Nearly a year ago, I made a pilgrimage to Wayland’s Smithy. I really didn’t know what to expect. In my mind, it’s a holy place. Yes, I know it’s a Neolithic burial chamber. I know it originally had nothing to do with the Anglo-Saxon fairy smith. And yet, it now has his name. His mythology began as an accrual over the stones, but now has seeped into the masonry of folk memory.
In the tomb, with growing horror I rifled through hoodie pockets, jacket pockets, sweater pockets and finally my Druid bug-out bag in search of some appropriate offering for the Smith. My shoulder brushed the passageway, and again echoes of hammer and iron and anvil floated across my mind.
2 thoughts on “Pilgrimage, a Year Later”
I used to live very near there, so we would go there for walks quite often. It always had an atmosphere, even if you went on a hot summer day, when the Downs rolled quiet under the son, it was ‘electrical’, a presence.
My uncle (who told me this when he got back) took his then 2/3 year old up one summer day, and was piggy-backing him, when the boy pointed to the stones and said ‘Horse!’
My uncle and his mum said ‘Where?’ because there was no-one around and no horse there or nearby. (I said, had you been telling him about the legend that if you leave a horse there overnight with money you will come back and find it shod?) and he said no – he and my aunt are keen nature-lovers and bird-watchers and had been just chatting about stone curlews being sighted up on the Downs.
‘There’s no horse, love,’ my uncle said.
Iestyn was adamant. “Horse!’ He insisted, pointing. ‘Horse. There!’
He would not be budged, my uncle said he was leaning precariously toward the stones and excitedly exclaiming ‘Horse!’ So they said, in the end, ‘Well, where?’ and he was ‘There, there!’ as if he could see it. So they said, ‘Yes, okay, horse.’ and left it there, since they were never people who would slap their child down with ‘Nonsense.’
My cousin died when he was born for several minutes and my uncle always believed it made him quite sensitive to certain ‘otherworldly’ things. Although I think there is always an incredible atmosphere up there.