Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sancreed Well and the Blind Fiddler

Tuesday October 16, 2007:

The Blind Fiddler

I was curious to find the Blind Fiddler. In order to reach him, we waded through a muddy field of the most enormous cabbages. The constant rain had pulled the great cabbage leaves, like distorted elephants ears into the most incredible sculptured shapes. Pools, as small as a few drops and as big as a soup dish shimmered silver against the dark green leaves. I stroked their surfaces and the leaves shivered at my touch.

The Blind Fiddler stood, large and solid, by a hedge surrounded by wild brassicas , their pungent odour intermingling with the damp muddy smell of the churned earth beneath our feet. I lent against him and wondered what the story behind him was. Alas there was no time to hang about. The rain poured down relentlessly and we trailed back through the mad looking cabbages, our feet growing heavier and heavier with caked mud as we trudged on.

Sancreed Well

We squeezed ourselves along the path to the well. It ran between two houses and was at first flanked by new fences – the compromised reached after a great battle to keep the path to the well open. Climbing over a Cornish stile, we pushed our way between wet nettles and briers, dodged the snatching fingers of hawthorns and squeezed round young trees. Carefully, I edged my way up and down uneven steps, fearing lest I slip on the mud and wet stone beneath my feet.

The well steps were narrow. I squeezed my way down and sat at the entrance. The rain plopped into the water, echoing around the little enclosed well house. I took my rattle and began to cast a circle, my voice, the drops and the rattle mingling and weaving in and out of each other in a tapestry of soft sounds against the hiss of the rain falling outside.

The line of women snaked down the path. Quietly and slowly they walked, each carrying a small bowl, softly singing as they walked. One by one, they knelt at the water’s edge and filled their bowl, raised these to their lips and drank, symbolically splashing themselves in some form of silent self-blessing.

IN turn, I knelt and dipped my bowl into the water. I sipped its cool freshness and then anointed myself. In prayer , I stayed a while at the well’s edge.

My eyes watched the waters swirl. I became aware of another presence. Raising my eyes, I saw the figure in the shadows, sitting and watching. Looking more carefully, I saw that she was a mermaid, her long hair trailing across her bare shoulders, her tail tucked neatly around her. Water snaked across her naked breasts. Our eyes met and she smiled.

I sat still, unable to move and gazed and gazed. I felt warm tears mingled with the rain. I felt my heart shifting and shivering within my Brest. Overwhelmed with love, I held my breath and feasted on the vision before me. The walls echoed softly then a clear voice began to sing:

“Cool rain, hot tears splash,
The mermaid sings
Love is here.”

Time past. I sat still, mesmerised by the beauty of Her. At last I came to my senses, picked up my bowl and walked after the others back to our gathering place. All the while, the image of the mermaid, vivid in my mind, her haunting song, echoing in my ears.

Rain seeped into me, finding unguarded places reminding me that it was cold. Bowing low to the place where She had sat, I said my farewells, closed the circle and climbed back up to the top of the steps. At the top stood a Cloutie tree, its offerings waving in the light breeze. I found a piece of purple wool and tied it to the tree, giving thanks for the power of water and the power of love to cleanse, comfort and soothe.

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