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A tribute to John Michell


A personal recollection, reprinted from the RILKO Journal,where it was first published.

Several obituaries have perpetuated the erroneous notion  that John Michell was a modern-day Merlin. I don’t think he would have ever cast himself in that role. Did we ever see him walking up Glastonbury High Street clad in a purple robe and clutching a druid’s staff? Good heavens, no. He wasn’t that sort of chap.

He was a bit of a character though. I have long suspected he might be a Time Lord. There has always been a rumour that he was the inspiration for Dr. Who.

When the Doc was played by John Pertwee there was certainly more than a passing resemblance. I personally never noticed John with a sonic screwdriver, but he must have had one. Probably kept it in his roll-up tin.

He was definitely a Time Lord, though.  How else could he have written all those books that were so far ahead of their time.

I re-read my battered copy of The View Over Atlantis last year and was amazed by its contents. I could hardly believe it had been written nearly forty years earlier. Even today, some people still regard the subject of leys, Earth energies and ancient sites as impenetrable mysteries. But John had put them into a gloriously meaningful perspective decades ago, so successfully that he triggered a complete re-awakening of interest in the subjects.

The Earth Spirit, its Ways, its shrines, its Mysteries, is another of John’s books that is evidence of his Time Lord tendencies. It’s based on a world-view over three thousand years old (or more), but totally relevant to today’s spiritual and ecological crises.

Like the rest of John’s books it should be compulsory reading for everyone on this small, over-plundered planet, particularly property developers, town planners and creators of so many “monstrous carbuncles on the landscape.”

The word mysteries in the title is not meant to imply something totally impenetrable. The Mysteries are something to be understood by an initiatory process, personal experience or flash of insight, not an academic lesson. Something the strictly academic will never grasp, I suspect.

John’s perspective on these matters was truly visionary and powered by a Tardis-like brain, seemingly overflowing with limitless knowledge and wisdom, which could be doled out freely with warm good humour to anyone who asked.

I first met John in 87 or 88 in Rhodes at a Fountain International Conference. John, Colin Bloy, Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst were using the trip to research the European Michael Line which traverses the island.

At that time I had been delving into my Earthstars discovery for about five years and had found a very complex pattern of sacred geometry linking many of London’s sacred sites.

Its basic foundation was virtually identical to John’s New Jerusalem design, but with predominantly pentagonal geometry instead of the hexagonally based 12-point star within his design, and triangular gates rather than his lunar-related circular ones.

I was pretty nervous about approaching the great man for his opinion on it.

I needn’t have been. He cast a kindly eye over the maps while I wittered on about what marked the alignments, which  measures and proportions were significant and so on.

As I recall, he was particularly interested in the visions of “the poet’s muse”  as he referred to the “White Lady” apparitions I’d described when I explained that the discovery had been triggered by a series of dreams and visions.

It was re-assuring to hear John tell me that Jean Richer had dreams which led to the discovery to the European Michael Line (I’d never heard of Jean Richer up to that point) and that Einsten’s theory of relativity had come to him in a dream, (at least I think that’s what John said).

I wasn’t going bonkers after all. Just a victim of the revelatory process, which he understood perfectly.

Apart from that, he didn’t seem at all surprised by my Earthstars discovery.

I suppose I’d hoped John would give me an enlightened overview of it, in that way that genii have of condensing immense complexity into a single simple statement bursting with insight. But no.

His overall reaction was along the laid-back lines of;  “Very interesting. You seem to be onto something here. Persevere with it.”

Harry Potter didn’t exist back then, but if he had, I’d have felt like him, in the head master’s presence.

Still, it was a start and encouragement.   At least he didn’t dismiss Earthstars as a complete load of old cobblers, unworthy of any association with his own work. That was my biggest fear.

Looking back, I think John had quite rightly spotted that the discovery was going to involve a lot of effort and he’d decided early on that he had enough work of his own to do without getting too involved with mine.

His input into the Earthstars discovery though, was as enormous as it was effortless.

The Earthstars’ associations with the New Jerusalem diagram, unfolded a depth of understanding built upon sacred geometry and the philosophy encoded within it.

I certainly wouldn’t have discovered the Earthstars’ connections to Stonehenge, planetary metrology, or biblical visions,  had they not been ready-prepared for me to marvel, goggle-eyed at, on the pages of John Michell’s books.

Thus, I received my higher education at the John Michell Academy of Enlightenment.

He didn’t know he was running any such establishment, but for people like me, he very definitely was.

Books like The View over Atlantis, City of Revelation, The Dimensions of Paradise and Twelve Tribe Nations, rapidly joined or replaced Catch 22, J.P. Donleavy  and Kurt Vonnegut on my bookshelf.

They provided the framework of understanding to explain the mystery of the Earthstars geometry on London’s Landscape (and its extensions elsewhere in this wonderful land).

When I had finished my first book, John not only gave permission for the use of many of his illustrations, he kindly found time to write an extremely encouraging and supportive foreword.

Looking back, I probably only met him about half-a-dozen times.

I wish it could have been more, because I learnt much whenever I did see him…..and there are loads of questions I still want to ask of that Tardis-like mind.

I can’t help thinking that, with all that esoteric knowledge,  John should have been running a mystery school.

But I suppose in his own way,  he was.

And all of us who have bought his books, read his work and benefited from his inspiration and genius, are his initiates.

For more information on John Michell, his life, his books and his work,  please visit; www. john-michell-network.org

2 Responses to “A tribute to John Michell”

  1. Madan Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to the sacred geometry guru of our time!
    The real-life Dr. Who analogy stands up so well for the man who practically single-handedly reconnected us with our true past and paved the way for a harmonious future based on the universal languages of number, geometry and proportion expressed so elegantly and eloquently within the vast global network of ancient megalithic circles, temples, earthworks and monuments.

  2. Giles Bryant Says:
    August 24th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I agree with you Chris. John was an amazing guy, and i feel privileged to have shared time with him. He started us off on the Perpetual Choirs idea, and we will see it brought into re-activation one day.
    Emma Stoner and I did a 1 hr film interview with the great man, which will hopefully be put out soon, so that those that never met him can get a glimpse of him “in the flesh”. Until then, his books serve as a guidance for our times of Revelation

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