Human home has not really ever felt safe. I’ve known and lived that for a long, long time. It is sometimes now in my new shared home. I say new but I have been here for over 10 years. More. On and off.
I’ve been wandering but always returning to this area, this geographical area. Lancashire has a long and steady line of radicals, Catholics and ne’er do wells. 400 years ago they tried and hung nine people from Pendle, mostly women, mostly poor, for witchcraft. The trail was (in)famous “The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster”. One of the witnesses was 9 year old Jennet Device who testified against her enraged mother. It set a precedent for the acceptance of the use of child witnesses in trials. Ironically, 22 years later a Jennet Device was herself arrested for witchcraft and probably died in Lancaster jail. They say it’s the witch’s curse, that if you leave Lancaster before 10 years are up, you will always keep coming back. And I do. I have.
I used to feel that I got “bored” in my home country. But really it was that I kept getting stung by it. Thatcher’s Britain upset me the most. Blair’s was not really that much better except slightly less out and out war on us (and now…there are no words). But by that time I was entering my career woman phase. It’s over now! For a long time I thought that I hated my country, but, in the words of Utah Phillips, I realise that I hated the way the country was run – in the words of Mark Twain, “Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.” The need to travel was the need to escape but you are only ever “a prisoner of the white lines on the freeway” as Joni Mitchell so eloquently put it. I used to hate that line fiercely, but now I see the truth in it. Travelling can be as restrictive as it can be expansive.
But now I realise that I was always earth bound, so always home. The sea soothed me in a way I only now begin to understand. (Hail Yemaya, mother of the waters) I now know that, racing over the earth’s surface, I was still earth bound. Sitting still enough occasionally for it all to catch up with me.
Now I sit stiller than I ever have and journey more than ever too. It took going away for so long to realise how English I am, how she runs in my tears, blood and piss. I lower myself into her earth. The places where we overlap, where we both are. My first discovered special place I return to again and again. A place where she holds me. And challenges me. A place of magic and metaphor. Of amazing happenings and learnings that just drop in my lap. I am coming home.
My ancestors pull me in. Sometimes I don’t want to go but I will. I will sit and be free and grow and learn. I honour them – those people who gave their lives so I could have one – my ancestors of tribe. Ancestors of blood more complicated but only the nearer ones. Ancestors of place strong, they flow in me. I discover witches and radicals, healers and wild women that howl on a full moon, that howl with the force of the blood that falls from us once every moontime. I am them, they are me. They are my home. I am home.
When the losing of things that are important feels too rapid I look for things that fill my spirit up. I ground by going to the wood, or by remembering that the seasons come and will always come. The day will turn to night to day. Take me to the special places. I can feel the peace descend in me as I approach. My breathing changes, slows, becomes more deliberate. I sing with the sounds from the stream, we create songs together. I cultivate my relationships with the spirit or spirits of my home. I feel something near at times. I offer them honour, these spirits of place.
Especially if I can see the moon. She holds me firm. I am drawn to her like a homing pigeon. I bathe in her light reflected from the sun. Ironically, knowing that her life is so long, and mine so short calms me. Holds me still… sometimes it is only the moon that will save me from myself…