Meeting the Ancestors at Avebury
(8 feet long, oil on hardboard, 1993)
I experienced an initiation to the Great Mother at Silbury mound and Avebury stones in February, 1978. I had been reading Michael Dames’ book “The Silbury Treasure: The Great Goddess Rediscovered” and had started a large painting “The Goddess at Avebury” but wasn’t able to finish it until I had visited the sacred site myself. This I did with my partner at the time and we ate a salad with sacred mushrooms (Psylocibin). This was my first meeting with the mushrooms as well as with a sacred neolithic site of the Goddess and the experience was overwhelming and changed my life and art. Here at Avebury stones, Silbury, the pregnant womb of Mother Earth and West Kennet long barrow, the Bone Mother within the stone chambers here in a few fields the people lived the entire life cycle of the Goddess, the seasons and the Earth in her changes. She becomes the Maiden of spring, the sexually mature woman of summer, the pregnant and birth-giving Harvest Mother in the autumn and then the Crone of the dead and the Otherworld in the winter, only to be reborn as the Maiden yet again in spring.
In my altered stated I travelled back thousands of years and just knew how much the ancient peaceful Goddess-centred neolithic farmers loved the Earth, so much so that they created enormous earth sculptures in Her image that would have taken hundreds of years and the labour of the entire community to finish. I also understood for the first time what “Mother Earth” means. I experienced Her as entirely alive, a great spirit that gives us life and soul. I saw Her undulating and breathing!
Ultimately I had to leave the city to live in the Welsh countryside with the land, sea, moon and stars.
In “Meeting the Ancestors at Avebury”, I have woven together Silbury, Avebury stones and spirits that dwell in them, a Shaman priestess with radiating headdress, a shaman in flight, a crop circle (crop circles have appeared around Silbury ever since ca. 1988), etc. Here also my “The Goddess of Avebury” 8 feet long painting from 1978 as well as the mixed media image “Elephant stone Goddess” in moonlight. From a certain angle one of the large squat stones looks like this. The stones are animated and alive, full of quartz and spiralling underground waters beneath them that respond to the lunar Mother in Her changes.
Ever since my initiatory experience at Avebury and Silbury in 1978, I have spent time there over the years in different seasons in day time, during the night, at full moons and eclipses sleeping with groups of women on Silbury in the light of the lunar Mother or feeling the presence of the ancestors within West Kennet Long Barrow. Always I sense the stones as alive, the Goddess and spirit entities indwelling – that when the time is right one may “see” what one hasn’t seen before, every time a new discovery, something else learned or understood. It is equally important how one travels and in what state. I believe that one needs to be totally familiar with and know a place before attempting to do rituals or other work there. One needs to know what powers one might summon thereby. In the painting I have tried to portray a neolithic shamanka or priestess which I based on an ancient Mexican sculpture – headdress radiating as an aura connecting with the universe.