Muriel Rukeyser said that the universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
And there have always been the stories.
Derrick Jensen‘s story is that the forests of Spain were cut down to build the Armada.
In Spanish, the Armada was known as “Grande y Felicísima Armada,” which Wikipedia translates as the “Great and Most Fortunate Navy.” It was, for its day, the most fearsome fighting machine ever built. One hundred and thirty gigantic ships, launched from Catholic Spain to escort an army from Flanders to England, where they planned to defeat that evil, non-Catholic, unmarried (and hence, unnatural) woman, QEI. The Armanda was launched by his Most Catholic Majesty, King Phillip II, generally believed to have been acting under the authority and blessing of the Pope from Rome.
Obviously, a number of factors combined to defeat the Armada. QEI gave at Tilbury, at least if history is to be believed, a speech (and whoever may have written it, QEI or some later author, “the heart and stomach of a king,” is about as good as speechwriting gets) that roused her troops:
And England’s small fishing boats were able to outmaneuver the large, unwieldy Spanish ships. (Those English fishing boats would play another important role in a more modern war, and will, if my own spirit guides are right, do so again.)
And yet, and yet, and yet, the stories remain, those stories that make up the universe. The stories remain that Christianity was permanently sundered into many parts not by a speech, or by small fishing boats, but by a very odd wind.
Wikipedia reports that, after some initial skirmishes:
The Armada managed to regroup and, driven by southwest winds, withdrew north, with the English fleet harrying it up the east coast of England. The commander ordered a return to Spain, but the Armada was disrupted during severe storms in the North Atlantic and a large number of the vessels were wrecked on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Of the initial 130 ships over a third failed to return.
Southwest winds, storm in the North Atlantic, ships that wanted to go to Spain driven up towards Scotland and Ireland.
If you can find an old Witch, she’ll tell you the story that some old Witch told her, that some old Witch told her, that some old Witch heard from her great-grandmother. One of those stories that make up the universe. And the stories always, in the end, revolve around some drummers. You know, those stories.
So here’s how it happens. In England, and Scotland, and Wales, they breed sheep, and young lassies and lads take the sheep up to graze in those places where they can’t really grow any crops. And by, and by, and by, and after one thing and another, the sheep are butchered, and mutton is boiled, and sheep skins, well some sheep skins, get stretched over drums. And you know those Celts; they’re always making up poems.
And if you scratch an old Witch, or buy her a dram of what Byron Ballard calls The Creature, or wrap that old Witch warm beside a pine-scented fire, or tell her a true story of your own, well, if you’re lucky, that old Witch will tell you how the drummers of England drummed up winds from the Southwest and then, inspired at Tilbury, drummed up a storm in the North Atlantic and blew that most Catholic of all navies back to Spain, permanently sundering Xianity into pieces in the process. Thank the Goddess.
It’s probably just a story.
It’s interesting, though, isn’t it, how a country ruled for a long and crucial time by a woman turns out to be one of the few countries where there’s a story about Witches saving the country. Well, it’s interesting to me.
Picture found here.