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Tony Grist

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West Kennet [Jul. 25th, 2008|09:15 am]
Tony Grist
 







It was probably always a ritual site, not a tomb, but who knows? I suppose the one doesn't exclude the other. It is oriented East-West- just like a Christian church. 17th century treasure hunters messed up the archaeological evidence. Digs in the 19th and 20th centuries uncovered the remains or approximately 50 disarticulated bodies.  The individuals were of both sexes and all ages.

A jolly American woman had established herself in the furthest chamber with a set of singing bowls. You can see the flames of her candles in picture #3. The bowls were humming away and members of other parties were harmonising from the side chambers. The woman had a tray of sand from Ayers Rock in Australia and was inviting us to help ourselves to a handful.

Local folklore holds that the tomb is visited on Midsummer morning by a ghostly figure in white, accompanied by a white hound with red ears.

I asked the big stone at the mouth of the tomb what it was there for- and it told me it was there for the sunrise.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: aellia
2008-07-25 10:13 am (UTC)
That's quite a striking face on the right of the entrance.
The ancestors were displeased last time I went there.
All to do with feathers and candles.
I'll find where I wrote of it
x
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 11:23 am (UTC)
I believe I see the face. It looks a bit like the Sutton Hoo helmet.

All sorts of groups seem to use West Kennet- from the fluffy to the gross.

I'd very much like to see what you wrote.
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[User Picture]From: aellia
2008-07-27 11:09 am (UTC)
I can't find what I wrote at the time so I'll tell you here.
John and I were walking up the path to it and in front were a group of women chanting that goddess chant with all the names. We were about halfway when I picked up a beautiful black feather. The day was still,and the wheat,on either side of the path was still. A strong whirling wind came from nowhere,strong enough to blow ears from the crop and make them stick,like darts,in my hair and my jumper. John was a bit taken aback when I uttered some quick words of appeasement to the spririts of place and threw the feather back down.
All was quiet again,and when we went in,a bunch of similar feathers was being waved around and chanted to,or something.
They must have dropped the one that I picked up.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-27 01:01 pm (UTC)
Isis, Astate, Diana
Hecate, Demeter, Kali......

That one?

That's a marvellous story, Penny. Thanks for telling it.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2008-07-25 12:35 pm (UTC)
You find the most amazing places! I love your accounts and photos of these little corners of England.

Interestingly the ghostly figure in white echoes some of the Welsh folklore about a "white lady" and white hounds with red ears are the Welsh fairy hounds, possibly even the Cwn Annwn.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 02:33 pm (UTC)
Yes! I knew I'd come across red-eared hounds somewhere else before.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2008-07-25 01:41 pm (UTC)
For a second I thought there were Wookies Jawa in the cave! :^)

Beautiful photos.

Edited at 2008-07-25 01:45 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 02:52 pm (UTC)
Heh-heh-heh!

Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-07-25 04:22 pm (UTC)
My thought, too! Jawa!
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2008-07-25 05:47 pm (UTC)
I knew after I clicked "post comment" that I had the wrong character in mind!
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-07-25 03:14 pm (UTC)
These sites do collect the oddest folk. It adds to the atmosphere.
:)
This reminds me very much of what we call a "dolmen" in Spain or a prehistoric burial place with very similar stone entrances.

Again, that last photo captures an essence. Mt eye and mind wander from the Queen Anne's Lace to the field of hay bales seamlessly.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 08:10 pm (UTC)
I'm happy that Avebury and West Kennet are available for people to use and interact with- unlike Stonhenge.

Poor Stonehenge- they keep it in a cage. It doesn't get to have any fun!
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-07-25 04:21 pm (UTC)
Did you take some Australian sand away?

I'm reading a book about serpent handling, and the idea of going inside that rocky chamber gives me the creeps!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 04:52 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I didn't. My pockets were already full of coins and keys and little bits of paper.



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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-07-25 05:17 pm (UTC)
I used to have a piece of gneiss (metamorphosed granite) on my desk at work. I would tell everybody about it: this rock is one billion years old! I found it in the Smokies!

One day a chemist brought me a little vial filled with black dirt. He said, You have one of the earth's oldest rocks; here are some newly born rocks, from the volcano in Hawaii!

I was delighted, until I heard about the scary legend of Kali, who curses anyone who carries away the dirt from her volcano! And that people who kept having bad luck after taking home volcanic soil would send it back to the post office in Hawaii.

A student came through our Lab one week, visiting us on his way back to college in North Dakota, and he came by to talk with me awhile. I showed him my billion year old rock, and then the volcanic soil, and told him how I was now afraid to keep it because of the curse.

I'll take it, he said. Give it to me.

I sent him off with it, and I hope he made it home.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 08:08 pm (UTC)
That's a lovely story.

I have bits and pieces of rock lying around. Rocks have personality, don't you think? I'm very careful to treat them with respect.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-07-25 08:48 pm (UTC)
I agree about rocks and personality!

Kate and her cousin and I went out to an old field behind a deli and gas station and found (her cousin's a geology major--has his masters, although he left the field after college) many fossils from the ordivicean era!

I wrote about it, back then. During that time, I was having a wonderful time exploring religion. I miss it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 09:25 pm (UTC)
That's a beautiful piece of writing.

I once collected a whole bunch of fossil shells on the banks of a man-made lake in Kentucky.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-07-25 10:06 pm (UTC)
I think Tennessee and Kentucky are part of a vast Ordovicean sea. I have snail fossils in the garden, and the straight-coned cephalopod I mentioned is out in my yard--I carry it with me every time I move. To me, these fossils remind me that we're part of a great movement, maybe to Teilhard's Omega Point, who knows?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-26 08:53 am (UTC)
It's strange to be picking up sea shells in a place that's now hundreds of miles from the nearest sea.

When I was a child I was taken to a beach where there were black rocks full of fossil ammonites- some of them huge. I don't remember where it was- it wasn't one of the places we normally visited on holiday- but I'm sure (or am I?) that it wasn't a dream.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2008-07-25 04:33 pm (UTC)
Local folklore holds that the tomb is visited on Midsummer morning by a ghostly figure in white, accompanied by a white hound with red ears.

That just makes me happy.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 04:48 pm (UTC)
Me too.

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From: sculptruth
2008-07-25 05:38 pm (UTC)
I love the way you recount these adventures you have. Introspective, historical, poetic. Thank you for sharing them!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 08:06 pm (UTC)
It's my pleasure.:)
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2008-07-25 07:03 pm (UTC)
I wonder what the spirits of the place thought of the American and her singing bowls. :-p We were there shortly after summer solstice one year and they weren't precisely jiggy over the antics that had been carried out over that holiday. I don't know what all had happened, but somebody had left a lot of rubbish and candle ends and wax dribbles. A man from some sort of official organization (Heritage perhaps?) was cleaning it all up. He didn't want help so we stayed out of his way and went in after he'd gone.

West Kennet is such an amazing place. Thank you for the pictures; they bring up a lot of lovely memories.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-25 08:05 pm (UTC)
Those poor spirits- continually vexed by fools.

I saw a lot of tealights while I was there. I think the custodians may have started supplying them in the hope that visiting occultists will use them instead of their own nasty, drippy candles.



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[User Picture]From: aellia
2008-07-27 11:14 am (UTC)
Oh,please read my comment and see how displeased the spirits of place were that day
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2008-07-28 05:05 am (UTC)
Thank you, I did read it after you pointed me to it. It amazes me sometimes that the ancestors have enough patience not to send lightning bolts...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-28 02:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

That's a lovely cautionary tale.

Avebury ties with Glastonbury as my very favourite place.
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