Diddy Box

And if you’ve ever wondered how to keep all those knickknacks in order, I’ve got the solution for you right here — in a Diddy Box! Christmas time is drawing near so there’ll be presents to buy. As well as several suggestions here and overleaf there are lots more gift ideas on pages 38 and 39.

Feet stay blissfully warm and cosy when they’re clad in UNIROYAL Field Boots. Even when you’re tramping through mud, slush, ice or snow in them your feet will feel neither the pinch nor the cold! Hand crafted on a last, they feel soft and supple yet they provide your ankles and arches with the support they need. Choose one of these three styles: the Hunter with a cleated sole and heel; the Royal Hunter with a styrene, studded sole; or thfortaire with a special mcan sole with a unique cushion cavity. Dists 58.

UNIROYAL Field Boots

You’ll find dozens of uses or the DIDDY BOX. This arrange-it-yourself container, pas 24 modular units that you can arrange in a virtually unli­mited variety of ways for storing long shaped items like pencils, scissors or screwdrivers, smaller things like Dins, clips, jewellery, etc., or Doth. In brown, red, white or ‘ed/white with a tinted acrylic id, it measures 14″ x 7″ x n”. Price £4.99 + 75p p & p 3 or more post free). Mark the coupon 15, .tick the colour wanted, and post it with your cheque/P.O. (Money back guarantee). Allow 28 days for delivery. Leaflet only, 19.

Make your Christmas cake deliciously diffe­rent this year by covering it with chocolate-flavoured KAKE BRAND. Then, using the special moulds that you can get from the Kake Brand people, make lots of Father Christmas figures, bells and other shapes to decorate it. Kake Brand, available in milk or plain flavours, can be poured, spread, grated or moulded and it’s really easy to use. Put 29 on the coupon for a free recipe book and, to get a set of moulds, use the order form that you’ll find in every ‘gingham’ pack of Kake Brand.

Deciding on the right ceramic tiles for your home is much easier when you’ve got SPHINX TILES “Trial Tile” kit to help you. In it you get full size replicas of their 20 most popular designs each with alternative colour-ways on the back, plus an instruction leaflet and a calculator to show you how many tiles you’ll need. You’ll be able to see for yourself exactly how Sphinx Tiles — and they’re Europe’s best — would look in your kitchen, bathroom, hall or anywhere else in your home. Free “Trial Tile” kit 53.


DiY work, especially in high places, can be hazardous unless you have a safe plat­form from which to operate. With a BANTAM Access Tower you can make any shape of platform simply by slotting together pieces of lightweight, rust­proof scaffolding. (It’s made by Mills, leading scaffolders to the building trade.) You can get various ‘kits’ as well as individual compo­nents such as cas­tors and jacking bases. And when

you’re not using it oijEllfor other work you

MMIcan turn it into a workbench or even ittST’aa kids’ climbing tip frame. Booklet 6.

Draughts are the main cause of heat loss in most homes so it pays to stop them. You can do so very effectively (and with none of the fiddle often associated with most other foam draught excluders) using new SELLOTAPE Draught Excluder. There’s no backing strip to be removed, so it’s as easy to use as “Sellotape” clear tape, and once it’s up it stays up because it won’t rot or discolour and the tough shiny polyester surface is easy to wipe clean. A 6r6mabout 20ft) roll costs 65p or less; a 50ft economy roll about £1.30.

SELLOTAPE Draught Excluder

Whether you are planning a new one or only making a few changes to your existing bathroom, SHIRES BATHROOM BOOK will help you with your decisions. In it are nine Shires bathrooms carefully designed to illus­trate the full range of their bathroom fittings and to demonstrate basic planning concepts. You’ll also find details of 9 basins, 8 baths, 2 showers, 6 WC’s, 3 bidets, 2 vanity units, a vanity bar, bath panels and many other extras and accessories in a variety of colours. Free Shires Bathroom Book 49 o

Knowing how much young girls worry about things such as whether their towel ‘shows’ at period time, take my tip and tell your young daughter about KOTEX Sylphs. These are full absorbency towels that are made especialteaspoonful neat so that they don’t show under clothes, even tight fitting outfits such as jeans. Self-adhesive, they have a double grip-strip to hold them firmly in place inside any panties and they’re completely flushable. Put 30 on the coupon for a sample 


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Black Madonnas

Christianity did not suddenly usurp the old religions of Europe. Instead, the early Church worked subtly to take over gods and shrines that had existed for centuries before the birth of Christ. As a result, the Black Madonnas are a blend of paganism and purity and, as RICHARD LEIGH and MICHAEL BAIGENT show, are still surrounded by ambiguous associations that reach far back in time to ancient religious — and even demonic — beliefs

THE MEDIEVAL KINGS of France tradition­ally accorded a special significance to the Black Madonnas. This attitude was particul­arly evident in Louis IX, who ruled during the 13th century and is now known as Saint Louis. Saint Louis had always revered the Black Madonna at Le Puy. She does not appear to have been inordinately grateful, however, because Saint Louis, having laun­ched a crusade against the Saracens of Egypt, was resoundingly defeated and captured along with his entire army. Nevertheless, he commanded considerable respect from the sultan who had vanquished him; and on his eventual release, the sultan offered him as a gift any object he might desire from the Egyptian treasury. The King selected a statue of what he called ‘Our Lady and Child’ — a Black Madonna, some 27 inches (69 centimetres) high, swathed in bandages and wearing a copper crown.

