Amulets, Charms & Totems

Talisman Reveries

Some places distinguish themselves,

first glance,

part curve & coastline roll,

nothing more,

still, slow

lift the veil

Rubha na Caillich

glimpse deeper,

feel texture, smooth unique forms,

practice geological crafts,

caressed ocean rise & fall

Bather

torso twist & turn,

with millennial restlessness,

some settle,

Congregations

in slumber,

life-form

aggregates,

flocks, herds, names & stories

Flocks and Herds

hover, rest, soar & plunge,

surge in your liminality,

 

flow land & sea

Cailleachs

sinuous figure,

washed & soothed,

rise paps,

taste cloud & rain

Sentinels

rest upon her

sanctuary

with gifts returned

Offerings

dive deep

 

seek

 

 

macabre collections,

 

 

offer chitin charms

share exoskeleton

amulets

Paint box  1.JPG

upon her flanks,

now she bares

palette pools

 

 

yellows,

browns

&

greens

 

mix & wash

Seascape

with cumulus brush

cyan coating

maritime hues

Recline

in time

we can drown,

 

draw down,

Submerge

wash & wave

Paps of Jura

escaping

solar bleached

realities

Enchantment

before

winters

first flurries

Feather Flight

with

gentle

poise

discover

new

totems

Totem


 

The distinctive point, Rubha na Caillich, is a weathered rock outcrop on the coast of the Kintyre peninsula.

To the north, the seascape soon leads to the Corryvreckan (Cauldron of The Plaid) Whirlpool,  where it has been said the Caillich washes her cloth at the end of Autumn and when cleaned becomes the white winter snow covering the land.

To the east, across the Sound of Jura, are the Paps of Jura (Beinn an Òir, Beinn Shiantaidh and Beinn a’ Chaolais)

Immediately, to the south of Rubha na Caillich, is Dun Cragach, where a small community dwelt beside the Caillich figure about 2000 years ago.  I am sure they would have recognised the distinctive form next to them and would in some way have incorporated her presence into their ceremonies and stories of the landscape they inhabited together.

They would have also interacted with the other birds and animals of the landscape, with perhaps different perspectives from today : how they understood, otter (or diving sea birds), who brought sea urchin and crab to eat on her flanks, leaving exoskeleton amulets, would be fascinating to explore further.

Travel south a further kilometer and you reach Carraig nam Bodach but that is another journey together.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Footprints Beneath The Sea

It was amazing to see the footprints which had been revealed by the sea.

Footprints beneath the seaThese are located on the north coast of England and are currently in the inter-tidal zone.  They probably date to over six thousand years ago, when the feet of people and animals sank into the upper surfaces of peat.  They were then sealed beneath sands for thousands of years when the coastline had retreated.  Now, these footprints are revealed daily by the action of the sea, they get covered by water during high tide and are exposed to the wind when the sea retreats: natural rhythms which will eventually scour theme away.  So it is perhaps no surprise they aren’t perfect in form…!

Ancient Peat on CoastlineOur landscapes have changed radically since the last Ice Age.  The water taken up to form ice sheets lowered the sea levels around the world, and where these massive ice sheets sat on land, their sheer weight pressed the ground down.  Since then the ground in Northern Britain has slowly been ‘springing’ back up, and shore lines have changed radically over this period.  Such changes are most strikingly evident, with the remarkable insights in recent years into the submerged landscapes around Britain’s coast, not least with the scientific work which has mapped ‘Doggerland‘: a low lying boggy landscape of river and lakes.  There was thus a time when you could walk across the lower ground between Britain and Northern Europe.

Such insights may cause us to think differently when we pause to contemplate a seascape: in many cases there may be the remains of ancient landscapes preserved beneath the water.

Contemplating SeascapesA location on the coast does, however, mean when such remains are present they are particularly vulnerable to damage through erosion.  Climate change may result in rising sea levels, and more frequent, higher energy, storms and waves, which is accelerating such processes of destruction.  This also now leaves difficult decisions about how we manage our coastlines, and what their character will be in the future: where can controlled retreat, such as the creation of salt marshes, take places; or where do we create hard edges to defend against the power of the seas?

Coastal DefencesIt also reminds us that for millennia people have, not only been transforming landscapes, but responding to the processes of change inherent in them.

A complex dance which sometimes reveals footprints in surprising places…