Croatoan or Bust: Finding The Lost Colony

Jan 10, 2000

“My lost delights, now clean from sight of land, Have left me all alone in unknown ways; My mind to woe, my life to fortune’s hand? Of all which passed the sorrow only stays.” — Sir Walter Raleigh

Twenty years before Jamestown, and 33 years before the Pilgrims, a magical group planted the first English colony in North America — and promptly let it disappear into thin air. Ever since 1590, when Captain Cocke fired an unanswered signal gun off the shore of Roanoke Island, the fate of that Lost Colony has been an insoluble enigma. Is it any wonder that America is the way it is? The Old World can keep its maternally-inclined wolves and its giant-killing Trojan refugees — occult conspirators built the United States on a foundation of High Weirdness indeed. The windup is easily told; in 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh received a charter from Queen Elizabeth I allowing him to claim any territories in the New World that he explored which were currently outside the rule of “any Christian Prince.” Raleigh, his mind on the Spanish colonies in Florida, sent expeditions to find a convenient anchorage to use as a piratical base — and if they could find gold, so much the better. Raleigh’s second expedition, in 1585, planted a colony of 110 men on Roanoke Island (on the coast of North Carolina) which the 1584 expedition had mapped. By the next year, they’d managed to irritate the local Indians enough that they were in some danger of starvation. The colonists took advantage of a fortuitous visit from Sir Francis Drake and boarded his ship en masse to return to England — two weeks before Raleigh’s resupply expedition arrived to find the first colony gone. Raleigh’s third expedition, in 1587, included women and farmers, and only wound up on the by-now unpalatable Roanoke Island because the ship captain Raleigh hired was too eager to go pirating to carry the colony up the Chesapeake to its planned site. The Spanish Armada interfered with the next supply ships, and by the time Raleigh could send a relief expedition, the colony (including Virginia Dare, the first English baby born in America) had vanished. Some of the colony’s supplies had been looted by the Indians and others had been carefully buried (like the cannon and some chests of books). On a tree at the colony’s gate, the word “CROATOAN” was carved into the bark; the letters “CRO” were cut into another tree near the moorage. Croatoan was the name of a nearby island, with a different (and friendlier) tribe of Indians, but Cocke’s ship was caught in a storm and never got around to looking on Croatoan Island. No convincing trace of the Lost Colony ever turned up, although the Jamestown colonists put a great deal of effort into looking, spurred on by rumors of “gray-eyed Indians” in the area. It’s equally likely that Roanoke was wiped out by Powhatans, that the colony uprooted itself and died trying to march north to the Chesapeake (their original destination), or that the colonists got sick of copper mining for Raleigh and “went native,” interbreeding with the Indians. North Carolina’s government recognizes a local tribe of Lumbee Cherokees as the “Croatan” Indians — they have last names like “Dare,” “England,” and other surnames of the Lost Colonists. “We are half persuaded to enter into the journey of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, very eagerly whereunto your Master Hakluyt hath served for a very good trumpet.” — letter of Sir Philip Sidney, dated 21 July 1584, a year after Gilbert’s disappearance But that’s less fun — although many of the Croatans joined the runaway slaves in the Great Dismal Swamp as part of the Seven-Finger-High Glister” hoodoo society therein. Mass faerie or alien abduction sounds much cooler, as does (in a darker mode) the appearance of some shambling Cthulhoid entity (named Croatoan?) out of the aforementioned Great Dismal Swamp. Simple time-space distortions along the lines of the pretty much directly-east-of-Roanoke Bermuda Triangle can also be invoked, and they’ll also explain the “ghost ships” seen on Albermarle Sound west of Roanoke, and why Verazzano thought that Albermarle Sound was an arm of the Pacific that led straight to California (itself a fairyland of legend — no, really). The Bermuda Triangle scenario might also involve or explain or at least spice up the disappearance of the explorer Sir Humphrey Gilbert in mid-Atlantic in 1583. But it’s to Gilbert’s younger stepbrother, Sir Walter Raleigh, that we turn now. “O paradox? Black is the badge of hell, The hue of dungeons and the school of night.” — William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost, IV:iii:253-4 Raleigh makes a dandy figure in any tale of Elizabethan intrigue, conspiracy, magick, action, or wonder. In History, he was a pirate, an alchemist, a grandstanding gigolo turned conspirator, and one of the leading lights of a group of occult and “atheistic” students known as the School of Night. Other Schoolmen included Henry Percy the “Wizard Earl of Northumberland,” Christopher Marlowe (born in 1564, the same year as Percy — and Shakespeare and Galileo), John Dee, Arcadian poet Sir Philip Sidney, and other poets, mathematicians, alchemists, and explorers. Before Percy joined the group in the early 1590s (and moved its headquarters from Raleigh’s house at Sherbourne in Dorset to Percy’s euphoniously named Sion House in London), its leading aristocratic figure (besides Sidney) was the too-wonderfully-named-for-words Lord Fernando Strange, the Earl of Derby. Lord Strange holds yet another qualification — he may have been the first patron to employ William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, which tells