In Search of The Dragon in the Wiltshire Zodiac

We had a fabulous day today following the path of the dragon in the Wiltshire Zodiac. Our merry little band of zodiac pilgrims and wannabe St Georges braved the uncertain weather conditions, and enjoyed an imaginal reverie in this most intoxicating of sacred landscapes.  The polar constellation of Draco came alive beneath our feet as we walked in the footsteps of our ancestors, and allowed a timeless legend to unfold before us.

There Be Dragons...

There Be Dragons...

Anthony Thorley’s extraordinary discovery of, and research into the Wiltshire Zodiac reveals an ancient dragon path snaking its way through Pewsey Vale.  The route took us from the centre of the zodiac temple at Rushall to the centre of the moon at Swanborough Tump, a bronze age barrow complex and ancient meeting place, where the people “of the moon” would come together and make important decisions.  It was here that a famous meeting between King Alfred and his brother Ethelred took place – the two swore an oath on the sacred stone there that would end up securing Alfred’s kingship and inheritance of his father’s lands.

Alfred Stone at Swanborough Tump

Alfred's Stone at Swanborough Tump

This pilgrimage walk is timed to coincide approximately with St Georges Day and the festival of Beltane, as it honours St George as the green man / fertility god. His killing or “piking” of the dragon – on Picked or Piked Hill on our walk – produces an alchemical sacred marriage, as it releases the divine feminine energy that the dragon protects. The whole walk is so full of rich landscape imagery, so suggestive to the imagination of a springtime fertility rite. This ancient worm hill in Pewsey Vale where our walk culminates can be seen for miles around, and it was a place of ritual games and Christian Springtime pilgrimage right up until the 19th century.

Picked or 'Piked' Hill

Picked or 'Piked' Hill

With Anthony & Celia both away in Canada, Colette and myself accepted the great honour of guiding the walk in their stead, and it was a rich and hugely rewarding experience.  Anthony’s research into the Wessex landscape is a source of inspiration to us both and through this experience, I have certainly deepened my connection with this particular landscape.  I feel I’ve had a profound encounter with the powerful dragon energy of this place.  We both returned home this evening exhausted, but deeply satisfied.

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