I believe it is truly important for Priest/esses of the Goddess to be working closely with Her sacred landscape, especially where they live. We need to awaken ourselves to Her energy all over the planet, not just (but as well as) at well-known sacred sites. Everywhere I choose to live, I will study the land that cradles me and listen to Her name on the winds.
View from our garden
This year I have lived in the Rhondda Valley in Wales. This is a Valley with a simple high street, a train station and park, a history of coal-mining and even an Iron Age Settlement on the upper levels. I do not know the people here, but I wonder if they know their Goddess? I don’t expect many people here to actually call Her Goddess, but I wonder if they look at the valley that surrounds them? Do they hear Her rivers and waterfalls? Do they know the local archaeology and their ancestors’ story?
We clambered up the mountain in the Spring and greeted Her mysterious Yew-Hag tree, with Her tiny mushroom-clad bark, mossy trunk and dewy leaves. We collected interesting flints and rocks, touched the rivers and we imagined the centaurs climbing up the tracks. I opened up my arms to Her views. I felt an undulating, swaying energy, like a serpent coiling amongst the dense rocks and packed earth, as the river that wiggles along the crevices of the southern valley-side. We climbed higher and higher until it was time to find a way down.Opening myself to Her views
We chose the pine woods, where we followed our intuition, and listened to the fear in our bellies as hail and rain spattered against us unprepared, and we took uncertain routes. The sites we saw were beyond photos. I recall a tall mossy, leafless tree, black bark against lush illuminated green foliage. Tall, ageless pines, soft ochre needles on the ground. I felt a powerful bear-like energy, drumming my heart beat and invoking courage. Wild Mountain Woman spoke: Follow your intuition, see with my eyes, and I will guide you home. There was a wildness there. A need to confront our fears. For to be wild, is to accept that there is discomfort, threats and dangers out there.
Each morning I look out of the window and I see the mist. I see fog wisping in and out of the pine trees on the valley-side. I see Her breath, breathing out from the earth and dampening my cheeks. As I walk to work, I greet the Heron on the river and Her mist is low and covers my body. If you drive out of the Valley, above it, a beautiful clear blue sky awaits you. She wraps Herself around You, damp, breathing, in Her fertile valley cleft.
Sights I see to and from work
Mist on a sunny day
I stood on top of the North valley-side and looked out in the gorgeous summer heat. Her voice rumbled through the grasses, the rocks and the distant trees, like horses stampeding together. I looked down the valley in the direction of our house. We live, snuggled into the dip between two valley slopes; I saw the thighs of Wild Mountain Woman and the pouring waterfall of Her womb at the top of the valley. Every moment She pours out Her fertile, loving waters upon our little town.
We gathered at the Hendre'r Mynydd Iron Age Settlement as the sun was setting. Wild Mountain Woman’s heathered hair rippled in the high breeze, and the spongy moss between the ancient stones acted as a pillow for our heads as we prayed to Her. I looked upon Her flowing waterfall and down towards our town and felt Her Age. This land was so old. I looked upon the landscape with the eyes of our ancestors who build their home upon this hill. So old…
The Iron Age Settlement and view of the waterfall
I have many other experiences that I could share from my time here. I can’t deny feeling guilty about leaving Her landscape to Priestess on another land that has countless other Priestesses serving there. Where are Wild Mountain Woman’s Priest/esses? Neverthless, whilst there will be those who will come to serve Her, She is necessarily in need. Just look at Her! She still runs wild in the hills; the heather protects the ancient stones; Her waters flow in the rivers and soak you in the very air; Her trees creak and sway; Her herons play in the water; Her nature is taking over discarded rubble, rubbish and ruins. But alas, not all is perfect, for who is helping to remove the rubbish that pollutes the Welsh rivers? Who is supporting the local communities?
What I can offer to those who will follow me to the valley is my experiences. I have seen Wild Mountain Woman as a Hag: As the damp Yew Tree, ancient and silent, hidden and revealed. I have seen Her as Wild Maiden, chasing me through the pine forests, stamping and banging Her drum, wearing bear skins. I have seen Her as the Lover, legs wide open and astride a stallion, riding upon the hills. And I have seen Her as Mother, pregnant in the land with heather in Her hair, nestling us in the valley, and still cradling the homes of our ancestors. This is her Wheel of the Year, the cycle of Her nature as the seasons wax and wane.
I speak a prayer to Her and to you: I pray that someone will read these words – or find
themselves hearing Her own words in Her landscape – and they will remember Her. There is so much
magic to find there. So much to learn about our Earth Mother and our ancestors. This is perhaps not a
job for me as I am called elsewhere at this time, but I am so blessed and thankful to have seen Her. How
blessed will be the one will who serve as Priest/ess of Wild Mountain Woman. Of Gwraig Mynydd