Bare winter fingers Unveil the treasure hidden  By summer's mantle

This picture was taken in early spring last year, just as the world began to warm itself in the pale sunlight. The place was Pilton, a little village near Glastonbury with a legendary history as big as a heart. It is here, the stories tell us, that Joseph of Arimathea landed on a trading visit to the Isles of Tin, bringing with him a boy… his nephew, say some… whose name was Jesus.

None know the truth of that story, though historically it is possible. There is ample evidence for the trade and it is not the only such legend in Albion. It gives credence to the other legend of Joseph that says that after the crucifixion, he brought the story of the resurrection to these Isles, landing, once again, in the shadow of the Tor… bringing word and a Vessel to Avalon.

I hover between a natural scepticism and a desire to accept. So many of the most ancient tales were bent to serve Christianity in its early days, turning the sacred knowledge of the old gods into the hagiographies of fictitious saints or tying their miracles to the hills of the Fae and the healing wells of the goddess, robbing them of their true lineage. I am not a Christian in the orthodox sense; I belong to no church but serve what I conceive of being perhaps better termed the Cosmic Christ. Yet I am also a child of these Isles and rooted in the land, and there is a warmth and simplicity in these old tales of the Child whose feet walked these blessed shores that makes me choose to believe that there is something in them; something that speaks to the heart rather than to the logical mind. As such, perhaps subjective truth is a matter of choice or faith.

Looking down the valley in the photograph towards the Tor, you can trace the ancient waterway, now no more than a stream, that once brought ships to safe harbour at Pilton. The channel remains, deep and wide and the eye of the mind can trace the outlines of moorings and see the bustle of a small trading port. Seeing the land open itself in this way somehow permits belief.

The trees were bare of everything but the balls of mistletoe that would soon be hidden by exuberant spring. The brilliant young green would cover them, hiding from view the ancient orbs, sacred to those who walked the earth long before Christianity reached our shores. The mistletoe lives upon the branches, its seeds rooting and drawing sustenance and life from roots other than its own so that it may flower, fruit and set future seeds, colonising the trees. Not unlike the story that was brought to these shores so long ago.

The mistletoe is hidden for most of the year, covered by the leaves of its host. You only get occasional glimpses of its presence… and only if you are looking. Yet, when the world is bleak and cold and the branches raise skeletal fingers to the sun, it is there… a plant that has been sacred since time immemorial, and which has come to be a symbol of peace.

Here too I find an echo of a faith that is seldom broadcast, perhaps, but which is there in the darkest of times. It does not belong to any particular denomination or religion…it may not even have a name… it is the faith of the heart that turns towards something greater when the shadows fall. In those moments seeds are planted in the soul that may find a place to grow. It does not need logic, facts or explanations. It does not need dogma or teachings… those are for the exoteric world. The heart knows no logic and faith is not rooted in religion… it is an unruly and invasive tendril that winds through the soul. And when it is free to grow wild, then it is beautiful.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in Ancient sites, Glastonbury, Heart of Albion, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Mistletoe

  1. Mary Smith says:

    This was a lovely post to read just before I go to bed.


  2. Marcia says:

    Beautifully written, Sue, and a real window into your heart. And just look at all that mistletoe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marcia says:

      Didn’t mean to hit post quite yet. Was wanting to ask if you ever imagined it growing in Florida? We have it in our oaks in my front yard. It’s very common here, surprisingly.


  3. Olga says:

    This piece really hit a chord in me. I reblogged it if that’s ok.


  4. Laurie Keim says:

    Very beautiful prose poem complemented by an image that illustrated wonderfully the link with the land.


  5. Eliza Waters says:

    “faith is not rooted in religion…” LOVE that! 🙂


  6. Beautiful. This one struck a chord and resonated with me. Thank you.


  7. jenanita01 says:

    I really should be living in the west country, so many special places. I have visited most of them in my time, so why am I not there?
    And you are right about the mistletoe. Most people dismiss it as just another parasite, but they just don’t understand how special it is.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      And I should be in the north :)One of these days, perhaps.
      Mistletoe is such a part of our sacred history. A shame it is now seen as little more than a shadow of its former self by the mohority of folks.


  8. Ali Isaac says:

    I’d love to see mistletoe… Did you get any close up pics?

    I really like what you wrote in the last few lines. It struck a chord and describes me very well. I’m so glad to read someone else has put it into words..


  9. One of my grandmothers was born in Pilton and my Mum still has relatives there. That was a lovely post 🙂


  10. Anonymous says:

    As i just finish reading this,felt myself heave a huge sigh of deep thought and could say nothing but,the words “Sue Vincent” flowed out of my lips,coming from deep within me.I know I did not consciously mean to pronounce that vowel sound,or is it Name,or Mantra?Some One,some Thing inside did it.I will cherish this moment and remember it for a very long time,thats if i will ever forget it.Mercie tres bien et infinement mon tres bonne amie.Bonsoir,bonne nuit et des beaus reves.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      Your name is not attached to your comment, though I am fairly sure I know to whom I say thank you! Et dans ce cas-là, je te dis merci, mon ami, et je te souhaite une belle soirée.


  11. Well, I’ve learned something new about mistletoe reading this. I never knew where it grew before, Sue. I’ve heard the stories about Jesus traveling with his uncle. It’s told he traveled to India also. This was suce a well-written and interesting piece. I enjoyed it. 🙂


    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you. There are tales of his travels through many lands and as the Bible says little of his youth, it would not be surprising that he travelled with an uncle learning a trade after all.


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