a maze of words leading to …?

Archive for the ‘Encyclopaedia Avalonia’ Category

Grockels – EA Vol. XXII


Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. XXII …

Editor’s note: Grockels are not a tribe of Avalonia. But despite this handicap they have been graciously afforded an entry in the Encyclopaedia Avalonia since they are, on special occasions, allowed to cross the borders of Avalonia for short visits.

According to the department of mytho-linguistics at the University of Avalon, ‘grockels’ is a West Country term derived from the verb “to grok” (as coined by Robert A. Heinlein in his 1961 science-fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land) … meaning “to know or understand in a deeply existentialist or quintessential fashion”.

“Grok-less” of course means the opposite: to be without the faintest grok – i.e. pig ignorant. And over the years, “grok-less” has been corrupted – or “etymologically perverted” as they prefer to say at the University – by the peculiarities of Devonian dialect (and spelling) into “grok-els” or “grockels”. It is now applied almost exclusively to tourists and holiday-makers, as these are deemed the epitome of those-who-do-not-grok … otherwise, goes the reasoning, they would actually be living in the West Country and not just wandering around for a piddling couple of weeks like lost Exmoor sheep.

There is a rival explanation, however, and funnily enough this also likens tourists to sheep – sheep whose sole destiny is to be herded together and shorn of their woolly fleeces as quickly as possible. Hence the phrases “fleecing the tourist” and “clip-joint”.

As for the linguistic and semantic processes that have supposedly led from this to the word “grockels”, they rest on a series of labyrinthine arguments involving, for example, the quest of Jason & the Argonauts, ancient Greek alphabets and the alleged arrival of the legendary figure of Brutus the Trojan, after the fall of Troy, in the Devon town of Totnes.

However, the detail of these arguments need not concern us here (nor thankfully anywhere else). We should merely note that critics of this rival theory – who are mostly tenured at the University of Avalon – describe it as “mutton dressed up as lamb”. They admit that the term “fleecy grockels” is used in certain obscure corners of the region, but answer this fact by riposting, “so bloody what!”

Russian Orthodox Christians

Russian Orthodox 2

The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. IX …

Russian Orthodox Christians (ROCs) are pillars of the establishment who take a highly conventional – not to say orthodox – view of things.

In the ROC version of heaven everything runs along traditional lines, with Russian-speakers receiving the protection that they apparently need and Archangel Vladimir eventually sitting at God’s right-hand, tasked with making sure that everyone toes the line.

This task should not be too difficult, since only ROCs are allowed into ROC-heaven … except for a small corner allocated to their religious cousins – Greek, Serbian and other Orthodox Christians – on the understanding that they learn to speak Russian and engage in intense study of the principles of oligarchy.

Aside from watching gangster films, the main leisure activities in ROC heaven involve staging re-enactments of the glories of Russian history and drawing up lists of moral deviants, mainly those who don’t worship God Archangel Vladimir, for consignment to hell.

ROCs have a problem with hell, however. Its hot temperature sits uneasily with the Russian tradition of sending deviants to Gulags in the frozen Siberian wastes, whilst true believers go on holiday to the warmer climes of Crimea. Why, say the ROCs, should deviants ever be allowed to enjoy the warm locations, when these have always been historically part of Russia?

Luckily, the Archangel has a plan …

House Christians – EA Vol. IX

House Christians

The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. IX …

In Avalonia, House Christians are devout agoraphobics who thus rarely, if ever, venture out from their homes.

The only known exception was struck by a falling roof tile as she stepped out from her front door. And although an insurance policy covered such “Acts of God”, this official designation was taken by other House Christians as proof of their wise precautions.

One such other attempted to take things further, by seeking insurance against another possible Act of God, namely not being admitted to heaven come Resurrection Day.

Whilst several companies were eager to offer such a policy, the key issue was how proof of any claim would be provided. Negotiations broke down at this point, mainly because the House Christian concerned stated that, due to said agoraphobia, he would not be willing to leave Hell once there in order to testify regarding this final destination.

He also refused to countenance a post-mortem corroborative visit to hell by any insurance claim-checker … on the grounds that all insurance company employees were going to hell anyway and he didn’t see why they should be favoured over him by a chance to prepare properly via an advance look.

Anabaptists – EA. Vol. XVIII


The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. XVIII …

Anabaptists are the direct opposite of Baptists … just as anarchy is the opposite of any form of external rule (e.g. monarchy) and analysis is the opposite of synthesis.

