I have been scouring and panning the bed of the Ching in the hope of discovering gold to alleviate the fiscal woes of the London Borough of Waltham Forest. While the sediments of the Ching have not yet elicited such precious resources, I am happy to report, as a field student of Walthamstow (E17, E10 and E4), there is a source of another form of gold; a flow of the ambrosial sort I call honey.
Yes, I chanced upon an apiary recently. I will not reveal the precise location for fear of alerting sweet toothed vagabonds and raiders, who would, no doubt, plunder Walthamstow’s apian treasure troves. Was this a mirage? Was I dreaming, walking in a sleep induced by a soporific rehash of ‘The Wicker Man’.
Neil LaBute’s, 2006 remake sees Nicholas Cage (‘Malus’) as a celibate and traumatised stateside traffic cop lured into investigating a missing child case on the remote island, ‘Summerisle’. The island is inhabited by a matriarchal community, essentially a bee cult, which is experiencing some mysterious malaise. ‘Malus’ (‘apple tree’) was intended for sacrifice to appease forces that threaten the fecundity of the bees and their community. Alas I was asleep before I could witness Cage’s grisly end. I considered viewing the film again to see if Cage reprises previous celluloid emanations as a stud and so goes the way of a drone (a male bee) to fatally couple with a queen bee, but then I thought the better of it. Lost and Found in E17 strives to maintain a U rating so all are welcome.
In the dream-space of the Ching, I was indeed abducted by a colony of extra terrestrial bees. They spent several days searching for my manhood and upon discovery, mocked this piece and ejected me ignominiously from the mother hive orbiting nowhere near Highams Park.
I woke up aching all over, in front of the television. It was transmitting a sort of pre 24 hour television/end of programme transmission flashing and swarming of dark spots which reminded me of my traumatic and humiliating abduction.
As a sort of therapy I decided I should get on with the task of jarring up honey I harvested from an apiary I share with some fellow keepers up in the far north of Chingford.
This is a the label I designed for this season's honey crop.
The Golden Bough
Part VI. _The Scapegoat. pp. 353-54
But if in the most backward state of human society now known to us we find magic thus conspicuously present and religion conspicuously absent, may we not reasonably conjecture that the civilised races of the world have also at some period of their history passed through a similar intellectual phase, that they attempted to force the great powers of nature to do their pleasure before they thought of courting their favour by offerings and prayer--in short that, just as on the material side of human culture there has everywhere been an Age of Stone, so on the intellectual side there has everywhere been an Age of Magic? There are reasons for answering this question in the affirmative. When we survey the existing races of mankind from Greenland to Tierra del Fuego, or from Scotland to Singapore, we observe that they are distinguished one from the other by a great variety of religions, and that these distinctions are not, so to speak, merely coterminous with the broad distinctions of race, but descend into the minuter subdivisions of states and commonwealths, nay, that they honeycomb the town, the village, and even the family, so that the surface of society all over the world is cracked and seamed, sapped and mined with rents and fissures and yawning crevasses opened up by the disintegrating influence of religious dissension. Yet when we have penetrated through these differences, which affect mainly the intelligent and thoughtful part of the community, we shall find underlying them all a solid stratum of intellectual agreement among the dull, the weak, the ignorant, and the superstitious, who constitute, unfortunately, the vast majority of mankind. One of the great achievements of the nineteenth century was to run shafts down into this low mental stratum in many parts of the world, and thus to discover its substantial identity everywhere. It is beneath our feet--and not very far beneath them--here in Europe at the present day, and it crops up on the surface in the heart of the Australian wilderness and wherever the advent of a higher civilisation has not crushed it under ground. This universal faith, this truly Catholic creed, is a belief in the efficacy of magic. While religious systems differ not only in different countries, but in the same country in different ages, the system of sympathetic magic remains everywhere and at all times substantially alike in its principles and practice.