Walking Between Worlds is a 4-day experiential and residential workshop in Cornwall. We visit and work at several sacred sites â€“ Rocky Valley, Ladyâ€™s Window, Tintagel Island & Merlin’s Cave,Â and Nectanâ€™s Kieve.
We work with the spirits of place at each site who teach us about walking between worlds, between thisworld and otherworld. Each site has different things to teach us and different ways of working but, underneath, there is always the strong thread of Elenâ€™s deer trods that lead us between here and there.
The workshop is residential including full board and tuition.
We stay in a pair of cottages in the place I borrowed as the setting for Markâ€™s house in the novel Moon Song. We canÂ walk to Rocky Valley and Nectanâ€™s Kieve direct from there and itâ€™s only a short drive to both Tintagel and Ladyâ€™s Window. The place isÂ very quiet and peaceful for the extra work we will do at home.
- Dates:Â TBA 2017
- Cost: Â£500
- Non-returnable deposit of Â£100 secures your place
- Max Number of students: 5
Rocky Valley Bronze Age Labyrinths
Rocky Valley goes down to the sea from where we stay. Thereâ€™s a half-mile path down through the woods from us down through the valley to a wee cove with fabulous waves crashing against the rocks. The path can be a bit rough in places but isnâ€™t too steep. Weâ€™ll walk down this afternoon to see the 4000+ year old labyrinths carved into the cliff beside the ruins of the old Trewethet Mill. The labyrinths are called Troy Town in our old ways â€“ nobody quite certain why but the Gaelic mythos includes Troy as a birthplace of the gods so it may have to do with this. Weâ€™ll work with the labyrinth after supper tonight.
An amalgam of Trewethet Mill and the cottages where weâ€™re staying is the setting for Markâ€™s home, Tristanâ€™s house of Caergollo, in my novel Moon Song J. In the story, the labyrinth is a keyhole for entry â€¦
Ladyâ€™s Window is a huge arch in the cliff wall looking out over the Atlantic westward â€“ next stop America! Sunset there is beautiful. You can climb through the arch onto a good ledge right above the sea. To do so is an amazing feeling, you really do step across the worlds. Weâ€™ll do a wee ceremony there.
Ladyâ€™s Window is where the moon-bridge begins. Isolde crosses it to fetch Tristan from the Isles of the Dead in my novel Moon Song J. Iâ€™m certainly not suggesting we try this in the physical as IsoldÃ© did but we will be working with it back at the cottages later. That night you can ask Olwen of the White Track, the Moon-Hare Lady for a dream to take you across â€“ and back! â€“ so you begin to know your way between the worlds.
Tintagel Island & Merlinâ€™s Cave
Tintagel itself is a right old mix of a place, full of cafes and gift shops, King Arthurâ€™s Hall and a new age book and gift shop.
On the Island there are a couple of apparently innocuous places, not part of the more obvious ruins, that have a great deal of power and weâ€™ll be going to them. Theyâ€™re â€œstepping offâ€ places, portals between the worlds. Sitting on the clifftop, watching the horizon and the curved edge of the world that the sea shows us, works very well to enable you to travel in spirit.
The island is an old, old place. Recent archaeology says it was likely a major stronghold of King Mark â€“ of Tristan & Isolde fame â€“ with a huge hall and many other buildings. Largely washed away now by the sea itâ€™s sometimes possible to see the remains of the old jetty in the cliff wall where tin was shipped out all around Europe. Tin mining and Cornish tin were used in making bronze and helped begin the Bronze Age.
Merlinâ€™s Cave is a portal between worlds. At low tide you can go into it and experience the portal. Sitting in the cave and allowing spirit to show/lead you works very well.
Nectanâ€™s Kieve is an incredible and magical place and we can walk there directly from where we stay on a beautiful path up through the woods. There are several magical spots on the way at which we pause to experience.
The kieve itself is a pool, the word means pool or cauldron and when you see it youâ€™ll completely understand how itâ€™s a cauldron. Itâ€™s about 50ft high and the water spins down from the top of the cliff so that it always reminds me of Rapunzelâ€™s hair let down from her tower for the prince to climb up. It falls first into a smaller cauldron and then flows out in a marvellous torrent into the main pool through a hole in the rock. You can walk into the pool if you wish but I suggest you bring sandals or swimming shoes to save your feet.
Iâ€™ve used this waterfall in both my novels. Itâ€™s the fall and the pool into which Jacob Bride falls with the cup in Owl Woman, and itâ€™s the fall and the kieve where Isolde meets and works with Gideon in Moon Song. The little cafÃ© at the top of the falls is Tristanâ€™s hideaway cottage in that novel too.
I have long family connections with the place as my dad used to live at Trewethet Farm â€“ now the caravan park â€“ during WWII and my eldest brother John used to go up and visit the old lady who then lived in the cottage. She was an herbalist and had cats â€¦ John always said she was a witch and I suspect she was. Iâ€™ve visited the kieve during many of its incarnations since about 1956 when dad first took me there. Then, it was wild and untamed. Later in the 1970s I made friends with the man who then owned it and, later still, nearly bought it myself.
The kieve itself is a wonderful portal. Nowadays itâ€™s very popular with tourists and many leave biodegradable gifts or build stone cairns as tribute to the water and the spirits. Just being, being quiet and silent in the incredible roar of the fall really does it all for me â€¦
Worth a visit â€¦
If you have the time and inclination I really suggest you go down to Boscastle and visit the Museum of Witchcraft. Itâ€™s one of the best in the world and will show you so much about our old customs â€¦ and the persecution we suffered over the past 2000 years.