Thus, whilst members of both sects are baptised by immersion in a river, Anabaptists are always immersed in proximity to the left river bank and Baptists exclusively favour being close to the opposite right bank.

The ‘left’ or ‘right’ is defined in relation to facing downstream. This approach works well most of the time, but is fatally flawed when spring high tides occur in locations where the river meets the sea and the localised river flow is thus temporarily halted. In such cases, both sects get confused as to which way to face. The result is sometimes that these antagonistic rivals both attempt to stage baptisms near to the same river bank … leading, as we might well imagine, to royal punch-ups and even the odd drowning.

It is therefore no surprise that Anabaptists define ‘heaven’ as meaning the total absence of Baptists (and vice-versa). And it is for this reason that God – in his (or her) infinite wisdom – tossed a coin aeons ago to decide which of these two sects should go to the real heaven and which should be sent to hell … on the entirely reasonable grounds that even those sent to hell would deem it to be heaven due to the absence of the others and thereby be entirely satisfied and happy.

Lutherans – EA Vol. XIII

  Superman1  Kryptonite

The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. XIII …

Lutherans are followers of Lex Luthor, arch-enemy of Superman. It follows naturally that they equate the Man of Steel to a devil who must be warded off with crucifixes made of kryptonite … or at least what they’ve been led to believe is kryptonite.

The inner circle of Lutherans realise, of course, that Lex Luthor, Superman and kryptonite are all just fictional creations, with almost no scriptural basis in the Bible. But they see no good reason to shatter the illusions of the vast mass of Lutherans, preferring instead to seize upon the many promotional advantages – in terms of ‘spreading the word’ – of basing doctrine on a hugely popular series of comic-books and films.

‘Lex’ is a Latin word that in English means ‘law’ [1]: hence the Laws of Luthor, the key expression of Lutheran beliefs. These laws are too numerous to list here, but they include the following:

  • Travelling faster than a speeding bullet is forbidden. Hence there are no Lutheran jet-fighter pilots or astronauts.
  • Anything more powerful than a locomotive is to be shunned. As a consequence, perhaps unintended, no Lutheran has ever aspired to high office, whether in the public or private sphere.
  • Leaping tall buildings in a single bound, whilst not strictly banned, is strongly discouraged.
  • No-one with the first name of Clark, Lois, Jimmy or Lana may become a Lutheran. Likewise the surnames of Kent, Lane, Olsen and Lang are strictly out of bounds.
  • Kryptonite is made from a secret (and very expensive) formula known only to the Lutheran inner circle.

[1] For example, as in the legal principle of ‘Lex Talionis’ – a law of punishment/retaliation, such as an ‘eye for an eye’. Or, for further instance, ‘Lex Canuleia’, a Roman law permitting marriage between patricians and plebians.

Protestants – EA Vol. III


The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. III …

Protestantism began with Martin Luther, a 16th century German priest who protested against Papal rule by nailing a list of complaints – especially ecclesiastical tardiness – to a cathedral door in the German town of Worms.

This list is known as the Diet of Worms[1]. Thereafter, German church services always ran on time and parishioners accused of being late couldn’t wriggle out of it.

In pondering this uprising against papal rule, some religiously-inclined entomologists draw an analogy to rare, but well-documented cases of insect rebellions … in particular citing examples in which protest-ants have moved to topple their hive leader.

However, some Protestants object to being likened to insects, insisting that it’s Catholics who most deserve this description since – due to the papal ban on contraceptives – they tend to breed like flies.

[1] Though Catholics call it a can of worms.

The Fumit – EA Vol. X


Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. X …

Minted by the Bank of Avalonia (motto: ‘A Unique Fiscal Experience’[1]), the fumit is the currency of choice within Avalonia. The clandestine printing and circulation of these illicit bills began immediately after the declaration of the Free State of Avalonia – see Avalonian Independence Party – at Worthy Farm, Pilton, on June 23rd 1985.

The fumit is named after the droppings of a mythical beast hunted through the forests by King Pellinore (pace the legends of King Arthur and friends) … droppings which were the only physical evidence of the animal that he was ever doomed to see.

Although regarded by most observers as a natural and inevitable consequence of Avalonian statehood, some suspect that the minting of fumits is actually a plot by A.P.P.L.E to bring down the global capitalist system … see the Avalonian Book of the Dead for more details.

