Helen Fox - The Goddess in the Landscape
Just how many layers of history and experience are embedded in the landscape of what we now call Bodmin Moor? By the inference of this talk, probably more than anyone can shake a stick at.
In recent years, Helen Fox has been engaged in a major project to understand, and then to map out, the influence of the divine feminine as it can be sensed in the windswept massif of central Cornwall. It has been an epic journey, and one that shows no signs of winding down.
In the previous talk, Paul Gerry took a step onto the virtual bridge between science and spirituality from the materialist bank. This session was something of an etheric mirror image - portraying the esoteric experience of the Goddess in the land, but embedding it in the hard archaeology of stones, mounds, wells and hillforts - and even in the tors themselves.
HF has been following this personal quest for many years. It has been a journey that has taken her to every nook and cranny of the far south west, and it has ushered her across the Mediterranean from Egypt to Greece, and from Spain to Turkey. It has also led her to explore the often hidden depths of the divine feminine in her adopted homeland.
Helen is keen to point out that this is not a new endeavour. Images of The Goddess date back to the earliest artefacts of human kind. Myths, legends, stories and histories from across the globe all point to the fundamental importance of the threefold manifestation - maiden, mother and crone. However, for the past couple of millennia, mankind has trended towards the predominance of patriarchy - and it is only in recent times that the balance between the traits associated with each of the genders has started to morph towards a more benevolent accommodation.
Sensing the Goddess in the Landscape is no scientific endeavour. It is more akin to clairvoyance or mediumship. But in Helen’s portrayal, physically dowsing the ancient sites can reveal connections between the solidly sacred and the source. In the case of Bodmin Moor, her dowsing has led her to an appreciation that the epicentre of the divine feminine in this area is Dozmary Pool.
Through a series of maps, Helen explained how the tors, crosses, tumuli, water sources and upland defences are all centred on Dozmary through energy flows. In due course, we hope to have some forays into the field to explore this concept for ourselves.
These ancient geosocial features become even more intriguing, when we are asked to note that they are themselves layers within layers. The focus may be on Dozmary, but the stone circles and menhirs, burial mounds and hillforts, holy wells and churches all relate to different, if overlapping, historical time periods. The hidden Goddess makes her presence felt in subtle but pervasive ways through the generations.
Each layer of cultural change also incorporates a progression through the dominance of an element - earth, fire, air and water.
Helen also indicated another facet of how the timeless influence of the divine feminine manifests herself - in the built structures of successive social groups. Those from earlier epochs are rounded forms, such as stone circles and hut circles, which contrast starkly with later layouts, where the angular and the linear are more in evidence.
As part of the presentation, fellow questor and researcher, Stuart Dow, orated his personal revelation - and its importance (see attachment below - in its original draft script!), which generated an impromptu round of applause from an appreciative audience.
Many thanks to Helen Fox for giving this talk, which had us all thinking about the sacred sites of Kernow - both the well-known and the more obscure - in a very different light. We hope to be able to get out in the field over the summer to have another look at them for ourselves.
Image by Stuart Dow