Not Dead Yet, Part VI: “Dead Man’s Grave”?

From Author Evelyn Simak License: Creative Commons

So Evelyn tells us she does not know why Norfolk (or this part of Norfolk) was once called “Dead Man’s Grave”.   I have a theory.  If you search for the phrase, “Dead Man’s Grave” using the googles (presumably not a resource had back when) you find a reference to 2 Kings 13:21.  OR, if you are a student of the Douay Rheims or older standard texts, 4 Kings 13:21.  So it might be an accident of Wikimedia Search that this image comes up under “Not Dead Yet”, OR… somebody knows more than they are telling.

For the benefit of tired click fingers  (I’ll start at 20 to give a BIT more context):

[20] And Eliseus died, and they buried him. And the rovers from Moab came into the land the same year.

[21] And some that were burying a man, saw the rovers, and cast the body into the sepulchre of Eliseus. And when it had touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life, and stood upon his feet.

To have this area called “Dead Man’s Grave”  in context of this reading, hints at miracles.  If you think that’s crazy, keep in mind folks were far more versed in the readings than we are today. Even if they couldn’t read, the majority went to Mass every Sunday (presumably, if the name is well and truly ancient, it comes from a time before Henry the 8th, when England was Catholic) and heard the scriptures read, in total, once every three years.

Contrary to popular belief, scripture was read in the vernacular in Church, in England, in the medieval period.  There was a popular movement to evangelize the masses, up to and including creating a style of Gregorian chant accessible to the average layman. Those were not sung in Latin as one would expect, but in English, and are also chock full of references to scripture.

People were wont to memorize things more often, because paper was expensive. Also the monks taught that sort of thing to young smart fellows.  The merchant class had to come from somewhere.  So if someone nearly dies on the road, but seems to come back to life miraculously, remembering the place by a reference to the book of Second (or Fourth) Book of Kings seems fitting.

But what do I know, I’m just a writer.  🙂

One book I want to write, was one from the perspective of a medieval atheist walking  on a ‘pilgrimage’ to Aquinas’ Paris. He wants to argue with The Angelic Doctor, and has many encounters along the way. Think a cross between Mindwalk and The Canterbury Tales.  Here’s hoping I learn enough history to make that happen. Buty that one is on the back, back burner. This stove is getting ridiculous!

Not Dead Yet: Part II

Photographer: CC Kaylaborg Artist: Tony Trowbridge? Location Chance Street, Shoreditch, London

Yep. Hit a wall. But I’m digging my way out.  It’s hard to explain.  Not exactly blog hate, more like… what the hell am I doing, part MCXVII.

I can’t tell if those are pigtails or horns.  It works for me either way. I’m also perversely fond of woodcuts done well, and this fits that bill even if it’s technically a stencil.

Also, distracted with travel right now.  I will explain later, I promise.

Random Art

Bereft of inspiration, I went to my favorite source of free art and hit the random button.

This time, I struck gold.  Take a look.

By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Is it just me, or does this look like Ansel Adams? Maybe the work of a skilled admirer?  This was taken in June of 1941.

Reminds me of Fiat Lux: Redwoods in Founder’s Grove on a smaller scale.

Sunday Shrine 12/7

Cappella di Sant’Aquilino (Milan) – Altar chapel

Carlo Garavaglia, Reliquary ark of Saint Aquilinus of Cologne, on the main altar in the Cappella di sant’Aquilino in the Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore in Milan, Italy. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, May 18 2007.

Here are some close-ups on the paintings.

By G.dallorto (Self-published work by G.dallorto) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

By G.dallorto (Self-published work by G.dallorto) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

By Carlo Dell’Orto (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Carlo Dell’Orto (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Shrine 11/9


mage: Title of the basilica of St John Lateran Author: de:Benutzer:Moguntiner; Date of creation: October, 2003 Licence: GNU-FDL

Welcome to the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran.

By MarkusMark (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Public Domain. Wikimedia commons.

Since it is the feast of the Dedication of St John Lateran, I thought I’d bring out the big guns.  So why does anybody care about the dedication of a particular church, especially not one in the Vatican?  Well… this church WAS the original Cathedral parish of the Bishop of Rome. It is not in Vatican City, but is still owned by Holy See.  It was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester as Domus Dei, or “House of God.” (Thanks, Wikipedia,, and the Catholic Encyclopedia)  It is the oldest church in the Western World, has been rebuilt many times, but the facade is relatively new. You have to go around back to really see the ancientness of this building.   Dr. Hahn has more insights here.

