A stimulating evening yesterday as our whole family eat and talked with two young film makers Mischa Nowicki and Richard Perkins, who are both involved in permaculture design and sustainability projects. Mischa’s film clip of Cae Mabon in Wales was posted up here a while back, and here is Richard talking in Thailand about Food Forests:
Richard is off to Indonesia on Friday to begin filming a documentary on the plight of the sea gypsies of that region. See his website here.
Awen is natural – a part of Nature. So you can take any aspect of Nature and open yourself to it, just sensing it fully without judgement or even thought, and through it you can be inspired and invigorated with Awen. Take snow. Still yourself and imagine snowflakes gently falling around you. Sense that deep hush that spreads over the land when snow falls. See the snow in moonlight – sparkling and pristine. Feel the Awen reaching you – through your senses – through the vision of the beauty of the snow, through the silence it creates around you.
Along with Chris Street and others I’m giving a talk for the Ley Hunters’ Moot at Friends Meeting House Brighton on 24 April 2010 at 1pm (Details at The Society of Ley Hunter’s website here. They are having a field trip the next day, led by Stuart Mason of the Antiquarian Society). Here is a note about the talk:
Three Old Fellas
It is a most intriguing and fascinating hobby. In these days when rambling over hill and dale is such a popular amusement, there should be countless opportunities for young people to discover markstones and other reminders of bye-gone days, and to trace out possible alignments from them on the maps when they return home.
Mark Culling Carr-Gomm, The Straight Track Club (1938)
There is a mystery that connects Sound and Place that those who have researched the acoustics of sacred sites and ancient monuments know well, but I would like to explore another connection between these two phenomena. There is a way in which our experience of Place is bound up with Memory and Story, which is why English Heritage can charge us to walk over an empty field at Battle. We know a great story unfolded there, and even though nothing obvious to the naked eye remains, it is enough for visitors to know the Battle of Hastings happened there, to justify travelling a great distance simply to stand on that field. It is as if the story and the place are woven together – an idea which those who are psychically sensitive will affirm is more than simply a metaphor.
This weaving is what I would like to talk about at the Moot in April. There are the great stories that occurred in the landscape that we can tune into, but there are also our own personal stories that relate to the landscape which bind together memories of people and experiences along with the land itself. This is the great gift of the oral tradition and of folk-memory: the tales of place that are also of tribe and ancestor. When we talk in this way it can sometimes sound distant or impersonal, when in reality we are talking about the land we live on and love, and the tales of our own ancestors and the people we love. So in my talk I’ll show you some objects that relate to this theme and were significant to me from childhood, and which I’ve now inherited. They remind me of three old fellas – elder-figures – who made the magic of the landscape and of ley lines come alive for me: the old Chief Druid Ross Nichols, the late John Michell, author of the seminal ‘View Over Atlantis’, and my grandfather, who was a friend of Alfred Watkins and helped to found the ‘Old Straight Track Club’. Ley lines and the land of Sussex play a part in my experience of all three, and leys are a phenomenon that connects people with the landscape within the warm embrace of story…
Alfred Watkins at a Straight Track Club picnic walks towards you from the Dream Time
Lewes is, of course, the center of Sussex eccentricity. It sits, I will posit, on a convulsion of ley lines: Among too many to name, one that runs from London to Boston, Mass., on which Tom Paine floated into history in the 18th century; one that follows Hilaire Belloc across the Sussex landscape, from pub to pub, venturing in and out of poetry and sobriety; one that traverses the whole of the surface of the earth, in the path of the sun over the planet, from its stage debut each morning as it creeps over Mount Caburn, burning away mist and last night’s spewed Donner.
This is a town that still annually burns the Pope, W., Blair, whomever it is they find fault with that year, in effigy – just like they did 200 years ago. Lewes prints its own currency, and shuts down pubs for daring remove the local ale. It’s a town of a few thousand that supports two distinct and thriving weekly folk-music clubs, using the same eccentric-if-affluent clientele that will throw back a dozen pints at the Thin Lizzy tribute-band gig the following night.
Falling in love can open you to Awen. Shifting the focus of concern away from yourself to another creates an opening in your heart and soul, and in rush thoughts and feelings you’ve never had before. You might think they are coming from the person you are in love with, and some of they may be – but others will be coming from beyond both you and them. Together the magic of your love will have opened a door and touched something greater than both of you.
New windmill and pony, Kingston, near Lewes, January 1st 2010 photo Tarquin Gotch