Wiltshire Witchy Walk
Bedecked with basket swinging my arm I wander out into the place from of my spiritual home, the hedgerow. The sound of my feet crunching on the gravel of the lane beat a harmonious tune in time with the grumble of the combine harvester, and I marvel at this technology, bringing in the crop cleanly and quickly, saving the vital life giving grains from the water element that threatens a sharp shower later. I bow my head in a gesture of respect to this modern monster, and the help it gives our hardworking farmers all over this glorious British isle. I give thanks to the Goddess for the grain as it is collected so efficiently this Lammas.
Renewed in my focus back to the now, my footsteps beat a slower tune as my sight sharpens on the green verge to my left. The hum of the machine is no less invasive but my ears hone their witchy vibrations as the gentle buzz of a fat honey bee lazily makes it way from creamy clover to the blush pink of the rosebay willow herb. I stop and watch as the bee bounces from blossom to blossom, speckles of pollen clinging to its round little behind. How does this now much heavier bee fly? I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for this most industrious of insects, its gift of working for Mother Nature does surely make the world keep turning, I bow my head as a mark of respect, a whisper of my thanks for all the insect life escapes my lips as I give thanks to the Goddess.
Rooted to the spot, I feel my feet connected, grounded to the earth below. Raising my head my gaze is met by a wall of green…but I look closer through Witchy eyes. My feet find what they are looking for, my connection with the earth penetrates through my flip flops, down within the warm almost moist soil and join with the force of the roots, a tangle of threads and cords envelop my ankles, holding me firmly and accepting me as a passing visitor in their space. A pulse not unlike my own heartbeat pumps through the earth as these tendrils, just like a baby’s umbilical cord, draw up and feed the canopy, supplying damp goodness on tap. I feel myself become one with this lifeline. I feel my energy travelling along these fleshy tendrils and breathe a sigh as does the hedgerow, feeling flooded with nutrients from the element of earth, our greatest recycler. I bow my head in reverence to the underworld, the labyrinth of networks, home of the worms and the roots, and I give my thanks to the Goddess.
With still rooted feet my eyes drift upwards towards the canopy, their focus sharpening, a myriad of shapes and colours explodes into my vision, the general green shapes expanding into jewel like flashes. The Hawthorn, leaves tinged with the beginning of red, bows low under its own weight of berries. In the main still green, but orange and occasionally red shining through they hold the promise of Mabon. The next door neighbour, the blackthorn supports the velvety almost blue Sloes, plump and bitter, protected by its defences of sharp thorns. The beech sits in my eye line, spreading its crisp fuzzy husks and a smattering of small tasty nuts as a strew along the lane. Hanging nestled in the leaves ready for the waiting squirrels to hoard them for winter they spend their time plumping up ready for their next journey in the cycle of life….as does the hazel sitting to the right of the Hawthorn. Green clusters of the juiciest cobs show a brown tinge of ripening and loosening from their safe haven. I bow my head and give thanks to the trees for all they provide our species and others too. I give thanks for their shelter to all creatures, and I think of the warmth of their spent branches providing fire in the coldest of times, in their death the warmth of life can continue. I whisper my thanks to the Goddess.
I smile gently as a tiny brown wren, the size of a field mouse hops through the straight Hazel whips to the Hawthorn, stopping only to pluck an insect from the truck. It spies me! Paused in a freeze frame, a moment of connection with this small soul makes my heart skip a beat. Its glinting black eye sees no threat in me and as I gently exhale it continues on its way with effortless flight, almost levitating into the sky.
My gaze follows the wren, saddened at the loss of connection to this creature of the sky, the moment and feeling passes…the glorious sky now captivates my vision. Lifting my head I inhale a warm autumnal breath. It permeates my nostrils with grain dust and grassiness, and floods through my veins, sealing the moment of the season into my very being. The element of air comes to me like a wave, cleansing me inside and out as my fringe is lifted delicately away from my forehead to allow the dancing sunlight to touch my face. I close my eyes for only a moment and embrace the gift of this most tactical of elements. I feel complete, a part of the landscape in which I stand as I receive no special treatment from the breeze, its caress is all inclusive, from the tiniest ant to the tallest oak. My mind flips back to the farmer, knowing he too will feel this healing wash of air as he works.
My eyes flutter open slowly, adjusting to the golden light. How wondrous is the sky?!
Blue, clear clean blue peppered with white candy floss clouds. The grey of the autumn rain clouds hover in the distance, waiting in line for their turn to fill the picture above my head. Crows circle over to my left as they follow the trail of the combine, a meal of the finest just cut wheat awaits. I feel my inner being drift upwards to connect with the clouds, seeing as if sat atop of them. The rolling hills, the streams and lanes, the market towns, villages and fields are all laid out in a tapestry, a patchwork quilt of the most ancient threads, linking and holding together the communities and all sentient beings as far as the eye can see and further still. What mystery is held within that sky! What goes beyond? I lower my head in respect to the upper world, in respect of the mysteries of this life, my heart hoping one day to learn some of their secrets as I quietly give thanks to the Goddess.
My breath is a deep one as all the elements converge once again to allow the complete picture. My being becomes centred as my feet are released from their nest of roots and my mind returns from the mysteries of the sky…I feel renewed, replenished, restored, connected. My basket is empty, save the odd piece of abandoned rubbish, snatched from the mesh of the hedgerows tangle of branches, removed as my offering of thanks to our Mother. My soul is full and my heart sings with the joy of my spiritual fulfillment. As my steps carry me home I whisper a final thanks to the Goddess for my journey today, for her gifts that, as ever, are unconditional.
I find myself at my own front door and check my watch. I have been gone almost two hours from this time, and I remind myself that the magical path I walk upon holds no time constraints. I breathe one last magical breath, ask that the magic of my walk today touches all I do. I cocoon the energy of today around my inner soul, draping it in and around me like a sheer luminous silk.
This is the magic of my home, Wiltshire. It does not just reside amongst the obvious stone circles and barrows, nor is it the landmarks so conveniently printed in our maps. It is the ancient connection of this my homeland that runs all across our beloved Mother Earth, knotting us all together as part of an invisible web of energy, love and light.