“Do not look at the sign!” I immediately looked, of course. “I said ‘do not’…” and then I’m standing open mouthed… Odin is a central figure in Doomsday and seems to be a bigger part of the hidden history of Albion than we had originally thought, with his story synthesising at the time many elements of the old ways and the new dispensation of Christianity. So to stumble on Odin’s mine quite by accident was always going to draw a goldfish reaction… especially after the gift of cattle in the morning.
This was just one of many such ‘coincidences’ where the trail we follow seems intent on reinforcing ideas. Of course you could say we simply notice more, or respond to the resonance of knowledge as we become more aware of the stories and symbols… it really doesn’t matter about the how and why and you can try and explain it however you like… when you are ‘in’ the story and seeing these things unfold as you go, it is a different matter… and you can pretty much guarantee you will stand there open mouthed.
We explored, of course, climbing past the wary and curious sheep to the cavern that opened into the earth, lit by shafts of dim light through fissures in the cliff. The place would make a perfect place for a ritual and we discussed ideas as we walked, letting the landscape design the ritual itself with it curves, hollows and passages.
We’d had a little time before we were to meet the third of our team so we took the backroads from Great Hucklow towards Stockport. The countryside here has a stark beauty as it moves from walled fields into the area called the High Peak. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is… it lifts my heart. A drive down those narrow lanes will inevitably have me squeaking, as my companion indulgently calls it, as hill and dale reveal themselves with every turning.
The road leads through rocky gorges and the pretty villages built with the stoicism of northern stone that seems not imposed upon but rooted in the land, yet doggedly determined to withstand whatever the world and weather might throw down as a gauntlet. These villages remind me of my great grandmothers… women who had a strength that was an echo of the land itself and which, in turn is shadowed in the stone; matrons of uncertain age who roll up their sleeves, don the paisley pinafore like armour and face the world with arms folded in challenge.
I don’t know the roads in this particular part of Derbyshire very well, but I was hoping they would lead into the Hope Valley and allow me another glimpse of the area and I wasn’t disappointed as the hills soared around us and we headed towards Castleton. This road leads through Wynnats Pass, if you know the way… signposts are minimal to discourage heavy traffic up the narrow road that replaced the old one over Mam Tor, the shivering mountain. The old corpse road ran this way, where bodies were carried to the churches, feet pointed away from home to prevent the spirits returning.
We knew where we were and still had plenty of time to spare… and the road to the right led up towards the base of the hills before, apparently, stopping. As it was in the fields that bound it that we had seen the hare it seemed only right to have a wander up there and see how high the road would take us. We parked at the end where the road gave way to a moorland track and got out of the car. You never know what you might find… and this time we found Odin’s Mine.