Issue 18, Autumn 2011
Hypogeum - Sounding the Vision, by Rachael Clyne
Articles & Fiction
by Becky Thomas
On the cliff-top peninsula just outside St Davids lies the ruined chapel of St Non. Here, at this wind-swept sacred place, the sense of the goddess is strong and it was at this place that I began to hear Nonna whisper to me, began to sense her calling me to dream her alive and reclaim her once again from the mists of time in which she has been lost for a thousand years and more. Here I will tell her story.
The coastal area of Pembrokeshire, the county in which St Non’s Chapel is found, was part of the pre-Roman tribal area called Demetia. This remote western region of Wales was never fully settled by the Romans and was difficult to defend from the constant bombardment of attacks coming from the sea so Magnus Maximus, Emperor of Britannia, shrewdly invited the Irish Deisi tribe to settle the region and to defend it on behalf of Rome. The Deisi claimed direct descent from the sun god Beli Mawr, who according to the early Welsh Christians was the spouse of Anna “The Prophetess”, who was said to be either the daughter of the Virgin Mary, a cousin of Mary or daughter of Joseph of Arimathea by his first wife. However the pagan population considered Beli Mawr to be the consort to the Welsh mother goddess Dôn who is one and the same as the Irish mother goddess Danu. The Deisi brought with them the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Irish pantheon which would eventually amalgamate with the native belief system. (read more...)
by Jan Billings
Painting has always been a passion for me. Colour and pattern are a constant in my work. The process of creating visual dynamics by playing one colour off against another has always intrigued me. I am constantly fascinated by the juxtaposition of colours from my first psychedelic designs in the 60s to the more muted tones I use at the moment.
At last, I feel with using silk and dyes, that I have found my ideal medium, where the transformative properies of colour, light and illumination are an integral part of my new work. Now my colours sing from the shimmering silk fabrics. (read more...)
by Tracey Jewel
As a child I always felt like the “outsider” not thinking I was the best at anything. I wasn’t the prettiest, the best at sports or the smartest. In fact I just sort of faded my way into the background. One of my nicknames was plain Jane (my middle name was Jane).
In my late teens I “blossomed” physically which attracted attention or the first time in my life! Spending so much time working on my outer sparkle, I still didn’t know who I really was inside. Over time and “growing up” with much soul searching, seminars and a few D& M visits to the psychologist’s couch I did learn to bloom from the inside out. I even changed my middle name from Jane to Jewel as my husband and I have a running narrative that I was a rough diamond in the dirt waiting to be discovered. Aren’t we all?
by Laura Gee
Times are hard, holidays are becoming shorter. The need then to find a place which, in a short space, will offer rest, relaxation, food for the body and for the spirit is pressing. We all hope for a special place that will furnish the balance of rest and stimulation, fun and interest to see us through the working year.
Of course everyone has different aspirations. Perhaps you’d like to see new places, enjoy blue skies and clear seas, would hope to eat healthy, tasty food and still find something more, something that will nourish the inner essence; away from the sameness of crowded resorts with their ubiquitous ‘global village’ approach? (read more...)
by Susun S Weed
"Everyone ought to have a little Mother around the house," grandmother Edith would frequently say. The Mother she meant is motherwort, a locally common weed and a treasured ally to women stressed by menopausal problems.
Grandmother Edith's love affair with motherwort began when her hot flashes knocked her out in the supermarket, continued as it mended her husband's heart, and grew and grew as her five daughters found relief from PMS and menstrual cramps, constipation and the crazies with the help of the little Mother, motherwort. (read more...)
by Mari Ziolkowski
Halloween, All Saints’, All Souls’ Day. Didn’t understand what all these days pushed together meant when I was growing up Catholic. Except for candy and trick or treating. That was the big thing. And carving pumpkins. . . .
The saints weren’t really anyone I could relate to. Too holy. Why they had a special day right next to Halloween was anyone’s guess. All souls too. ‘All’ was too large a number for me to contemplate.
And then you get too old for trick or treating, and Halloween just becomes a holiday for little kids. A reminder of fall, and the leaves changing colors . . . and occasionally a scary movie. In your twenties, maybe a costume party or two …. until you move to the border, and start traveling in Mexico. And run up against so many skulls on display this time of year. Skeletons playing the piano, skeletons dressed up for a wedding, skeletons reading a book, skeletons dancing . . . skeletons basically doing all the everyday things that people do. Mummy museums - dead people on display. Picnics in the graveyard with your dead relatives. A beautifully decorated sugar skull given to me as a gift. I was totally confused. What was all this fascination with death? (read more...)
By Georgina Sirett-Armstrong-Smith
The Blessings of Samhain
You feel you are up for it now! Confident, outgoing, optimistic, and enterprising. Even the work you are involved in is likely to receive increased recognition at this time. Take care - you tend to overlook details and make silly mistakes. So make a list! Your ability to express yourself confidently and openly wins you the respect and admiration of others. You can promote ideas and plans that you believe strongly in and surprisingly and you can win others over to your side. Dreams, wishes, and fantasies about love are strong now, and you may be infatuated with someone you meet at this month. You use charm, humour, and a light touch to get your point across now, and your great friendly attitude makes a favourable impression on others. It's party time! (read more...)
A novel by Clarise Samuels
Chapter 9: Gunnar’s Plan
The events occurring after Sigurd bid farewell that day have, unfortunately, become part of the legend for which I have been known throughout the ages. It is painful to recount this part of the story, for it is filled with conflict, woe, and misunderstandings. After taking leave of me, my sweetheart rejoined his crew and his stately ship, which had been docked for several days on the coast. From there Sigurd and his men set sail for Nibelungenland, the mythical realm located across the sea in Norway. Sigurd intended to remain true to the pledge of love and allegiance he had made to me at Isenstein, and I was uppermost in his thoughts throughout the voyage.
The distance of approximately six hundred nautical miles from Iceland to Norway took about five days in a ship relying mostly on sail power, but with good weather and favorable winds, the vessel could complete the journey in two or three days. Sigurd’s boat, a warship built for speed, was constructed of plain oak; the vessel displayed large square sails, but it also had auxiliary oar power operated through circular oar ports. There was a crew of thirty men. On the exterior, the sides of the ship were decorated with the circular shields used by the Norse warriors, painted in yellow and black. Regin’s nautical brilliance had allowed for the design of a ship well ahead of its time—Sigurd’s vessel included living quarters below deck and the construction of a special compartment for the transport of livestock, especially horses, which Sigurd used for his divine horse, Grani.