The photo for this week’s prompt was taken at the Silver Spring in Cerne Abbas, Dorset…where we were grateful to find cold, clear water in which to cool our burning skin and throats. We had gone there for the Giant… a hill figure carved into the chalk… and climbed the hill on the hottest day in memory… at noon and without even a thought of water. The ancient holy well that was our salvation is a place of legends and peace.
More wonderful entries this week. Thank you to everyone who took part. Please click on the links below to visit all the posts and leave a comment for the author! A new prompt will be published later today and I will reblog as many as I can through the week… but given the volume of entries we are getting now, that will not be all of them. All contributions will be featured in the round-up on Thursday.
The vagaries of WordPress mean that occasionally a pingback won’t get through. If you have written a piece for this week’s challenge and it does not appear below, please leave a link in the comments and I will add it to the list.
Come and join in!
Cheating a little this week… but we wrote this passage after visiting the Silver Spring…
Of Truth and Legend
‘The Silver Well: Legend says that St Augustine once visited Dorset. While there he met some shepherds grazing their flocks and asked them whether they would prefer beer or water to drink. The temperate shepherds replied ‘water’ whereupon St. Augustine struck the ground with his staff, crying, ‘Cerno El’ as the water gushed out. The words were supposedly a pun on Cernel, the old name of the village and meant ‘I perceive God.’
It is thought that the above legend was invented by the Benedictine monks of Cerne Abbey to serve as an attraction to pilgrims.
Closer to the truth perhaps is the story of St. Edwold, a member of the Mercian Royal Family who one day had a vision of a silver well. He went wandering through the countryside and when he came to Cerne he gave some silver pennies to a shepherd in return for bread and water. The shepherd then showed him a well where he could drink and St Edwold recognised it as the well of his vision. He built a small hermitage by the spring and lived there until his death in 871…’
-Information Plaque, Cerne Abbas
‘So how did they know?’
‘How did who know what?’
‘The Medieval artists responsible for the wall paintings at Broughton St Lawrence. How did they know about the weighing of the heart and the dismemberment of Osiris?’
‘The Underground Stream.’
‘What… it works like the Akashic Records, you mean?’
‘A little. The Underground Stream though implies a living repository of arcane knowledge. That’s one of the things about Mystery Schools. Their sources are mysterious. It isn’t too different from the symbolism contained in the Tarot cards which surfaced a lot later and to far greater effect, it has to be said. What’s really interesting is the moralistic spin that has been put on these ideas by the Church Fathers. It is easy for us to pick it and in large part dismiss it because we are now familiar with the original concepts and things in that respect have moved on. Much less so for the medieval peasant or merchant whose subconscious would respond to the kernel of truth presented in the image and whose mind would then perhaps be more easily swayed by the moralistic overlay.’
‘And it wasn’t just morality.’
‘All kinds of considerations.’
‘People have to live.’
‘Are the monks responsible for the Legend of Silver Well such villains if they tweak the truth in order to entice pilgrims to their shrine? People who have embarked on a Pilgrimage always get something, even if that something isn’t quite what they bargained for. And how true is the earlier story of St Edwold for that matter. There was doubtless a hermit and a hermitage at one time. How he actually came to be there is quite another matter.’
‘The Church was sort of like the medieval version of television.’
‘And the wall paintings?’
‘They were the advertisements.’
‘Roll up… Roll up… get your morality here…’
‘You shouldn’t mock Don, it’s not all that different to what actually happened when the priests started selling indulgences…’
Extract from The Heart of Albion ( Stuart France and Sue Vincent)
Many thanks to this weeks contributors: