Visiting Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground

The car park was empty as we pulled in, closing the gate behind us. The weather all weekend had been typically variable, with bright sunshine and threatening clouds scattered across the horizon. We went to the office to see if anyone was there, and found it empty and closed. The wind carried the scent of rain and wet newly mown hay.

We made our way to the main path that lead to the roundhouse, which stood beautiful and serene, blending in with the landscape, made as it was of natural materials and covered in climbing roses that offered a delicious, soft scent in the late afternoon breeze. Around the structure were graves that were covered in wildflowers, with trees planted on the right-hand section where, in time, a little wooded area would grow. The view was simply breath-taking, allowing the eye to roam for miles across the gently rolling countryside, settling on the far hills in the distance with the songs of life and death and the continuous cycle carried between them in their undulating energy.

The calm energy and serenity of the place filled the soul with such exquisite delight, showing that in death there is beauty, as in life. The living and the dead, in the constant process of change, of transition, their songs blending in with one another, were held in each other’s embrace Clearly this is place where ancestors are honoured, not only those who lie newly buried in its soil, but also those who worked the land for thousands of years before, and those ancestors of tradition who uphold the sacredness of their duties to the land, their gods and the ancestors.

There was a war memorial off to one side, and at the bottom of the first field a newly built pond, which was filling up nicely, long grasses waving in the wind and the late afternoon sunlight sparkling upon the water’s surface. The bees in the apiary were hard at work not far away, providing honey for their young and also a small income through the excess for the burial ground itself.

We said our prayers for the dead and for the living, held within that sacred space and honouring all that there is with all that we were. It was so heartening, so inspiring to see what a few dedicated people could do, in a life utterly devoted to their principles and their gods, the ancestors and the world in which they live. It was simplicity and truth, shaped in the landscape that holds those in their new transformation, their new reality within the rich soil of this land, and inspiring those who still walk upon it. It was pure awen.

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The White Serpent Rising and the Goddess of Spring

The earth is stirring, can you feel it? Walking out in the sunshine today, I felt that same feeling that I had when I was a child back in Canada, that first day when the roads are clear, though still thick with sand, and you can take your bicycle out after the long winter months.  That smell of warming ground, of sunlight and fresh breezes, that scent of spring lingering, filtering through every fibre of your soul.  The scent of life.

Today has been warm, the sun’s strength heating the shoulders and exposed skin, pale after a long winter.  The birds are singing with renewed vigour – the great tits and blue tits, the pigeons and blackbirds, jackdaws and crows.  The trees, still snoozing lightly, have the first buds appearing, and the daffodils are mingling with the snowdrops and the hellebore that the deer have decided to stop eating.

There is anticipation all around.  What will this year bring? What new growth will there be, both in the physical and in the spiritual realms?  It’s almost like a humming, deep within the earth, that is slowly rising to the surface. Indeed, the white serpent is rising.

At Imbolc, during ritual I had a vision.  Sitting on my picnic blanket in the rural idyll of my backyard, feeling the ground beneath my feet responding to the first warm sunny day; I had a flash of vision tear through my soul – the white serpent.  Deep within the ground of these isles, there lies a white serpent of the land.  The white serpent IS the land.  It connects all of this land, and it is the heart and soul personified.  I was connected to everything and everyone, and it was inspiring.

This land, England, and indeed the whole of the UK and Ireland, has been inhabited by humans for an indeterminably long time.  I can feel it when I place my hands on the soil here – it is different to Canada, where although humans have lived there for just as long, there are vast expanses of land where no human foot has ever trod.  With space limited in these emerald isles, the songs of humanity run deep through it, alongside that of everything else that makes these little islands so wonderful.

With the deeds to my house, I have old, handwritten ones that go back hundreds and hundreds of years, to when the land was first purchased, and became an orchard, and then “hovels” existed upon it in the Victorian era, growing into cottages and finally the houses that are seen today.  There is a lot of human history here, alongside the natural history that is incredibly fascinating.  Sitting outside today, I could feel the old apple trees, long since cut down, stirring in the first soft light of spring.  Voices of those who lived here, mingling on the breeze with the birdsong and the sound of airplanes, high overhead, bound for the west.

And through it all the white serpent was stirring, awakening from the slumber and rising to the surface. Incredibly beautiful, this white dragon-like being enveloped it all, and still does, closer to the surface now – I’m quite certain that at either Beltane or Midsummer it will be revealed in all its glory.

I have done some research on this white serpent – it is not the white wyrm of the Saxon heritage. It is entirely British, entirely native to these isles.  I have come across a few references of a white serpent and the goddess Brigit, whom I’ve always been intrigued by but never had a “calling” to explore.  I’m thinking that is all going to change in the very near future.

Riding the excitement of the rising tides, like riding down the street that first time on my bicycle in the Spring – that is what life is all about.  New discoveries, and every spring we are reminded to look for these things in our lives, and to take inspiration from it all.

Blessed spring, everyone! May the Goddess of Spring bring you joy.