Sunday, 17 December 2006

Advent 3 - out among the hills

And there were shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping the watch by their flocks, at night.


Yesterday I was in some country I had not explored before and on a farm track under a blue sky I found myself in a position to see a line of great Dorset hills, which I know as Duncliffe, Melbury, Spread Eagle, Hambledon and Bulbarrow. It is a blessing, that comes from living in the countryside, to be able to sit and see all this.

Sat in my cottage facing south east with the silver ribbon of the swollen river below just glimpsed between the leafless tress and with small hills beyond and behind, I feel some kinship with others who have settled amongst hills. In Crete years ago, it felt familiar to stand at Knossos and view the 360 degree panorama of hills that sheltered the rise on which the palace was built.

In the museum at Heraklion, in a glass case surrounded by shells painted with bands of the sacred colours red and black, stood this lady, a priestess who facilitated her peoples' communion with the earth and the sky, in the way that seemed to them most proper and appropriate.

As a schoolgirl I had found her while leafing through a book in the school library and she had given me a sense of feminine power beyond the guilt and shame that then was appended to being female by a patriarchal society and common religion. Times and belief systems are, thankfully, beginning to change.

This is where she lived, where she was found 3,600years later, looking through the windows of the Antechamber to the Throne Room, to the hills beyond.


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