The Ancients saw the action of yeast as a spiritual intervention and gift that descended from above.
This Good spirit however could get way laid or turned bad by bad spirits that were in waiting to prevent the gift from being received or were jealous of the gift and ‘turned’ it so that the beer, wine or bread became flat and sour.
Curdling milk, souring wine, collapsing of bread, were all signs that ‘bad spirits’ were present or being sent.
In many traditions charms were painted on the building that held dairies and breweries to ward off the spirits.
To a much greater extent ceremonies involving song and dance were employed both to ward off, however more significantly to entertain and soother the good spirits.
“The Charoti of South America view the moment of yeast activity as “the birth of the good spirit” in the wort. But the Charoti say that there are many bad spirits that will try and prevent this birth. So they sing and play musical instruments while exhorting the fermentation to begin.” Stephen Harrod Buhner
One of the duties and responsibilities of the male shaman/priest or for us the Ceann-Iuil; Pathfinder, was the defence against and at times offence at these spirits or ghost souls.
Many stories speak of curses and maledictions being responsible for these anomalies. To understand the process of the rituals and ceremonies used, we might take a moment to consider how and what the se ghost souls or indeed curses are and how they maintain their presence; fermentation takes time, so these energies need to be present for the same length of time.
Steve Goodman, et al with Forensic Architecture; a section of the European Research Council and hosted by the Centre for Research Architecture — Goldsmiths University of London, lectured on the subject of acoustic forensics, and its relation to the stone tape theory offers the following statement:
THE STONE TAPE THEORY: PRINCIPLES AND POSSIBILITIES
Proposed in the 1970s as a possible explanation for ghosts [The Stone Tape Theory]; speculates that inanimate materials can absorb some form of energy from living beings. The hypothesis speculates that this recording or track is laid down during moments of high tension, such as murder, or during intense moments of someone‘s life. This stored energy can consequently be released, resulting in a display of the recorded activity.
Later research suggested further that ‘high tension’ energy, sometimes referred to as residual hauntings could as equally be infused by willful intent, traumatic death, or highly charged emotional events. It is suggested that these residues in intrusions were ‘replayed’ when stimulated by a ‘sensitive’, repeats of the original event/energy or ‘enticed’ by processes that could/would absorb such energy as in the case with yeast.
A later concept that was considered with equal vigor was that of The Water Tape Theory
Water exists as a component of most things – an average brick or stone wall for instance is between 7 and 15% water, the ground also has high water content, as indeed do we – in fact we are made up from more than 90% water, suggesting that Stone Tape theory is a vehicle for Water Tape and that all that contains water is susceptible to these energies.
It is said that when the water is agitated in this vigorous fashion it develops a small electro-magnetic charge. According to some researchers this electro-magnetic charge is that which allows ‘memory’ to be implanted into the water.
The concept of the Tape theory is that instead of the vigorous shaking of the water some person or event generates sufficient energy (perhaps during a traumatic or intense event) to allow the water molecules in nearby structures to become imprinted with a memory of the person or event to be played back at some later time to a receptive witness. Using well understood biological processes consideration of an even simpler way the water tape might function:
Imagine that our long deceased person exhales, maybe even their last breath! That act releases a large quantity of water vapour in the exhaled air, that water vapour has all the imprinted memories of the person. The water vapour droplets float free and some may eventually bond with the water already within the fabric of the location. As they bond, the memory becomes shared and so becomes fixed into the building or landscape. Years later a witness may simply inhale some of the imprinted water molecules as they evaporate into the air. The imprinted water inhaled through the lungs would pass their stored memories to the water within the bloodstream and thus to the brain of the witness where it may trigger a playback of the original event as a living memory which would appear more of less real to the percipient.
Ghosts & apparitions seem to have a limited lifespan, fading with time until they are no longer observable. Water in time evaporates and as the original molecules evaporate and disperse the memories & emotions they hold becomes weaker and fainter. The original molecules would continue to pass their imprinted memory to neighbouring molecules but with each successive copy the memory becomes less clear and distinct – this would be similar to making successive copies of a video tape, each copy being less clear and less distinct than the ones that went before it. The water may also evaporate completely; this of course would cause the imprinted memories to disappear completely.
Deep inside some structures the water may be ‘locked in’ and prevented from evaporation. Disturbing that security may cause the water that has been stored perhaps for decades to be released and permit its stored memories to be replayed. This water would retain a higher quality copy of the original event memory and thus the ghost may be witnessed as a strongly perceived event. Once the water has evaporated then the ghost will fade in a short time.
Two intriguing possibilities or two means of one process of residual memory. This memory seems to be able to impact animate process producing a rise of stress and adverse chemicals to interfere with the regular life process.
Both concepts are suggestion a release of electro magnetic vibration or frequency (EMF). It is this EMF that seems to stimulate the adverse behaviours and that ‘sensitives’ picked up on. The enzymes and yeasts in baking and brewing are purported to be such sensitive agents.
