Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lancashire and Lancastrians

I come from a part of England called Lancashire which is made up of working-class mill towns, woodland, moorland and the occasional 'posh' place where the toffs live.

But to me, Lancashire means so much more.

I think of Lancashire and I think of vast seas of grassy, peaty moors. Windswept and desolate. Beautiful in their own way. I think of the way the land feels and the wights I know. Their places - the mounds, ruins and groves. I think of places that buzz beneath my feet, places where the air sometimes crackles with energy and that stay warm even when everywhere else is cold.

I think of the trees and what herbs grow where. I think of how close I feel to my Gods there. I think of Brigantia - the Goddess linked to the land itself and I think of the people that once walked buried in the hills.

People with whom I have little in common except the land. Ancient Britain or British bitsa, we both came from the same land. We both belong there. Those hills will never be foreign to me no matter how far or how long I travel.

In the 1700s, Lancashire was described as a 'wild and lawless county full of Catholics'.

But Lancashire is the reason why I'm a Heathen. I was lucky enough to grow up somewhere where the wights still live and that still has presence. Walking those hills I learned most of what I know now.

Well not just in walking those hills - growing up in my family too.

Put it simply - Lancashire is a place where people are often brutally honest. It's a trait I have too and even though the county has been at least nominally Christian for over a thousand years, old concepts still remain. The concepts of luck and familial luck - of gaining luck. The ideas about community and being prepared to go to the wall for your family and friends. After all - blood is thicker than water.

As children - we told stories about 'Granny Greenteeth' who drowns children that swim in her ponds, about 'hungry' rivers and moorland ghosts. We told stories about things that usually couldn't be seen but we knew to be there and without really thinking I found myself leaving offerings at certain places.

This post is my tribute to Lancashire - the land I really want to see. My land. Just for a little while at least before I go off to Germany.


Anonymous said...

It's really beautiful here at the moment. Spring has finally come. Baby lambs everywhere you look.


Elswyth said...

Just over three weeks..... :D