The Giant and the Sun – The pattern in the landscape

Leaving the church, we gathered in the little garden beside it which, so the church’s keeper of the keys would tell us, had been sold to them for the princely sum of £1, with the sole proviso that the garden be used. Beside its gate is another fragment of the old Abbey, bearing once again the symbol of St Catherine’s wheel… which seemed fairly appropriate considering what we were about to do.

The gardens are a beautiful and peaceful spot, tucked under the wing of the church. The air is fragrant with the perfume of herbs and old roses. Apples grow on carefully tended trees and there are bees and butterflies in abundance. We gathered around a small, paved square lined with benches to start the next part of our adventure.

We had been convinced to hold a workshop at Cerne Abbas because of a feeling and a series of coincidences with geometry. At first, we had thought we might find a vesica piscis in the landscape, but we had discovered that there was already a recognised geometric figure marked by sacred sites. It was listed as a ‘hexagram’, with venerable old churches on each of the points… and most of these older churches are built on sites of a more ancient sanctity than their stones and mortar. A quick look at the map confirmed that the figure seemed pretty accurate and we had dived down to Dorset to check out the sites.

It did not take long to realise that, while there was indeed a nice, six-pointed figure in the landscape, there was no guarantee it was supposed to be a hexagram. Granted, the symbol known as the Star of David and the hexagram is associated with Christianity, alchemy, Judaism and features in pretty much every religion and culture in some form, but a six-pointed figure did not have to be a hexagram. There were other options.

It could be a rayed star, a daisy-wheel like the odd ‘consecration cross’, or a simple a hexagon. It could even be marking points dividing the circumference of a circle. And, if it were centred around a seventh point, the circle would then be the traditional symbol for the sun. On top of that, the Cerne Giant had, coincidentally, been known as ‘Helis’… which is close enough to ‘Helios’ to be intriguing.

But it had been the hexagram we had been given to work with, so the hexagram it would be. In magical and alchemical terms, the two triangles that form the hexagram represent the elements which, when brought together to form the six-pointed star, symbolise perfect balance and harmony.

The hexagram in the landscape appears to be aligned with magnetic north, rather than ‘true’ north, which might imply that it was older than modern mapping techniques. Not that we really needed that implication, when all the churches on its points predate that scientific differentiation by centuries. Oddly enough, the figure of the hexagram can be used as a starting point from which it is possible to geometrically draw a vesica… the only problem is that the geometry required means you have to know which of the six possible directions on the starting hexagram is ‘up’.

Image: Deep Highlands

Later, there would be time to play with Google Earth, overlaying geometrical forms onto maps, with a really surprising result. For now, though, we were taking Cerne Abbas as the centre and working our way round from there.

Aproximate locations due to scale

But our weekend, although using the geometries, was not really about them. It was about how we might work ‘with’ the land to create harmony. We had devised a simple demonstration, assigning the planets to the points and centre of the hexagram…the fire and water triangles and, drawing lots, had assigned each planet to a member of our company. At each site visited, we would walk the pattern, drawing together the two triangles to create a harmonious whole. At each site, also, we would meditate on a seed thought, finding an expression of each planetary colour in nature. The simplest such rituals may have a profound effect when performed with intent.

And that was the end of our morning… especially as the rain began to fall. All that remained was to find shelter for a few minutes until the New Inn, a 16th century coaching in, was ready to open its doors for lunch…after which, we would be going on a church-crawl…

For the significance of the hexagram in the context of the weekend, please read Stuart’s posts: Magical Elements I  – IIIIIIVV   –  The Dance of Fire and Water IIIIII  and Magical Elements, The Dance of Fire and Water

The Giant and the Sun: Patterns in the landscape was the Silent Eye summer workshop weekend. These informal events are held several times every year and are open to all. You do not have to be a member to join us as we wander the rich landscape of Britain, visiting ancient, sacred and intriguing places. We seek out myth and mystery, exploring what the land and its stories can teach us about our own daily lives and our place in the intricate tapestry of human Being.

After each event, we publish an account of the places we have visited and share a little of what we have discussed during the course of the weekend to give a taste of what we do.

If you would like to join us for a wander through the mysteries and history of Britain, please visit our Events page.

28 thoughts on “The Giant and the Sun – The pattern in the landscape

    1. All the ‘big stuff’ is fascinating and leads us on a merry dance… but unless it can serve the here and now, there would be little point in it beyond the intellectual exercise. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. If anything will draw me back to art quilting and geometry, it will certainly be this. I never appreciated geometry as I am appreciating it now. And the magic of gardens overall through the centuries and the sacred parts they have played cannot be understated. As someone who loves gardens, I never cease to look at how people seem to orient their gardens, what they have in them and how those things work together. Some truly important things have been done throughout history within the contexts of gardens. Thank you all for the great share. Love this lesson and must go back and reread it as I do a lot of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gardens are great teachers, just sitting in them or working with the green and growing things holds so many gifts 🙂 Geometry too is very similar… in some ways it is the garden created by visual mathematics, with each form a flower.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I so love this, Sue. Yes, when I look at sacred or visual geometry, I can totally relate to it, but unfortunately in math, I cannot seem to understand it. I think it is because the math end of it feels as though there is no spirit in it, and also it is so abstract. I guess we do use it a lot as artists. I have seen many geometric patterns that remind me of quilt patterns very much. So for me, if something has what I think of as spirit, I love it, but I have difficulty relating to things with no life force or spirit in them. I honestly don’t know why that is, but it is truth as best as I can express how I feel about it. I like to see some kind of meaning in everything I see or visualize. It makes me feel good in my heart that I can relate to it. And as I think of that, sometimes it is something I can imagine in my mind. For example, if I see a box, I can see that life force in it because when I was a child, we played all the time with boxes, and they could become anything we wanted them to be. And sometimes something in nature like a rock because to me it might remind me of something that feels good like a heart.


  2. I didn’t know any of this about the hexagram and find it fascinating, Sue. I have those purple six-petaled clematis in my garden and will look at them a little differently now. I like the way you overlay the hexagram on the geography and walked it in meditation. For me, all of this reinforces the great mystery and symmetry of creation. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a symbol, it has been used in so many systems, but always with a similar meaning. the natural language of symbols seems to surpass cultural and temporal differences somehow and speak straight to the heart. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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