One of our clients booked a Wisewoman Walk with Cassandra and I. It is one aspect of our work where we could see someone in person but still maintain social distance. This current situation we have with Covid 19, the lockdown and social distancing has changed all our lives, particularly with our occupations.
We had to make some alterations to our walks, as we usually invite our clients to Cassandra’s cottage first and discuss whether or not they have any preferences for visiting sites in the area. If not, we choose them ourselves. As the cottage is so small, we would be unable to maintain the correct distance, so we arranged to meet our client at the car park of the Merry Maidens. We were also blessed with sunny weather which turned out to be much warmer than the forecast predicted.
These monuments are fascinating, particularly when they have an entrance leading deep into the ground. There is a strong sense of being observed from the darkness beneath…
We also observed two buzzards hunting for prey and they were still visible from each site we visited.
We passed the Merry Maidens stone circle to visit The Pipers standing stones. In order to avoid the hazardous bend in the road while walking, Cassandra led us through the fields.
We emerged from the fields and appeared further down the road where Cassandra brought our attention to a hawthorn bush and a blackthorn side by side. The differences between the two are more obvious when they are adjacent to one another.
We were unable to open a gate to the field that lead to the Piper’s stones but this did not deter Cassandra who proved that even now, at 70 years old, she can still climb over it.
The standing stones have a regal presence about them, with a tall and proud presence on the landscape.
The second stone leans to one side and we discussed how deep the base would need to be within the ground to stop it from toppling. Cassandra thought it would need to be at least a third of its length in order to keep it secure.
After this, it was back over the stile to make our way back to the Merry Maidens.
The Merry Maidens stone circle is a beautiful creation, surrounded by our local landscape and easy to find being situated close to the road.
Each stone within the circle has a different energy (in my experience of working with them). The grass surrounding the area is parched due to the hot weather and lack of rainfall.
On our way back to St Buryan, we stopped at Boskenna Stone Cross. It is one of our larger stone crosses that stands proudly at the edge of a three-way crossroads near the village.
We went on to Alsia Well from here, walking through a field of vibrant yellow buttercups. So many flowers this year have noticeably vivid colours and the following photograph does not do them justice!
The vegetation is seriously overgrown at Alsia Holy Well. , what with the lockdown and the area to the well being so small, social distancing is quite difficult. It was obvious there had been no visitors to the site for some time and we took turns to spend a little time visiting the well. Our client stated it was the most calm, peaceful energy she had experienced at a site.
From there we returned to our wonderful village of St Buryan. Cassandra explained the history of the Market Stone Cross that stands outside the gates of the village church.
There are some impressive stone monuments within the graveyard, we spent some time studying those as the moody black clouds crept across the blue sky, but fortunately it did not rain.
This is where our first ‘social distance’ Wisewoman Walk ended as we could not return to the cottage for a drink and a chat as we usually would. It was a wonderful experience to get out on the land again and work with a client in person after nearly 3 months of lockdown. It is certainly a different way of working now but still as enjoyable! Stay healthy and safe wherever you are and we will see you soon!
Feedback: “A fabulous wise women walk on a humid day in June. Cassandra and Laetitia are very knowledgable and work very well together in what they do. A wise women walk incorporates visits to local historic sites and knowledge of the hedgerows. Highly recommended.” N.G.
Sunday was a day of fierce winds and rain, but fortunately the August Bank Holiday Monday brought calmer and drier weather for our Wise Woman walk.
Two energetic and enthusiastic young men had journeyed from Chicago U.S. to spend a week in Cornwall. They had visited Glastonbury before continuing their journey here. They spent some time in Boscastle and Tintagel and were fascinated by the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic and St Nectan’s Waterfall at Rocky Valley Tintagel.
Jason had previously purchased Cassandra’s book and stated he was ‘beyond excited’ to meet her and experience one of our walks.
We usually invite our clients to Cassandra’s cottage and discuss the locations they wish to visit. Jason had a particular interest in the Logan Stone, so Cassandra decided that Zennor Hill would be the site to visit. Its an energetic climb to the top of Zennor Hill but Jason and Arkie were in their 20s, full of energy and therefore prepared for a challenge.
As we walked towards the hill Cassandra asked them if they would like to visit Zennor Quoit first. The vegetation on the moorland had grown considerably and in some areas it was chest height for the vertically challenged. We had given Jason and Arkie prior warning about the possibility of being ‘Piskie led’ and the path to the Quoit was particularly complicated with copious amounts of gorse and it was no surprise that on this occasion it occurred. Jason and Arkie were both delighted to have experienced this.
We eventually discovered the right path to Zennor Quoit, Jason and Arkie were intrigued by the formation of the stones and how one can climb inside to enter the heart of it for meditation and ritual purposes.
Here is information about the site:
The remains of this hillside Neolithic chambered portal tomb are quite difficult to find, but can be reached via a footpath from the B3306. The capstone which is over 5 metres long and weighs over 10 tons has collapsed and all traces of the mound which would have covered the tomb has disappeared although much surrounding cairn material was recorded by William Borlase the vicar of Zennor in 1769. It is Borlase we have to thank for the continuing existence of Zennor Quoit as he once paid off a local farmer the sum of 5 shillings to stop him dismantling the tomb to build a cow shed. It is unclear whether it was the farmers attempt at remodeling or the ‘excavation’ of the tomb with explosives in the 19th century that caused the capstone to fall. At various times cremated bones, a whetstone, flints and Neolithic pottery have been found within the chamber, while the 5 small upright stones just beyond the tomb are thought to be part of the aborted cowshed.
