Several years ago when living on the coast of Penwith, I had a vivid dream where I could see an aerial view of the area. It showed there were hidden sacred points all over, each with a secret to tell. However, the only one I recalled on waking was Sancreed, a village at the centre of the peninsula, which is where I find myself now. The dream was illustrating that Sancreed was the hub of the wheel, with 'spokes' fanning out in all directions, some of which I have since discovered as 'ley lines'. Sancreed Beacon offers a superb view in all directions, and it features in the climactic chapter of my latest novella Sesonsfin.
The area is rife with Bronze Age artefacts, so much so I'd constantly been distracted from examining the church in all my visits. Normally an ancient church, having been built on an earlier sacred site, would be the first point of call for me. In a way it was, as here is where I would catch the bus to Penzance or, following one of the 'spokes', to St Just. Here you can see my trusty blue bag at the stop:
It was only the other day though I had a spare afternoon and wandered into the church itself, to be stunned by the images on offer. Here were dragons echoing the spiral forms of Fibonacci and the golden mean, griffins, unicorns, and a sort of Janus figure with unusual sensuality, to name but a few:
The theory often expounded was that while churches were designed for the Christian faith, the common day labourers were pagan and would instil their symbols into the woodwork etc. within the churches themselves. Hence the proliferation of Green Men spewing foliage in a lot of Anglo-Saxon churches.
The bosses on the ceiling of Sancreed Church were particularly rich with symbolism. There is a lot to be explored but it is the one three rows down and two columns in that struck me particularly:
This is like the Vesica Pisces, an occult symbol well-known to many, symbolising as it does two worlds overlapping. It often occurs in places where the physical world and the spiritual come together, Glastonbury being a famous example. Around here people do see 'the little folk', pixies and such, though they won't usually volunteer their experiences. For me the contact has more been through dreams, as if someone or something is definitely trying to communicate. One thing I can tell you is they're not particularly enamoured with the human race at the moment. David Spangler's Finding Your Elvenheart also added a new dimension for me, that of the sidhe, something well worth exploring.
While this has been going on, I've been writing the fourth novella (The second I'm holding back for reasons I won't disclose, so this coming one will actually be the third to be published.) Even though it's about alien contact (sort of), I kept recalling a later story from Henry James called The Bench of Desolation, which on the face of it couldn't be further from the subject matter. I hadn't read it in years - decades to be honest - but felt haunted by its complex, wonderful language and atmosphere. Thus haunted, I went ahead and bought a nice edition of James's later stories. The tale is every bit as rich and fascinating as I remembered, more so even.
Meanwhile three times a week, after the bus has dropped me off, I've been having to walk up the steep slope to St Clare's Street in the north of Penzance. This is to get my B12 shots at the medical centre, as I've been deficient, resulting in recurring intense fatigue. Because of this I would often stop at a little park where there was a bench to sit. Sometimes it did feel like a bench of desolation, but mostly of consolation as I was very grateful for its existence.
It was only a couple of days ago as I approached it I noticed the dead tree next to the bench was full of the most marvellous carvings, evocative of nature spirits and magic, and a lot like a totem pole. Surely, I reasoned, the carvings had just been done, I couldn't possibly have missed them. But no. I researched and found they'd been crafted years ago by a local carver. This revelation was also a revelation how wrapped up I had been in my exhaustion and mundane concerns, not to have noticed such a wonderful thing despite it having been right next to me.
And so it is, I wonder if we are surrounded by all sorts of magic in nature beyond what we already know and can see, but remain insulated from it with our modern lives and concerns, and simply don't see the truth.