John Michell

While I’m on the subject of eulogies, here’s the one I wrote for the grandaddy of earth mysteries, John Michell, who passed on St. George’s Day 2009. This was published in ‘Dowsing Today’ last July.
I find it rather interesting that John, the archetypal eccentric Englishman, passed on the patron saint’s day whilst Hamish Miller, a Scotsman, passed on Burn’s Night. Not exactly the patron saint’s day to be sure, but it’s probably more important to most Scots, both native and ex-pat, than St. Andrew’s day.
Perhaps it’s just one of those curious cosmic coincidences that let you know there are greater forces at work in the Universe – and that they’re having a quiet chuckle at our expense.

In the course of an average lifetime, if you are lucky, you come across perhaps a handful of books of which you can truly say; “this book changed my life.” I can think of five, maybe six such examples that seemed to come my way at just the exact moment they were required to induce a necessary epiphany in my thinking that shaped the subsequent direction of my life. One of the first of these was The View Over Atlantis, which found me sometime in the mid-1970s, just when I was developing an interest in stone circles, ley lines and other aspects of the Earth Mysteries scene. I had never heard of John Michell before, but his writing seemed to resonate with me at a very deep and primal level.
Here was a visionary thinker of the sort rarely seen since the Renaissance, a paragon of intellect who single-handedly knitted all the diverse elements of the fledgling New Age into a dazzling tapestry of such brilliance that it just had to be accepted as literal Truth.

Leys, sacred geometry, megaliths, metrology, gematria, numerology, symbolism – sometimes the numerical arguments got beyond me, but there was no denying the clarity of the underlying vision. It was like a veil being lifted from the eyes – a true epiphany in the religious sense of the word. For the very first time, everything fell into place like the remaining pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The world finally made sense; and John’s vision has unconsciously guided me (and many others) ever since.

It was nearly thirty years later that I finally met the man behind the legend, and sadly I only ever spent a day in his company; but what a day that was. It was during my geomancy training in Glastonbury with Sig Lonegren and Patrick MacManaway, and John was giving the group a guided tour around Glastonbury Abbey; showing us the secret places, bringing the legends to life. He showed us the original site of Joseph of Arimathea’s circular wattle church, explained the sacred geometry underlying the Mary chapel, pointed out Bligh Bond’s initials high on the transept pillars where he restored them, told us about the significance of the Omphalos stone behind the Abbot’s Kitchen, and so much more. I felt like a kid in a sweet shop; all I kept thinking was; “I’m getting a personal tour of Glastonbury Abbey from John Michell – how cool is this?”

Later discussions centred on sacred geometry as John showed us some of his beautiful original colour drawings of various sacred geometrical expositions, including his twelve-fold interpretation of the New Jerusalem (I believe some of his collection of these drawings is being prepared for publication now – and here it is on Amazon).
Commenting on a particularly intricate crop circle that had recently appeared at the time, he told us that he had tried to reconstruct the design on paper with pencil and compasses, and it had taken him eight hours to complete. How could this possibly be reproduced in darkness in a field of crop in less than half that time? Surely some greater-than-mundane mechanism must be operating here? It was inconceivable to John that a couple of mere humans with rope and boards could have produced such a perfect design, although he did speculate that more magical mechanisms, such as Radionic broadcasting of the design, might be possible.

That was what John meant to me – always maintain an open mind, keep asking questions, strive to see the bigger picture, look for connections between the most diverse aspects of the world around you, find the magical in the mundane, the sacred in the profane, and always keep the Platonic ideal of the New Jerusalem (whatever that may be for you) at the forefront of your thinking as we humans continue to crawl our way out of the muddy waters of ignorance towards the distant sun of enlightenment.



Grahame Gardner
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