But we’ll linger a little while on the exterior.

By Lucius (foto scattata da me) [Public domain, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The notes on this image say, “Jesus Christ surrounded by St. John the Evangelist, St. John the Baptist and Doctors of the Church.”

By Joonas Lyytinen (Own work) [CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.


⇑Photographer:  cat’s_101Taken on: 2005-02-06 Original, North Gate.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.

By Quinok (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,

By user:Lalupa (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.

Source: Gryffindor, 10/05/2005, Public Domain.

Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

But wait, there’s more.

More here.

Photo by antmoose, September 11, 2005. From Flickr.

And here.

By Berthold Werner (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the tomb of St Leo XIII, who indeed was a Lion of the Church. He elevated Bishop Newman to Cardinal, and restored the Scottish hierarchy.

There is really so much here, that I can only share a small segment of the wonderful images of this holy space. Enjoy!

A Garden of Visible Prayer, by Margaret Rose Realy

By Ammodramus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 A Garden of Visible Prayer, By Margaret Rose Realy

She opens the way for a beginner to look at intentions of your work. This book demonstrates  how to move forward, to sort the wheat from the chaff in a sea of conflicting ideas.  She does this by looking at principles, requirements and limitations. Her gentle text coaxes them forward in a compelling way.

By Sgt. Michael Walters [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

All of these things are put into place by your intent, and the physical limitations of space.  It is perfectly designed to keep you focused on why and what you are doing. That makes all the difference when hard work and tough decisions come to call.

She comes from the Catholic tradition, but her style is so open that just about anybody could enjoy it, provided you are on board with the premise.  That being, that gardens are a wonderful expression of spirit, and that setting aside a special place for prayer is a worthy and healing endeavor.  She amply demonstrates this by showing you how to make it happen.

I have read a number of books like this over the years. Granted,  this back when I was still pagan, but I didn’t let that stop me from examining a variety of traditions.



I found them decent, but always missing steps between thought, planning and execution that the writer assumed everybody knew.  They tended to be thick quarto  sized coffee table books with panoramic views that would do American Home and Garden proud.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The first thing you will notice is it is smaller than average for most gardening books. Do not think that being small translates to thin on information. She is efficient, and explains things both simply and clearly. She does not try to be all things to all people.

Instead of sweeping vistas, you have loving portraits of plants, plus an exploration of a variety of prayer spaces.  It gives a person with a limited space a place to breathe. Even  an apartment dweller who decides to arrange a patio garden of potted plants has to gain and is not classed out by art’s high expectations.


By そらみみ (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Cropped by Margot St Aubin

There are also special sections for working with a public space, and how to work with a symbolset that is not your own.  These tools are so handy you could apply the bare beginnings to a hundred different processes, from interior decoration to beginning a novel.

Granted, these tools will not get you *all the way* into starting a novel, but it does show you how to take the barest beginnings of inspiration and put them in a rational order without killing them with your outlining superpowers.


By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the best book on garden planning I have ever beheld. I do not say this lightly. I am not much of a gardener, but my mother owned all the garden books that existed between the 1970’s and the 1990’s. I was the sort of kid who read pretty much everything that had letters in it. I liked pictures in gardening books, so I read them to have an excuse to stare at the pretty!  Devious child, I was.

This woman is not just a landscape designer, but a master gardener who has spent years teaching a course that is outlined in this book. It is no mere course outline, but it is clear and well crafted framework to utilize for your own project.  the best part: all the inputs and limitations are what you bring on this journey.  Her long experience shines through.  I recommend finding other books if you want to know more about the care and feeding of plants or a source book for choosing specific varieties.

A lot of books like this suffer from trying to be ‘the be all’ book of gardening. She pares down and focuses on giving you the practical tools, even tells you where to get what she does not provide in terms of plant choice and care.  HOWEVER, by the end you possess the exact information you need to figure out what you need where to go next to get everything you need.  I have never seen this information all in one place.

A special note for those working on memorial gardens, or working on other sorts of deep emotional healing. The writing does tend to bring up lots of emotional stuff, even more than you expect. She provides a reading environment focused on looking at your feelings. So pick a good day, listen to some soothing music, and pick up this book. Even if a specific prayer garden isn’t your intention, and you just want to look at making your yard more your own, you will find tools to help that process.

