Spirit's energy low.
Easterly hard flint blow;
Earth rebirth with quartz energy.
Normally my Gewessi reaffirmation to the land occurs at the mid way of a bike ride. This winter has been wet and snowy and this year, with a slight head cold and more miserable weather, my enthusiasm for riding had taken a battering. I had intended to travel to Chanctonbury Ring, a sky temple probably dedicated to the Thunder god of this land, between my cold and the weather it was not going to happen. I now reverted to tradition and decided to perform it on Wolstonbury hill, as I have done since starting on this Gewessi path a decade ago. Mountain biking was out of the question though as the hill becomes a claggy mud fest partly due to the 3 riding schools that nestle around it's base. So a walk it was after dropping my son at the station (off to meet up with his girlfriend, his first girlfriend... Oh the worry!).
A new path, climbing up hill, into farm mud, over stiles, spotting the path's route. Funny I know the Bridleways between the Arun and the Ouse so well I rarely need to use these skills anymore, a footpath provides a new perspective, I ignore side tracks and keep to the path. Thinking about this cold, biting wind and how it's catching the cold in my right ear which is aching, painfully. A stone catches my eye and I stoop to pick it up. It's a flint, typical here. It's razor sharp down one edge and angular, hard all over. Like the Easterly wind...
The Flint Wind
The stone had been trying to tell me something, I realised a few hundred metres later as I crested the brow of the hill. Although the view was interesting, providing a new perspective on a familiar place, I didn't want to follow this path to it's end; I was on naked rambler way. The memory of the day this path was named raised a chuckle though I think my friend is still trying to erase the image from his retinas. Retracing my steps I followed a sheep track North. All the time the flint wind was harrying me, biting at exposed flesh. Finding where I wanted to be I jumped a barbed wire fence, feeling schoolboy naughty about not sticking to the public path, then headed toward the top of the hill and the Hawthorn trees.
I know these two Hawthorn's well having communed with them many times over the years. The trees form a wind break, their protection obviously popular with the Welsh Black Cattle used to keep the Downland grazed by the tufts of black hair hanging from the thorns. The dew pond to the East has been renovated and I take some moments to cast the circle, honour the Gods, Land Alfs, Ancestors and re-affirm my connection to this land and this Gewessi path. The flint wind ensures the moment is short. Normally I would offer some water to the trees as a gift but this year the Downs are over blessed with it so I can only offer my thanks. Shivering I meander off the top and into the ancient landscape. No one knows why our Neolithic ancestors carved this huge shelf into the top of the North West side of the hill; for flint, as a stockade, for ritual or some other unknown reason. I like the mystery that is contained within the space, it has fascinated me all my life. I continue on the paths, letting whim, land magic or the transrational guide me. In the womb of the site I find a path, one I'd not walked since my kids were very little. This path is like a birth canal, a hidden culvert into the open landscape from this, the belly of the earth mother. I follow it and the Awen flows, my affirmation accepted and I feel reborn.
Soon it is back to the mundane slip, slide and spatter through the clag fest that are the trails round Wolstonbury. Walking boots caked in the chalk-clay dough that weighs on your feet and strengthens your legs. The tread's grip is negated leading to many a slip, slide and waahey which builds core strength, it's a fully body workout. Holding onto trees, avoiding treacherous thorns (rose, bramble, black and hawth) and squelching through the deeper mud baths I return to my starting point at Pyecombe with a smile and my spirit a little warmer inside from the land magic. Waes hael from and to the land, in the giving and the receiving.
Pics to follow