It was these vibrations that our ancestors worked with, created a restructuring or redirection of them through song, dance and design.
When we consider all rituals and ceremonies of benediction and warding, the tradition ways involved the use of sound, either through songs, chants, or loud instruments and the use of movement either through dance, design of fluidic images or installation of mobiles.
These rituals dissipated the continuous stream of repetitive residual vibration and/or masked their impact of living processes.
Our ancestors also knew that human conditions always attempted to maintain memories and that these attachments were far more likely to facilitate the replaying of residual haunting.
They may have not uses such words or had such research. What they knew was ghosts attached themselves to the living as much as the living attached themselves to ghosts; One might consider that replays are always in the hope of a different outcome and continue to recycle until that outcome is manifested, whilst alongside is the need to maintain the status quo!
Rituals employed used elements of stories of overcoming demons, involvement of all the community to avoid ‘the wild card’, an honouring of life in both the animate and inanimate and a benediction of history.
In this way they discerned the difference between human, alive, dead or remote involvement and otherworld involvement; residual hauntings and curse intrusion are of human process.
Recently an approach was made to consider the ‘haunting’ of a property that was to be used as a brewery. The building of stone was previously used by what be said as an unscrupulous owner who was not the best to their employees, not the best in maintaining a business of integrity. In this history the business fails.
Already we have emotive residue in a stone building, alongside we have potential employees of the new business from the old business, bring in their attachment to the memories.
And the new business is to be a brewery.
A team of Ceann-Iuil were in attendance and a large party of family, including children and dogs, friends, colleagues, associates and workers of the proposed brewery.
The ceremony took the form of acknowledging the community gathered and involving them at all levels of the rituals. The fabric of the building was addressed honorably, additional artifacts of spiritual significance were brought in to work with the building; fire, water, song, dance all were employed to change what ever vibration the building and the community were attached to.
As an equal part of the rituals, ancestral spirits who knew events before and know events after, were asked to come and bring consolation to the endeavors that this building and community set themselves for.
What came out of the ceremony was a discovery that water once flowed through or under the building and that at the location were the fermentation tanks were to be located that anomalous vibration was felt. Water, stone, bone – something held a trapped ghost beneath this floor.
The owners were charged with making blood offerings to that point of the floor, blood having a far more powerful vibration and as placatory of history.
Before the tanks were installed a second ritual was called to which is the focus of this piece of writing.
This ancient ritual is from our ancestral history and requires a marking of the ground, walls, vessels, equipment and animals with a specific paste that is made in ceremony at the site.
The paste is made from bones, oatmeal, ochre, salt, wolfbane, holly oil and the urine of the predominant males of the place; each of these elements ensuring a particular change of vibration.
Bones linked the ceremony to the Father and Brother ancestors and the Warrior and Hunter spirits.
Ochre was as symbolic ‘blood’ of the passion and fire of the male heart in war and hunt.
Salt was the creature of suffering, thus was used as a warning or barring of the way; it suggested life and as such was a defence against any contradiction of life.
Oatmeal though considered female always represents the purity of spirit and intention.
Wolfbane is a blood raiser and a tooth and claw defence against all enemies.
Holly oil or powdered holly leaves was the male essence of warrior/hunter.
Male urine marked boundaries against all predators not of the immediate tribe or pack and was always seen to be a unitor of male aggressive spirit.
In the sight of fire, this paste was mixed by hand (it was considered a bad taboo to use implements to mix as this suggested fear) and smeared in circles quartered by 4 lines on the ground and walls of the building in which the protected activity took place. In this instance the ghost marks were pasted onto the floor, one mark for each set of tanks that would sit above.
The marks referred to as Warrior Eyes, in more modern times, Wytching Eyes act as both a barrier and a warder of attachment. At a personal level there was a sense of each mark honouring history, the building and the participants as a constant and ongoing ritual.
The marks are of ancestral design depicting a maintenance of the turning of the wheel of seasons without constraint.
Hands, feet and necks of workers, warriors and hunters (men only) were also smeared with this. This part is omitted should they be any females present as it was thought that the female magic could use this to control the men). The feet of all the tanks were smeared also as a calling and including the tanks as co-workers in the brewery.
Blood was never actually used in this ceremony as this was sometimes viewed as an element of invitation and as we were dealing with an unknown emotion and/or historical event, blood may have exacerbated any negative residues.
This ceremony that not only fulfilled the defence/protection against ghost souls or bad spirits, and therefore creating a benedictory vibration, it also bound and united the men engaged in the work that is being protected as warriors.
The celebration of such ceremonies binds community with common cause and implants that cause into the structures of life. In this way residual emotion of unresolved history cannot maintain an attachment.
Such ceremonies bring us to the celebration of life with all it contains and dispense of in some small way the application of dualism, which in turn divides common accord and wellbeing and as such does open us to a greater respect of the spirit world in which we are immersed as we separate human attachment form spirit relationship.
Rev Seanair John-Luke Edwards