Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.172: A Horsingdon Solstice

The images above are a rare instance of the guardians of the Black Bowers allowing themselves to be captured on film - on this occasion performing the traditional, costumed midsummer pantomime at the foot of Horsingdon Hill.

The white 'Obby 'Oss supposedly represents the monstrous, supernatural horse summoned forth from some nameless realm by the Saxon warlord Horsa. Supposedly buried somewhere beneath the crest of the Hill, it is said that the remains of Horsa are guarded still by the spectre of his praeternatural mount. The second figure is that of Old Hob Underhill (or sometimes more specifically 'Old Hob from Under the Hill'), which the guardians of the Black Bowers consider to be a folkoric representations of one of Those Who Wait - an entity whose monstrous form (oddly mirroring Horsa's fate) has slumbered for aeons in some black abyss beneath Horsingdon - but who is here quaintly disguised in this charmingly bizarre (yet still disturbing) costume.

Local interpretations of the pantomine have the 'Obby 'Oss as the protector of the region, chasing off Old Hob from its attempted depredations of the land and its people; the performers themselves offer an alternitive reading: the 'Obby 'Oss is the harbinger of Those Who Wait; that rather than seeking to drive Old Hob away, it is acting as midwife, forcing Old Hob Underhill's passage from the womb of its previous state of being into a glorious rebirth and renewal within the substance of this world. And such births, as the guardians of the Black Bowers are found of reminding anyone willing to listen, are inevitably accompanied by the most terrible of hungers.

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