Wind

Wind
I come home to wind
Autumn wind
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Sounding the chimney
Like it was November
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Whipping the trees
Shaking the leaves
Blowing the grass and the flowers
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Blowing round corners
Stopping me in my tracks
Fleeting the clouds across the sky
Battering the windows with rain
But it’s only July

Oh Mother!
Oh Mother Earth
What is happening?
It’s only July …

Moorhen Chicks

Black fluff, feather fluff,
Red cap, red beak.
Plop!
Float like natural,
Perch on leaf,
Lily holds him,
Mother feeds him,
Life is good.

Nest on island,
Hidden shelter,
In the reeds.
Mother knows,
Hides them safely
From the eaters in the sky.

Growing quickly,
Soon be adult
Then I’ll go
To make my way

Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Still as Ghosts

after watching the video ringing of the Dyfi osprey chicks 2017

Thump! Crash!
Up from the ground the thing comes.
Still as ghosts we sit.

Smell! Scent! Sound!
It peers over the edge of the nest.
Still as ghosts we sit.

Gone! My brother is gone!
The thing goes. Returns.
My sister is gone.
I am alone.
Still as a ghost I sit.
Afraid.

The thing returns, lifts me,
Puts me in a bag,
Carries me down.
Now we, all three, lie
Still as ghosts on the ground.

Touched. Pulled. Held up. Put down.
My leg is stretched,
A thing is fitted to it.
Itches.
But the thing is gentle,
Its voice feels kind.
Still as ghosts we lie
All three together.
What will happen now?

Where is my mother?
My father?
Will I ever return to the nest?
I am afraid.
Staring, peering, wild-eyed.

Lifted up again.
The thing takes me upwards.
Ah! The nest. Home.
My sister and my brother join me.
We lie there panting, waiting, staring.

Mother. I hear her land near.
Mother come quick.
We sat still as ghosts
All three of us, like you said.
Mother, come back to us …

 

Vidoe: Dyfi Osprey Project – ringing 2017
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Rain from Heaven

Sipping, slurping, gulping, burping
Garden thirsty for the rain
Leaves unfurling, roots uncurling
Supping up the soft wet rain

Flowers dripping, grass-heads tipping
Holding shiny beads of rain
Lady’s Mantle holds the candle
Cupping silver drops of rain

Heaven opens, but so gently
Shining threads of silver rain
Falling softly onto soil-crust
Healing all the Mother’s pain

Image: Lady’s Mantle by Elen Sentier
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Midsummer Turning of the Year

Today the sun moves on
Three days he has stood still
Rising at the same point on the horizon
While the two kings wrestle

Oak has been the guardian
Caring for the Lady
Since the Sun-Return of Midwinter
Now it changes
Now Holly wins the match
Becomes her lord

Now he holds her
Guards her as the sun’s arc drops
Lower and lower
Every day
Less and less light
Every day
From now until Midwinter

Now is harvest
Now the lady gives us her bounty
The hay and corn
The fruits of the forest and garden
All the goodness grown in her belly
Since Midwinter

Holly King gives us the gifts from his lady
Holds her in his arms as the sun’s arc goes down
Takes her down into the darkness

Oak King sleeps now under the sod
Rebuilding himself
Ready to wrestle
Show he is worthy
At the next turning of the year

Image:the eternal struggle by arwensgrace
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Hunter in Darkness

Whiskers twitching
Ears listening
Eyes slit
She senses her prey in the gloaming light

Night holds no terrors
Except for Man
Him she shuns eludes
Escapes if she can

Whiskers twitching in the gloaming light
On the wild island where no man lives
Here she is
In all her glory
The very heart of wildness

Image: Scottish Wildcat by Colette Cheyne
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Four Magpie Brothers

Four young magpies, brothers, sat upon the porch roof this morning.

Squabbling, squawking, pecking the tiles.

Wicked, so they are. Lads and louts.

Waiting to see what I will do.

I go to the window.

They’re watchful

But I get there before they see,

Chuckling with delight at the four young bucks

Performing on the roof.

‘Whooooosh!’ I hiss loudly from the window.

A flurry of black and white and shining blue

Flies up

Squawking, chattering, screaming, laughing.

‘We got her!’ they call to each other.

‘We got her’.