the story of a band of aristocrats (led by a “King Ferdinand”) who withdraw from the world to study arithmetic, astronomy and geometry (cabala, astrology and magia), may have been a coded reference to the School of Night — or it may have been written as a private performance for them, and encoded certain arcana within its discursive allusions. The School spins plenty of threads to follow for occult fun and games. Frances Yates postulated that the magus Giordano Bruno may have founded the School during his 1583-1584 sojourn in England. Percy’s Sion House headquarters recalls the Prieure of Sion, as does Sidney’s poem Arcadia. For this and other reasons, people who find proto-Masons find them riddling the School. In this connection it’s interesting to note that the first confirmed record (1575) of Raleigh’s whereabouts in adulthood places him at the Middle Temple, former Templar headquarters in London — and that the Roanoke colony was supposed to carve a Templar cross in a tree (rather than a cryptic island-name) as a warning of danger. Marlowe’s Faustus can be seen as a reaction to what he learned from Dee and others in the School, as can Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist — or they can be seen as plays encoding occult truths for the elite, disguised as horror or satire. “There, whether yet divine Tobacco were, Or Panachea, or Polygony, She fownd, and brought it to her patient deare Who al this while lay bleding out his hart-blood scare.” — Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III:vi, 32 One thing the School liked was tobacco, Raleigh introduced it in court, and Marlowe and his crowd made it popular in lower society. Tobacco, of course, is the primary crop of North Carolina and Virginia. The Indians saw it as a magical plant, and Spenser identifies it as a healing herb in The Faerie Queene (where he also identifies “fruitfulle Virginia” as Faerie — more evidence for our Roanoke abduction scenario, although it’s beginning to look like Raleigh set them up). Most tribes used tobacco as a means of shamanic communication with the gods (alien ultraterrestrials? fae nature spirits?). The magick of tobacco is somewhat outside the pale of this discussion (although I’ve always found it interesting that Jean Nicot, discoverer of nicotine, shares a name with the Basque vegetation god Jannicot — and that the Basques have legends of transatlantic travel to magical islands), but it’s worth noting that some tribes scattered tobacco on the water before taking a journey by sea — an apt magick for an occult School including Raleigh, Drake, and Hakluyt to learn. Other vegetation themes work in the interstices of the Roanoke legend. The name itself echoes two trees — Rowan-Oak — of central importance in Celtic lore. (The name “Roanoke” actually comes from an Algonquin word meaning “place of white shells,” but bad linguistics makes good occultism.) According to Robert Graves’ delightfully daft The White Goddess, druidic lore attaches great meaning to trees, using them as coded letters. Rowan-Oak is Luis-Duir, the quickening fire and the gateway of kingship. Birth (in fire) and gateways (in empire) — a more than adequate “baptismal name” for America. “The opening of the ‘new’ world was conceived from the start as an occultist operation. The magus John Dee, spiritual advisor to Elizabeth I, seems to have invented the concept of ‘magical imperialism’ and infected an entire generation with it . . . The Tempest was a propaganda-piece for the new ideology, and the Roanoke Colony was its first showcase experiment.” — “Hakim Bey,” T.A.Z. So what exactly is the Grand Conspiracy of Roanoke? The first expedition, made up of occultist-scientists like the “English Galileo” (and Mason — or builder) Thomas Hariot (who, speaking of linguistics, assembled a dictionary of Algonquin which has unaccountably been “lost”) on orders set down by the Welshman John Dee (master of Druidic lore who identified America with Atlantis), established the occult soundings and ley lines of the island. The second expedition had to establish Arcadia, a gateway colony to create the New World in an alchemical marriage between the Red King (Powhatan, or the Indian sachem who stole a “silver cup” from Hariot’s ship) and the White Queen (Elizabeth, whose name became the land’s, as Virginia, while Spenser tied her to Faerie as Gloriana in his poems) to bring about the Golden City. In Love’s Labour’s Lost, the four nobles wed four ladies from over the sea — in black, red, white, and gold — in alchemical sequence, in other words. In 1587, the stars were right as Neptune (the planet governing the “tides of history”) was on the cusp between Cancer — the moon, the Virgin white goddess, patroness of the School of Night — and Leo — the fiery king. And the colony arrived at the island of the Rowan-Oak (the fiery birth gateway) on July 22 — the cusp day when the sun itself is between Cancer and Leo, and the day before the Day of the Dog Star, when the Egyptian calendar celebrated the New Year. In other words, a powerful magickal date for beginnings. The colonists dug mines (as Warden of the Stannaries, Raleigh supervised the ancient tin mines of Cornwall — did he cut a deal with the tommyknockers therein?), and after the birth of Virginia Dare (a new gateway — Virgin Duir) — the Lost Colony completed the gateway. Did it succeed? Well, a new and golden empire was born in fire (and in the sign of Cancer, on July 4). Did the gate (and the Colony) go where the Scholars of Night thought it would? To Faerie? To Calyferne/California, as one of Dee’s maps showed? Or to somewhere else? Go through it, and just hope it doesn’t lead to the voodoo altar where the sacred Basque tobacco smolders before mighty Croatoan.

