Lucifer Bridge
reviewed by Jim Kirkwood
Nicholas Roerich caught my attention a few years ago when I stumbled across a painting called “Mother of the World”. Anyone who can paint something so simple in execution and yet so profound, that crosses the false religious boundaries humanity is so fond of, has my immediate respect. His work is both mystical and influential. He designed the costumes for Stravinsky’s “Rites of Spring”, played a large part in the building of Russia’s first Buddhist temple, and translated Helena Blavatsky’s “Secret Doctrine” into Russian. Perhaps influential is an understatement. Yet his name remains a mystery to most. I like a mystery! And yes, I like the cover! “The Last Angel” by Nicholas Roerich is Alex’s choice of artwork for the cover and is typical of Alex’s attention to detail and fondness for exploring hidden depths of meaning. Then there is the poetry and a feast for the mind and soul it is. What we have are thirty poems that take you on a journey into the natural beauty and hidden world of Nature, and then some! It is a journey which begins quite gently with “Lor hag Mor”. It is immediately unusual though. I mean, how many people stand on the beach at night. It is a different experience. The tides have washed away the activities of the day and we are presented from the first with observations of

“........mackerel skies
Scudding clouds
Billowing, scurrying, hurrying
Across the round white disc of the moon”

The unusual context of this opening poem is an invitation. Never stood on a beach at night? Try it. An everyday place becomes something else. A Druid is revealed on the strand between the sea and the sea shore, a bard whispers to the soul, listen if you will to the tidal rhythm of words. This poem is a preparation of sorts for the Otherworldlyness to come, where we are plunged into living folklore of the sea itself. “Sea Girl”.

“Singing, singing proud
On the old sea-front
With salt-spray crowning
The sirens calling
The dead men drowning”

Dark, yes, but as anyone who knows anything of the sea, it both gives and takes life. In days of yore, fishermen knew all too well how precarious was their day to day existence upon a sea “which never sleeps”. I love this stuff. It reminds me of the haunting poems and prose of Fiona Macloed, a Celtic visionary of the 19th century, who was, like Alex, no stranger to Celtic Myth and Druidism. On we go, meeting as we do, Black Tiamat, the ‘Obby Oss’ of Penglaz, and the rising grey rock of “Carrack Looz en Cooz

“The old grey rock
In the ancient
Submerged woodland
Looms from the sea-mist
Like a gigantic darkened ship”

These are not simply observations, they are deep and profound experiences and the following poems provide us with a glimpse into the poets soul and the powerful forces at work there. “Men an Tol”, “An Undefinable Thought”, “White Water Dash” “The Aira Force Faeries” are a souls vision of what is happening around him. It demands something. “Further up and further in” as Lewis would say. A Pilgrimage that leads to a personal revelation, “Nature is my Religion”. The poet has nailed his colours to the mast! The Goddess is revealed. Dionysus is revealed. And we come to two of my personal favourites. “Oh Sacred Heart” and “Helena”. Oh Sacred Heart is one simple verse, one simple prayer.

“Oh Sacred Heart
Thy luminous hill of vision
Lead us forth
Along the shimmering
Secret byways
Of England’s green Avalon”.

But how much does it say! And Helena, a longer and more complex piece continues in the same mood. It is a descriptive poem of an experience which leads naturally into prayer. I should say that for me, if any of these poems reveal the true mind of this poet, then Helena is a window into an exploring soul.

“Lady of dreams
Light up the morn with
Your ancient light
Oh Lady of sunrise
Goddess of sunset
Take us to your eternal home”

And the poet stands in that space enraptured,

“At the edge of the wild gorse-entangled upland
Of the arcane sea-clad Celtic fringe.”

And where else would a Celtic bard and druid be, but in the sacred spaces of the world. Alex walks his talk, and of course we have the title poem of this collection.

“Lush green trees
Swoop like the curve
Of angels wings
Down to the water’s surface
Sometimes breaking the stillness
Of the moment.”

Beautiful! And what angel is this we wonder?

“We wait twilight upon Lucifer Bridge.
At the chosen moment they come
From their grazing pastures
The Nephilim!”

Rather more than a tongue in cheek reference to a certain Goth band, I think. Love it.


