Today for the first time I notice I am tired as I wake up at my usual 5.3o am to begin writing. I sleep another hour. My legs are tired. Yet the sun is shining and I am on a journey. This is part of it. I consider taking a bus for a few miles, an act of kindness to my self, and perhaps I will. I allow myself not to know till its time to set out.
Today is market day in the ancient town of Hay on Wye. I arrived yesterday after an easy walk of 8 or so miles from Dorstone via Arthur’s Stone. I had set out from Applewood Permaculture Centre late morning after a lovely time spent helping to create new veggie beds as part of Working Wednesday, a volunteer day.
The previous night I had been the guest of Shanti, Centre owner Looby Macnamara’s daughter, in her little green caravan. Looby provided me with a hot waterbottle and I snuggled down in the tiny haven on a meadow in the silence of Dorstone hill. I am less than a mile from Arthur’s stone, as the crow flies, site of prehistoric ritual.
In the morning I awaken early but it is too cold yet to write, wall to wall blue skies haven’t heated up the day yet, the sun is still below the horizon line. After another hour it is shining through the window and I can see my solar charger is being filled with energy.
Once my blog is written I go outside to join Chris and Ben who have already started work. Chris is scything an area outside the garden enclosure, it’s protected by a wooden deer fence. I tell him much I en joyed his talk on bringing per a culture to Nepal in the 80s. The talk was a fund raiser for the earthquake survivors. Contact the Himalayan Permaculture centre if you would like to contribute.
Next I meet Ben and we enjoy a chat about walking and consciousness and about raising children the natural way. He and his partner have three young children and do not want to see them cooped up inside all day in big classes.
Then Looby is with us and we learn of the first job of the day. We are to remove the tape and large staples from huge flattened cardboard boxes they have been collecting for a while. These are to be laid flat on the newly scythed area ready to be covered in manure and fresh compost ready to plant the next layer of garden, going around in a bigger circle the central enclosure.
I sit in the meadow and set to work on the tape whilst Ben goes for the wheelbarrow. The staples are hard to remove and I go in search of a tool to help me. The claw hammer is to clumsy, the secateurs blade too delicate and could get damaged, then I find the bean planter. Looby tells me this marvellous piece of equipment came from Tools for Self Reliance, near Abergavenney. They save and restore old tools and have some made for them copying tools made in Tanzania. They are simply wonderful, sturdy, strong, easy to use and really effective. Looby displays her root pulleruper and demo Strate’s pulling up a dock root and all in one go.
The beanpuller is like a small diamond d shaped trowel with a strong thin pointy end and is perfect for taking out the copper staples. As I drop them into the plant pot bin so they won’t end up on the grass to injure bare footed children I wonder what could be made out of them.
I am joined by Looby and Ben’s partner Noda in the tape and staple removing work whilst Chris helps Ben to shovel wheelbarrows of muck onto the cardboard that is gradually getting put into place. It is a delight to watch the new beds gradually appear due to our shared effort of reusing so called waste products. I dislike that term, there is no such thing as waste except for when it is used in the phrase
As far as I am concerned. Its all down to the level of our creativity. The more we throw away the less we are using our imaginations.
The work is fun. We women talk as we do it. We talk of transition education, about home education and something called collaborative education which Ben and Nora are considering for their children where a collective of like minded parents get together to home educate.
Nodas son is currently asleep on her back as she works. We talk too of the Hedge, her new publication to share stories poems and articles about the new story. There is a real thread starting to form now in these past few months of women who talk to me about producing or who are thinking of doing so, positive journalism.
It is exciting and a real development towards an empowered society when women begin to take up this baton. The Hedge is produced to raise money for important things that either need protecting or supporting. Issue one proceeds went to help support the move to protect camp hill centres from being taken over and changed from their incredible residential work with the mentally instable. Issue two is raising money to support the Nepalese earthquake survivors.
We realise I could contribute to this little magazine and I promise to hunt it out in Hay. After our new beds are made we stop for cups of fresh peppermint tea and then I take my leave if this inspiring little group.
Ben and Noda’s son is now fast asleep in the meadow under blankets. It brings tears to my eyes to see him in this natural state rather than sitting in a row in a square box listening to some adult telling him how the world is rather than letting him ex perience how the world is.
I walk on to Arthur’s stone. It is about a mile by the lanes. When I arrive a couple are there taking pictures. They soon move on then it is my turn to enjoy the stones. I bump into them later in a book shop in Hay and they tell me how they had picnicked there before I arrived. I smile
That’s what I did when you’d left
Another couple did it before us they reply. It is very satisfying to know we all had our bit of peace up there in the prehistoric remains of a once earth mound with a tunnel leading to an inner chamber which us up and n high overlooking the distant hills. The sun up there is hot and for a few minutes I can strip down to my vest and let the sun penetrate my skin and replenish me. We need this energy in the darker months. Now is our opportunity to s tore it in our bodies.