When proffered for use outside of Avalonia, fumits are often viewed with suspicion by shop staff and the like. They see the Dragon of Avalon motif and note the Bank of Avalonia imprimatur, yet take pause at the portrait of the Queen wearing what appear to be wire-frame, National Health Service spectacles. The travellers from Avalonia remain calm in the face of such hesitation, assuring the vendor of the currency’s legal status: “It’s a bit different, but really just like the Scottish pound note”.

It should be noted that, in 1994, a new, rival currency began circulating in Avalonia. Named the GEBO, after the runic symbol (X) for giving and receiving, this challenger to the fumit sparked a heated debate, mirroring the arguments then taking place outside Avalonia concerning the pound versus the single European currency (the Euro).

Die-hard Avalonians maintained that their whole sovereign independence would be threatened if the GEBO was allowed to make headway. Others believed that “progress was progress” and that if Avalonia wanted to join the modern world it must bend with the times, knuckle down to reality and embrace the GEBO fulsomely.

This line of argument proved a disaster, however, since few Avalonian Glastafari – if any – had ever expressed the remotest soupçon of desire with regard to joining the modern world.

“Join the modern world?”, said one green-skinned eco-pagan contemptuously, summing up popular feeling, “I’d sooner have dinner with a Hedge Monkey” (see here).

With that pronouncement, all debate fizzled out and the long-term future of the fumit was secured.

[1] See http://www.unique-publications.co.uk

The University of Avalon – EA Vol. XV


Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. XV …

Some may think that a University is a large, government-recognised, higher education establishment, such as exists in Oxford or Cambridge. Such people may even be willing to swallow hard and accept into academic sisterhood the grandly-named University of the West of England … even though it was formerly just plain old Bristol Polytechnic. However, even such liberals baulk at extending a similar latitude to the University of Avalon (UoA), whose curricula bears no known resemblance to standard areas of study such as Mathematics, Geography or Chemistry … nor even to the somewhat suspect subject of Botany.

It is therefore all the more gratifying to UoA staff and students alike that their establishment was once the only listing under “Universities” in Thompson’s Directory phone book for the Somerset coastal area. Soon after this public relations coup – and it may be just coincidence – a part-time telephonist from Burnham-on Sea was appointed Professor of Terran Communications in the UoA’s Faculty of Epistemological Phenomenology.

Critics of the UoA, of which there are many, especially in Bristol, are scorned as illiterates by Avalonian academics. And with good reason, for the word “university” comes from the latin universus, meaning “turned into one (with the cosmos or universe)”.

On this basis the University of Avalon has every right to the high status of its name, since becoming one with the cosmos is the great ambition of all its students. Indeed, no one graduates from the University unless they have first achieved a measure a degree of success in this quest.

As to what constitutes the required measure of “oneness”, this is a topic of heated debate across the dreaming spires of Avalonia. The result is that no one so far has actually graduated – or at least no one retaining a sufficient grasp of mundane reality to tell the tale. The effect on the University’s post-graduate programme has been catastrophic. With no post-grads to teach, only the M.Sc. course in Zen & the Art of Fire-Raising has survived the axe, and even this has no tutor as such, but simply a mysterious facilitator known only as “the guiding light”.


Catholics – EA. Vol. XI


The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia XI …

Catholics in Avalonia, like Catholics everywhere, look to their parish priest for guidance.

The parish priest – usually called Father O’Malley – looks in turn to his Bishop. The Bishop looks to the Cardinal. The Cardinal looks to the Pope. The Pope looks to God …

God looks embarrassed.

God’s embarrassment is not surprising, since Catholics believe that every sperm is sacred. They also believe that all Catholics are cool hipsters – i.e. there are no wankers amongst them.

Restorationist Christians – EA Vol. XV

Alfred the Great

The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia XV ….

Restorationist Christians pray for the restoration of what they see as true royalty – the Saxon line of King Alfred the Great – to the throne of England.

In Avalonia they hold regular outdoor services in the Athelney marshes, one-time fortress hiding place of Alfred. But their main HQ is the King Alfred Orthodox Christian Centre on Glastonbury’s Fisher’s Hill.

A window in their HQ displays a rather lurid postcard. It depicts the Resurrection – or “Restoration” as they call it – where those who are Right enter Buckingham Palace, whilst those who are Wrong are cast by Alfred’s descendants into a fiery pit that bears more than a passing resemblance to the oven where the King is said to have burnt his cakes.

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