Continued from Part Two

The man with the packing case pauses as he passes the place that was the East, the place from which the Queen began her direction of proceedings in this, her favourite palace of Nonsuch, in 1590’s South London.

There is little left of the ritual-drama space now. Just the mental image of the chequered floor that was the Royal Court and the seats around it. But the square framework still contains that magical feeling of somewhere that has been declared and established as a place of working…

Ritual is a frightening word to some: pop-fiction has seen to that. To others, whose focus is beyond the egoic, it means a created place of loving and intelligent energy, self-discipline and intent – an intent focussed on the common good and the creation of a space in which collective work on the self – on each self, may take place. When this intent is sustained over a weekend, in a five-act drama with deep characterisation, the effects are electric…

There have to be catalysts, the man thinks, smiling and eyeing the top two chairs of the rows of five in the South and North. Some got it straight away, others saw it a little later…

Either side of the Queen, but not on the threefold Royal Dais, there were two characters that could not be seen… well, not initially. And, here, there are two realities which dovetail – for the sake of the story, but also because creation does that; presents different perspectives according to our ability to understand.

Christopher Marlowe understood; saw what his friend William Shakespeare had created, saw the two levels, if not the third, for life must enter its creation to be truly fulfilled… and understood, immediately, that the fearsome and painted Count Mortido and his lady, Countess Libido, were bigger than the play, and yet involved with it, like the highly coloured threads in a Persian rug, woven into the whole, yet capable of being ‘read’ individually if one knew how to follow the weave and see why it was laid down the way it had to be.

Marlowe knew that of the five chairs in the South and North, only four on each side were seen…

His smile – he, the man with the blue packing case – becomes the living stage once more, and the minds of twenty others remember, perhaps wistfully, as they pack to leave the little village of Great Hucklow, where remarkable things happen…

Unseen by most, the Count and Countess walk from South and North to meet across the Court Floor and let their loving hands link, then they step apart and to the West, away from where the Queen will be… but is not yet.

As they descend from the East, the place of power, Mortido, the Lord of Change and therefore Death, and his sister-wife, Libido, Count and Countess, loosen their grip on each other, no-one except possibly Marlowe and a woman waiting in the wings sees the sadness of this. Soon the figures of Death and Life are stationed at the far corners in the West – the place of emotion, water and the setting sun. There, they form a portal, glaring at the players as each is called by Marlowe… until the Queen raises her head from the shadows and takes the power from Marlowe, crossing into the court unmarked by the Lord and Lady of Death and Life; for Queens have deep power too, as have all marked out willingly or otherwise to serve the purpose of evolution in its slow spiral of civilisation.

The Queen crosses the floor alone, followed, as we have seen, by Frances Walsingham and Robert Cecil, the twin children of greatness.

But the Count of Death and his Lady are not finished with their opening… their nature is, inevitably, to dabble in mankind’s doings. No sooner do they see the plight of the reversed Dr Dee and the reluctant Jesuit Gerard than they are on their feet, suspending ordinary time with their great call, “Let the mists descend…”

In the time beyond human perception, they again descend the Court Floor, now filled with royal power and intent, and break into the sleep of the victims, raising them and reversing their chairs so that both face East, as they should.

Some might say the Queen is distracted by other concerns, others that the Count and Countess threw fairy dust over her as they established their power over the proceedings – even in the face of Royal presence.

This may get complicated…. but only necessarily so. Meanwhile, Dr Dee, former astrologer to the Queen, and John Gerard, the most hunted man in England, now face the East, the quarter of power, and both tremble at their presence in this, the most dangerous place they could be – facing it.


Other parts of this story:

One   Two

Stephen Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit organisation that helps people find the reality and essence of their existence via home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised.

His personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at

You’ll find friends, poetry, literature and photography there…and some great guest posts on related topics.

©Stephen Tanham

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