Multicultural Muses : The Dancing Stones at Cornwall
The Dancing Stones at Cornwall
By Molly J. Anderson-Childers
While researching my article on La Fauna, I came across some interesting information that inspired me to write about the standing stones and megaliths at Cornwall. Otherwise, my research was a waste of time, for I had to look within to find La Fauna, Wild Muse of My Heart, living there. But I believe all things happen for a reason, and surely coming across information this exciting could not have happened solely by chance:
My copy of A Witch's Guide to Faery Folk, by Elaine McCoy, states that "The megaliths and standing stones of Cornwall have always been surrounded with legend and mystery, one such tale being that they can rise up and walk, dance, and sing. Whether this is because of some ancient spell or from some sentient energy, such as that of a Pyrenee, living inside them is unknown." She also indicates they can be observed at night, and that they still perform rituals during the Sabbats, or holy days, of the Pagan Wheel of the Year.
Huge stones that can walk, dance, and sing? I was immediately intrigued, and vowed that I had to see them. At the next full moon, I traveled to an ancient site covered with these magical megaliths. In the blue and silver moonlight, I stood on the hillside, and waited for something extraordinary to happen. After two hours, nothing discernible had occurred.
I was about to give up hope and get to work on a backup article idea about werewolves when I saw a sudden spark of blue fire in the center of a rough circle of standing stones. Moving closer, I saw that tiny fiery beings were dancing around, singing in crackly little voices carried away too quickly on the rising wind. I could not understand their language of fire, but they sensed my presence and began to dance and hop towards me, closer, closer, until they were spinning and twirling all around me, and I began to dance and spin, too.
Out of control, I somehow danced faster, and faster, and then faster than I had ever thought possible. I could feel everything dissolve; my hair and skin, bones and blood, until finally I was left with nothing but a pure, clean blue flame of spirit. Disembodied, I still felt my spirit dancing and singing under the moon so high and white. I followed the other spirits, and a question formed in my mind.
Who are you?
And no answer came but pure delight. An answer of its own. I stopped worrying about questions and answers and focused on the ritual at hand, which was pure pleasure, pure delight mingling with the earth, the moonlight, and finally with the stones themselves. As we danced, we rapidly flowed through the cold hearts of the standing stones and megaliths there on the hillside. I felt their cold stone hearts beating so slowly and I knew that somehow, impossibly, they were alive.
Dance with me! I commanded. Give voice to the night and sing! Incredibly, as I gave this command, they obeyed. One by one, the stones rose up from the ground, shook the earth from their lumbering stone feet, and began a strange dance. The ground shook beneath their ponderous weight. It was accompanied by a low, howling song, the song of the stones, a deep-throated, sad and angry baying at the moon. It sent a chill through me, settling deep within very soul, to hear their ancient rage and grief, their slow sad song.
I knew then that they were lonely, for I also saw into the past; a vision of a time long ago, when they had been well-loved and respected members of a magical community that included witches and wizards, Druids, Picts, trees, animals, and faerie folk. A community that stretched the bounds of this world and lived half-way between magic and mystery. I saw leaping flames within the circle; dancing sky-clad girls, women drumming on hoop drums made of deer-skin, men with robes of ebony and light. As this vision grew more and more intense, I could smell the burning wood, the cold stones, the rain that would bless us before morning.
As I entered those ancient stones, as I witnessed this rare vision of their past, I felt the weight of years since that magic had passed from the world. The cold stone seemed to enter my very spirit; to slow my heartbeat to make me cold where once I was warm and alive. I sensed that the stones were lonely, and hungry that they wanted to keep me there, with them, for all time. The next visitor to this circle, caught unawares, might have a vision of me, trapped within the circle. With this horrible thought, I uttered a powerful word of banishment; a spell for protection that I hoped would free me from the slow and frozen living death of the standing stones.
I felt the warmth of fire again; the light of the moon, seen through my own eyes. Someone slapped my face, hard. I felt my mother's presence there, protecting me, but angry that I had been so impetuous as to endanger myself. Her voice was a fierce whisper that faded from my ears as soon as it was uttered, but I'll never forget the sound of it I would know my mother's voice anywhere. "Go home and write, and stay away from this hungry, lonely place. Only the spirits dwell here now." I felt a warm press of lips on my forehead, a blessing, a kiss, a talisman for my protection. A gentle touch of her fingers against my cheek here and now gone. Tearful, smiling, I followed the moonlight all the way home. •
© 2007 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.
Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »