Friday, 7 September 2007
This, the second in our occasional series of interviews with personalities within the esoteric scene takes us to meet one of the countries foremost "Magical Artists". Dave Hunt is the man with the questions.
Dave: When and how did you become involved in the esoteric?
Chesca: I was always mystically minded, but a deeper interest started about 10 years ago. Three specific occasions come to mind.
1. When I moved to Kings Cross and started having visions of a huge green and gold Goddess called Elen, standing over St Pancras old church. I spent years trying to understand what or who I had seen, whilst researching the lost mythology of London, some of which is written up in the book I edited "Legendary London" and in my booklet "Mysterious Kings Cross".
2. Whilst I was still living in Lancaster, I took a book out of the Library called "The Silbury Treasure" by Michael Dames. I can honestly say that book changed my life, not only did I rush down to Avebury and Silbury but it changed my way of looking at nature. I seemed to be able to tap into a sort of memory at some ancient places and interact with them, now in the present. Sometimes I see places with a sort of x-ray history, seeing who or what had been "worshipped" there in prehistoric times and how succeeding cultures changes and adapted their "worship" depending on their cultural belief system.
3. The third early influence for me was hearing about the Green Stone saga from Andrew Collins. I learned a lot from him, about the interaction between the physical world and the psychic.
Dave: What are your personal beliefs?
Chesca: I don't really know how to answer this. I am not a fundamentalist, meaning I don't have a rigid belief system. Having explored many aspects of the mysteries, I believe part of my purpose is to rediscover and make public the very ancient "green" mythologies, updating their relevance, so new people can meditate and contact ancient spirits of the land in order to empower woodland and nature.
Dave: From where do you derive inspiration for your art?
Chesca: The inspiration for my artwork comes from sacred places and my psychic or imaginative contact with the spirits of the land.
Dave: Did you have any formal training?
Chesca: I trained at Edinburgh in art history and print making.
Dave: Who are your favourite artists?
Chesca: My favourite artists are the so-called British Mystical landscape tradition, William Blake, Samuel Palmer, Turner. I also like 18th century prints of ancient sites and hand coloured natural history prints.
Dave: What are your artistic aspirations?
Chesca: I can only think of a couple of years at a time. At the moment I am working on the Green Wood Tarot with Mark Ryan. Redesigning and restructuring the tarot system to be based on the wheel of the year. My dream is to be a "site guardian" of a small woodland and spring, and to be caretaker on all levels, of the natural history and ecology, and to make sure the spirits of the place are strong and happy.
Dave: What are your views on the future of the British Pagan movement?
Chesca: I really don't know where the British pagan movement will go in the future. I would like to see less emphasis placed on individual experience, personal development and satisfaction. The land is in crisis and I feel that Pagans should take far more magical responsibility for the effects of their rites on the land. I think that some pagans are destroying ancient sites because they presume that any pagan rituals are good for them., but actually if the beings they call on do not belong to the place, or know the place, it can unbalance the energies. I think people are draining sacred places of their power by not feeding that power back to them!
Artwork by Chesca Potter, as submitted for the original interview. Questions by Dave Hunt.
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
In the spring of 2050 BC, a huge oak tree was felled and its stump upturned and half-buried on a site near to what is now Holme-next-the-Sea in Norfolk. The following year, a number of smaller oaks were felled and cut into 56 posts, which were arranged in a circle around the central stump. The Bronze-Age monument, said by some modern archaeologists to be among the most exciting ever discovered, may have formed some kind of religious site, associated with special astronomical significance.
Both the circle and the people who built it were long forgotten before the land on which it stood became submerged by the sea. Its existence had vanished even from folk memory until, almost 4,000 years after its construction, the shifting sands off the East Anglian coast moved again to reveal its presence. The ancient site quickly became known as Sea Henge, and was soon to become very controversial, as English Heritage decided that they were going to remove it and conserve it miles away from its location. Druids and Pagans quickly organised sit-in protests against English Heritage's decision, and a bitter war of words raged right up to the point of removal.
