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I live in Australia, my ancestry is in Cornwall. a Celt. a hedgewitch of sorts. I am an Earth Healer. I wear upcycled clothes, patchouli oil and Redback boots. A gypsy. An eccentric. a mystic. I am a searcher, a seeker, a pilgrim on Earth. I serve my guests, tea from an old silver teapot. I love Vervain, yarrow, chamomile & mint. I love to dream, to walk and to wonder

Friday, December 7, 2012

last days in North Cornwall

December 6 - St. Petrocs ~ a wonderful discovery

after a walk around Tintagel, a visit to the PO to send the parcels and postcards, a visit to Willow Moon - a pagan/witches shop, we headed off, we knew not where. A vague idea of exploring tiny villages dotted throughout the country side of Cornwall.


You have no idea of the lane ways here, criss crossing all over the land, going everywhere through little villages. Each with a village green as big as a pocket handkerchief, a church and a red post box. With names like St. Tudy, St. Mabyn and Washaway..
then back to Bodmin for lunch. On the way, I saw signs posted for St.Petrocs Christmas tree festival..

a display put on by the parish - who invites all community groups and businesses to decorate a tree and display it in the church.. it was absolutely brilliant. a wonderful idea, how I wish the church was like this at home..

the Heart Foundation

for Motor Neurone

The Navy
- touched my heart, because of my great grandfather, who is the reason I am here.. well, partly.



this was an anglican church and we chatted to the Reverend whom the parishioners actually called 'Father' and we commented on how different this was to our anglican churches back home, very similar to our catholic churches except with more of a community feel about it, welcoming... and he said that 'the reformation never came down this far.' and chuckled .. he said, the pope would love us here, we are more catholic than most catholic churches today.  He told us 'you should come along.. we have incense, candles and even relics of St. Petroc in a casket over there, behind glass'.. and yes, there was a statue of Mary! with candles available to light..

the early Norman [12th century] font.. the carvings are gorgeous.. apparently figures of evil on the west and good on the east.. quite pagan in its design. I love how the past is embraced here.



St. Petroc. Largest parish church in Cornwall. the present church was built in 1469. can you comprehend that age?

very much the church i yearn for at home.. but there was the downside.. as I wandered around, I heard some old biddies gossiping about others and how they hadn't sung the right tune in the carol concert that afternoon.. made me laugh. actually.

I felt so much at home while I wandered around this gorgeous Church that was really big enough to be a cathedral

December 7
we went to Bodmin again today.. and into an antique shop, bought 3 pairs of vintage brocade curtains. I cannot believe how much 'stuff' there is for sale and how very cheap it all is.. but I cannot get it home! the curtains were only 4pounds a pair. I started talking to the owner and he asked where we were from and how long we were in Cornwall for. He told me that he has traced his family back to the 13th century. I said we are most probably related and he replied 'I reckon we could be'..

so, my first impression of Cornish people was incorrect.. the cornish people are lovely, it seems the people who are not born here, but move to Cornwall are the ones who are unwelcoming.. and abrupt.

Cornish swedes.. spicy swede soup is quite popular here & delicious.. I think it is a Jamie recipe

Christmas trees for sale.. as well as cyclamen. I had never thought of having them to decorate for Christmas.. then it dawned on me.. they are not in bloom at home at this time of year!

 
then a side trip back to St. Enoder, I had wanted to go in and sit and pray where my ancestors had prayed.. but it was not to be as it was locked this time.. I cannot ignore the connection to all these old churches, that I feel each time I walk into one. It was cold and a gale wind blew, making the trees sigh overhead. Oh the peace of soul that this sound brings to me. I snuggled into my coat as I wandered around looking, & I spotted two graves of people on my family tree. Symons and Basset.

then to Wadebridge for lunch and a wander around the town.. and then back to Tintagel to buy myself a pendant from Willow Tree and had a lovely long chat to the Witch who owned it. a beautiful, caring spiritual woman. I am meeting so many people who, by their words are showing me who I am.. and what path I must take.

as I sit in the churches of my ancestors, in the old pews where they may have sat, centuries ago & where they most probably prayed their hopes and dreams..I feel as if I am too, part of this. An answer in a way, to their hopes and dreams.

hundreds of years of prayers embedded in the walls.. a wave of peace washes over me. The peace of early people who honoured and loved Mother Earth & honoured the Goddess in the seasons, people who came to love the early church with its traditions of incense and candles which for me also encompass both spiritual beliefs of pagan and celtic christianity. It is seen in the Greenman that is carved on pews and angels that are carved in stone.

I do not feel this sacredness at home in the church with modern day rules and guilt. where modern day rules have taken away the sacredness of ritual of candles and incense. even kneelers have gone from most churches, whereas here, they have old tapestry kneelers, made with love, a link to the past. To me, it seems as if modern man is too sophisticated to be doing with all of those old fashioned ideas, much to the detriment of our own spirituality.

so, tomorrow, we head 'south'.. towards Lands End.. to another little cottage. To explore some more. this land of my ancestors.



9 comments:

  1. What a lovely idea to have all the different Xmas trees decorated by various community groups! I'm glad you're finding such resonance in the old churches of Cornwall.

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  2. The church looks so pretty with all the Christmas trees...very festive.

    I loved your post about Doc Martin's village. That was a program I enjoyed so much. The village looks quaint and lovely.

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  3. the church is beautiful inside, I also wish we had more candles and more old traditions and statues in our church (Cof E)todaysmodern churches seem cold and clinical to me.

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  4. What awesome photos you are posting. Wish I could be there in person. Loving that tiny village landscape and roads. When you get home, maybe you could start a small Christmas tree group in your church?? Safe travels. xoxo

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  5. Glad you are finding this spiritual conenction

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  6. PS some of our English churches are way older even than that!

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  7. Lovely old churches aren't they. I agree church is somehow not the same in the 'colonies'..! Though we do have Christmas trees here in town in one of our largest Anglican churches, I don't know about the others though. I wonder too if what you are feeling is the Catholicness (is that a word?) of them as the oldest were of course Catholic, prior to 1534. Interesting to find grave stones with family names on them. ♥

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