(by Elyn Aviva, not Gary White)
Alsia Well. Near Lower Alsia Farm. Maintained by the 82+-years-old Keeper of the Well, Trevor Rogers, who lives in a 17th-century house where a wise woman/herbalist lived 400 years ago. He found it a wreck and has been rebuilding it, cutting the granite himself, doing the beautiful wooden cabinet work himself. And tending to the well. Attending to the well. The only well that wasn’t discovered by the Church and Christianized, according to the story. Trevor says the name, “Alsia,” pronounced AAyleeuh, comes from the Phoenicians who traded for tin in the area. And it refers to Eleusis and the Greek goddess Demeter.
The group walked from Carn les Boels to the well on Sunday, but I arrived with Ralph in his taxi. Trevor pointed out the way, and we found the well down a grassy path hidden in the trees, a gate before it, a tree festooned with clooties, large flat stones formed a surface to sit upon beside the well. The well itself: dark and low, overhanging with greenery. A pale frog kicked its way out from beneath a sheltering rock and across the water.
We went up the path to await for the group. They soon arrived, thrilled and exhausted after a rather challenging tromp through fields and brambles, appearing on the other side of a high fence gate where Ralph and I were waiting. Ralph helped them one by one climb over the fence. How perfect, our being there. A story could be told of synchronicity and faith, and I heard stories about “follow your path” and trust.
The group crowded into the tiny space before the well and settled in, attuning to the place, and then began to tone and sing. I stretched out on the path, in the sun, listening to the sounds emerging from behind the trees, wondering about the ancient goddess and the well, and how Trevor was called to be her caretaker. Many stories there, told and untold.
Back at Rosemerryn, one of our group went into the fogou by herself. While she was standing barefoot in the mud, in the near-dark passageway, a wreath twined from green leaves and stems fell at her feet. She picked it up and put it on her head. There’s quite a story there, but it’s not mine to tell.
The next day, Monday, June 23, everyone felt the need to rest, recuperate, and integrate. Plans changed as fast as a sailboat tacking in the wind, but then settled into a gentle flow.
I led Gary into the fogou and we communed in silence in the narrow creep passage. Later I walked into the woods around Rosemerryn, following a dancing, melodic stream, enjoying the solitude—if such it was, since I was surrounded by trees and flowers and birds and insects. I sat on a narrow stone bridge and watched a butterfly and two dragonflies dance, flitting off, returning to me, as if showing off their fine way of flying through the air. The year before, we had been taken to this bridge by a local guide, who fished for a nugget of tin in the water and gave it to us, and told us stories of the 1940s and 1970s and the wild goings-on in houses in the woods.
A late afternoon sounding session with Wendalyn. We sat on the ground in pairs, back to back, experiencing the other person’s energy; sensing into the breathing of the other; making sounds that welled up (that word again: well) from within, “sounding” an experience we’d had from yesterday; moving back and forth from our own sound to the other’s sound to the sound of others in the group; and then, into silence.
Then in early evening, a short walk together up the hill to the Merry Maidens stone circle, its 19 stones supposedly maidens petrified for dancing on the Sabbath. Now there’s a story. I felt a kind of static electricity as we approached the northern stones, as if the place were charged with energy—as well (that word again) it was, since people had celebrated the solstice here a few days before, leaving flower offerings on every stone.
I asked permission before entering. I circled around the outside 3x, and then the inside. I felt called to the center and I stood there honoring the directions and the center within. Each of us moved in our own way, creating our own relationship with the stones. Each of us told a story, lived a story, with a stone, our stone, the circle of stones, circling from now to then and back again. What would it be like, I wondered, to grow up with this stone circle as a neighbor? Or with the isolated standing stone we saw in a neighboring field, thrusting up against the sky?
The sun set. Gary and I walked back to Rosemerryn in silence.
Alsia Well, Merry Maidens - June 22, 23