All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


Early on Saturday morning there was a dead body lying spread-eagled face down in the shallows at low tide by Lambeth Bridge.  A suicide or an accident? A drunk perhaps who became lost and got stuck in the mud? Or a victim of foul play?There has been nothing in the news so probably not the last at least.  An hour or so later the body was gone - in all likelihood taken to the Wapping River Police Station and then on to the mortuary at Poplar.  But then to where?
In the old days it would have been landed at the stone stairs you can still see under Tower Bridge where it meets the north bank.  This place was formerly known rather un-subtly as 'Dead Man's Hole"

The corpse was just another of the fifty or so who are found in the Thames each year.  Until fairly recently the number was double that  - mobile phones have meant that more people, whether jumpers or tumblers, are rescued.  Of course in past centuries, the Thames was virtually a liquid cemetery - an unholy Ganges.  Bodies were indiscriminately dumped there - the murdered, those who could not afford a funeral, unwanted children and many more suicides.

It has always also been the site of strange and unexplained murders.  In 1982 the Italian Roberto Calvi known as 'God's banker' was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge  and in 2001 the headless torso of a child 'Adam' was found  near Tower Bridge.  Investigations revealed it to probably have been a victim in a South african voodoo ceremony.

Rivers and bridges have always been symbols of our journey to the afterlife. Glen and I made this little piece a few years back about the river as final voyage.

I suppose we will never know much about the dead person lost and found last Friday night Saturday morning.

Will they be missed?  I hope so - this is for whoever it was and for all the dead the river has taken.  



It is a cosmic time.  Monday is the Spring Equinox and today sees the largest full moon for twenty years. That means it really is the time of The Last Werewolf.  

To mark such events I have been attending services on Sunday mornings at St Pauls.  I've not been able to believe in the one God for a long time but I do very much believe in the English cultural tradition. The cathedral is a very good place to experience this.  Besides, it is built on a Roman temple to Diana the hunter and before that in all probability on the site of a pre-Roman sacred site.  

Christopher Wren and Hawksmoor knew this when they conceived the epic design of the new cathedral after the great fire destroyed the old one.    A great psychic axis climbs from within the depths of the earth up through Ludgate Hill into the sky.  It is this which attracted the Romans to the place.  The pagan temple was open to the heavens - merely circling this  axis but Wren successfully capped it - creating the conditions for London's development as a great international city.  It is the reason the building was able to survive the nazi blitz when all around it was laid waste.

I recommend a visit on Sunday - you don't have to pay and you will hear some wonderful music.  If you do go, try opening up to the ancient forces around you.  They may have some surprising effects.

The central intersection of the nave and the wings is effectively a giant roofed Stonehenge. This became apparent to me in what I can only describe as a psychic revelation - one of a series I have experienced around the Clerkenwell environs.  There is a twin psychic pole through that other centre of English culture, Westminster abbey and, as I have noted before, a corresponding horizontal axis along the line of the subterranean river Fleet.  The Fleet forms the boundary between the city of Westminster and the city of London. These have always had different gods  - power and money respectively - and, together with the spiritual axes through the cathedrals, form the forces around which the physical and psychic city spins.  

Long may it continue to do so.