The four elements

Some places are timeless.

Untouched by the ravages of modernity, they remain outside the normal order of things. Entering these spaces opens something primal within us; something we recognise, yet find impossible to adequately describe. Whether ancestral memory, a touchstone with nature, or simply a moment of peace far from the busy-ness of life, there is something beyond the everyday that makes us return time and time again.

There is an ancient fort a fifteen minute walk from the house. The first time you visit, it appears an impossible place to reach. It seems island like, cliffs plunge to the sea on all sides, and, even when quite close, it appears separate and distinct from the ground you are walking on. Something magical occurs, however, in the last few steps on the path. A narrow ismuth, completely invisible till the last moment, appears. Barely a couple of feet wide, it offers the only access to the otherwise inaccessible chunk of rock upon which the fort sits.

There is little to see. Indeed, if not for the early editions of Ordnance Survey maps, it would be impossible to know that there was a fort there at all. The annotation has dropped off modern maps, and it is likely that most locals are unaware that such an ancient site is on their very doorstep. Like many such sites in Scotland, however, there is an important clue in the name of the place: “Dun”, a fairly regular signifier of a location with ancient purpose. There remain few stones, ancient or otherwise, visible on the overgrown plateau.

What remains, is a vast expanse of water. Sitting on the very edge of the world, and set apart from the land, the overwhelming sense is that of the great open arc of the sky connecting both.

My mistake was striking a match. Fire opened something.

A semi-circle of men, draped in coarse material of earthy hues, held aloft flaming torches. The flames danced in the water of the rock-cut well. Behind them, a crescent moon, just above the horizon, danced on the water of the sea. A solitary woman knelt, gazing into the well…

Some places are timeless.

If we listen closely enough, they have a tale to tell.

Crescent moon rising.
(Image found on google, unattributed).

About Running Elk

Running Elk is the name bestowed on me by a Medicine Man of the Zuni Nation in 2008 during a period of intense training in shamanic principles. Currently reconciling these core practices within the context of the Old World landscapes, folk beliefs and traditions by way of attempting to unearth some semblance of the long lost, indigenous knowledge of these Isles.
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15 Responses to The four elements

  1. Pingback: A matter of choice… – The Silent Eye

  2. Pingback: A matter of choice… | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  3. Pingback: The four elements ~ Running Elk | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  4. Widdershins says:

    Perhaps not ‘timeless’ but travelling through Time differently. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, sounds like quite the place. Gave me shivers.

    Liked by 1 person

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