Image: Magpie Mandala by Danielle Barlow
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Dragon Bones

River rushing, tumbling streaming

Flowing faster than your dreaming

River runs between the stones

Washing clean the dragon’s bones

Forest crowding round the brink

Will you swim or will you sink

Trees and water, bones of earth

Cross the bridge to find rebirth

Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Memory Lane … Thoughts about DTWAGE

Long ago and faraway … well, actually back in the 1970s and early 80s I used to spend many a lunchtime in science fiction bookshops in central London, near where I worked. My favourite was Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, and during the 1970s it was the largest of its kind in Europe. The place was in St Anne’s Court, Soho, and to get there, you went up this alley between Dean Street and Wardour Street, between strip-joints, film studios and music places – all the stuff on which Soho thrived in those days – climbed some rickety stairs and found yourself in two floors of sci-fi fantasy heaven.

The bookshop took its name, Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, from Ray Bradbury’s famous Martian novel, the bookshop took the name, it was my most favourite bookshop ever. the place itself lived up to the promise. It’s gone now, went bust in 1981, I miss it still.

Now, if you want sci-fi and fantasy you go to Forbidden Planet but, like Martin of Den of Geek says, “… the industrial numbers of available books at Forbidden Planet seemed to diminish the value of all of them …” That’s sad. I don’t find FP to be a browsers shop. I couldn’t nip in there in my lunch break and end up being late back because I’d got into conversation with the bloke who ran it! Not like in DTWAGE. It was a source of Roger Zelazny and Ursula le Guin and many, many others for me. The folks in there were very knowledgeable and seriously intelligent, great fun to chat with as well as excellent sources of info on what was new and good to read. And you made friends with fellow customers too. Not like that now.

Again, as Martin quotes Douglas Addams, “… the universe is too large a place, and most people move somewhere smaller.”

Here’s Martin’s musings on DTWAGE …

But the most poignant part of any lost idlings around Soho is my inevitable pass-through of St. Anne’s Court, which defies its grandiloquent name by actually being a fairly dingy little alley connecting Wardour Street to Dean Street. Here you will pass some anonymous glass business façade that once held a place that – to me – was an Aladdin’s cave of geekdom…

Dark They Were And Golden Eyed was a delightfully shambolic two-level science-fiction and horror bookshop that resided in that spot from 1970 until its decline in 1980, and whose polysyllabic name derived from a short story by Ray Bradbury. Myself, I visited the shop only a couple of times, with my sword-and-sorcery obsessed father. Since our interests diverged, I would end up perusing its vast shelves by myself and pouring pretty much any pocket-money I had into the old tills at the end of the ramshackle queues of geeks.

Back then, you were aware that science-fiction was counter-culture, despite the popularity of Star Wars; at DTWAGE the space-operas nestled in crudely-opened cardboard boxes sat cheek to cheek with the cross-hatching of Robert Crumb, punk and new wave fanzines, as well as surprisingly glossy magazines devoted to (strictly theoretical) instructions on illegal horticulture of all kinds. Put simply, the market for sci-fi was a very retrospective one, and no shop of that size was able to carry on regular trading solely off the back of geek wares.

It was here that I found the Alien movie novel for a fiver, which was sort of an extended ‘Bunty’ photo-strip, but with a bit more blood and death, featuring over 1000 full colour photos. On my second trip I followed up this purchase with the excellent Alien: The Illustrated Story, a graphic novel of the movie apparently based on an earlier version of the O’Bannon/Shusett script, as it featured the ‘Lambert-slap’ which was not to be seen in the original until the special edition DVDs twenty years later.

And I wonder if I will ever be made as happy as that again for a fiver. Even accounting for inflation.

DTWAGE was finally bought by its suppliers and morphed into Forbidden Planet, who by the early eighties had split its trade between the flagship ‘purist’ sci-fi shop near Charing Cross road and the more movie-oriented Forbidden Planet 2 in Tin Pan Alley.

Then, as now, I found FP’s endless acres of sci-fi novels so overwhelming that I frequently left with nothing. I don’t know if it was chronic indecision, information overload or just the fact that the industrial numbers of available books at Forbidden Planet seemed to diminish the value of all of them, and in truth I usually only exited the shop with a novel that I had expressly gone in to buy. As Douglas Addams said, the universe is too large a place, and most people move somewhere smaller.

