A talk by Paul Broadhurst at North Hill Village Hall
We are all on a journey. Few of us, however, have travelled as far through the ether as the author, researcher and historian of the esoteric, Paul Broadhurst.
Another big attendance of over 40 TDs, friends and members of the public turned out to hear Paul make this very personal presentation of a project that has been evolving deep in his psyche for the last decade.
A Secret Land is much more than a book. It is an extraordinary excursion through time and topography, through thought and perception. To understand the implications of it, requires not so much a leap of faith as an adjustment in the angle
In a nutshell, the core of Paul’s talk concerned his discovery, through the relaxed but concentrated study of maps, of ancient representations of the totem beasts and spiritual guardians of what we now call Cornwall - etched into the very fabric of the landscape itself.
As we have seen with the chalk hill figures of southern England and the Nasca Lines of Peru, ancient peoples were at great pains to manifest their most important and most sacred images, on an epic scale, in a way seemingly only observable by their Gods - or by passing spacecraft. The Glastonbury Zodiac, described by Katherine Maltwood in the 1920s, brought the use of the entire landscape to depict massive images and icons much closer to home. She found that by studying the ordnance survey map of Somerset, the field boundaries, green lanes and time-honoured tracks picked out the outlines of calendular constellations. Paul Broadhurst has found something strikingly similar in the timeless land of Kernow - except, if he is right, the symbolism portrayed is pointing to an even older era of human intervention. At the time, Maltwood was regarded as a dreamer, yet now her zodiac is edging towards the mainstream - the ‘is?’ being replaced by the ‘why’? Time will tell if Broadhurst can join her on the road to historical acceptance by the wider community.
However, if this book results in grey tors and casually bypassed villages of Bodmin Moor becoming a new centre of spiritual development, he will have certainly achieved a most worthy goal.
Paul uses these remarkable findings to throw further light on the nature of the Arthurian saga. The grail quest is a theme that has coursed through his work for decades and he, more than anyone, appreciates the relevance of the new discoveries to the integration of the intangible Camelot with the historical Arthur - or should that be Arthurs - the ageless Bear King.
Paul also discusses the significance of the seemingly deliberate positioning of the various landscape figures, together with their attendant surviving historical sites and place names, on a true north-south alignment spanning both the Westcountry and Wales. This takes the work deeper into the burgeoning realm of astro-archaeology - and gives the book a truly cosmic flavour.
While every new hypothesis will understandably be met with healthy, even cynical, scepticism, The Secret Land project has been founded on a level of insight and a degree of detective work that seeks to put potential detractors immediately on the back foot. Paul has substantiated his initial assertion with countless hours of research and evaluation, supported by many, many miles of motoring and footwork. Each of his proposed figures is given form and substance, not just by old farm hedges and ancient drove roads, but with examples of the derivation of significant place names, local history and the history of local families, Celtic folk myths and legends - and not a few significant new discoveries of his own.
To add further weight to an already formidable edifice, The Secret Land incorporates a whole section of evidence you can hit with a stick (or at least with a slide-rule) written and crafted by his project partner, Robin Heath. Robin is a heavyweight author and philosopher in his own right, and a professional surveyor to boot. His astronomical contributions and calculations are not to be trifled with - and do much to buoy up Broadhurst’s bold hypotheses.
A Secret Land is the portrayal of a vast tapestry of ideas and investigation. Of necessity, Paul could only skit across the surface of the available evidence during a presentation of this nature. The book of the project, of the view of reality, is a substantial tome in its own right and no coffee-table triviality. It is packed with his information, garnered painstakingly over many years. His assertions are derived from both his first flash of inspiration and his subsequent diligent consideration of the residual features on the ground. It is perhaps a surprisingly accessible work, given the profound nature of the subject; it is elegantly written in Paul’s usual style and it is pleasingly presented. It could yet be one of those works that forms the foundation of the future understanding of our ever-changing matrix.
Not even the destruction of much of the first print run in the Boscastle floods could prevent Paul from bringing this exciting new work into the public domain.
The specific importance of this work to the dowsing community in the South West is twofold. Firstly, there is the need to consider the validity of the remarkable claims made in The Secret Land, and secondly that the earthspace involved is literally on our doorstep. In some cases, it even includes our doorsteps!
If we had had the time and the daylight, we could have got out of our chairs and found the first figure just a few miles down the road - but we’d had a nice lunch and, well, it’s been about for eons already, so manyana.
Many thanks to Paul Broadhurst for a fascinating and stimulating presentation that was, judging from the buzz in the room and the large number of books sold, clearly enjoyed by those present. We have much to mull over.
The Secret Land is published by Mythos Press, Launceston, Cornwall PL15 7YH