Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For whose coming does she await?

This gold and garnet Christian cross was found with the remains of a young Anglo-Saxon woman who was buried atop her bed about 1,300 years ago in what is now Cambridgeshire in England. A pectoral cross of such quality could only have been owned by a member of an aristocratic or even royal family, according to information released by Cambridge University archaeologists. In some crosses contemporary to this piece, the gems came from as far as India, and the gold from melted down coins from Constantinople. The photograph was provided by Cambridge University. My first thought when learning of this girl-woman was of George Gordon, Lord Byron's poem, "She Walks in Beauty." But, this one lies in beauty. So, who next does that bring to mind? Possibly, this ....

"Your Highness," said he, "more than fifty years ago I heard my father say that in this castle lies a princess, the most beautiful that has ever been seen. It is her doom to sleep there for a hundred years, and then to be awakened by a king's son, for whose coming she waits."

An excerpt from:
"The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood"
by Charles Perrault

Never is a very long time

Never have I worn a cross around my neck.

I have worn a bullet -- a .44 magnum cartridge, to be precise. It had symbolic meaning.

I have worn a St. Christopher's medal. It was given to me by a woman.

 I have worn Thor's Hammer. My ancestry is primarily Norwegian, and the Old Norse have fascinated me in many ways -- as warriors, as explorers and, obviously, for their religion.

For about a decade now, I have worn an 1876 United States ten-cent piece -- a dime. This is because I often have wished that I could have been present and accounted for that year and have lived through that vibrant era.

But, I never have worn a cross.

The reason I am writing about this is because of an article I read a few days ago concerning the discovery of the remains of a young woman who has been wearing one for the past thirteen hundred years.

Those of you who read me here and know me a bit might recall that archaeology is one of my "interests." I have written that if I could be a college boy again, I might study to become an archaeologist, that I have participated in two "digs" as an amateur volunteer (Michigan and Wyoming) and that I have had a couple of articles related to archaeological finds published in the quarterly journals of state associations.

Moving right along, I recently read this news report:

The dead are often described as sleeping, but archaeologists in Cambridgeshire have uncovered a bed on which the body of a young Anglo-Saxon woman has lain for more than 1,300 years, a regal gold and garnet cross on her breast.

Three more graves, of two younger women and an older person whose sex has not yet been identified, were found nearby.

Forensic work on the first woman's bones suggests she was about sixteen, with no obvious explanation for her early death. Although she was almost certainly a Christian, buried with the beautiful cross stitched into place on her gown, she was buried according to ancient pagan tradition with some treasured possessions including an iron knife and a chatelaine, a chain hanging from her belt, and some glass beads which were probably originally in a purse that has rotted away.

The field where she lay, now being developed for housing at the edge of the village of Trumpington on the outskirts of Cambridge, hid a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon settlement. It may have been a wealthy monastic settlement -- more of it probably lies under the neighboring farm and farmyard -- although there are no records of any church earlier than the 12th century village church which overlooks the site.

Pectoral crosses from the dawn of Christianity in England, and bed burials -- where the body was laid on a real bed, now traced only by its iron supports, centuries after the timber rotted -- are both extremely rare.

Well, there you have it. It is not unusual to uncover graves from past millennia which contain weapons, treasure, food, tools and all manner of material to assist the deceased find the Netherworld or to establish themself once there.

Frankly, I long have had plans to be buried with at least one handgun, a few hundred rounds of ammunition, my Marine Corps k-bar (combat knife) and a bottle or two (or three) of brandy. (Why take a chance ??) On the other hand, I never have thought about going into a grave with any manner of jewelry or ornament. No Thor's Hammer, no 1876 dime, no rings, no bracelets, no necklaces and, most certainly, no crosses of jewels or any precious metal would accompany me.

Do you understand the difference? If not, it is not important.

Still, it is sweet that this young woman would be buried according to the ancient customs and traditions of her tribe, but with a bit of golden treasure in the form of the symbol of the relatively new Christian religion then spreading throughout the Western world. Thinking of her, just maybe, I would allow a cross to accompany me.

Do you understand why? If not, it is not important.


Anonymous said...

she was sick and she died. the other followed her.that was common that time.princess yes.
it is important to me to know why you. now. suddenly maybe wants to have a cross with you.the cross is not only symbol for christianity you know that dont you
very interesting post.

Fram Actual said...

There is so much symbolism and so many loose ends and any number of possible paths to follow in this post, Anita, that it would take a literary detective to sort through them all. It is a maze.

