Monday, November 13, 2006

St Keyne’s Well

Thursday November 8, 2006

2:30 pm

St Keyne’s Well lies beside a road, which on this sunny November afternoon had some traffic and the occasional walker on it. To get to the well, we had to climb down a mini amphitheatre of steps. Set in the ground, this still seeming pool is surrounded by a little stone tower with pointy roof.

I sat down on the steps setting out my tools and prepared to make my circle. The place was held and cosy and as I called the quarters and invited the spirit of the place to join us, it felt as though some unseen arms were hugging me in a gentle way.

The sound of trickling water from a nearby garden joined with the soft chirping of birds and the gentle rustling of the wind in the trees. I sat down to dream.

It was a long time ago. A clear day. I stood by the well, the square pool of slightly swirling water. There was a different kind of cover to it, not the stone one here now. I bent low, and dove into the water.

Swimming like a fish, I swam deeper and deeper, through tunnels, caves and chambers, high roofed or low, close or cavernous until I glimpsed daylight. Swimming upwards quite vigorously now I emerged into a small circular pool in a garden edge with creamy stones and a smooth lawn.

As I stood up in the water, I noticed on the pool’s edge a large rock, and wondered what it was. It looked like the rough stone carving of a figure. On closer examination, I made out a curling fish tail, and a lot of hair falling over shoulders and breast. Looking closer, and reaching out to touch with gentle fingers, I discovered the rough hewn face and saggy breasts of an older woman, her features blunted and weathered by the seasons, as though she was wearing a veil.

She was beautiful, and still. I stood in the pool and just was with her.

I don’t know how long I stayed, wrapped in her still presence.

Eventually, stirring, I remembered I had some purple wool and I looped a length around her shoulders, before bowing and returning via the water to the well and to today.

We closed our circle by each taking and drinking a shell full of the water. It was clear and sweet.

Before leaving, we read the following inscription which was on a nearby wall:


The spell of the woman of St Keynes:

“The quality that man or wife
Whom change or choice attain.
First of this sacred spring to drink,
Thereby the mastery gain.”

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