The Death of Libraries

Jan 3, 2000

I heard something disturbing over the holiday weekend. While riding back from a night out with my friends, one mentioned that she needed to go to Barnes & Nobles, and she wondered if they had a copy machine. When I asked her why she would need a copy machine at a book store, she explained that they had a medical reference book there that she needed some information from (my mom’s a nurse). The book is very expensive, so she can’t afford to buy it, and she only needs the one article anyway. I took this opportunity to point out that there are these big buildings called libraries, and that they’re full of books that people can read and sometimes even take home without paying a dime. “They don’t have it,” she said. “I can only find this book at the bookstore.” I was floored, to say the least. When I was growing up, the library was like a second home to me. I pedaled my little one-speed bike down to the local branch library every week, it seemed, and in high school I actually worked in the city library. But the more I thought about it, I realized I hadn’t really browsed the stacks of a library in years, not since, oh, about 1994. Which, by the way, was the year I discovered the web. I know why I don’t go to libraries any more. Between MemoWare and Peanut Press and downloading everything else via iSiloWeb, I don’t have a shortage of things to read. I have an overabundance, actually, with the equivalent of tens of thousands of pages to read on my computer right now. We’re talking about nearly three times as much as War and Peace (which I can and will once I read enough to free up the room on my shelf it takes up). But what really surprised me is that my mom doesn’t go to libraries either, and why. Big superstore book chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble are replacing the library in America. In virtually all of these places, you have comfortable couches spread throughout, and most of them sell gourmet coffee as well. They practically scream, “Come in, browse, make yourself comfortable.” Rare is it that bookstore patrons are hassled into making a purchase or leaving, and I’ve seen more than few read entire magazines over their coffee, put the magazine back on the rack and leave. How’s a library going to compete with that? What’s more disturbing though, is the title availability. While I’m sure my pal could find the information she’s looking for on the web, she’s not that net savvy, so that leaves print. The library doesn’t carry the book she needs, but several bookstores here do. The decision has been made for her. The library is obsolete, following the buggy whip into cultural obscurity.

