Wednesday, August 03, 2011

23 The tipping Point
Lamas - Monday August 1, 2011
“The heat of the sun swells the seed and ripens the grain.
Transformed by water, the amber fire warms my belly as the Corn Mother warms my heart.”
Dusk is slowly descending as my companion and I squeeze through the far western gate into Kenwood. We have the holly wood to ourselves. I salute a hollow beech tree in the time-honoured custom of clockwise circumnavigation followed by a thorough exploration of the tree’s contours. Soon my hands are smeared with the dusty sticky cobwebs and currented with their contents!
The path divides. The Holly trees reach out sharp fingers to stroke our bear arms and run their spikes teasingly through our already sweat-dampened hair. It is a very hot night.
The ground levels out and we walk across grass. Here is a birch tree, divided in two. We step through the doorway and prepare to settle down to make our circle and do our working.
The park ranger’s four-wheel drive shrieks to a stop and he leaps out, crossly admonishing us for still being here. I am confused as I thought we were on the heath, but clearly we are still within the Kenwood environs. We apologise and remove ourselves forthwith.
The gate clangs behind us and we find ourselves in a scattered grove of pleasant trees. Here is a columned beach, the earth around her roots scattered with beech masts, waiting for us to work with her. We settle down to make our circle.
Before long, she comes. Standing in the south, she is dark skinned but light haired, strong featured but roundly fat, a cottage loaf of a goddess with wheat ear fat gold plats framing her strong-featured face. I know she is the Corn Mother, related in some way to that Native American goddess and to a thousand goddesses across a hundred nations. Standing with her sisters ONE HOLDING the lamb and the OTHER HOLDING berries, she is a Celtic triple-goddess MOTHER.
Lamas, the time of the first harvest, where we reflect upon what we have sewed and are now reaping. I contemplate the impact of unintended consequences and the place that lies between purposefulness and accident. I unfold before her my struggle between enough and over-consumption, between allowing emotions and drowning in them, between control and loss of control, between having what is needed and hoarding.
As a self-confessed control freak, I don’t like not being in total control of what is going on involving me. When I am challenged, there are times when I will become hysterically agitated, like an inconsolable child, whipping herself up into frenzy, almost luxuriating in bad temper!
So what is the tipping point taking me from reasonable concern into hysteria? What is the tipping point between life sustaining consumption of food and that place of compulsive eating? What would it be like to give away the abundance of emotions, consumption or anything else harmful to me in the same way I give away a glut of apples from a richly fruiting tree? What could the Corn Mother do with such abundance?
A life-long insomniac, I remember someone telling me that others would love my wakefulness as I crave their ability to sleep. If only we could redistrict the behaviours we don’t need to those who do need them?
The beech mast, like a four pointed flower with a central spike, lies dry and light in the palm of my hand. I touch its contours; stroke its rough exterior and soft unblemished interior. I marvel at its gracefulness. I offer it to her, releasing my need of each excessive behaviour with another mast.
Unravelling the sweet apple and cinnamon swirls and biting into the succulent strawberries, I think of what I am harvesting instead. Let me learn to be conscious of the point between enough and too much, to find compassion for myself when I struggle with cravings and to forgive myself when I’m driven to excess.
I hear her laugh. It’s a great belly rumble of a laugh. Suddenly, I want to sing, so I do.
“We all come from the goddess, and to her we shall return,
like a drop of rain, flowing to the ocean.
Hoof and horn, hoof and horn, all that dies shall be reborn,
Corn and grain, corn and grain, all that falls shall rise again.”
New words come and between us, my companion and I find a way to celebrate her through the baking of bred.
“Pound and need, pound and kneed,
pull the goodness from the seed.
Kneed and pound, kneed and pound,
Make your bread both rich and round.”
In the silence that follows, I lean my back against the strong columned trunk of the beech tree. All is quiet, saving a quarrelsome robin high up in a tree nearby. Softly at first and then more distinctly, the “whoo-whoo” of an owl penetrates the stillness. A harbinger of the second half of the year, and the waning sun, he sings across the tree tops in the deep dusk that is almost night.
We thank the Corn Mother and the owl and all the creatures of the woods that have been chewing away at our varies pieces of exposed flesh. Gathering up our belongings, we set off across the heath.
My companion has not bought an A-Z. No matter, we follow well-trodden paths between richly wooded heath and more abundant glades. Our presence disturbs the men cruising in the woods below Jackstraw’s Castle. They fit into the open momentarily and then disappear into the shadows under the trees once more.
A different owl shrieks as she swoops upon some hapless small mammal she has glimpsed momentarily in the dark. We cross water and wind our way through more trees, until at last, the lights and then the cars of a nearby busy London road, intrude.
It is pleasant, (if a little hot) in the pub. I sip my whisky and allow it’s warmth to permeate my whole body. AS I roll its richness around my tongue, I fall to deciding that whisky is a Lamas drink. I order a second one in celebration of my own personal harvest and that of the Corn Mother.

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