My Trip to Glastonbury Tor

10 02 2007

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As I approached Glastonbury Tor, my mind began to float freely and follow the spiral that my feet ascended up to the top. All around me was still; I had been lucky enough to get to the site early, and no other pilgrims were around. I climbed slowly, listening to my own breathing and the occasional birdsong. Feeling a bit chilled, I realized that I was beginning to walk through swirling mist. It lay thick on the ground, and was beginning to rise like water around my legs. I was slightly concerned, but felt my mind relax into the mist, becoming one with it.

I continued to walk as though by instinct, and eventually reached the top of the Tor. I had expected to find the standing tower of the chapel of St. Michael de Torre, but instead encountered the most curious wall of vegetation. It climbed high above my head and was intertwined with all manner of viney flowers whose faces peeped from within and on the surface of the hedge. I walked around it, realizing that it was some sort of circular wall. Eventually, as I traversed its circumference, I reached an opening. I peered within, seeing only darkness and mist, with a limited amount of light to the left. I turned to look back at the surrounding lands, and noted that the sun was just clearing the horizon directly facing me, hitting me full in the eyes. Dazzled, I stepped back into the opening of the hedge, and it immediately closed, trapping me within the greening corridor. I was frightened. My breathing quickened and my heart pounded.

As my eyes dilated with fear, I began to make out details of my prison. It appeared almost as a hallway, leading to the unknown. I tried to regain the exit, but the opening was now a solid wall and could not be penetrated by my hand, which I plunged into it again and again. Finally yielding, I cradled my scratched and bloody hand and wrist, panting for breath. I saw that I had no choice. I must move ahead. Invoking the goddess and kissing the trio of crystals that I wear on a chain around my neck, I stepped forward.  As I walked, my eyes became accustomed to the gloom and I soon realized I was in a labyrinth. Having walked a labyrinth before, I quickly fell into a meditative state which deepened with each step. Without realizing it, I had begun to chant:

Roots reaching into the earth,
Down to the depths of the Earth
Life flowing from the world’s heart,
Cerridwen, Thou art.

Trees reaching up to the sky,
Trees with their limbs in the sky.
Stars, nestled sweet on thy bough,
Cerridwen, art Thou.
 

This chant was unknown to me. In fact, I was chanting in another language completely. I stopped, surprised, and the chanting immediately stopped as well. I tried to summon it again to my lips in vain. It was not until I walked on and fell back into reverie that I could sing it once again. I was channeling the song, and it felt as though it came straight up from the earth into my chest and out my throat and mouth. I continued to walk, and the chanting became louder, my own voice joined with the voices of others, and although I looked around, I saw no one. The chant carried me along, and suddenly, I was in the center of the labyrinth, standing in a large central clearing. Trees and shrubs surrounded a clear pool, with a tumbling waterfall creating a musical sound that blended with the chant. I moved toward the pool, aware of rustling and movement in the grasses and shrubs around me. I turned my head quickly many times, but caught glimpse of no one. Seating myself on a large flat rock, I dipped my hand into the pool, and drank deeply of the clear water. As I raised my head, mouth dripping, I saw a woman.

She was the most astonishing creature—her visage appeared to constantly change, her appearance first that of a beautiful young maiden, then a woman lush and heavy with child, and then a magnificent old crone. She wore a gown of indeterminate color, but radiant, and a large raven sat upon her shoulder. Her flickering appearance was troubling at first, but eventually my eyes became used to the sight and my brain interpreted her as simply “trinity.” She held a silver bowl out to me.

