Walking the Libran Dove

Our pilgrimage around The Glastonbury Zodiac draws us in toward the centre of the wheel this month, as we enter the sign of Libra, close to the balance point and to the secret that lies at the heart of our landscape temple. It appears puzzling at first that this figure does not follow the pattern of the other effigies around the rim of the wheel, but when we tread it out on the ground, it reveals all sorts of synchronous examples of Libran energy. The Libra figure was identified as a dove by Katharine Maltwood, and it flutters gracefully around the village of Barton St David.

Detail from "The Dove & the Claw" by Yuri Leitch

Detail from "The Dove & the Claw" by Yuri Leitch

We’ve found eleven houses so far that are named after birds in this tiny parish and at least two dovecotes. My favourite part of the walk begins at Baltonsborough Flights – the gushing weir on one of the dove’s wing tips where the bird appears to take flight from the third eye of the Sagittarian figure – and carries on along Dunstan’s Dyke to Tootle Bridge, where one of the dovecotes is, which made us think of tootle/turtle doves! Birds appear to us everywhere as we walk with informed imaginal intent around the figure, and they often seem to carry messages for our participants. I remember being enthusiastically greeted last year by a huge gaggle of white geese, on a farm at Plot Gate in the village.

"Dove" by Gail Cornwell using Google Earth

"Dove" by Gail Cornwell using Google Earth

On the Sunday of our workshop weekend, we use the village hall in Barton St David, which is on the wafer or peace message that our landscape dove carries in its mouth. From here we can appreciate the most spectacular view of Glastonbury Tor, the long sweeping view of the Tor that you get when approaching it from the south. The nearby parish church sits on the very tip of the peace message. It is dedicated to St David who is, of course, the patron saint of doves, and is often depicted with a dove on his right shoulder. The church houses two American flags, positioned with apt Libran symmetry, commemorating two American presidents, John & John Quincey Adams, who are direct descendants of Henry Adams of Butleigh, an early colonist who emigrated to America in the 17th century.

The entry of the Sun into the sign of Libra marks one of the two equinoctial moments in the year when light and dark are balanced and, as the summer recedes into Autumn, so we are gently prompted by nature’s alchemical cycle to redress the balance in different aspects of our own lives, especially in relationships. As our elemental focus shifts from earthy Virgo to airy Libra, the Zodiac invites us to lift our gaze, raise our vibration, and take time out to reflect upon, and really appreciate those perspectives that seem opposed to our own. Libra is the sign through which we may learn to relate to a phenomenon as it appears to us, learn to respect its ‘otherness’, and at the same time learn to embrace it as an essential part of our own being. It is an invitation to suspend hasty judgments, relate more openly to those who cross our path, however different or opposed their viewpoint might be from our own. As we walk around this landscape figure each year as part of The Alchemical Journey, we always carry with us a sense of the peace, balance, harmony and partnership that this astrological sign evokes, and this is reflected back to us at every turn in the landscape features that we meet.

You’re very welcome to join us for our Libra workshop this month on The Alchemical Journey. It’s called “The Alchemy of Partnership” and happens on 1st / 2nd October. Click here for Details. We are offering special discounts for the rest of this year’s workshops. Providing you book at least one week before the workshop then the price is just £110. And if you book two workshops together, or two places on the same workshop, then the second place is half price. Or you can book three workshops together for £200.

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