The review below is from The Mirror of Isis, Imbolc 2010 issue.

Lucifer Bridge
By Alex Langstone
Spirit of Albion Books
Cornwall, UK
ISBN 978-0-9563554-0-9

Review by Linda Iles

In my earlier days in the FOI, as a student of John Merron of Elen of the Greenways Lyceum and Caroline Wise of Isis of the Thames Lyceum, I was introduced to the concept of psychic questing. Not long after I began my priestess training with Johnny, I came across a wonderful book titled ‘Bega and the Sacred Ring,’ in a local shop. That was my introduction to the work of Alex Langstone.

It was not until some years later, that I ‘met’ Alex via the internet. It has been a privilege to feature his work in past issues of the Mirror of Isis. Alex writes that he has been a member of the Fellowship of Isis for most of his adult life. He is head and founder of ‘The Iseum of Bega of the Gifts’ and ‘Druid Grove of Bega’ in Cornwall, UK. He is also a member of the ArchDruid Union of the Druid Clan of Dana, which is one of the three unions that form the Fellowship of Isis Foundation Union Triad.

Through association with Alex over recent years, this is what I’ve learned about him. Alex Langstone is a modern day visionary poet, author and bard. His work intertwines psychic vision with the currents of the land; demonstrating a skillful blending of intuitive impressions and painstaking historic research. Alex knows well the paths between worlds and he has a gift which allows him to transport those who read his work, taking them upon a magical journey.

Caroline Wise has written the following about Alex and his work:

“In original Druid training one's aim was to attain the bard and seer grades by creating poetry. The intensive training involved the creation of properly constructed poems that retold the ancient myths in relation to the elements of the earth and the stars. The Druids would gain their inspiration from the natural world.
I have known Alex for over 20 years through my involvement with psychic questing. His work on St. Bega and her associated psycho-geography in his first book ‘Bega and the Sacred Ring’ is original, exciting and genuine. In his latest book, ‘Lucifer Bridge,’ Alex has again shown a natural empathy for the landscape and its mysteries, saints, and subtleties, which in return have  revealed to him magic and secrets. He is able to express these insights in art and poetry which makes him a true Druid bard and seer.”

‘Lucifer Bridge’ is a debut collection of Alex’s exquisite poetry. The first run is a limited edition, signed and numbered by the author. This work has been eagerly anticipated - and those of us who have waited are not disappointed. Besides the high quality of Alex’s poetry within its pages, the book itself is beautifully produced. The typesetting, the cover, interior illustrations and materials chosen for the making of the book are first rate in quality. The cover features ‘The Last Angel’ by Russian mystical artist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich, painted in 1912. The many fine interior illustrations include art by Jim Kirkwood, Paul Atlas-Saunders, Yuri Leitch and photographs by Alex Langstone and Paul Atlas-Saunders.

Within the pages of Lucifer Bridge there are thirty poems, one finds works titled “Lor hag Mor,” “White Water Dash,” “Nature is my Religion,” “Solstice,” and “The Ghost Ship of Porthcurno” among many others. One of my favorites (among several in this book) is “The Aira Force Faeries” which was featured previously in the Mirror of Isis:
“Deep in a grove by
The White Goddess of love
The Aira Force Faeries
Peer down from above.

The force of the fall
Leading us on
Until we have spoken
And communed, one-on-one …”

Here are excerpts from two more selections:
Nature is my Religion

“Nature is my religion
       Birdsongs are my hymns …”

Like Argante or Igraine You’ve Become

“At the Heart of the Rose
Lies the Goddess of Love
Like Argante or Igraine you’ve become.
A lady of the lake
Shining brightly in our eyes
    Like Brigid or Britannia you’ve become …”

In conclusion here are words from the Poet himself which express the aim of his work so beautifully:

“Within the darkness of humanity there is a spark of beauty and creativity that hosts the divine peaceful and nurturing spirit of the universe. Through my writing, I hope many will glimpse this beauty of the natural world, be uplifted by it and come to realise that we need to try to foster a positive optimistic outlook, where each of us are free to express our own spiritual voice. Therefore the last angel becomes morphed into a being of transformation, light and hope, who leads us along the shimmering pathway to where we each need to be!”