy. The direction of corporate, socialist and politico-religious ideologies is not the way to go. The clues are all there; Agenda 21, Agenda 30, and redistribution of wealth, digital control, apostasy and discrimination. The fear, the crisis, and the panic are still here. This chimera is just as dangerous as the marauding armies of medieval times.
“The human attitude is always based on the same kind of insight into life, and strives for the same kind of victory over blind chance.” ― Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game
The key was in our heart, and the message within ourselves.
We must detach ourselves, pull up our drawbridge, and defend our way of life and our belonging.