For me one of the most exciting recent developments has been the discovery of new land by the river and the gradual emergence of a sacred mythic landscape. For decades much of the riverside land along the Afon Fachwen was overgrown with brambles and impenetrable. But over the last three years we’ve been slowly clearing it and a magical wonderland is emerging. The first place we made, following Angharad’s inspiration, was a Shrine to Modron, Mabon’s Great Mother. Then earlier this year we began building a Treehouse, or Tree Nest, between five trees. It’s a thing of beauty, set above three streams, amazingly the last place in Cae Mabon lit by the setting summer sun. The walls are clad with curved cedar shingles, making them look like dragon scales or owl feathers. In a moment of madness I imagined one day it will look like the ‘Face of God’!
Nearby is a great flat Stone for Standing On, a Platform for Proclamation. A Spring, emerging from beneath a huge boulder with a Pool, is dedicated to Maiden Goddesses – Goewin, Creirwy, Blodeuwedd, Olwen, Persephone… There’s a Faery Fort that overlooks the entire area; a Fire Pit with Seating facing the Tree Nest/Face of God; a Rope Swing and, long and staggeringly beautiful, Pepper Island. It is an area calling out for archetypal play, mythic theatre, sacred ritual and intimate nature ceremony.
At the end of the Open Week in August we had a ceremony to consecrate the Tree Nest. We did an invocation, a blessing, told a story and sang a song. But most remarkably the first person to perform in the Tree Nest was Helen Massey, an operatic soprano. To hear such a voice close up was extraordinary for all of us. I’d never have thought opening the Tree Nest with opera!
More recently we had a ‘Neuromagica’ group staying and dramatically retold the Taliesin story, using the still unfinished mythic landscape as a theatre set. We made prayers to the Great Mother; invoked the Maiden Goddess with poetry and saxophone; gave voice to Afagddu, Utter Darkness, Ceridwen’s piteous son. Around the cauldron John Crow sang his inspired Taliesin song then we had a literal chase through the elements with hound chasing hare across the earth, otter chasing salmon upstream, birds on a rope swing in the air, hen swallowing grain of wheat by the fire. As the ‘baby in the bag’ rocked on the Ocean of Soul, people offered snippets of song and poetry, wisdom for the gestating genius. Finally we heard a couple of songs representing Elffin’s dissolute ways then finished with Shining Brow’s first cosmic ‘I am’ poem.
It was a splendid sketch of what is possible. Feels like it could be the natural stage for much more – weddings, dramatic retellings of other mythic tales, picnics, children’s playground, who knows what else. For me, after years of hard slog building the Bunkhouse and Trem Eilio, it’s been a pleasure to play.