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Please note that searching for “prayer garden” does tend to get you those big panoramic spaces that I was snarking about earlier. I wanted to show that a number of different  religious traditions make prayer gardens, but the pictures almost fly in the face of what I’m saying. Awkward!

Foretaste of Heaven

These are some prayer gardens that I found while doing the graphical work for the book review that’s going up tomorrow. (really, honest!)   I found so many nice things, I decided to put some of them up tonight. First, a reminder that prayer gardens are a tradition that comes from the roots of Christianity.

The Mount of Olives and the garden of Gethsemane are both pictured on here. There is  argument about where the latter is located. There are two popular options.

צילום:ד”ר אבישי טייכר [CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑BTW, they still do prayer gardens in Israel.

The vast majority of these are from The Marian Orchard of Balete at Barangay Malabanan,  Balete, Batangas.  My first impulse was to showcase exclusively pictures from this beautiful location. I mean, Ramon F Velasquez gifted over 1000 pictures of this incredible location to Wikimedia Commons. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of his work.

Also, this is the sort of place I’d love to visit.

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons And

They are not all from a Catholic retreat and garden on a tropical island. Baptists like prayer gardens, too.

By Regrothenberger (Reagan Rothenberger) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This is from the prayer garden at the Baptist University in Dallas.

By ThePrayerGarden (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This is from The Emmanuel’s Holy Ground Prayer Garden is an Outreach Ministry of Emmanuel Independent Baptist Church in Roebuck, SC.

By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑Lest we forget, every cemetery is also a prayer garden.  Praying hands sculpture, Prayer Garden, Knollwood Memorial Park, Canton, Michigan.

By Boston Public Library [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This Baptist love of gardens goes back a ways. Here’s a post card. That may have been the original worship space for the congregation.

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑Okay, back to Batangas. I love this little prayer cell, made from natural materials and a cascade of what looks like hanging grasses.  I bet it makes a lovely sound in the wind.

Yes, there are still more. Maybe I’ll put more up in a post-review post.

Sunday Shrine 10/26

Our Lady of Knock, in Knock, County Mayo, Ireland.

They had a National Grandparent’s  Pilgrimage in 2007 that attracted over 5,000.

By Catholiccga (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Seoseamh44 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


By EamonnPKeane at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Not bad for a modern effort.  I thought I’d share.  🙂

Pride and Peacocks

By Lorenz Frølich (1820-1908) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For various reasons, I was looking at Peacocks (and an occasional Peahen) on Wikimedia. I found so much beautiful art work on the not-so-humble peacock.

One of those reasons is that I’ve been doing a study of the 7 Deadly Sins.  Yeah, I know, it sounds like a downer, but I decided humor would make it fun and memorable.  Hence, we begin with Pride, and Peacocks.

What is interesting is all the sub-sins that come out of Pride. They don’t always flow the way you expect. Arrogance is only a part of it.  Did you know that Despair also comes out of Pride?  Despair often manifests itself in self-loathing. Thinking you are worse than everybody else on earth is also a form of pride. It is pride turned inside-out.  A demonstration is easy.

By jyshahJyshah at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

⇑Here is Pride as we know it.

⇓This is pride turned inside-out. How ungainly! But seeing what is on the inside (and what is behind the facade you are seeing) is educational.

By User:Arpingstone [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This is William Etty’s study of a peacock (that’s a “rough sketch”) from “The Judgement of Paris”.   Isn’t this awesome? Wish it had a larger resolution!  I’d love to get in there and really look at the brush strokes.

⇑Now this is a work of art. That is a guard for a samurai sword, from the late Edo Period. (Late 19th Century), made or at least designed by Nagata Naohiro.


Archibald Thorburn [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑I love how Thorburn teased out such precision and a metallic sheen from watercolor.

By Элизабет Сонрель [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑No, I don’t know why the name is in Russian. Wikimedia says (click picture to see) it was drawn by Elisabeth Sonrel , and called “Le Paon; Majeste” (“The Majestic Peacock”)  See, even Art Nouveau wasn’t entirely a boy’s club.

The trick to pride is knowing that the goal is a happy medium.  That is, credit where credit is due, and failure should be an opportunity to learn.  Despite the associations, I’m almost hesitant to use Peacocks for Pride. They are such beautiful birds!  They are also fairly ill tempered beasts, and act in a perpetual state of Bridezilla. If my wedding venue is any indicator, that is.  🙂  Okay one more. You talked me into it.

By Darkros at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Yes, I know this is a male bird, but he still makes me think of a Bridezilla. 🙂  Enjoy!