I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

woensdag 30 oktober 2013

Branwell Bronte was a visionary

Branwell Bronte was a visionary, his visions brought on by what is thought to have been epileptic episodes and, later in life, drugs like Opium, & alcohol. In some cultures visionaries are raised to the level of shamans and wise men, their perceptions respected for the insights they bring but few people recognised Branwell’s talents. The loudest voices are heard first and the most persistent voices often get to write history. These voices have, maybe unwittingly for the most part, perpetuated the more negative aspects of Branwel’ls persona. 

There have also been people and societies who have actively sought to sully his name and create a web of misdirection. But there have also been the quiet, cautious voices in the background whispering of his practice of magic, his influence in the Freemasons and the creation of the Bronte legend. The real extent to which he influenced the writing of Jane Eyre and Wuthering heights  and how he played a pivotal role in a plan to covet Emily, Charlotte, Anne and  the Bronte legacy. 

As the son of the local vicar, Branwell held a privileged position in Haworth village and was educated at home by his father Patrick. He was well read in politics and world events not to mention gaining an almost gnostic understanding of the biblical texts.It was partially through Patrick Bronte’s connections (and partly his own creative and unusual personality) that Branwell Bronte was introduced to the local branch of the Freemasons, Lodge 408 of the 3 Graces. It was to be one of the few places that his visionary nature was to be recognised and nurtured – but also used to ultimately destroy him. In 1836 a letter written by John Brown, WM. and Joseph Redman, Secretary to The Provincial Lodge of Freemasons, “We beg leave to inform you that a young Gentleman, the Rev.P.Bronte’s son, has made application to us, wishing to be admitted into Masonry, but he is only about 20 years of age, in consequence of which, we (in conformity with the constitutions) do hereby apply to you for a dispensation for that purpose. The Rev.P.Bronte is the Minister of the Chapelry of Haworth, and always appears to be very favourable to Masonry. Therefore we hope you will furnish us, by return of post, with proper authority to admit the young Gentleman into our Order”.

Beyond the home he received a different style of education from the housekeeper, Tabitha Ackroyd. Respected wise women around the village who was known for her knowledge of the old ways, of folk tales, fortune telling and healing. Tabitha had been employed following the death of Branwell’s mother and soon became an invaluable substitute. It could be said that the opportunity provided by Tabitha gave the children a much wider and more varied experience of life than would have been possible from their mother. It gave them an understanding of 2 class systems and 2  belief systems. Tabitha would often take Branwell and his sisters on walks across the local moors and spent much time at Penistone hill which was to become the microcosmic and paracosmic location of their stories of Angria and Gondol and was later used to describe places in both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Tabitha introduced them to time tested wisdom, to magic and paganism and to special megalithic sites. Through her they learned of herbalism, astrology, the green man, the geography of fairy land and where to find fresh spring water or see the shadows align on the equinox. ferndeanmanor

Photographe: Old lodge in Lodge st, Haworth (Newell hill)

1 opmerking:

  1. . In some cultures visionaries are raised to the level of shamans and wise men, their perceptions respected for the insights they bring but few people recognised Branwell’s talents. The loudest voices are heard first and the most persistent voices often get to write history. These voices have, maybe unwittingly for the most part, perpetuated the more negative aspects of Branwel’ls persona.

    I have to say I can hear "young Patrick", as the village called Branwell, and John Brown laugh over this. He was trying to live as Duke Northangerland...not some wisdom figure.
    The idea would make him shudder it seems to me . He wanted to be thought dangerous , not wise

    And I wish those who write this way had to mop up just some of the messes Branwell made during those last three years at home...for that is the reality the non drunkards have to deal with

    I will say there is a psychological transition between childhood , youth and adulthood and thanks to their genius and extraordinary childhoods, the Brontes struggled with that transition far more than in the usual way

    Emily and Branwell never made it over. As far as they were concerned there was no advantage to it and in large measure they refused to make the passage . This was achievable for Emily. She could stay at home and live her life as she wished.

    But Branwell was deeply attracted by the world beyond...and as he grew older, his insistence to live as Percy Northangerland in the world became ever more impossible .

    He could suppress it for a time and make a success. But he would then get bored and the Byronic needs would burst out again. Finally Branwell was no longer able to suppress them and the world beyond was reduced to the Parsonage and Bull tap room

    Charlotte, did make the changeover ; but only in later life when she was at last forced to by simply living longer and alone . Her struggle to accept Arthur Bell Nicholls was about this. She was learning to value " the mixed cup" that is, adult life. Charlotte found she really did. Sadly she didn't get to enjoy it long

    Thanks to Aunt's influence, Anne had not as hard a time...as a young girl, she had her religious crisis at Roe Head , successfully saw to her own transition ( even knew herself who should be called help her ) and went on...this was why she could keep a job imo unlike her siblings


The Parlour

The Parlour



Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte

Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



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