Urban Pagan in Somerset

Urban Pagan in Somerset

Sunday, 26 September 2010


This weekend my son came to visit for a few days which was lovely and a total surprise when I got a call at 7am on friday morning just as I was leaving for work. He was already down - had stayed the night at a friends and hoping I hadnt left yet. I couldnt pick him up as I would be late for work, but left a key for him to let himself in.
It was lovely to have him here. He left uni in june this year and I hadnt seen him since as he lives in Essex with his dad nowadays though hopefully he will be coming down this way for good soon.
But I digress.........

I had promised to drive him home - back to the house I used to live in many years ago. I havnt actually been back to it for almost 10 years as I saw him so much while he was at university so didnt need to make the trip to visit him there. As his father (my ex husband) also lives there it may have been awkward a few years back too - though not nowadays.

Anyway, driving him back after the dartford tunnel we pottered up the M25 to get to the A12 and then it started....

I havnt actually been back to Maldon where we lived since I walked away from the marriage in 1998! And only touched the edges of Essex on my way to other places so I wasnt prepared for the feelings I experienced. Im quite sensitive to earth energy. I notice the changes of counties, sacred and ancient sites and leys so its not really that surprising, but Essex had a great deal of effect on me and my spiritual path in my past.

Although a solitary pagan since the 70s it wasnt until I moved to Essex in the early 1980s that I found other people like me, circles and groups to connect with. A coven to train in and students of my own once I became a wiccan elder. For those of you who live in Essex, you must have felt the energies there. Essex has a deep and ancient tradition of the Craft and I have always thought I really opened up to the Craft and its teaching once I became part of the land there.

Of course, other people feel the same thing in different parts of the land, and I also have felt a real homecoming feeling in other places too - particularly in Avebury and up near Sheffield where I had an amazing sense of the land - though that may be more to do with my ancestral connection as my mothers family have many roots there.

But many experiences that created the branches of my spiritual path are connected with Essex and its' beautiful countryside, ancient villages and magical history and it all came flooding back.

I allowed myself to really immerse in it, as I also had my youngest daughter in the car, I found myself driving the 'pretty way' getting off the A12 and through the villages. Showing her the various places I held outdoor circles, the pagan federation gatherings,
places that really yanked on the old heartstrings. Memories that had lay dormant for years rose up. People I had known, been friends with, been hurt by, feelings of joy, devestation, many moments and times of my life layered like waves on a shore.

I started to wonder - is this time to come back? Could I find somewhere up here to live and work again? Could I relive the experiences, the wonderful moments again. I resolved to take my daughter on a drive around Maldon, the high street, places from my past. I found myself looking forward to it. Excited to revisit my past.

I put this feeling aside for a while once I got to my son's house. And there I made a discovery. The house I had lived in over 10 years ago, I had decorated and painted and organised. The garden where I had planted trees and plants and lived with my 2 eldest children. Nothing had changed. NOTHING!... Apart from the fact that it was definately now a batchelor pad - different boy toys and gadgets, a few different bits of furniture,tv and motorbike magazines around, the house was exactly as I left it. The walls unchanged. The carpets and curtains the same Some of the pictures on the wall were there as I had left them.

The rooms looked sadly drab now, in need of redecoration. New fabrics and colours. The garden is overgrown and the trees now crowding the once large garden. The front garden still had the wooden tub I grew lavender in over 10 years ago though long empty, but still in its exact place. It was an amazing discovery.

Im not trying to say anything majorly critical of my ex husband. He has never liked change and soft furnishings and houses were not important to him. But what it brought home to me was how things stagnate without change. How things become sad and drab. How memories and nostalgia are fine in their place, but you cant go back. You can never go back. You cannot recreate what has gone.

After a quick cup of tea, we left and I still drove my daughter through Maldon to show her where I walked, drank tea, met friends and brought up my eldest 2 children. I left and drove down through a different route of memories, the magick of the land still in my blood. But the feeling was different - the spell was broken. I knew I had moved forward and drove home again with no regrets.


laoi gaul~williams /I\ said...

i know exactly what you mean!
i have the same feeling about Portsmouth~i was born there, but was five when we moved...but my ancestral roots there go back many, many hundreds of years with all the male members of that line being linked to the sea~mariners, bargemen, fishermen.
Although i could never leave the forest~again my ancestral roots here are deep~as soon as i reach the outskirts it feels like a home coming of sorts~a deep belonging...

queenbeebear said...

What a lovely piece Rachel,I know exactly what you mean, and interestingly, I have been back to London/Kent revisiting my old haunts and stomping grounds, and the old nastalgia kicked in immediately! I also know that our ancestors call us home from time to time, even to places where we didnt know we had ancestors, and I can vouch for that! Its natural to return to the stuff that made us, the folk who inspired us the places that resonated with that part of us which was longing to connect and learn, but you are right, you cannot go back, and if we do not move forward we stagnate and become unhealthy, in mind body and soul. If we do find ourselves called to return, it is to bring new life, new energy to the place, not to resurrect the past. Your blog has confirmed something to me, thankyou! Blessings. x

Alex Langstone said...

A lovely post Rachel, I could feel myself walking the familiar streets of Maldon as I read it! I have not been back for many years and though I used to long to return - I now know that I no longer have any desires to return to the land of my birth, I still get excited when I see images and writings about it though.