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“Drink, my lady.” I reached toward her as in a dream. She plunged the bowl into the pool, filling it to the brim, and handed it to me. I took it with both hands and drank deeply. The water ran down the sides of my face as I quenched a thirst deeper than that I had ever known. I felt a sudden tremor and dropped the bowl, sinking back onto the rock. Suddenly I was within and above myself at once, and traveling over the landscape at a breakneck pace. I was held gently within the air, and as I looked down upon my body, I saw silver streams emanating from all of my limbs. I flew, weightless, into the sky, moving across the earth toward the night, toward the stars and the moon on the other side of the globe, and then flew faster and faster until at last I began to uncoil, as does a spool, and leave a trail of silver behind me, seen from earth, no doubt, as a comet or a falling star. This continued for some time as I became lighter and more ethereal. Finally, I began to slow, and I became aware that I had changed. I was pure energy, just a point of pure energy dancing in the great hall of the universe, and all around me I could sense other points vibrating and moving, pulsing toward and away from one another. I was a point, individual and whole, but part of a collective as well. The feeling was magnificent, the singularity and collectivity of childbirth or sexual ecstasy—I wanted to stay in this form forever!But gradually, I could feel the pull of the earth and the tides, and I realized I was moving in the opposite direction, gaining ethereal matter, becoming more substantive, moving toward the sunrise. I traveled long, and landed back in my body, lightly, and with more than a little regret. The woman stood before me, smiling, and holding the bowl.

“Welcome, young one. You are reborn. Go forth in splendor.” I smiled at her flickering selves, and fingered the three crystals at my neck.

“Blessed Mother,” I murmured, bowing my head and closing my eyes. I felt cool dry lips on my forehead. I lifted my head, opening my eyes, and found myself in front of the tower of the chapel. A crowd of tourists was beginning to gather. I decided to skip the tour, and headed back down the Tor, chanting softly to myself.  





Astronavigation

27 01 2007

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Capricorn, my personal constellation

Latitude, longitude, declination, hour angle, zenith, horizon…

I sail internal seas, seeking course correction as necessary, looking to the stars, the sun, the moon, the horizon as I steer my vessel. [The geographic position—GP—is the location on the earth immediately underneath a heavenly body, e.g. the sun or a star. That is, the GP is the point where a line from the center of the body to the center of the earth intersects the surface of the earth.] My heart line runs true, through a sea of rippling, undulating grass straight to Vulcan, blowing his mighty breath on earth’s molten liquid core.

[Latitude: 38.971N, Longitude: -95.235W.] Intersecting grids that become curvilinear as they wrap themselves around our mother connect me with all other beings, all other spaces. I am the intersection of time, DNA, cellular knowledge, and imagination. My latitude streaks from pole to pole, ricocheting wildly between two magnetisms, art and science. My longitude is one of many Great Circles, within which I am held.

When I know my position—revealed in degrees, much like truth—I can calculate my azimuth. [The azimuth is the bearing from our position to the GP of the heavenly body.] The azimuth, my quantified relationship to the Heavenly Body, is closer or further from my true position depending on the day, the internal weather, and the inclination or declination of spirit that is present in this vessel. Heavenly Bodies may be static or in motion, leading, at times, to a profound sense of disorientation.

The horizon splits heaven from earth [or sea.] What is possible, what is real, is defined by the horizon. Our expanse can be limitless, carried in the trust that we will not sail off the edge [but over and beyond]; or we may be trapped in fear, imprisoned within the harsh impenetrable edge of our world.

Throw away your charts and books. [Navigating by stars and planets alone.] Make your measurements of stars and planets at dawn or dusk, when the light is balanced, and both the horizon and celestial objects are visible. In the moment of perfection, [light/ dark, yin/yang, male/female, joy/sorrow, birth/death] we see perfectly: our way clear, godspeed, sea smooth as glass.





more of Traveller’s travel collages

7 01 2007

These are my latest creations for a private RR, the subject of this book is ‘travel’. The quotation above the question reads “all journeys lead to secret destinations of which the traveller is often unaware”.

Note: an RR (round robin) is an art exchange of some form – in this case each of the 5 participants has chosen a theme and has created the first couple of pages of what will eventually be a book. Each participant sends their completed pages to the next person on the list, who makes their contribution and then posts it on to the next participant, and so on until they return to their creator. If the participants wish the order can then be reversed and a second lot of pages created.





Preparing to depart…

29 12 2006

After a year’s absence I once again set foot on Lemuria’s sacred ground. I look forward to revisiting friends that I met along the way on my previous journey. I find Lemuria as I left it, pulsing with infinite possibility under a sunwashed sky.





