Sue and Ani at Wayland’s Smithy #writephoto #suevincent

Sue & Ani

Thursdays were days when Sue Vincent would post a photograph writing prompt challenge. In honor of this ritual, I have posted one of my favorite photographs of Sue, which I took two years ago during a shared trip to Wayland’s Smithy. It’s a photograph I hold dear. Filled with memory, magic and love.

I’m not sure if Sue knew I was taking this photo, but Ani sure did. The presence of these two beings made this afternoon extra special for me. Although I can count on my two hands the number of days I have spent with Sue, they rank among the very best of my life thus far. Sometimes you are lucky in life to encounter a teacher/mentor/friend who takes you under her wings and guides you in that gentle way to open your awareness to the magic that exists, but is not always acknowledged. I consider myself one of those lucky individuals.

I can’t tell you exactly when I first met Sue, or exactly how. But, I can tell you she entered my life just when I needed her presence. That is often the way these types of relationships occur. The teacher mysteriously finding the student, the student, the teacher, just when the moment is right…

If it were not for the internet, perhaps we would not have met, but I believe when there’s a will, there’s away. If you had told me twenty years ago that I would meet a woman named Sue who would lead me into the magical landscape of the soul and also the living lands of ancient Albion, I would probably not believe you. Yet somehow, one day, our paths intersected through our blogs, and the rest is our brief history in this lifetime together.

A lifetime that, I believe, stretches well beyond this one, to a far distant past when magic was not so extraordinary…

The photo featured in this post was taken just over two years ago. It almost didn’t happen, but somehow Sue managed to arrange an afternoon, packed full of magic, to take myself and a friend to Uffington. Here, Sue sits with her beloved dog Ani on the chamber of Wayland’s Smithy. It is, for me, a precious photo. The winged soul and her guardian canine in a place the bridges the realms of corporeal and spirit.

It is, most likely, our last day together in this lifetime. And somehow even though I’d like to have more days with Sue, it was fitting and perfect. As much as we may wish to, we cannot control the length of time we have with those we love and hold dear, yet when we review it, we often find that its length was perfect in its essence.

When I first learned of Sue’s illness, I cycled through the emotions of impending loss. There were moments when I decided it was wholly unfair, for Sue, for her family, for all those who love her, and for, selfishly, myself. Our adventures have only just begun.

But who am I to say how long a lifetime should be and when it should end? It is, instead, a choice to accept what one has been given and to realize the fullness of the gift wrapped in this temporary form. Knowing, at the same time, that infinity lies beyond the temporary form. For me there is peace in this knowing. When I look at this photograph, uncertainty disappears and faith takes its place. Although I may resist a plan that is beyond my control, with the surrender there is a doorway to the beauty of truth.

You can see it here. In the place of stillness, it opens. The winged soul bending down to touch the Earth, never truly leaves.

The Other Eye Opens: I Meet the White “Horse” of Uffington

I’m not sure what path is usually taken to visit the White Horse of Uffington, but I felt I must crest the hilltop and stand upon the Castle before I made my way to the chalk “horse” below it.  The chalk figure is not small by any means. From one end to the other it measures 360 feet, yet the “white horse” is nestled just so within the hillside making it difficult to view unless one is high above it. Since we were  diverted by construction, and the mist of morning obscuring the hillside, my best option to get a photo of the chalk figure was from the mound of earth called “Dragon Hill.”

You can just make out the chalk outlines below the crest of the hill, above the road.

The White Horse has been on this hillside for more than 3,000 years, and some say it’s not a horse, but a saber toothed cat, or even a dragon…which is rather hard to argue when you consider that just below it is the mound of earth known as Dragon Hill. The site where St. George is rumored to have slain the dragon. And, perhaps more compelling is the the curious shape of the Earth, which Sue pointed out, is also best noticed from high above…

In the middle of the right hand side of the photo, you will see Dragon Hill, a rise of earth covered in chalk (under the grass) where St. George slew his dragon.

Legend has it that the large white splotch of ground on the top of the hill will never grow grass because the blood of the dragon spilled upon it.