Ave Maria… neat memory

Dec 20, 1999

Quoted From friend Mojo – The best version I have ever heard was live in a church in finland. The church is about a thousand years old ( probably less ) and is gigantic. There are Swedish/ Finnish Kings and Queens buried under the floors and in special areas and tombs in the Church. When you walk in the church you can’t even see the Altar. My sister, her family,Steve and I were in the church doing the tourist thing and all of a sudden someone started singing Ave Maria unaccompanied. It was so powerful. He was singing without a mic and it sounded perfect. Finally we found him, the altar it self was almost a separate chapel. And there we saw a little tiny christening ceremony in progress. there were 5 people, the baby, the pastor and the man singing . The power of the moment was so overwhelming. Here in this gigantic historical church where Important historically significant people are buried in the floor and the walls . The sheer size and age of the church is moving much less when the voice of one man singing Ave Maria carries through out . The only people in the church were us and the 7 people and the baby. Yet we were privliged to experience the welcoming of a newborn soul to the kingdom of god. So beautiful And yet so humbling. The moment was so pure and so moving. There were no fancy robes, no fancy gold and jeweled religious paraphenalia, no 50 person chorus, no charismatic preacher, no one asked us for a cent. Just a man singing Ave Maria acapella and a small family celebrating the christening of their new arrival. And we were fortunate to be there to witness the moment. If there has ever been a moment that I would consider to be a religious experience , for me personally, that would have to be it.

Cold Miser Song…

Dec 16, 1999

I’m Mister White Christmas
I’m Mister Snow
I’m Mister Icicle
I’m Mister Ten Below
Friends call me Snow Miser, What ever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch I’m too much!

He’s Mister White Christmas He’s Mister Snow
That’s right!
He’s Mister Icicle
He’s Mister Ten Below
Friends call me Snow Miser, What ever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch

I never want to see a day That’s over forty degrees I’d rather have it thirty, Twenty, ten, five and let it freeeeEEEEEEeeze!

He’s Mister White Christmas He’s Mister Snow That’s right! He’s Mister Icicle He’s Mister Ten Below Friends call me Snow Miser, What ever I touch Turns to snow in my clutch … too much.

Heat Miser Song…

Dec 16, 1999

I´m Mister Green Christmas
I´m Mister Sun
I´m Mister Heat Blister
I´m Mister Hundred and One
They call me Heat Miser, What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch I´m too much!

(Chorus) He´s Mister Green Christmas
He´s Mister Sun He´s Mister Heat Blister
He´s Mister Hundred and One

(Heat Miser) They call me Heat Miser, What ever I touch Starts to melt in my clutch
(Chorus) He´s too much!
(Heat Miser) Thank you! I never want to see a day That´s under sixty degrees I´d rather have it eighty, Ninety, one hundred degrees!

(spoken) Oh, some like it hot, but I like it REALLY hot! Hee hee!

(Chorus) He´s Mister Green Christmas He´s Mister Sun
(Heat Miser) Sing it!
(Chorus) He´s Mister Heat Blister He´s Mister Hundred and One
(Heat Miser) They call me Heat Miser, What ever I touch Starts to melt in my clutch I´m too much!
(Everybody) Too Much! “Oh, some like it hot, but I like it REALLY hot! hee hee!”

pleases me tremendously. Any song with hee hee is all right. See? There’s a little touch of the tard in me. I just struggle to fight it.

Berg, the place I’m named for.

Dec 15, 1999

Berg former duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, on the right bank of the Rhine, now in the administrative districts of Düsseldorf and Cologne in Germany. In the 11th century the counts of Berg came into possession of Westphalian lands east of Cologne. From 1161 these were divided between the senior branch of Berg and the junior branch of Altena (later Mark), which acquired the countship of Cleves in 1368. The Berg line nearly became extinct with the assassination in 1225 of Engelbert I the Holy, the third member of the family to hold the archbishopric of Cologne, and the title passed to the House of Limburg. In 1288 Count Adolf V began to develop Düsseldorf (later Berg’s capital) as a port. A member of the House of Jülich, Gerhard VI (died 1360) married the heiress of Berg in 1348; in 1380 his son William was created duke; and in 1423 Duke Adolf also inherited Jülich, thus uniting the two duchies and associated lands. When the male line became extinct in 1511, the territories passed to John III, duke of Cleves. Berg became a leading iron and textile manufacturing centre in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1806 Napoleon made it a grand duchy in his Confederation of the Rhine, with his brother-in-law Joachim Murat as grand duke. Berg, along with Jülich, which had been annexed by the French, became part of Prussia’s Rhine province by award of the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15. And now you know why I might hate the French, aside from the very basic nature of all humans to hate the French.

Welcome to my wall scrawls.