People of the Mandorla
By Tim Hazell
The mandorla or vesica piscis, a symbol of opposites that overlap, is the conventional shape of many animals around us. Seeds, insects, birds, and fish share this common form, which is perceived to be deeply sacred. The Greeks aligned its divine aspect and mathematical implications of perfection with the Golden Section. Science pays little attention to the vesica today. In world religions it has been loved for millennia, a combination of animism and rational order that is subliminally attractive, still used for commercial slogans and logos to enclose advertising text. The vesica’s demise reflects our loss as a society of revered motifs that permeate cultures throughout Africa, Asia, and Mexico. It calls to us because we are compelled to respond to its mystical power.
Among Celtic communities in Europe at the time of Julius Caesar’s conquest of Britain, the mandorla was “spirit.” This superb example of ancient Druid rhetoric from Ireland is a vesica laced with heroes, muscle, and blood.
The Arrival of the Tuatha de Danann
A tale for you, you, this across the ocean, a thousand heroes will web the sea, speckled magic ships will moor here, all death declared.
A folk, each of magic incantations, a bad doom will strike false science, good portents will ebb peaceful bindings, all contention will be routed!
Archaeological evidence suggests that pre-Roman Celtic societies were linked to a network of overland trade routes spanning Eurasia. Large prehistoric caravan-ways crossed bogs in Ireland and Germany. Due to their substantial construction, these are believed to have been created for wheeled transport, part of an extensive system of thoroughfares that facilitated ancient commerce. Territories held by the Celts were rich in tin, lead, iron, silver, and gold. Their smiths and metalworkers created weapons and jewelry for international trade, particularly with the Romans. Under Roman rule, Celts willingly adopted new customs, incorporating classical influences into their art. Surviving Gallo-Roman artifacts evoke classical subjects while interpreting older traditions.
This recipe from the Manx seaside village of Laxey (Manx: Laksaa), combines salmon, bacon, and shrimp. The name Laksaa is derived from the Old Norse Laxa meaning Salmon River.
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 salmon fillets
8 oz. peeled and de veined shrimp
1 onion, chopped
1 cup of dry white wine
1 clove garlic, minced
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
2/3 cup double cream
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350o F. Place the salmon in foil parcels. Season with salt and pepper. Add lime juice and half the wine, then one tablespoon of butter. Distribute the cheddar cheese and the garlic in each. Bake for ten minutes. Lightly fry the chopped onions and bacon in a large pan. Put in the remainder of the wine. Simmer to reduce just a little. Stir in the cream and heat through. Season to taste. Add the shrimp, cook for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Serve with the salmon parcels.