by Jan Foster-Bartlett
My church has many doors. I open my front door and I am there. I access my place of worship from the door of a shop, door of my car, door of my neighbours’ house, my friends’ house, even the dentist has a door that leads out into my huge and beautiful church.
There are no medieval tiles on the floor but soft damp turf, sometimes shingle, pavement or scrubland. My favourite flooring is the crumbly soil mixed with leaf mould. The roof of my church goes on and up forever, blue with exquisite patterns painted in white, cream and grey. It changes colour constantly. There are times when it is black and dark and then it is illuminated with an array of sparkling jewels.
Sometimes I look up to the ceiling of my church and I see droplets of water cascading down on me. They bounce and dance onto the floor and when they mix with the powdery soil it sends up a heavenly woody scent to my nostrils. There is no need for incense to be burnt in my church as it produces its own wondrous aromas. No need for blooms to be cut in their prime and arranged into vases, for they grow aplenty with faces smiling up to the warming light coming from above. They send out waves of perfumes so wherever I venture in my vast church their scent reaches my senses.
The choir stall is filled with an abundance of songsters. All different sizes and colour, all singing their own tunes. I love it when they put on their morning service, when my ears are blessed with the most magnificent sound of all. Wonderful bubbling notes of the blackbirds, harmonies of chirps and cheeps from the sparrows, cascading melodies from the thrush and the shriek of the pheasant, orchestrated with so many other birds to produce this delicious music.
The pillars, buttresses and steeples of my church are made of the best wood you can find. It hasn’t been hacked down, hammered and worked. It just stands in its glory all around, its leaves and arms dancing with delight in the breeze of the air conditioning of my church.
At harvest festival it is a glorious sight to see the members of the choir feeding on the bounty of fruit and berries that decorates my church. Other, behind-the-scene, creatures appear so they too can have their fill of food before the churchwarden turns off the heating for the winter season. This is a time of rest and reflection for some of the creatures, for others a time to venture to another part of the church and for some it is a time of hardship. There are still usually pickings to be had, seeds, berries and grain but it gives us all a chance to do all we can to help the feathered choir and keep them fed until the church has rested and is ready to produce again.
I still visit the church at this time even though it may chill me to the bone to enter, for even in its barren state I can still wonder in its beauty. It decorates itself stunningly at Yule time. White glistening frost on leaves of holly with its shiny red baubles. The snow sitting on branches, spreading out over the floor, which is now crisp and hard, cracking below with each step I take.
The air conditioning is now on full belt and the icy air fills my nostrils and hits the back of my throat. It is a time to wear hats and scarves when I visit my church and when I feel I must warm myself, I leave my church and enter my cosy house but I only have to look out of the window and my church is still there, all around me, above and below. I do so love my church.
Jan has always felt a strong connection with nature, Mother Earth and the universe and slowly realised that Paganism was the path she wished to follow. As a member of the Pagan Federation for over 20 years she enjoys the sharing of views of fellow pagans through Pagan Dawn magazine and also the Stonewylde community but prefers to honour the God and Goddess in a solitary way.
You can contact Jan via her ancestry research web page at www.jfbresearch.moonfruit.com.