Friday, 7 August 2009

Myth and Magic - Bowerman's Nose

Of late my reality has been unpleasant so I have allowed myself to dream. Many years ago I did my native American Indian medicine wheel and learned all about my spirit guides. One of the wonderful creatures that lends me its medicine and at times guides my path is Lizard. Lizard has one eye closed and one eye open. This allows the Lizard to keep one eye on the present and one eye in the dreamworld. The Lizard teaches that without our dreams we cannot make our desires a reality. Without dreaming we cannot know what to reach for, which direction to take or how to achieve our goals. One eye is fixed on our present, our reality and keeps us grounded allowing the practical self to draw up plans and manifest our dreams in the future.

I have known I have wanted change for a long time. I have wanted out of this rat race, this corporate self interested consumerist way. I've sought the peace and beauty of the rural life, to surround myself with nature. I've allowed my self to dream, to draw up plans and to figure a way of making it happen. I don't know how to do it yet and am under no false illusions that it will be easy, the life I long for involves hard work.

My dream is to homestead. To have a little plot of land. To go off the grid. To create my own sustainable sources of energy, step out of the financial shackles of the utility giants. To ask nature to bestow me with the gifts of sun, water and wind and channel those gifts through wind/water mills and solar panels. I would grow my own food, raise sheep for wool practice crafts, always giving back as much if not more than I receive. I dream of environmental stewardship, creating wildlife havens and planting trees. It is my dream and I've allowed myself to dream it.

Occasionally I surf the web checking out the prices of land, the availability, the locations. On my most recent search I came across a piece of land in Devon. The land reaches onto Dartmoor and is surrounded by The National Trust. It is beyond my means and more than I need but the treasure it uncovered made my lips mischievously curl.

The land includes the landmark of Bowerman's Nose. I had not heard of it before or the myth that accompanies it, but when I did I know I had to share it with Manya of Mythcolour. Manya shares wonderful insights into her life in Greece, story telling and felt making. Manya I am sharing this myth in response to your wonderful post about the crone. This post is dedicated to you. Please visit Manya at her lovely blog Mythcolour.

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The story goes that Bowerman was a rich and powerful man. He was physically strong and imposing in character. Bowermn loved to hunt with hounds and to relentlessly pursue his quarry.

It is rumoured that there were witches in the locale. These witches were powerful and feared by all except Bowerman who loudly and publicly ridiculed these 'hags' and their alleged powers. This angered the witches but they too were afraid of Bowerman and his hounds so kept out of his way for a peaceful life.

One day, the witches were gathered around a cauldron sharing and making magic when Bowerman and his hounds caught the scent of a hare. In hot pursuit of the hare, Bowerman ran through the witches, upsetting the cauldron, causing commotion and disarray.

The witches had had enough and felt they had to act. Knowing the lay of the land, the witches knew Bowerman and his hounds would have to return the way he had came. One of the witches had the power of assuming the shape of any animal she chose. She quickly transformed herself into a hare and waited for Bowerman to return. When he did, she revealed herself in her hare form and lured Bowerman into a trap. The legend goes that Bowerman and his hounds followed the hare and were ambushed by the witches who promptly turned him and his hounds into rocks which stand on the Dartmoor to this day. Sometimes the night winds can be heard carrying the hunting cries of Bowerman and his hounds.

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This story paticularly tickled me as I have spent many a season sabotaging the hunts and campaigning for the legal ban of hunting with hounds. I have been a hunt saboteur and will always be so in my heart.

Reading between the lines I doubt that the witches wished to be feared. Instead I feel that they must have been feared as their herbal knowledge and educated ways made them curious and unknown to those that are not familiar with these customs. Historically, man has always demonised that which he cannot understand, that which is different.


The picture at the head of this post is used with the permission of the artist Paul Hopkinson who has his own website which displays more of his artwork and provides a generous tutorial in the techniques of water colour. Please visit this link to see more Of Paul Hopkinson's work.

7 comments:

ArtSparker said...

What a wondeerful story. Did I mention I was reading Mythago Wood? This would fit right in.

Jasmine said...

I've yet to read Mythago Wood. I live quite near Herefordshire where it is based. I must visit there soon.

velvetwoods said...

Oh it is wonderful to be able to dream of a better life where we are free from the shackles of this corporate society.I think the way we live our short lives in this world is wrong.I mean why do we spend our lives doing things we don't like and accumulate so much stuff we don't need.Why do we work and work then feel so stressed out.We are like little working ants or busy bees building little colonies only to destroy it with war and hatred.
One day we will all evolve and see the light.
I envision a future where there is no war,hunger,poverty and the most important thing in the world is not money but love.
I too dream of getting off the grid and finding a plot of land somewhere.Living sustainably and self sufficiently is my long term goal.I want to have a little mud brick hippy shack filled with found objects.Dreams are beautiful and worth investing time in to be able to sustain those deep seated desires so it can be manifest itself externally.
Don't ever let your dreams die.

Sending you love and healing thoughts Jasmine.
I too went through a missed miscarriage a few weeks ago and wrote a good bye poem to my unborn child.I will post it soon one day.
I found writing a good bye letter helped me to let go.Thinking of you.

xoxox

Assayya said...

lovely story.
there was and still is so much lack of understanding about women and their knowledge of herbs:))

Jasmine said...

Velvetwoods - Thank you so much for your generous comments. I'm sorry you have had to go through this pain too. I found my missed miscarraige physically much more painful than my stillbirth 4.5 months ago. Sending healing thoughts to you too. We share the same dream xx

Jasmine said...

Assaya - you are so right! x

Manya Maratou said...

thank you jasmine
dream on and search, yes, that is what it is all about- and the stories that come to you, they show the way
maybe one day we will walk on that land together
I missed one too, and I'm sure there was another one that didn't go on long enough to go to the doctor
they were between my two boys and I talk to the little ones often
and the little blue eyed girl that comes to me in my dreams, she is called Marina,sometimes I see her in the schoolyard, maybe she is to come, or another missed one that I didn't know then
the tears still come but they are sweeter now
thank you, thank you