Dreaming Stones: Pause for thought?

With its new tyre, the car was flying south, but, after the marathon drive of the day before, we had decided that a brief stop every couple of hours, to stretch legs and refresh minds, would be a good idea. I had already driven over two thousand miles over the past few days and we still had a fair way to go, with yet another long drive to come the next day. Which is why, just after we crossed from Scotland into England, I pulled off the motorway, looking for a café.

Instead, we found a pub by a church in the pretty village of Crosby on Eden. We sat outside in the sunshine, supplied with a mug of instant coffee that nonetheless tasted like nectar to me and a pint of Guinness. The fact that the pub was called The Stag, after the encounter of the night before, was not lost on us either.

We watched a group of people coming towards the pub in dribs and drabs, almost all of them pausing to look over the wall of the churchyard down the street. We could tell we were back in England by the fact that the graveyard was part of the village, not apart from it… but, in some indefinable way, you could feel the difference. Perhaps it is the changing geology…the fault-line across the Borders… or maybe it is the difference in the stories of the two lands, so intimately linked, yet so far apart, but you can feel the change.

As we sat talking, a woman came over and sat at our table. She proceeded to talk, telling us all about the walk she was doing with a tour group, in great and unnecessary detail. While she was obviously and justifiably proud of the distance she had walked, it was not clear to us whether she was enjoying herself… and I am not sure she was any clearer on that herself. They were walking Hadrian’s Wall over the course of a week… just long sections of it, with hotels in between… but seeing the ‘best bits’ along the way.

We barely got a word in at all… it was rather odd. She seemed determined to deliver the entire story of her walk along the Wall… then, when she had done so, quite suddenly, got up and left us. Decidedly odd… but it settled where we were heading next.

But we were going nowhere until we had wandered down to the church to see exactly what everyone had been looking at. It wasn’t difficult to find… a corner of the churchyard had been made into a memorial garden for a young girl who was obviously much loved. Her headstone is beautiful… a dove of peace in a tree of life, with a simple heart carved on the back of the stone. Her passing is of fairly recent date, so, out of respect for her loved ones,  the photograph I took was from far enough away not to show her name.

The rest of the churchyard holds older graves… and, of course, a church. St John the Evangelist is a Victorian church of unusual design, though it is most interesting as the site of a Saxon church that still has a Norman font inside.  We tried the door, only to find it locked, so we walked around it, looking at details and regretting that we were unable to go inside. Some of the windows were rather unusual, bearing six pointed stars crafted from three dimensional cut glass, with most of the stained glass just small vignettes encased within a vesica.

The vesica is a symbol we have worked with before, notably in Dorset at one of our workshops, where it was used in combination with the hexagram, a six pointed star. The vesica is associated with the Divine Feminine…with which we had been working in various forms over the past few days… while the hexagram speaks of harmony and unity, ‘as above, so below’. Even though we took pictures of one of the windows from outside, we had no idea just how appropriate the images were going to be. We were still being led blindfold through the final day of our adventure.

Blithely unaware of what the rest of the day had in store for us, we headed back to the car. There was a nebulous sense of ‘something’ in the air, even though we had expected the adventures to be over and were supposed to be heading straight home. However, thanks to the strange woman at the Stag, we now knew that first, we were going to have to visit Hadrian’s Wall.

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.
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26 Responses to Dreaming Stones: Pause for thought?

  1. stevetanham says:

    Reblogged this on Sun in Gemini and commented:
    Sue and Stuart’s enormous journey crosses back into England…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. theresaly520 says:

    Interesting journey! It feels mysterious

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Joy Lennick says:

    That was a neat ending, Sue….What will you find at Hadrian’s Wall, apart from the wall itself, I mean? Could be a cliff hanger. x

    Liked by 3 people

  4. jenanita01 says:

    We love the idea that your journeys seem to evolve, Sue, often led by fate itself. It must be wonderful to simply follow your nose and go where it leads…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. V.M.Sang says:

    You certainly know how to leave a person on tenterhooks! Yet another cliffhanger.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I so enjoy the photo tours you offer us–beautiful, beautiful!! And oh I do hope I don’t behave like the woman you mentioned, going on and on to strangers about really nothing they care to hear about 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. noelleg44 says:

    Interesting observation about graveyards being part of a village. In New England, such placements can still be found in some smaller towns – but as the towns grow, the land becomes very valuable, so the residents of the graveyards are often moved. Plymouth, where we are now, still celebrates and cares for Burial Hill, where many Pilgrims are buried and Coles Hill, their first burial site, where bones were gathered and placed in a sarcophagus. Those early burials were unmarked because the leaders of the colony did not want the local Indian tribe (the Wampanoag) to know how many of them had died (MANY during the first winter.)
    Loved this post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I found it curious. In England, the graveyards my be near the end of a village and sunsequently swallowed by expansion, but most are within the village itself.In Scotland, they do seem to be kept at a distance.
      Interestingly, Coleshill is a village very close to Penn here 😉


  8. Widdershins says:

    You have quite a collection of people like that, who seem to linger long enough in this reality to get their message across and then off they go, to who knows where. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Of all the churches we have visited with you all since I came on board last year, this is my absolute favorite. It is full of strange things and made me wonder about them without making any progress as to what it was that drew me to them. The third photo down is particularly strange, for it is balanced on both sides in some parts, but in other areas, it seems very oddly uneven and I am trying to understand what it means. It is a church where I could spend a LOT of time I am sure, so I am thrilled that you got all these wonderful photos for us. The time spent on graves was somewhat a kind thing that we seldom see in these times in the US. Everything has lost that feeling of being personal for all those who perhaps attend the church. The architecture of the church and all the detail shots are incredible. I would have a difficult time leaving this place. It is so wonderful for the mind to encounter such beauty in a world that is becoming more and more deficient in peace and beauty and kindness for others. It is very, very different stylistically from anything I have seen in any of your posts about churches. Oh, I so long to someday come across the pond and be able to take in such things. The only issue I see is that I doubt seriously that I would want to return back to the U.S. again with such wonders surrounding me. Many of my relatives in the genealogy that has been done by family members seem to have come from England, but I am not quite certain what parts they came from. I just know that I have never been drawn to anything like I am to the places we have visited, you all in your auto and in the flesh, and me in my desk chair. Ah, if my mind could just put me into a place where I would love to go . . .


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