Agreement was eventually reached over the future of the 'henge' and, in the summer of 1999, it was finally recorded and removed to the Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre, near Peterborough. There, as well as being preserved, the ancient timbers were subjected to detailed tree-ring dating. It was from these that a precise date was arrived at for the felling of the trees that make up the Sea Henge circle. The tree rings gave three possible dates, which were narrowed down to just one – 2050 BC – after comparisons with a series of carbon dating tests. The time of year – between April and June – was obtained by an examination of the final growth ring of the main stump, which showed that the tree had been felled in the spring. For further information on the area and Sea Henge visit: http://www.northcoastal.freeserve.co.uk/henge.htm
SEA HENGE RETURNS
The newly refurbished Kings Lynn museum will be the permanent home of the iconic sea henge monument. All the timbers have undergone specialist conservation at the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth. Work has included immersing the timbers in a liquid wax solution, which replaced the water and supported the cell structure. The timbers were then freeze-dried to remove any remaining water. The display is set to be completed and open to the public at Easter 2008.
STRANGE DAYS SURROUNDING THE SEA HENGE DEBACLE
A report by Jane Cook
During the Sea henge debacle I was living in Suffolk so I could follow events on the local news that probably never reached the rest of the country. Although I couldn't go to Holme, I managed to contact an elderly gentleman who had lived in the area all his 90 odd years. He said the stumps had been successively covered and uncovered by the sea and sand for as long as he could remember and they had not been significantly worn away. He was furious at what he saw as the interference of English Heritage, insisting the Henge was part of the area and should stay there.
I then contacted English Heritage and put to them that, once removed from their original site, the timbers became nothing but that: lumps of wood. I tried to explain the significance of the placing of such items; the fact that it was done as a form of "earth acupuncture" to modify energy lines in particular places, often in order to avoid undesirable effects. I was met with a response that was little short of abusive. The removal of the timbers went ahead, and they were taken to the Flag Fen Centre in order to undergo archaeological conservation.
Over the following months several news items appeared which I doubt many but myself connected with Sea henge. However, I have never believed in coincidences, and the location of a succession of freak accidents in that area seemed to me significant. One such was the disappearance to two highly experienced sailors - life boat men - who were delivering a boat they had built. They had left in calm weather to travel a few miles along the coast but they never arrived.
The ultimate bizarre event was when the Flag Fen Centre burned down, during January 2000, leaving undamaged only the building that housed the tanks containing the Sea henge timbers. Despite a thorough investigation, a cause for the fire could not be established.
Last week I saw on the news that the Sea henge timbers are finally going on display. What a pointless exercise! Even leaving aside the spate of accidents, surely the resources of English Heritage could have been far better spent.
What do you think? Please let us know.
Thursday, 12 July 2007
An aerial view of the 4000 year old 'Rotherwas Ribbon'
Diggers constructing a new access road have uncovered a mysterious serpent-shaped feature, dating from the early bronze age.
The 197ft (60m) long ribbon of stones, found in Rotherwas, near Hereford, is thought to date from the same period as Stonehenge, roughly 2000 BC.
County archaeologist Dr Keith Ray said as far as he is aware the stone feature is unique in Europe.
"We can only speculate it may have been used in some kind of ritual," he said.
The Rotherwas Ribbon, as it is being called, is made up of a series of deliberately fire-cracked stones and appears to have been deliberately sculptured to undulate through the whole of its length that has so far been uncovered.
"This is an exciting find, not just for Herefordshire and the UK, but apparently, so far, unique in Europe. It has international significance," Dr Ray said.
Archaeologists said although the practice of laying stones in small level pavements is known at sites in Pembrokeshire and elsewhere, the closest parallel to the Rotherwas Ribbon is the "Great Serpent Mound", in Ohio, USA, which is thought to have been built between 200 BC and 400 AD.
The Serpent Mound is a 1,330ft (405m) long effigy of a serpent.
Source: BBC NewsThe above was reported earlier this month and once again raises some important questions about road building, archaeology and our national heritage. This find surely has to be one of the most important recent finds in Britain? So what are they going to do? Bury it! Please visit the links below to help save this important site.Click here to sign the online petition now. http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/rotherwas/
Rotherwas Serpent campaign website http://www.rotherwasribbon.com