The hidden message behind this post and buried within so much of what I have been writing and thinking about during the past few months is evolving from the line in, "A White Shade of Pale," by Procol Harum: "She said, 'There is no reason and the truth is plain to see'."

I want to know if that line is actual reality or not and to find the truth.

I guess that is as much as I care to say about this post at the moment, except that most people would assume someone wearing a cross would be a Christian. Archaeologists spend more time guessing and speculating than they do digging, and frequently have little knowledge beyond their own area of expertise. I have my own idea about this piece of gold and garnet in terms of "the truth is plain to see."

The post is me, thinking out loud. Remember, one path of many and I apologize for not answering your question directly. Later, maybe.

Anonymous said...

so.your girlfriend did leave you and you still wonder if she loves you..the song is about drunk.relationship. drugs .war and many many other things.

but it is something special for ya i know.

well time will show it for you..but remeber to play while you wait!!Many nice things in the world!!

it is a good song..however it is too sad for me.Because i am in a different mood.

it doesnt matter if your not answering is about thinking and do our own things..just a little road on the path of life!!

we have sun today after weeks with rain and fog.that makes me happy!!

see you along !!!Yoo hoo

Bitch said...

Maybe I come later to read your post..
Meanwhile wish you a nice weekend with new acquaintances (not bad at all?)!

Fram Actual said...

Anita, there are times you totally mystify me. Or, did I miss something?

Neither the written post nor either of the songs has anything to do with me in terms of personal relationships.

Beyond that, I cannot imagine what song you were listening to, but it could not have been either of the two I posted. The girl stays with the "good guy" in "Running Scared" and the girl comes to the "good guy" in "Pretty Woman." In effect, both songs are "happy songs."

And, their only link to the written post is that both center on a woman, just as the written post centers on a woman -- one who has been dead for 1,300 years.

Anyway, I really do appreciate you reading my thoughts and offering your thoughts about them.

Fram Actual said...

Well, it would be nice if you read it, Monika, and offered your opinion or thoughts, but I am happy you take the time to visit me and to leave some words behind for me in the form of a greeting.

Thank you, for being here.

Anonymous said...


Very good Fram.Very good!

It is good you r awake!!
Sorry the fault.

Fram Actual said...

There is no reason to be sorry for mystifying me, Anita. As I said, I do appreciate you reading what I write and leaving a comment about it. I am looking for the thoughts and the opinions of you and others.

I have said a number of times that I write for myself, that if anyone reads what I write, so much the better, and that if anyone leaves a comment about what I have written, better yet. However, if no one leaves their thoughts, it is an exercise in futility. I know what I think; it is what others think that I wish to learn. In that sense, the blogs increasingly are serving me no purpose.

Perhaps, I should try selling something on the blogs .... I am joking now .... sort of .... I might sell my soul, but nothing else ....

Anonymous said...

thank you always make my day!!

and i can see you smiling with a glimt in your eye right now :)

have a very good week coming in then..we are back to fog and rain again..ufffffffffffff
your blog friend Anita

Fram Actual said...

Good, Anita.

Yes, the seasons are confused everywhere. No doubt, it is because of cigarette smokers changing the climate. Of course, Mother Nature has nothing to do with it.

Yes, I am smiling this evening. Enjoy your nice weather, and see you around.

Bitch said...

Good evening, Fram!
It is night here in Greece now!
Interesting is your post as always..
The found of the young girl after so many years with all
her cross and beads.
This is for an archaeologist a satisfaction of his hard
Work and science.
I think in the old ages it was not possible for a prosperous
Woman to be buried without any jewels. And of course a cross
to find her God ..
You are talking so much about death and how you want to be
I thing I should give you my advice: Live now and die later, much
later.. And seize the day!!!!
Your sleepy friend from far away.
A good night kiss

Fram Actual said...

Yes, I think your advice is fine advice, Monika. I try to live as you say, but to understand my thoughts is to understand my psyche, which includes, if possible, never to allow fate to walk up behind me and to catch me off guard.

I am curious about death, but in no hurry to rush its arrival. Life is like a river, to my way of thinking, flowing to an unknown and unchartered sea. While I am not religious, I do not wish to take any possibility for granted. Consequently, I think about death and talk about it and try to prepare for it to a degree.

Besides that, I would love for an archaeologist to uncover my bones in a thousand years and to wonder why this guy (me) had pistols, knives and brandy with him in his grave. I am beginning to like the idea of being buried on a bed, too. Coffins are so common place, are they not?

Thank you, for the visit, the words and the good night kiss, sleepy friend.

Something special ....