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

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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.

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      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.

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      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...

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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.

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      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 retelling...it 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

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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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  • @jasonrussell

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

  • @derangedvisions

    Sweet. You made a post! Such awesome shots. I want to go to Ireland so bad.

  • @cultivourbano

    beautiful

  • @amico

    Everything is okay! 👌


    You received an automatic upvote, because I believe in you and I love what you create! 😉

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  • @soyrosa

    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.

  • @marian0

    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.

  • @karenmckersie

    Such beauty!! Love the story and shots! upped and resteemed!👍😎🍀🍀🍀 https://render.bitstrips.com/v2/cpanel/0fdc3f1a-7d52-4584-9b34-7a0a75d0d67b-2b851cb9-3222-436b-9bb7-ff7645be9ace-v1.png?transparent=1&palette=1

  • @tracer-paulo

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

  • @torico

    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

  • @cryptopie

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

  • @harrisonmir

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

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

  • @in2itiveart

    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...

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  • @thekittygirl
    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! 💖

  • @adenijiadeshina

    Wow. I love this

  • @ale.dri

    Astonishing! Thanks for sharing!

  • @darsico

    Wondrous the Dragons are still on guard even after a millennia

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    Hello!

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  • @jedigeiss

    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.. Yours Jan

  • @nateaguila

    Beautiful photos. Makes me want to visit there.

  • @verifyme

    @crimsonclad You have received a 100% upvote from @intro.bot because this post did not use any bidbots and you have not used bidbots in the last 30 days!

    Upvoting this comment will help keep this service running.

  • @veryspider

    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~

  • @valued-customer

    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.

    Thanks!

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    Congratulations! Your high-quality travel content was selected by @travelfeed curator @smeralda and earned you a reward, in form of a 100% upvote and a resteem. Your work really stands out! Your article now has a chance to get featured under the appropriate daily topic on our TravelFeed blog.
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  • @zekepickleman

    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.

  • @zipporah

    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.

    And...now I feel the pull towards the damp greens of Ireland. Perhaps some day I'll follow that whim.

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  • @bluefinstudios

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

  • @hazem91

    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

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  • @bigtom13

    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.

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    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.

  • @drakos

    Breathtaking photography.

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    This post is manually curated by @azizbd and received an upvote from @SchoolForSDG4 School For SDG4 A School For Social and Educational Development of Underprivileged Children

  • @manaure100

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

  • @shortshots

    Your here! I was waiting for you. Welcome🤗

  • @shortsegments

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

  • @allyinspirit

    @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. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎

  • @spirajn

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