Saturday, October 20, 2007

Boleigh Fogou
Tuesday October 16, 2007:

The Earth’s Embrace

Boleigh Fogou is on private land, hidden amongst gorse and ferns, shaded by low trees. A Fogou is basically a low tunnel leading to some sort of underground refuge. Boleigh Fogou is thought to date from either the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age and so is 3000 years old. Fogous are thought to have been used for ceremonial rather than burial purposes.
It had begun raining just before I alighted from the train at Penzance. I welcomed the cool clean drops. It would wash the land and keep away tourists. Also we were more likely to have the damp dark green country to ourselves if it persisted.

The sky hung low and heavy, the drizzle fell determedly as we pushed our way through the overgrowth. The entrance was slippery with mud. Carefully, we edged our way underground. AS we moved forward, bending down to get in, the fogou signature smell, moss, earth and decay laced with crushed herbage met us. I breathed in deeply and felt myself go down, down, down into the earth.

I sat below the dripping ceiling and cast a circle. Unconsciously, evoking fire first, I moved counter-clockwise through the quarters inviting the spirits of the place to come and join us. My companion found herself a relatively dry patch and sat down.

Beneath my prone body, the earth held me like an expert nurse. I felt safe – all was still and quiet save the deep, deep rumbling from beneath me, as though a great creature was breathing without moving.

How long had I been here? Days, weeks or just hours or minutes? It didn’t matter. I was here and that was all that was important.

Something rough caressed my bare cheek and I nuzzled it. Conscious of nothing else, I lay and was. I sunk down into deep, deep sleep.

In time, thought came and with it, a sense of ease, as I focussed my mind on how I was feeling right here right now. Contentedly , I shifted to make myself more comfortable.

And then I heard her. In a low, rasping, deep down in the belly of the earth kind of voice came these words, half intoned , half growled.

“The mud, the stones,
Her flesh, Her bones,
The earth’s embrace
Is love.”

A cool drop smacked me on the cheek. Outside, the rain was falling heavily. I rocked myself into a sitting position and reached out to touch the Fogou’s walls. Impacted mud, bound with tree roots offered a strong shelter. Stone slabs and piled up rocks, stacked one upon another, embraced the space. I felt humbled, held as I was inside her. I felt her compassion and in turn brought it into myself for myself.

Love is at the bottom of everything, I mused as I opened the circle and prepared to make my way out. It couldn’t be any plainer could it?

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