Black Madonnas

This statue had been part of the Islamic treasure for centuries — indeed, it had been highly venerated by the Saracens, who claimed it had been carved by the prophet Jeremiah. In 1254, Saint Louis carried the statue back to France, and installed it at Le Puy in place of the Black Madonna which had formerly been there. At least one of the present-day Black Madonnas is thus un­equivocally Eastern in origin.

Harlot and nun

The Black Madonna Saint Louis obtained in Egypt, and many of the others as well, were originally pre-Christian Mother God­desses. It is well known that the Middle East — from Egypt, through Palestine and Syria, to Persia — was influenced by such goddesses in pre-Christian times. These Mother God­desses were worshipped under a number of names, but they were essentially the same figure. And their appeal was extraordinarily tenacious. Demeter, for example, was wor­shipped at Eleusis, Greece, as late as 1801; and when two Englishmen in that year removed her statue, a major riot ensued among the peasantry.

The Mother Goddess was an extremely complex figure. She was simultaneously good and evil, creative and destructive, bene­ficent and malevolent, light and dark. She embodied the myriad aspects of nature ­storm, drought and famine as well as bounti­ful harvests and the fruits of the earth. At times, she could be cruelly chaste, at times shamelessly promiscuous — a combination of harlot and nun. In order to reflect her dual character, she was sometimes depicted with one side of her face black, the other white. Alternatively, she was sometimes clad in a black and white garment. And on at least one site, there were actually two statues, identical except that one was light and the other dark.

louis 9

The ancient Mother Goddess was often associated with the Moon, which passes through a spectrum of phases, from dark to full. By virtue of the Moon’s influence on tides, the Mother Goddess was also asso­ciated with the sea and became patroness of mariners — who revered her as ‘Star of the Sea’ or ‘Stella Maris’. This led to her being further associated with the Pole Star, and with Venus as well. Like the Moon, Venus possessed a dual aspect — that of Morning and Evening Star. The former of these aspects was regarded as sinister; this is reflected in Judaeo-Christian tradition, where the Mor­ning Star is often linked with Lucifer.

The Mother Goddess was worshipped under a bewildering variety of names. In Egypt, for example, she was known as Isis ­who was often depicted as black and holding her son, Horus, on her knee. There would seem to be little question that the Madonna obtained by Saint Louis from the Egyptian treasury was originally an Isis figure.

In northern Syria and in Babylon, the Mother Goddess was known as Ishtar ­which was also the Babylonian name for the planet we call Venus. Like Isis, Ishtar was often depicted as black; and although she had beneficent aspects, many Babylonian myths — the Epic of Gilgamesh, for instance ­stress the harmful side of her nature.

 Le Puy France madonna

In Phoenicia, the Mother Goddess was known as Astarte, and it was in the guise of Astarte that she exercised perhaps her most profound influence on Western tradition. The Phoenicians, of course, were seafarers. In the course of their maritime movements ­under the patronage of Stella Maris — they brought numerous images of Astarte to Wes­tern Europe, and these images subsequently became Black Madonnas. Like the later Christian Madonna, Astarte was often sym­bolised by a dove. Sometimes she was por­trayed as half black, half white. Sometimes she was worshipped in the form of a triang­ular stone, which was occasionally white, but more often black and probably meteoric in origin. Astarte figures prominently in the Old Testament, where she is referred to as `Queen of Heaven’.

In the chronicles that comprise the Old Testament, Astarte, the Queen of Heaven, appears as one of the primary adversaries or rivals of the God of Israel — the patriarchal God of Abraham and Moses. Indeed, the Israelites, on a number of occasions, defect from the God of Abraham and Moses and make their devotions to the Queen of Heaven. Jeremiah, for example, angrily con­demns his people for falling away from God and returning to the worship of Astarte ­implying that Astarte-worship was once the norm. The Old Testament tells us further that Solomon was a passionate devotee of the Queen of Heaven, to whom he erected altars on every high hill. It can be persuasively argued, in fact, that the Song of songs is not addressed to any mortal woman, but to Astarte. If this is true, the opening words of that famous text become particularly signi­ficant: ‘I am black, but comely, 0 ye daugh­ters of Jerusalem.

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