 

Being Human – Human Being

A lovely breath of fresh air … Celtic Earth Spirit talking about Human Seekings, Human Doings, Human Beings they really have got the handle on this – read more here

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Pagan’ as being “A person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions, especially nature worship” – no sharp pointy or bright sparkly things (in the past the term was used in a derogatory sense to denote anyone who wasn’t a Christian), it also traces the word back to its origins in ‘Late Middle English’ from the Latin word ‘Paganus’ – a villager or rustic, and the word ‘Pagus’ – a country district. This takes us back to the Old Ways of our ancestors who were country dwellers living in close relationship to and harmony with the land and nature; this relationship and the knowledge of ‘how everything worked’ (both in this world and the Other-world, both mundane and magical) infiltrated every aspect of life and has been passed down to us (especially in rural areas) by both word of mouth and by being hidden in plain sight in such things as our customs, folk-lore and practices.
“A person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions, especially nature worship” –
no sharp pointy or bright sparkly things (in the past the term was used in a derogatory sense to denote anyone who wasn’t a Christian), it also traces the word back to its origins in ‘Late Middle English’ from the Latin word ‘Paganus’ – a villager or rustic, and the word ‘Pagus’ – a country district. This takes us back to the Old Ways of our ancestors who were country dwellers living in close relationship to and harmony with the land and nature; this relationship and the knowledge of ‘how everything worked’ (both in this world and the Other-world, both mundane and magical) infiltrated every aspect of life and has been passed down to us (especially in rural areas) by both word of mouth and by being hidden in plain sight in such things as our customs, folk-lore and practices.

Bean-Sidhe Drumcraft 3

With Fiona Dove

And again, things have moved forward since I last wrote and I’m now back home in Hereford. Reminder … Fiona is in process of getting 3-day workshop together for this autumn, the dates are the evening of Fri 20th October to the morning of Tue 24th. She’ll have the details up on the Bean-Sidhe website soon, I’ll give the details here and Facebook/Twitter, but if you’d like to come on it contact Fiona now as there are only 4 places and I think one of them is gone already ????. Contact Fiona at at beansidhedrumcraft@gmail.com.

 

So now, back to what happened up in Scotland, I’d just finished about us working with earth and fire …

Fiona began lacing the drum. She was using an inner ring to lace to rather than cross-lacing, the drum-spirit had asked for that. We both like it too, it seems to form a more stable anchor and handle for the drum. We’d considered and spoken with the drum-spirit about using, making, a wooden inner ring out of twisted birch or willow but this drum didn’t want that, it asked for metal so that was what we gave.

Lacing, again, isn’t rocket science but it does require focus and concentration, it would be too easy to suddenly find yourself going the wrong way about. Whether or not to twist the lacing was another consideration, some drums like it and others don’t so we’d talked about it the night before. Both of us are also spinners and weavers so the concept of “twist” has more meaning for us and we got into a “how many twists” thing as you do when spinning … LOL. This drum wasn’t really into twists but it’s something Fiona intends to talk about on the workshop as some will be.

Lacing the drum is such a sound thing … air thing. It’s all about tension, and the sound. As you start the process you feel you’re working with something like a hundred miles of lacing as you pull the whole jolly boiling through each hole. About two thirds of the way round your feelings go 180 degrees and you begin to panic that you may run out and not make it all the way around! It’s somehow weird, you begin thinking you have far too much and then you worry you don’t have enough – where has it all gone? Then you realise you need to be centring that ring, and adding some tension as you go to hold the ring in position … and, in doing so, you give yourself more lacing. For me, it’s rather like a breathing process, in and too full, out and too little, but like breathing you begin to get a rhythm to the whole thing. And, in Fiona’s case, a little humming song. You sing to the drum as you bring it into a state where it can sing back to you.

There was a quiet “phew!” as she got all the way round with the lacing for the first time. Then she picked up the drum and tapped the hide. “thwuck” it said, flatly, no singing voice there yet, so round she went for the second time, tensioning each thread … and acquiring yet more lacing back as she did. Hide stretches, skin stretches, especially well when it’s wet, that’s what enables you to put the tension in. at the end of the second round she tapped the hide again – this time the “thwuck” was a little brighter, his voice was coming but it wasn’t with us yet. Third time around, more lacing and … this time … it was a “thwunk”, there was tone in there, a sound more than like the slap of a wet fish.

