…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
I’ll begin this by saying I’ve read books about royal bloodlines, I’ve listened to the views of people like David Icke, and I’ve read about Hermeticism, the history of Christianity (and Christmas), and about ancient Egypt and its Pyramids, other megalithic sites, astrology, and numerology. I’m not going to profess to being an expert on any of these things, but what we absorb shapes how we see the world, and thus dictates my perspective on the rest of this topic.
Every Christmas Day at 3pm, the Queen of the United Kingdom (or King) makes a speech, of her own thoughts and reflections. Since the advent of television this speech has been shown on screens “throughout the British empire”, and before that it was first aired on the wireless/radio, but since I no longer have a TV, this year I decided to seek out that speech online, via the BBC iPlayer website, and I found both the speech and a documentary about the history of the Speeches. Both were interesting and insightful; the first giving some overall perspective, and the latter showing the current tone of voice.
I find such occasions, such religious talks by world leaders or other people ‘in power’, strangely unsettling and my mind changes gear when I watch or listen to them. I can’t help but read between the lines and put on my conspiracy theorist’s hat, which admittedly has “CYNIC” written on it. The voice in my head as I comment to myself and question what I observe can be pretty harsh, and I do wonder why. The Queen’s 2015 Christmas Day Speech was no different.
There are people throughout the world who think having a royal family is a wonderful thing – perhaps they are of a nation that doesn’t have a monarchy and they see this from the outside as something quaint. Or perhaps they’re of a nation that once was part of the British Commonwealth, or maybe still are, but are overseas and they have fond memories of this time. For those of us within the UK we are divided regarding our views, just like people throughout the world are too; some people question if it’s a ‘good thing’ to have a royal family, if it’s beneficial or pointless, a burden on the tax payer, or some think it makes no difference to them. Some people think there is something dark and mysterious about the royal family, something sinister even, or dare I say it, that the royal family are a race of lizard people in the business of world manipulation and domination.
With all of this in mind, when watching the Queen’s Speech it’s not hard to immediately see something egotistical; there is something that screams “look at me”. The broadcast begins with a rendition of “God save our Queen” sung in a style that fits well in a Christian cathedral – to some there will be something deeply beautiful about this, I’m sure. However it is received, it is surely there to set the scene. The Queen begins her essay by talking about Christmas Trees, which given the opening scene is seemingly deeply Christian which is a little ironic because I believe the Christmas Tree is a pagan symbol pre-dating Christianity but apparently the popularity of having a tree of one’s own at Christmas time “is due in part to [her Majesties’] great great grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert”.
The Queen then talks about the island of Malta which she visited in 1949 but also visited during this past year. A nice little “this is where I holidayed recently” talk perhaps, just like my own grandma would give me when we visited her, but perhaps the mention of Malta has further significance?
A quick look on Wikipedia reveals:
Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites … and seven Megalithic Temples, which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
Then the Queen mentioned people who are “a symbol of hope” – Hope being something that got me thinking earlier in December and which I documented in my post “A day of Hope” (link below) after the term “Hope” rang in my ears a couple of times on one particular day. Then the Queen returns to her Tree talk and how it gives us a chance, by gathering round it, to think about the year ahead (which I quite like – this to me is what Christmas and the New Year period is largely about), she talks about how she’s looking forward to a busy 2016, and how she may have “Happy Birthday” sung to her more than once or twice (is this more ego or is there there a hidden significance), and the how the Tree “allows us to reflect on the year that has passed, and think of those who are far away or no longer with us. Is she perhaps referring now to a Family Tree? She says “Many people say that the first Christmas after losing a loved one is particularly hard.” I don’t disagree with this point, it certainly can be difficult, but when people refer to “many people say this, or believe that” I question “who are these many people?!” and “Can I have some references please!?”
The Queen then reflects on how “the world has had to confront moments of darkness” this year and then refers to The Gospel of John, which apparently contains “a verse of great hope (often read at Christmas carol services)”:
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Interestingly, the documentary reveals that such references to Light and Dark have cropped up before. Indeed in 1939 the then King quoted an obscure poem by the then unknown poet Minnie Haskins: God Knows / The Gate of the Year, of which I’ll put the first paragraph towards the end of this post.
The Queen in her speech then reflects on there having been 70 years since the end of WWII. Those with an interest in Numerology may question the significance of 70, or 7, since it has come up already in this post. And then it’s back to the Tree and how the custom of topping a tree dates back to Prince Albert’s time (no earlier!) and how he chose an angel to top his tree to show us that the focus of the Christmas story is on one particular family (the Royal Family I assume).
Then there is talk of (Jesus) Christ and that his message was that we should love one another, and not seek revenge or violence, but also how it’s not an easy message to follow although it inspires us to try harder. I’m sure the Queen was pointing a finger at this point and the documentary shows how world conflicts have had mentions in previous Speeches – from WWII, to the IRA, and now IS it seems. Such references by such people seem out of place to me, which makes me wonder why they have their place at all – why give such “darkness” a mention, why acknowledge it unless you want to fuel it in some way?
Then Her Majesty quotes “an old saying: ‘It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.'” and tells us that there are millions of people lighting “candles of hope” in our world today.
The whole thing then ends with choir boys singing Away in a Manger.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East…
For those that say they “don’t believe in God” I think it’s best to re-frame the term “God” into something you do believe in, and if you don’t believe in anything, then, well, what do you see? While gathered around the fire (and tree) with my own family in my home on Christmas Day, the topic of God came up – a point about not believing in God was raised. In my closest family none of us are openly or outwardly religious; we don’t attend a church, although we have been in the past. To a point raised about “there is no God” I replied with “It depends what you think God is.” and then I sort of had the smug look of Morpheus in The Matrix when he’s first educating Neo: “You think that’s air you’re breathing [in this computer simulation of The Matrix]?” The children around my fire and tree would reply with some description akin to that of Father Christmas himself: “an old man with a beard!” which is a charming (and maybe helpful) way to see things, but to me God is everywhere and in everything, providing you look, but you don’t have to call it “God”.
“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” – The Gospel of John, The Bible.