Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Dirt between my toes II

This follows on from the post below, I had to leave it to get some work done and didn’t know if I was going to be back and so posted it half done. So, as I was saying, I don’t really feel the same connection to the landscape in London which is hardly surprising really for obvious reasons. I was giving though to how I can do something about this and something that crossed my mind was to start with the Thames. As a feature of the London landscape it certainly stands out and is a key feature. Anyway, the long and short is that I am thinking I might do a walk from the course of the Thames to its estuary. However, it seems the Thames is about 200 miles long and of course a walked route will be longer still! So perhaps some sort of partial route is in order – perhaps from oxford to the estuary.

Dirt between my toes

Ok, not some reference to a sexual deviancy but towards the connection I feel with the landscape around me.

Since living in London it is becoming more noticeable that I don’t hold the same connection to the landscape. This was brought home to me over the weekend when I went back to west Wales to visit the family. We went out for the morning for a walk along Newgale beach and even the drive there grabbed me, hell I think I was getting that feel on the train heading out of the urban areas and into the English countryside. On the beach the wind was blowing, the waves were crashing and the sun was shining, gulls were hovering overhead and in the distance were the igneous cliffs I know so well. And that is the thing – out in the countryside, I know where I am, I feel the land beneath my feet and I become part of it. This ISNT something I feel in London. Sure I feel a slight connection, even a feeling of home-ness, but not in the same string way I feel when I’m out in a wheat field or in a woodland or by the sea.

I don’t quite know what to do about it.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Lammas Camp

Lammas is here. It has begun at least and will probably be going on for a couple of weeks yet. I am one of those people who takes their cues from the landscape around them rather then a diary, though diaries can be handy when planning a get together in advance.

I have not long gotten back from the Pentacle Lammas camp. I spent two nights in woodland in Tring, Herts. with about 20 others. It was a very relaxed and chilled out affair – no set ritual, no strictly run workshops. A number of activities were available if people wanted (cord making, drop spinning for instance) though nearly everybody was content to just sit about the fire, drink tea and coffee and just ‘be’. I lead the Corn King making again (I’m getting a damn sight better with each one) and this year he turned out to be a 7 ft monster who took an age to burn. I put that down to the slightly damp wheat, damp atmosphere and also slight under ripeness of the grain too. In the end, he went up in flames; the King is dead! long live the King! I feel that something like the making, burning and ash scattering of an effigy of this sort can be as valuable and spiritual as a full on ritual. A thought that occurred to me is that we walk a cycle through the year; the profane wheel as it is whilst alongside us revolves the mythic or sacred cycle. At certain time we step aside and walk the mythic one alongside the gods. This sideways step can be done with ritual or it can be done by pulling the two paths together and living the mythic strand. I see the Corn King work as that pulling together. I see it as ‘doing’ rather then sitting at home, waiting till the 1st of August and holding a ritual. Getting out there and gathering grain, fashioning an effigy and watching him burn contemplatively holds far more depth, value and meaning.