Now’s the dangerous and difficult time, the time when you could easily over-tension and ruin the drum! Fiona sat with the drum and asked, “Are you ready?”. It asked for the tiniest, teeniest bit more tension, a very delicate job that requires you to keep tapping and listening as you go, and not always in a simple circle round, it may also need more tension in different places. And then … “THWUNK” said the drum, ringing softly. He was done.

We put him in a cool dim room to begin his long drying process, then took him back to Fiona’s home at the end of the week to another cool, dim room.

He sings now, a lovely deep and ringing voice ….

 

Next job is to begin to make his beater and we’ll be writing about that sooooon  …

 © Elen Sentier & Fiona Dove 2017. All rights reserved.

Brisingamen

A taster from the novel I’m currently writing …

Brisingamen

The thirteen golden moons shone out in her memory. Where were they, what had her mad red-haired brother done with them? She lay back in the bed trying to remember. No, it wasn’t him, it was the three Jotun women, they had taken it back, taken it away. He’d brought everyone gifts, lovely dwarf-made jewels that glittered and sparkled with their own light but, as ever, he’d forgotten her. Who needed a brother like that? Well, she would teach him, show him, she would have something even more lovely than anything he had brought the others, she would have the thirteen golden moons. Each of the moons was a different shade of gold, red, orange yellow, even a greenish gold, and the patterns that ran through the gold suggested each moon, wolf moon, snow moon, hunter’s moon, and all. Yes, she would find it and bring it and wear it. She would show them all.

The cats drew her chariot out from the stronghold in the pre-dawn glow. Huge they were, striped black on the long red-brown fur, their fangs gleaming, satisfied growls told they were pleased to be out. They raced across the land.

She went everywhere, all across the nine lands but no-one knew anything, no-one would help her, none had seen the Jotun women in an age. Until, one day, she came across a boy herding his goats on the hillside. He was brave although so small, he stood with his big wolf-friend between her cats and the frightened goats. ‘No!’ he shouted, before the chariot had hardly stopped. ‘No! You shall not have them. My goats are not for you.’

She climbed down from the chariot, laughing at his pugnacity. ‘We do not want your goats,’ she told him. ‘They’re weak and stringy, no food for warriors there. But …’ and now she came up close to him, ‘maybe you have seen, maybe you know.’ She bent towards him so he could smell the lovely perfume of her skin. ‘Have you seen the Jotun women? Do you know where they went?’

The boy shivered slightly and his wolf-friend gave a low growl in the back of his throat. ‘I … I …. m-maybe the dwarves will know,’ he managed at last.

‘What dwarves,’ she snapped, taking hold of his chin and forcing him to look up into her eyes. ‘Tell me of these dwarves.’ And she thrust the boy backward so he sat down abruptly. The wolf growled again. It was odd, she thought, but somehow the wolf reminded her of her brother, perhaps it was the red fur.

The boy got his breath back and struggled to his feet. He didn’t like this woman, she was cruel. ‘The dwarves the other side of the mountain, yonder.’ He pointed away across the valley to a huge peak that stood up like a wolf’s tooth.

Now, suddenly, she was satisfied, she knew in her bones that was the place. One long finger stroked the boy’s cheek softly then she reached into her pouch and drew forth a gold coin, tossed it to him.

She leapt into the chariot and immediately the cats set off, flying across the valley, galloping along a stretch of gossamer cloud that made a road through the sky. The boy stood watching. Neither he nor the wold would touch the gold.

The other side of the mountain was very different. No longer softly green with deep oak forests cladding its side, now it was harsh, stark, bare rocks, empty streambeds long dried up, and a great, dark hole in its flank that seemed to suck up all the light. She left the cats to guard the chariot and went warily into the cave-mouth on foot.

Just as it seemed she would no longer be able to see the light from the cave mouth she heard the footsteps coming. A soft plap-plap-plap, like leather slapping on stone, not like men’s feet at all. Light flickered around a corner ahead of her, reddish with the black tinge of smoke, and she could smell it. She mustered her courage and stood up straight and still. The plapping sound grew louder, it sounded as if there were many and a many of them, and then there they were in front of her. Dwarves indeed, but not like the red-skinned dwarves of home nor their black-haired cousins, these were white, pallid, flabby with huge bulging pale eyes that reminded her of dead fish.

