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Posts Tagged ‘Armorica’

Summer has arrived in Armorica! The air is shimmering with butterflies and iridescent dragonflies, contented bees hum a ground bass to the chorus of softly cooing wood-pigeons and exuberant newly fledged song birds, whilst in the meadows, grasshoppers, cicadas and crickets are dancing…And hidden deep within the forest canopy, the golden orioles pipe…
There is magic in the air. The fluttering, shivering leaves are calling to me…

So…this afternoon I followed the call into the forest.

I have a special place there, a secluded glade, inaccessible other than by a small track leading from behind my cider apple orchard. No other path leads there, no wanderer in the forest might stumble upon it by accident…
My path is made by the deer (red and roe), the wild boar, the foxes and the badgers, and latterly by me. It winds through oak and beech forest into this clearing, in the centre of which stands a single very old apple tree.
I follow the path… and stop, just before I enter the glade. I listen. Birdsong, softly rustling leaves…The outside world has gone. No distant rumble of a motorway, no grumbling drone of a plane, none of the white noise/human-debris buzz that you don’t even realise is there, until it’s not…

I move slowly forward. A cloud of butterflies wafts up around me as I walk, billowing up from the carpet of flowers.
Around the apple tree, the grass is flattened into round dents. The deer sleep here. Come softly to this glade in the evening and they’re here, dark eyed and timorous, accutely sensitive to humans.

No photo of this glade here…It’s a place that belongs to something not to be photographed…Something that touches the numinous…

I lie down in the cool grass and gaze up through the branches of the apple tree…Quert/Queirt…
If you’ve read any previous blogs, you will have seen mention of Quasnon/Couesnon, the Fairy Queen, whose domain is a rocky palace that looks down upon the forest. Q is an odd letter in the Celtic tongues. In the Irish Auraicept Na nEces, it’s commented that ‘where C stands before U it is Queirt that is to be written there’.

The letters CU together are a synonym for « warrior », as in Cuchulain. (from the word ‘cu’ meaning hound or wolf).

When you read the word warrior, ‘cu’, substitute Queirt. The apple tree is the spiritual warrior, a tree symbolising the sacrifice of the warrior/magician making the journey to the Otherworld and back. ( « The Spirit of the Greenwood. »..)…and for me, it is a connection to Quasnon/Couesnon.

I lie back…the leaves flutter softly…and far above a buzzard wheels and cries…The oriole pipes again…I blink beneath the shafts of light slanting down between the branches, dappling the forest floor…Something moves…Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glance…just behind a tree…I see a shadow, catch the dark, potent tang of a stag in the wind…I hear the softest of footfalls…

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Is there such a thing as an enchanted place?…A place touched by magic, where the veil between this world and the realm of the Spirits is gossamer thin? Have you ever been somewhere which feels different? Maybe you can’t put your finger on why this is, you just sense something…magical.
Or perhaps you’ve felt it not in a place, but in a time… the feeling you get as a small child on Christmas Eve, when the air is heavy with an almost tangible magic.
Or has it been in a book, in words which have transported you to a place that has felt more real than your mundane life?
Words, time, place… Three dimensions of magic.
This post is about the latter, the genius loci, the magic of the place. Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, the Pyramids, Glastonbury…Atlantis?…words that conjure up a frisson of memory, places where the veil is thin.
I live in one of these places. You may not have heard of it… It’s a place that shimmers with magic. In the coldest, greyest of days, the rain sweeps in across the rugged cliffs of Finistère, carrying the memories of the wild Atlantic reaches. In the balmy summer days, the forest shimmers beneath a haze of dragonflies and butterflies, the scent of rose and honeysuckle hangs lazily in the air.
My enchanted forest…

The Roman poet Lucan, writing in around 60AD, describes a numinous, magical forest, full of ominous happenings, in Gaul.

Armorica; a vast, primordial forest, in the far N/W of France; a land of enchantment, of magical fountains and mysterious lakes, standing stones and dolmens, of myths and legends, fairies, giants, sorcerors and druids. This is the home of Viviane, the enchantress, the Lady of the Lake, the realm of Merlin and Morgan le Fey…And of course, Asterix!

It is also my home.

Those of you of sceptical disposition will laugh…'”There is no such thing as dragons/fairies/spirits”…

I throw down the challenge! Follow this blog for one year and tell me at the end of that year whether you still think the same!

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My first blog post! Here goes……….

This blog will be about my books. And about writing. And about being a writer… or rather, my experience of being a writer. So…it’s actually about being a forest dwelling, Pan-loving, hermit-alchemist writer.
There will be dragons, and nature Spirits…Hedge hags and undines…Magic, spells, potions, fairytales, animals (lots of animals), trees (lots of trees)…and green/eco things, the deer rut, golden orioles, ley lines, stars…and more dragons…….

This is me. ↓

I was born in England in 1967. After graduating from Oxford University with a degree in Oriental Studies, I worked for a while in Europe and Asia, in noisy, crowded, bellicose cities, turning gold into more gold….Concrete and electromagnetic white noise instead of trees and the hum of bees…Striplights and chemical air freshener instead of sunlight and the scent of herbs…

I escaped!

I now live in the middle of the ancient and magical Armorican Forest in France, weaving stories, herding words, rescuing animals, growing giant vegetables, hunting the Green Lion and whispering to Dragons.

This is where I write…↓

These are some of my assistants…↓

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