Unfortunate the child not brought up on the fairy stories and fables of old, expressing truths turned to in times of crisis for moral direction.  Such stories deal with high spiritual agonies or ecstasies without needing to reveal the detail of painful biographical detail, making them as universally applicable to the spiritual eye as plain scriptural parables.  each piece is prefaced by a telling image, the same format as proposed for the essays written by teenagers on great paintings that will also eventually be channelled via this home page.

Why do these stories have a place on this website at all?

This link seemed to be the only way to incorporate dimensions of the family biographies building up on the Layish home page (on the square beneath this one) that escape pedestrian description. Although the main purpose of Layish is to share the heavy-duty scholarship of research into the Iconography of Ancient Near Eastern Art (accessed via the centre squares to reach levels 2 and 3), some side-products arising from it have needed a separate outlet, provided by the surrounding squares. These are stories by people central to my family biography which, strangely, often point to themes cropping up in the heavy research – surging up unbidden from what Jung would call ‘the collective unconscious’. When relevant I will point out such cross-connections in a brief commentary at the end of each story, giving links to other parts of the website that might tempt.

Eric Newby (a one-time fellow prisoner of war in Italy with my father) quite recently compiled a volume entitled TRAVELLERS’ TALES, an anthology of quotations from most of the well-known published travellers going back to Marco Polo. Although we hope in due course give you the odd straightforward autobiographical travel adventure too, the tales given here fall more into the category of those with an underlying message –often inspired by a particular geographical setting – from nomadic writers who belong nowhere and see the world as their oyster. 

Unconsciously I think I became involved in archaeology because it offered endless opportunities for travel – not just geographically but also through time, with artefacts as touchstones. I personally have now reached the stage where the only journeys left to take are vertical ones: changes of spiritual dimension of one kind or another – often referred to more didactically in the Spectra and Octane newsletters. The stories that qualify for this outlet to me rank with those by the greatest story-tellers: they took this form in the writers’ lives at times of crisis when they had no other way of dealing with the inner dimensions of what they saw and experienced as they travelled routes in their own life journey that had little to do with the seven continents or the seven seas.

I look forward to your comments on these stories – which will appear irregularly.

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