The Castle

“There’s been a lot of hurt,
I’ve seen a lot o’ pain.
One thing’s for sure,
Your time, this time
Is back again.”

……..inspired by “The Messiah Will Come Again”, Roy Buchanan [1].

(Photograph of Tynemouth Castle, where I was raised, from

His face was solemn not grim. As tradition has it, he wore a long dark robe, but no scythe, no outstretched skeletal hand.

He came through the window. I stared up into the bowed, hooded face. I acknowledged his purpose silently. “OK, let’s go” I nodded. My guide’s face turned a polite friendly smile as he took me up into the night sky.

We travelled north. We reached Rothbury, the place of my birth, in the heart of Northumberland. It was a bright sunshine dawn, 31st July 1951, over 60 years ago. The castle stood by the River Coquet, set amongst the Simonside Hills.

As we approached the sandstone walls, a lady walking, came the other way. She approached her car, sharing a few pleasantries with my guide, as she got into her green Morris Minor and drove off.

“Who is she?” I inquired. “Oh, she’s a Guardian Angel, heading to the local hospital” came the reply. We walked on.

“We are going to heaven aren’t we?” A big smile and a knowing chuckle was all I got.

We entered a courtyard, the size of half a football pitch. People were gathering, milling; exchanging curious, friendly and nervous greetings. Before us stood a group of young women. One of the women, seemed familiar. Like from a photograph.

“Kiss one another!” instructed my guide, to me and the woman who looked familiar, “see what happens!”. The woman and I smiled at one another. We raised our eyebrows, and after a short nod of mutual approval, we obliged. We embraced in a suitably affectionate kiss, not too short and not too long. We took a step back. A moment later – woooooaaaahhhhh! It was like all the kisses I’d ever been kissed, packed into a 10-15 second rocket trip.

The kiss was beautiful. “Wow, this place is amazing”, I shrieked. “It can be everything you want it to be”, my guide replied. My guide and I walked on.

Passing a field, I noticed beautiful large fruit, deep red, luscious. A farmer with a silent tractor was tending the crop. “Strange, to have tractors here (being uncertain where here actually was); what about carbon emissions” I asked “and why is that farmer toiling?”  “That’s no ordinary tractor”, my guide assured me, “it runs on the continuous energy from the Sun. Tending and sharing fruit is the farmer’s choice. It is a labour of love.”

“C’mon” he said, “let’s get you to the hospital. It’s been a long journey and your spiritual body’s atoms are still a wee bit out of kilter. You’ll be as right as rain, by morning.”

I awoke refreshed and chose to explore, alone. I went into the depths of the castle and found myself walking down a street that reminded me of ancient Rome; cobbles, little terraced houses. At its far end I saw an entrance to a dark cave. In the entrance stood a large lion, with a huge mane of black hair. “Uh-oh”, I turned to head the other way, only to notice a lioness walking toward me. I started to panic. I made my way into a house, BUT it had huge glassless window frames. I ducked under a table and hid. Just then, my guide walked in. “Come with me” he said, “let’s go to the changing rooms.”

We went into small building across the road and waited in the hallway, with shower cubicles and a changing room annexe at one end. Out of the annexe stepped a man and his wife. I recognised the black whiskered eyebrows they both had in common. Acknowledging my guide, they smiled me a friendly hello and left. “They have been shape shifting” my guide explained. “On earth they have been lions many times and enjoy the freedom. So they come here to be.” “Let’s explore”.

My guide and I passed through fields where we saw people at play. Finally we came to a field where two knights were in combat, sword to sword. Eventually one knight dealt a crucial blow, felling the other. “Woe” I said “this can’t be right, people slicing one another up?”

“That’s no ordinary sword” my guide replied. “It’s a spiritual sword of Truth and those knights are spiritual bodies. A quick trip to the hospital and the fallen knight will be fit and ready to fight again. These knights are the guardians of The Truth, The Grail. They have fought many battles on earth. to keep its secret secure. For only he who is borne of Truth can know the secret of The Grail. (Only Arthur, borne of truth, could extract the sword from the stone.) The knights keep their skills sharp, retain their wisdom of, and practice in, battle – ready when needed.

“It’s time we went to the Assignment Room” my guide instructed.

Following, I entered what looked like a small very old fashioned shop. On the wall, inside, hung a huge and complex flow chart connecting people’s names, events and outcomes. The parts  could be moved around like a child’s sliding puzzle. So that people, events and outcomes could be brought together ata specifci time. The whole history and future of mankind was mapped out. Administrators were constantly making adjustments – as they pushed around the parts, sliding them up and down into the right pattern.

There on a small plaque in the middle of the chart, I read my name, ‘Paul C Burr’. “Why me?” I inquired.

“You have a role to fulfill, a contract. Now it is time that you return and fulfill that contract.” The guide replied.

“But what is my contract?” I inquired.

“Continue to write, for now. You’ll find out, when the time is right,” my guide replied.

“Go in peace!”

I thanked my guide for the wisdom and quest. As I headed back I suddenly realised the coincidence that my favourite band for many years is called The Grateful Dead. Coincidence?  Maybe not.


Shine on…!

Paul C Burr

5th May 2009 (revised 15th August 2011)

[1] Roy Buchanan (September 23, 1939August 14, 1988) was an American guitarist and blues musician. He is noted for his use of note bending, volume swells, staccato runs, and pinch harmonics. Buchanan was a pioneer of the Telecaster sound. ( )

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