‘What is it, lady? What is it you want?’ The first of them stopped in front of her, too close for comfort but well close enough for her to smell him, and he was very obviously male. The end of his organ began to twitch, to stand up to look at her from its single eye. A glance showed her it was the same with all of them. She pressed the image of a steel rod down her back bone and stood straighter still. ‘I’m told that you know the whereabouts of the three Jotun women,’ she said imperiously.

A chuckle began in the leader’s throat, spread amongst his comrades. ‘The Jotun women, is it? And what would the likes of you be wanting with them?’ he replied.

‘Do not argue with me, wretched earthlings,’ she said loudly. ‘Tell me where they are.’ But her voice cracked slightly, giving the lie to her authority.

The chuckle ran through the dwarves again, deeper this time. A hungry interest gleamed in their pale eyes which looked her up and down, undressing her. ‘Why yes, lady. We know the Jotun women. They are friends of ours.’ He paused, glanced at his companions. ‘But if you would like to find them then it will cost you. We always give information, or anything else, but always for fair trade.’

‘What …?’ she managed.

‘Why that you will come with us, spend seven nights with us, that you will give us the joy of your company.’

She was not fooled. She knew what they wanted, but the thirteen moons shone bright in her mind’s eye. She wanted them. ‘I will come,’ she said.

For seven nights she pleasured them, doing whatever they asked. All the time, she held the vision of the thirteen moons fixed inside her head so she hardly noticed what she was doing. On the seventh night, the leader told her where she could find the Jotun women. He led her back to the cave-mouth, holding her soft white hand all the way and, as they first began to see the gleam of light from the outside world he demanded one final kiss. She gave it, trying not think about the way his long, tube-like tongue searched her mouth.

The cats purred and licked her as if she was their kitten. She allowed them to wash the stink of the dwarves from her skin, then she climbed back into the chariot and pointed the way. They flew again, the cats galloping on shreds of cloud-road high in the sky until they came to the mountain. Strange it was, as she looked at it with her sith-sight she could see that it was upside-down, as if it had been tumbled over when the jostling land-plates knocked against each other back in the mists of pre-time. And then she saw them. So huge they were that it seemed the rocks that made the top of the mountain moved, but they were not rocks, they were the Jotun women. One after the other they stood up, watched the chariot fly towards them. There was a flat space where the cats landed the chariot and she stepped down.

With the dwarves, she had towered over them, now the Jotuns towered over her. They were like part of the mountain themselves. ‘I want the necklace,’ she shouted up to them before her courage melted away. ‘I want the thirteen moons.’

‘No, you don’t,’ the smallest of the three told her. It was like being spoken to by thunder.

‘But I do!’ she shouted back, amazed that they would deny her.

‘No, you don’t’ repeated the second one.

She stamped her foot, too angry now to be frightened of their hugeness. ‘I do,’ she cried, ‘I do! I do!’

‘No,’ said the largest and eldest of the women. ‘You don’t. Wait,’ she held up her hand, ‘and listen. The thirteen moons are not for such as you. They must hang in the sky, giving time and seasons for all life. They are not a bauble for you to wear.’

‘But I want them,’ she cried, tears of frustration falling down her cheeks. ‘And you are wearing them, so they don’t have to hang in the sky. That’s a lie!’

‘I wear them now, because you have come. This is a turning point, a threshold. If you succeed in your demand then the power of the moons will be changed. And you do not know them, if you did you would not want them, not any more than I do. You would leave them be. To take them from their purpose brings only sorrow and despair.’

For just a moment, that stopped her. But only a moment. ‘You can give them to me, can’t you?’ She began to sense a cunning in them, they were trying to trap her but she would not be stopped in her purpose. ‘You can. I know it. So give them to me. Now!’

The youngest and smallest tried one last time. ‘If you take them now then the thirteen will give you all the power you want but the price you pay will be despair,’ she said as softly as a gale blowing through pine trees. ‘Go hme now, we beg you. Take on your falcon form and fly home. The cats will follow you but you must fly away now. Go, child, go.’

‘No, I will not. Not without the thirteen moons. Give them to me. Now!’

At that, the golden necklace fell from the eldest giantess’ neck and into her hands. It lay there, tingling, sending fire through her skin, a feeling of aliveness such as she’d never known ran through her. She put it on and leapt back into the chariot.

They flew over mountains and lakes. At every pool, she topped to admire her reflection in the water. She even stopped at little duck-ponds so enamoured of herself was she. But every time, after a few moments of looking at her lovely self in the still water there would come a change. A wave would rise, steep and huge, flowing across the lake, threatening to engulph her, she would leap back into the chariot and back into the sky to escape.

