Full Moon

19 02 2008

The moon will become full later on today; I want to catch the wave as it turns and spend the next month rolling into myself and doing some serious introspection. This may be my equivalent of being shriven; I wish to approach Ostara cleaned of some of my more obvious warts and carbuncles!

The tone of late has been quite prickly and harassed, yes, I noticed; so perhaps a still calm place and some time to think will work wonders. I have a great deal of reading to do.

One of the points raised by Gardner in The Meaning of Witchcraft is the similarity, intended or no, between ancient churches and sacred groves. The nave pillars, spreading into ceiling vanes parallel trees, and the east window in many churches is round, symbolising the sun. Then there’s the frankly interesting carving; floriate and foliate bosses, green men, imps, animals dressed as priests and congregations, sometimes devils. I know of at least one instance locally where the left pillar leading to the altar has a grinning devil’s head out there at waist height, looking merry and naughty, and looking the seated congregation right in the eye. He’s not even mentioned in the notes that accompany the church walk.

PP and I intend to spend some contemplation time in local churches of note over the next few weeks; it might seem odd, a couple of witches choosing to go sit in churches; it might even sound vaguely blasphemous, but I assure you it isn’t. All witches should take the time to visit these places of other worship; they are open to all. It’s friendly and respectful to sit and reflect in these spaces, and the grave cheer of the atmosphere will warm and calm you. And, particularly in Britain, churches are built on top of or in the midst of more ancient pre-Christian places of worship. The Early Christians built their churches there for practical reasons – the locals were going there anyway, so it made sense for the Christians to be there too – and for solidly spiritual reasons – these were the places of power.

Many churches are also taking part in the ‘Caring for God’s Acre’ project, which involves husbanding of the wild resources in the churchyards; quite a number of rare and protected plants and animals can be found.

All in all, churches are a great resource and we’re lucky to have them. The ancient builders, masons and workers may very well have been building to their master’s plan, but they clearly incorporated their own pantheons and particular preferences for decoration; perhaps this is evidence incarnate of the old religion at work; we’ll never know for sure. But seeking out these whispers from the past is rewarding and enlightening; and at bottom good for the soul.

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2 responses

21 02 2008
Mereth

Have you seen how many hares there are in churches? Loads of the tripple hare motifs when you look closely!

I like churches. Our local village church still leaves the doors unlocked all day and though it’s not a place of worship for me, it is a haven of quiet and a great place for some quiet contemplation (when the campanologists aren’t giving is some). When you visit in the Spring, have a look around as we have a number of octagonal towers on the local churches and it’s apparently rather unusual. OUr own little one is incredibly pretty and calm – well worth a visit.

22 02 2008
The Green Witch

I’d absolutely love to. I know what you mean; not worship, but contemplation. The church in any village is its centre; and has been for hundreds if not thousands of years. Churches enthrall me; their collective meaning is there to be felt and tapped into. All that power, concatenated and preserved because it is remembered and fed.

I’m not sure, whatever the inequities of the Christian tradition have been, that the Goddess and the God mind so very much that ‘their’ space has been usurped. Many good people with good hearts and good intentions worship in and on their space every day. Perhaps thay are just waiting for us to remember them.

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