Saturday, 21 June 2008

Bath and Bel

Three weekends ago today I went to stay with Nicky, always a wonderful time with her, her family and herd of cats. I keep telling her that should the worst happen I will adopt Otto and Blodwyn (the cats). On the Sunday we went to Bath. I have been before but never went into the baths themselves. So we did the standard tour, looking around the various rooms and museum that accompanied it. I was particularly keen to get to look at the ‘gorgon’ face that had been on the pediment above the temple to Minerva-Sulis and got to do so as part of the exhibits. Everywhere I saw there suggested it was a gorgon face, however it was male (gorgons are generally female), only had two snakes on it whereas the rest of the face was wreathed in flame like hair, it also had a pair of wings presumably to hold it aloft, it appears to be more solar face rather than a gorgon. Now, as part of the original temple complex, Sol and Luna were already represented on pediments on the other two buildings so it begged the question of who this other male solar-like deity is.

My gut feeling is that it is a solar deity, and in keeping with the mixing of Roman and British pantheons at this place might well have been Belenus. It might not of course, but it is my gut feeling and a feeling shared by others. It works for me as an iconography and I am sticking to it. As a representation, it also seems to work for Belenus too, a point I am about to illustrate.



One part of the museum takes you to an overflow or the hot springs; this is a small waterfall drain under the baths. The rocks here are stained a fiery orange by the iron in the water (which is bloody foul tasting – you can try it for free but it is warm and metallic, I prefer the cold metallic of chalice well in Glastonbury any time), the air is hot and humid with steam at this point in the tour. It was here I took a coin out, held it in my hand and petitioned Belenus, I asked him to expedite the paperwork that I was waiting to get sorted for my new, something that had been going on for weeks and was topping me from getting started. I promised him something in return and then tossed the coin into the hot iron rich maelstrom.

Four days later, the paperwork arrived. Another four days and it was all arranged with HR at my new job. Four days after then I was at my new position in a dream job. That, to me, is a positive response.

All that remain now is for me to uphold my end of the bargain, and with it being the summer solstice it would seem appropriate for me to write about it and also to fulfill my end of the bargain.

2 comments:

Black Nyx said...

You might want to check out 'The Waters of the Gap' by RJ Stewart. It's about the Bath temple complex.

Luna said...

HI, I just found your site. Good luck with your dream job!