Finally she arrived home. There she found all her family weeping and mourning. She had been gone a hundred years and they had all thought she was dead. Her husband was gone, gone searching for her not long after she had run away. Her daughter stood, grown up now and a woman herself, staring at her mother, staring at the thirteen moons around her neck. Then the girl turned away, went indoors, her weeping ceased and her face hard and ugly with disgust. For a moment she almost tried to follow her daughter but her feet would not move.

Then she leapt back into the chariot and headed for the upside-down mountain. ‘Take it back,’ she pleaded with the Jotun women. ‘Take it back. I don’t want it. The price is too high.’

‘We told you so,’ the youngest said, her voice now like a spring breeze through the oak buds. ‘We did,’ the second joined her. ‘We did, indeed,’ the eldest affirmed. ‘We cannot take it back,’ she went on. ‘You chose your way. You chose for all your kind. Now you must bear it. There is nothing we can do.’

Wearily, she got back into the chariot, headed for home again, not stopping anywhere this time.

The oldest one, the seer of the family, still stood in the courtyard. He watched her land. She went to him. ‘How can I get them back?’ she asked him. ‘How can I undo what I have done? How can I find my husband and my daughter again?’

‘You cannot,’ he told her. ‘From your actions, your husband is now everywhere. Everywhere in all the worlds. He is everywhere you, and we, have not looked, in every place we have left. He is gone from the world of our knowing. Those who seek him shall never find him.”

A single tear tracked down his cheek and flowed onto the necklace. It lodged there, like a diamond.

 

 

 

 

 

Lady & Lord in Herefordshire

In what’s now called the Golden Valley are two little churches, either side of the Dwr river , Turnastone and Vowchurch. When the Normans arrived here sometime after 1066 they misinterpreted this Welsh word dŵr, which means water, for the French d’or meaning golden, and so misnamed our valley. In Vowchurch church, on the north side of the Dwr, are two amazing figures of the Lady and the Lord.

They’re very special; she is a Sheela-na-gig and he is a phallic man but, at some time in the past the bottom parts of these figures were removed presumably due to misinterpretation and prudery.

Their local story is interesting and amusing …

Like most married couples, they didn’t always get on and to make the partnership easier they each lived on their own side of the river. The story also says they were giants (there were giants in this world, as is told all through our legends) so, rather than throwing crockery at each other when they had a row, they threw great rocks.

Now, on the north side of the river is the remains of an ancient standing stone. It’s an upright which seems to grow out of a huge disc-like stone. If you stand on the disk and sense down into the earth you awaken a spiral energy which courses up through you and wakens a sky-spiral with which it mates. The two energies then course through you, like a double helix. This stone is one of Watkins’ originals, from his first studies of ley lines, and he, too, noticed the spiralling. Legend has it that the big disk is a stone the lord threw across the stream at his lady, when he’d got one on. She decided to deal with him, and it, in a very firm manner so she pinned his rock to the ground with her own spear-like one.

To many this may seem sort of backwards. We associate the feminine with the disc and the cup, the womb symbol, and the masculine with the spear, the penis symbol, but think about it. Everything contains both feminine and masculine so it’s really a rather wonderful image that he throws the womb to her then she stabs, and maybe also impregnates, it with the spear.

Sheela-na-gig at Kilpeck

When christianity came to these borderlands where I live I can well believe my ancestors agreeing with their mouths to follow the new religion while, in their hearts, they still held to the old ways. Indeed, my own family followed the old ways, very quietly, for many generations and I know the same happened for many of my friends. So, the old ones built the chrisitian church, and they carved the figures of the lady and the lord but likely then, as now, the chrisitans called them Adam and Eve.

But there they are, in the church, and you can still see (partly from their rather smug expressions) just what they’re about even though the bottom halves of them have been cut off. And the most famous Sheela-na-gig over at Kilpeck is only about twelve miles away.

And then there’s the old story. The god lived on the Turnastone side of the river, said to be so called because he turned the stone; Vowchurch is where the goddess lived and so called because, after christianity, they said she vowed to build a church where the god’s stone fell. It’ll do, it’s good enough for those who don’t wish to recall the old ways. But go and stand on that stone, see what you feel …

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