The Arthurian legends and their precursors, the ancient Celtic tales of Ireland and Wales, have been a central part of Western mythology for at least two millennia. Avalon, the magical apple isle where Arthur may have lived and been buried is generally thought to mean Glastonbury, a name derived from the Saxon glastn (green like glass); but California, greening up nicely after the early October rains, and definitively believed to be an island before the mid-18th century (An Island on the Land), might also rank as a contender.

A soft fringe of grasses pushing through the hard pan heralds spring. The chaparral spring that is (The Winters Tale). How glassy is the sky? It is a crystalline infinity smoked with milky clouds coddled, towards evening, by the warm autumnal glow of a saffron sun. This could be Avalon, and yonder the limestone bluffs of Cadbury Hill (Camelot), rising out of the schlerophytic mantle like Excalibur reflecting the rose tints of the dying day (RV III).

The puddle of mist that seeps into Upper Ojai these fall mornings laps at the base of Bear Mountain (Kahus) which stands (as an echo of the tor of Glastonbury) at the western end of the valley. The mists melt away by mid morning, just as the ?antap (Chumash astrologer/astronomers) traditions of story, song and stars vanished before the onrush of the Spanish conquest. In an earlier age, the fog that gathered on the low-lying marshes of Avalon similarly dissolved as the pagan world of fairy and Druid was upended by a Christianized Britain under sway of the passion relics gathered in a wattle sanctuary built on Glastenbury tor in the first century.

In both cases, we are left with scant fragments of myth, history and archeological artifact. Locally, we have been cast adrift from the mother lode of mysticism that, through slow accretion, was laid down as a metaphysical strata in the land of the Chumash. We are disassociated it from it, rent from the traditions of the land, and denied a glimpse of its visionary geography.

In Europe, the story of Arthur has metastasized into the enduring strangeness of the Grail mysteries (Red Soil); the defining Arthurian mythology of Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Tennyson's The Lady of Shallot, enshrined in our imaginations in the pre-Raphaelite imagary of its illustrators; into T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone - grist for impressionable, pre-Harry Potter minds and of course, Disney's mill; The Mists of Avalon; the Druidic Mordred, Arthur and Merlin and beyond - way beyond, to the boundaries of para-normal speculation practiced by (for instance) Richard Leviton (RV III) who believes that Glastonbury, like the area around Rennes le Chateau hosts a landscape zodiac, mirror to the celestial universe and embodying the hermetic principle of As Above, So Below.

The 16th century Elizabethan astrologer, scholar, and occultist Dr. John Dee, wrote of what he called 'Merlin's Secret' around Glastonbury,

“The starres which agree with their reproductions, on the ground do lye on the celestial path of the Sonne, moon and planets...thus is astrologie and astronomie carefullie and exactley married and measured in a scientific reconstruction of the heavens which shews that the ancients understode all which today the lerned know to be factes.”

Leviton, and others, suggest that this zodiac is laid out upon a thirty mile diameter circular portion of Somerset with Glastonbury (possibly the physical site of the fabled Celtic Avalon) at its center and is evidenced by such prosaic landscape features as rock formations, ancient roads, streams and field boundaries. Its genesis, he believes, and that of the many other landscape zodiacs that have been 'discovered', exists in the geomorphological creation and consolidation of the Earth. These zodiacal effigies are components of the planetary grid matrix which includes the Oroboros (dragon energy) lines, and other pathways of etheric energy - operating like terrestrial chakras

Druids, the Grail Knights and other geomantically attuned individuals can, Leviton suggests, use the 'Somerset star temple' as "a geomythic theater for the purification and transmutation of the individual under the aegis of a mythopoetic symbolic system and mediated by the energetics of a landscape astrological matrix". Is that clear? This would, perhaps, be of limited interest to me had I not come across  a curious parallel in the writings of one Millenium Twain, who wrote, in the The Ojai Post, of January 16, 2011, 

"The whole greater Matilija-Ojai Valley region is a StoneHenge, ‘Hanging-down-from-the-Sky’ sacred site, home to tens of thousands of subtly, and not so subtly, Giant Carved Stones, and mountains. faces, effigies, profiles, figure-sculptures, ranging from a few feet in length to hundreds of meters in length. Much of the pantheon of Todas Las Cosas, all our relations, including the Sky Deities, Pacific Ocean life, and more, is found here. On top, or underneath, that are tens or hundreds of millions of smaller effigy and sacred stones, once held in the pouches of astronomer/astrologer/healer/rainmaker shamans, grandmothers, leaders, and all peoples … or kept in front of their homes, or at sacred sites, or kept on necklaces, or buried with them in ceremony. The Stone People speak, sing the tens of thousands of years of Stone Age oral tradition, and art, culture, and ‘architecture’, and are here as an infinite outdoor museum and university of the sacred wisdom ways of humans-kind, the harmonies of all spiritual traditions, of all times …".

Never mind that the Chumash are not known to have carved giant stones, nor created geo-glyphs. The wisdom in this passage is not in the details but in the general sense that there existed, and perhaps still exists, a psychogeography, a localized geomantic mapping of consiousness and its connections to an eternal sacred wisdom and that the exegesis of this knowledge occurs through the medium of terrestrial star maps (or zodiacs). This region, he (she?) suggests, transmits  the wisdom of the ages through its geomorphic StoneHenge, and its potentized rocks (Owlish Avatar). 

Merlin was Arthur's master astrologer, Qabalist, and 'Star Worker' and was the Druidic mastermind of the Round Table and Grail Quest. Merlin, Leviton writes, dispatched the Grail Knights to, 

"specific (terrestrial) star centers where their silent meditations and intuitive access might illuminate both their individual nature and aspects of the cosmos as well. Their visits were often coincident with important astronomical events such as eclipses, equinoxes, solstices, full and new moons. Merlin’s intent was to help each knight cast off the impediment of planetary, zodiacal, and elemental influences so that their consciousness could live freely and operate without obstruction. The cultivation of this unimpeded human consciousness was the Grail Quest itself".

Leviton concedes that this notion presents some epistemological problems, namely that most people do not credit Arthur, Merlin, and the Grail Quest with any historical authenticity. Here in Ojai, however, we have an academically authenticated parallel in the activity of the ?antap for whom the importance of the astronomical coincidence of the Shaman's vision quests is amply inferred by the archeological record (Space and Practice II). Unimpeded human consciousness - acquired through a transmutative process - was at the heart of Native American shamanistic practice. While this clarity of consciousness was sought through running, psychotropics (locally, Datura) and the sweat lodge, perhaps all these means were but a prelude to the profound engagement of the landscape - the shaman's ultimate goal, perhaps, to merge the spiritual with the geomantic, to find enlightenment in the geomorphic mimesis of the universe.

The ?antap were astral magicians who guided Chumash vision questers in the timing of their incursions amidst the earthly, geomorphic representations of the celestial sphere laid, a priori, over this magically treacherous land where self is sacrificed in the quest for enlightenment and where the individual disappears into the mythic grandeur of the universe.

This Ojai pulses with etheric energy and is imprinted with lithic impressions of the celestial canopy. This heavenly Ojai, our Avalon.