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Trevor Wedlake's Writings 
Of Superiority, Piety and Mystery

Written for the website January, 2008

A bright young man from a village in Tibet came on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to London. His busy host introduced him to the Underground and left him to discover something of the great city. “A wondrous people,” he wrote home, “who spend so much time beneath the streets.”

Over the next days he visited Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, and, finding no performing animals, he decided to explore St John’s Wood and the native flora and fauna there. He found himself caught up in a great tide of people, and inquired of an Asian gentleman whither they were bound. “To the Lords” was the incredulous reply - as one amazed at anyone not knowing their destination.

“I determined to explore,” he wrote. “They are a most mysterious people, and here I thought I shall see them at prayer. I was surprised to be charged so large a sum to be allowed through the great gates. Inside, a very great congregation was gathered around a large grass arena which was quite empty. The congregation was quite subdued; no guards restrained them. A most superior people, and incomprehensible, too; only yesterday my host informed me that his countrymen donate annual sums of money to the tune of £20m. to, would you believe, donkeys !

I looked out across the empty field of short, neat grass, and I saw that, somewhere in the middle, about 18 – 20 metres apart, were what I took to be two small altars. They consisted each of 3 small poles about a metre high, and were quite unattended, and were some 20m apart.

After some considerable time I thought I heard a distant bell ringing, and then the ritual began, leaving me spellbound. From whence they came I am not sure, probably some temple or sanctuary. But onto the green ran 15 young gods or priests all clad in white apparel, and proceeded to the altars. I then observed that their attire was not identical. Two of the young priests had strange, hard coverings to their legs, and wore head covering so that they might not easily be identified.

A further one had leg coverings, and wore very large gloves, but his head was bare. Again, I saw that two of the priests were very much older and marked their seniority by wearing white coats, like a doctor. Unlike the others, the young priests with their heads covered carried a sort of blade in their hands, about a metre long, and these each went and stood close to the altars.

The one with the big gloves walked back from the altar on my left about 30 metres, and turned and faced the altar. One of the priests with covered head now stood in front of that altar, and the other to one side of the altar to my right. One of the old priests stood afar off to one side off, in line with the left altar, and the other took a position very close to, but not touching the right-hand altar.

The other young priests dispersed to various parts of the arena, and looked in towards the altars – all except one; and to him the old priest at the altar carefully passed a small, shiny red orb, with which he walked slowly away toward the congregation, alternately looking reverently at the orb and polishing it on his garments.

The congregation was now murmuring quietly as the ritual was about to commence. Such a superior people ! The priests around the field in front of me were most quiet , and adopted what I took to be an attitude of prayer. The special young priest entrusted with the red orb stood quite still. 70 or so metres away the priest with the huge gloves crouched low. And then it began.

The old priest close to the altar on my right turned slowly toward the priest bearing the red orb. Such a pious people, I thought. And then he bearing the red orb began to run, slowly at first, then gathering speed, the orb in his right hand. As he ran, the priest in front of the left altar pawed the earth with his blade. The running priest, as he neared the altar and the old priest, thrust his left arm into the air and looked behind it toward the priest pawing the earth, and, as he reached the altar, he raised his right arm with the red orb high into the air, and, as it attained the highest point of arc above his head, the rain came down.”