The mark of the dragon’s blood

One does get the feel of battles fought and rituals held atop Dragon Hill, which looks over the land while being protected by the “Castle” behind it. It’s not hard to see the grandeur and feel the power of the place, as well as imagine the awe it must have encompassed over its many years of existence. Years that seem to be layered by different civilizations with different purposes. The mighty sword, taking over the peace of the land, but not anymore…

I stand above the “head” of the “horse with the wing of the dragon to the left and Dragon Hill to the right.

It is from the body of the chalk figure, though, were you can get a sense of the greater body that resides below you. The sheer awe is nothing short of exhilarating as you peer out over the vast wing rippling the earth. A dragon who may be sleeping, but whose energy is not dormant.

The “head”

It took feeling into my inner sight to find the dragon beneath me as I descended Uffington Castle. To trust the knowing of where I needed to end up. Which was the place considered the head, but also looks curiously like an eye. Some say the lines hanging down from the “head” are teeth, some say they are the fangs of the dragon, but if you take the head for an eye, it resembles the Eye of Horus, which was all I could see.  Another eye, drawing me inward… Whereas Long Meg had pulsed in the red energy of Earth, as I stood looking into the head of the dragon, I felt the pull of the sun.

It took all I could not to step inside…

This portal of the sun has a way of drawing you in.

I believe these sites are sacred. There are rules here that should be honored and respected. Reverence is required to walk the ground if you wish to learn what it has to teach you. If not, you should not be there. I felt that I had ventured close enough for that day, walking the edge, careful not to tread upon the chalk, while Sue and Larissa watched from above.

Larissa, Sue and Ani (who seems to have gotten special permission to walk the eye)

Two eyes had opened, and I felt wholly alive. It was time to cross over to the land of the dead…

To be continued…

To read the previous posts in this series about my recent visit to England, please follow the links below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

The “Castle” on the Back of a Dragon

During my first trip to England — you know the one where I went in search of the white horse in the wrong Uffington — I climbed Glastonbury Tor with my family. I can still recall the wild exhilaration that consumed me the higher I climbed the mound of earth, until I reach the top and felt as though I was queen of the world. Or my world anyway. Anything felt possible in that limitless space where Earth touched heaven in a path to the heart.

Atop Glastonbury Tor

A similar energy stirred my cells to life as I climbed the hill leading to Uffington Castle. A hill that does not hold an actual castle as one might imagine it be, with stones and mortar, but the open-air castle of Earth kissing the heavens.

Uffington Castle had a similar feel to Glastonbury Tor. Not quite as wild, and more protected, it still gave me the feeling of union between Earth and Sky and a marriage of the divine masculine and feminine energies.

Although battles, perhaps many, were likely waged upon this hill and its surroundings, it has a powerfully feminine look and feel. At the top, anyway. It is like a womb, forever birthing and open to receive the energy that runs below it and above it. You see, it sits on the back of a dragon, whose fire energy courses through its body. The ley lines do not feel broken here. But alive.

Ani, Larissa & Sue stand nestled in the wing of the dragon.

Uffington Castle is an ancient “hillfort,” and it looks like a large grassy arena protected by raised banks of earth that slope into hollows in two places. Although the first hollow greeted me as I crested the hill, once again I felt the impulse to walk counter-clockwise, to the second depression. Stopping, for a moment, to absorb its full splendor, before I entered the body of the earthen womb.

Where I entered the “castle”-womb

It’s nothing sort of glorious to stand in the middle of Uffington Castle and feel the wrap of the womb open to the heavens. To gaze at the vast blue above and feel as though you are a part of it all. A tiny seed birthed into being from forces that are limitlessly powerful, yet filled with love. For a few moments I allowed myself to feel the wrap of the beloved in the center of the castle. Just me and the hawks of the sun circling in kite form above. It was nothing short of glorious. I felt wholly and completely alive.

Climbing the castle hill with Ani

Although there was the familiar impulse to linger much longer, it was enough stand in stillness for a few moments and allow the full sense of being to sink into my cells. Below the mound of Uffington, a dragon horse awaited me, its eye calling to be seen…

To be continued…

To read the previous posts in this series about my recent visit to England, please follow the links below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7