Soon i am on my way to Hay again. It is easy quiet back lane walking all the way there on a lane that runs south of the mainroad …the old way into town. I get puzzled at exactky tge same crossraods as i did five years ago on my first storywalk. The lane looks like it is to crumble into jyst a track and makes me think i have misread my map. It is right though and strange to realise i am walking in my footsteps now.
I am soon to n Cusop and go the long way round to finally go and visit the church and castle site that I missed seeing last time. Transition Hay didn’t reply to any of my emails and I wonder what happened to them all. It is nice though to be here under my own autonomy and visit different things. The castle site us just that ,a raised grassy plateau but the church, now dedicated to St Mary but once dedicated to the welsh saint of the rain, Cewydd,has a round churchyard. The church information informs that this was once a pagan site later built on by the Normans it was they who rededicated the church. The current church us dar heavy and feels like it is acting like a block to the spirit if the place though it is clear the locals are working hard to change that. The main stain glass window is a millennium window commissioned from a female artist and shows a rather beautiful Lilly type design in very pleasing purple greens and yellows.
The yew outside is over 2000 years old and has helped to date the site as pre christian.
The unusual round churchyard reminds me if the recurring theme of my walk that is full if straight Roman lines and circular ancient ways. In Breinton Susana has told of the table round, which was offered to the cathedral who wouldn’t take it and then to all saints a very progressive seeming church with a cafe functioning in its main area. The vicar accepted it but the congregation was in uproar, they couldn’t have this pagan symbol in their midst. Susana has given me the number of its keeper to find out where it now resides. It seems so sad and yet so true to form that is is ever the common folk who reject the coming of change more than anyone else. Taught so well by their oppressors they uphold behaviours and belief systems way beyond their period of power maintaining its hold when it need no longer bind.
When the lords of alien cultures subjugated the indigenous peoples of this our island they brought straight lines law and order as if these were good and the circular patterns of life that mimicked nature bad. With it went our freedom to be here as the full humans we came here to be. With it we lost our connection to the reality if the natural order to which we are an integral part. A round table represents equality in difference just as in the skies the planets rotate and revolve one no better than the other in their qualities and their challenging aspects.
Imprisoned by centuries of subjugation we uphold their values even when they hurt us and long after their masters are gone. The key to change us the releasing of these false laws from the inside. When we no longer believe them they will relinquish their power over us.
Anita has told me I should meet Sid in Builth Wells. She points me to his website
Facts about faith
Where I read with a huge settling relief that All faiths were founded upon the truths of Astronomy and the ancients knowledge of it that was so sophisticated that they were able to develop a complete science based upon it, the knowledge of which is passed down to us in Astrology.interesting how we have been taught to believe it’s mumbo jumbo. Interesting how the very basis for all thought has been debased and left to be dismissed.
I begin to see that the Merlin archetype I am walking with, exploring, that I have suspected represents an old god, a weather god, a father god, a wielder of old powers, is no doubt a planetary archetype and one that plays out strongly in my own psyche and visible in a strong position in my birth chart. Saturn. Facts about Faith relates this planet to amuch maligned character; Satan.
Who is Satan but the old green god, the God of the woodlands, the God that recognised the forces of nature, the goatlike character with a fish tail, capricorn, the seriousness till we are fullgrown and understand our true place in the world, then the playfulness that is our our true nature, the one who tried to stop just one god god from reigning supreme, Jupiter, the God on whom our grey bearded man on a
cloud image is derived, the God of thunder, the one who took woman as a wife then cheated on her, the one who was jealous of all other gods. The one who son like usurped the father, just as Saturn usurped Chronus before him. Time moving on, change.
Who followed on from Merlin in the myth but Nimue, the goddess of spring surely, following on from Saturn’s wintery role, Brigit, the feminine taking her power once more, as she begins to do now, in our times, awakening as if from a long sleep. The God the Jews took as the lord of all gods, emcompassing all gods, was just another manifestation of Jupiter. A truly encompassing divinity would include all the archetypal figures not just one aspect and extol it above the rest .
In Hay I look for a place to stay, food to eat, and a rest. First I buy a copy of the Hedge, yet another symbol of the awakening feminine energy that has been missing in all of us, man and woman alike, for far too long.
Its been a good day, spent in the company of men and women on the land with children, embodying both their masculine and their feminine aspects seamlessly. Both honouring the qualities of both. Noda lies her child down to sleep on a jacket in the meadow in the warm sun. Ben comes along and gently lays a blanket over his sleeping son. The golden headed boy sleeps in innocence as safe as only one in the hands of nature can be.
Noda speaks of her publishing company, Ben of his music. Both promote the goodness in the others work, their contributuon in the world. Both work the land of others, selflessly, for pleasure and to be of service. They have their own land too. When they need support to be sure their friends will be there to support them.
Simple, effective, as near to god like as we can be. To do gods work we must embody the qualities of a full pantheon of archetypes.