The site may look to be in a sad state of disrepair, especially on a wet, windy day, but this could be said to add to its beauty and melancholy, and it is still well worth a visit. Like many other sites legend says it was built by a giant, hence its other name of Giants Quoit and also that the stones are unmovable, or if they are moved they will return to the hillside on their own. Nearby, the church at Zennor contains a 15th century bench-end carved into the shape of a mermaid that is claimed to have visited the village and fallen in love with the churchwarden’s son. The two of them are then said to have returned to the sea, where the unfortunate lad can still be heard singing beneath the waves. stone-circles.org
Cassandra and I sat with Jason and Arkie by the stones and she related the history of the site. We also discussed the variety of Fae folk and their roles within Cornish folklore. The young men were well prepared with notepads and wrote down all the information.
After a while, we continued our walk to Zennor Hill. Jason and Arkie were fascinated by the house nearby where some say Alastair Crowley had worked magically there. Zennor HiIl is a powerful site so it would indeed be an ideal place to work in that way.
At the top of Zennor Hill we reached the Logan Stone. Cassandra instructed Jason on where to place his feet and the correct way to move the stone.
Here is some information on the site:
This extraordinary set of stone outcrops holds many unusual features, from rock basins to zoomorphic forms – deep fissures, runnels, voids, chamber-like enclosures and holed stones, that it would be difficult not to believe that it would have held an important place in pre-historic cosmologies. Some rock formations are uncannily like the quoits that occupy the flat land between zennor hill, carn zennor and sperris croft.
Tilley observes in an archaeology of supernatural places. ‘slabs that have toppled from the top of the rock stacks… rest horizontally or vertically against their sides, creating slanting roofed chambers large enough to enter and walk through.’ the proximity of Zennor and Sperris quoits raises the possibility that these dramatic rock formations were deliberately mimicked by the builders of these early monuments.
Tllley again ‘The tors were not only their source of inspiration, but they were constructed in the form of tors. In elevating large stones, these people were emulating the work of a super-ancestral past. Furthermore, the stones from which they were built were taken from the tors. The dolmens, in effect, were the tors dismantled and put back together again to resemble their original form. Once constructed, they could themselves be tors, something emphasized by the landscape setting of some of them on hills that lacked tors.’ Megalithic Sites
After their exploration of the site, we visited Zennor village so that they could see the church and explained the legend of the Zennor Mermaid.
The following information is about the church:
The church of St Senara in the small Cornish village of Zennor is one of the historic delights of the St Ives area. The present church dates to the 12th century, but it is thought to stand on the site of a cell founded by the 6th century saint, Senara, whose name has been altered over the centuries to become ‘Zennor’.
Senara may have been a Breton princess named Asenora, a devout Christian, who was married to a king named Goello. When Senara became pregnant the king’s mother falsely accused here of infidelity, and the king cast into the sea. According to the tale, she was put in a barrel, which was then nailed shut and allowed to drift on the waves. The barrel drifted to Ireland, and she was rescued by an angel. after her son, Budoc, had grown, they both set out to convert the natives to Christianity.
Alternative versions of the story say that she was washed up at Zennor, where she founded a church, before continuing on to Ireland, or that she came ashore in Ireland, and only later visited Cornwall and founded a church here. In either event, her husband heard of her good work and invited her to return to Brittany as his queen, and named her son as his heir. Alternatively, the church may have been founded by Irish or Breton missionaries and simply dedicated to Senara. The churchyard follows the oval outline of an Iron Age enclosure, which itself is built atop earlier Stone Age and Bronze Age field boundaries. Britain Express
We also visited the Tinners Arms for a well deserved drink.
It was a pleasure to spend the afternoon with Jason and Arkie, their energy, enthusiasm and hunger for knowledge of the Old Ways is heartening to see in younger folk. We are pleased they enjoyed their time in Cornwall and we are sure that it wont be the last we see of them.
Our afternoon walks were varied this year. Clients come to see the popular sacred sites, but as each person is unique with varied reasons for their choices. visiting the same site each afternoon would bring something new.
This year we met a group of people from the U.S. They experienced a walk with Cassandra a few years ago and were eager to see her again. We visited Boscawen-un stone circle and Men an Tol. The weather was a mix of sunshine and showers, but they were well equipped.
I do not tire of hearing the folklore of each site as repetition helps the information to stay with you. Some clients bring us small gifts and we are touched by their heartfelt gestures.
A young man also visited us from the U.S and attended one of our workshops before his walk. We took him to Merry Maidens, Sancreed Holy Well and Carn Euny where he took the opportunity to bless an important item he carried.
A lady also visited from the U.S. requesting that Cassandra sign her book and wanted to spend time with her on a walk. Her husband bought this as a honeymoon present for her as they had been Hand-fasted at Stonehenge a few days previously.
We would love to meet you also and take you on a spiritual journey to the beautiful local sites. Come and spend time with us!