I have recently returned from Cornwall, having spent a weekend there. I spent most of the time visiting Bronze Age Barrows and Iron Age settlement sites such as at Chysauster and Carn Euny. Both settlements have a Fogou, an underground, stone-lined tunnel with side passages called ‘creeps’. Some, such as the one at Carn Euny (left), have a large circular room off the side. The fogous lie at the heart of the community and played a very important role. Many archaeologists see them as food storage places, places of refuge and possible corn-drying kilns. However, after my visit there I am inclined to disagree!
I have been studying archaeology since 1999 and continue to do so. In this way I can apply common sense along with research to my ESP experiences at these sites! Because this was my first experience in a fogou I had no idea what to expect (always useful!!). Initially, on approaching the settlement I felt a sense of excitement. It somehow always feels like coming home….
After looking around the settlement, my friend and I made for the fogou. Standing inside the circular chamber, apparently a unique feature, my first impression was that it’s original function had been forgotten over the years and it was later used for a different purpose, whatever its original function had been! My second impression was that it functioned much like a Hopi Indian Kiva (right: Gran Quivir). I ‘saw’ (clairvoyantly) a group of council Elders and priests sitting in a circle around a fire. This was a place of power, a place where the Sacred and secular Laws of the community were maintained. It was the centre, the hub of the settlement.
As I walked around the settlement I could feel very little until I reached the sourthern entrance of the fogou. This tunnel had been built around 100years after the original circular chamber and passage had been built. Originally it would have looked much like the Kiva at Gran Quivir in shape (above) although it might have had more of a ceiling! I’m not altogether sure though that it was completely covered by a roof as the day before, while we were visiting the man An Tol stones Chris, my colleague, had received psychic information about the Men An Tol stones. He was told that originally it had been a chamber and the round stone had been built into the roof so that there would be access in and out. At the time I dismissed this as psychic fantasy because it just didn’t feel plausible.
However, I think he might have been given information on the fogou! It happens!! It also fit in with the impressions we were receiving within the fogou. At the southern entrance I felt how the original inhabitants felt about the fogou and its chamber. They saw it as the ‘navel’ of the community, they were fed by it. The chamber itself was the womb. The hole in the top was the entrance to the womb and from where the Earth Mother’s nourishment emerged. Now I know one would assume nourishment might come from a ‘breast’ but this was different.
In my work as healer, working with issues of co-dependency with men and women, I have found that if we did not have a secure attachment with our mothers we tend to energetically ‘cord into’ another person in order to get our emotional needs met. Clairvoyantly this looks like an umbilical cord. It also feels, to the person who has become the substitute mother, like an uncomfortable pulling in the belly. This, on the part of the person doing the ‘cording’, is a deeper need for emotional and physical attachment. For a feeling of security and belonging. So here, in this Iron Age settlement is a nourishing womb which keeps the group safe and well fed.
The feeling was that the fogou was respected for what it was, a gateway to the Mother, but it was an accepted, everyday reality. Much like we see our churches today. Although I have rarely ever felt in church the same level of spiritual nourishment that I felt here! The fogou (left) was an accepted part of the communal life, much as a mother is part of the family. Everyone knows she there, and knows what she does! (In most cases!). A good Mother leads to a secure family, certainly not something I have ever experienced until I started to work with the Earth in this way!
I wandered up to a stone and sat down on it in the sun, looking out to the sea. I felt in that moment that I had everything I needed, sun, earth, peace. Sun is the father, Earth is the Mother, together they are a whole. I could live here, I thought. I closed my eyes and an Arabic woman appeared in my mind. She was dressed from head to toe in black and had a white lace covering over her eyes. In her arms she held a naked male child, thin and weak. He was close to death. I opened my eyes wondering why on earth I was being visited by an Arabic woman? I closed my eyes again and saw her. She gently laid the child on the ground in front of me and stood back, silently asking me to heal her sick child. I wasn’t sure how I could do this so I sat quietly, waiting.
Then I saw and felt my ‘energetic’ umbilical cord unfurl behind my navel and move deep into the earth. All of the energy I had been carrying in my belly from the day before at the Men An Tol stones was being pumped down through the cord. I knew that I had been given energy at the stones to carry but I didn’t realise that my bloated and very uncomfortable stomach was it! There are somethings about this work that are most umpleasant!! All of this energy was now moving back beneath the settlement. My stomach was now feeling decidedly ‘lighter’. As I continued to ‘watch’ I saw what looked like an aborigine throwing a boomerang. Then I saw a runner taking the news to the other settlements around that ‘the Mother has returned’. There was incredible excitement, as though I was watching the past/present coming to life.
I then realised that this had been the original function for the site and somehow it had changed over the years, becoming more masculine. It reminds me of the beginnings of christianity and how it became what it is today, certainly not what it was intended to be!! I went looking for Chris now that my job was done. I found him in the Kiva, naturally!! It was an interesting observation. I was outside in the sun doing the Mother thing while he was in the chamber where the Mother should have been! I asked him if he had had any impressions.
I quote ” Deep chamber below earth (right). Climb down in cavern underneath. Fear of climbing down, fear of falling and not being able to get back out. Pit of cave, flaming torches. What if the torches go out? Left in dark, lost, have to feel the way out” He felt that the chamber, in later years, was used as a place of initiation. If they had the courage to enter the darkness and ‘feel’ their way out they would past the initiatic tests. A very literal rebirth! He had the impression that this was for men.
When we returned to Winchester I did some research into fogous and Kivas. The latter represented the womb, the centre of the community. They were a sanctuary where they discussed community issues. In Chaco Canyon, they were semi-subterranean and built into great houses. They were entered by a ladder from the roof, down to the centre of the Kiva floor. This is interesting becasue this chamber was also beneath a house, like its basement, although I think the house was later. The circular chamber was the first to be built of stone, the houses followed. A hundred years after the chamber and passageway had been built the passage was blocked and another passway built with a small ‘creep’ (left) as an entrance. And I mean small! When I looked at it I thought it would be a tight squeeze getting in and out of there. Much like moving through the birth canal, a not to be repeated experience!! But maybe that was the point. Our experiences in the Boleigh fogou added to the possibility of it being a rebirthing or initiation site. But that’s another blog!