Patterns and Pilgrimages

Spiralling Steam and Smoke
Well I've had a bit of a weird week really - one of those weeks where nothing is quite going as I thought, plans get put on hold, leaving me trusting my intuition when it is telling me to expect the unexpected.
So there I was having a peaceful bath when I had an odd moment - to be fair I have plenty of them but this was a bit different. Unusually for me I had a leisurely bath in the morning and laid there watching the smoke from the candle mingle with the steam of the bath dancing in meandering spirals, different hues of grey, silver, blue, yellow and white glinting in the sunlight and in the glow of my candle. I remember the complete and total steamy silence and noticed the light seemed oddly yellow, it felt surreal and a little eerie, almost mystical. Straining to hear any sound of the outside world - the silence was broken by a cheerful trilling from a bird in the garden.

I didn't think much more of it for a while, I cherish pleasant and odd moments like that and then let them go, however that day I decided I wanted to identify the bird in the garden and knowing the usual suspects
Courtesy of
that would be found there I sat and listened to recorded bird song online to identify it, only I couldn't -none of them sounded quite right. Refusing to be defeated I listened to random bird song until I found it. 

To my surprise it was a Wren, something I would never have considered. As you can imagine I did a bit of research into it's symbolism. Wow. Wrens were and still are considered sacred by the Druids who considered them symbols of wisdom and divinity, so much so that they foretold events from their chirps and bird songs, and apprentice druids were revered if they saw one on the solitary travels as they were believed to have gained sacred inner knowledge as a reward for seeing such an elusive bird. Ok, so what was this wren doing in my back garden?
Spring Flowers

According to the Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore and The Occult Sciences Volume 2 by CL Daniels & CM Stevens; Wren Birdsong heard  'If from the south and not between you and the sun, you are going on a delightful pilgrimage' So not for the first time that was me told! 
Incidentally while looking for a picture of a wren for this, I chose the one above and  was blown away by it's source a blog called Bridget's Fire, how wonderfully appropriate! Read more on wrens and their mythology here: Wren Folklore.

So off I ambled into the week, looking for this delightful pilgrimage, not quite expecting thunder, lightning and fireworks or a massive illuminated neon sign saying 'Pilgrimage This Way' but maybe a few signposts hopefully along the way. I clearly didn't have the right sat nav code for this wonderful sacred journey...
Never mind, undeterred I curled up with my cats
Hellebore - A Natural Mandala
to read my new book about the life of Katherine of Aragon and took myself off to the newly returned local Mystical Forum where I discovered a whole new world I didn't know that I didn't know anything about  - Acupuncture - more than just needles and Mandalas - not just pretty patterns, but ancient spiritual sacred symbols of meditation and wisdom. Fabulous speakers, warm and knowledgeable, subjects entwining into to each other and opening doors of wonder and discovery - so much so that I came home and dreamed about mandala like kaleidoscopes!

Wood Carving Mandalas
Still no signposts for my pilgrimage jumping out of the hedgerow at me, we decided to take a quick trip out to the nearby Ightham Mote - another National Trust property local to us, no reason other than we wanted a bit of fresh air and a change of scenery, no planned hike to a remote ancient stone circle or a forgotten spring this weekend. Normally touristy stuff. Normal however was not the word for this impressive timber framed and moated manor house set in beautiful ground. We wandered around the gardens, me slowly realising that flowers are natural mandalas, as seen in this beautiful Hellebore above. All of a sudden I could see Mandalas everywhere, natural ones and man made ones like this wood paneling on a stair case. All depicting journeys and travels inside the mind. Pennies starting to drop slowly for me, not for the first time I was laughing gently at myself for having pretensions to a grand pilgrimage, when all along I have been walking it every day, simply, naturally - learning daily from my world around me. Settling back on my bench to listen to
A Reminder of My Own Pilgrimage
a talk from the lovely tour guide, my eyes wandered round the room taking in all the features of note, finally alighting on a simple posy across the room on an old settle. Wheat.... Of course it would be - a gentle timely signpost, just when I was no longer looking for one! Exploring the house further we found a simple plaque commemorating the former owner, an American Anglophile who had saved the house from demolition by purchasing it and  then left it to the people of Britain in his will. His epitaph reflected his English roots, his family having arrived in America on the Mayflower simply read - A Pilgrim Returned. Looks like we are all on a journey.

   Have a Blessed Week x x

Wrten references :


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