Departure from Bristol

29 11 2006

Traveller set off from her home town of Bristol, a teeming port city, where she had had difficulty find a seat on the stage coach. The roads were appalling that winter and the carriage managed to lose a wheel before they had even arrived in Bath. Reluctantly, she put up for the night in a bug-infested, rat-ridden hostelry from which she was only too glad to escape on the morrow. The journey to Dover seemed interminable. As she was leaving the hostelry, called ‘the Enchanted Well’ a strange figure had brushed against her, a figure who resembled no living mortal of her era but rather looked as if she had been assembled from various mythological figures. She had wild flowing locks and a cape with mystical images embroidered on it and she carried a twisted staff in one hand. This character had thrust a small bag into her hand saying ”take this, you may find you have need of some of the items therein” and had disappeared. Traveller had thrust it into her pocket but in the coach curiosity got the better of her so she took it out and began to examine its contents, tipping them out on the seat next to her. And what a strange mix of items they were. First of al there was a stiff piece of card, like an invitation.

 

Le Enchanteur

has pleasure in inviting you to join her and a number of other travellers

on the trip of a lifetime to realms hitherto uncharted

– a GRAND TOUR of the land of Lemuria –

If you wish to accept this offer you should present yourself at the House of Shells

on Friday 1 December 2006 at 9am

Further information will be supplied to you at the rendez-vous

 

There was a candlestick, a packet of seeds, a picture of a winged unicorn glued on to the back of an old playing card, an old pair of metal-framed spectacles, a tiny anchor and a pair of wings . She picked up each item in turn. The candlestick was very small and she couldn’t think what purpose it might serve for it was far too small to provide a light. The seed packet bore the legend ‘dream seeds’ but the picture looked like an opium poppy – and then she saw the connection – of course, opium induced dreams … (how had she heard it described recently? Riding the dragon, that was it. She hoped she wouldn’t doing any dragon-riding in the near future. But perhaps the seeds were for planting one’s dreams and nurturing them as they grew.

 

 

The spectacles didn’t appear to out of the ordinary, just very old. The anchor must have fallen off somebody’s charm bracelet and she couldn’t imagine what she could do with a pair of wings. However did they become small enough to fit in the pouch? She pushed her hand right to the bottom of the bag to ensure that she had found everything when her hand touched something old and papery. She carefully drew it out and unfolded it. It appeared to be a map of some sort but did not look like any maps she had seen before. She decided she would have another look at the map when the light was better. She carefully packed everything back into the bag and stowed it away. Leaning back against the seat considering the objects she eventually dozed off, thus managing to while away the next couple of hours of the journey through a particularly boring flat landscape.

Eventually she arrived at Dover, from where she would be setting out on 1 December. Her passage was already booked and she was eagerly anticipating the adventure, although, it must be said, not the crossing of the channel. Although she could swim like a fish she never felt comfortable on board a ship and prayed for calm seas that day.

 





Heather’s Art Stand

28 11 2006

Many artists set up stands on side walks in cities and towns around the world and offer portraits and other art work. We bought some particularly lovely drawings of Brugge from one such vendor and stopped to admire local art in Paris, Venice, Rome, Athens, Bergen, London and so many other places that we visited in 2001.

For the Grand Lemurian Tour and the Grand Tour it is my intention to focus on portraitures of the people I meet and the places I find them in. You will be able to view the whole collection in my Flickr file and many pieces will be available at the Soul Food Cafe Hermitage Cafe Press Store.

I make no claim to be a budding Picasso but my soul art will have some appeal to other travellers who pass me by and stop to have a portrait done. If folk send me a photograph and details of a setting I will oblige and do some ’street’ art.

Heather Blakey

 

Loretta Williams waits at Riversleigh, ready to set out with her guide. There are places to go, people to meet, things to be experienced. Loretta has a small travelling case that will store her all important art supplies.

 

Lucinda Hoatson is looking slightly stunned as she comes through Enchanteur’s Portal with her designer red suitcase.

 

Gloria Hall was a super model. On a whim she has thrown in a successful career and taken up Enchanteur’s offer to travel the world for years. Could prove interesting to see who she becomes.

 

Katie Camilerri has been waiting for this adventure all her life. She is an experienced arm chair traveller who plans to begin her Umbria, Italy.