Learning Curves

First Few Steps On  My Path...
Well the teenage Maiden is still lurking but at least I seem to have progressed from the one that is full of teenage angst about boys, nuclear war, spots and being taller than everyone else - at  5' 9" or 1.75 metres with awfully giant feet, size 8 - I felt like a giantess and not in a good way! I remember a stand off with one half of a pair of boots  - the only size 8 in stock I burst into tears (flipping hormones) and lost. The term Amazonian had yet to filter through to my ego along with any general understanding of my unique magnificence. Oh the Irony! I look back in awe now at the unstoppable energy, freedom, firmness of flesh and the whole world rolling ahead of me...
Anyway, enough of that Maiden, I think I've aged a bit and moved on to the Sixth Form now  - this one is feeling a bit more feisty, anarchistic, curious, eager to explore and ready to let themselves loose on the world! It was about this time that I first found and read The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries in between hiding it from my Mum it seemed so radical (she'd probably have loved it funnily enough) and started considering possibilities and concepts that had only previously flitted in and out of my conciousness in dreams and random thoughts. I was lucky to have some inspired teachers, 2 in particular - both
Rebel With A Cause
men, how they coped with a daily hormone flood at an all girls school, I'll never know, but they recognised the gifts we didn't yet realise we possessed. When stuck for an idea for my extended essay for English Literature A Level - something like 5000 words, my English teacher CJ (That's what we called him) suggested I wrote about Jane Austen as a feminist writer, after nearly wetting 
myself laughing I realised he was serious and went back for a second read. I came away with a B so I must have done something right! Odd that a male teacher and a long dead writer of romantic fiction taught me so much about more subtle threads of feminism. My other super teacher was the fabulous Mr Leighton, a left wing, radical tough talking Sociology teacher who taught us to question, to ask and to come to our own conclusions, always telling us that if we could back it up with intelligent theory we had a good argument. When we left he gave us all iconic postcard, mine as you can see is of Karl Marx superimposed on Marlon Brando as Johnny In The Wild One. On the back he'd written 'Find Your Cause'.... it took me a while Sir, but thank you! One of my treasures still, 27 years later. These days he'd probably get a disciplinary for handing out pictures of male role models to girls, or getting taken to the pub by a large gang of girls as a leaving do, we did that too!

Map Of The Caves
Not necessarily a link to Ker in any way shape or form, but these years were clearly shaping my particular awesome tangled double helix of DNA as it began to take shape and steered, lurched and crawled at times towards my path.
To indulge my Inner Maiden a little more, I finished off the week doing something I wanted to do for Mother's Day, my last little kick of teenage selfishness. Well after checking with Mum that we could do our Mother's Day stuff in the evening that is! I spent the morning and lunchtime with my lovely friends at North West Kent Pagan Green Circle, first at a moot and then a spooky and thrilling exploration of Chislehurst Caves with our own very special guide, exactly the sort of thing I relished doing late at night with like minded
Being Watched?
friends and fellow crazies in my youth! The caves are actually chalk mines that date back over 2500 years, with Druid, Saxon and Roman artefacts found in different areas, which were used to date and chart the excavation of the site. 22 miles of underground tunnels, that was once a temporary home to 15000 local people as an air raid shelter during the second world war, is bound to have it's fair share of ghost stories and tall tales.  I won't lie it's pitch black down there, you need to carry oil lamps round and it's definitely eerie, I'd have been terrified if we'd got lost or the lamps went out!  I knew of it's spooky reputation so made sure I grounded thoroughly before I left home. It certainly felt that someone was watching us all the way round, especially when you're the last one in the line and you can hear whispered conversation, something the guide said he often heard too when I spoke to him later! Cue some strategic elbowing to the front of the line... Judging by this photo we certainly weren't alone.  Don't be fooled by the apparent light in this photo, it's a pretty impressive flash!

Wall Carving

A local artist got permission about 20 years ago to create a wall carving to reflect her view of the Pagan aspect of the caves use throughout the years, it must have taken her ages - rather her than me that's for sure! Despite the feeling of being watched, hearing snatched conversations in empty chambers,  the terrifying blackness and total and utter reliance of trust in the tour guide, who took us on a fabulous hour and a half walk round this labyrinth, it was amazing! I could almost feel the arrogance and fearlessness of those teenage years, the utter conviction that we are forever young if not practically immortal as I bravely stopped and lingered in empty chambers and explored corridors, albeit with a companion, my ears on alert for strange noises and eyes straining, almost willing movement and dark shadows to appear. That and the fact that I knew I was surrounded by a bubble of light and safety, protected in my own little Goddess cocoon with
I Told You It Was Dark In There!
my fiesty Maiden.... 


Anyway clearly I have lived to tell the tale and survived to take a delicious Mother's Day afternoon tea up to my lovely Mum and spend some time with my precious children there too. A lovely family tea and evening that turned into a spirited political debate about the EU referendum and politics in general started by Mum and my son, who said I was giving up this fiery Maiden  energy just yet - she was thoroughly enjoying  herself after all she had Mum, Me and Sophie to energise and stir up!

Have A Blessed and Fearless Week x x 

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