Monday, November 13, 2006

The Hurlers, Bodmyn Moor

Friday November 10, 2006

11 am

The sky felt hopeful as we drove west towards Bodmyn moor. No sun today, but although there was a "ceiling" on the world, it was not a low one.

The dark, dark earth was soft and springy underfoot as we walked across the tussocks. The stones felt scattered and difficult to sense as circles until we had walked the perimeter of the site. Passing two stones that seemed to stand sentinel at one end, and rounding the edge, we entered near the south.

I walked around the inside, touching each stone as I passed. Some stood tall almost as a human, others lay flat or were sunk to ankle height in the mossy grass. In the middle of the central circle were two stones, one prostrate and one standing. We sat down on the flat stone and prepared to cast a circle.

In the distance, voices drifted on the breeze, growing louder and more distinct. A party of teenagers with teacher were heading this way. Before long, they had gathered outside the stones and teacher was instructing them in a classroom clear voice what they must do.

My heart sank. Gone were my hopes of a peaceful vigil, a gentle connection with the spirits of the land. I considered my options, then decided to continue. This land was surely big enough for all of us.

Unobtrusively I rattled and cast the circle. The wind blew out the candle and refused to allow the incense to light at all. Still, I set out the stone, the shell (with water) on the rocks beside me and called to the spirits of the land whilst the young people climbed the stones, laughed and took photos of each other.

In the dream, it was long, long ago. There was a hot sun, or was it a huge fire, I couldn’t tell. It was very, very hot. I lay naked, spread-eagled on the earth, vulnerable yet strong in my body. I was not afraid. The sounds around me, many voices, many presences, songs, shouts, thudding, sometimes close, sometimes far away, held me in that place.

The world turned, my skin hardened and dried, my muscles atrophied, my bones turn to stone and I became part of the landscape. I became a smoothe rock, then roughened by the weather, hewn by the tongues of many bitter winds and sleet of a thousand winters. People sat on me, animals grazed about me as I lay under the moving grey, blue white light or dark open wide sky.

And the wheel turned and two women came, one walking with a stick, guided by the other, and spread a black plastic cape with a hood and bell upon my surface. They sat themselves on me, futilely attempted to light a candle and an incense stick, spoke softly their prayers to the land and to me and sat dreaming in the November wind. And as they sat in meditation, a group of teenagers poured through the stones, chattering and laughing, tumbling together in an exuberance of joyous, glorious youth. With them, part of them but not noticed by their peers, walked one or two, quietly and lightly on the land, softly and reverently. Briefly, they cast their eyes towards the two sitters and the stone upon which they sat, and a silent connection was made.

It was time to go. I was in danger of missing my train if I did not put my skates on. Breathing in the wild ebullient air, I opened the circle, thanking the elements, the spirit of the land and the young visitors. Gathering up my things, I rose and made ready to leave.

We walked from the stones, across the tussock grass , back to the car. And as we did, my companion turned and saw that two crows had just descended upon our stone, looking for food, she supposed. Two crows, sitting where we sat. Two crows where often one only comes. Two crows sharing what we had shared.

I walked steadily on and began to sing in quiet thanks, a song I learned one year at The Goddess Conference.

"This sacred land I walk upon, it is the body of the Goddess.
I feel the earth beneath my feet I walk her hills, I walk her valleys.
And she reveals her body to me, it is the sacred land I walk upon.
And as you lay yourself before me, I honour you in all your glory, I offer you my body Goddess, to dance your spirits through me.
This sacred land I walk upon, it is the body of the Goddess.
I feel the earth beneath my feet I walk her hills, I walk her valleys. And she reveals her body to me, it is this sacred land I walk upon.

As I finished, I stopped, knelt on the soft ground and put my forehead to the earth in honour and reverence of her beauty and continued graciousness.

Sitting on the train writing this account, my face is warm and stinging from the fervent kiss of the wind, my body is still and at ease and I feel complete within myself. I'm going home to London and my different oh so different life there, but I'm also leaving my home, my home that is always for ever with the goddess.

Blessed be the land of Cornwall. May her spirits spin in the wild wind by the dancing seas upon the craggy rocks.

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