The Structure of Longing
Where is the structure of my longing made?
Is it about the empty centre,
Which all too physically is hung
Strung on lattice and rib?
No, for longing lives everywhere.
It is part, in part, and whole of that strange emblem
(Striving of soul) we seek beyond ourselves.
Space is a comfort, friend
In the dark asking for more
Of emptiness – signal me space,
Show the dark lanes and deeps
That mark the endless echo,
Leaving time trapped
Ever in love’s free fall.
© The Estate of Ronald M. White
Here with the final section of The New Pagans’ Handbook is a photo of Ronald White in the Shropshire hills, taken at around the time he began to write it.
The note on recommended reading completes the text of the Handbook, which is now all online. I hope shortly to make some minor corrections and combine the sections into a pdf file, for ease of use.
There is more material from Ron to come, including the text of his unfinished work on magical theory, which he called Prospero’s Book.
Notes for Suggested Reading
There are so many books relating either entirely or in part to the Myth, the festivals and the developing philosophy of the New Paganism, that any selection of the myriad articles and volumes that I have read over the last forty years or so, will be perforce far from a full offering. Also many ideas that later came to fruition had their beginnings in hints, intuitions and odd paragraphs in unrelated works; and like a jigsaw the pieces only fell together later or were fortified by subsequent research. The essence of the search is curiosity, so I only offer a few suggestions, knowing that to any dedicated student the materials will fall, magically as it were, to hand. I have therefore confined myself as far as possible to works that are still in print. There are many omissions, but the inclusions may illumine and deepen the significance of my matter, as they have done for myself.
The following notes were scribbled on a piece of paper in Chalky’s handwriting. I think they date from late 1966/early 1967. The last line is clearly an allusion to, and critique of, the principle known as the Wiccan Rede:
& (Build it in love)
Not do what you will: but try to do as little damage as possible.
Among the material that has recently turned up is a much better photo of the pub sign (now lost) that Ron painted for the Royal Oak at Cardington.
Some of his old appointments diaries have survived, and I have now had the time to examine them.
His diary for 1984 has under 10th September: ‘Commence Ptg “The Royal
Oak” ’ (it may not have been a coincidence that this was a full
moon day). The entry for 1 October reads ‘Arrange Publicity –
Cardington Royal Oak’. The sign was delivered to the Royal Oak at
Cardington the next day; the diary notes that there were ‘Photo-calls’.
Just a few weeks earlier, in July, he had drafted a large portion of The
New Pagans' Handbook in a month of relentless work. On 30 July 1984 he
celebrated his 60th birthday.
The following notes, which turned up recently during a clear-out, date, I believe, from very near the beginning of the Regency; November or early December 1966. On the back are some rough jottings that clearly relate to the ceremony of the Reading of the Festivals; apparently a very early attempt to draft an outline of the ceremony. The notes ‘on hierarchies’ are typed; they are obviously a statement of some of the founding principles of the Regency. They may have been used as one of Chalky’s sermons, or as the basis for a sermon.
The Regency should avoid being a closed system.
The universe around us does not appear ‘closed’.
It seems to be an open ended process of which we are part.*
Any conception of the universe must be open ended also; allowing for variety even of truth in the material sphere.
One must have a belief in the oneness of things; and that no one can have monopoly of truth.**
The Gods, however envisaged, must be seen to be multi-aspected…(Janus).
Apologies for this long silence. Here, at last, is the final section of the New Pagans’ Handbook (apart from a short list of recommended reading). To accompany it, here is one of Ron White’s drawings (a particular favourite of mine).
This is not the end. We have more to bring you: more unpublished mss, and a few more images. We hope to be able to return to a fairly regular schedule of posting.
Appendix: On the Dance and Other Matters
In its early stages the outline of the foetus in the womb resembles the path of a simple labyrinth curling and curving in on itself. The labyrinth and the spiral are, as we have seen, among the earliest intuitions of man about his life and death cycle. They contain the first apprehensions of the possibility of some sort of eternity and some idea of the processes of creation. The labyrinth is the archetypal puzzle. It, by implication, deals with the observed progression of time and the seasons as set against another and different scale. The Dream Time, as the Australian Aborigines called it, a place where all being and becoming are in waiting. Dreaming has no set scale to our sense of time, all things being latent in the dreamer. Events are displayed, to his no surprise, wildly out of sequence, where indeed one can dream separate events simultaneously.